Art workshops are a wonderful way to explore and learn about your creative interests. There are many art workshops available locally given by award winning artists, local schools, art clubs, senior activity centres, galleries and international fairs and universities.
It is in this forum that you can learn helpful tips and techniques and improve your style of work. With workshops, individuals will learn from their instructors, and may for a while be influenced by their style. But what happens as you continue to grow as an artist, somehow, sometime, you will develop your own style.
I get asked this a lot in my classes, how do you know a painting style?
A style is the way an artist responds to a subject and how they will interpret this subject on canvas based on who they are. This could have started during their first exposure to art, to an art book, or gallery show, it also could have started when they were very young in an art class.
This means a style changes and evolves as a painter evolves in this career. In time as you grow and experiment with different with subject matter, colour, procedures and ideas you will be able to identify which painting was effortless, and just happened easily and what colours looked pleasing to you. When I was 10 years old, my uncle lent me a book about the French Impressionists. This fueled my love for their approach to painting, to painting outdoors, to the colours they used.
And even though, I have taken many workshops with many instructors through the years, I still gravitate to this approach and as I continued to paint, realised that I may be on to something which is my own.
The only way to find out what would be your style, is to paint, to paint more, to develop a body of work. It’s your hand writing. You have written for so long that your penmanship is obvious. It is you, it belongs to you, it is who you are. Sometimes this is the only way…
My parents gave me my first camera when I turned 10 years old. And ever since that time, I have always brought a camera with me to somehow capture a moment.
In Grade 5, we went on a school trip and I took pictures which I still have and treasure today. In fact, they could be black mail material to some grade school friends! Ok, just kidding!
When I entered the workforce, I would take my camera to capture some fun activities at work and special moments. My friends could depend on me to have a handy camera for every occasion! And sometimes, we would have pictorial sessions that lasted hours. I know... and we were supposed to be working! shh!
Now as a painter, I would take my camera (which is now conveniently on my IPhone) everywhere! How handy could this be?! Even a walk down the neighborhood park could result as reference material for a future painting! You never know what you can capture on a daily walk!
Here is a picture I took around the man-made pond by our neighborhood and the resulting painting inspired by it.
Happy New Year!!!! Wow it's a brand New Year, a time of hope, of new beginnings, of a fresh start! For my goals for the year, I have a few of them and by writing this down now, I feel a sense of accountability, to myself and to you - my readers, to make every effort to achieve them.
The first; is to be more productive. I have decided that I need to really focus on my paintings, not only for inventory, but to constantly exercise my mind and soul to be in search of the next best. To grow. To learn. To experiment. This year, I managed to finish 30 paintings. This was not a high number as I have painted more in the past, but because I had a lot of teaching commitments in the first half of the year, I could not focus on my own projects. My goal for this year is to finish 50 paintings. (not just to finish for the sake of finishing, but to give 100% to each)
My second goal; is to open myself up to new adventures. But wait - what is an adventure anyway? As a noun - it is an exciting and unusual experience. New undertakings. and as a verb - it is to venture out, to risk or take a chance!.... okay... so hmm.... ok. I guess, of course, half of my brain is being very cautious and conservative, but what I can commit to is that - I will be open to new possibilities and take a chance. With my art, I will open myself to new colours, to experiment with combining different techniques learned throughout my life and see where it leads to. I will risk making a mess, trying new work which may turn out or make mud, but nevertheless, it is the experience I am after and the understanding and learning that will arise from it. I think it is time to dust off my encaustic supplies and get the heat on!
Third goal; To Be Around Good Energy!!! Life as an artist is difficult. Truly it is. Your work is your heart and to expose your heart to others can sometimes be daunting. But to have a core group of friends and loved ones around you to support and help you through difficult times can help tremendously.
Fourth; Move! Last year, I was quite lazy. A few mornings of yoga and 1 hour walks just doesn't cut it. I know I can do more. I will make a plan to exercise more,... my next paycheck,,, will be towards a new bicycle. Need to get out more and move! I want to maintain a good healthy lifestyle so that I can have many many years of painting!
and finally number 5! Be Brave! Stop worrying about how things will turn out. Just go for it and take the challenge. Believe all will be well. Trust and relax.
Happy New Year Everyone!!
Happy Holidays to all my loved ones, friends, lovers of art and artists! Wishing you a joyful and peaceful Christmas and a wonderful creative New Year!!
