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Showing posts from June, 2014

Do You Take Your Art Seriously?

By far the majority of students in my painting workshops are women over 50.  Most have had long and accomplished careers and many are either retired or planning their retirement.  With more time now, many want to return to their love of painting or come to learn how to paint abstractly or to develop new skills.

One thing I often hear is how difficult it is to create a space to work, to be serious about creativity and to make the time for art.  It's surprising to me, all these years after the feminist movement, to hear many of these accomplished women talking like this. You'd think that now when the children are grown and gone, and (perhaps) a regular pension is coming in,  that there would be much more time for creativity.  There are lots of things that seem to interfere.  Many regularly babysit their grandchildren or do volunteer work or are the main caregivers for aging parents.

Can you take your creativity seriously?  Who will give you that time and space?
I was in my mid-…

Expressing a Sense of Place in Abstract Art

Yesterday I received an email from Sandy Lambert, an artist who was in one of my painting workshops recently.  She is going to be painting in Ireland in September and was wondering if I could suggest exercises, an approach or technique to help her express a sense of place in her paintings.

 Before Sandy's question, I hadn't spent time considering how I approached painting when I am in another environment.  It has just happened spontaneously and unconsciously.

 Mine is a very tactile or kinaesthetic approach.  I particularly think of artist residencies in response to her question because the residencies I have attended were each 3 or 4 weeks in duration.  That length of time gave me the opportunity to get some sense of the place as well as time to work on a small body of work.  I don't ever seem to settle quickly into a place.  I find that I need to walk the land and explore for a few days to get over jet lag and flow into the rhythm of a new place.  I like to explore site…

A Morning Practice for Painting

My son,Andrew Mason, is a musician in Toronto.  He recently recommended a book to me that he had read during his  music studies.  The book is called Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within by Kenny Werner.  Written in 1996, this book is just as relevant today as it was 18 years ago.   Effortless Mastery is about learning how to find the 'space', the 'flow'.  Werner  gives meditations and suggestions as to how a musician might find that 'universal' space within themselves from which to create. Visual artists will find the suggestions helpful in their own creative work.

In my own artistic practice, I light a candle each morning as I come into my studio.  I do this to set my intention and to hold the space for my work for the day.  I have the candle near my studio door so I can remember to blow it out and feel gratitude for the day's work as I leave at the end of the day.  When I'm teaching a workshop,  I invite the artists to imagine l…