Monday, January 31, 2011

My latest lesson in life

So, by now you may have read about my amazingly bad week that just passed by.  With water soaking my kitchen and the trail of drips in my w/c, I was truly thinking that I should just bail out, no pun intended.  Let me hasten to elaborate that by "bail out" I in no way am intending to walk out, lock my door and head for dryer ground.  This is my home and hopefully by the end of February, I should have all the holes in my kitchen wall and ceiling replaced and the ceiling repainted.  The bathroom leak has not been diagnosed as yet, but by mid week when the plumber is back, he should be able to trace the offending trail of water back to its source.  Cosmetic repairs of all the affected areas will take at least four weeks in order to allow the drywall to well, dry out.  Whilst the kitchen is still smelling a tad dodgy, I think I have it under control with vast quantities of baking soda, white vinegar and various cleaning products.  My routine for the past several days has been to wash down the kitchen every day at least once and the counter tops several times.  Did I mention I have a bit of a problem with musty odours?  Life will march on and I am sincerely hoping that this week will improve in its unfolding which will in turn allow my normally sunny, but cynical nature to return.

Art has been noticeable by its absence over the past several days.  Whilst my bucket of paint tubes, jars holding brushes at the ready, are sitting near my table, I have not had the heart or the inspiration to sit down and paint my brains out.  I suspect that this is why I am in a bit of a snit and not feeling terribly chipper.  There is something about sitting down to paint that I find calming.  The steady movement of the brush over various canvases always has a way to make me feel better and draws me into the very painting itself.  I become more than just an observer or painter, I am part of the scene being painted.  It is as if I am actually running around creating what it is that is being painted on the canvas and in fact, I am in control of what develops, but more importantly, I "feel" what it is that is being painted.  I lose track of time and hours will pass by without my noticing that darkness has taken over the wintry sky and the night has overtaken the day.  Those types of days are golden and to be enjoyed.  It means that I have had a good day working on one or more canvases and that I was completely involved in what I was doing, unaware of anything else happening outside my little world. 

That may sound a little strange, but think of this as if you were writing a book.  To effectively write a good novel, I believe that the author must make themselves a part of what is happening.  They live within their plot and actually get to not only develop their characters, but also to know them.  The characters take on a life and the author genuinely cares about what happens to them and how the unfolding story line affects each.  At least this is how I picture an author in the process of writing a novel would live, but then I tend to be overly dramatic in how I imagine the process.  But, I enjoy this train of thought and it allows me to justify being overly protective of my art work just as any artist would be of theirs.  I hasten to add that I do recognize flaws in my work, the need to work on technique and to build on acquiring more proficiency.  To consider myself an accomplished artist would be foolish.  Artist in training, that is how I would define myself and I am okay with that.

Learning and trying to develop myself into the accomplished artist that I intend to become does not mean that I am not an artist.  Even though I am still in the early stages of my journey, the journey is still moving forward, just at a slower pace.  Painting, actually any type of artistic creativity, is what makes me get up each morning and hurry to finish any cleaning or tend to whatever appointments I might have.  Making the time for artistic endeavours is what I find necessary in order for me to feel that I have had a "good" day.  The absence of this vital time makes me feel sluggish, less like the self that I have come to know over the past three years.  I like the artistic side of me, it suits me at this point in my life.  It allows me to be "wonky", different, but in a fun kind of way.  Others may find the "artist" me to be a little impractical, prone to spending far too much time reading about different paints, inks, etc., but I can live with that.  I admit that I allow myself far too much time wandering through the art supply shops perusing new paints.  I see the same qualities in other artists and I suspect that we all recognize these traits in others working in the same field.  Artists are a group of inspired people finding time well spent in honing our craft.  We are always working on developing and consider ourselves to be a work in progress, not a fait accompli. 

Where does all this lead me?  It makes me realize what I need to do in order to feel that I have done something with my life or at least at this stage of my life.  I have worked in various professions over the years and now my journey in life is taking me for an artistic stroll at a slower pace.  Reality still crashes in on me regularly in different guises such as little furry beasties scampering in the walls or water cascading through my flat.  These diversions only add variety to my days and are to be expected to occur, preferably less regularly than they have recently.  My journey is not a dull one and I have to say that I really do enjoy it or I would not invest so much time into it.  My journey has allowed me to meet and "tweet" with the most interesting group of people, many that I consider to be almost family or at the very least, good friends.  After the past week, the week that will go down in my journal as being memorable for all the wrong reasons, I realize how important finding the time to paint is for me and that it is not just something with which to fill the time in my days.  Painting is a vital part of my life and I need to indulge in it every day either by actively working on canvas or by doing some artistic research.  Without devoting a significant portion of the day to playing with my paints, I rob myself of the opportunity to learn more about the medium, but more importantly, about myself. 

This week, I will paint with the same enthusiasm I would have at seeing an old friend that I have not been with for a long time.  It feels like an eternity since I last sat down and filled a canvas and yet it has only been a matter of several days.  That tells me how much impact painting has had on my life and how important this part of my life is to my overall well being.  That is a valuable lesson learned and one that I will keep going back to on days when life's little problems get a little out of hand.  When the going gets rough, get out the paints and kick my problems to the curb.  That seems terribly sensible.

Have a great week and take some time to do something you enjoy.  It really is time well spent.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A side trip down a folk art road

Happy Thursday!  We have almost made it through the week, hopefully with no major problems or issues.  The hiccup in my week was a leaking pipe in the wall behind my dishwasher making part of my kitchen into a puddle pad for toddlers.  The leak has been found a few floors up and hopefully my kitchen will be back in order later today or early Friday at the latest.  Some days I feel like I live on the Titanic!  This is the third flood in seven years, so I think that I have had my fair share and should be exempt from the next round.  At least the hole in the wall is behind the dishwasher and will not show.  Oy!  All I wanted to do this week was paint and ended up washing countless towels that smelled rather like a wet dirty dog.  I am calm, I am serene.  I am going to paint!