Was a unusual year in our changing climate. The Spring started on time, but it seemed to go on and on into the summer with a lot of windy and strong rains. We did not even put out our patio furniture until mid way into the summer!! This weather did improve, and summer came and stayed well into the fall, with extended beautiful days to paint outdoors. The fall was late, we did not see any change in deciduous trees until very late October, but because of the warm weather, this allowed us to canoe well into October without bugs or rain. Overall, I would say this was a great year for plein air painting!
I painted en plein air about 10 times this year, which is the most I have ever done ever since I fell-in-love with this outdoor thing! I kinda liked this adventure of looking for a great spot to paint, setting up my easel and painting what I saw in front of me. But what makes it even more enjoyable, is painting with friends and enjoying the time outdoors, with the sound of nature, feeling the sunshine and fresh air. Of course, there are also times, when the bugs will get you, the wind blows your painting off the easel, realizing you are standing on an ant hill, fanning away a deer fly, and trekking through mud. All these adventures make up for great conversations after with a nice glass of wine!
Some paintings do turn out to become good ones, while others can be used as campfire. But what matters is the adventure, the humbling experience of taking a step back and realising that my painting was a mess, the problem-solving with the process of painting quickly and the energetic feeling of being immersed in the landscape.
As a practising artist and an instructor, teaching two mediums, with variety of styles and different student levels, it could be a challenge to manage my time.
There is a lot of prep time I have to do in creating projects for each class. Depending on the level, I usually work together with the class, providing a step by step approach so that students can learn techniques to practise until such time that they get confident enough to find the techniques that work for them.
I move from project to project depending on the class schedule and work bits on each painting every week. Because of this, I could have 5-6 unfinished paintings at different stages, not counting my own personal projects.
After seeing how much inventory I could have at my studio at one time, I needed to have a system to get projects finished. So last year, I made a personal goal to manage work in a back and forth manner where once I finish a painting for my own inventory, I would go back to a demo piece that has potential to become a finished painting.
This system worked and soon enough I was finishing paintings from both sides, achieving realistic deadlines and discarding other demo pieces that will never become a finished painting.
Ahhh.... Such happiness!
I receive spam mail asking to buy my painting. I get this often and most of them are tweaking their emails to make it look more legitimate. These are not real people looking to purchase your work, but hackers that simply want to scam you for money or obtain your email to sell it to other databases that use email for other potential scams.
I work everyday to create art, to practise, devoting time and attention to work, to support myself and my family, to help put bread on the table (so to say), so when I hear or receive these random phishing I cringe. As an artist, this pains me to a great degree, as my paintings have a piece of me. It has my education, experience, time and hard work.
Scammers are everywhere, and everyone is a target, but my writing will focus on first time art sellers and art students to help prevent someone from this awful experience
So, what to watch out for? What are the RED flags!
1) First clue: The email does not address you by name. It is very vague. If they emailed you, they should at least address you by your name.
2) The email usually does not have their full name
3) They want to purchase your art, (perhaps several pieces) but say they are moving or abroad and would want you to ship your work to an address or a shipper will be in touch to pick it up at your home.
4) If you communicate with them, they may reference that they themselves are an agent or know of a shipper to transact moving/shipping goods
5) Very often the email has misspellings, or grammatically wrong sentence structures
6) In succeeding emails, they will ask you if you accept cheques or money order
7) Try to hover your mouse on the header, usually their name is not the same as the email address
8) Usually they will pay MORE than the amount you are asking for and give you a story that it is for your trouble, and ask you to take what is yours and to send the balance back through Western Union. This is then untraceable once picked up.
9) Some scammers are getting very good in their game by using paypal as a source of payment. How they do this, is sending you an image of the paypal confirmation that they sent the money to your account, but, it is NOT from paypal but rather a copy cat of the site. In the copy cat, they will send you a link to click on to log in which gets you into more trouble because now they know your log in ID and password. Very tricky!!!
Also, is if it sounds “too-good-to-be-true” it is usually a scam. No one just buys 5 pieces of artwork randomly and pays you way more than you have asked for immediately because they are in some rush.
Be careful out there.
This is a sample of the spam I received today:
My name is Thomas Jeff from SC. I actually observed my wife has
been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes
your piece of work, I'm also impressed to have seen your
different types of works too, : ) You are doing a great job. I
would like to receive further information about your piece of
work and what inspires you. I am very much interested in the
purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my
wife. Kindly confirm the availability for
Thanks and best regards,
Many artists’ have their favorite colours and these are just a few of mine. They are essential and very important to me especially since I realised I like to paint in thin layers. I have for the past 14 years shared this information with my students on when and how to use them. Watch out for my You Tube video about this blog so you could see exactly what I mean!
