I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t been painting as much as I would like to. I had studio time at the West End Community Centre’s pottery studio over the fall/winter and it took most of my spare time.
Luckily I was able to get a couple things in for some holiday gifts last minute. This beautiful golden dog was commissioned by a close friend to give his brother and brother’s wife.
When I was in university, I worked primarily (well, let’s be honest – solely) in 2D materials. I took one ceramics class as an elective to give it a shot but compared to my comfort level with painting, ceramics was a real challenge. Things didn’t go where I wanted them to, the wheel hypnotized my eyes and it just wasn’t a painting (duh, Chelsea.) Regardless, it was fun to get my hands dirty.
A year or two after university, I found myself feeling a little uninspired. I wanted a challenge. I found a pottery class at my local community centre a couple years ago and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to try it out. Learning from the ground up (turns out I forgot everything I learned in ceramics at university) was a great experience. It was really a lesson in putting yourself in situations you aren’t always comfortable in, and that something really beautiful can come from a little anxiety. There is always something more to learn.
Last year I was really excited with what I ended up with having practiced a bit more, and am really excited for what’s to come this Autumn. I’m thinking wood-wick candles, rustic cheese plates, unique mugs, and lots of little drawings on everything.
I can’t believe it’s already that time again! The Anonymous Art Show at the North Vancouver Community Arts Council’s CityScape Community Art Space is always a fun (packed!) time. It brings together established and emerging local artists in a floor to ceiling exhibition that gives people a fantastic opportunity to do some holiday shopping while supporting local artists. You can always tell when this exhibition is nearing as it seems the art supply stores stack their shelves getting ready for the influx of people purchasing the same sized canvas. Read on and this will make sense.
The AAS is a great way to get your art on a gallery wall and be a part of a great annual event. People line up outside the door long before the show opens – because once a piece is gone, it’s gone! Literally, they take it off the wall.
There is 10 days until the deadline for the exhibition. Haven’t started? Don’t worry, you still have time. You can submit between one to three 8″ x 8″ x 1.5″ 2D pieces to the show, and they need to be physically at the gallery by the 31st of October.
Check out the artist call for more information. Happy creating & see you there!
I admit it, I haven’t done the best job at keeping this blog updated. Guilty! With Autumn in full force, I have no excuse. Here come the chilly nights in – my favourite time of the year, with lots of time for creating. Speaking of which, I’ve been having a great time lately. I recently finished a new painting of an adorable dog named Philly. I love the wood in the background, and that I got to give him a little name plaque. I was told he has quite a stoic personality, so I think this suited him well. I’m looking forward to bringing more wood texture into my paintings.
When I finished university I found myself feeling a little low after going from being in the same studio every day with the same people for final year, to being out in the big world holding on to my piece of paper (where is my BFA, anyway?) that represented the past six years of my life. I think a lot of us felt this way. Several months after graduation in 2012, I met up with some old classmates and we discussed how many of us felt a bit lost immediately after school. I went from feeling so fulfilled from the amount of work I was creating to suddenly working full time and not having the same art related community around me that I was used to.
I moved into my first place of my own. It was a 2 bedroom basement suite in East Vancouver for $650, and it was all mine. I had a whole room (a small room, but still a room) to call a studio, and looking back I sure didn’t make the best use out of it I could. I did a sad thing and spent 8 months not putting much thought into art. Why, you ask? Because I had lost that drive to create that I had when I was working near other artists. I didn’t have any deadlines, I didn’t have a critique to attend the next week, I didn’t have any expectations set out for me. Now, it was up to me.
I thought about what it was that I was missing. Why did I go from being in an art show at least once a month, to having a studio that was grossly under utilized? I questioned the point of creating something that potentially gets put into the closet the day after finishing. I needed an assignment. I needed homework.
Previously, I was creating art 5 days a week. When I found art show opportunities online, I almost always had something already created that I could submit, very often pieces I completed for school. That was it! That was what I was missing. In school, you get an assignment. You get told to make a piece about something transient and ephemeral. You get told to make a piece about yourself. You get told to make a piece about the materials you choose to use. You have deadlines. You have critique. You’re engaged, committed and held accountable to your art. This was it.
Where could I find homework? Vancouver has several art galleries that post artist calls to the public with little or no cost to submit. I looked on websites of some of the galleries and organizations I knew had mandates of supporting local artists and immediately got my groove back. Just like that, you have a theme you are challenged to represent through your own work. Just like that, you have deadlines. Just like that, you have someone looking at your work.
I’ve been asked before where I find artist calls, so I want to share with you some of my faves. Comment and let me know where you find artist calls too!
Hot Art Wet City – a super chill art gallery on Main and 6th. Home to the famous Carded! and Hot One Inch Action shows, it’s always a fun time with wacky illustrations, cheap drinks and cool people. They also do comedy and life drawing events. There’s only one posting up as of today, but usually they have more.
North Vancouver Community Arts Council – Although that link has a few exhibition spaces, I really enjoy CityScape, a pretty space in North Van near the quay that is run by the NVAC. The gallery is well known for its popular annual Anonymous Art Show, an exhibition of 8″x8″ original pieces all sold for $100. Only lightly juried, this is a great opportunity to show a small piece and have it seen by more people than you can imagine being in one space in one night. They have several calls during the year for different themed shows for a low submission fee, and also have open calls for exhibition idea submissions.
Surrey Art Gallery – If you haven’t seen this gallery, please, go see it. If you’re in Vancouver, I promise it is worth the Skytrain ride. They host internationally acclaimed artists, interactive displays, fantastic artist talks and give informative and entertaining curator’s tours. The Surrey Arts Council puts on their annual ARTS show in the gallery and post their call for submissions in the link above.
Alliance for Arts and Culture – This website is an amazing resource for anyone in the arts. In addition to a classifieds section where galleries, theatres and other venues post calls for artists, there are also volunteer and paid work opportunities listed as well.
Those are just a few of the many galleries in the Lower Mainland that you can look to for inspiration. I particularly enjoy going to Hot Art Wet City’s page when I am feeling like I haven’t been the most productive, and choosing from their usually large selection of themes and just going with it. From David Suzuki to “Year of the Sheep” to a celebration of the F-word, there’s always something quirky going on, and hey – they all have deadlines!
Another idea is to try Googling local sketchbook challenges and projects. Often times there is something going on in real time that you can participate in with other artists from afar. Social media can play a big role in keeping you motivated through this. I’m feeling motivated just writing about this, and I think come May I am going to look for a 30 day challenge for myself. I’ll share it, of course, and maybe if I’m lucky one of you will join me in it.
Have fun, and let me know if you have any galleries or resources I could add to the list that will never end!
Love it or hate it, people treat their animals as their children (I’m no exception, I want to squeeze my dogs every time I see them). What better gift for a “pet parent” than a portrait of their little gal/guy? Separate from my regular body of work, I’ve been doing these portraits for a couple years now and each one is as fun as the next. Here is one I finished this morning of two sickeningly cute pomeranians for a friend who is giving the painting to his girlfriend.