Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thing a week: More bubbles

It's a gorgeous day in Edmonton, AB. We've had plenty of rain over the last couple of weeks (in fact, it's felt more like Vancouver than Edmonton), but now the sun's out in full force. On Sunday, I weeded the heck out of my flower beds (my arms are still sore), and finally planted our vegetable garden. Finally, we can sit outside on the patio and just enjoy being outside. My aunt's visiting from Victoria, BC, this week, so it's been nice eating dinner outside.

I'm actually hoping to do some plein air painting this summer - starting with the backyard. I'm thinking of painting my flower garden, just to get in the swing of it.  Until I'm more confident, it'll be nice not to expose myself to well-meaning looky-loos! Plus, there's always something in bloom.

Anyway, this week I submit for your approval, a revision of a painting I started in February. At the time, it was very unbalanced and awkward, so I didn't post it. Finally, after staring at it in my living room for months, I figured out what was bugging me and reworked it. Now, the brown is richer, the bubbles more balanced and definitely crisper, and I've added some iridescent touches.

It's a smaller piece - about 16 x 20 - and I hope to frame it before Whyte Avenue Art Walk (July 15-17) and Capital EX (July 22-31).

My blog buddy Mike Kendrick will also be at Whyte Ave Art Walk this year, with his delightful dinosaur series. Not surprisingly, he beat me to the punch this week - check out his Thing-a-Week here! I love a dinosaur in glasses.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thing-a-week: Painting up a storm

What. A. Week. Seriously. On Tuesday, I took part in the Rainbow Gallery, an evening of art and wine organized by the good folks at Edmonton's Pride Week, and on Friday, I was at the U of A Hospital for a mini art show with my Night of Artists pals. In between, I've had plenty of writing assignments to complete, errands and home repairs (like painting our basement suite). By the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I was struggling to stay vertical.

So, this weekend, I took advantage of a tiny bit of free time to sleep (ah, sleep!), spend time with my partner and pets, and paint - like, a lot.

I even did one painting ( 8 x 8" canvas) from a photo I took of a rooster on one of my travels. I changed the background slightly (he was actually an urban rooster), since a pastoral scene was nicer than the grungy looking driveway where I took my photo.

 I've also been working on my first digital commission this weekend (yay!). Stay tuned for the finished product!

And, as always, check out Mike Kendrick's piece this week. I'm crossing my fingers for another dinosaur - I just can't get enough of those guys.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thing-a-week: Productivity edition

I've been listening to more   podcasts lately, especially when I'm making art. My favourites include: Art and Story, Artists Helping Artists, and Paper Wings.

This week, time management was the theme of both Paper Wings and Artists Helping Artists. The timing couldn't have been better.

My blog posts have been late for the last few weeks as I've scrambled to finish up a whole bunch of writing and editing work. I'm realizing that as the economy improves, this is likely to continue. Also, I find that work begets work: having regular bylines means editors and clients think of me often and, consequently, I'm assigned more work.

Well, that's a theory, anyway!

But, like any creative, I've got to find time to nurture other projects. I've usually got art markets or shows on the horizon, and I'm currently developing a comic. And, of course, as an MFA student, I've got lots of creative writing to squeeze in, too.

Since I refuse to let any of my interests fall by the wayside, I need to juggle them better.

Fortunately, I have a few more tools in my arsenal after listening to the podcasts this weekend. I'm going to work harder to:

- "Eat my frogs" everyday (that is, do the most dreaded tasks first)
- Find ways to double-up (for instance, listen to podcasts while painting/dog-walking/cleaning the house)
- Spend less time on social media
- Be more conscious of my energy levels during the day, and when I'm most productive at certain tasks (I'm an evening painter, for instance)
- Re-order my tasks to be more productive (for instance, dog-walking before I create artwork or do any creative writing, since it's often a very creative time for me)

But, I think I also need to cut myself some slack. Sometimes, work and life are harder to manage, and certain tasks and responsibilities will be neglected. The house will be dirty. The dog unwalked. The painting unpainted...etc. There's no such thing as perfect.

That said, accountability is a really weird productivity booster, so thanks to my Thing-a-Week buddy Mike Kendrick for nudging me, now and then.

And check out his blog, too! He's a very creative dude.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Girl and fish

Feeling extra artsy today, so sketched this in ink and coloured it in Photoshop. (And yes, I was totally procrastinating on some other work!)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thing a week: Penance edition

It's summertime, but the living's not easy. While I'd love to be lingering in my garden, smelling the lilacs and listening to the songbirds, I'm stuck inside, working. In fact, there's been far too few yoga classes, dog walks, leisurely dinners or painting, lately. Instead, I've been peering into an electronic interface, crafting e-mails and articles for various publications and copywriting clients.

Don't get me wrong: I love writing. It's a wonderful day job. I'd love to be spending more time making art, but I'd never want to be a full-time artist, either. The two things are natural complements to each other and by doing both, I keep the creative juices flowing.

But lately, things have been a wee bit out of balance, which is why I missed last week's installment of the Thing-a-Week challenge. Between my writing workload, professional development events, art events,  and household maintenance and gardening, I've been up to my eyeballs.

Fortunately, it looks as if the madness won't prevail much longer. So, I can promise you all more regular updates from here on.

In fact, this week, I'm posting two pieces in penance for last week's flakiness. For your enjoyment, I humbly submit a sketch of Oliver Sachs (the psychologist) and another doodle of happy flowers.

Why Oliver Sachs? I came across a photo in one of my nerdy magazines and liked his expression.

Why flowers? Because I'm getting a wee bit obsessed with flora, now that my backyard is blooming. I plan to do some plein-air painting in my garden this summer, in fact!

Alright, without further adieu...

As usual, you'd be remiss to miss Mike Kendrick's blog post this week. Not only is the guy talented, but he keeps me honest. (Thanks for the nudge, Mike!)