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Wednesday
Dec072016

New Orleans with GOLDEN

Lafayette Cemetery - New Orleans

So it has been over a month since I went to New Orleans for the GOLDEN Artist Educator Program and my mind is still buzzing with information and ideas.  

People always ask me if I went to art school, and I didn't.  I actually went to film school for animation.  So most of what I know and have learned with painting has been on my own, trial and error.  There are definitely some good aspects to that, but there are also some bad ones.  From teaching myself, I definitely have the specific supplies and tools that I know work for me.  I try new things, just not nearly as often as I should.  


GOLDEN Artist Educator Program - New Orleans

This program was amazing.  I finally was able to try the huge array of acrylics, mediums, gels, pastes, watercolors, etc that I always see at the art store but have never known where to start.  I learned just the beginnings of the possibilities that each product has and I can see the potential for more.  I haven't been posting too much art since I arrived back home, one of the reasons is because I have been playing around with all these products.  I love seeing what they can do, and how I might also use some of them in my own practice.  A lot of them might not be usable in my typical work, but I love experimenting and see the potential for other projects.  I am excited to play around and do work that is completely different from what I normally do, to just muck around.  

The program has also been great and it has given me a much better understanding of all the products so that I can help other artists.  What might not work in my work, could be an excellent addition to someone else's.

With all of this new knowledge, I am excited to start really diving into a lot more teaching and demos in the upcoming year.  I can't wait to show off everything I have in store!  

For information on my upcoming classes, demos and workshops, you can see them on my website or GOLDEN's website by clicking the links below.

DEADKITTIE

GOLDEN

Thursday
Jul282016

Beautiful Monsters - Gallery Opening

I grew up in a small town in Canada, in the days of the internet just beginning to come to life as I graduated high school.  Well before things like Instagram or Facebook or other social media sharing platforms.  Being constrained to a small town with no way to see other art other than the kind of art that you usually get in a small town, it was hard to see where I could go with my work.  Luckily, I stayed true to myself and created what interested me, even though I was never exposed to the kind of work I liked.  

I think that this was one of the many reasons that for my current show, I wanted to show somewhere a little different.  Up until now, all of my shows have been in big cities like Vancouver and Los Angeles.  I know that today, people living and growing up in smaller towns do have an easy way to be exposed to art they like via the internet.  But I still wanted to bring my art directly to people that maybe wouldn't necessarily get to see it in person.  Almost a little shout out to my younger self. 

 

(Some amazing and gruesome fan art from Eva!)

A few years ago, I was lucky to work with Chris Millin with Crows Toes Quarterly. Crows Toes is children's literature paired with artwork by many talented artists from around the world.  Not too long ago, Chris moved to the Okanagan and took over St Germain Gallery.  He has been working tirelessly to bring unique art into Penticton and open the viewers eyes to a type of work that they wouldn't necessarily see there.  Chris gave me the opportunity to show my work in his gallery this summer.  I was a mix of excitement and nerves.  I love the Okanagan and definitely try to take any opportunity that I can to spend some time out there.  But I was also worried about what people there would think of my work?  I didn't want to change my work to what I didn't want it to be to cater to a different crowd, but I was also afraid of terrifying people with what I find to be beautiful.  In the end, I realized that I didn't want to be lead away from my own creative voice and I can't define my own creativity in terms of someone else's opinion.  So, I decided to take a risk, be true to what I wanted to make, and see what happened.  Everyone ended up loving the work that I created for this series.  And the more important thing, I ended up creating a body of work that I loved.

In my last post about The Artist's way, I talked about artist dates and how important that I think they are to opening up your imagination and trying new things.  A lot of times, you will try something different, but maybe you won't see the results right away, and that is okay.  Usually it is in retrospect that you can look back and see where a new idea started from.  Last year I treated myself and went to Science World for the Body Worlds Animal Inside Out Exhibit.  I went with sketchbook in hand, no plans for it to turn into anything other than to practice drawing something that interested me.  Months later, some of that I saw from that exhibit had warped itself around in my mind, and started to come out in my drawings.  I begun slicing animals in half.  Instead of bones and guts, I filled them with other animals, berries, nests and more.  I let my mind run wild and created surreal images from my imagination.  It is interesting looking back that I didn't see this connection at the time.  It wasn't until the body of work was complete that I realized what created that spark.  Not all new things you try will lead into something else.  But by NOT trying new things, you will never get the chance to find out what will.

A big thanks to everyone that made it out, Chris and all the staff at Saint Germain, and Kristian Adam for showing some pieces in my exhibit as well!  Also The Penticton Western News for the nice little write up which you can read HERE.

Friday
Jul152016

The Artist's Way - My review, views, and experience

I assume most artists are at least familiar with Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way.  I had heard about it for years but wasn't really quite sure what it was all about.  At the beginning of this year, I decided to get a few female artist friends together to tackle this book with each others support.  Here are some of my thoughts on the book and my experiences. 

 

My favourite thing about this whole process was the great group of girls that I did this alongside.  We met up once a week to share our experiences and help push each other along.  I loved seeing many tasks done so completely different as each of us saw it in a unique way.  If anyone out there is considering trying out this book, I highly recommend finding a small group of other enthusiastic artists to do it with.  Not even in the same field of art.  I did it with two mixed media abstract painters, and two writer/actresses.  We were likeminded in terms of very artistically driven and wanting to put our all into this, but creatively very different.  This way we were able to share very contrasted perspectives, opening up new creative ideas to all of us.

In the book, it is a self guided twelve week course.  There is a chapter to read and weekly tasks to complete.  She doesn't expect you to complete all the tasks, but I liked her way of picking which ones to do if you don't have time.  She says to pick those that appeal to you, and those you strongly resist.  Leave the ones you feel neutral about to last.  This way, you are doing tasks you are excited about, and also trying things that you would never try by doing the tasks that you would normally push hard against.  Through the whole book, I did almost every task.  Mostly for my own curiosity of what each task would bring.  I was surprised by some that I thought I was excited about, but didn't have as much fun on them as I thought I would.  But other tasks that I didn't have many feelings towards, brought some inspiring new things to light that I never would have experienced.  

 

My first and most apparent hurdle that I found I had with this book, was her mention of god and praying and the other cheese in the book.  Those things turned me right off.  Absolutely no offence to anyone who has those beliefs.  I think everyone should believe what you want, so long as your beliefs aren't hurting others and you aren't forcing other people to believe in your ideas.  But for me personally, when she would talk about those things it would throw me right out of it and actually irritate me a little.  She says though that she doesn't expect you to believe in the same things, and to change those words if you need.  So whenever I saw them, I changed them to what was right for me, and that helped get past it.  

 

(Getting back to nature)

There are a lot of things that I took from this book.  Before this, I struggled to put my thoughts, emotions and ideas into words.  I still struggle with that a lot.  But with help of really writing EVERYTHING down and after filling an entire book in a couple months of writing morning pages, I guess I am now less afraid to at least try writing things out.  I don't care as much anymore about perfection with writing.  That is probably why I don't write much, and most of my art is visual.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the book and don't know what morning pages are, they are basically a bit of a brain drain.  Three pages that you write first thing in the morning about anything.  It is just a way to clear your mind in the beginning of the day.  I found it as a great tool to get rid of things on my mind that were bothering me.  As a way to record it, lock it away, and get on with the rest of my day, rather than carrying it around with me.  I haven't kept up with them so much since finishing, but I bring them back into my life here and there when I feel I really need them.  

 

One of the other main core parts of the book is the Artist Date.  The Artist Date is a block of time (a couple hours if you can, once a week) to do an excursion.  The main rules, you must do it alone, and not to do what you THINK you should do.  Do what intrigues and interests you.  A sense of duty will numb you.  Follow the sense of the mysterious, not your sense of what you should know more about.  Change your usual route, try something different, let yourself play.  Artist dates fill the well, your artistic reservoir.  You have to replenish your creative resources as you draw on them, otherwise they will dry up.  Since finishing the course, I am also not as strict with these as I was.  I don't do them once a week, but I do make sure to still make time for them and continue to take time for myself whenever I can to explore or try something new.

 

(Trying new things)

I learned quite a lot about myself from this book.  She talks a lot about negativity, jealousy, grief, artist blocks, criticism and failure and how to get over those hurdles.  I learned more about my habits, where I need to be more strict with myself, where I really need to ease up on myself.  Also things that I need in my life to continue to grow as an artist.  Things that I put off and probably many other artists do.  Needing to make sure I am taking time out of my day or at least week to try new things, or do activities that keep me happy and inspired.  Drawing, painting, researching or even exploring subjects that aren't for a specific show or commission.  This can open up new ideas or artistic paths that I would have never thought to wander down. 

 

There were a lot of inspiring quotes and ideas through the whole book.  I have pages and pages written out that I have saved to go back to when I need them.  Here are a few!

 

"As artists, we cannot afford to think about who is getting ahead of us and how they don't deserve it.  The desire to be better than, can choke off the simple desire to be.  As artists, we cannot afford this thinking.  It leads us away from our own voices.  It asks us to define our own creativity in terms of someone else's."

 

"Anger is not meant to be acted out, or acted upon.  It points the direction"

 

"As a creative being, you will become more productive when coaxed than when bullied"

 

"For an artist, withdrawal is necessary.  An artist requires the healing of time alone.  Without this period of recharging, we become depleted."

 

"Creative living requires the luxury of time, which we carve out for ourselves, even if it is as small as fifteen minutes."

 

"Art isn't about thinking something up, but getting something down."

 

"Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead.  It is a closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details, and lose sight of the whole,  Instead of creating freely and allowing errors to reveal themselves later as insights, we often get stuck in getting the details right."

 

"Perfectionism is not a quest for the best,  It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough." 

"We cannot escape fear.  We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures.  Take a risk a day.  One small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it." -Susan Jeffers

 

"A risk is worth taking, simply for the sake of taking it."

 

"As working artists, we may want to explore a new artistic area, but we don't see where it will get us.  We wonder if it will be good for our career.  Fixated on the need to have something to show for our labours, we often deny our curiosities."

 

"A successful creative career is always built on successful creative failures,  The trick is to survive them."

On creative drought - "In any creative life there are dry seasons.  These droughts appear from nowhere.  Life loses its sweetness, our work feels mechanical, empty, forced.  We feel we have nothing to say, and we are tempted to say nothing."  

 

"It is the ego's demand that our work be totally original.  All work is influenced by other work, all people influenced by other people.  Originality is the process of remaining true to ourselves."

 

"Many hits are sure things in retrospect.  We call many creative swans, ugly ducklings.  We abort the lives of awkward or unseemly projects that may be our finest work."

 

"To kill your dreams because they are irresponsible, is irresponsible to yourself."

 

"Creatives should remember to commit themselves not only to projects that are a sure thing, but also to those riskier projects that call to their creative souls.  You don't need to overturn a successful career in order to find creative fulfillment.  It is necessary to overturn each day's schedule slightly to allow for those small adjustments in daily trajectory that, over the long haul, alter the course and the satisfactions of our careers."

On creative growth - Climbing up the winding path of a mountain.  As we climb it, we circle back on the same views, over and over, at slightly different altitudes.  "I've been here before" we think, hitting a spell of drought.  And in a sense, we have been.  The road is never straight, doubling back on itself.  Rough terrain or storms.  A fog may obscure the way we are going and how far we have come.  The occasional vista may dazzle us.  We must proceed one step at a time, focusing on the path beneath our feet as much as the height still before us.

 

"As grey, as controlled, as dreamless as we may strive to be, the fire of our dreams will not stay buried.  The embers are always there, stirring in our frozen souls like winter leaves."

---------------------

If you have made it this far in reading my little blog post, I would like to give you a little task.  I challenge you to take yourself on an artist date.  I would love to hear what you did and your experience with it - did you love it, did you hate it, did you become inspired?

 

One last thing, a little shout out to my fellow lovely art ladies that went through the artist way with me.

 

Julia Pileggi  http://www.juliapileggi.com/

Souzan Rezai http://www.theoddbear.com/

Lisa Wills http://www.lwills.ca/

Caitlin Fysh

Wednesday
Mar092016

The Altar

This is a much long overdue post, but I still wanted to post about it.  A couple months back I released a limited edition print of my painting "The Altar".  This print is very special to me, as I have been donating half of the proceeds to VOKRA (Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association).  They are a no-kill, non-profit dedicated to the rescue of cats in Vancouver.  They don't have a shelter, instead they work with a few hundred foster homes.  

I have been working with them as a foster parent to kitties for just over a year now, since my cat passed away.  It has been a very rewarding experience and has helped my heart heal with the loss of my cat.  The Altar is a beautiful tribute to loss and rebirth with the blooming cherry blossoms, which happen to be blooming very early in the season outside my window as I write this.  

If you want to know more about Vokra, definitely check them out!  http://www.orphankittenrescue.com/

"The Altar" is a limited edition, signed and numbered print.  It will come complete with a certificate of authenticity with a wax seal.  These are high quality giclée prints, on coldpress matte paper. 100% cotton fiber, acid free and archival.  You can get it from my etsy shop here...

Etsy - The Altar

Or if you live in Vancouver, you can get it directly from me for $40, no shipping cost if you pick it up from my studio.  Just shoot me an email.

Once these prints are sold out, they are gone for good, so make sure you get one while I still have some.

And of course I can't talk this much about cats without showing you some!  The following images are all the cats that we were lucky enough to foster last year.  Peach & Leeloo, Meep, Squee, Tig & Leo, Emoji & Hero, Fluffington & Gus.


Thursday
May212015

100 Paintings in 100 Days - FULL VIDEO

Here is the full video that was put together documenting my 100 Paintings in 100 Days show that opened March 2015.  All the way from the beginning, following me to the exhausting finish line.  And celebrating at the opening in Los Angeles at Gallery 1988.  Enjoy! 

Special thanks to HUMANS who allowed me to use their music for the video.  Check out their new album Noontide!


Tuesday
Feb242015

100 Paintings in 100 days - Teaser

Here is a short teaser for my solo show at Gallery 1988.  The show opens Friday March 6th at Gallery 1988 East in Los Angeles.  

Music for the trailer is by the band Humans, their new album "Noontide" is out now!  

For the full 100 paintings video, you will have to check back after the show.

Tuesday
Feb242015

100 Paintings in 100 Days - The aftermath

If I could have put a pause on life and painted for 100 days straight, it wouldn't have been too hard of a task. But I guess that is half of the challenge. Try to stay focused while life throws a constant stream of good and bad at you.

Just before starting my cat wasn't feeling well. eight days in to painting we found out he had cancer. It was the saddest thing I have ever had to deal with and at one of the most stressful times in my career. Every day at work trying to concentrate when all I wanted to do was be at home with him. Trying to focus on work while watching him waste away. We tried a lot of different medications to help, but in the end it was too aggressive of a cancer. Day 50 of 100, the halfway point that I thought I would be celebrating, we had to take him in to put him down. He took a fast turn and was in too much pain that he couldn't sleep or walk.  I had to take two days off of painting to recover even though I knew it would put me more behind, there is no way I could work. My first day back at work after that and my aunt passed away. By then I was emotionally empty, the worst week of my life.  I hate that I had so much work to do at this time, but looking back, maybe it was good. It kept me busy and kept me going so I didn't just fall into a big depressing rut and not leave the house. 
Luckily not all of life's curveballs were bad during these 100 days. I was selected as the winner of Nuvango's back cover of hi fructose contest (my favorite art magazine). I had an awesome time at the culture crawl, meeting up with old fans and making new ones while hanging out with my studio mates and getting a few hours break from painting. There were also birthdays, and weddings, Halloween and day of the dead, and visits from friends and family.
The first time I did 100 paintings was difficult trying to balance work and painting, this time balancing life and painting. Luckily I have an amazing support group of friends and family that kept me modivated when I was feeling empty, gave me hugs when things were falling apart, brought me food me when I was painting too many hours to take proper breaks.  This show was possibly because of all of them. 
So the next 100 paintings in 100 days??  ...maybe in another 10 years!

 

Wednesday
Oct152014

Hi-Fructose back cover for Nuvango

I am very happy to announce that I was picked for Nuvango's contest and won having my art on the back cover of Hi-Fructose!

Hi-fructose is definite my favorite art magazine, and Nuvango is an amazing Canadian Company that puts art onto fun products (phone cases, laptops, etc). Check them both out if you aren't familiar.

Pick up the latest issue (issue 33) to see my work on the back cover, and read my interview with Nuvango here.

Monday
Aug252014

100 paintings in 100 days...10 years later...

Good news, I am having my first big solo show In Los Angeles early next year at GALLERY 1988!
 
For those of you who have been fans long enough, you might remember my first art show.  Those who are newer to my work, next year it will be the 10 year anniversary from when I had my very first art show and I completed 100 paintings in 100 days. For my 10 year anniversary show, I'll be doing it again!
 
In the last 10 years I have come a long way.  My paintings from my first show almost look like they were painted by a completely different artist.  The first time I did 100 paintings in 100 days, I had the complication of also having a full time job.  Although I will be able to focus only on the painting this time, my work has also gotten a lot more detailed, precise and takes much longer.  So I suspect I will still be working my ass off to create this series.
 
I will be starting day one on September 1st. I will be posting progress, as well as some sneak peeks of pieces along the way.  I know that working 100 days straight will be hard and I will most likely be a complete mess afterwards, but sometimes art is pain!
 
Some of the things to expect to see in these 100 days: Pretty girls, circus freaks, four eyed kings, ghost forest girls, a tribute to the lovely and gory art of Anathema Photography, some pieces inspired by Alli Wynn Photography, and some of my favourite alternative models.  I'm excited, nervous and can't wait to show you what I have come up with.

 

You can see progress and sneak peeks from...

Facebook

Instagram

 

This is what 100 wood panels looks like!  I can't wait to paint on these Trekell G.H.Simkins panels.

These are images from my first art show 10 years ago.  One of the original paintings and the original art display.

Thursday
Nov282013

SpoOk

It has officially been 10 years since I made this little short film when Graduating from Vancouver Film School. Although I didn't stick with animation for too many years, it is still fun to look back on and see how far I have come.  (Sorry the video is a little dark!)