I learned something new today.
In the 1600's tulips were said to cost 10 times a working man's salary in the Netherlands, making them more costly than some houses.
I went digging a bit further to find that tulips did not originate in the Netherlands even though they are the largest producer of tulips.
The tulip originated in Persia and Turkey and were likely transported to the Netherlands during early trade relations. The tulip played an important role in the culture and art of Turkey and Persia, including being worn tucked into the turbans. And the name tulip derives from the Persia word for turban.
Once back in the Netherlands, tulip frenzy hit, crashing markets in the 17th Century.
There are over 150 species of tulips with over 3,000 different varieties. Here are a few.
I'm finishing up my current series which focuses entirely on tulips. If you would like to be notified when the collection is released, then leave me your contact details by clicking on the link below. You will be added to my V.I.P. email list and your will receive sneak peaks and early bird access to new works. Click here to join the V.I.P. List.
Here's a sneak peak and teaser.
This is my first..... ever painting course using the images that I love to paint. I was surprised to find that others want to learn to paint like this. Well, I guess, I'm not surprised about that as much as I'm surprised that I can share my process and effectively teach others to do this work.
I find it really easy, the process of it. The interpretation of the images and creating the likeness on the canvas is a little more difficult.
The interpretation really comes down to seeing accurately. Can we see the details that comprise the various shapes of the specific flower. Mother Nature is amazing because each variety of flower has a different shape and characteristic. I love that. The ruffles of the peony versus the cup shaped petals of the tulip. So different. The light falls differently on these various shapes which makes it a challenge to render.
The other part of painting this way is the mindset work that is necessary. Already my student commented that she stopped herself from putting a mark on the canvas because she didn't know what to do. She was afraid to make a mistake. Where else in our lives do we stop ourselves from making a move for fear of making a mistake?
The good news is that we really can't make a mistake, in painting, or in life. We can always repaint the section that is not working, and we can always make a new decision in life.
I'm so inspired by the work that is being accomplished in my first painting class that I'm preparing to put together my next class. It is called Sunlit Gold. This is the image that we will be painting.
If you would like more information about this upcoming class then leave me your details below and I'll be sure to message you once I have the dates ironed out.
2020 has been a year full of surprises. Many things have occurred that we never imagined. One response can be to coil up and protect ourselves. There is nothing wrong with that, and it is a reflex to circumstances. Whenever I have been in reflex mode, I am no longer in creation mode.
Creating my experience by being very intentional, is beneficial, and feels so much better.
Creating for me is about delight. When I'm in delight I am more generous, I have more compassion, I'm less reactive and more conscious in my choices.
Delight, by definition is great pleasure. What happens when we put our focus on delight? Can we allow ourselves to have great pleasure?
These are great questions and delight is often more difficult to allow than the discontent that is right at the end of our fingertips. Delight opens up the door for more possibilities simply because we are open to new ideas.
Here's one idea that I've been working on recently.
What is one idea that delights you that you tend to disregard and set aside?
Could I invite you to pull that idea out and explore allowing yourself to have it?
I have often heard things like: " that's over the top... too decadent... selfish...excessive." Really? Really? Just imagine for a minute you allowed yourself to have what you really want. No compromise. Now this could be something small or something large. It could even be a decadent day off, or a solo trip somewhere.
What would be different for you, if you allowed yourself to have what you want?
In creating this latest painting I'm inviting you into an image that feels really decadent to me, and I'm also inviting you to considering buying something that feels decadent for you. Liberating that desire, liberates your energy, opens the door to more possibilities, and meets your own personal needs. Guess what happens when you meet your own needs? You are more available to be a support to those around us.
Self care first - always.
Our communities need us at our best and being at our best is about allowing ourselves to have the things that we desire.
I'd love to hear your reflections. Leave me a comment below.
Great question. Finding beauty where we are is an important aspect, for me, to living well. Yesterday on my evening walk with my husband and our dogs I captured these images of flowers. These were all within a 15 minute walk of my home.
I think one thing becomes clear, when you look at this group, is that I have a particular way of framing what I capture and that translates directly on to the canvas. I think subconsciously I try to pick out what I think is important about each flower and highlight that. I'm not always interested in showing the whole flower or the surrounding foliage if it means I have to divert attention from the focal point. In other cases, the entire flower is necessary. Such as the white rose. Oh my! This rose is 8 inches across. Absolutely spectacular.
