Monday, December 14, 2009

Brightening Up Life

Brightening Up Life
December 7, 2009
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas
I have continued to paint though my posts have been lacking. As you may have read in a previous post that I am dealing with some life issues. My life is getting re-organized and if you look from the last posts painting 'Building Project' to this new painting it may be telling of how life is changing. I see my work much as Picasso said he saw his, they are like diary entries. Sometimes they are dark and sad and then flowing into vibrant glowing warmth. My life was shredded and teetering in unbalance. Through that experience I have learned a lot about life, and a lot about what is important in life. Now more than ever I see the small intricate beauty that is in everyday life. I don't have to search so hard for it. I have found joy in my life, in me.
This blog not only helps me to log my paintings, it is interesting to see their order and progression, the ebb and flow of ones creativity and how it reflects life.
I was quite amazed with this painting. It turned out more radiant than I thought it would. There were many dark shadows but the colors make it sing so it doesn't appear to be that dark.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Building Project

Building Project
October 27, 2009
Oil on Board
$300.00 CAN
'Building Project' is a painting that I did for the www.differentstrokesfordifferentfolks.blogspot.com website. I encourage you to check it out. I am amazed at how many artists participate. It is a great way to stumble across artists.
I haven't posted anything for October, but this post. It is because my life has been in upheaval. I had been working on the large painting of my daughter and the above 'Building Project' painting until I was forced out of my studio for two weeks. This painting and the classes I teach, and of course my family and friends, have really helped me through this tumultuous life transition. I cannot say thank you enough to all of you.
Usually I do not choose architecture as a subject matter in my paintings, so it was a good project to do. It is good to try things you usually wouldn't, you tend to learn something from the process. Through this painting I just bathed in the process and experience of it, since the subject matter doesn't truly interest me. I focused on what does interest me -paint. Looking at color, line, shape, texture, value, etc.
While I was away from the studio I kept my mind in the ring by checking in on artist blogs and keeping the inspiration flowing. I thought about painting all the time and knew that one day I would be back with brush in hand. Here I am with brush in hand. With life in front of me. With new energy and light. Oh, the sweet smells of oil paint! Moving forward! Onward and Upward! Onto another Building Project.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Self Portrait and Press

Self Portrait September 2009
September 26, 2009
19" x 26 1/2"
Oil on Canvas
$350.00 CAN
Photo: Drinking coffee and reading the paper

Photo: Newspaper picture and caption


I put the finishing touches on my Self Portrait yesterday. I have mentioned before, it has been quite some time since I really got back to figurative work. In my school days I did countless self portraits because I'm a cheap model. I have noticed a significant progression in my work since then and I believe the still life painting has really enhanced my skills. I highly recommend to any artist to take a year and do at least a still life a week, it will bring them back to the basics of just seeing. Being able to truly see something and to interpret it in a comprehensive manner that communicates effectively to others, is really the goal of all paintings weather they are representational or abstract. Doing a self portrait every year helps to gage the change and progression as an artist, not only do my looks change, but how I see things change. I see light in a new way. I also see color in a new way. Gray is never just gray. It is either a blue gray or a red gray, green gray, peach gray, warm, cool, etc. Next time you go into a room and the walls are painted see if you can tell what kind of colors can make that color up, if you had a pallet in front of you how would you mix that up? (Note to my students: and no using out of the tubes, or blacks)
Last Monday I had a great workshop that went very well. I was quite nervous about the workshop because I had never taught it before. It was on the basics of oil painting and painting in general. It was an information session about things you may want to know about painting and and the oil painting medium. I covered everything like paint make up, brushes, painting surfaces, solvents and ways you can avoid them, pallets, oils, color theory, etc. It was a lecture where I encourage sidetracking with questions, really that is why people come is because they have questions to ask. I think I may have to run it again either in the new year or next fall. If you are interested please contact me daphne@cotesystems.com .
The other pictures above were in the local paper of me painting last weekend during the Alberta Arts Days. Just to clarify, because they made me look like I wasn't a very good painter, they printed in the caption that I was painting my son, when in fact I am painting my daughter (hence the pink shirt and only a slight resemblance to my son in the right hand picture).
As for my daughter and her hand, I still haven't tackled the painting. Since last weekend she has had 3 casts, and she gets another one on Wednesday. She has been keeping us on our toes and strengthening our backs. She is quite snugly and needs extra love day and night! So there hasn't been too much work on anything this week. I was just glad to get a bit of time to finish my self portrait. I told my husband that was going down stairs to do some laundry. An hour later he came down looking for me and found me in my studio painting away. The good husband that he is, he said "That's looking really good. I'll make lunch".



