Is it November 30th already? Hard to believe. I think November was the shortest month of the year for me. I've been very busy this year. Busy with family. Busy with art. It's been intentional. I set out at the beginning of this year to be more engaged with my life as a whole. I took a greater interest in the business of being creative. I enrolled in an online workshop with a wonderful artist and mentor and she has helped my brain morph in ways I didn't think it could and surely didn't expect. Through the workshop I've met artists from around the states and even one in England (hey, Laura!). It's a whole new network of friends and artists that have allowed and encouraged me to grow as an artist. And they continue to do so. The biggest part of this is the learning how to help myself learn to lean in to what I'm doing and discover and explore more in my work.
Most of my painting this year has focused on painting from life. I have sought opportunities to paint outdoors more regularly and the benefits from that were, too, unexpected. I didn't realize how many people love the arts, love to paint, write, create, and enjoy watching me and my friends paint on site. To engage with people while I paint has been pretty great. A lot of my creative time is spent inside my studio space in my own house so to get outside once a week has been a pleasant break and opportunity for me.
Some of you may know that I have been creating a lot of work this year on paper. In fact, about 99% of my work this year has been in oils on Arches Oil Paper. Aside from being a practical surface to work on when painting plein air, I love the matte appearance of the paint. I have learned it's nuances and how to prep the surface to achieve certain effects. I haven't fully explored it yet, but will continue to do so. I have also explored the idea of keeping things somewhat more simple in these plein air pieces. If you don't know, typically a plein air session will last about 2-3 hours at most. So I usually work small (9" x 11") and try to record as much information as I can as to color and value and composition. In other words, putting down on paper in paint my "impression" of what is in front of me. And lucky for me I have several friends who love to paint with me.
As I continue with my art, I started participating in arts festivals. My first was in St. Francisville in October at the Yellow Leaf Arts Festival. I shared a booth with my friend, Donna, and she taught me how to get started. (Thanks, Donna!) I have also been juried into The Big Easel which is a one day art event (Saturday, April 14th) in Lafayette, Louisiana. I can't wait. I am also looking forward to the Jackson Assembly Art Show the weekend of March 24-25, 2018 in Jackson, Louisiana. And, I am in the process of finalizing plans to show my work with Theater Baton Rouge in March 2018. I'll send out details once I have that put together.
As for the painting and my national group of painters aka "new artist bffs", we have put together a 30 in 30 Painting Event. We will be painting together - in our own studios. The gist of this event is that some artists have chosen to do 30 paintings in the 30 days, some will paint for 30 days straight during this time, and so on. I will be painting during the 30 days but will maintain my weekends for family time. So you will get about 20-25 days of painting from me. We have set up a blog site where our works will be posted, hopefully each day, so that you can keep track of all of us. I hope you will join us for this virtual event. We are pretty excited about it. At the end of December I will post an update and reminder about the 30 in 30.
So, now that December is upon us, my wish for you is that you have a wonderful holiday season. My wish is for us to keep the balance between the things we love which are family and friends and being creative. Realize that the season of "giving" is more than about getting something for someone. I believe it's the thought in the gift we give, whether the gift is tangible or not. Kindness and understanding and forgiveness are gifts, too. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays to all of you!
Painting dogs, children, trees, clouds, roads, flowers, flowers, and more flowers all in hot southern Louisiana!