I recently added bookmarks to my product line at I’ve been bringing to art markets – they’ve been a huge success! I’ve already sold out of two themes: La Llorona, and The Little Rain Man – both of which were successful prints. I’ve since made packages of note cards with my best selling prints, and hopefully they’ll do well in my upcoming markets, too!
I finished “Virgo” last night (for the complete painting, please see Under the Constellations) and noticed something about my cat painting career. Every time I paint a cat, it usually looks cranky. Now, maybe you’d look cranky too if some lady had her hand around your neck.
I tried painting a group of barn cats once before in acrylic, but every one of them looked as though they ate a bad mouse and had indigestion. I covered up that old canvas with a garden scene. Much better. I painted the backside of my mother’s cat, staring up at a bird – he generally looks unimpressed, so one could say I nailed that one.
I love cats. Some would even venture to say that I’m a crazy cat lady, and I’m actually ok with that moniker. There really is only one possible solution to this problem: practice more cat painting.
I created a beautiful blend of bath salts scented to soothe coughs and colds, and it just begged to be named after the great north! So I’m calling it Corona Borealis – The Northern Crown. It seems that here, in Canada, we’re so blessed with a lengthy cold and flu season. The salts are made with Rosemary and Eucalyptus oils, well known for their uses in easing sore throats, opening stuffy noses, and helping one breathe deeper. Now that these bags are resting in the cupboard, every time I open the doors I take a deep breath and feel such delight! I’ve made a few shower melts in the same fragrance and can’t wait to share!
I spent a few hours this afternoon knife painting the sky. I had initially laid a flat colour of blue, and had a dark orange horizon line for a sunset, but today I took out the thicker acrylics and palette knives and got done to the very serious business of creating texture.
I have never painted a canvas so large. I have painted a commissioned sign that was larger, but never a painting for my own series. And to me, this is a huge canvas – 3 by 4 feet! Working the paint onto the canvas with the knife was such a physical task that every fibre of my being felt spent.
I’m still in the early stages of this piece, but I’m already so deeply attached to it, and that’s probably because it has been so laborious to create. I know I have to display it, and I know I may have to sell it. I makes me wonder how some of the great artists parts with their work. After labouring over the Mona Lisa for almost a decade, did DaVinci feel as though he was giving away one of his children?
I have a soft pastel painting in progress on my easel. It’s eventually going to become Gemini. But every time I set out to my studio, warm drink in hand, take stance before the painting to take stock of where to go… I just get a million and one creative ideas for other things that I’d like to try out and I have trouble focusing. I’ve decided to follow that strange creative intuition. It led me to create the ‘Children at Night’ set, and tonight, I made this trio.
I’ve used oil pastel before, but never with a true direction in mind. It was always simple doodling or sketching – the quick stuff. These were rather quick to make, but it was a fun experience to use oil pastel more purposefully. It won’t ever replace my love of soft pastel – that’s a love affair that’s in it for the long haul – but these simple illustrations are perfect for the media.
I call this trio The Star Flowers. Left to right, they are Cygnus, the swan, inside a sunflower, Vulpecula, the fox, with foxgloves, and Crux, the Southern Cross, with a cactus.
I started a pastel piece based on the Gemini constellation earlier this week, but then I’ve been a little under the weather and just not up to the usual focus it takes to work on pastel. In order to get back into the artistic swing, I worked on my children’s trio. This is the second piece.
These little mixed media works take no time at all – even the little embroidery stars. What seems to be the most difficult is choosing a paper and developing a matching silhouette! I’ve been pretty lucky to have found some fantastic vintage children’s books to put towards these projects.
It seems that when you work with kids – even when you don’t have your own – you’re always thinking about them. Much of my earlier work features children and lovely moments of childhood, and it’s a subject I love. Growing up on a farm, I had a pretty great childhood. And I just love to capture moments that remind me of how great it is to be young.
I love going through vintage children’s books for papers to use in print making and multimedia. I found a Golden Book Encyclopedia from the 1950s with some terrific illustrations for my constellation theme.
I started off with my silhouette painted in India ink. I was going to leave it as is but the more I watched the painting, the more it spoke to me. It wanted more.
So I took out some embroidery floss and created some French knots in the paper to act as stars. I’ve never done embroidery on paper before, but I’ve always wanted to try it. I enjoy regular embroidery on cloth so why not spread my wings a little?
Art is fluid – changing. The piece started out simple, and I may have been content to leave it so. Perhaps on another piece, I may be more minimal. One thing I’m learning as an emerging artist is that I have to listen to my intuition when it speaks. It’s usually right.