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Paintings Still Wet from Alberta Arts Weekend Demos

Not Finished and Still Wet.
I would like to thank all of you who participated in the Alberta Arts Weekend.
On Saturday I was painting and showing some of my work at the Shikaoi Park in Stony Plain. There I worked on the larger work of the little girl with a pear. I spent about 5hrs working on it, with short breaks in between to meet and chat with people. I really enjoyed myself.
I told myself that I wasn't going to put this in my blog, but really it truly effected my painting and maybe delayed it in being finished. Well, here's the background story for the day, and the large painting...
I have most of my large work hanging at my mother's house. She has a large house with plenty of space to hang large work. There is a painting of mine in her dinning room that has been there for a while. My mother likes change and she usually changes around her furniture configuration every year when she feels the urge. Well, the old painting has been there for a while and she was thinking about switching some paintings around to freshen things up. I told her I would take the painting because I have a space for it and I have an attachment to it. She said she wouldn't mind a new painting. I told her I didn't have any paintings on the go and would love to paint a big one from scratch, then she kindly suggested that she would like a huge pear. I took her suggestion and twisted it, because I like to bend the rules.
I had my daughter pose for me and before the Art Day in the park I mapped the composition out on the canvas so I would have a head start.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shinning it was neither too hot nor too cold. The birds were chirping, artist were getting together and all was going smoothly. I was painting away and the painting was off to a good start when, I got a phone call. My husband phoned to say that he was on his way to the hospital with my daughter who got her hand slammed in a door. I was constantly waiting for his calls to update me. It was hard to do this painting because the figure in the painting is my daughter that I was very worried about especially the condition of her hand. That is why, whenever I got to the hands, I just couldn't do it. I was too worried about what was happening to her. She is doing ok and has a temporary cast till the swelling goes down. Now that I know she is going to be ok, I can, and look forward to, finishing this painting.
The smaller painting I worked on this afternoon at the Allied Arts Council Gallery. It is a self portrait that was fairly scary when I started but it really came around at the end. It's not finished either. There are a few minor adjustments I would like to make and some details that I feel are needed in the background. Even though these paintings are not done I wanted to have an image to go along with my post today. Reading is always more interesting when there are pictures.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Info on: Alberta Arts Days and Update on Classes

I went to take a photo of the current painting I am working on as a bit of a teaser in the hopes of sparking your interest to come and see me at the Alberta Arts Day. It is this Saturday September 19th from 10am -4pm. I will be painting and showing my work at Shikaoi Park, Stony Plain (next to the town hall). Hope you can come.
Now the photo, as you can see it is not here. My camera died right when I went to take a picture. Ugh! How convenient. Well, it is big. 5feet big. I am hoping to impress you, and I really like to paint big. I usually need a good excuse to paint this big because it is very costly.
I am slowly getting back into figurative painting. It is like my long lost friend that I didn't even realise we had lost touch. We had just grown apart. I have done so many still lifes it makes my head spin, especially when I look at them. I like still life but I am ready for other things, on and up! With still life I keep up my skills but it is people that truly intrigue me.
I have been meeting many interesting people in my work as a painter and instructor. I have had two classes that have already started that are full of wonderful characters. Teaching reminds me of why I love art. It's my passion. Yes, today I got so excited while teaching color theory! To see someone figure out complementary colors of why that one orange blob is popping out at them off a blue page. It is a fabulous thing when I can show someone how to create something that is itching inside them to get out. It is similar to teaching a child how to write their name. You've taught them a tool that they will use for the rest of their life. Well, if they care why orange pops off a blue page? Yes I realize that not everyone cares about those things, but most of the people who take art classes want to know that kind of stuff.
There is still time to register for art classes, if there are any classes that are full please email me letting me know which class you wanted to take. I will gladly create a second class at a different time to accommodate those who want to take a class that is full. Please note that I rescheduled the Drawing and Painting fundamentals class.
I am so glad it is September. Art classes, art festivities, and upcoming art shows! I can smell the paint in the air!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Studio Open House and Plein Air Paintings

Studio Open House
Thursday, September 3rd from 4pm - 8pm
and
Saturday, September 5th from 10am - 4pm
email me for directions : daphne@cotesystems.com
Come and have refreshments, check out my latest work, and the classroom.
I will have course information and take registrations as well.
Hope to see you there!
In the Garden
August 12, 2009
10" x 12"
Oil on Canvas
Sold
Friendly Daisy
August 14, 2009
7" x 7"
Oil on board
Sold

