Have you ever?

There are so many things that I would like to capture on canvas-so many things I would like to try.

Have you ever wanted to paint a full wall? Take a blank slate and just cover it in colour? A huge canvas and just set yourself free and smoosh, and splatter? What about taking the canvas and becoming the implement that paints, use your hands, your feet, your whole body to immerse yourself in the process so that you and the canvas become one.

Have you ever wanted to paint the smell of spring rain? The sound of the loons on the lake as it stills and reflects during the magic hour? The smell of the wood smoke from the sauna-the anticipation of relaxation before the plunge into the chill water that refreshed and rejuvenated the soul? The hush in the forest in winter when giant snowflakes drifting delicately to the ground is the only sound you will hear? The sound of a child’s laughter-the full belly kind that is pure unabashed joy? The feeling you get when you play with little baby toes and fingers? That kiss at the moment where things click and you melt? The warmth of a hug where all you need is the strength of the arms around you? The taste of tears? That deep satisfying moment where you are sitting with someone and not saying a word, and everything is good in the world?

Oh the things left to try.

And sometimes you just have to say “and finished”

Three new pieces which I have been working on for a bit. Each one provided its own challenges, especially trying to decide when exactly to stop and walk away. “Sunset Birches” is oil on canvas, palette knives and was completed in stages, by far the largest of this style that I have attempted to date. “Dancing Hummingbirds” is oil on canvas using knives and brushes. It’s up to you to find the hummingbirds my boys named the painting after. The final one is “From The Roots Springs New Life”. It’s a version of “Family Tree” that I did for my boys, with the boys “springing from the roots” of the main tree.

Sunset Birches Oil on Canvas Palette Knives 36 by 40

Sunset Birches
Oil on Canvas
Palette Knives
36 by 40

 

 

Dance of the Hummingbirds Oil On Canvas Knives and Brushes 36 by 40

Dance of the Hummingbirds
Oil On Canvas
Knives and Brushes
36 by 40

 

 

 

From the Roots Springs New Life Oil on Canvas Palette Knives and Other 36 by 40

From the Roots Springs New Life
Oil on Canvas
Palette Knives and Other
36 by 40

Therapeutic Creativity (Creative Process)

It’s funny the number of conversations I’ve had with people recently about stress, health, finding a balance in life and all the ways we try to offset the potential negative effects, the coping mechanisms we put in place to try and make our lives rich and livable.

Some friends and colleagues find their zone in running or exercising, for others it’s yoga or Pilates. In speaking with my sis, meditation came up. She’s gotten to the point where she can zone out and meditate in public places, even on a plane. And I thought “How cool is that! I should try that!” Now for anyone who knows me (and can stop laughing at me long enough to keep reading), there are still waters in me somewhere, however they tend to conflict with my Tigger like bouncing. Combine that with two very energetic, rambunctious, boys under age 8, a full time teaching career, which I love, my dogs, my art, my….fitting in time to just sit and train my mind to slow down and relax, well, hmm. Sure, you can lecture me all you want on the whole “You have to make the time” and so on, but there’s the reality that rears its time consuming, “Would you like a shower or meditate today?” ugly head.

For me, it came to a point where two different doctors told me that I had two different masses growing, which in essence would kill me in one of two ways, neither of which was going to be pretty, or treatable. And breathe. And breathe again. And panic. And cry. And oh shit (add more expletives-very creative ones). And breathe. How does one go through testing, still be a parent, try to keep a household running and a career going, all the while there is a gigantic very ugly elephant (not the cute pink candy box kind) hovering over you in the corner? Then, came the conversations about meditation. Then, came the epiphany.

While I may seem to be organized chaos in motion, bouncing all over the place, there are very deep, very still waters inside me. In my own way, I do mediate. I do zone out and lose focus on everything else, allowing a sense of calm connectivity and peace wash over me, letting the “noise” from without go.  For me, my therapy, my healing, my rescue comes when I paint.

Art is therapy. The creative process is therapeutic. It calms, it heals, it allows you to channel emotions, frustrations, fears, anger, all those things that we can’t look at face on. It’s interesting because since I have started painting, I have tried to explain to people that a good painting session is when I get into the “zone”, where I don’t think, I just do, I just am and it all flows. People have asked multiple times, “What were you thinking when you painted this? What was your plan? Your process?” The explanation that I wasn’t thinking anything, that it just came, seemed somehow insufficient and I have had a hard time trying to put to words the channelling process that just spontaneously occurs on occasion. When the spirit moves me, for lack of a better phrasing, the directions this takes me are sometimes never where I intended to go but somehow my spirit or soul knows what I need more than I do in that moment and we just go there.

Using art as therapy isn’t a new thing, but I do belive that it is something that should be promoted more. Instinctively, I have encouraged and nudged some of my students in this direction. When they’ve been angry or troubled, I’ve actually given them the canvas and paint and said go put it all on there. Use your brushed, your fingers, scratch, slash, blend, smooth and most of all PLAY. The results have been phenomenal as you can actually see someone else’s soul on the canvas-their moment in time where it all came to being, right there, in front of you. It is breathtaking.

