Monday 30 March 2015

Sunny Cattails

This month has been an exciting and very growing one for me!

Regarding Art, I got to be part of the #ArtBattle248 in Olds. It is the second time I participated in it and though I have not gone to the final round yet, it's an experience that has been very rewarding.

This year's piece was "Sunny Cattails". The premise of this Live Art Competition is that you must finish the piece in 20 minutes and use the Acrylic colours given. You can use any non-mechanical tools that you want and bring along.

The great part of this experience is that it has allowed me to go to the not so "scholar" part of my painting. Though I practiced before that day - because I didn't want to be caught up at mid-paint when the 20 min, were over - this was not the piece that I practiced the most. I actually only practiced it once. The piece that I had in mind will be part of my next series: "Winter".

Because I didn't paint this piece over and over as much, it was great to see the result and know that sometimes you need to let go of the over-thinking that most of us refer to when placed in "all of a sudden" situations. I remembered that it was not the practicing of that piece fin 20 min., that allowed me to complete something that I was satisfied with and that would be worthy of having my name on. Rather is the continuous practice that happens in and out of the studio, the constant studying of the views, subjects or themes that inspire me and cause me to observe with almost awe; it is the constant sketching even if it is on napkins because that's when I happen to think about something; the constant.... the constant... It is consistency in what we do which allows us to go into another gear and which takes us by surprise because we realize we are ready for another challenge.

I would be lying if I told you I didn't want to win this year, but I would also be lying if I told you I came out of there feeling defeated. I love Art for what it does in people's lives and in my own. I know that by having the realization of what new challenges I want to take on and the understanding of how my creative process has evolved, I won! I won, not against the other amazing artists that participated, but against the artist that I was 20 minutes before my Art Battle round on that day.

Another reason why I loved being part of this experience, is because in this specific location the organizers (Debbie Ohlhausen - Different Strokes Gallery & Marnie Raegan -Ruby Bloom Studios) have made the decision to support a local cause through the auctioning of the pieces painted on that night. Yes, Art is not only for looks! Thank you to all who participated and were part of this, artists and audience alike. I love to be part of a supporting community!

May you continue... continue to be consistent and ever growing in what you do so you are able to become a better you in whatever you do. That is only a part of our growth, but it's the part we can choose and be responsible for.

Monday 23 March 2015



Have you ever been in a place (physically, mentally or emotionally) where everything is so still, no movement or ‘disturbances”? Lately I have been thinking about time and reflections. How we invest or spend it and who we choose to invest it in or with. The funny thing is that whether you think about investing or spending time, the only thing that seems almost criminal is to ‘waste it’. The act of waiting is one of those that may seem like a waste of time… unless we use it for what is intended: reflect and prepare.

In one of my many drives last Summer I saw this almost blinding view while coming to a stop. The reflections in the water were so striking that… you guess it: I stopped and took a photo. This specific painting has taken me longer than anticipated. Partly, because I chose to do more of a glaze (which I usually don’t do because of the waiting process) and partly because though I liked the view and I liked the reflections it had no emotional connection to me. Until, I started thinking about the many hours I was investing in painting it.  

Upon that realization, it came to my mind how fitting the title would be: Reflections. Reflections are just that, a mirror of an image. But when applied to us, to our thinking process, to our experiences and perhaps our spiritual walk, they also show us the real image; we see ourselves for who we are. Just like in a painting, these reflections could be blurry if the water where we are seeing our image is cloudy; yet it gives us the thought of a different possibility of what we have in mind. The trick of those mental and visual reflections is to identify where the light comes from, are we only blocking the light, creating a shadow? Or, are we really seeing a clearer image of what we think we see?  In the case of this painting, I was able to capture both, shadows and reflections. You’ll see that the first ones have a different angle and different tones in the water.

After this reflection ( no pun intended),  I was able to conclude that it was because I took the time to study and work on this piece that I could capture what sometimes we can ignore, light, shadows and reflections, which in reality, are not far from each other.

May you take the time to stop, invest and see the reflections that light causes in everything… there are more than shadows out there.  Hope you enjoy this piece!

Monday 9 March 2015

Mountain View

Mountains, no matter how many times I drive by or see them, they always remind me of the sense of peace, tranquility and security one can feel when you know that you are protected by someone way bigger than you.  Somehow the Mountain View makes us think of rest and evoke feelings that need to be felt more than translated with words.

During last year’s Plein Air I started this acrylic painting. I had already made a similar study in Pastels  (Wetlands) but I knew there was more that I needed to get out of that experience.  I finally came to the conclusion that instead of going back to my photographic archives as reference I wanted to go back to my feelings archive: The movement, the combination or elements, the smells, sounds, sun light, wind and the tree that I was sitting under while I did this study.  Instead of continuing with my acrylic approach, I decided to make it into a Mixed Media. I knew the palette I wanted to use and started to add Pastels that later would be mixed and adhered with medium. Everything was coming along yet there were 2 elements that were missing: The Mountains that I couldn’t see, because according to my visual archive they were to the left of my view and the tree that kept me protected from the sun… so, I added them. I used parts of the phone book I just received and continued the application of Pastels, Acrylics and Ink for the final touches. My husband came up with the title, which I loved. This time it was finished…

Through this process I was reminded that our senses, as amazing as they are, don’t give us the “full” experience. The things that matter the most to us are the ones that sometimes our visual mind could even fight because they are not in the view; yet, without the things that protect us and give us a sense of security and peace we only have a partial view.

May you always have the full perspective of everything you experience in life and know that life is much more than this.

Tuesday 3 March 2015

End of Autumn

End of Autumn

Have you ever gone for a drive because you needed to get from point “A” to point “B” and suddenly realize that the drive was the one of the best things that happened to you in the process?
As I was driving to an Art workshop I decided to take a not so usual route, part because it was a beautiful Saturday and part because I wanted to make my drive “shorter”. Because it was the end of Autumn you could see some snow in some areas and yet in others some trees were resisting the change. What caught my attention is the fact that because of the end of Autumn the colour of the trunks and branches in the trees getting ready for winter, was more exquisite, richer. The tones that had been hidden by the chlorophyll were revealed with surprising beauty. So, I did what a sensible person would do when they are on a task… “not”. I tried to memorize the different spots that were more attractive and had more movement because of the hills in the area. I knew that on my way back the colours would be different because of the time of the day, but I decided to give it a try, after all, you don’t want to be late for a workshop.

My choice paid off, the light at the time when I passed by on my way home made the reds and ochres even more rich, so I took as many photos as possible. Here is the result , I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and as I do.

And remember, the destination is almost as important as the journey! Enjoy...