Revolving Sky
18" x 24"
August 14, 2009
Oil on board
$325.00 CAN

I have so much to say about these paintings. I hope you can come to the Studio Open House and I can tell you all about them.
They are all plein air paintings (painted from life, outside). I really enjoyed doing them, and I think they show it. I absolutely love the 'In the Garden', it was such a challenge.
I was at my parents house in my mother's fabulous flower garden. Despite the harsh growing season this year and terrible storms her flower garden has really flourished. It is truly amazing. It was so inspiring that I had to go out and paint. I was waiting for someone to drop something off for me so I decided since I had some time I would step out and paint until they arrived. Well, I dived into this painting. It was challenging and frustrating at times. I normally don't paint too many floral paintings because I don't want them to fall into the typical category of decor floral painting, which is a very slippery slope. I don't want it to look like a cheap print floral painting that you can get at ikea (don't get me wrong, I love ikea). I wasn't quite sure if it was turning into a good or bad painting, I was immersed in the process and the beauty. Sometimes I get into the creative 'zone' and it is hard to get out of it until the work is done, or I am done. When I was finished I packed up my stuff and went inside. Inside, there was a note posted on the door: "I dropped off the papers and I just couldn't disturb you". I talked to the Note Poster later and he said that I looked just too peaceful. He stood at the window watching me for a while, painting like a mad woman. He had never seen me paint before, I think he was impressed. Most of my family and friends have seen me paint several times, it is nothing new to them. It was a good little pat on the back seeing someone impressed by what I do. It makes me feel like what I do is important. I like to think that I contribute to the world in someway, even if it is in a small way. To other painters out there, I do recommend that you do a demo for an audience, it is the best self-esteem booster. There are not many artists, let alone painters out there. Make what you do important, even if it is in a small way, or only reaches one person.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fall Classes Are Here!

I have posted all of the classes I will be teaching this fall. You can find them along the right hand side of this blog. Due to popular demand I am teaching every age range. If you are 1yr to 100yrs old there is a art course for you. My main focus is to provide an encouraging environment for you to find or let out your creative energy in a positive manner, and at the same time learn about art and design.
People take art classes for a variety of reasons. I have taught people who just want to get out of the house and get a little time for themselves. Others have used it as an outlet to deal with grief or other emotional issues. Some love art and are drawn to it and want to know more, others have been dabbling in art all their lives. You can meet people there or treat it as a way to focus on yourself. If you have any questions about any of the classes posted do not hesitate to drop me an email.

I will have a table at the Tri Leisure Centre Registration night which is on August 27th starting at 5:30pm. If you cannot make it, but still wish to register please contact me.

Thank you for checking out my blog.

3 Paintings of White Cups and Pitcher

White Mug and Spoon
April 17, 2009
8" x 8"
Oil on Panel
$75.00
Mug and Spoon on Purple
June 19, 2009
10" x 10"
Oil on Panel
Sold
White Pitcher
June 19, 2009
8" x 10"
Oil on Canvas
$100.00
This post is long past due, and these paintings almost seem old to me. I have therefore grown a bit of distance between myself and these paintings. By that I mean there is a bit of a distance between the experience of actually creating the work which deals with emotions and struggles, and now brings me to the fact that they are paintings with no one really knowing about my personal investment into them. Time causes distance. I am no longer close to these paintings, so I may be a bit more objective to them. Two things happen to me and my relationships with my paintings. I hang them in my living space and I either grow to love them and to see all the beauty there is in them, which I then interpret them as good paintings. Or I grow to loath them and want them out, then I start to see them as mere exercises in order to gain technique or experience to bring me to those 'good paintings'. All of my paintings seem to have a purpose in their existence, and sometimes they just provide a good ground or texture for a new painting to go over top.
The above paintings I am growing to love and at first, especially while I was painting them there was a struggle. I was fighting time constraints and the fact that I need just something to paint. I didn't care if they turned out, I just wanted to participate in the act of painting.
Recently, I had just over an hour to paint and I thought it would be a good idea to paint a single strawberry. It was not a good idea. Don't paint a single strawberry unless you have lots of time and are about to delve into the realm of photo realism. Afterwards I went and researched paintings of strawberries and sure enough, they all appear to be quite realistic. Yes, you must paint most of the little seedy bits, and you have to put in the shadows and highlights of those little seeds or else it just doesn't look right. I have two painting attempts at a strawberry that are now going to become grounds for other paintings. But at least I know something that I didn't know before.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spring Tea for 2

