Sunday, January 30, 2011

This week's (unfinished) thing

It's been a helluva week! Oodles of writing deadlines and school work. Had to fight the urge to hibernate but, with some help from yoga and too many cups of coffee, I managed to stay on track. No loafing for moi.

That said, there wasn't tons of time for my Thing-a-Week. Since I was clearly deluded about my schedule, I started a large painting (it's about 2-ft wide and 4-ft tall), and didn't finish. I've been very conservative with my paint usage this time, in an attempt to have more wiggle room with editing it. At the moment, I'm unhappy with the expression of my figure, as well as her lower hand. It doesn't suggest a sleeping posture, as I'd intended -- nor does her facial expression. And, there's something out of proportion with the shadowed side of her face. And don't get my started about that flower. Bah!

I'll likely repost this in a few days with some design improvements and finishing embellishments. :)

Mike Kendrick had a busy week too, but his Thing-a-Week is snazzy. That Bunny Boss will haunt my dreams tonight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My art...on billboards?

Bubbles, by Caitlin Crawshaw (Acrylic on canvas)
If you're like me, you loathe redundant, obnoxious billboard ads around town. Some are tacky; others are downright unsightly.

Art Upon Request is an Alberta campaign that will place art by local artists on billboards across the province. While a drive home from work will never be like a walk through a gallery, this project will offer a brief reprieve for your eyeballs.

There's a social media element to this, too -- pieces will be selected based on how many comments their pieces receive on the website. Since there's only two artists can win, competition is stiff.

As you've probably assumed by now I've entered a piece of my own ("Bubbles") and I'm super thrilled to see today that I've got the second-highest number of comments. However, this could change very quickly, so I'm still soliciting comments until Feb.20, when the competition closes.

I'm hoping you'll help and leave a comment here.

If you like this piece, would you ask pals and family to do the same? As an emerging artist, this could mean big things for me!

Anyone can vote, so if you've got pals outside of the province, they can also make a difference.

Many thanks! :)


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thing-a-week: Lester and cousin Maggie

I decided this week to do another Photoshop painting -- this time of my cat, Lester, and my sister-in-law's dog, Maggie. I think bed-sharing qualifies them as friends, but Lester's expression suggests a darker take on the situation (like the claws will come out the moment I turn by back).

Although...that might just be his face. I worked from one of a zillion photos I have of Lester and in almost every one, he looks like he's up to something. Hmmmm.

As always, don't forget to check out Mike Kendrick's Thing-a-Week!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mid-week sunshine

In honour of Edmonton's improved weather (thank gawd), I'm posting a new painting today. Actually, it's an old painting that was sitting in the basement, annoying me. I'd painted the thing 8 months ago and hated it. So, I let it languish in a closet.

A few days ago, I dragged it into my studio and decided to revamp it. I figured I'd try to paint something sunny and vibrant after too many gray winter days. I'm nostalgic for my garden, which is snoozing beneath six feet of snow. I suppose painting some happy fleurs reminds me that the worst part of winter is over, and spring is (almost) around the corner.

Well, hopefully. It is, after all, Alberta.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New art show: Body/Image

In just two short weeks, I'll be participating in a group show entitled Body/Image, organized by Take Back The Night Calgary and hosted by the Marquee Room.

The piece I'll be contributing is a triptych titled, "Namaste: I see the light in you." It's not finished yet, but when it is, I'll offer a sneak peak before the show.

Hoping my Calgary friends can make it out to the show sometime in February. I'm crossing my fingers I can make it to the opening on Feb.3, but that may be tricky with my work and school commitments! What a crazy month.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Self-portrait in Technicolor

On Friday, the grumpies had a firm hold on me, but I was able to shake them off with some help from my Facebook pals.

These lovely souls sent me some fantastically hilarious links (including a video of everyone's favourite cat, Maru, and, which turned my frown upside down.

After a good yoga session in the early evening, I was feeling extra zippy. So, I sat down at my computer, cracked out the Wacom tablet and Photoshop book (Digital Art Revolution, by Scott Ligon) and started experimenting.

My plan was to doodle around to re-orient myself with the tools and then crack open the book and actually APPLY some of the concepts. You know, like a beginner really oughta. Start at the beginning. Very, very logical.

Three hours later, I hadn't gotten past the first chapter, but I'd created a self portrait, using a photo of myself as a guide (see above). Wasn't exactly my mission, but I'm happy with the result.

