T’is the season to K.I.S.S.
So you’re planning a festive gathering.
You’ve selected nine recipes… and that’s just for the appetizers. You’ve hauled up five boxes of holiday decorations… and that’s just for the dining room. You’ve pinned three signature cocktails… and that’s just the Bailys based bevvies. You’re accommodating three guests with food sensitivities, two ‘gluten freers’, and one vegan. As they say in Newfoundland…’Yer up to yer arse in rattlesnakes!
In much of the art community, there is an expression, Keep It Simple Sweetie. When planning a painting, it starts with choosing a limited colour palette, and blocking in shapes when building the composition. Eliminating all that is unnecessary and keeping the particulars is strategic. It’s not always easy choosing what the juicy bits are, but it is what makes an artist stand out from the crowd. An artist’s decision on what to keep and what to eliminate helps develop their style and make them recognizable. Keeping the shapes simple and using colour creatively creates drama and contrast that appeals to the viewer. The viewer doesn’t have to do too much work. They may not remember all the details or ‘why it works’, but they will remember how they felt when they saw it. Just like parties, we want our guests to sit back and enjoy the experience. Whether the host of a party or the artist of a painting, you make it look effortless.
So, how do we incorporate the K.I.S.S. method into our social calendars? Invite your favourite peeps over for a pot luck. Tell them to BYOB, or crack open a bottle of wine. String some twinkly lights and hang a sprig of mistletoe to complete the festive ambiance. They may or may not remember the Crab Salad Canapés, but they will remember the experience of having a good laugh with good friends with a relaxed host.
Keeping it simple will go a long way in life and in art. Except, when you find yourself under the mistletoe, go all out. PDA’s encouraged. After all, t’is the season to KISS!
'Have you been seeing 11:11? You’re not alone.
According to Numerologist.com, "this year more than ever before, countless people all over the planet have reported seeing the 11/11 code repeatedly appear in their daily lives”.
In the numerology world, seeing 11/11 means, in a nutshell, an awakening. Among a few directives, it represents a manifestation of positive thoughts, gratefulness and heightened awareness. Additionally, it is believed to be call from the universe to acknowledge your authentic, perhaps higher, self. In my home, as the daughter of a WWII vet and a citizen of the free world, 11/11 represents the day we recognize the preservation of freedom of thought and speech. As an artist, however, it’s a reminder to hone my craft and keep pursuing my authenticity as an artist.
In a time when ‘moral integrity’ is on shaky ground, perhaps this reminder from the universe is a gentle nudge to step up, listen and take action. Our forefathers and 'foremothers' fought for our right to dream big. And, as I strive to find my true self as an artist, I’m reminded of artists before me who were steadfast in remaining true to themselves, despite the assault of backlash, rejection and even censorship.
On this Nov. 11, at 11:00 (11/11/11), I encourage you to stand tall. Whether you are attending a cenotaph ceremony remembering our brave and fallen soldiers, or on a precipice of a spiritual awaking, this is the time to stand up, loud and clear, for what you believe to be true and right. We may have become desensitized and fatigued by relentless instructions and calls to action, but the next time you see 11:11, take it as a sign to WAKE UP!
Are there times when you would like to be beamed up to a faraway galaxy? We are in the age where we are bombarded with the sensory assault of our devices, and are involuntarily connected to the turbulence of our world. Our hurried lives are filled with busyness, and every minute is accounted for. By the end of each day we are emotionally and physically exhausted. Time and space are at a premium and a rare luxury. Whether it is alone time with your thoughts or a quiet place for your senses to rest in a painting, we seek out places to breathe. We welcome these ‘spaces’, physical and emotional, and are comforted and calmed as with a good cup of tea.
It's Labour Day Weekend. Happy New Year!
Many people ring in the new year on January 1, while some people consider their birthdays as the start of a new beginning. For me, the new year arrives in September.
FULL PREVIEW HERE
The ‘Nesting Grounds’ journey:
The concept for Nesting Grounds was set. Ten birds featured with 2 dedicated paintings: One page with the bird nesting, the other page showcasing their eggs in their nest. The birds have been carefully selected with considerations including bird familiarity, nest uniqueness and clutch size. The research was tedious but enjoyable. No more procrastinations. Time to paint.
FULL PREVIEW HERE
So, I've decided I was going to do another book! It was going to be about familiar birds and their nests and their eggs. To make the book a little more engaging, the clutch in each nest was to increase incrementally from 1-10. Did birds actually lay 10 eggs? It was imperative that in allowing for artistic license, the book was based on fact, and maintained the integrity of the chosen birds and their nesting habits.
FULL PREVIEW HERE
Did you know that Robins sometimes use string to build their nests? Or that chickadees can lay up to 9 eggs?
Like most authors, I wrote about something that interests me. Nesting Grounds is about birds and bird's nests. Furthermore, it was a throw back to my childhood. I would be perched in my Dad’s crossed legs - what he affectionately referred to as ‘the Bird’s Nest’- and watch the birds in our garden.
It’s Canada Day weekend, and I suspect that most of us are at our “getaway places” taking in the comforts of familiarity. In much of Canada, it is your ‘cottage’. In New Brunswick, it is your “camp”. In Newfoundland you are going ‘uptadacabin’ (all one word as she says with a smile). Whatever you call it, it is typically your place of refuge to get away from it all, and yet, it is a haven where ‘it all’ seems to collect.
My daughter casually said to me recently, “I love our cottage, but it’s not how I would decorate it”. I took this statement under consideration before I responded. I’ve thought about it for a while, and now I’m ready to reply.
As if leading a life as an artist wasn't challenging enough, I decided to become an author and wrote Nesting Grounds. What was I thinking?
I was fortunate to be at-home while raising my children. However, when the evenings came, I was eager to get a break and wear lipstick for the first time in weeks. Signing up for a local drawing class 2 hours once a week was a start. When hubby came through the door, I was gone! Watercolour, acrylic, and oil classes were to follow. For the last 15 years, I've worked with water-miscible oils and have never looked back. I'd like to say I was born to be a painter. I was not. It's hours of dedication to the canvas. But in this self discovery, art became my sanctuary. And it was a lot more fun and cheaper than therapy! It continues to nourish and feed my soul. I love what I do. But as rewarding and fulfilling being an artist is, it often challenges the delicate ego. So why wander into the labyrinth of the book business?