Spring Tea for 2
June 5, 2009
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas
I was asked again (well alright the truth is I asked) if I could paint as live demo/entertainment at the Allied Arts Council's 'Wine and Cheese Open House'. It was a fantastic evening and gave me, the artist with a sopping wet train wreck of a studio, a place and a time to paint. I brought in some fabric to use with the AAC's beautiful tea cups and saucers. I set it up and I had to stop people from picking them up. Everyone wanted to clean up someone's left behind cups. There are so many countless instances were I find myself shouting "Please don't touch, that's my still life!" I once had a very pleasing still life with a bunch of random dishes, plastic colanders, pots, bowls, and such sitting in the middle of my kitchen table. Well my mother came over for a quick visit and started looking at the funky new colander that I had laying on the table and before a word could slip out of my mouth she started putting my still life away in the cupboards. I don't know any other profession where you would yell and get upset if people tidied up after you.
As for the actual painting, I do admit that it is not perspectively perfect, but I do love the fabric. I had brought it in to one of my still life classes for my students to use as a background. I was completely amazed with one particular student's work where she painted a pair of black shiny shoes ontop of it. Since that class I had been yearning for the chance to tackle it. I am most positive that it will appear in future paintings. It is weird because it is both a challenge and a pleasure to paint, usually challenge and pleasure don't occur in the same sentence for me. I have to be attentive to detail yet aware of the whole thing. Though I do think it has this strange softness that it naturally forces the painting to take. It really is not about the cups at all, they just help to define what they are sitting on which is the true subject matter. You wouldn't read it as a table cloth unless there was something sitting on top of it. Let me know what you think, right now just my family sees it in my kitchen. With all the paintings coming and going from my walls they don't really give a hoot about it. After about the 700th painting I have stopped asking for opinions. I seem to get the same answer anyways. "Yeah, it's good", translates to -yeah it's another painting. I ask so much of my family as it is, I take up a lot of space, hang my paintings all over the house, and of course I end up yelling every now and then "Hey, don't touch that! That's my still life."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reflecting on Spring

I Knew That Night
from series: Night Time Conversations
May 1, 2009
26 1/2" x 48"
Acrylic on Panel
Life had forced me to take a little break from blogging, but here I am, back with more to tell and new paintings to share.
I love Spring. I love the smell and freshness that Spring brings, but my Spring did not seem to last long, how time flies!
I kicked off my Spring with putting in a new garden and small flower bed. I thought how lovely it would be to paint my own flowers in the Summer. I have had fantastic dreams of plein air painting, that I have yet to live out. It doesn't help that I have a serious problem when it comes to Summer planning. For some reason I have a compelling need to fill up my calendar until I am writing along the margins. What is wrong with me! For some reason I get it into my brain that more day light means more time to cram in commitments. How unrealistic! What really caught me off guard was a small flood in my studio that put my art production to a crawl. Well, at least I am in motion!
The flood was caused by an unknown nail that was through the pipe that leads to the outdoor tap. When I went to water my newly planted garden I saw in the window next to the tap, water spraying down all over my studio from the ceiling. Oh, man did a few curse words spray from my mouth! That lead to a whole evening of ripping apart my studio and mopping up water. At least it was clean water. There wasn't much damage and hardly any damage to the building, thank goodness. I had built up some temporary shelving for my canvases that was made out of thick cardboard and this cardboard ended up saving my paintings by absorbing most of the water.
So now my studio is still in this state disarray, but I see this as an opportunity. I have recently received some hardware to build some counters and shelves, so now I just need to find the time to build and reorganize. When I do get a couple of free hours I dig out a place to paint instead of cleaning up or reorganizing! But can you blame me I am a painter that needs to paint!
Now for the above painting. I must thank the Allied Arts Council for inviting me to give a live painting demo as apart of the entertainment at their Decadent Dessert Gala fundraiser, where I painted this painting. That event lead to a picture of me painting this painting published in our local paper. I really fed off of the crowds overall buzz that night. It helped to give this painting energy and life. I painted this in acrylic paint because I knew that people would be eating and I was unsure about the quality of ventilation in the building. I personally find acrylics less aromatic. Not to put down oil paint because I absolutely love the smell of oil paint. It makes me sigh and I feel like I am home when I smell it.
Well now that has sent me into day dreaming about oil paint. That alone inspires me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Classes Come and Go









Photos from: Oil Painting, Simple Beauty in Everyday Life Class


I haven't posted in a while. Which may be a good thing because that means that I have been busy. I will have to catch up on my postings.


The above images are of a class I taught at the Allied Arts Council this past winter/spring. The students were such a pleasure to teach and they were continuously surprising me. I would get inspired and pumped up from the class, then I would often go home itching to paint.


I have scheduled only two workshops for this spring/summer. I am like everyone else and wish to spend more of my time outside enjoying the few months of warm weather than being inside and thinking and dreaming about being outside. So, I am going to try and appease both drives of wanting to paint and wanting to be outside by teaching a Plein Air Workshop on May 16th. We will spend half the day outside Stony Plain painting the beautiful fields and the other half down town Stony Plain painting scenes of this historical town. I am scheduling to start up regular classes, workshops, and artist sessions with a big bang in September. I am already planning it now, and I may need all summer to get the courses planned. Not only am I going to be teaching adults but I will be teaching teens and tweens.


