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Got Paint?

This year so far has started out like wildfire and I’m loving it!

Being self-employed can be really (really effing) stressful and really hard on you as a person, I know it is on me at times (ok, very frequently). You beat yourself up over things daily, hourly, by the second. You might appear anti-social and not participate in events or even get out of the house at all, because 100% of your attention is on your business and keeping it, and just as importantly yourself, going. It’s all-consuming, it’s your life. And if you’re anything like me, your brain is going 800 miles faster than your body and it keeps you up all night worrying and thinking and having a million ideas coming in all at once. And sometimes it’s hard to tell which way to go or what to focus on when you love everything you do, which is where I found myself at. Do I really have to choose just one path? (And I’ve since figured out that no, you don’t have to choose just one, you just need very, very good time management and the ability to say “no” with good intention).

practice

The past couple of years were really rough, financially (ouf!), and socially. I was about ready to throw in the towel more than a few times, and did in some instances. It can all feel hopeless, hard, negative, and just plain “why bother” at times. And more often than not, people you thought or hoped would understand what you’re going through, don’t, and don’t want to know unless you’re doing well. My favorite Will Smith quote comes in handy here:

“If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.” ~ Will Smith

A good support system, or at least a good person or two who get it and who genuinely care, support, and stick by you, is crucial and I’m thankful for those awesome peeps I am lucky enough to have on my side, you know who you are.

So! When the new year came around this year, I declared that I am officially done with struggling, and 2016 (and beyond)  is going to be MY year to go big! And so far, I’m living up to that declaration and have no plans to ever stop! “Watch me now!” is my new mantra. I just show up and do the work, and it’s working! People are noticing and taking note! Work and art commissions are pouring in, and I am so very grateful! Keep it coming baby, I just love it all!

The art side of me is really busy, both work-wise and playtime-wise. Out clicking around in blogland as you do, I stumbled across this fabulous artist and bought her book. I love her free-flowing style, and colours, and flowers, and just everything about how she does what she does. (She even commented on one of my experiments that I posted on Instagram, eeee!).

My usual and current style of painting  is very planned. I start with a drawing transferred on to canvas, and follow certain steps I’ve pre-determined and created, to get the piece done the way I want it done. So this book, all about intuitive painting, is the exact opposite of my usual working methods. Say what? It’s a bit scary to just go for it without a plan. But I went for it.

step1

I decided to start going through the exercises in the book and just play, and not care what a piece ended up looking like in the end, it’s just for me to experiment. If it comes out awful I can paint over it, or stick it in the closet and never look at it again, or better yet, put it out for the once a year city-wide clean up week and let it get munched into the garbage truck, which I’ve done before and is strangely satisfying! But so far so good, and this method is really inspiring. Things like painting and stamping with bubblewrap? Who knew that would be so much fun!

piece3

I discovered that I really love this method, or lack thereof, of working. Just grab colours, smoosh them around on the canvas, and see shapes and forms emerge as they happen.

play

Add a water spritz bottle in there while the paint is wet and watch what happens, whoa!

bloom

I found some large foam alphabet stamps at the thrift store a while ago that are perfect to add some special words to each piece. And reaction to these initial pieces has been amazing! So I’m continuing to play and make up my own style as I go, and apply it to other things I have underway as well. We’ll see where this goes, I have some ideas, wink wink! Interesting times for sure.

But back to my more planned style, and on to my next rather large and in charge, weighing in at 4′ x 8′,  commission piece for the hospice project I’m working on. I finally got it started, after a very, very busy work-work week this past week, (and again my declaration of going big is coming on strong and I love it!).

huge canvases

We had to move some things around in our office to make a temporary (or maybe not if when this big painting thing is more frequent!) studio space to work on these canvases together, since my usual art room is only about 12’x12′ or so, if that. Best-husband-in-the-world figured it out and bought a nice bright LED worklight, hung it from the ceiling to light up the usually dark corner, taped up a dropsheet on the wall- which  fortunately has a built-in ledge to use as an easel- and presto!

drawing 3 hrs

I got the initial drawing done yesterday, as well as the red/purple basecoat. Today is dive in with colour day! This piece is all about the dramatic sky and water, not that you can tell here, but it’s full of brilliant blues, purples, and greens. I’m excited to get started!

After this piece is done, I have two, but maybe even three depending on what happens, more for the hospice to be finished by mid-March. Then I have a fun wintery commission piece hot on their heels, thankfully for someone who understands and doesn’t mind waiting to get started, and potentially one more coming up after that!

Work-work is very, very busy as well. I also have some fabric design collections underway- well, started as pencil sketches and notes at least. I haven’t submitted any new work in months so it’s something I have to get done and in the hopper, stat.

So things are getting big and bright and I’m so excited and feeling renewed. Where will this all go? I’m just going with the flow of energy and incoming good things, people, experiences, income (inhale), and (exhale) detoxing the bad things, people, and past negative thoughts, and going from there. Making cuts to things that don’t work for me or cause me to lose focus, or just aren’t interesting to or good for me anymore. And I’m excited about it all and my “towel” is now safely back in the closet and won’t be thrown in  anywhere just yet. And I am grateful for you for reading this and for your kind comments and thoughts sent my way.

Off to paint!

5 Comments


  1. I’ve been loving seeing all your work this past bit. Funny though, I’ve always thought that you always put yourself out there in a big way. Good luck though!

    Reply
  2. Sue

    You are an inspiration. I’m just back to a drop-in water colour class this past Thursday. Planned, prepped. Hungry to be more loose in my work.
    “Just show up and do the work…” is such good advice. I know it in my head. Now to live it.
    My mantra: “The only mistake you can make is to stop creating.”

    Reply
  3. Mary McNeill

    An artists lament and joy. Keep on keeping on.

    Reply

  4. Cynthia, love your work and so happy that 2016 is rocking for you! The paintings, each and every one, are so special!

    Reply
  5. Marilyn

    Your new freedom is contagious, Cynthia! You go, girl! Thank you for putting it words to your journey. I totally understand the self employed story. I’m always being challenged to live well with uncertainty. I can’t wait to see your new piece for the Holmberg House. I am taking the hospice volunteer training there starting in April.

    Reply

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