Transparent Red Iron Oxide – I love this colour!!! Especially if I need to glaze this colour on top of another colour to bring down the intensity or to warm up a colour. You must experience it to believe me! As the name states, it is transparent, meaning you can see right through. It has a red-mahogany colour with a very warm temperature. If you glaze this colour on top of green, it warms up the green colour which makes it beautiful and makes grasses look warmer. On top of yellow, it warms up the yellow and brings about some sort of glow that you just can’t obtain with yellows. It is highly recommended for fall leaves. On top of red or oranges, it brings about the intensity of the red colour underneath. It is just beautiful! I used M.Graham brand in both acrylic and oil mediums.
Sepia - I fell in love with Sepia in 2004. Somehow discovered it and felt that I cannot do without. It is transparent and so versatile. As the name suggests, it has a brownish colour, (iron-oxide) yet transparent enough to look like a dirty green, without being dirty. I have combined this colour with Dioxazine Purple and came up with a beautiful black colour. Glazing this colour on to green and brown can warm up the colour and push it back.
I use the Tri-Art brand, which is manufactured in Kingston, Ontario… which makes me happy to support a Canadian Brand!
Dioxazine Purple – Although I do make a nice violet by mixing a red and blue, Dioxazine Purple is my go-to colour if I want to have a consistent purple mix, no matter what! It is transparent so it can be glazed on to increase brilliance to reds and blues… and I just love it as a tadpole when I make greys. I use M. Graham brand as well… for some reason I like the M. Graham brand because it has no solvents.
Titan Buff – My Go-To colour for lightening colours without risking the mix to become pastel-like. This colour is beige-like and can certainly be added or mixed into a colour to give it some added shadow or volume. When you mix this to a Cadmium Yellow, you can sortof dampen the look of the yellow which is sometimes what you need as Cadmiums can scream (if you know what I mean). When working on an abstract painting and things may have gotten a bit off kilter, you can brush or brayer in Titan Buff in areas to give it a chance to rebuild again. I use Golden brand.
Anthraquinone Blue – Anthra what?! Now say that 10 times real FAST! Yah, the name says it all. Its big, bold and blue. I am a blue person, but since this colour has a bit of red in it, it can be very dark if you want it to be. It is transparent with excellent lightfast qualities, love the greens this can produce and deep blue blacks when glazed onto rocks! I use the M.Graham brand.
I have many more favorite colours… but these are my top 5!! Have fun mixing!!! Please stay tuned to my You Tube video on my Marissa Sweet Channel for demonstration of these colours! and don't forget to subscribe!
So what is a Juried Art Show? Juried show is a competition in which participants' work is judged by a person or panel of persons convened specifically to judge the participants' efforts, either by the competition's stated rubric or by a subjective set of criteria dependent upon the nature of the competition or the judges themselves. For example, in a juried competition where participants compete against each other for a monetary prize, for inclusion in a show or publication, or for representation by a gallery, the work presented is judged by one or more persons, often experts, for such prize, inclusion, or representation.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Oshawa Art Association, an association I have been a member of for 17 years. It is always an honour to be accepted into the show and of course much more exciting to have been a recipient of a few awards in different categories in years past.
From 2005-2008, I was the OAA Juried Show Chairperson and this role has made me more aware of the work it takes to pull this show together. Congratulations to all that helped to make this 50th Anniversary a memorable one!
In the 2 terms when I served, there were a few years that I did everything myself. Creating the 3-fold registration form, data-entry of registrations, gathering sponsorship, printing of catalogue and certificates, distributing flyers, and finally emceeing the show together with Linda Jansma (Senior Curator). I had 6-8 volunteers during the take in and pick up days, but I handled most of the back-end administration. So, glad to have been able to pass this on to the next volunteer(s) after my 2nd term was completed!
I have met wonderful regional and national jurours and learned their process of choosing pieces for the show. Everyone is different, but the common denominator is that they are looking for pieces that have creativity and originality. They are looking for something that catches their eye, unique, good composition and solid technical skill. Of course, art is subjective and different criteria’s must be met. Overall, do not be upset with being rejected for the reason has nothing to do with your artistic skill but rather how the juror (s) envision the show.
Continue to work, practice, work, practice and work.
Till the next time!!