If anyone is interested in workshops this month or future classes or if you wished to be on my emailing list to be informed/reminded of upcoming courses, workshops, or artist sessions, please email me: daphne@cotesystems.com.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Bit of Good Press






An Article on the Intructors Show
Published by the Stony Plain Reporter
April 10, 2009
I had a great and unexpected time at the Opening Reception for the Instructors Show at the Allied Arts Council on April 4th. There was low public attendance but many woman that instruct and contributed to the show were there. We pulled up some of the comfy chairs together and had coffee over a fantastic afternoon full of discussion. When you are an instructor it is hard to find opportunities to meet other instructors, unless you attend their classes. We seem a rare breed that fleetingly come and go without ever meeting but at the same time we know of each other and see each others names in either shows or in class/workshop brochures. I constantly found myself thinking, who is this instructor, I wonder what they are like in person? There is this air of mystery about us. Sometimes being an art instructor is a lonely job, there are not many co-workers to meet in the coffee room and discuss those problems or achievements that occur. You come and go hearing from a student about how so-and-so taught this. Or seeing the great attendance numbers of this or that instructor. Yet, never meeting. We fit that old description - ships passing in the night. Well, we ships got together and I think that everyone was a little nervous to meet, well I know I was. I build up these instructors like characters in my head. I hear all these little tid bits about them, what kind of work they do, what they teach, and students impressions. So, I make them out to be larger than life. Then we meet. We talked about how the show was going, about the work that we contributed to it. Technical methods. I was interviewed for the article above. We chatted about the local press. That lead into me ranting on about blogging. We started to talk about teaching, mostly about the funny shocking things that happen. The unexpected comments we get from students. We talked about the things that we thought only happened to us. It was comforting to hear I was not the only one who had people drop out of classes unexpectedly without a word (note: to prospective students, this usually happens due to students personal life. Normally my classes run at full capacity). It was great to hear from instructors that are new to instructing and others that have been instructing for a long time. I could have chatted with them all day.
I got some decent press from the show as well. There was an article published in the local Stony Plain Reporter/ Spruce Grove Examiner that was very flattering in length. It was packed full of quotes from my interview. I do have to mention one big error and that is it states that I am a member 3times in the article. For the record I am NOT a member of the Allied Arts Council. It was not a 'members only' show. Finally you do not have to be a member to instruct at the Allied Arts Council. That aside, I received many positive comments on it. My favorite comments are the ones that said that my words were inspiring and made people want to go out and create, which is really my goal in teaching.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Delicately Sparkling

Delicately Sparkling
March 28, 2009
17" x 48"
Acrylic on Board
Sold

I am learning not to have openings and such on Friday nights. I think everyone is too tired and busy from their week that they probably want to do what I felt like doing, which is veg out in pajamas watching some comedy/romance rental. I am also learning about the powers of spring and that when spring hits everyone wants to start up on their home projects or go visit people they haven't seen in a while. People want to get outside. I have the same itch. So I am going to run weekly classes again when there is a demand for them, in the Fall. I already have people wanting to know what classes I am offering and if they can get on the registration lists. That is very encouraging. For now I am going to be instructing workshops and hosting artists nights and model sessions. I am really looking forward to more plein air painting this spring/summer.
Now for the painting above. It makes me feel girly and feminine, like I should paint my nails and do my hair a little more often. Not to look good but just to pamper myself a little more. I did this painting while I was in a bit of a funk. My kids had allergies and spring fever, translation -they were nuts! My husband was working quite a bit as well. So, I grabbed a cocktail and after watching a fashion intern show while I rocked my congested daughter to sleep, and I went into my studio. I put on the tv and left it on the country channel. I never have the tv on when I paint, I usually listen to music, and never country music. It was a new experience. A show came on where a young woman was the lead singer in the band and they sang songs that just spoke to me that night. I often paint as if nothing matters just the fact that I am painting and enjoying the experience of painting. Most of the time I don't even care if it works out, especially when working with acrylics, because I can just paint over it. I have been working in oil for quite a long time and I have been teaching people in both oil or acrylic. I thought I should brush up on my acrylic skills. The above painting lent itself to acrylics' qualities. I wanted to work quickly and use lots of washes and layering. I do have to look into different types of white in acrylic paint because I find the coverage of titanium white just doesn't do what I want it to. It is not even comparable with titanium white oil paint. Probably, like most artists, I go through more white paint than anything else.
Back to the painting. I wanted it to feel light and airy as well as glittery. It is all about the feeling or the emotions that the painting represents. I want to put in in a huge gold frame. I feel like it is a jewel unto itself. It makes me feel like I just got all dressed up into the most outrageous out fit, like I would when I was about 6, and I would twirl around feeling like I was the most beautiful princess in the whole world. Well, at least in my world.
I often paint as a form of therapy. It helps me to see things clearly afterwards. It helps me to detangle and understand my emotions. It also energizes me like a brisk morning walk.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Catalyst for New Realizations

A Catalyst for New Realizations

from series: Night Time Conversations

March 26, 2009

3' x 4'