I rather like all things "folksy."  Folk music was my music of choice for many years and I still listen to it on occasion.  To me, "folksy cuisine" means comfort food, like a macaroni and cheese casserole with the nice crusty cheese/bread crumb topping or a crumble dessert - warm cooked fruit with a sweet crumble topping and often served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  When it comes to art, "folk art" definitely has its appeal.  It makes me smile and get the warm fuzzies inside.  Folk art is homey and fits into a lot of homes, quite often in the kitchen as it often depicts roosters, kitchen related articles, food, aprons and so on.  Whilst this art form appeals to many, I suspect that just as many are not enticed by its simple charm.  These people are more sophisticated and I am going to guess that their kitchens are rather high tech with all the latest gadgets, appliances and perhaps, extremely modular dishware.  This is not my kind of kitchen, although the thought of new appliances is very appealing and maybe one of those coffee makers that use individual pods to brew just one cup would be useful.  But, as for decorating, I like a kitchen that has a charm of its own.  A room that is bright, has colourful linens, an apron hanging on a hook and decorations on the wall that remind me of a period when time moved a little more slowly.  I have never really done any work in the folk art vein and I think it is time that I gave it a try.  However, I guess you all know by now that I have a slightly wonky sense of humour, one that finds something funny in most situations.  Maybe I will not see the humour at the time, but a little later, once things have calmed down, the smoke detector has been silenced, then I will start to chuckle over whatever chaos I created and thank my lucky stars that it all ended well.  Julie Anne, do not worry!  I automatically remembered when the oil burst into flames to calmly put the lid on the pot and remove it from the hob.  As one of my friends would phrase it "It's all good!"

So, returning to my sense of humour being somewhat wonky, you can expect that my interpretation of folk art "a la Rutheemac" will be a little different and when you look at it, you will immediately know who was responsible for painting these canvases.

My kitchen could use some new artwork to hang around and add a little colour.  I did do the small 4 inch square canvases not too long ago and they do look nice in the dining area, but I think I need some art of a more substantial size.  With that in mind, I picked out some canvas to work on and decided to throw caution to the wind.  I like colour, bright, bold colours and so these canvases reveal the "authentic" me.  I hope that you agree and will take the time to comment on them.  My shoulders are as broad as my butt, so be honest and do not hesitate to tell me what you really think.  That is the only gauge that I have as to how my art is progressing and it helps me to grow as an artist.
I am adding this news just before I put this post up.  My water woes got somewhat worse during the night and consequently, I now have two plumbers running between my flat and the one above trying to solve the problem.  Just to make it more interesting, the bathroom ceiling has also decided to spring a leak.  Seriously, it is and then it is not funny, but I am choosing to laugh.  The water is now shut off to this section of the building and hopefully will be restored later.  I suspect that there may be some overtime for the plumbers.
Meanwhile, I will have to wait until the weekend before I put up the newest paintings, my folk art ones.  I am still working on them and without water, I hesitate to get too involved with them, plus, since I paint in the kitchen and that is where all the action is taking place, it may be wise if I avoid that area for now.  As soon as the paintings are done, I will post them so you can see my version of folk art.  I think it will be worth the wait!
Sincerely,   Rutheemac

Sunday, January 23, 2011

So many ideas, not enough hours in the day!

Here we are, a little more than mid way through January 2011.  For some reason, my muse is running on way too much caffeine and providing more than its fair share of ideas.  Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining. I love to have more ideas than I need at present to capture on canvas.  I just wish I knew what spurred on this spurt of ideas and where they are coming from and maybe why.  If I had the answers to these questions, then maybe the next time I have a dry spell, I could refer back to the answers to these questions and find my inspiration all over again.

Inspiration is a funny thing.  It wakes you up in the middle of the night to whisper into your ear the start of what could turn out to be an extremely wild and colourful canvas and to do it on the 24" square one, if you please.  My muse is quite specific in many areas and demands that I up the size of the canvases that I have been working on and to take more chances.  Consequently, I have gone ahead and bought 6 of this particular size as well as two canvases that have been cut into four triangular pieces.  One of these forms a 17" square canvas and the second one, a 27" square canvas.  I have these sitting in my studio/bedroom where I see them each morning when I wake up along with the 24" square pieces.  Just running my hand over a piece of canvas sends shivers down my spine.  I want to tackle these with the perfect subject matter ready to be splashed in vivid colours forming the definitive piece of work that when looked at by others, would be immediately identified as being a "Rutheemac" creation.  Truthfully, I sign my paintings simply "Ruthee" as I feel using my first name is sufficient and will hopefully one day be recognized.

I am not sure what would be my definitive area of painting that would immediately be identified as being symbolic of me.  Maybe, I am not sure of whom I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to represent.  My muse has not informed me of any of this, leaving me grasping the air to find the answers on my own.
Who am I?  What do I represent?  Where do I want to go with this art project?  Project does not seem to be the right word, but I am not sure what word to put in its place.  It is not so much a project, but could more aptly described as my journey.  And that is it!  Right now, I am on a journey.   I work "in the moment" just as the inscription on my ring states.  In that moment, I might paint an autumnal scene on a windy day, a triptych of inspirational words to encourage others along with myself, not to give up, but rather keep moving, keep dreaming, keep believing.

Keep believing, but in what?  In my mind, "keep believing" means that I need to keep believing in myself and in what I am capable of doing.  I need to keep believing that I am meant to be painting.  And, I do believe that.  I think that is why I tackled my bedroom/studio to put it into some type of order to maximize the amount of available work space.  The room is small, there are only so many ways that I can arrange the furniture to give me the space I need to move around safely.  I use a walker to move about.  Not only does this device allow me to move about safely, but it also allows me to carry more items than I normally would when I am setting up my work station for another session.  Empty kitty litter containers become "large pails" to transport a multitude of tubes of paint, my brushes, gesso, a file folder of inspiration and so on.  I keep a modest collection of calendars as inspiration.  Some of the illustrations are amazing and I research the artist online to find out more about him or her, what inspired them or any other information that might give me a clue of what that particular artist was thinking when they painted a series of paintings.

Then, after setting up my work station, I sit back and ponder what it is that I should be painting today.  I sit quietly, music playing softly in the background, and think.  I let my mind jump here and there, flitting about much like a butterfly, collecting ideas which I jot down in a little notebook.  There might be the occasional phrase, but more than likely the page will hold a collection of single words.  I look at the page trying to find some common thread amongst all these words and try to make sense of them.  Sometimes, the message or idea appears right away, other times, I need to dig a little deeper to find the message or at least get a sense if the painting is supposed to capture a feeling, express an opinion or just provide a calm respite in a world so high tech that texting is the normal way of communicating and e-mail is preferred over regular mail sent through the post.  What a shame!  How sad that young women will not collect a box of letters sent to them by a special person.  The letters read over and over, then carefully put back into a pretty box, tied up with a blue ribbon.  Maybe I am just an old romantic soul at heart (and yes, I am), but e-mails will not have the same impact as the very old fashioned letter that had been written with a fountain pen in a special blue ink.