Does it have to be paint? Nope. I know people who lose themselves in clay, in the movement of the wheel-in wood, the grains, the stains, the textures-in dough, the kneading, shaping, rising. It’s all the rhythm, the movement, the passion, the emotion and the soul. The moment where you can let go of everything and allow the immediate to immerse you and take over. The end result isn’t as important as the process. Whether you like it or hate it when you are done, it is what it is.

So go forth, let you inner child out and the calm peaceful vibes in. It’s therapeutic and good for the soul, yes, but more importantly it can be just plain fun.

Some examples of “Hmm…and where di this come from?”. Enjoy.

 

Fire DancerOil on canvas SOLD

Fire Dancer Oil on canvas SOLD

 

"Indomitable" 36 by 48 Oil on gallery canvas

“Indomitable”
36 by 48
Oil on gallery canvas

 

Torn-SOLD Chicago

Torn-SOLD Chicago

 

 

 

 

Live Your Life in Colour 2014 Sale

New ideas, new colours, new works and it’s time to refresh. For a limited time, selected works will be offered at a reduced price. Gallery credited works are not included in the promotion. Please send a message to inquire about your favourite work and starting living your life in colour this year. Regards and best wishes in the new year! Annie

Happy New Year SALE

Elora “Art in the Yard” 2013

Art In the Yard 2013

The date is fast approaching, so make sure that you book the time to visit the lovely town of Elora and take in the fabulous Art In the Yard, put on by Elora’s Centre for the Arts!. There promises to be amazing artists, incredible edibles, music, an art zone for the kiddies, and when you are done there, take some time to go exploring through Elora itself. I will have many of my new series with me this year, including my “endangered species” series, forest series and many more. If there is something that you would like to see up close and in person, do not hesitate to send me an email and I will make sure to bring it along as well. See you July 6-7, and don’t forget to enter the draw!

Upcoming events…feel free to cross post and get the word out

There are two amazing events coming up and deadlines for artists are fast approaching.

The MUSEUM in KW is holding a Jr Brush Off. This is a fabulous opportunity for young artists aged 14-18 to challenge themselves, add to their CV and portfolios, and benefit the local museum. It’s the same competition that I was in this year, only for younger competitors. The deadline to enter is next week, so artists need to get their applications in fast! It really is a blast and both artists and guests had a lot of fun. Go to THEMUSEUM.ca for details.

The other deadline that is coming up is for Elora’s Artcetera 2013. This fundraiser showcases high calibre artists as well as intriguing items donated from patrons. Elora supports a dynamic and thriving artist community with events, workshops, festivals and art shows going on year round. Artists do receive a percentage of the auction end total, so everyone benefits!!

Have fun and explore!

Something borrowed…something blue

Let me tell you a story shall I? Admittedly, I’m going to “age” myself right off the bat, but, oh well.

Once upon a time…way back in the day when there were “junior high schools” and classes were called “Home Ec” and “Shop”. This was when the “Shop” teacher was horrified by the mere thought of girls invading his sacred male domain. Mind you, I suppose that when I managed to somehow forget to tighten the little dowhatsit (you know, the thing that looks like a sewing machine foot” on the bottom of the jigsaw), turned the machine on and proceeded to watch in fascination the lumber go flying up and down thereby twisting the blade thingy into a pretzel-like formation, well it didn’t help his impression much.

Anyhow, back to the story. While faced with yet another troublesome piece of machinery-no not the table saw or welding torches, this would be about my nemesis, the sewing machine. After “stitching” wobbly lines, chewing up fabric, breaking needles, jamming bobbins and muttering more than a few choice words…I mean, after “learning how to sew basic stitches”, we were expected to complete a “project”. I would like to say that I almost looked forward to making my wood bread cutting board more, but I digress. I chose to do an apron. Ok, not a “girly” apron. I wanted to make a denim workshop apron to hold tools and such for my dad. I am sure I swore up and down, couldn’t get the stitches right, and probably stabbed my hand seven kabillion times, but I finished it. And drunken seams dancing on those front pockets, I gave it to him anyhow. Now, I can’t say I remember his reaction, nor do I have any distinct memory of him wearing it.

Here is the “funny” thing. Years and years later, not too long after he passed away, my sister and I were cleaning out his little workshop shed, where he puttered around on his wood projects, creating things with love for people he knew. There, covered in little bits of sawdust, hung in place with all his other well used tools…there was that denim apron. The strap that went around the neck was held together with a safety-pin, and dad must have kept on wearing it safety-pin and all.

I’ve been mulling over what to wear this weekend to paint at The Brush Off. When I paint at home, it’s a pair of pink track pants from yesteryear, and an old t-shirt, both with more holes than public decency allows. I’ll most likely have to “upgrade” to something at least in one piece. There is one thing that I am sure of, it doesn’t matter.  You see, the first time I painted my first painting, I set up my palette and brushes and knives. I took a deep breath. Then, I pulled the denim strap over my head, making sure the safety-pin still held, and have never looked back. My dad never saw me paint; I hadn’t started before he died. But I am bringing him along for the ride this weekend with something borrowed, something blue.