Oil on Canvas
$900.00 CAN
This painting along with the first one in this series (Out for a Walk) will be in the 'Instructors Show' at the Allied Arts Council Gallery from March 30th till April 18th. There will be a reception on April 4th from 1pm-4pm. I must say that the photos do not do it justice. The paintings are larger in size and so they give off a completely different feeling to the viewer than this small image on your screen does. I was hoping that it would make people feel as if they were in on this scene. There is also a play with matte and glossy finishes that you can only really experience in person. I hope that people can make it out to the reception.
I must note that I teach privately in my own studio/classroom and through the Allied Arts Council.
Now a bit about this painting...
I really love the glass and the dabs of reflecting light. It creates sparkles that dot the surface of the painting. This is my favorite size of canvas to work with. It is about the size that would fit comfortably above any couch or sofa. I think about where my paintings might end up and maybe that is why I really relate to installation art. In school I loved doing projects that involved installation type art. I like to create paintings that will easily have a home. I often think "would this look good above my bed or couch?". That's usually how I gage if it is a 'good enough' painting, worthy to be in this world and the spaces that people live in. With this painting A Catalyst for New Realizations, I wanted to recreate those life events where I have gone out for a quick drink at night. Usually it is a last minute thing where someone you run into says "Hey do you have time to go for a drink?". Or a friend calls you up out of the blue, "I'm in town want to go for a bite?" And then you find yourself in the most indepth, life altering, new way of seeing things type of conversations that will stay with you forever.
I have a friend, or muse if you will, that I met at work and we have always stayed in touch. I find her and her life very fascinating. She is one of those friends that you can either see every day or three times a year and you just pick up where you left off. She is easy to talk to and she is always there to challenge my thoughts and she makes me grow intellectually and as a person. I must thank her for all that she does, which is usually just making time for me in her very busy life and I know that can be hard. It is easy to let friends slip away. This series of paintings are inspired by her, by our many late night discussions. She has posed for me too many times to count. She used to come to my studio in our university days and eat lunch with me, sometimes bringing wine or some goody she just whipped up the night before.
When my mother saw this painting she thought that the woman in this painting is this afore mentioned friend, but in my reference material it is not. It is strange that subconsciously I have painted this friend/muse in without even noticing it. While I was painting it I saw myself as being there, recreating those feelings where the light goes dim and nothing in the world matters but this conversation and these people. I love doing things in the dark, painting, going for walks, eating, talking, etc. It helps me to focus in on the things that really matter, the things that reflect the tiniest amounts of light and life.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Session Open House and Registration Weekend

Spring Session is Here!
I invite everyone who is interested to attend my Open House and Registration Weekend. It will be held on two Friday nights starting at 6pm:
on March 20th and on March 27th
On those dates you can stop by and get the Spring Session brochure and register for classes, workshops, and artist sessions. I will have my artwork on display and there will be coffee tea and goodies. It is also a good chance to check out the studio/classroom. Whether you are interested in learning about drawing or painting, an artist looking for an outlet to paint with other artists or with live models, or if you are simply interested in my work I hope you can attend. Please contact me if you are interested in attending and I will send you send you information and directions to the studio.
Info on all courses are posted on my blog on the right side of your screen, you may have to scroll down. Please note that there are still workshops and artist sessions happening in March and April that are not completely full.

The March 20th date is also the Artist Working Side by Side night, so you can come and see what those artist sessions entail, or if you choose you can participate. They are open to every skill level, it is just a set time and place for people to get together and work on their personal art projects. It is a great way to meet other artists and to see what other's are working on. Come in and feel the buzz of creative energy.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Well Loved


Well Loved
March 2, 2009
7" x 7"
Oil on Board
The Egg paintings and the above painting of paint brushes are projects that I get my students to do in my painting classes. I have been deeply focused on teaching these past couple of weeks. Within the next couple of days I will be posting my next open house and registration dates. There will be some new classes and workshops added to the list of courses that I am already teaching.
Also, I posted better photos of the egg paintings. The previous ones were taken late at night and I really wanted to post them, but the quality was terrible. I apologize.
The Well Loved brushes were developed after checking out other artists blogs in the hopes of coming up with some inspiration for my Monday night class. Carol Marine, after a workshop she taught, painted her paint brushes. They are absolutely beautiful. Since my class is all about painting the still life in the quest to finding simple beauty in everyday life, I found that it is a perfect subject. It just goes to show, that if you think there is nothing worthy enough or inspiring enough to paint, you never have to look very far to find something. Usually beauty is sitting right in front of you. Do you notice it? is the question.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Itch to Paint Eggs



Eggs on Blue Cloth No.2
February 24, 2009
7" x 7"
Oil on Board



Eggs on Blue Cloth No.1
February 24, 2009
7" x 7"
Oil on Board




I have had a great few days of instructing. My Painting from Photos Workshop this past Saturday was fantastic, the creative energy that was flowing through the room was quite energizing. Then on Monday, I thought my class might just throw me out after I pulled out my old stinky shoes as their still life, but they humored me and went along with it. They produced such amazing work. Their improvement in the class jumped leaps and bounds and truly made me proud. And lastly tonight, I just finished these two paintings after teaching a class on color theory and painting. It really made me itch to paint. I found I couldn't help myself. The above two paintings are a result of that.


