Monday, October 26, 2009

Finally back at it

I honestly did think I was going to be on this blog a lot more...really! Life has a way of taking over, though.

I had a painting class yesterday and it was a much better experience for me than last week. I think I was just overwhelmed last week. (The extremely sensitive and introverted me was in full force!!). Thankfully, the more extroverted me came out to play yesterday. I had a lot of fun doing a very interesting assignment. The teacher, Gillian, had us all do a painting from a coloured slide she had projected up on the wall. She made sure the image was very blurry and that made this very interesting and challenging! She also dimmed the lights, so it was actually pretty difficult to see your colours of paint! This was all part of the exercise. It was to 'free' us and force us to not think too much about the subject matter, but more think about shapes and colours. Anyway, I was pretty much thinking that this was a tree in a garden, but as she sharpened the focus more and more, it became evident! The picture was actually sideways, and it was of a boat! lol I found that very clever...and actually, our paintings DID look like a boat! :)

After that we put up our assignments from the week before. These were 16 x 20 paintings of complimentary colours. Red/green, blue/orange, and violet/yellow. I have posted them at the top. I was happy that my teacher liked what I did, and she gave valuable insight as to how to improve it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Great Class

Yesterday was the first day of my Painting 1 class at the University of Alberta Extension. I am working towards my Fine Arts Certificate.

I found the classroom in this mammoth building that used to be The Bay department store many moons ago. As it goes in life, these old buildings get replaced by newer ones. FORTUNATELY, this building was not demolished (I am sure it is a historical site) and was renovated to provide a new space for the Extension department for the University of Alberta. (I will take a picture of it soon and post it.) Anyway, I found the classroom and saw that the teacher was young and vibrant. So far so good! It took a little while to get the class going and then we were all asked to tell everyone our names, a bit of history about ourselves, and which artists we like the best. It was a very interesting session and we have a wide variety of people there. Two men are included amongst the 11 women.

As it goes with these things, the first hour was basically finding out what we will be doing during the 10 weeks (one class per week) of our course. The second hour was looking at slides and getting refreshed on certain facts about colour, etc., and the third hour was doing a bit of painting. It will be mostly all painting from now on, so I am very much looking forward to that. I had to tell my teacher, though, that I will have to miss the October 4th class as I will be in the Run For The Cure that is taking place at exactly the same time! That is so very unfortunate...but I made a commitment to do the run, and I can't back out now. I have, after all, many sponsors that I don't want to let down!

So, not too much to report for the first class, other than there is a wide diversity of people and what looks to be a very nice teacher. Will post again soon as I continue on this week with homework, etc.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back to work

Well, summer is over and it's time to get back to work. I must admit, I thought I would be on this blog far more than I have been. I intend to start back at it now and with my new "re-start" into my University of Alberta Fine Arts Certificate course starting back up on Sunday, I will be much more motivated to share my journey. My first 'back to it' class is Painting 1. Because I have never had any formal training in painting, I am very much looking forward to this. I stopped taking these classes a couple of years ago due to health issues, but I feel now like I can get back to it...the timing seems right to me. So, onward and upward as they say....

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Business part 5

This is the fifth chakra which is called the "Throat Chakra". This painting is 10" x 30". The original painting is priced at $250.00 and the print is $75.00.

Business part 4

This painting is called "Heart Chakra", and it is my fourth in the series. It's dimensions are 22" x 30". The original is priced at $450.00 and the print is $90.00. The print is also done on glossy paper.

Business part 3

This is the third chakra in the series, the Solar Plexus Chakra. My daughter Danielle was my model for this painting. It's dimensions are 15" x 30". The original painting is priced at $350.00 and the print is priced at $80.00.

Business part 2

This is 'Sacral Chakra', the second chakra in the series. It's dimensions are 20" x 30". The original painting is priced at $450.00 and the print is $90.00.

Doing a little business

Time to talk some business. For the art walk I had prints made of my five Chakra paintings. This one is of the Root Chakra. It's dimensions are 22 " by 30". The original is $450.00 and the print is $90.00. The prints have a gloss finish and can be easily mailed as they are protected in a mailing tube.

