Tag Archives: painting

“Most people would succeed in small things, if they were not troubled with great ambitions”

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.


Take Delight in the Process.

Well, it’s been nearly a half year since I last posted something on my blog and to be fair, I am not at all to blame. I have agonized over not being able to post anything online since my blog on Posterous was shut down. They were kind enough to allow everyone to archive their information (big thumbs up for that) but I was still left feeling pretty empty without my posts. I had asked for help to set up a new, easy-to-maintain blog, but my circle of friends (and I) have been quite busy and as time moved on, I became pretty hopeless about the whole blog thing and pretty much gave up on it.

Last week, feeling particularly down, I summoned the courage to ask my friend Thomas to set something up for me. Something easy and simple. Well, Thomas obliged me in a snap — quickly, without hesitation, importing all the posterous information into this wordpress site and voila! here I am, so incredibly grateful and humbled. (I know that I’m ridiculous that way, always feeling that I’m less than deserving of peoples’ time and attention. I keep thinking I’ll outgrow it, but in my late 40s, I don’t know when that will actually happen). 

So, I woke up this morning and spent 4 hours poking around the site, reimporting photographs, adjusting layouts, discovering pages and widgets and remembering code. It felt fantastic to poke around and reread my old posts and realign myself again. I realized (pretty quickly) that over the past 6 months I meandered off my pathway and lost sight of my goals. It was so good to rediscover that all again and to remind myself of what was important in my life: I hadn’t realized how much I had missed it all.

These past few months have been so busy. As my daughters get older, I realize how much our relationship is changing, growing and developing and how much I am changing and adapting and learning. I continually marvel at these girls and see our hard work as supportive, loving parents develop into honest, hard-working, reliable young women who I love being around. Their lives are interesting and full and I am grateful to be a part of all that and to be included in what they do.


Over the past few months, I created some collage artwork/paintings that are hanging in Algonquin College’s Health Services area. They are on lend for a few months, in the hope that some will be sold. I don’t have high hopes of any of them being sold, really, but I am happy that the nurses and assistants love them and I really enjoyed making them and that’s most important to me: the process. (If you want to get a closer look at individual art pieces, feel free to visit my behance page here: http://www.behance.net/andreaemery)

I support Tshirt1Prior to all these collage paintings, I dabbled in some custom lettering, coming up with an I Support Local Artists tshirt design. I got in touch with the613.com and partnered up with them to offer up the design to the local community and spread some local art love. They were thrilled and printed up a bunch of shirts. If you like what you see, you can order a tshirt here: http://www.the613.com/collections/our-local-talent/products/i-support-local-artists  I also did some handlettering for I Support Local Business but I’m not sure if that will ever get printed up. I thought it was a brilliant idea, myself, but we’ll see if that goes anywhere. (Scroll down to see how I calligraphically support local: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Local-Support/8200747)

Right now, before school begins again in late August, I am working on a new series of paintings. I had hoped to begin this new series months ago but have been so busy, I’m only beginning now. I probably wasn’t in the right mindset to begin any earlier so beginning now is fine. I have other commitments too… too many to mention but enough to keep me out of trouble.

I am so grateful to be blogging again: throwing the words, ideas, images and work out into the universe. I feel energized and positive again — and connected to what’s important.

Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.

I can’t believe December is upon us. It seems like I blinked and November came and went. I had planned to use November wisely, to paint and sew and make things and get new work started. Instead, I ended up making some life altering decisions at the end of October and then spent November trying to adjust to all the changes going on. Even though some changes are just lateral ones, and good for you, they take so darn much out of you that you actually need some time to recover from them. That’s what my November was for, I guess.

The start of December has me reconnecting with friends; recommitting to the gym, healthy eating and taking care of myself; taking time to appreciate what I have, practicing grattitude & awareness and being present in my life. I tend to live life at warp speed and I don’t take enough time to do the last few things I listed often enough. I was really reminded of this a few nights ago when I went to SAW Gallery’s annual fundraiser, entitled SKETCH. It was a one-evening event where artists donated artwork to the artist-run gallery and then the art was sold to the public with proceeds going toward the gallery. Both my daughter Katrin and I donated one painting apiece. We attended the event Friday night and were witness to Katrin’s art piece being picked up by two women, who were trying to decide who wanted it more. As they took it to the counter to pay for it, I commented that they had chosen “a fantastic piece” and one woman asked Katrin if it was her art and when she said it was, the woman turned to me and said, “you’re biased!” Indeed, I am. Whole-heartedly.