How strange!  I was not sure what I was going to write for this post and yet, the words just seemed to appear on the page by themselves.  My muse must now be guiding my writing too!  And by guiding my writing, I now know what I need to paint.  Please note that I said "that I need to paint" and not "what I plan to paint."  There is a huge difference in the phrasing.  Yes, I need to paint and now I know what the subject of my painting(s) will be.  I owe a big debt of gratitude to my muse.  I hope I can do justice to what it is that it wants me to communicate through my painting.  But, I do promise that I will put every ounce of energy into what is going on the canvas.  My muse and I will accept nothing less than putting every ounce of energy, every bit of care and every last morsel of myself onto this canvas.  That is just the way I work, the way every artist works.  The next time you visit an art exhibit, take the time to really look into the soul of the paintings and see if you can find a message.  There really is one there if you take the time to look for it and I hope you are lucky enough to find it.  If you do, please make a point of telling the artist if he or she is there.  Or, talk to them about what inspired them to put together that particular painting.  I am sure there is a story to be told, but it will only come to light if you are inquisitive enough to look for and/or ask about it.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac
P.S.  I am posting two paintings that I did this week.  Both are florals, two of what will be a series of three.  I have the feeling that I will likely tinker with these paintings a bit, so I do not consider them finished as yet.  While I cannot say what exactly it is that I want to work on, I just feel that both need just a little finessing to complete them. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is my mood reflected in my painting?

In my previous post, I said that I think of someone in my life when I am painting.  I countered that by wondering if I thought of someone who really was a problem in my life or who was not a positive person, if this could affect the outcome of a painting.  So, in all fairness I had to give this idea a run through to see what the end results would be.  Surprisingly, I found this difficult to put to the test!

Every time I pull out my paint supplies, I find that my mood improves.  If I have been feeling down, painting seems to give me a better focus on what has been bothering me and leads me to a way of resolving the issue at hand.  This leads me to thinking about other people in my life, the ones who are positive influences and right away I see and feel the difference this makes in my day.  In fact, regardless of what activity I am involved in, whether I am actually painting or washing up the dishes, as long as I am thinking about painting, I find myself to be positive.  This revelation was surprising.  I now know of a way to pull myself out of a dark mood regardless of where I happen to be or what I am involved with.

When I thought further about this, I realized that I have been using this tactic for quite some time.  I often find  myself sitting in the doctor's reception room waiting for my appointment which frequently means that I am waiting for a lengthy period of time.  To be fair, it is not always due to the doctor being tardy, but rather that my means of transport meant that I would arrive a fair period of time prior to the actual time of my appointment.  I prepare for this by bringing along a magazine or two, the book I am currently reading along with a notebook to make notes in about the subject matter of my reading materials.  The magazines and books that I read for the most part pertain to art in some way.  No matter how long I have to wait, as long as I have this reading material, I am quite content to sit, tucked away in a quiet corner, happily reading about artistic pursuits and making notes of ideas that come to me about techniques to try, colour combinations to use, etc.  So, even though I am having to wait, an activity that tends to make most of the others in the reception room restless, I am quite calm.

Now, I did try this week to think about problem people whilst I was actually involved in working on different canvases.  Amazingly, I could not focus on them.  As soon as I picked up my brush, I was not able to think of anyone or anything negative.  My focus was always on the happier aspects of life, people I enjoy being with, books that I want to read, plans for future paintings and so on.  I just was not able to be negative.  Even if I was having a problem working on a particular section of the canvas, I was not feeling pressured, but rather it was as if I were working on a puzzle that needed to be solved.  I was so involved in working on the canvas that I often lost track of time.  The only thing that could distract me was a certain feline trying to sit up on the table to help me with my painting.  Molly Cat can be pretty persuasive when it comes to demanding attention and truthfully, I cannot say that I was terribly upset at the thought of rubbing her furry little tummy or snuggling her in my arms and sitting down to chatter at her or put a few little treats in her dish.  Such diversions are normal and to be predicted.  Cats, just like children, want a little more attention just when you want to work on a particular task.  How you handle the diversion determines your mood.  Since I enjoy Molly's antics and encourage them, I cannot be terribly distraught over her demanding a little extra attention.

I was determined that I had to see how mood and the resulting paintings would relate.  I set up my paint supplies and purposely selected darker, more somber colours to use on two canvases.  I thought that this would help set the tone for some more intense results, ones that would surely denote a certain sadness or lack of enthusiasm for what I was doing.  I am putting the results up for you to see.  I painted two abstracts, rather like slashes of colour across the two canvases.  While I tried to think of negative people, my thoughts always turned to inquisitiveness regarding what colour to use in a particular spot on the canvas, what colour should be next to the other and so on.  My mood was definitely not "down."  I tried to think about a certain few people whom I consider to be negative and with whom I do not have a good relationship.  I just could not focus on them.  Every time I tried this, my thoughts reverted to being positive.  I am not disappointed with the resulting paintings.  While they are not the type that I normally paint, nor do they use a palette of colours that one would associate with me, the paintings themselves are interesting in their own way.  I rather like the combination of colours and truthfully, I have a feeling that I might take a walk down the dark side of the palette again.  Darkness, it seems, rather appeals to me.  I gave this further thought.

I often read before I go to bed at night.  My nightly reading differs greatly from my reading during the day while waiting for an appointment or just to while away some time enjoying a coffee when I am out shopping.  During the day, my reading is more likely to be pertaining to art, whereas at night, I like to read for pleasure, not necessarily to learn something or to collect information.  I do like fiction, it takes me away on a mental journey.  It is almost as if I am watching a movie rather than reading a book.  The fiction that I have been reading over the past year or two seems to be of a darker tone than what I had read previously.  I rather enjoy a lengthy chapter or two of vampires or other such creatures prior to settling down for the night.  This seems amusing to me as I would have thought that such subject matter would lead to sleepless nights or at the very least nightmares about fierce creatures roaming the world.  This was not so.  When I had nightmares, they were generally about situations in my life where I felt out of control of my emotions or actions.  I would wake up terrified and not be terribly keen about returning to sleep.  My way of resolving this was to make a cup of tea, pick up my vampire or other such book and continue to read for another hour or two.  It seems that real life is scarier than fiction and I suppose that is as it should be.  Real life is scary at times, but as long as my paints and canvas are nearby, I can handle whatever is tossed my way.

I suppose that I can say safely that for myself, my mood is reflected in my paintings.  But, my mood is always positive or becomes more positive as my painting progresses.  I like that thought, it makes me feel that I have a certain amount of control of my life and how it plays out.  If I can change my mood just by pulling out the paints or by doing something artistic, then I am in control of my destiny for the most part.  There are always going to be times when life's little journeys are neither pleasant nor fun, but as long as I know that I can counter these occurrences with a little or a lot of art therapy, then I feel that there has been a fair trade off.