Friends and Family

Some pictures here of friends and family who came by. In these pictures are my daughter Jacquelyn and my good friend Sandy, her mom and her daughter. On the second day my good friend Joanie arrived as well.

The Art Walk Adventure

It was a very interesting weekend during the art walk on Whyte Avenue. I had a very good spot right in the heart of the avenue. For those of you who don't know, Whyte Avenue is the 'funky' street of the city. A lot of older buildings, a huge variety of shops and great places to eat and drink. It being so close to where I live makes a big difference to me, as I don't drive and can easily get there by walking or a short bus or LRT ride away.

The first day started with having a lot of last minute things to take care of. My husband was so very helpful and I couldn't have done as good a job without him. He made my display and also picked up various important items for me, like my prints and the containers for them. We were in a bit of a panic mode those last two days before the art walk, but thankfully, everything came together in time.

My husband was with me at the art walk for the majority of the time. This is very helpful if you need bathroom breaks, for instance!! :) We were very close to a coffee shop, as well...and my husband really liked that! This picture shows my first set up, and I say first because it changed each day.

During the first day we met so many interesting people. Some from as far away as Africa! I find that a lot of people who are from other countries are much more open to my type of art. Most of them know what a Chakra is, and that's very nice for me! I did have explanations written down for people who where not familiar with it.

I must admit, I do enjoy having a compliment or two about my paintings. It was very satisfying, especially since, as an artist, you don't get a lot of feedback when you are painting by yourself in your studio! I had some very lovely people say some very nice things to me and it made my day!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mandala - Male and Female

The Triangle, like the circle and the square, is a frequently appearing symbol in mandalas. The pointed up triangle represents male energy (fire). The pointed down triangle is the female energy (water). The combination of the two triangles brings out something different all together in the middle of the mandala. I like to look at this as a people can be very puzzling in their relationships to each other and the world around them.

This mandala is 8 x 8 and is painted with acrylics on canvas.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Mandala - Circle and Square

The square symbolically stands for earthly life, earthly matter, stability, order and rational thinking. It represents the balance between the four seasons and the four cardinal directions. When a square appears with the circle of a mandala, it is harmonizing the earthly and the cosmic.

I love to draw and paint shapes. I like to see if I can make up shapes and combine shapes to make up something I haven't seen before. I just liked the unusual look of this mandala...and I loved painting it. And that's what it's all about, right?

Much of my information about Mandalas came from the book "Mandala Workbook - For Inner Self-Discovery" by Anneke Huyser.

Mandala - Tree of Life

The tree is rooted in the earth and its branches reach toward the sky. Therefore, the tree can stand as a symbol for life. I painted this with the perspective of looking down on a tree...but the tree has four sides. The birds are trying to find a spot to land but it looks almost like they are swirling into a vortex. I like to 'play' with different ways of seeing things. I realized after I was done that this could be taken as an image of a cross. Although that was not my original intention, I would like people to see what they want to see in this mandala.

This mandala is a larger size at 12 x 12 inches.

Mandala - Butterfly

The Greek name for butterfly is psyche, the symbol for the human soul. A butterfly that appears in a mandala can refer to beauty, impermanence, immortality, rebirth, or a change of appearance.

This mandala was also done with my youngest daughter in mind. After she moved out, I thought about creatures that fly. I love the Monarch butterfly especially for it's vibrant red-orange colour and black and white background and spots. I was going to add more to this, but thought better of it. I think it says exactly what I want it to say.

This is an acrylic painting on canvas. Size is also 8 x 8.

Mandala - Sea and Sky

I went a bit further with this one. I decided to add seashells to the outer edge of the circle to add texture and also to 'bring home' the feeling of the ocean. I can't think of anything more relaxing than the ocean and looking at the clouds in the sky. This was created so that any person who looked at it could feel the peace and tranquility.

It is also painted with acrylic on an 8 x 8 canvas and has broken seashells added to it for texture.

Spiral Mandala

This is my spiral mandala. The spiral symbolizes life and death, expansion, and turning inward. A spiral that turns clockwise, like this one does, refers to something from the unconscious that wants to manifest itself. I did this mandala when I was trying to come to terms with my youngest daughter moving far away. To be a mother is a wonderful thing. To see your children grow and mature is also wonderful. For the mother, though, it can be extremely difficult to let go of that child. This has been a big part of my life for over 23 years, and trying to just ...let it be...let go...was so hard. I found that creating these mandalas was very helpful in my recovering my sense of 'balance'.

