Artist Diary: January Round-Up

I have a tendency to work on a few too many projects simultaneously. I’ll flit back and forth between them—finish this one, drop that one, pick up something entirely new. It keeps my creative time very diverse, but it’s not always the best for getting things done. I thought it might be interesting to track my progress this year so I’m going to post these monthly artist diaries. This way I’m hoping there will be a little more focus and a few more things actually finished.

Grandma's Portrait

Portrait of My Grandmother

My grandmother passed away last spring just one month shy of her 100th birthday. Even though I consider portraits to be a creative stretch for me, I knew at the time that I wanted to do a portrait of her as a way to honour her memory. I had thought that I would try to complete it in time for her cremation ceremony, but with my parents leaving for that in a matter of days that isn’t likely to happen.

I don’t usually subscribe to the notion that you should only work on a piece when you’re “in the mood” but for this one I’m allowing for that. I recognize that this piece is part art and also part act of grieving, so I am trying to be gentle with myself as I work through it. Like grief itself, it will be finished when it’s finished.

This piece began as a photo-trace sketched with blue animation pencil. I then scanned that into the computer and have been using it as both a guide and a means to add just a little bit of extra texture to the coloured Photoshop portrait. I do my Photoshop work using a Cintiq 13HD, which does speed up the process a great deal, however the work is still fairly painstaking as I build up the features of the face using translucent brush strokes in various shades.


Wire and Nail Polish Flowers

This quick project started very much on a whim and as a result of my habitual wandering through Pinterest. I found this article on How to Make Flower Headbands with Wire and Nail Polish and became fascinated with the notion of teeny tiny panes of stained glass-like material. I was immediately picturing the possibilities in terms of adding little jeweled accents to my paintings. The next day I picked up some wire from the local bead shop and set out my collection of random nail polish colours that don’t see very much use.

The results of my efforts were not quite as I hoped. For one thing, while I used to do quite a bit of bead work, I found I was pretty out of practice when it came to working with wire. My first wire flower was okay, but they seemed to get worse and worse as I went. I also kept snapping the wire, which leads me to think that I would need thicker wire if I were to try it again. The nail polish itself was pretty fragile even after it dried, so I can’t see it standing up well enough to be something that I could add into a painting.

It made for a fun little crafty evening though and WALL-E got a cute bouquet of flowers out of it.

You can find other interesting DIY projects on my Crafty and Creative Pinterest board.


Find Your Heart(h)

This is one of three designs that I’m currently working on for Tilted Windmills—a social justice initiative that my partner and I have been developing over the past few months. The intention is to promote projects that support diversity, wellness and collaboration. Two of the designs are ones I’m doing in collaboration with my partner where he’s bringing the cause and the concept and we’re hashing out the design together. This one is a bit more personal as it’s my concept as well as my artwork.

Both he and I have known the demon of depression at various points in our lives. It’s one of those things that can take over your life during the darkest of times only to recede into the background when things are better, but never entirely goes away. For myself, I know that I didn’t reach out for support when I should have and it made my road back to myself so much harder.

Compassion is an extraordinary and powerful thing. Just this idea that any one of us can be someone’s “hearth” regardless of who we are, where life has taken us, whether we’re rich, poor, fat, thin, whole, broken, able-bodied or disabled… we all have it within ourselves to reach out and hold someone’s hand in the darkness. At the same time, when we find our own road is headed to dark places, it’s important to reach out and accept another’s warmth when it’s offered—to warm your heart in their light until yours can find its fire again.

We sincerely hope that we’ll be launching Tilted Windmills very, very soon, so with any luck I’ll be writing all about it in next month’s diary entry.

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