While my experiment has given me this set of results, other artists will likely find that their results differ.  We all have seen artwork done during an artist's "blue period" and it does reflect a certain tone of sadness.  It all is dependant on the artist and how they relate what is happening in their life to what appears on the canvas whether in subject matter or use of colour.  For me, since painting is what gives purpose to my life, my resulting paintings are going to reflect positivity, a zest for learning and simply a joy in painting.  I can live with those results.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

P.S.  I have also put up a landscape that I did during the same day that I painted the two abstracts.  In fact, I painted one canvas right after the other.  The landscape reverted to my use of brighter colours and love of trees.  This has to be symbolic of something and I will have to give it some further thought.  Maybe I have an affinity for nature that subconsciously I feel compelled to paint.  If anyone has any thoughts on this, I would love to hear them!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding my own muse or how do I find inspiration?

Okay, I am now declaring war on all air borne particles that are entering my body and making me sick.  I have been sick in bed more in the first two weeks of this month and for parts of December, than I should be.  I take care of myself for the most part.  Dress warmly. Try to eat healthy meals. Get fresh air when I'm able to go out.  I will not give in to these "bugs" that are invading my body and will maintain as much a normal life as I can.  That means painting and writing must go on and so they shall.  Despite having to go back to bed a few times to rest, I managed to paint four paintings today.  Two are 16" x 20" and the other two are 4" squares.  That is a pretty fair day considering I was feeling so rough.

Anyone who really knows me knows me knows that I love the look of trees whether it is spring, summer, autumn or winter, a tree holds a special place in my heart. I focus my year on the cycle of trees.  Right now, the tree limbs are bare, bereft of leaves, and maybe have small accumulations of snow on their branches along with some icicles hanging down.  On a sunny day, this makes for a wonderful picture and I am quite sure that I will attempt to put this idea down on canvas very soon.  Little by little, the days grow longer and before you know it, you see the trees starting to come back to life.  Sprouts of a tender green are making their appearance and letting us know that spring has arrived, finally, and not a moment too soon.  The sprouts lead to blooms and or leaves bringing rebirth of nature and all its beauty back to our world.  We embrace the warmer days, we are no longer in such a hurry to run to the shops, head down against the wind, not seeing our neighbours as we pass by each other.  Summer finally arrives and all the trees are in full form, beautiful, each in their own way.  The birds are making nests in them, squirrels are running up and down the trunks playing their little games.  You see, by following the cycle of the trees, you follow the cycle of the year and what it brings to our lovely trees.  By autumn, the greens are starting to fade and are over taken by crimsons, oranges, yellows, ochres and such.  Fruit is ready to be picked and the branches are heavy with the weight of all this abundance.  The life cycle of trees could be compared to the life cycle of our lives, but I am going to leave that there and let you make your own analogies. 

Last year, I took a ten week painting course with the subject to be painted being trees.  I was overjoyed at the thought of getting out to meet other people who also saw beauty in trees.  One week, the instructor would provide us with a photo reference, the next week we would find our own.  The instructor was extremely patient, working with all of us, one on one, and in groups.  I tried so very hard to capture what I saw in the pictures, the colours, the feelings, the scene as it was shown.  But, I forgot one thing.  We all see things differently.  Whether it is the composition of the painting, the colours, the textures, whatever, duplicating brush stroke for brush stroke, the end result is our own version of how we each perceived the paintings.  I felt heart broken at first when I saw that my pictures were so much less than the other students' pieces.  But, after a while, I realized that even if I were painting en plein air, my paintings of the scenes would still never match colour for colour, leaf for leaf.  I would still be painting my version of the scene because that was how the scene looked in my mind.  The instructor told me that I needed to be patient, that the other ladies had been painting for a very long time and that I was truly developing a style - primitive.  I was not so certain that I liked that designation, but I accepted it and learned to work with it.

Monet has always been one of my favourite artists.  The colours, the scenes, the layout of the scene were all perfect on his canvases, at least in my eyes.  Then I read how he had painted with cataracts for a long time and eventually had surgery on one eye.  While it did give him more vision, you can still see the progression of his paintings going from when his vision was fine right on to the very end when scenes were still painted and painted well, but were less in focus than his previous work.  I worked on one of his pictures in class and I just could not wrap my mind around two colours on the paint brush at the same time being dabbed onto the canvas, much less the amount of texture that could be produced.  I was amazed at the instructor's demonstration and tried with all my heart to copy the sample as much as possible.  The double load of colour on the brush confused me and I felt like a fool.  I finished out the course feeling that although I had learned a lot about painting, I still could not paint the way that I had hoped to. 

So, Saturday night, famous for my courage, I thought I would try a Monet-like painting, but without the photo reference.  I looked at a clear stamp of a tree to give me the idea for the general layout of the bit and pieces that make up a tree.  I used a larger canvas than usual - 16" X 20", which is as large as I was willing to go with my test run.  I also used two 4" square canvases to do smaller paintings on, thinking that this might turn out to be a nice set.  But, I found that by not having Monet's painting beside me to look at, I was free to use the colours I had seen, but in my own way so that what was produced was not a copy of one of Monet's paintings, it was truly one of my own creations done in the style of Monet. 

The paintings I did Saturday night went together fairly quickly for some reason.  I was thinking of someone when I painted these particular scenes.  I usually mentally dedicate my pictures to someone as I am working on them.  It makes them more personal to me, it makes me strive to do a better job.  Once in a while, I will tell someone that a particular painting was done with them in mind, but usually, I keep it to myself and in a little notebook that I keep with notes, colours used, sizes of canvas and any other notes that were pertinent to me when I was involved with one particular painting or as you see now, four paintings done that are similar, but have their differences.  I will not say who was in my thoughts when I was painting the Saturday night paintings, but I will tell you this, it certainly was not Monet! 

