July 8, 2012

Hello July!!

It always amazes me how quickly time passes - I can't believe that it is July already!  

I have been really struggling with my art the last while, having a tough time really getting going on anything.  I think that I was just far too distracted with everything else that needed to be done around the house and in my other (non-art) life, and I just could not seem to make any headway.  However, I am feeling as though I have pushed through and made it back to a place where I can create again.  I am actually quite pleased with my newest completed work, and I have gotten some really positive feedback on it which is always nice.  

In other news, the deer and doily piece has sold, and my other ungulate and fox are hanging at Black Star Studios waiting for someone to fall madly in love and bring them home. I am also participating in a Summer Group Show and Sale at Resolution Gallery here in Calgary.  You can click here for a copy of the digital catalogue!  I have four pieces for sale and I cant wait for the opening this coming Friday!  Here is a copy of the evite!  I hope to see you there.
The works that I have submitted include my Parliament piece that I have blogged about previously, in addition to my little chipmunk and two beautiful moths in vintage frames.  



As for my new work, I completed a lovely owl hawk in no time flat while I was up at the cabin in Windermere for two days.  It is amazing what that place can do for me and my ability to relax and dig back into my artwork.  It is also nice that I don't have to watch the dogs constantly while I am up there, because they can kinda just dash around outside and have a blast without needing me to entertain them.  


A name and some better photos will hopefully be coming soon, but time will tell on that one!  I have also started on two new creatures....you may have seen them around - 

 

  More on this one as I have the time to work on it!  

Well, that is all for the moment, feedback is welcome - as always!
Much love
xo

June 14, 2012

Can it be the middle of June already??

Egads!  Does time ever fly when you are having fun (or are just insanely busy like I am right now.)  But, that is awesome and wonderful, and I am still finding lots of time to create.  I have been in a bit of a slump this past 2 weeks, trying to figure out where I am headed with my work - and I am finally starting to produce some things that I like again (hooray!!!)

One correction from last post - I have received some feedback saying that people think that I am now tracing my work.  This is not true!!  I do not ever trace, never ever ever.  I was just commenting on the level of accuracy that I always thought people had becuase I thought that they were drawing things by hand when they were actually tracing them.  So - please know....everything I draw, I draw without anything but my own two eyes, pencil and board.  I also am happy to have to make this correction because A) it means that people think that my work looks darn close to reality, which is kind of neat, and B) because people read this blog!  YAY!  Thank you!

Now for some quick images and such of what I have been up to....


I only just worked on this guy last night.  I will post pictures when the whole thing is done, but so far I am really really pleased with the results!  Soon it shall have a frame that I thrifted and look just lovely.  At least I think so.  Now for what to pair it with.....


 On top of everything going on, we are renovating!  This is a view into my bedroom where there once used to be a wall (and now there is a door.... well, a hole where a door is supposed to go.) We are going to redo our bathroom and moving the bedroom door was step one!  I will keep you posted on the progress.


These little kitty cats gave me no END of trouble.  I repainted and reworked them each like 5 times.  I think though, that I am quite happy with them.  Its something new and different - so why not!  They are created on reclaimed wood with gesso and acrylic.  What do you think???
 This little chippy is a new work that was completed when I went up to Invermere to drop off my work at the Pynelogs Gallery for the show that the pieces in my previous post were for!  I like him, he just needs to be sprayed and off he can go into the world.

 Makeup is art....right?  People keep asking me for how-to's.  Maybe I will post something on here one of these days.

 I have flowers growing at my house.  This is an impressive feat.  You should all be proud!  They are looking so pretty too!  Someone put that weird toy arm in the planter and I think its hilarious so I haven't moved it.
Finally....my sisters birthday gift was a cake.  This cake.  It took me 7 hours from start to finish, but she loved it!  It was a Mint Julep cake with Bourbon and Mint Icing.  The icing was done in something called a petal technique, super easy but hella time-consuming.  All in all, a worthwhile effort!

Thats all from me for now...more to come I am sure! 
xo
Jen 

May 22, 2012

Confessional

Hello Friends!  I had hoped to post again before now, but as tends to be the case - I spent that time making things and living life rather than updating my blog.  I need to find a balance in here somewhere.  However, I have a few exciting little tidbits (for me at least) to announce.

