- The opening instruction class and first coaching session made a great beginning for all these enthusiastic painters. Such excellent questions and care in following the instructions. They even do homework! It makes me think I should have gone into adult education much earlier.
- I have been working on the Arts Council's Public Artworks program, which buys works by local artists and displays them in various public locations. Currently, we have Cindilla Trent's "Mosaic Butterfly" in the Public Library, Bev Veale's "Hollyhocks" oil paintings at City Hall, and my "Courthouse" watercolour at the old Courthouse. The committee is now working on the details of this year's acquisition.
- My moonlight painting got a lot of snow and too much light to be from the moon last week, so I painted out a lot of that white this week. An advantage of just using black and white paint is not having to match the colours. Now it is ready to put back the pale details, like the distant shore and moonlight on the frozen lake.
- A brief self-isolation for spouse's (ordinary) flu gave me a chance to see if it could be more positively renamed "art retreat." Well, who knew there could be so many self-distractions inside one house! I never got my studio apron on once in the 48 hours. Disappointing, but note-to-self: put "painting" higher on the to-do list even when there is nothing else to do.
References for further study, if you are interested:
Some tips (sent by email to the workshop participants):
- The textbook, Watercolour in 10 Steps by Patricia Seligman, is just for learning basic painting skills, not creating beautiful little artworks, so don't try for excellence, just improvement.
- Use real fruit whenever possible, rather than painting from the book's photos and sketches - recognizing the actual shapes and colours makes for better future paintings.
- Give an exercise a try or two, and think whether you see what Patricia was trying to teach you. Then move on to the next exercise. After the third one, go back and try the earlier ones again and see if your skills are improving. Repeat :)
- There is no magic, it's just practice. No 'practice makes perfect' either - 'perfect' is not part of learning to paint.
- Relax - if the painting does not work out, it's just a piece of paper.
- A little short on actual wet paint time this week :( Next week I will schedule it in so other stuff does not take over my art life.
- I dropped in on the Library Painters on Thursday (10am-2pm) - it is an open, free drop-in for artists to just bring their gear and project and paint with other artists. So great to see how the skills improve that way. Hmmm, I should join them next Thursday...
- I visited Hambleton Gallery in Kelowna, as I do whenever I can. Seeing high quality artwork in person keeps my 'artistic eye' tuned for professional level painting quality and skills.
- updated my website's Portfolio panels with more images, now I need to annotate them with names, sizes, media and prices.
- I have been working on photobooks of my art, since most are now unavailable to me (gifted, donated, or sold.) Now there is a 30% off sale if I can get them finished by Feb 12. There's a goal - and another project that keeps my hands away from actual paint.
- 10 people registered in the class now, so it is definitely a GO :)
- I shopped at Opus Art in Kelowna to get supplies for the class - brushes, paper, etc. Opus Art Store donated 15 of their cloth bags to hold the sets!
- More texts arrived - from Britain and New Zealand! 10 on hand now, only a few more to come.
- I am getting paint kits and palettes ready. I ordered more paint colours to make sure the palettes will be useful beyond the textbook exercises.
OK, it's starting!
I have my studio back and reorganized. The frames and canvases are sorted into a better location and my paints and tools are ready to use. There were even some great hidden finds - a dozen black 8x10 frames for a long forgotten project, ready-to-use Ampersand boards for oil and even for watercolour. These will give me a head start as they need no prep days. I stocked up on full sheets of watercolour paper in case I need a little practice painting large before committing to big oil paintings.
2020 A new year, with new opportunities:
- The Nicola Valley Community Arts Council has a great new Board of Directors and I am now "Past President" with a 'consultant' role so I can use my experience to help them with the rough spots.
- I now have time for the NVCAC projects that have been on the back burner - like a revival of the Valley Visual Artists as a way to develop local art talent and support the existence of the community art gallery.
- I can use the NVCAC resources to help new artists get started with workshops, hopefully building the clientele for other instructors and future programs beyond the beginner levels in many media.
- I can get my own art going again - reclaiming the spare room for my studio and reclaiming my time for painting.
- I can connect again with the artists who got me started and those who keep me going, find some advanced workshops and other sources of inspiration.
I am soooo looking forward to jumping back in to ART!
Valley Visual Artists
Merritt once had a local art group called "Valley Visual Artists." They painted together regularly, organized annual art shows and hosted art workshops. It faded away, but never really disappeared. Maybe the VVA will rise again...