The other thing that may not be as clear is that I default to the sunny side of life. Seeing the brightness versus the darkness. In some cases there is a highlight of radiance, in others it is a myriad of folds that attracts me.
This is the wonderful thing about artistic expression. There is no wrong answer. Whatever we see and what we choose to capture is our prerogative.
Do you consider yourself creative? What things do you enjoy to create? Have you ever discredited your creativity for what you have captured? I'd love to hear your thoughts. The comment box is below, just drop it in there.
P.S. I let me email list recipients know about new blog posts and sneak peeks into the studio. The path to that list is through the button below. Come on in.
When we were learning to write in school, we learned vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation. These are the foundational blocks of writing. Once we mastered these, we went on to learn paragraph development, story arc and how to shape the scenes and character to capture the mood we are trying to convey.
These very same structures exist in painting. Mark making, mixing of paint, framing the image, extraneous details etc.
Both these forms, writing and art, boil down to self expression. How do we express ourselves? Which elements do we feel are important in our story/image? The artistic license gets to decide how we express ourselves.
However, the biggest challenge is allowing ourselves to express what we want. The hardest part is that we don't always get it 'right' so we can judge ourselves pre-maturely on the form of our expression. Once we learn that the early judgement is simply our monkey mind then we can decide to press on, get curious and figure out which mark or phrase does express what we are thinking.
If you speak to any writer they will tell you that the first draft will likely not be the last. It is simply the starting point. There will be refinement, editing, and paring down the subject into its essential parts in order to be concise and still get the message across. Our art is the very same. Which details are necessary and which details are extraneous? What can I cut out and not lose the focus on the art work all together?
So if you are a budding artist, who has stumbled across that monkey mind that tells you "you better stop now, because you don't know what you are doing." Then you have likely bumped into a question that you can't quite answer.... yet. That question being, what's wrong with this shape, how do I correct it, why doesn't this look the way I expect it to? This curiosity is what will lead you to investigate what needs to change. Perhaps it's the colour, or the tone, or the value that is off. If you feel it's off, then it's off. Your artistic eye is not pleased by what you have created so far. That's it. Get curious. Try something new. Pull out a new tool to evaluate your work so you can find the answer to the problem that you are trying to solve.
Much like a piece of writing, when you read it, or have someone else read your work, the error often jumps out, then you have the point of focus to resolve that error.
Our paintings are the same. You do have the awareness to know where things are not working, you simply may not have the tool to figure out the answer. It's just learning how to use a new tool. I would love to teach you the tools that I have learned to create beautiful paintings. I have a course coming up that may be of interest to you. Here is the link
If you have a desire to paint, then you can, of course, paint. It's just learning.
I hope this inspires you to keep going with your art and your mark making. Leave me a comment below if you have any questions.
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I’ve never thought of myself as a strategist. Let me tell you, up next to my brother Fred, who was a fabulous strategist, I could never measure up.
What I’m realizing is that there is a lot of strategy involved in planning paintings. So the game of “Risk” just wasn’t my thing. I don’t think I won a sing game against my brother. But I digress.
Strategy and preparation have been big on my mind this past weekend. Currently I’m in the process of my next series focused entirely on Tulips. It all begins with taking some photos, printing those photos, then selecting ones that I think would be great paintings.
From the selected image, I then make some decisions about what size canvas I want to put the image on to. In the case of the white tulip above, the bottom 1/3 of the image is not very interesting, so I will want to crop that out in the painting. And the top right hand side is not very interested either. So I will crop the image down to keep the centre of the flower as the focal point. With all that cropping a vertical rectangle feels like the correct proportions to capture this image.
Once the canvas is stretched I put several layers of medium on the raw canvas to be sure that the fibres are well sealed. Oil paint is acidic and over time it will deteriorate the canvas if the surface isn’t prepared properly.
The strategy and planning that goes into each canvas is an extension of my creative license. Yes, there are some technical skills that need to be respected, but size, dimension, surface material etc are all up for me to choose. I find this really exciting because I get to ‘feel’ my way through the decisions.
In the example that I gave about the white tulip above, I get to decide on the cropping and composition, knowing my artist eye likes to keep the focal point on the most dramatic part of the scene. I love that.
I hope you have enjoyed this little glimpse into the studio. Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below.