I will hang these with great happiness today, along with the three from earlier this week.  These six seven paintings seem to be a turning point in what I am painting.  The colours go down easily, I do not agonize over what to paint, how to paint it or what will people think.  I think that maybe now I have the confidence and the will to finish up a few paintings that are languishing about the flat.  It seems so sad to see half finished paintings.  It is almost as if they are forgotten children and no one cares about them anymore.  I care!  I hear you calling out to me to finish you and make you whole.  I have found out the secret on how to help myself paint in my authentic style - paint what I like and be thinking of someone at the same time.  I have to wonder if the person that I was thinking of was someone who had caused me a lot of personal grief if the painting would show that in its final stages.  I think it would, but to test out my theory, I am going to try that little experiment soon.  I have a feeling that I may end up with a painting or series of paintings that are somewhat ominous in nature, not happy, bright, and cheerful.  I will show you the results when they are done as well as the forlorn, forgotten paintings that need to be finished.  I am eager to get back to the easel and kitchen table to pull out more canvas and start making some magic happen.  Hmmm  I never thought of myself as a magician before, but maybe that is what an artist truly is when you think about it.  They put their heart and soul into a painting and show it to others hoping that their audience will sense the artist's feelings and what the painting is about.  For the audience to perceive all of the subtleties of the piece of art, there has to be a great leap of faith on the artist's part and a little magic must take place for the audience to link up with the artist's thoughts.  Karma in real time, who knew?

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

P.S.  I hope you like these paintings.  As always, I am interested in what you have to say about the post or the artwork.  Please do not hesitate to send in a comment.  Each and every one is looked at and posted for all to read and there will generally be a comment from me answering any questions, or making any clarifications as necessary.  Have a great week everyone!  Try to work in a little time to work on something personal just for the joy of it.  You never know, you just might find yourself addicted to a new hobby and broaden your group of friends.  It could happen!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Living life the affirmative way

So, I was tweeting earlier in the week and a new friend, @Londonschilling, and I got on the topic of motivation.  I need it to keep painting, she needs it to keep working on her projects.  This was when I got the idea and told her I would paint something to help her stay motivated.  I sat back and thought for a bit and decided a triptych showing three affirmations would do the trick and maybe help all of us get through the January blahs that seem to have hit everyone suddenly.

Now, I needed to decide what three positive statements would do the job and that was when I got the thought that rather than use a statement, one word per canvas, each expressing a positive thought was the way to go.  The problem of what canvas to use was resolved Monday afternoon when my shipment of canvas arrived and the first carton I opened had three canvases in a package and each canvas was 8" x 24".  Sounded like the perfect size to work with for this project.  Now, what words would I use to express positive thoughts, affirmations that we all need to hear.  The first word that came to mind was "believe."  We all need to believe in ourselves and in what we are doing.  So, @Londonschilling, this one is for you!  Believe in what you are doing and that you are doing it to the best of your ability, because you are doing just that.  From what you have told me, your daughter is the focus of your life and you are very much concerned that she has a normal life, one that every child should have despite having diabetes.  She will be fine because you are so focused on knowing all there is to know to help her and you set a good example for her by your food selections.  She watches you and learns from what she sees you doing even though you might not realize that.  Have faith my friend, and believe.

The second canvas would use the word "dream" as its affirmation.  We are all so reality based these days that we have forgotten how to sit back and just dream.  When was the last time that you made a cup of tea, sat down and just let your mind wander?  Go on a little vacation mentally.  Yes, I know, there is laundry to be done, you have more projects on the go in the office than you feel comfortable with and you still have not decided what to make for dinner tonight.  Well, let the world take care of itself for ten minutes while you sit back, sip your tea and just dream a little.  Dream about your last vacation and think about where you might want to go this year.  Dream about how you felt that about the way that the movie ended that you watched last evening on the telly.  You were not really satisfied with the ending, so how would you like to have seen things finish up?   Go ahead, think up a different way to put everything in order and end the scene with the vampire getting the girl instead of the other young man who doted on her.  Sorry, I am a little caught up with vampires lately.  Really do need to switch up the reading material!

The third and final canvas had to have my personal favourite affirmation on it.  "Imagine" is a word that is often in my vocabulary and I practise using my imagination several times a day.  Imagine yourself wearing that killer cocktail dress to the next party you attend.  Imagine how great you will look and how wonderful you will feel.  My favourite for this affirmation is to imagine myself living in a much larger flat and having room to spare.  A room to use as a studio/office.  I can see myself working away in that special room and having enough storage for all the various papers, paints, canvas and other things that I use.  Sighhhhhh.  Yes, imagine is a wonderful word and the more you practise, the better you get at it.  And, there is a side benefit - according to the world of karma, if you really believe in your dreams, really feel that they are going to come true, they will.  Now, maybe that sounds a little too simple, but slow down and think this through.  By using positive thinking and imagining yourself living in that larger flat, purchasing and enjoying the new furniture you have been looking at in the flyers or imagining how good you feel when you get word of that promotion at work going through.  When you start thinking like this, you stand a little taller, you feel better about yourself, and you exude confidence.  All this has happened from just imagining something.  Good karma attracts good, bad attracts bad.  But, what you need to remember through all of this is that you need to be grateful.  Grateful for what you have right now.  Things could be a lot worse.  And when things start happening the way you imagine them to, be grateful for your new flat, your new cocktail dress or that job promotion.  Do not take these things for granted!  Be grateful that they did and keep the positive karma flowing.   So, this is why "imagine" had to be on my third canvas.  I have Mary-Jo to thank for putting that thought in my mind!

Colours, I knew that these had to be bright and eye catching and that the word used on each canvas should be done in the same colour.  That turned out to be ultramarine blue.  That seems to be my go to colour lately when I just cannot settle on a colour.  Ultramarine blue is deep enough to be taken seriously, but, still bright enough to have some life in it.  The other colours used would all stay in the bright tones on my palette and nothing too serious would be put into the paintings.

I hope you get a smile out of the scenes I put together.  "Believe" is a bright spring/summer day.  The flowers are in bloom, butterflies are out and about, it is just the perfect day that we all enjoy and we will if we believe that warmer days will return along with the sunshine staying out just a bit longer each day now to let us know that our belief is rewarded with just that little more day time each day.  "Dream" has a dream catcher to hold on to those terror riddled dreams that haunt our nights.  A fairy with a rose petal flounce on her dress runs through leaving the scent of roses as she runs by.  A castle in the background could be a setting for our next mental holiday and the flowers scattered around are there just to give some colour to our lives.   This is a dream worth having!  Lastly, "imagine" also shows flowers in bloom, vines with blossoms open to the sun, green grass growing lush in our back yard.  But, there are a few surprises in this last painting.  You will have to look closely to see what all is there.  I believe that if I am going to imagine, I should do it well and have a few unexpected pleasures turn up just for the fun of it.  You never know, if I imagine myself in such a setting, it just might happen if my good karma pulls in some more good karma from the universe.

