Brush, knife, brush, knife…trowel?

So many ideas floating around in my head right now and the weather, being absolutely gorgeous is not helping, but the pull to the canvas calls again yet I can’t decide what/which to do first.

My Fire Dancer turned out well (another “Annie process” piece) and the reaction was so positive that I might try it again. It was, however, one of those inspiration born out of frustration moments. You know, when you are working on a piece and no matter what you do it does not want to come together? It was soooo frustrating that after playing with various knives, I actually tool a notched plastic trowel to it and started creating various patterns and designs, until I was satisfied with it (and no longer wanted to throw it out a window lol).

The other piece was my dream forest-my sort of salute to Canadiana. I rarely work with a brush anymore, but when I do, it usually ends up in this style. I have a fantabulous idea based on a similar style, using the pine, the water, the northern lights and an Inukshuk.

And then I finally have some very cool extra long narrow canvases which I’d like to maybe to do another flower field with the knife, or maybe long bold brush work, or, or, or….ugh


To print or not to print?

Recently, it was suggested to me that I might want to make some prints of my work, since it some markets, the economy is not supporting sales of original art at prices which reflect the actual costs or making it…so…am thinking about it. I do know that had I had some prints on hand of some of my pieces, they would have sold no problem. Also, size was an important factor. Some people loved certain pieces but the original was just too large. This leaves me with something else to consider; do I make prints at half-size? For example, my 24 by 24 lilies, should I make prints at 12 by 12 instead so that matted and framed they would still be smaller?

Has anyone gone through this process? Any ideas or suggestions? And while we are at it, if you skip through my gallery, which ones do you think would make marketable prints?


The smoosh” and an actual “concept” piece

The “smoosh” is now what I call “The Wave”, although could be a dolphin, water vortex whatever. I like the effect and it turned out pretty cool. God help me when I get asked what the “concept” was behind that one. AND just to satisfy people that I do sometimes have an idea before I start, I did a concept painting…now it’s just up to the viewer to figure out what it is lol…

What happens when you beome too formulaic?

In the case of this painter, it happens. I know people like the lilies, so I started painting lily scenes, focusing on just the lilies and water background, in various sizes and colours. It was fun for a while, getting back to oil and playing with effects and colours. After about the fifth one, my lilies didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. So, I had an “Annie” moment, where I looked, paused and then took the big palette knife to a section, creating a giant flood/waterfall/water creature/wave which obliterated a few of them :o) . Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s just part of my “process” as Sandi says. I really, really had to restrain myself from taking the knife and smooshing the whole thing, because once you start blending and moving the paint (or really once I start I should say) the compulsion comes on to see exactly what would happen if I did this, moved this there, squished that there lol…I’ll post some pics later to show the full effect. But lesson learned. Take a break when doing a series of anything and SMOOSH, blend and play dammit.

And we always return home…

…at least to what we are most comfortable and confident with. Today was a blast! I went “home” to my oils and totally relished in their squishy. glossy textures. Instead of painting larger canvases, I decided to shrink my perspective, or blow up details of things I normally do. And so, the lily series was born. Instead of the full landscape (which I did paint on one 12 by 12 canvas), I took snippets of the lilies and focused on them. They turned out well, and next I think I will do similar ones, just focusing on the lilies, but using different sizes and shapes of canvases so that they can be hung as a series of the same size or interesting combinations.


And for fun, here’s the pic of the mixed media I did…still not sure what is going to happen to the top half though


Mixed thoughts…

Well, I did give the mixed media thing a try. Ok, so was more acrylic with different mediums and rocks. Some of it I really enjoyed, other parts of the process not so much.

I had a really cool sketch that I had done while sitting at the Elora Art in Yard Show. A “very complicated doodle” which once seen the EMS there remarked that I “should be selling the doodles” lol. Rather than doing the lily style bottom half of the piece, I used acrylic paints with gel medium, adding little rocks/pebbles that I had collected on my kayaking journeys. Originally, I was going to use the rocks in just the gel medium to created a “landscape” across the bottom, but as it always is with me, start in one direction with one thought and as the creative process develops, something totally different comes into play. Then, I just had to try this gritty, rocky forming paste medium which of course I added some gold to (just because once again if I’m going in new direction, might as well make it TOTALLY different-ugh). Drew the sketch of “loon creature’ on the top with mica enhanced paint and voila.

So…I liked the fact that the gel reminded me of oil paints that I could use knives with-add the iridescent paint and I also got the sheen of oil. The rocky texture was cool. The rocks/pebbles themselves bugged me as their very unadorned surface contrasted just a tad too much with the rest, so rather than having this “river rock” “lake rocks” effect, it almost appears as if it’s a jewelled underwater scene. I like how the loony thing turned out, however it appears much stronger when it was only black on white paper, and I’m disappointed with its rather flat feel. Not sure if I should leave it for contrast or if I will “colour it in” so to speak….

The one thing I did miss, is that freedom I feel when using oils and canvases. Even when I am working on more detailed works such as the lilies, there is a greater sense of movement…now whether that is due to the fact that the works are so much larger we will see when I start work on a series of smaller pieces done in oil. Kudos to all you mixed media artists out there! There are so many things to play and work with, I don’t know how you decided where to start creatively!



So the art show, while amazing, left me wondering what to do next. From a marketing, business standpoint (something which while I understand is counterintuitive to what I do and the process I follow), I realize that perhaps I should be working on some smaller pieces. While many people admire the larger ones, each piece is waiting for that certain person who just “has to have THAT one” for a specific place in their home. I know from conversations with patrons, that they would have been interested in smaller versions of my pieces, whether that be a 12 by 12 of lilies, or 8 by 10 abstract. So…do I translate my work in more palatable/saleable sizes? Perhaps. That may be some of my next steps to think about-after all, Christmas is coming and oil takes a while to cure.

That said, I was really inspired this weekend at the Elora Art in the Yard show. Each artist was phenomenal in their own style and medium. There were artists who worked scenes into glass, many people making gorgeous handcrafted jewelry, fabulous painters using different techniques and materials, but the ones I found most interesting, being so different from my process were encaustic artists. I actually got to watch an artist who was doing encaustic demonstrations. Encaustic, for those unfamiliar with it is the process of painting with coloured wax. This artist melted the wax, added various colours and then proceeded to “paint” with it, adding layer after layer….ok, so it was much more complicated and involved, but that was the general idea. Another artist, Supria’s Designs, had these rich, gorgeous colours with all types of different other materials added to the layers, so that you could see bits of maps, words, and items of interest that completed the overall concept.

Inspiration struck and I was reminded of when I made photo albums and personal story books by hand using beautiful paper and bindings, many times decorating the covers with bits of flowers and real stones. So, while I am not going to try encaustic (mostly due to the dangers of having molten wax around young curious, wanting to try everything children), I am going to try multi-media for fun. When I was kayaking around the lakes of northern Ontario, I was always fascinated by pieces of driftwood and the colours of small stones and pebbles reflecting in the shallow waters. Hence, I somehow ended up with a full tackle box full of stones tucked away in the basement (even though I was called many interesting things as a result of lugging the thing from house to house when I moved)… I must have instinctively knew that they would have a new purpose…and so it goes. Now all I have to do is figure out what to attach them to (I am thinking of wood panels), what kind of paint to use for the background (not sure if I can use oil either before or after I attach stones) and whatever else I might want to put there…

Wish me luck!