Friday, December 26, 2014

Best artists of 2014?

Here I am on Christmas Day morning handing out goat treats – carrot and apple chunks before the gang went out for the day. Goats are great. J

It is newsletter day but... I took a break from the computer this week.I wanted to spend time with loved ones (including the goats above J) and I needed to be in the kitchen preparing a Christmas feast. 

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday with your family and/or friends.

While there isn’t a newsletter I have a couple of links you may like...

The Huffington Post published an article recently in which the writer revealed his list of the top ten artists of 2014, here is the link:

It is an interesting list!

I don’t understand what makes some of the selections the ‘best’.  Of course this just shows the subjective nature of art appreciation. I confess to liking detailed botanicals so Krista Schoening’s ‘Chrysanthemum’ is a favourite of mine.
David Kassan’s ‘Dorothy’ is a stunning, masterful piece.

On a light hearted note, this link will take you to some funny Christmas photos that folks submitted to Ellen Degeneres...just click through the few ads that appear amongst the photosAfter seeing these pictures, I am thinking matching holiday sweaters should be banned. LOL

My Christmas break continues on for another week. If you are a Newsletter Group Member, I shall be back in your in-box on Friday January 9th, 2015.

May You Have A Very Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

A gift for the holidays and goats!

The next time I write, December 25th will have come and gone - so this is my Christmas Newsletter issue.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays and happy Hanukkah everyone!!!!!!

Big hugs and lots of love going out to all of you.

Me, the reindeer feeding our goats some yummy treats.
I know you are busy so shall keep my note short today. I simply want to give you a gift. Now keep in mind that as a teacher and mentor, I care about the entire you, not just the parts of you that create art. J
And while the world focuses on love and peace on earth at this time of year (or at least pays lip service to it)...I would like to encourage you to give yourself the gifts of love and peace – this would be my gift for you.
This is a wonderful time of year, from the decorations to the fabulous food, to spending time with loved ones. We get that part...

But this can also be a time of year when we feel like we have fallen short of our hopes and expectations.
Perhaps you have found yourself thinking that you should have had a nicer outfit for the office holiday party, you should have lost weight this year, you should have made time to write out Christmas cards, you should have done more baking, you should have spent more money on the gifts (or you should have spent less), you should have upgraded the tired holiday decorations, you should have planned to visit Aunt Ida and Uncle Fred, you should have got things done earlier...

Does any of this negative self talk sound familiar?

I am asking you to embrace your performance this season with love. Just do the best you can and let the rest go. Pause to acknowledge that you have done your best.

Make peace with yourself. Recognize all that you are doing and accomplishing so that your loved ones will have a terrific holiday. Pat yourself on the back and then practice some loving self care – go for a walk in nature, enjoy a hot bath, tuck in early one night with some hot chocolate and a book.
And while the holidays are wonderful they can also be a difficult time for many of us. It can be painful to go through a season so filled with memories once we have lost loved ones. Perhaps you or someone you love is sick at this time of year.

Please know that my thoughts are with you. You more than anyone will need the peace and love that is so talked about. Hopefully my suggestion to make loving self care a priority will help you transition through the weeks ahead.

And remember there are many wonderful times of the year. Every time I go hiking in the woods with my dog, is a wonder filled time for me. Wonder is about your delight and how you feel inside. If this is a challenging time, focus on what would bring you delight.

Take care of yourselves okay? Choose peace and love for your fine shiny self, not just for others.

Regardless of your faith or cultural traditions at this time of year, I send you love and many best wishes for a healthy, safe, joy filled holiday.

Oh, and I can’t resist giving a final tip for soaking up a bit of art during this busy season – please get out your favourite illustrated Christmas story books. Even if your kids are grown, go find the books you used to read to them. Look for some new ones at your library. If you haven’t looked at books for kids in years, you will be very pleasantly surprised at the impressive quality of the illustrations. Many books are beautifully produced with amazing art to go with the stories. This is a great way to enjoy a quiet break in the festivities and if you have a child in your life to read to, all the better. Even big kids would love some time looking at these books with you. J  I believe we are never too old to enjoy a beautiful story book.

Ella is checking out my new antlers. :-)

Friday, December 12, 2014

the truth about being an artist

TMS Newsletter excerpt for Friday December 12, 2014

This week’s newsletter is a fun little chat about keeping it real.

Over the years, as I have talked to people visiting during studio tours, I have come to realize that many have ideas about artists that are simply false.

These myths are so strong that they can keep wanna-be artists from actually creating.

Perhaps you have ideas about being an artist that might be stopping your progress.

 If so, please let me give you the real deal on being an artist...