Earlier in the week I figured I'd finish off a painting and post it, but I'm still fussing with the pieces I have on the go. So, probably next week. I've promised myself to finish the partially finished works before getting started on a virgin canvas. This will be tough: I've got five, very large, brand-new gallery-wrapped canvases after hitting up a fantastic sale at de Serres today, as well as new paint and a whole lot of ambition.

My coffee table is stacked high with art books from the library for inspiration, including a book about Dale Auger, the aboriginal painter from Alberta. Unfortunately, Auger passed away prematurely in 2008, but he's left behind a fantastic artistic legacy. I'm really drawn to magical realism -- especially when it's got a spiritual edge.

This image is on the cover of the book and made me reach for it immediately:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Artsy fartsy

After a bright-and-shiny holiday, January can be...well, blah. Very, very blah. This is almost always the case for me: the days are too short and the snowbanks too tall. (As I write this, my poor van is firmly lodged in four-foot snow piles looking utterly abandoned. Let's hope the neighbours don't call city bylaw again. Yikes.)

Thank goodness that my fellow Edmontonians organize amazing winter festivals to help keep the blues at bay. This weekend, I attended Deep Freeze, a two-day winter festival in the Alberta Avenue area. In addition to outdoor sleigh rides, ice carving, hockey, maple sugar candy and live music, there was an indoor art-and-craft market and a juried art exhibition.

I had a great time meeting local artisans like Jake at Craving Color (she makes beautiful silver jewelery, among other things), and Kathleen D├ęcosse, who makes lovely stained glass night-lights and clocks. No shortage of raw talent to be sure.

In spite of being totally swamped, I did manage to create art for this week's Thing (just posted it really, really late! Oops!). Here it is (sorry for the terrible iPhone pic):

I'm not satisfied with the balance of the piece, so I may tinker some more with it...we'll see.

In addition to Deep Freeze, I did an illustration last week for an Edmonton magazine called Birth Issues. The story is on rural prenatal care, so I figured I'd so something simple and stylized. I painted directly in Photoshop, rather than scanning in a pen-and-ink drawing and digitally colouring it. A far superior method.

I'm officially in love with my teeny-tiny drawing tablet (it's an old 4 x 5 Wacom Graphire, circa 2004). I'm not sure why I resisted digital art for so long.

My next technological investment will be a medium-sized Intuos 4, methinks. It's taking a lot of resolve not to break down and buy one online right now, but it seems like a greedy thing to do right after x-mas. Maybe I'll make it my reward for surviving another harsh January in Edmonton.

I'll be starting on my next blog project later today, after missing last week's deadline (whoops!). Many thanks to my Thing-A-Week buddy (the visionary behind this project), Mike Kendrick. Nice to have a buddy to egg me on when I'm exhausted lazy. Check out his entry this's magnificent.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


When New Year's rolls around, I tend to do a little scheming.

I think, 'Maybe this is the year I'll finally lose that freshman 15/walk the dog twice a day/paint more often!' (The list is actually longer and more embarrassing, but I won't bore you).

Some people completely eschew New Year's Resolutions, but to a small extent, they work for me.
The scheming gets me in the groove and I'll take a few baby steps towards my goals. I go to yoga, throw on the woolies and take the dog for a stroll when it's -30 (ugh), avoid the frozen pizzas in the grocery store, little things like that. Progress isn't terrible, but it can be slow.

Here's the problem: keeping my plans in my brain makes it all too easy to back out when I'm tired/grumpy/hungry/stressed/sick/etc. Procrastination is a hallmark of a creative mind; artsy types like me benefit from structure and, most of all, real accountability.

That's why I'm doing a Thing-a-Week with fellow writer/artist Mike Kendrick, who shares my goal of getting artsier in 2011. Each week, we'll both be posting a project of some kind on our blogs.

It's not always possible to finish a painting in just seven days, so I'll be posting drawings, crafting projects, and other creative stuff here. With plenty of canvas and paint stocked up, a recently serviced sewing machines, tons of beads for jewelery making, and a neglected digital SLR, I've got everything I need to get artsy.

So, stay tuned for all kinds of creative projects from me in the weeks and months to come. To kick it off, I'm posting a recent painting created for Deep Freeze 2011, an Edmonton art festival running Jan 8-9, 2011 (next week!).

This piece is titled, "Whole, from the parts 1," (acrylic paint on stretched canvas).