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While I was working on this little sketch yesterday morning I was thinking a lot about why my art, my voice, your voice, your preferences matter.
What I came to realize, and I've known for some time, is that what I have to say through my art or my words, is unique and valuable. Just as your voice is important, however you express that voice.
I think, particularly now with all that is going on in the world, we can feel a bit overwhelmed and silenced. A bit paralyzed really. I assure you this is a natural response. I've been feeling much the same way and working on other things rather than painting. Yesterday was my first foray into creating art again. This little drawing was the inspiration to pick up the pencil and begin again.
I was shocked by how this happened. I was sitting in the yard in the sunshine and this idea/internal voice said "sketch this beautiful peony leafing out." My response was to just go do it. Rather than the litany of negotiating that often happens. By negotiating I mean the internal qualifying of an impulse, the rationalizing, the deciding. I just acted versus thinking too much about it.
This is what triggered the notion of my voice. Why this peony, why now, why the motivation? Because for my well being this voice, creating a new drawing, is me resurfacing after all these sudden changes. I've also lost a childhood friend to cancer so I know that I'm grieving her as well. In a nutshell, I have not felt up to creating much.
That all changed with this drawing. My inspiration was showing me the way back to my creative process. I love that I just followed and feel much better for it.
During this time of uncertainty, what are you drawn to act on? It could be a knitting project, baking bread, going for a walk, calling a friend to chat. All of these gestures are elements of your creativity and voice. Just act. Allow yourself to show up however you feel compelled. Your voice matters, a lot. Perhaps more now than ever as we are all grappling with the changes.
Please share your voice with us (tears spring to my eyes, instantly as I write this.) What you are inspired to add to this beautiful life experience will help you and it will help all of us. Don't be shy. Express yourself.
,What I'm hearing is the most difficult part of sheltering in place is the not seeing other other people. This is such an unusual time we are living and yet there are so many blessings happening as well. The duality of it all never ceases to amaze me.
I'm also aware, with the loss of seeing others in person, we have lost some of the exchange of love that we are accustomed to. Yes, we can use social conferencing platforms, face time etc. But you know what these platforms don't do is provide that physical touch. That physical love that we exchange each time we are together.
If you are anything like me, then you likely have a box of cards that you have kept, love notes, that others have sent to you over the years. I realize the notes that my mother sent me over the years, in her own handwriting are something that I will keep for the rest of my life. Her love is steeped in the words that she wrote to me. These cards are priceless.
During this time of social isolation we have that same opportunity to send our loved ones special notes written in our own hand. They may even be treasures that they keep for a lifetime.
There's a nice opportunity that all of us have.
Do you have a box of cards that you have kept? I'd love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below.
This is such an important question. You likely already have art at home that has a place on your wall, so what do you do when a new piece arrives?
Let's begin at the beginning. You have received a new piece and you have a lovely wall space for just that piece. Easy. The ideal height for hanging art is 58" to the centre of the piece. This puts it at the average eye level. The problem with this new knowledge is that you have to calculate a few measurements to actually arrive at the centre of your piece hanging at 58". It's necessary to factor in the apex of the wire hanger on the back and how far it sits below the top of the painting. Once you know the apex, calculate how far that is below the edge of the frame. Mark that measurement down. Then measure the height of the art work and divide that in half. Then subtract the distance between the wire and the top of the frame. Put the nail at that height.
Now what if you have several images that you want to arrange on one wall. I found a wonderful article that talks about laying out your images in a Salon Style. I'll include the link here for you to visit that article.
I found the illustrations to be really useful. The article also includes some guidelines around colour choices. If you have too little colour or too much colour how do you handle that. What if you have modern pieces and traditional pieces, how do you handle that? Very interesting.
You know those times when you spontaneously react to something. Like the sigh that spontaneously escapes you, or the "oh my" reaction. I simply pay attention to those because they have touched my spirit in some way. So I know if they touched me then they are likely to touch other people to0.
The other piece beyond the subject matter, is the angle that I choose to capture the image and the framing that my artistic eye finds appealing. I like to capture the image with enough information that I can further edit the frame back in the studio, but to be honest, I like to capture the image pretty much how I see the painting coming together. I'd rather not do a ton of editing and cropping of the image. If the framing inspires me in the moment then it's likely significant framing for the final painting. I hope that makes sense.
So what has you stop and take notice? What touches your spirit? I'd love to hear about it. Leave a message below.