The moral of today's post - believe, dream and imagine, these are all words that should be on every one's mind through the day.  Letting yourself dream is not a waste of time.  Believing that things will be better for us just might make it so.  At the very least, believing will make us feel better about life and how we are handling it.  Imagining ourselves living the good life, having the job of our dreams or writing a best selling novel just might motivate us to make these things happen.  I will take my chances on these affirmations and practise them every day, several times in fact.  As good as life is right now, I am choosing what colours will be used in my new, larger flat and I have been looking at storage units to hold my new supplies.  When I put these new paintings up on the wall later today, I will have a constant visual of what life is going to be like.  Feel free to print off the photos and post them where you will see them as a constant reminder of what it is you are hoping for.  Go to my online gallery and click on the painting to enlarge it and print it off. 

I hope this helps you beat the January blahs!  This is a difficult time of year for many.  Take some time for yourselves each and every day.  You deserve it and do not let anyone guilt you for taking that time.  Tell them to go find their own dream to mess around with.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

P.S.  I would love to hear about your affirmations!  What do you tell yourself each day?  Does it make a difference in how you feel?  Do you believe that you are the master of your own destiny?  Leave a comment and I will share them with the rest of our readers.  I check for comments usually twice a day, so it might be a few hours before your comment does appear.  I have not forgotten about you, I just have not gotten to the computer to check for messages for a bit.  But not to worry, this cyber chica is online pretty much every day for a few hours.  Painting does hold me back a bit, but I consider it a necessary part of every day.  After all, where would my journey take me if I did not paint?  Have a great week! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A bad case of the blues, ultramarine blues that is . . .

The holidays are over, winter is still here, it is perpetually cold and I feel like I am going out of my mind.  Sounds like the January blues are in full swing and the way my mood swings are tracking, one had best be ready to move in a hurry lest they get bitten by a woman craving a diversion, preferably a non edible one.  January is one of my least favourite months.  Truthfully, the period running from about December 01 right up until about mid February wins the award for being the worst period of the year in my books.  There is just something about this period of the year that depresses me, especially after the December holidays are just a memory along with some left over glitter still showing up on the carpet.

So, what to do?  How can I put my time to good use and hopefully enjoy it without having to go out in the cold or bake up another batch of brownies to entice friends up for a chat?  I love having friends drop by, but I do need quiet times to allow myself to think, plan, prepare for what I hope might transpire in the future.  This is my time to dream about what I want to do and see if I can find ways to make these happen.  I have been reading a number of books lately on using positive thinking to make your hopes and dreams actually happen.  Not one to overlook any method that might bring about a change in lifestyle, I read the books, recite the mantras and hope for the best.  So, how is that working out for me?  I actually am not able to say just yet.  I am still new to this thinking process, the one of positive thinking bringing about good karma, so I will let you know how this all turns out.  I figure that I need to practise quite a bit more before I become proficient enough to bring about funding for a new, large flat, a snazzy wardrobe full of clothing that is colourful, fun and fits, as well as a number of gallery showings of my artwork which suddenly has become trendy and very much in demand.  Positive thinking, believe in yourself, imagine how it will feel, picture yourself wearing that snappy little party frock at a gallery showing your work.  I am doing the positive thinking full out,  so it is bound to happen soon, right?  While we are at it, maybe I could find a way to attend some fun concerts, nights out at the theatre and maybe an opera or two.  Might as well dream big if I am going to do justice to the theories in these books.  Does someone have a tiara that I might borrow just in case a prince or visiting dignitary comes to call unexpectedly and asks if I might join him in the royal viewing box?  As I mentioned previously, if I am going to test out this positive thinking business, I really do want to test it out thoroughly.

Meanwhile, I am sitting here, along with Molly Cat, looking around the flat trying to find something to amuse myself.  That can be dangerous.  I like to live a somewhat unconventional life, at least in my dreams.  The reality of my world is that I am pretty predictable, a creature of habit.  So, up at 7:30 a.m., feel Molly, shower, clean the bathroom, dress, breakfast, pot of tea, computer check in, tidy up and then the day is mine for the most part.  I might have the odd appointment or two through the week, a trip to the shops to pick up essentials and maybe a trip to the art supply shop.  That is where I get myself into trouble.  When all the staff greet you by name as you walk in the door of the shop, you know that you frequent the premises maybe a little too often.  But, what is a gal who paints supposed to do when she runs out of naples yellow, ultramarine blue and bleached titanium?  And so, I find myself in the paint section tossing tubes of various colours, in addition to the ones that I set out to purchase, into my basket.  Nose to the air, I sniff out any sales items much the way Edward would track Bella's whereabouts in Twilight.  I love a sale, but a sale in an art supply shop is the ultimate boost to my sagging morale.  SoI will just say that on Saturday, my morale got a wonderful boost, all the shop employees were especially welcoming and I behaved relatively well and stayed on budget.  The cashier and I both watched the ascending total as he scanned each item in my basket.  Then, we both gave a sigh of relief when he applied the discounts on the items which brought the total back down to where it needed to be.  Oh, Saturday's sale was a good one!  I have to admit I was a little embarrassed when I heard one lady remark to another, "When you see that lady out here, you know there has to be a good sale going on."  I have to admit that I smirked when I heard this, that my careful purchasing had been noted by other customers was also a bit of a morale boost.  I am a careful shopper, but truthfully, I will do without some necessities in order to keep my art supply cupboard fully stocked.  Please, do not worry yourselves! Molly Cat will never be without anything she needs, I will never be without extra tea reserves in the pantry and having soup on a daily basis is not considered drudgery in my world.  It really is all a matter of what means the most in your world.  Not to say that a upward climb to the next level and being able to afford it would be a bad thing and not be welcomed.

I now have a good supply of canvas that should keep me going for a while.  My paint supply has been replenished and a few new colours added into my bin holding all the tubes of various hues.  I have been painting one canvas after another lately and some days, I have been known to work on and complete as many as four paintings of a reasonable size.  I like canvases that measure 11" x 14 " but am tempting fate and moving up to more in the 16" x 20" ones and I am looking lovingly at one that is 24" square.  That will be for a very special painting that I am planning out and doing a little research on just the right colours to use.  In fact, there will be two done in that particular size that I hope to hang over my computer desk within the next week or two.  There are just so many things that I want to paint right now.  I am starting to feel that there is still life in this little flat where Molly and I live.  Having something to occupy your time with productively is a good thing, but when you really enjoy what you are doing is the frosting on the cake.  Liza said that it sounds like I have been bitten by the painting bug.  Yes, I have!  There is nothing nicer in my world these days than to have some good music playing in the background, Molly Cat sitting at my feet and me, I would be the one in the multi coloured t-shirt painting great swathes of colour on a multitude of canvases that are propped up against the walls, drying.  This is my world, the place where I feel comfortable, content and relaxed.  It might not be the right place for you, but for Molly and me, we are quite content. 

