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Everybody Needs a Bit of Success

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you will know that I’ve been working on a few things:

1. a series of nest pieces

2. developing my monochromatic portrait skills

3. little art challenges to mix things up a bit

4. plein air and studio landscapes

Because I enjoy a variety of mediums and subject matter, my art and artistic intent has seemed scattered. I am working cleaning that up with these 4 directions. I am finding that desire to jump around is satisfied and I can still feel like I am making progress. When I am feeling let down by the progress in one area, I use the art challenges to find small successes. The work may not be what I would exhibit but for some reason they are more often than not surprisingly nice. The spontaneity apparently works for me. I should figure out how to channel that into my other work.

As summer approaches we will be painting en plein air more, especially when vacation days roll around. I said in the car to Andrew this morning that I would like to develop a consistent method for painting in the field which yields more successes. I feel like every time I go out that I am starting over as a young student. While the young part is good, the student part is not. I know I still have a thousand lifetimes of skills to learn but I am now a practicing artist. And the work should reflect this.

Except the little art challenges. For them, I get to paint donkeys and puppies!!! Why not?!

I also recently added a background to my 2nd nest painting. That process was interesting because I almost had to repaint it all in order to get the background to not look stuck on. Live and learn!

3 pieces have been accepted into the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria‘s Summer Small Works show coming up in June:


And submissions are being readied for Sooke Fine Arts and Sidney Fine Arts. Andrew and I are debating whether to enter the The Salt Spring National Art Prize. We shall see…

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Intentional Art and Self-Sabotage

One of my major challenges as an artist is the ability to create intentional art. What I mean by that is for example, the monotone painting I created this past weekend (below) was the result of the desire to do something different -a challenge of sorts. I painted this one and was very happy with it so I attempted to do another without success. And then I tried another and another and… another with no success.

I Remember.
I Remember. Oil on canvas board. 12″x12″

I often find this happens; when I try something new, I am happy with the first piece and it goes downhill from there. Therefore my pieces tend to be one-offs – individual works not related to another other than being a landscape or a portrait or… etc. (There is a current exception right now with the nest series.) I would like to change this. I would like to know what I want to achieve and be able to achieve it.

Well, I say that… and yet I also love these surprise successes because they push me in new directions (the monoprint challenge is a good example). I am capable of improving, I just jump around a lot. And I feel like I have an excess of work which ends up on the trash can though Andrew tells me I’m likely not alone.

If I were capable of creating a success every time – would I get bored with making art? Or is that mindset stopping me from achieving that goal?

What I know right now is that I really, really want to make more successful monotone portraits.