Katrin was beyond happy that they purchased her art and was humbly beaming, her hands up to her reddened face. I can honestly say that that moment was one of the proudest moments of my life as a mother. A loving, heart-warming moment that I cannot put into words. The sheer joy, admiration, love and pride I felt for the young woman standing beside me, at that moment, was completely overwhelming — to the point of tears that I had to blink away. It was beautiful and I was so glad that we had gone to the event together and been there early enough to witness the purchase. Shortly after, as we made our way through the crowd of people to leave, passing my colourful landscape still up on the wall for sale, I put my arm around my daughter and congratulated her. I am so lucky to live the life I lead and give thanks, every day, for all the people and things that make my life so rich.


My gorgeous daughter, Katrin; Her painting prior to selling; My painting on our way out.

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

I love this quote. It’s by Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States. It’s one of those quotes that I can really relate to. I have always been a creative person and I have always worked hard. I sometimes think that being a creative person is part privilege and part curse. I cannot not create. For as far back as I can remember, I have always been creative: drawing on walls, table tops, scraps of paper, scraps of wood, under chairs and always making things. To add to this, I also believe that anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well. So I am doubly blessed & cursed.

I think that this need to create things combined with my fear of not living a useful life (more on that later), drives me forward and pushes me to explore, challenge myself and grow artistically. I love to be challenged. I love to learn and try new things and experiment. Every step I take, good or bad, teaches me something and helps me to grow as an artist and as a person. And isn’t that what life is for? To learn things and grow as a person and maybe extend a hand to others along the way? I guess, in part, that’s why I teach. I try to lead (my students) by example and I try to help others see what they are good at and what their gifts are and help them forward. Of course, it helps if they are willing participants and feel the same way I do about luck and hard work.

Yesterday I took down all of my paintings on display at Cyclelogik. I sold 3 pieces there and I am pleased that I did. Alistair Scott was so kind to let me hang my work there and manage the sales. Late last night, I rehung my cycle art and some collage work on Louisa street for a House Party that is taking place tomorrow night. It’s an amazing opportunity to show off my work to a lot of local people who may not have had the chance to see it while on display at the cycle shop. The house party is also a great opportunity to meet some new people and make some new connections. I mean, you never know who you’ll meet, right? The owner of the house and host of the party, Dean, is an amazing, open, spiritual person. I am so touched that he would consider my work and allow me to hang it in his house. I should mention it looks great in his little house, too!

Tonight I was also notified that one of my paintings has been selected by Timeraiser Ottawa. (Look them up if you are curious, amazing concept and organization). I heard about this great opportunity through my friend Daniel M., a new friend and a really great local artist who I really admire. His work was chosen, as well, although I am hardly surprised. I am thrilled, beyond measure, to have one of my pieces selected. I worked hard on this last batch of cycle-themed paintings and it is really gratifying to see something come of my hard work and determination. It helps justify the late nights & love that I have put into my work.

I honestly feel like a very lucky person. I feel like hard work (eventually) pays off.


Chosen work by TimeRaiser Ottawa.

Final Third.

I can hardly believe we are already knee deep in September, two-thirds of our way through 2012. With school underway, I feel a tad overwhelmed with teaching and still don’t have a handle on my work-out/family/painting&sewing schedule. I keep thinking it will all sort itself out at some point, that I will somehow continue to fall down through the rabbit hole and when I finally hit the bottom, BOOM! Schedule figured out. Sadly, I am coming to the realization that I am going to have to roll up my sleeves and get a schedule figured out myself. I mean, some small semblance of a working schedule. Because let’s face it, without a schedule, I am just not going to get anything worthwhile done. And I need to do things.

Speaking of getting things done, I am finally getting around to painting a commissioned piece of Bradley Wiggins. I had started it a while back but with all the business that is my life, I couldn’t commit to doing it (well). I need to paint when I am inspired and feel good or else I can’t do a good job. Yes, I am one of those unfortunate fickle painters. Once I painted the crowd in a couple of days ago, I started to get inspired and get excited. Today I will get a good chunk of the painting done. I’m looking forward to it.

I am also working on a sketch for a new magazine called Herd that a friend of mine is putting out. It’s a design/art magazine and I am looking forward to the inaugural issue. I’m not just saying that because I am contributing to it but because I love new ventures and exciting new starts. I am hoping this is going to be one for my friend.

Here’s to a productive rest of the month! Let’s do this September!


Stop for a Coffee.

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.

Seven Days.

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!