The first is that I have finally had a breakthrough - thanks to an incredibly patient artist friend (not mentioning any names.....Kath) who helped me get to the bottom of what was not working - in my work.  Since talking with her, I have completed two more pieces that I am really pleased with, and I think that I have finally found a confident direction to move in.  So please, bear with me while I talk to you about my revelation.  Actually, this might be pretty long (haha)

For those who don't know me well...I will start with a few beliefs that I have had regarding myself and my art when I finished art school.  While I completed my BFA and did incredibly well, I left school feeling like I could not draw.  It was the one thing that I had always wanted to do, and while I worked my ass off at it while I was in my classes, I felt like I just didn't have what it took.  I would constantly compare the work that I was doing to those around me, and to those who were attending ACAD who seemed to have a mastery that I couldn't comprehend.  This was 5 years ago.  It was not until last year that I realized what my hangup was (and its embarrassing that it took me this long, but I think its important to highlight too.)  The ease with which these students were able to beautifully render complicated forms (like an animal for instance) came from their use of a few tools that had NEVER ever occurred to me to use.  They trace.  They use projectors, and they enlarge and downsize their own images to create them on a different scale.  For me, this was a Holy Shit moment.  I do not do any of these things.  Never have.  I just expected that I should be able to draw so that things looked incredibly natural - after all, all these other artists were doing the same thing.....right?  Not. So I just want to put out there....every image of mine that you see, is created without the use of anything but a pencil, a photograph of something, and the thing that I am drawing on.  I learned to draw.  It doesn't always come easy, but it does come, and without the aid of anything akin to tracing.  So there world!  SO THERE!  (This is not to disrespect artists that do work this way, their art, their rendering has a different purpose than mine, which is to explore the actual form.  Its mostly to highlight that I had no idea that was the way that people worked and I thought that I was just a shit artist because of it.)

I also used to think that to be a "good artist" you needed to be able to use the first line that you put down on paper.  Contour was the name of the game, even though my work in school that was the strongest was tonal.... and I felt like not being able to create a perfect contour on the first try meant that I wasn't good at anything.  What a laugh.  I think about it now, and I really am shocked that I carried that idea for so long.  I start with a basic outline....but then I let the shadows and light of the creature I am drawing, tell me where I got it right and where things need to change.  I let one work with the other, and I am pleased with the way that things turn out.  This is not to say that I have nothing left to learn, and that I don't work at my drawing practically daily (I do) - but it is to say that something shifted for me.  I decided one day that I actually could draw - and the world opened up.

From here, I can tell you about my newest breakthrough, thanks to my incredibly talented (and patient, I think she talked with me about this like 10 times before I got it) friend.  So, I love pattern.  But I also am really really loving these detailed and realistic renderings of animals that I have been doing.  I felt like I had to put the two together - for a number of reasons.  Firstly, I thought people would find my drawings boring or uninspired without them.  Secondly, I felt as though drawing was not a legit media (as everyone under the sun seems to paint) and I wanted to pull that into my work.  I did not take a single painting class through my degree, and because of it, I felt like I was not a legitimate artist (jeez, what is with me and all this focus on legitimacy.) Finally, colour and I had always struggled.  I loved it, but I felt like it never enhanced my work.  So I wanted to prove to myself, my viewers, my cats (who knows who!?!) that I could successfully integrate colour into my work.  But there was this weird tension that never quite resolved itself.  By mushing my detailed drawings with these really abstract doily patterns in colour (one in the foreground and one in the background) it felt like I had two pieces on the go in the same image - and they were often very busy.  This is not to say they were bad, I liked every single one of them. But that I am learning and growing as an artist every day.  Okay so.  Here is the deal.  I decided, with Kath's gentle prodding, to not give up on the patterns, but maybe work on them in another context - and really just let my drawings stand.  Well, here is the result.  I think it is my best work yet.

Not the greatest photos, I know.  That is also on my list of things to do (learn to photograph my own art with something other then my iPhone and instagram haha.) But look.  What a difference.  I can't tell you how pleased I am with these two pieces.  I have one more to complete this week before sending them off to Invermere to the Pynelogs exhibition I am a part of.  They are titled "Swiftly" and "Ungulation" respectively.  I was also able to not abandon my idea for patterns....and I came up with this!  I think it a really interesting piece.  Took me way outside of my comfort zone, but I have to admit, I liked it!
The photo isn't true to colour, I am going to have to find a way to photograph it in proper light (darn me and all this working late stuff.  My house lights are so yellow!) I just put the first coat of lacquer on it (which really brings out the wood) so I will post pictures when it is allllll finished.  The idea of absence is really interesting to me here.  What do you think? 

A few technical notes - I am looking for a way to link my instagram account to this blog - does anyone know of a way to do that?  I am also considering popping over to wordpress, as I adore the slideshow options that they have....any thoughts my techsavvy friends?  How do you keep up with your blogs?  What do you use, why and how??  I need advice on how to really take this thing to the next level now that I have a bit of time to dedicate to it.  Just like drawing, its something that once I am in the practice of doing it - its not a big deal.  But when I am not in the habit....its like pulling teeth sometimes! 

Many loves my friends, if you would like more info on any of these pieces (they are all for sale) please let me know. Or if you will be in the Invermere area within the next month or so, I will post the info all about where and when and what!

xoxo