Friday, 21 November 2014

Time Gap Art

Hungabee Lake, acrylic, 24x30

I am posting one of the paintings I made for my Yoho show, to get reminded of busy days in the studio, and to help me get through November when other projects are keeping me away from the easel.

What to do when there just isn’t any time to make art? Some days just simply don’t have enough hours in them. On the other hand, we get stuck in situations where our time is mercilessly wasted – waiting rooms, gaps between meetings, waiting for a phone call, you get the idea.

I am not talking about luxurious half an hour or more, but about those annoying ten minutes when we can’t really start doing anything meaningful. Rather than succumb to frustration, something can be done if we are prepared. Many people reach for their smart phones, but I prefer a pen and paper.

Here’s an idea. When I am in the office at my day job, I use the smallest size yellow stickers and make tiny sketches with a felt pen and highlighter markers. Due to their small size and thickness of the markers, those things are simple and consist of just a few colored areas and few lines. But, the satisfaction I get from making them surpasses their size and significance. For a minute or two, I am making art, even in an impossible situation. Yep, I am an artist, despite gray padded walls around me.

I stick those on the edge of my computer screen, and on some slow days I have a nice art exhibition going, before it gets archived into the trash can. Nobody ever asked me about them, so I gather that people probably think I am nuts.

I hope this triggers ideas of what can be done with very little, even when we are stuck in the rut of a daily grind.



Friday, 14 November 2014


Reflections at Lake McArthur, acrylic, 24x30

Reflections are difficult to get right, so I was thinking about the artist’s dilemma – paint what you know, or paint what you see?

Some of the old masters, like Leonardo and  Thomas Eakins studied reflections  in gory technical detail, and were obsessed with understanding their nature.  

Other’s believe everything we see are splotches of value and color that just need to be placed in the right spot.

One way or the other, I wonder if realist painters can get away without a thorough understanding of optical laws of nature.  I think that even when we paint what we see, we should be able to consciously choose when to be technically precise and when to leave things ambiguous or intentionally inaccurate in favor of design or an idea. I believe that the effort of accumulating knowledge has value, even if it’s not reflected (pun intended) in every single thing we do. 

But maybe I’m just overthinking it – there will always be planners and pantsers after all, and I am guessing there’s a little bit of both in most of us.

Happy painting!


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Thread of Love

The last time I've seen my mother, she had an idea to sketch designs of flowers from my garden, and then embroider them on my clothes. I remember her amongst hydrangeas and rosebushes, engrossed with her task. She embroidered lovely wreaths around the hem of my jeans skirt and a linen blouse, and even a pocket of my husband's shirt received a tiny, silky rosebud.

My mother's embroidery

My mom wasn't very artsy, but she was very creative and she appreciated my artful efforts. Throughout her life, her true passion were needle and thread crafts. I have several large totes full of her crocheted, embroidered and knitted creations. She passed away in 2008, eight months after I've last seen her. We had talked on the phone every week, and she always asked about my paintings.

I wrote all this about my mother, because it explains why a call I got earlier this year, felt just right to me.

Kathy emailed me asking if she could use the design from one of my paintings, she'd seen on my web site, to create a quilt, which would then be auctioned off for her local fundraiser. Kathy makes the most amazing quilts based on designs from painting she likes. Here is her latest one, based on  my painting Edith Cavell Lake.

Art quilt by Kathy Bush

Kathy's auction is this Friday and I can't wait to find out where this gorgeous piece of art finds it's home.

Thank you Kathy for your beautiful work, and for helping me connect my art with my mother's passion.