Do I still think that I need to participate in the positive thinking exercises promoted in my reading material?  Yes, I do think that the power of positive thinking has a place in my life.  I really would like to see my artwork hang in a gallery and be sold to an admirer some day.  I would like to wear a snappy little cocktail frock on an evening out on the town with a proper gentleman who would open doors for me and treat me like a princess.  We all have our dreams, and there is nothing to be ashamed of in admitting that.  Dreams keep us motivated, make us work a little more diligently to reach our goals in life.  Keeping your dreams within the realm of being able to be reached is wise, but every once in a while, you just have to let loose and ask the universe to bring on the good karma, full force, and be ready to have a good time.  Even if your dreams do not materialize, you have had a wonderful time thinking about them and putting them together right down to the last detail.  That is kind of the way I work when I am painting.  I start out with one thing in mind and my dreams take me down another path that might just be a little more fun and teach me a few things along the way.  Maybe this January will not be like all the others that I have crawled through.  This just might be the one where the artist in training turns into an artist with paintings in galleries.  Stranger things have happened!

Have a great week!

Sincerely,  Rutheemac
P.S. I have put up the three latest paintings from my gallery.  The colours are a little brighter, maybe thoughts of spring weather were playing with my sub conscious whilst I was painting.  LOL Spring cannot come soon enough for me!  But, truthfully, although the winter has seemed relentless, it really has not been a terrible one compared to what others experience every year.  Hope you enjoy a glimpse of spring in this trio of paintings done on a cold wintery afternoon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Working on a business plan . . .

So, we are almost one week into the new year.  Sounds like as good of a time as any to look at any "plans" one might have for the year with regards to their artwork, writing, or other personal pursuits that one does in hopes of gaining attention to their medium.

I post on this blog as well as try to write short stories and am a frequent tweeter on Twitter.  I paint and work on mixed medium collages, but, for the most part, painting with acrylics is my preferred mode of expressing myself.  So, what can I do to make these more interesting for me to pursue and for viewers to enjoy?  This is where the business plan comes into play.

You will constantly find me writing notes in small notebooks regarding ideas that capture my attention, jotting down phrases that sound interesting to "google."  People who know me, know well enough not to take me near any shop that might carry interesting art supplies or different types of paper to play with.  And that is what I do, I play with my equipment and supplies to develop different looking pictures, cards, or artwork of some type to intrigue people with or at least to catch their eye with an off beat image that appeals to them for some reason.  They might not even be able to tell you why a piece of artwork is appealing to them, but they know pretty much instantly, whether they like it or not, despite not being able to communicate why.

Here is where my business plan for the year comes into play.  I write down all my ideas of what I want to accomplish artistically over the next twelve months.  These ideas can be for written pieces or for paintings or drawings that I hope to put down on canvas or paper.  The paintings could encompass a number of pieces all in one subject area.  The drawings might make up another series completely.  I am hoping to paint a number of canvases with illustrations of faeries, one for each month of the year, each season, and perhaps each holiday.  I am also hoping to do drawings of people's hands, old with young, hands hardened by constant work accompanied by "pretty" hands like the elegant ones of a ballerina.  This series of drawings may well be transferred to canvas and I know that this project is not likely to be completed this year due to the number of drawings involved and because I am hoping to find quite a number of people to model for me.  I am hoping this is so.  At this point, I am resigned to working only with unwilling models who come for a visit only to find me, camera in hand, asking them to hold a cup of tea in various positions.

Writing is an entire other field of work.  My posting here in this blog takes on the challenge of telling you what I am working on and trying to creatively describe the process involved.  Other writings may be of future stories to be illustrated and possibly one day, to be printed for children of all ages to enjoy.  I love writing stories and become too attached to them to the point of not wanting to let others see them.  I gently work on each character to make them into the ideal one required in a particular story.  There is always a story being worked on, refined, and at times set aside for another look one day when I feel that I have a revision that just might work to bring the story to life.  I never give up on a story, I may set it aside temporarily, but I never give up on it.  To get a story down on a page or two or three, takes a great amount of time and to just toss it away as if it had no more meaning to me, that would be cruel to the story and the characters in it.  Did I mention that I am a little too involved with my stories?  Yes, well, the characters become so real to me that they live and breathe like real people.  Even if the story is about faeries, imaginary creatures and so on, these little creatures live just the same as their human counterparts.  They are real to me and I hope that they are real to an audience living amongst others who also dare to write down their dreams and share them.

This is how my business plan is unfolding at this point.  It does not involve any major outlay of money and it definitely does not bring in any funds with which to replenish the supplies used.  But what my business plan does is give me guidance on what to work on next or where I should be looking to pick up more art supplies or research a little more for the background in a painting or in a story.  I work a little on my business plan each day as it is never engraved in stone as to how it will unfold.  I find comfort in reviewing my plans and never leave my flat without something to write in should an idea confront me whilst at the doctor's office or having a cup of tea with a friend.  There is always a book or two in my tote, related to whatever subject matter that I might be writing about or painting.  Quite often, a selection of coloured pencils, markers and other drawing implements accompany me in my travels.  I never know when I might be slowed in my travels due to appointments running late and so I prepare myself prior to leaving home.  I must add truthfully, a snack of crackers, cheese and or fruit is often tucked into my bag of goodies.  A hungry artist or writer is not a happy camper when delayed by a tardy physician who needs only to check my chart, write a prescription and admonish me to take care of myself as it appears that maybe I am not eating healthily.  Yes, this might be the physician who was heard to say to his nurse that he did not care about the nature of a brownie he was offered, only that it was indeed a brownie.  Hmmm.  Well, I guess that means baking a pan of brownies is in order later this month when I am due for my appointment.

As you can see, my mind often wanders when writing and this is reflected in my business plan for a non business person.  I am a quiet artist who works on various pursuits of the art world in my tiny flat.  My commute is only from the studio/bedroom to put the kettle on to make a pot of tea and then back to the drawing board or over to the laptop.  This is my world, this is my little business.  I work just to keep myself busy and to try to brighten up the day for those I encounter in my actual travels or my cyber travels.  I hope you enjoy my artistic journeys as much as I do.  Now, down to the business at hand, will that be butterscotch or chocolate brownies?