This mandala is also 8 x 8 and is painted with acrylics on canvas.


I am now showing the Mandalas that I have produced for the art walk which is in only 4 days from now. I am trying to get organized, and it is quite a task! I am sure that I am not the only artist who is a bit stressed at the moment!
I will tell you a bit about what each mandala signifies to me.
This one is about loving the earth. The four 'figures' in the middle represent people who have come together to protect the earth and make us all realize that the earth is fragile. This is indicated by the glass grit that I have used in four of the spaces alternating with the trees.
This mandala is 8 x 8 and it is painted with acrylic on canvas.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Throat Chakra

"This Chakra is the first energetic center that differentiates man from all other life forms. This single human attribute gives us the power to express ourselves on every level of experience. To honor this gift fully, we are asked to consciously commit to expressing our truth and sing the song of individuality clearly and with integrity. To do so truly serves our spirits." (from The Book of Chakras by Ambika Wauters.)
This Chakra is the communicator and the location is the internal and external throat. It's representational shape is the inverted pyramid, suspended around the jaw and pointing down toward the heart. It's plant is the gardenia and singer Billie Holiday often wore a gardenia in her hair while she sang. My painting isn't a direct representation of her but has symbols relating to communication, music, the colour turquoise which is this Chakras' colour and a feeling of drama.
This painting is 10 by 30 inches and is done with acrylic paints on canvas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Empty Nest Syndrome

One of the biggest reasons why I haven't been posting much on this blog lately is because I have been going through a bout of "Pre" Empty Nest Syndrome. It's a very difficult time in my life as my 21 year old daughter, Danielle, is leaving home and will be travelling with her boyfriend to Vancouver to live. It's been an up and down roller coaster ride lately. Not only do I have an Art Walk to prepare for, but I have this huge life changing event going on at the same time. I have been incredibly stressed due to these two things plus other issues that have been going on in my family. I decided today that I would give myself a break in regards to my Chakra paintings. It's been very time consuming trying to finish them all in time. The art walk is in less than a month, and Danielle is leaving in less than two weeks. It gives me very little time to 'grieve' my loss. I decided to finish the fifth one, but to then go on to my mandalas which I also want to have available. If I have some time around then, I will work on the sixth and seventh Chakras, but I am not going to drive myself crazy trying to finish them.

No one, but a mom who has been through this, would understand. I read somewhere that when the children leave home, for a mom it's the same feeling as for a man when he retires. I remember when my own father retired, he had a very difficult time and really wasn't the same person for years afterward. I remember my mom crying night after night at the dinner table when my brother left home. I myself have been very depressed lately, but if I didn't have my art to look forward to, it would be ten times worse.

Art is such a wonderful hobby. I would recommend to anyone, whether you think you have any talent or not, to just draw, paint, sculpt, knit, sew...anything at all that is help you through any tough times in your life. It is truly a blessing in my life. That and of course, my wonderful daughters and my true blue husband.

I know that passages in life is just what life is all about. You have to take the good with the bad. Yes, this is a tough one right now, but I know it's all for the best.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Heart Chakra

This painting is about love - love for another being, love of nature, love of life. The two figures are surrounded by love and the beauty of nature. The heart is nourished by spending time with nature. Here we can breathe clean air and find tranquility and beauty. Since the fourth Chakra also governs the heart AND the lungs, I wanted to convey that both are important. I have placed the main figures in the middle of the painting to represent the fact that the Heart Chakra is the middle chakra - 4th of 7.