·        Starvation is not a requirement to being an artist. Many successful painters, potters, weavers etc. are not ‘starving artists’. So if you are rather partial to eating, be reassured. Not all artists are poor or destitute and some of us are very well fed indeed. J

·        Being creatively obsessed is not required. It is a myth that artists create every waking moment. We do take time to wash ourselves and eat! In fact, let me reassure you that you can be an artist even if, gasp – you don’t draw or paint every single day. Gaps of weeks, months or even years can occur and they do not matter. If you have held a demanding day job or raised a family or looked after elderly parents and you have not made art during this time, so be it. This does not disqualify you from being an artist.

·        You do not need to be mentally or physically ill to make art. Yes many great authors, composers and artists throughout history have struggled with mental health problems and with things like lead poisoning and venereal diseases. These people created art despite these conditions not because of them. So if you are middle class and healthy and not hearing voices in your head, you can still be an artist. And if you are rich and not healthy and you do hear voices, well you can get an ‘artist card’ in your deck too. Art is equal opportunity employer!

·        You do not need a studio garret in order to be an artist. In fact you don’t need a converted garage or garden shed or a studio addition on your house. You can be an artist in a back bedroom or in a corner of the basement or at the kitchen table.

The title of the art below describes this chap as a poor poet. I rather think this looks like a lovely place to create. Love that light coming in the window. So if you have an attic garret, go for it.

Carl Spitzweg, Der arme Poet, The Poor Poet, 1839

·        You do not have to be young nor do you have to have been talented from your youth to be a real artist. Many artists really get going with their art making following retirement. Many of us develop our talents as adults not as children. It is never too late to pick up a pencil or a paint brush. I repeat – never.

·        You do not need to have a fine art degree. There are people with fine art degrees who are lousy artists and lots of self taught artists that are brilliant. Education is fantastic but there are many ways to obtain it. Besides, keep in mind that university fine art programs don’t often recognize coloured pencil as a fine art medium worthy of deep study. And you can graduate with a fine art degree and have never mastered the fundamentals of drawing. So if you haven’t yet got your fine art degree, relax. There are many ways to learn what you need to know.

·        Here is another myth - you are a real artist once you have sold work to the public. Hogwash. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his entire life. He was very much an artist before that sale occurred. You do not need to be a professional artist, making your living off the sale of your art in order to think of yourself as an artist. And just because something was painted on a canvas and money was exchanged, well this doesn’t make it good art either. J Just saying...

So do any of these busted myths set you free? A new year is just around the corner. Now is the time to give yourself permission to let your artistic self shine. Set art goals for 2015 not resolutions! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

simple tip that ends studio distractions

Time for the December 5th, 2014, TMS Newsletter excerpt...

This week I have a great tip on how to deal with distractions while you are in your studio (or wherever you create).

I am not talking about the obvious stuff, like how you should turn off your phones or how you should not have your email open on your laptop (waiting for that lovely ding that tells you that a new email has popped in) or how you shouldn’t be checking your Facebook account.

I am talking about managing your distracting brain chatter.

This happens to all of us: You are all settled in, music is playing, you are in a zone happily painting or drawing and suddenly an idea pops into your head. You remember that you didn’t call that woman back about watching your cats while you are away or you remember the name of that plumber your friend was asking about, or you get an idea for another art project. You know the stuff I am talking about.

This happens all of the time doesn’t it? Sheesh. Maybe it is because we are relaxed and in a creative mode. An awful lot of ‘important’ stuff takes this opportunity to come bouncing through our brain. Our tendency is to drop what we are doing and we rush to make that phone call or we go to our computer to start Googling something we wanted to check on – like what was that actor’s name in that movie we were trying to remember at dinner last night? Ha. It’s a slippery slope...

Cause we all know what happens next don’t we? We lose precious art making time. AND, we return to our work only to find that we can’t get back into our groovy flow. Arrrgh!

Here is the solution...

Go buy yourself some brightly coloured index cards.

mine are 3 inches by 5 inches in size

Keep them right beside you while you work.

When that out of no-where thought pops up, to call the cat sitter or you remember the name of the plumber pause for a brief moment and write a quick note to yourself. Get it on the card. Then go back to work!

This little life management trick works like a charm. The benefit of these sturdy, brightly coloured cards is that you won’t lose track of them. I used to write myself notes on scrap pieces of paper, whatever I could grab, and then I would lose these bits of paper amidst the stuff on my work tables. Of course these silly scraps of paper didn’t stand out at all when I tried to find them.

Using my bright index card system has made a huge difference in how I work. I don’t lose my ideas, (I don’t have to try to remember them either) and they are there waiting for me to follow up on at a much more appropriate time.

I encourage you to give this a try.

I know it will work to keep you distraction free and super focused as you create your masterpieces.