Sincerely,  Rutheemac

P.S.  I am currently working on a painting on a 16 inch square canvas.  I had pulled out one that was 24 inches square, but I chickened out and opted to work on a slightly smaller piece.  While I am not 100% certain, I suspect that this painting will include some faerie folk in it.  These tiny people appeal to me in the cold winter months.  I can always make the scene take place in a forest or spring time meadow.  That is one of the perks of being the artist or writer.  I get to make the final choice or the final edit.  I will tweet when the painting is done or if a new story is imminent.  But then you all know how much I like to tweet, right?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, we are two days into the new year.  Have you made any changes to your routine?  Do you have any ideas as to what you might like to change or take on as a challenge?  It is so early in the year, that we have barely had the time to clean up from the New Year's Eve party, if we had one, that the only resolution we may have made is to not have a party next time, better to go out and celebrate and not have to do the clean up the next day.  That is a valid thought and one that you seriously should consider if partying is your way of bringing in the New Year.  Personally, I enjoyed a quiet evening watching a movie on my personal DVD player.  I sat up in bed, cup of tea in hand (yes, I do drink a lot of tea!) and watched a movie that finished up around 12:30 a.m. and then shut off the DVD player and went to bed.  Not very exciting, but it gave me time to think about what was at the back of my mind.  Something was bothering me, but I could not put my finger on what it was. 

It really annoys me when something is niggling at the back of my mind and I do not know just what it is or what it might mean to me.  I cannot let it go until I identify it and develop a plan for dealing with whatever it is and how it might be of benefit to me.  While I am not going to lose any sleep over it, I do realize that dealing with whatever it might be, straight on, would be in my best interest.  After the movie finished, I sat back, eyes closed and let my mind reflect over the events of the past few days looking for anything that my subconscious mind might have grabbed onto and used as a means of getting my attention. 

I have been looking at a lot of calendars lately to pick out a couple that best exemplify the image that I want to have of myself.  I have picked two calendars, both very simple, both reflecting a very zen approach to life.  That is where I want to take myself, down that very zen pathway and find out who and what I am and where I am supposed to be going.  If I listen to one person, her approach, which she was trying very hard to impress upon me, was that by putting her office/studio in order, she would find so many ideas to use in her artwork that she would never be able to complete them all in the year's time.  I see her tactic for what it is, a ploy to entice me to tidy up my studio/bedroom, and I reject that thought.  By tidying up my worktable and shelving, I'm only putting away the pieces of my life from which my inspiration flows.  This is not going to help me in finding new ideas, in being creative.  While it may very well work for this person, it is not a method that will work at all for me.  I will work the way that seems to get the best results for me and that is to have pieces of various types of inspiration spread out to capture my attention.  My ways are vastly different, but that does not mean that they are wrong for me anymore than they would be right for her.  Everyone has methods of accomplishing things, creative or otherwise, that work best for them.  But, what they need to realize, promoting a method of finding creativity which in fact is only a way of their telling you that your work table needs a tidy up, is not authentic, it is not really a way of finding creativity, it is a way of doing just what it is supposed to do, telling you to tidy up a work space.

Finding my muse, takes a little more creative approach.  It may involve a trip to the mall to look at some shops that carry strange or interesting things such as crystals, smudge sticks, incense and or candles.  I am more of a new age persona than one might expect.  I read different types of books on finding ways to lead you to your heart's desire.  Being open to new ideas and where you might find these ideas.  Looking over different sites on the internet  may also lead me in a new direction to explore.  While it may not lead to any new ideas with regards to painting, looking at these sites may lead me to a line of thoughts that could turn into a new idea for a post on my blog or perhaps something a tad longer, which in turn could turn into a book.  I am open to any and all ideas from my muse.  I sit quietly and let this wisp of a soul take me in directions that I may not have considered until this very moment.   Maybe finding these thoughts at a particular time has a meaning that needs to be thought about for a while before the reason becomes apparent.  I really do believe this. 

So, this year, my journey is going to be more free spirited.  It will be less of a directed journey and more of a thought each morning of where do I want to go today and what would I like to do. That may sound like there is no plan in place, and you are correct, there is no plan in place, nor should there be.  An artistic journey is one in which the traveller/artist needs to be open to considering any and all ideas that come through the wisps of ideas floating around in their mind.  You see something that appeals to you, you grab it and run with the idea to see where it takes you.  Maybe, it will not take you anywhere too special or so you think, but the little exercise that you completed while working on this possible lead, may be the prep work for an idea that is soon to come in which you will be extremely involved and need the background work to be done in order for you to know where you are ultimately going with an idea.  There is no such thing as wasted time in an artistic journey.  All those little bits of sketches, colour tests, ideas jotted down and fleshed out, all these need to be saved in a binder, book or box to be looked at later in the process to see where they fit into the scheme of things.  Do not ever toss away half completed works, scraps of paper that you wrote obscure words upon, or the collection or weird little doodles you do while waiting for an appointment.  These little pieces are ideas waiting to be worked upon, fleshed out until they become a full story, a painting waiting to be painted on one, two or even three panels of canvas.  You just never know where a thought or strange little doodle will take you.  That is the fun in being creative, you find creativity in the most unlikely places.  But, you have to be open to receiving those ideas and not rejecting them because they seem too mundane or too weird for even you to consider.

This year, I plan to try anything and everything that interests me.  I may very well get some strange looks when I go into my art supply shop and purchase some items that seem out of the norm for a middle aged mixed media artist, but I am not going to let that bother me.  I am going to run with my ideas, have some fun, devote some time and energy to creating something that will hopefully be of interest to others.  But, as long as I am having fun and learning something about myself in the process, then the time is well spent.  That is what is important and that is the message my muse has been trying to get through to me for the past year.  I finally got it loud and clear, more importantly, I am going to listen to and heed the message.  Maybe there is something deeper in it that I need to see or hear.  I am willing to invest the time to find out what the message is and how it will relate to what I do.  My artistic journey is one in which I learn a lot, get to work with different colours, textures, ideas.  Every path I travel is a new adventure waiting to show me something important.  I love this journey!  I love that it is teaching me patience, perseverance and that trying something new is not always about it being successful the first time, that having to work on something two, three or even four times is not a waste of time, but time well spent learning what works and just as importantly, what does not work and hopefully why.  Something that did not work may in turn lead me to discover something new to try in another piece of artwork.  That is what is important in my journey, I am always learning something new.  That is what makes my journey so enjoyable and so  important to me.  It definitely is not a waste of time, not even for a moment would I consider that and I hope that you do not think that either.

Let us make a deal - we shall both go down the  pathway that our muse wants us to travel, try out what it is wanting us to try and then we can compare notes.  It is my guess that we will be more than satisfied with what we try and may even get it to evolve into a very interesting piece of artwork.  I am willing to give it a serious try for the entire year.  And you my friend, will you join me on this adventure?

Sincerely,   Rutheemac