the ugly phase

Monday, February 28, 2011

gone - 9 x 13 mixed media on paper - Susan Black

Week 4 - Get Your Paint On ! a fabulous e-course that has helped break me open creatively. Last night as I worked away day 2, evening 2 of this week's assignment - Composition - I remember thinking to myself well self, I'm just goin' stay up as late as it takes to finish this painting maybe I'll pull an all night-er (well I know MLou just fell off her chair) I mention this because it is a completely unheard of feeling pour moi. Usually, on any given night, by 7 - 7:30 pm I'm counting the moments til I can retreat once again to the nest of down & flannel with by current good book. This spark, this passion is new to me and I love it !

One of the things Mati & Lisa spoke about early on in this course is that making a painting usually follows an up, down & up again course and to bear with this "U" path (which stands for ugly I think). It seems many paintings, many painters experience the "U". Feeling thrilled and excited at the prospects of beginning, then plummeting at the half way point - the ugly phase when you feel sure you should pitch the piece in the garbage and start fresh - but No ! - ignore that voice, soldier on and miraculously, the path once again goes up and most often the end is something that you can at least live with and learn from.

I don't know how successful this piece is as a finished piece of art but as an exercise in exploration, experimentation, being bold & brave with art, sticking with it and learning sooooo much - this weeks painting assignment on composition was aces. I'm tempted to redo this piece for my final Week 5 painting because I learned so much in the time it took me to do this that I really feel I could make it be something I truly love.

Below - the height of my frustration and les ugly phase

OMG - the ugly green dress, the word gone, I collaged the pattern paper in desperation ... eek!

inspiration + composition

Sunday, February 27, 2011

inspiration + composition - 1. my own ode to Iris Schwarz 2. Sarajo Frieden & 3. Mati Rose

Day 2/Week No. 4 - Get Your Paint On - assignment - composition.
Thank goodness for most excellent, super soft & smells good too, feline studio mates

Oliver keeping me company atop the sunshiny TTD* and this week's piece in progress

*teak topped desk

zero visibility

Saturday, February 26, 2011

oh my red - window sill topped blooming geranium this wild and woolly winter's morning

heavy pouring rain throughout the night
dam, damn ice dams
a leaking roof (fairly minor)
people all over the village shoveling off their roof
enormous icicles
lots of chatter (from the Prince) about spring & summer big insulation projects
howling wild winds whipping toward us from the harbour
curving spectacular drifts od brilliant white ... everywhere
a flock of redpolls flutter & cling to the nyger feeder at the kitchen window
one task on the to do list today
a day spent happily painting Week 4's assignment - composition this week's theme
the forecast calls for clearing later this morning
looking out our windows this early morning, it's zero visibility
oh my red geranium
ah 1973 - Steely Dan, more songs from the soundtrack of my youth
an older grey but amazing Donald Fagan - Hey ! 19


Friday, February 25, 2011

white and black and every conceivable grey that exists in between

Mourning never really ends, only as time goes on, it erupts less frequently


My own grief lies waiting. Shallow, floating always just below the surface. Funny thing that is. Greys & grief, loss & crows are all things on my mind this early morning. I love the crows and find myself drawn to them, I'm always trying to capture them in a photograph.

Crows are the keepers of the Sacred Law
and to have a Crow totem is very powerful.

Personal Integrity are your watchwords and your guide in Life. If you have a Crow totem, your prime path is to be mindful of your opinions and actions. You must be willing to walk your talk,to speak your truth and to know your life’s mission.

Crow is a omen of Change. Crow lives in the void and has no sense of time, therefore, it sees past, present and future simultaneously. Crow merges both light and dark, both inner and outer. It is the totem of the Great Spirit and must be respected as such.

They are symbols of creation and spiritual strength. Look for opportunities to create and manifest the magic of life.

more animal totems found here (scroll down the link page to the bottom for a complete list)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

no added fat, all natural, ton o' fruit + nut granola

with sliced banana, 1% milk & to die for Liberté coconut yogurt (the lemon is also crazy good).

Found the recipe via weekly favourite blog haunt here, Kate directed us to Mark Bittman's granola recipe - yum and I've been wanting to make this big batch, most excellent granola for days, weeks possibly and yesterday ... for some unknown reason, was the day.

fruit - I used dates, raisins, dried apples & figs plumped with hot orange juice all chopped/diced
nuts - sliced almonds, chopped salted pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds. I used the full cup of natural sugar - 1/2 cup of honey and 1/2 cup of maple syrup and I added an extra cup of sweetened coconut at the very end because I love coconut.