Thank you to my students, you really challenge me and inspire me as an artist.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

No.1 Night Time Conversations

(Untitled painting no.1) from Series: Night Time Conversations
February 17, 2009
30" x 60"
Oil on Canvas
I wanted to create this painting for quite a long time. A dear friend of mine sent me a very inspiring photograph which has kicked off a whole series of paintings that I am currently working on. This is the first one of the series and as for now it remains untitled. My goal was to give a sense of being out on a walk. As it is of a night scene I assume you are walking with someone. Maybe this scene sparks a deep conversation between you. Even if you are by yourself maybe it will spark an internal conversation within. I find that most of my deep, inspiring, and life changing conversations happen at night. Though it may not be as effective on your computer screen it is quite effective if you are standing in front of the original painting. This is mostly because of it's size, standing at 5 feet tall. I must also thank my two youngest sisters for their helpful criticism that lead to the completion of this painting.
A reminder that my Paint from Photos Workshop is this Saturday the 21st from 10am-4pm. The cost is $35.00 and I have 2-3 spaces left. It is open to beginner and intermediate skill levels. There will be lots of one on one instruction. Maybe the above painting, that was painted from photographic reference material, will inspire you to try your hand at it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Inspiring Gift

An Inspiring Gift No.2
February 8, 2009
5 1/2" x 7"
Oil on Board

An Inspiring Gift No.1
February 8, 2009
10" x 8"
Oil on Board
I recently had a birthday and my husband threw me a fantastic and surprisingly organized party. I had so much fun that I lost my voice for two days. I was given some beautiful tulips that were so inspiring that I had to paint them. They lasted for quite a long time and they brought tonnes of joy into my chaotic life.
Life has been taking me on one crazy ride that I never expected. It seems that whenever anything happens it happens all at once. Though it is chaotic and very hectic, there is nothing but positive things coming out of the noisy mess, which is my life. It reminds me of when my mother would do a really deep cleaning of the house in spring time. While she worked on organizing and getting to the root of all dirt and scum the house would become a worse disaster than when she started. There was always loud music, lots of banging and thumping of moving furniture and fixing those things that have been driving her crazy all year. When the job was done the house was sparkling, walls were freshly painted, and there was never a sign of all the chaos that it took to get to that renewed fresh point.
In this chaos is a new series of paintings that I am working on. I can't wait to post the first painting. I am going to work on it right after this post.
So, I better get to it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

J Wrapped in Pink

J Wrapped in Pink
January 25, 2009
16" x 20"
Oil on Board
J Wrapped in Pink was mostly painted during a model session I had at the studio on the 15th of this month. I loved the painting and it was an incredible model session. I went to look at the painting the next day with my husband. We both noticed that there was something lacking in the painting, that the painting had the potential to be more, but we could not figure out what was actually 'wrong' with it. I figured it out last night. I pushed the dark tones in the figure darker and therefore defining areas such as the limbs and it gave the figure more depth. I glazed over the blue cloth including the shadows cast in the background. This flattened the surface a bit, so that the texture in the blue cloth didn't take away or compete with the figure. Then I put another glaze over the pink wrap which gave it an intense vibrant feel, which is more true to the actual cloth ( you will just have to take my word for it).
This model was phenomenal! It was her first time modeling for me. During this model session I really felt like the minutes were slipping through my fingers. The poor woman, we lost track of time and she ended up holding poses for longer than we had agreed to. She was an incredible muse where I felt like I couldn't draw or paint fast enough. I became instantaneously focused. I usually do about an hour of warm up sketches and drawings of the model and then I do a couple of quick small paintings, not much more than 45min each. With 'J' I wanted to dive right into painting and my sketches were full blown intense drawings. She radiates an essence that I find very facinating. I hope to get the chance to paint her again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Taunting Group of Oranges

A Taunting Group of Oranges
January 12, 2009
16" x 20"
Oil on Canvas
$250.00 CAN
Yesterday I finished my bead painting and then I went and did my posting on this blog. Then I got surfing the web, jumping from one fabulous artist site to the next. I was so inspired that as soon as I put my kids to bed I went into my studio and painted the above painting of oranges. They have been taunting me to paint them ever since I did that drawing in my sketchbook (see previous post where I posted the drawing) this past weekend.
I find the internet a great tool to get inspiration. I find it just as good as art books, just less tactile. Though, I do find books easier to keep track of than websites. There maybe hope for me because I just started using 'my favorites' feature in my web browser to help me keep track of artist websites and blogs. I highly recommend taking a dreary afternoon and looking at some art online. You may truly be amazed at what is out there.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Finally Finished!

