It’s already mid March and I think I’ve spent most of the start of this year just trying to stay afloat, barely able to keep up with my day to day obligations. I have to admit that most days have felt like gasping-for-air days where I just can’t get everything done. Work has been very demanding and everything seems to have taken a back seat to work, which I am not happy about. I blame this inability to be my usual creative self, and get to my projects, on the incessant cold, winter weather. Of course, having been sick a few times hasn’t helped. The cold has been especially unyielding and my creative self has lay dormant, dreaming of warm weather, bike rides and painting outside.
But enough is enough.
This morning I received an email from friends in Toronto that the wheels I ordered for my new road bike were in and they were being shipped to me. That made my day. I also managed to get my first painting nearly completed for my joint artshow in June, with my friend and namesake, Andrea. What a proud accomplishment despite my fatigue and general disinterest in anything these days. And I’m happy with this new painting. Really happy with it. Mostly because I have been able to sink my teeth into the general theme: Journey. I decided to focus on telling the story of my own journey and paint dream-like art. These pieces will all be based on events that have importance to me and have shaped me. I will also include people in my life who have made an impression on me and who have helped shape me, whether they realize it or not. I’m really excited about this series.
Pictured here is my nearly completed painting “The Equestrian”.
This week marks the beginning of Spring (hard to tell with all that snow still on the ground) and with it growth, renewal and new life. I’m excited for the upcoming season and all the new things on my event calendar. I’ve made some new friends this year and am excited to get to know them better. My third year students all start their coop placement tomorrow and the halls will be a little empty without them. I’m not going to lie, I always feel a little sad when a batch of students finally leave the school nest. But I am also happy to see them off, finally making their mark on the (creative) world. I’m also happy to have a slightly more liberated teaching schedule now and a little more time for myself. I look forward to a leisurely coffee tomorrow morning as I plan the week ahead, my creative self rubbing the sleep from its eyes and finally awake.
Well, I’ve just varnished and framed my last few paintings for my show opening tomorrow evening. Part of me wants to keep painting late into the evening tonight, do an all-nighter, bang out a few more ideas… explore a few more themes… but I’m tired. I’m physically tired of painting and I’m emotionally tired of putting so much effort into each piece. Besides, I think 25 paintings are a good amount to show. Not too much and certainly enough to have people wanting to see more. I’m pleased.
Over the past 2 months, I’ve managed to lose 5 pounds. I’ve just forgotten to eat or haven’t been interested. This hasn’t felt so good. My house is also a bit of a disaster area. I have to face up to real life at some point: pay some bills, do some laundry, vacuum and shop for some groceries. (My family has suffered enough at this point and I can only expect them to do so much).
I had a great radio interview yesterday with CHUO 89.1, which was nerve-wracking and interesting too (the inner workings of a small station are incredible and I have so much respect for DJs now!) The EMC Ottawa West interviewed me last week and Kristy Strauss had a wonderful article on me and my show in today’s issue. I’ve had exposure through the Ottawa Bike Club and OpenFile and Algonquin has been proudly tweeting about my show. Gah, I hope I don’t let everybody down with my work — such build up!
In the end, I am very proud of my hard work, steadfastness and dedication to this painting show. I see a great improvement in my painting over the past weeks: more fluid lines, fun subject matter. It’s been such a great project and I am really looking forward to my next theme and planning my next show.
Series of 4 paintings (one round canvas) entitled Stop for a Coffee series, which I intend to do right now.