This painting is done with acrylics and is 22" by 30".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The way I paint

Every painter has a different method, I am sure. In point form I:
- have a subject matter (always kind of important! lol)
- I then (sometimes) take pictures of the person who is going to be in the painting, or I look for a good picture of someone in a book or magazine (side note: in the painting "Solar Plexus Chakra" I used my daughter Danielle as the woman in the painting and also a large ball of wool for the sphere. Use what you can to mimic your subjects, if need be).
- decide on whether it will be painted on a canvas or a different support
- size is very important....especially if you don't want to be working on it for months!!
- obviously, I always choose acrylic paint as my medium. (Years ago it was coloured pencil...and even more years ago it was oil paint).
- set up your palette, table, water, paint colours (I usually use a colour wheel to help me decide).
- always have a good supply of different size brushes (you tend to collect over the months!)

I then start to paint. I will either have an idea in my head as to what I want to do with the painting, or I just start to put paint on the canvas. It's always scary looking at that blank white canvas. Better to have some paint on it so it looks like you have started. Even if this is just fooling yourself, it does help you to get moving on it. These paintings that I have up on my blog took a variety of time. The Root Chakra took 50 hours, the Sacral Chakra took 40 and the Solar Plexus Chakra took 35. I am hoping that the one I am working on now takes much less time as I am wanting to do four paintings in the next four weeks! Yikes! lol I am sure it will be quite the challenge!!

More on my painting that I am working on now in my next posting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Solar Plexus Chakra

The Solar Plexus Chakra is the center of personal identity. It rules all aspects of our personality and ego, especially our sense of self-worth and esteem. Ultimately, it helps us choose what and who are for our highest good.

The location of this chakra is directly below the sternum and over the stomach. The symbolic shape is a globe and the colour for this chakra is yellow.

The woman in the painting has chosen a sphere, which is the symbol for her inner being. We can choose one or many spheres throughout the stages of our life.

The details for this painting: size is 15" by 30" and is painted with acrylics. It has various papers included to add texture.

"Sacral Chakra"

This is the second installment of my Chakra painting series. The Sacral Chakra is situated two inches below the navel and two inches into the pelvis. The qualities that define the second chakra: well-being, sexuality, sensuality, pleasure and abundance. The life issues are to know that who you are and what you do are enough; to have enough rest, food, exercise, fun and money. To not link self-worth with what you do or have; to create healthy boundaries to protect your vital life force.

The Sacral chakra asks the question: How are you relating to the world around you? The birth of relationships, creativity, and life defines how one is relating with their world. The sacral chakra's element is water and it's symbol is a pyramid. I used these symbols to bring forth feelings of tranquility, strength, and spiritual connectedness. The ocean is symbolic for the creation of life, as all life begins with water, and the sand and seashell texture is symbolic for the imperfect ways in which we relate with our world. A common theme throughout my artwork is that imperfections are beautiful, and that we are connected through our diversity.

Root Chakra

The Root Chakra anchors itself to the earth when we are patient, resourceful and hopeful about our lives. Remaining positive and open to possibilities strengthens the Root Chakra and allows for stability and inner strength. Anchoring our spirit in reality is the quality of this chakra.

The location of this Chakra is at the base of the spine. The symbolic shape is a large cube and the colour is red. I have placed the woman in a yoga pose as it is an activity that is grounding, physical and demands presence.

Details about this painting: size is 22" by 30", painted with acrylics and has added papers and glass grit for texture.

Chakra Paintings

I am going to be in the Whyte Avenue Art Walk that is in July in my home town of Edmonton. I wrote out an artist statement and will include that here. I am painting Chakras, Mandalas and the like for the Art Walk. Here are the descriptions:

Chakras: The chakras are spiritual and psychic energy centers in the human body, visualized as wheels or lotuses. They play a large role in gaining spiritual awareness and in physical and mental health.

Mandalas: The mandala represents the process of assimilating important elements in life that are often still unconscious although almost at the surface of the awareness. The mandala is an expression of the microcosm that plays itself out inside a person. It discloses itself in shapes, symbols, and colours, and in their combined context. The mandala works like a focal point, like a lens that is focused on what is inside, reflecting whatever is playing itself out in the psyche at a certain point. In doing so, the mandala is a reflection of the soul.

My artist statement: Along with acrylic paints, I incorporate textural imperfections as a metaphor to honor the beauty in the scars of our lives. My style is based on symbolism and is expressed through abstract and figurative compositions. At the moment my work is focusing on emotional healing and spirituality.

Will close off this post and will next upload the first of the series: "Root Chakra".