Would make this recipe again & again & again.

the last time I made granola I baked the raisins - big mistake as they shrivel & harden to tooth chipping density - always add the fruit after the baking part


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Butterflies & Moths - from the gorgeous 2011 Cavallini butterfly calendar - merci Shammy

Purpose. Creative purpose. 1 -2 -3

Three projects.
Three deadlines per week.
19 weeks (end of June my slightly arbitrary deadline)
19 x 3 = a whole lot

each week ...

1. complete 1 children's inspirational/typographic art piece
2. continue on and complete 1 painting in this vein, soon to become a series of paintings
3. complete at least 1 typographic collage, adding a touch of w & h* wherever possible

oh my ... I heart purpose.

*w & h - whimsy & humour

finished, friends

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

(well ... almost finished) "Lets be Friends" - 10x10 mixed media on board - Susan Black

f words - part 1

Monday, February 21, 2011

in progress - mixed media children's art - 10 x 10 - Friends - Susan Black

Do what you love, know your bone;
gnaw it, bury it, unearth it and gnaw it still

Henry David Thoreau

For nearly 9 years I had practically a full time gig with the same US based gift & home decor company, I spent most of my time drawing sweet, cute motifs for baby and/or children's rooms - primarily designing & illustrating photo frames. I became pretty good at it. The queen of kid decor and honestly, I loved it. Often the designs would include a word or phrase (you know how I love playing with typography) and it was most definitely that double bonus kind of situation where you're good at something you absolutely love doing. Now ... trouble is I love doing a lot o' things but this is my year to pare down and focus. Focus, focusing, focuser.

At the beginning of this year I and many others (in the blogging world) were all choosing a word for the new year. A one word mantra for 2011 - I chose firework for many reasons, the Katy Perry song makes me cry, touches something deep inside me that makes me want to fearlessly shine & sparkle my brightest. I want my passions in life, especially my creative passions to be brave & explosive - boom, boom, boom brighter than the moon, moon, moon.

So I've decided as we near February's end I need more than one word and the word I originally was considering was focus but thought to myself what a dull, kind of mean word focus is - Focus Will You! Sounded a little too reprimanding for me. But how about focused firework ?? Uh Huh ??? Even better free & focused firework. I'm becoming so weary of trying to scrounge & hunt down freelance work which most often ends up with you doing your best to realize someone else's dream and ultimately How far ahead does that get me ? other than a pay cheque ??

I am focusing my efforts in 3 areas each week and one of them is children's art. My goal to complete 1 piece in each of 3 categories* each week. Too bad prolific didn't begin with an "f" - oh wait ! here's a new word (to me) fecund - very productive or creative intellectually - Yes Please !

focused, firework, fun, freedom, fecund ...
fame + fortune
(at the very minimum the self sustaining kind please)

* other 2 categories to be revealed shortly

a self promotional PDF that I currently send out to potential customers

bonjour niche !

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beauty more than bitterness - 10x8, acrylic + gouache on board - Susan Black

oh my
oh my goodness ... y'all saw this coming didn't ya ?
maybe you saw it much clearer than me.

When obsessive floral photography, meets typography, meets quotations, sentiments, words that strike me and mean something to me, & all that then meets paint & colour - oh my, could it be?

bonjour niche !
hello authentic voice ... I've been waitin' on you

This Week 3 painting assignment (in my fantastic !! e-course with Mati & Lisa "Get Your Paint On") was about colour, choosing a limited palette (4) and using colour that you mixed yourself - I chose banana yellow, pink, coral red + a mossy green. I'm crazy about pink at the moment & the brighter the better it seems. To say I'm happy with this week's assignment would be a giant understatement - honestly I'm thrilled, in my mind it feels like I've made a fantastic leap in a direction that I was trying to go. It makes my head spin with the potential, I have a zillion more ideas, a big ol' series and I dreamed of painting all night long. Hooray ! & a Happy Sunday !!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

scenes from this past week in and around 29 black street

He has his projects and I have mine - swoon

No.3 - gorgeous huge pocket doors that were given to us (see below project No.32)
No.11 - geraniums that I will paint today

for MLou (who's practically an architect) I know she'll enjoy pouring over le project plans ;-)