Wednesday, 30 November 2011


It's hard to believe it's November 30th!!!!  I have been remiss in my promise to myself to be consistent with entries to this blog; consequently I find that it's been more than a month since I have last made an entry.  I was suppose to be back on track by now!!!!  The whole purpose of this blog is to help me...and possibly help some of those who read more consistent about allotting time to creating art and improving technique, etc.  Doing is the best way to improve, build confidence and ultimately create better pieces of art.  For me writing helps build up creative's a way of opening up and letting things flow.     

I can't exactly say where the time has gone nor can I say with any honesty that I've accomplished a great deal in that amount of time.  What I will say is that the following items give a pretty good idea of what I've been up to: 

1)  It's been a great Fall here in the Peterborough area so all the days that were sunny and warm, or just warm, I played golf, walked Rachel all over the place, enjoyed our property on the river and generally spent most of the daylight hours outdoors. 

2)  David did much of the same...only he played a lot more golf than I did, but didn't walk Rachel as much as I did.  He also spent the best part of a week at our friends cottage and did a bit of kayaking...although he picked a week that turned out to be wet and on the cool side; thank goodness the sauna was up and running and available for him to use between quick plunges into the late October water of Toad Lake. 

3)  David had an operation on November 14th to remove two of the three plates that were installed in his right leg when he broke it two years ago.  The plates had been giving him a great deal of grief so his surgeon said it was time to get rid of them.  He's been able to put full weight on the leg since the surgery and tomorrow he will have the staples removed so he'll be able to start hitting the gym within the week I would think...slowly at first of course but the goal would be to get as strong as possible so he can get back to golf ASAP...maybe early Spring!!  Hallelujah to that!

3)  Our evening hours are spent reading or watching television or visiting with friends. 

But enough lolling's time to get seriously FOCUSED!  

I've never been very good at getting things done or endeavouring to start new projects without a many others I work better under the gun of a deadline and often produce my best work (and often can multi-task better, too) when the pressure is on.  So through total procrastination on my part I now find myself with a deadline that I must adhere to.  Many, many months ago I promised a friend that I would do a painting of two of her favourite horses (which, sadly, had to be put down last year) and her dear old boxer who is a constant companion when she's with her horses.  I never promised the painting ASOP; however, I did indicate that I'd get it done at some point! 

In the late Spring, using Photoshop on my computer and photographs my friend had given me of her dog and the horses I developed a pleasing composition for the painting.  I sketched the composition on a new white canvas and that's as far as I got! 

The beautiful weather of Summer came and went and the Fall has now come and gone...there's been golf, kayaking and a September Wedding in Tofino, B.C. that filled the days with planning and fun but not so much as one drop of paint was placed on the canvas!  The painting was obviously on 'the back shelf' even though it was sitting on my easel in the middle of the studio...dust was collecting on the top surface!  Not a good thing!   

My sister, Julia, and I have gotten back into the routine of painting with Fran every Tuesday afternoon at Averill's house and it's been good to get back to being together to work with our favourite mediums.  Averill does the most amazing things with watercolour, Fran works wonders with watercolour and/or ink and Julia manipulates oil paint like an Old Master.  We have fun having lunch together then we move up to the studio to create, chat and listen to the happy purring of Averill's beautiful cats!  It's a friendly time and most days we get quite a lot of work done; on other days we may spend most of the time just chatting and enjoying each others company and our different views on various subjects.  

Every artist should have a group of people to spend 'creative time' with.  I never used to think it was important but after having been involved with three other artists for the past four years I find that I really miss it on the odd occasion that we have to skip a week for one reason or another.  I also found that after taking a break during the summer months I was anxious to get back to 'the groove' and also in finding out what my artistic friends had done over the summer and to share notes and photos and ideas of what the painting days ahead of us will be full of.  