I can’t believe it’s Sunday already. I have been painting every day for the past two months, steadily pacing myself towards the 3rd of August. It’s been exciting and challenging and every day I’ve had to wrestle with subject matter, sorting through photos, asking friends for photos, sizing and cropping, settling on a painting style and choosing colours. It’s been wonderful and I’ve enjoyed every step of it (well, except for when the varnish started drying on a painting while I was brushing it on and then started picking up paint and smearing the canvas and I had to peel it off taking up paint in the process and then repairing it was a nightmare that I am still unhappy about). Apart from that one episode, it’s been a fantastic and brilliant process of self discovery and gratitude. So much so, I wish I had more time to complete more work. Yes, I realize every artist must wish for that. Of course, I will continue to paint after these paintings are hung and the show is on in full swing. I already have a ne
w idea and new photos and subject matter at the ready (which I am very excited about exploring) for my next show of work. I plan to start steadily and have some work underwary before I approach a new place for a show. In my heart, I just wish I could put more time and exploration into the cycling theme. I have so many untapped ideas that still need working out.
Much like the athletes and cyclicts I watch and know, I have been cycling along steadily and faithfully. The event has been so enjoyable and a testament to all the years I have put into practicing my art. The final few days of the journey are going to be very satisfying and I know that crossing the finish line is going to be immensely rewarding. I can’t decide what I am most excited for: opening night and displaying all my work together or seeing all my friends in one venue. I’m proud of myself in so many ways, on so many levels, for this accomplishment. I hope everyone I know can appreciate the hard work and effort I have put forth.
I’d love to finish up 5 more paintings in the last 7 days before my show but I’m not ready to sacrafice sleep and my sanity in order to do that. I had a quick lunch with my friend Ian yesterday and he suggested not filling in some of the areas of the paintings but leaving the lines there instead. This had been suggested to me before but this time I really thought about it when he suggested it. Since I work in sections anyhow and draw up the image on the canvas with distinct pencil lines, I could do this. In fact, while finishing up my latest painting of a female cyclist, I considered it for a moment before filling in all the spaces with colour. It actually looked quite interesting beforehand. (See what you think below).
I think I’m going to attempt the unfinished look on the next painting. A little experiment for the day. I’m excited!
Fifteen days into the new year and I am happy with the creative painting progress I’ve already made. I finished another painting (more of my two dimensional flat style) and have begun a second in the cycling series I started, for a show in mid March. This is my current driving force and I am still excited and pumped about showing my work in the little cyclery in my neighbourhood. I’m still exploring themes revolving around Alberto Contador and his nickname: El Pistolero. I’ve transferred my final sketch to canvas and am starting the painting today. It’s later in the day than I would like but sometimes it takes me some time to get comfortable with my final sketch and my concept and my choice of colours so I have to paint when the mood strikes me. It takes me a while to get to the point of painting. I have to work everything out in my head before I am ready to paint. I think that’s just part of being a graphic designer: needing to work it out and visualize it before I begin to paint it. It’s part of the process and as I stated before, I love the process. Sometimes I even love it more than the finished piece!
I’ve reflected a lot in the past fifteen days since the new year has begun and I have really thought about what’s most important in my life. I’ve decided to give up some of the responsibilities of my job at work so that I can concentrate more on my pass-times and things I love doing outside of my 9 to 5 day: like painting. Life is short. Might as well spend it doing things you love. Right?
Last night I attended a small show opening in my neighbourhood, put on by one of my most wonderful friends, Andrea. The artwork was so diverse and so rich and so satisfying to take in and consider: so many great pieces by so many local, talented artists. It made me so proud to be a part of it all. Two of my three cycling paintings sold before the show officially opened and the third sold within the first hour of the show. I can’t tell you how humbled and proud I am of that: content with the fact that there is something in my work that someone else can relate to — or even that they like. It’s one thing to make art, to enjoy the process, to complete it and it’s yet another to have someone else feel the same. In a strange way, it makes me feel connected to the rest of the world.
I am overwhelmed with end of the year tasks right now but I am dreaming of a small solo show in the spring, which my good friend suggested while we labeled the artwork hours before the show opened. What a challenging and rewarding goal to plan and aim towards. I am deeply excited about the prospect and even more excited about the new year and all the goals I hope to reach for myself or enjoy working towards. Inspired by the show last night, I have so many new ideas for artwork and directions I want to explore. Something new is in the works and I am completely adrenalized!