Untitled bead painting
January 12, 2009
20" x 24"
Oil on Canvas
$350.00 CAN
It's finally finished! I am quite sure I have put more than 20hrs into this painting. Though it is not that large it has so many different colors in it. It was the color mixing that really took the time. This painting really put my color mixing skills to test. It was not easy but I learned an incredible amount. I will certainly think again before picking subjects that are so colorful. I am pleased with the results. I love looking at this painting. There is so much to it. I picked the subject because it was colorful and also because by enlarging it's scale it reminded me of abstract paintings where the main point is shape and color. In this painting I paid as much attention to the beads as I did the negative space around the beads. it is the color and shapes that make it what it is. Though, you cannot experience it on your screen, the size of the work contributes to its abstract feeling. If it was a realistic size that was more true to the subjects actual size it wouldn't be as successful a painting. That is my personal opinion. I keep in mind that art is subjective. Speaking of opinions, my mom likes it. So it must be good!

New Pens = 5 New Sketches

From My Personal Sketchbook:











I went with my sister yesterday to the art store and bought some new pens and, well, that is just asking for trouble! They have this painterly quality about them. We couldn't wait to get into them. I came home and we sat down at the kitchen table and just sketched until we couldn't anymore. Supper interrupted us. Our partners wanted some attention and were getting sick of watching us tune them out while we were in the focused creative 'zone'. They are great tools to help communicate or jot down visual ideas. I bought 4 colors which the last 3 drawings are done in, with some help from a black pen. A blue-gray, burnt sienna, sand, and one called raw silk. How can you go wrong with something called 'Raw Silk'?
I had wanted pens like these for a while. Another sister of mine uses these types of markers all the time. She is an industrial designer and uses them to sketch out ideas for designs, mostly furniture design. They are a little daunting at first, and it takes a while to get used to their peculiar qualities, that is, they are not like any regular pen, crayon, or paint.
The above sketches are from yesterday and today.
I have been spending quite a bit of time in the past couple of months looking at two particular websites that are intriguing and inspiring:
www.startdrawing.org and www.urbansketchers.com . I highly recommend checking them out.



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's a New Year, Kick it off with a Model Session!

Happy New Year to one and all! I hope that everyone had a great Holiday Season. I certainly did. My husband, for the first time, had two weeks off work. So, we took the time to reconnect as a family.
I was tremendously busy. I had 5 birthdays this past month, and as if I didn't have enough to do I decided to make most of my Christmas presents this year. One of my favorite story tellers of all time has got to be Stuart McLean (writer and radio personality behind the Vinyl Cafe), and my favorite Christmas story has to be his "Dave Cooks the Christmas Turkey". No matter how many times I hear it or read it it always sends me roaring with laughter. It also reminds me that it is not just my Christmas that is hectic, chaotic, and often at times puts my normal life on hold. Every year I say it and never do it, well lets not break the tradition - "I really need to start making Christmas presents in the summer!". That is my explanation for not posting anything in December. Who had time to read any new posts anyways? December is always a right off for me.

Though I was working hard in Santa's workshop, I did find time to work on my painting. I could not even say at this point how many hours I have put into this painting. Really, I don't even want to count. I am enjoying it no matter how long it is taking me. I am learning a great amount from the experience. It is the painting that I had posted in it's unfinished state quite a while ago. It is of a necklace. It has very broad range of colorful beads. As a necklace it is on the verge of being tacky, I am sure that in a few years it will be. In the previous post it has a yellow background which is actually the under painting. I am close to finishing it. It needs about two more sessions for its completion.

I invite artists on Thursday January 15th at 7:00pm - 10:00pm to an open model session that I am hosting in Stony Plain. It is open to all artists. I do ask that you RSVP before the 12th so that I can reserve you a space and to make sure there are enough artists to make it a go. You can contact me by email daphne@cotesystems.com .
Also, I ask that artist not bring or use loose pigments. I have recently had a wicked experience trying to clean up loose ground charcoal and powdered green pigment from the studio floor. Well, it took me a week to rid the studio of that pesky substance. It seemed to transfer itself to all different kinds of materials. Which reminds me to add to the list, heat drying oil paint. That stuff just never dries. I tested the stuff out once. It took me a month to get rid of some ultramarine blue that kept on popping up out of the blue. It was like some weird alien goop that left a trail like a slug but I could never find where it was actually coming from. I would catch it adhering to my clothes, the bottom of my slippers, on books, and on light switches. Finally I found the culprit; a tiny spot on a large painting that didn't dry quite enough. I almost threw the whole damn painting out!
That said, I hope we can make it a go.