34×43 oil and mixed media on canvas
34×43 oil and mixed media on canvas
30×40 oil on exhibition canvas
So a week ago my husband and I were in Cabo. Dale works for CN Rail as an engineer and he occasionally gets “off for miles” now that CN has moved our home terminal from Biggar to Saskatoon. “Off for miles” happens when he works the maximum amount of miles a body can work a month. If he makes these miles early, he gets days off until his next month starts up. Last month he got 9 days off. He came home from work and said “book us a trip somewhere cheap”. I arranged to have my parents watch the kids and we where off to Cabo the very next morning, 8am.
When I travel anywhere I usually take around 1000 pictures. These pictures can be potential paintings for me for years! I have a Renaissance tour to Italy coming up in May and I wanted to practice my skills asking random people if I could take their picture. Terrifying. I can’t keep painting myself and I don’t want to bother my friends all the time. Plus, I want figures in my paintings and I can’t take my peeps with me to Cabo and Italy.
So there I was, in a little restaurant in st. Lucas called Mi Casa (http://www.micasarestaurant.com.mx/) and I look over and there is a woman about my age with the most amazingly interesting eyes! She was lovely in an elegant, Audrey Hepburn sort of way and I really wanted to paint her. I was about 1 strawberry margarita in already and still terrified but I decided to be brave. I walked up to the table and explained myself, apologizing all the while for being a weirdo but also explaining I wasn’t a weirdo….it was messy. Her German husband looked a me with a look that sent fear straight to my spine. He told me later he thought I was hitting on his wife (lol). They turned out to be the sweetest and most understanding couple. She let me take a couple pictures on my phone and I’m hoping one of them turns out.
I suppose I am grateful that I had the guts to talk to them. It’s an area of being a portrait artist that I have never dealt with before. Hopefully I will be able to approach people in Italy as well…perhaps wine shall be my aid. I did get some beautiful pictures in Cabo that will be painted this year. I ordered custom canvases just the other day. My home studio is just about completed and I am getting antsy to paint!
So, this December I was approached to be Artist of the Month on the Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting website for January 2014. I left 5 pieces with Robin in Regina, Saskatchewan so he could promote them throughout the year. Robin sent me an e-mail the other day:
“you might want to pick up the current issue of Prairies North Magazine (Spring 2014), as it has an article about me and NAC, and on the index page they used “A Storm is Coming” and in the article they used a screen grab of NAC prominently featuring your Artist of the Month banner. I mention you in the article.”
How cool is that! I now have a copy of said article being mailed to me right now and I can’t wait to read it. SKNAC has been amazing to work with and I highly recommend any Saskatchewan Artist who has not signed up with them to do so now. Its totally free publicity.
I feel like right at the beginning of this page I should mention I am neither a writer, nor am I a blogger. I am a painter. I paint. I sometimes take pictures and recently I started volunteering my time at the local high school teaching the “artists of tomorrow” portrait painting. I’m actually very grateful for the opportunity to do this. All you need is one kid to catch on. You see that spark or passion for paint in their eyes and you know, you just know, that you have made a difference. I will never forget the moment when my art teacher opened my eyes to paint.
It was grade 10 art class at BCS 2000. I was a little overwhelmed. I had come over from the Catholic separate school and their art program had not really challenged me. We would craft, put shiny paper on a cut out dragon, and for the majority of the kids in my class that was challenge enough. I was worried that this new HIGH SCHOOL art was going to be as scary and intimidating as the new school, new kids, and new locker combos. My teacher, Mr. Meszaros, set me to work drawing a few things to start. This was ok, drawing I could do. After looking through my sketch book, Mr.M asked if I had ever painted before. I recalled vaguely splotching paint around once and I promptly told him “I sucked at it”. He took immediate control of the situation. I was given a canvas, a pallet of various water-soluble oil paints, and a couple brushes. We worked off of a picture from a magazine, some cows in a field.
Painting for the first time was like actively participating in an act of magic. I would put a sap green next to a burnt umber and just run my finger down the space between them. The colors would mix and blend so perfectly I honestly thought it was cheating. This was too easy. Mr. M showed me basic brush techniques, color blending, and contrast. We problem solved projects together as my skills progressed and I worked on more difficult subject matter. Painting came to me as easily as speech. By the time I graduated I was reproducing Bateman paintings and itching to learn portrait work. I had found that “thing” I was good at.
I know it is asking a lot to think that I could effect that sort of a life experience with these kids. I certainly don’t think I will get through to the vast majority of them. However, If I could reach one kid, give one kid that feeling of belonging and accomplishment. That feeling of wonder and joy that comes from producing something completely your own and seeing that its actually really good. I feel, if I could communicate my love for art to one kid, its all worth it.