Monday, December 17, 2018

Laments of the Easily Distracted

"In The Deep Mid-Winter", 18x18" mixed media on wood panel. That cool grey is actually silver... so of course, this looks better IRL. The metallic gives it a glimmer when the sun hits it. I'm counting this as one of my 100 Squares, because it's square, and I really wanted to hit the 50 mark by the end of the year. By going larger, I got distracted....

Sometimes I feel like i have the attention span of a gnat. I totally admit it... show me something shiny and I will immediately forget about what I'm doing. It's getting worse as I get older. Sometimes I will start 3 or 4 different projects over the course of a day, and not actually get anything finished. It's quite annoying.

Another problem I have is that I get bored easily. I think that's why I have embraced abstract art the way I have. My figurative work was interesting for a time, but then it became almost formulaic for me, and ceased to be a challenge. And once I'm bored of something, that's it, I can't do it anymore.

Abstract work is different. Every painting presents a new challenge. I think my process suits this aspect of my personality... I start by making random marks, and then I have to make that into something that works visually. The more I do the faster things go.... it's almost like playing chess; I'm improving, but I can't yet see a few moves ahead and figure out in advance if something is going to work or not.

Sometimes things go very slowly. I will do something I have never done before, like try a new medium (I've mixed moulding paste in with my paint on this one to hold my brush marks) or something I'm not sure will work (like this piece, where I stuck peeled off bits of dried paint onto my board before I started). Then have to figure out how to make it work. A future experiment is to give a panel and some mark making tools to my nephew's 3 year old daughter, and then work with what happens there. That should be fun.

The advantage of working small is that even though these experiments can take longer than usual, nothing really takes all that long with you're working on a 10x10" panel. 2018 has been all about the small. But I do think it's time for me to move into the world of larger pieces, so while I still have half my 100 Square Project to finish (this is #50 guys! I hit the half way point!!), I will be starting to work a bit bigger. I've got some 20x20 panels, some 24x30s, and a few 30x40". I've also been toying with the idea of doing another large diptych... even though I'm not sure where I'll put it when I'm done. There are not too many walls in my wee house that can manage a 40x60" painting.

I have some other plans for 2019. Right now I'm working on a schedule of sorts, so my followers can catch what they're interested in. In the world of magazines (where I worked at the beginning of my career) it is an "editorial calendar". I figure this will make it easier for me to create regular, predictable content instead of the haphazard way I've been doing it for the past few years. It'd be good for me not to be sitting down on a Sunday night wondering what I'm going to write about on Mondays blog post. This happens with alarming regularity.

I'll also be migrating my new art releases over to my proper website... because that's really where they should be if I'm going to be serious about selling these things. I'm trying to think like a business owner instead of a flaky creative, being distracted by every shiny new thing that comes along. I've managed to find a focus for my work, and now I need to focus everything else. I'll be adjusting as I go along and see what resonates with my followers... so please, if there is something you'd like to see, let me know and I will do my best to accommodate.

I'm taking a couple weeks off the blog to catch up on other stuff. Maybe even do some social outings and get in touch with friends I haven't seen in a while. I know I need to do some Christmas baking, since I've been asked if the usual cookies are going to make an appearance this year (I totally slacked off last year, and only made one batch of each. Not enough for sharing. My work friends were disappointed).

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, with time enough to do the things you really want to do, not just the obligatory stuff. I'll see you back here the first Monday in 2019.

Peace and Light,

Monday, December 10, 2018

New Painting: Mystic Journey

"Mystic Journey", 10x10" mixed media on wood panel. Available. 

This is me trying to do a monochromatic painting.

When I started, I was thinking light grey and white, maybe a bit of metallic (that orange is actually bronze. It doesn't photograph well). My original thought was to put some darks and colour underneath that may show through in little bits here and there, but overall it would be white. It appears I am not in a state of mind to do that right now. I put the dark parts on.... then I liked it too much to cover it all up.

It's not an unusual thing for me to end up with something totally different than I was intending. Since I work completely by gut instinct, once I'm in the zone all plans go out the window and I just follow what is happening on the piece.

I tried to explain this to someone recently and they just didn't get it. He thought I had been working from photos when I was painting my recent landscapes. Even showing my process videos didn't convince him... I'm pretty sure he still thinks I'm working from photos.

My plan for 2019 is to start doing live stream painting sessions. I imagine these will be long and boring, and I'll have no viewers after the first couple are done. Posting my time-lapse films always get a great reaction...I get the feeling people are curious how things come together. But it can really take a long time to get things just right... when it's sped up to 4x the speed it seems like it would be much easier to watch. I'll give it a go anyway, and see where it takes me. At the very least I can answer whatever questions pop up from people watching.

My open studio last weekend went really well... thanks to everyone who came out. It was great to see so many old friends, along with a smattering of new faces. Quite a few pieces went off to new homes. I realized, as I put everything away, that every year I add to my collection of original works on paper that go into storage and only get pulled out for this one event. They proved to be quite popular again this year. I think I may try having a monthly "flash sale" of paper pieces at a deep discount... that way my young collectors can snag something at a great price, and I can clear out some space. Win/win, right? 

Calendars  featuring my abstract work are still online, for anyone who may be interested in ordering one. I've got about 35 left... given that the Canada Post recent job action made sure I couldn't guarantee they would arrive in time for Christmas, I consider this a huge win! Having an e-commerce site makes life so much easier... I remember when I did this in 2015 I had a spread sheet trying to keep track of orders and which ones I had shipped... it was a bit stressful as I was sure I'd miss something. Now it's all there on the website, and I can mark them shipped as I send them out, and it keeps track of how many I have left! Oh the wonders of technology!!

I'll be here next week, but I'm going to take a couple weeks off from the blog over Christmas. I need a break... and I also need some time to figure out all the little technical details of the things I want to launch in January. I'll keep y'all posted when I figure out what my schedule will be. Any ideas of things you may want to see? Leave me a comment, and I'll see what I can do.