I for one have a collection of photos that I took while in Tofino that I know will become subjects of some of my paintings.  It was interesting to note that all of us were glad to be back at our 'work stations'.  We all have ideas up our sleeves for new compositions that will stretch our abilities and help us gain another bit of confidence in our chosen mediums.  It's all fun...and even on the days that one of us, or heaven for bid all of us, doesn't feel 'inspired' then we're there for each other and before you know it we're all absorbed in our work again or deftly trying to solve one creative problem or another through serious and often tough but friendly critiquing. 

Anyway it's thanks to this bit of weekly routine with these creative women that I'm back to working on the 'promised' painting again.  However, I've found just working on it once a week isn't moving it along quickly enough so this week I've brought it home and will take it back and forth to Averill's until it's finished...hopefully the week before Christmas!  Between yesterday and today I've managed to get a good number of hours into the process and so I feel I'm there's a good chance I'm going to meet my personal deadline.  The plan is to work a few hours or more a day and get back into making this sort of routine a 'natural habit'.  

No matter what your art medium is you have to treat it as though it's like keeping fit.  Your body needs exercise on a regular basis...nothing as strenuous as a marathon run or an 'extreme workout' in the gym; a good walk every day will do it.  If you're in the habit of doing something physical every day and then all of a sudden for one reason or another you have to stop for a long period of time it's often extremely hard to get back into the 'habit' of doing it again every day.  Everybody's experienced that I'm sure.  Well, taking a break from your art...whether through a holiday season or due to 'creative block' it's often very hard to get back on track.  It requires a lot of conscious effort to get the creative juices flowing again and sometimes the best way is to visit galleries, read books about the type of art you love to create and also spend time with creative friends.  It works for me!


Now that I'm back on track, creatively, I also realize that tomorrow is the First of December.  We had our first bit of snow today...I mean the kind that stays for more than a minute on the grass...and it's been bitterly cold; so I guess I can officially start thinking about the Christmas season...not about the commercial aspect of it but the message that the Season carries. 

This past week I got to thinking about Christmas cards.  I love sending Christmas cards each year and most years I try to create my own cards.  With today being an age of emails, iPhones and text messaging sending anything by mail seems dated and old fashioned, but I still think it's very special to receive a Christmas Card in the mail.  When you see a bit of familiar handwriting it's like 'being touched by someone'.  It's a small gift to hold and to treasure.   

I went through my old files and have included a few of the cards I've designed over the years in this blog...some go back as far as 1985.  I love to write Christmas Cards because it gives me a chance to reminisce about the family members and friends that I have that are not close enough to visit over the holidays and it allows me to connect with them and give them a sense of why they are so important to me.  It's also a very pleasant way to relax, enjoy a cup of tea and think about the 'non-material' things that I have that make me and my family very fortunate.  I'm blessed and I try very hard never to forget that.

The messages in my cards always include thoughts of loved ones that are lost or absent during the holidays. The wording is different depending on who the card is being sent to but the message is always the same and it's universal...because we must all care and love one another no matter who we are or where we are in our lives.

Peace, Joy, Love, Faith in One Another, Caring, Hope, Patience, Empathy, and Charity to Those Less Fortunate than Ourselves are the things that come to mind when I think of this Wonderful Season.  We must all try to keep these notions close at hand so that they are there when we have cause to use them...they are gifts that are easily given and all come with a great reward...a Peaceful Mind because we've given from The Heart.  As we move into another New Year we should all try to keep these 'seasonal' thoughts in our minds because you never know, you may have an opportunity to give freely when you least expect it.  


For those that have come this far with me today I commend you!  You will be pleased that I now realize I've come to the end of another day (it's well past 11:00 p.m.)...and finally to the end of this blog entry.  I hope that I haven't taken too much of your time nor bored you intent is never to do that.  I wish only to stay creative and in turn pass a small amount of inspiration onto you.

I hope to have one more blog entry between now and the Christmas/New Year's holiday; but in the event I do not get back to it until the New Year I will say this: