Sunday, July 28, 2013

Back on Track

The "Streetfest"... at 7pm Queen Street closed to traffic and bands lined the streets. It was pretty busy, even given the less than perfect weather.
This week was interesting. With no goal in mind but getting myself back into the right head-space, I took on a couple projects a little different for me. Right now I'm elbow deep in an illustration project for an album cover, and I've got little drawings for stencils taped up all over my studio walls, which will eventually end up etched on wine glasses and decanters. It's been fun, and got me in the right frame of mind for an outing. Lucky for me, the Beaches Jazz Festival was on this weekend... so with extra batteries and an empty SD card for my camera, I headed on down to the east end of the city.

Swing dancers having a blast.
I got there early... before the main stage acts started. I knew there was other stuff going on, so I wandered down to the park by the water, where there were two other stages set up. One was dedicated to Latin Jazz, the other to Swing. One guess as to where my butt was parked for the next two hours...

One thing that sometimes comes along with a swing band... the dancers! This couple was fantastic... no serious acrobatics but obviously very comfortable dancing together in front of an audience. I took a load of photos of them, at least 2 or 3 I'm sure will become larger scale paintings. I thought about going up to them and getting their contact info... they were so good... but I didn't do it. I kinda regret it now. Who know if or when I might bump into them again.

Weather is one variable that can totally screw up an outdoor festival. Of course the only day I was free to go was the day it poured buckets. Intense, but over quickly, the rain delayed things a bit, but didn't put an end to it.  :)

Yiannis Kapoulas on the ...uh... guitar?
ok, what the heck is that?
After a wonderful Thai dinner with old friends, we wondered down Queen Street and took in the "Street-fest". I was totally captivated, but I was assured by my friend who lives there that the residents of the area are not quite as enthusiastic. Noise, traffic problems and drunken, rowdy behaviour were the norm for the week. But still..  all that music...

I now have well over 100 photos to sift through for inspiration. I'm sure a few will make it onto canvas, painted while listening to one of the CDs I purchased from the vendors at the festival.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Aftermath

I had a definite "what's the point" moment this week. I have these fairly regularly... a couple times a year at least. I get that overwhelming desire to just give up. Give away all my art supplies, convert my studio to a guest room and be done with it. Don't know if I'm alone in this, but I suspect not... working at a creative endeavor, trying to keep going and growing when sales are few and far between, and there is so much other stuff that needs to be done... well, it's not easy to stay motivated. It hit me this week as I was sorting through a portfolio full of sodden, ruined artwork, trying to see what, if anything, could be salvaged. The answer? Not much. I manage to save a couple oil pastel pieces, and about 15 watercolours from a summer spent in Europe some 25 years ago (tossing the rest of those out hurt... they may not have been particularly good, but they held sentimental value for me. But the thing about watercolour... well, it isn't waterproof). The rest of it filled up a couple garbage bags (and recycle bags, depending on what it was), and headed for the landfill.

I know that if I take a break now I will get stuck. Been there, done that. And then I will wallow in my stuck-ness. Obviously, not a very good option. But I'm so tired... the last 6 months have been incredibly stressful for me. Recap: a solo show with only 2 months advance warning, a move from the house I've lived in for 17 years, and then the flash flood and sewer backup into my basement while my husband and son were away on vacation. And all this time working a 40+ hour/week job with increasing pressure to do more/ be better/ work faster. Not even mentioning the daily cooking/ cleaning/ never ending mountain of laundry. It's exhausting. And depressing.

So, what's my plan? Well, I'm open to suggestions. This week I didn't do much, creatively speaking. I think I have to take some of the pressure off myself to produce. Maybe take a couple weeks and just play. Get back to the joyful part of creating. Try something new... maybe pick up a new medium or do a bunch of small pieces in experimental mode, or maybe try a completely new art form, like writing. Might not accomplish anything worth sharing, but if I can get myself to a place where I can't wait to get back into my studio, it will have served it's purpose, right?

Seriously... I'm open to suggestions. Any comments are appreciated.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stormy Weather...

Photo from
Last weeks post never got written... this past week my life has been in chaos. Last Sunday I had planned to go downtown to see the Toronto Outdoor Art Show, like I do every year. Only I woke up with the migraine from hell... I'm prone to get headaches from air pressure changes, so even though things looked fine outside my window, I figured we were in for a bit of rain at some point. No big deal.

Holy understatement. The rain Sunday was intense but quickly over. Monday, however, was a different story. Did we ever get rain... an entire month's worth in the span of about 3 hours. The streets of my neighbourhood resembled Venice. The water had nowhere to go.... storm drains were like little fountains in the streets. I made it home, with a few detours to avoid driving through what looked like lakes, calmed down my dogs (who are terrified by thunder), found my candles (since we had no power), and settled in to wait it out.

My husband and son had gone out to Newfoundland last week to visit with family. My dogs are old... they are pushing 12, so leaving them in a kennel so I could join the boys wasn't really an option. I don't mind... usually the week they are gone is incredibly productive. Without having to cook or run the usual errands I can spend my time painting. Didn't quite work out that way this year. When I ventured down to my basement late Monday night (after the rain stopped) I saw exactly how I was going to be spending my week... cleaning up a big, soggy mess. The water level went down fairly quickly, and the actual damage was minimal, but there was mud (or... whatever...) everywhere. As we have only lived here about a month some of our stuff was still in boxes down there, but nothing really that could be damaged by water. Most of what could be damaged was either on another floor or on top of something else. So I was lucky. To say the least.

The cleanup is done now, and when I talk to my neighbors I realize exactly how lucky we were. Garbage day produced a street lined with soggy carpet and ruined furniture, and contractor trucks seem to be parked outside houses next to the dumpsters. I think maybe I should go buy myself a couple lottery tickets...