Sticky Stuff

Do you know that sticky stuff that they sell in office supply stores for putting posters on the wall? It comes in white or blue. I find the white is very useful for art purposes, and I’m not putting posters on the wall. First, it makes a wonderful eraser for pencil lines on watercolour paper or canvas. It picks up the pencil without smearing – similar to a kneadable eraser – but cheaper! It also lasts much longer than a kneadable eraser. As well, I use it to hold the wax paper onto my white cardboard that serves as my palette. Less fuss than taping down new wax paper when the palette needs changing. I like it a lot – even have a gob of it in my purse in a small ziplock bag! It goes along with the sketching pencil. 


“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” Dr. Seuss Here’s a fun photo for you to ponder. Can you guess what this image is? Make your guess before reading the rest of the blog. (Find link on my homepage blog,  if you are reading this on facebook or elsewhere.) Inspiration for art is all around us. And if you want to go wild with colour, take a look at the galaxy photos from the Hubble telescope, or some from macro photography – think high, think low! I’m betting you will find some colour combinations that you never dreamed of. 

The Failure Factor

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill – You might think of me as that person who is constantly encouraging artists; at least, I hope you do. Today however I have some sobering information that you need to absorb. I call it “The Failure Factor”. Put quite simply, it is this – creative people fail more often than non creative people. This makes sense when you understand the definition of being creative. To be creative is to make something new – to combine things that were previously not combined and make something new that is useful or esthetically pleasing. So, someone who does the same thing the same way, time after time, may never fail. But they are also not being creative. It is necessary for you to grasp this failure factor so that you will not be discouraged with failing, but will understand that failure is a necessary part of being creative. Because of this, to be creative takes real courage and a spirit willing to persevere as well. Read that quote again by Churchill at the start of this blog – does it make more sense to you now? 

Drawing or Painting First?

I sometimes get asked whether a person should take drawing classes before learning to paint. You may be surprised to hear that it doesn’t matter which you take first. That is because they are very different skills, and there is only so much one absorb at once. Some excellent painters have a great sense for shape and proportion and that can be a different skill than understanding lines and edges. Granted, strong drawing skills can greatly enhance a painter’s ability. Beautiful line work can make wonderful art. Everyone understands that someone working at all realisiticly will benefit from drawing skills. What is less obvious is that beautiful line work also can be used to enhance abstract paintings. Most painters pick up drawing courses somewhere along their journey. If this is of interest to you at this time, I have a beginning drawing course for adults that is starting on April 4 at Westmount Branch library. Your choice of afternoon or evening class. It is being offered in two parts, each just 4 weeks long. Registration is done through the library 519-473-4708, and more info is found on my website “Local Art Courses” page. 

Shine On!

“Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.” – Oscar Wilde – I spend a lot of time encouraging people in their creativity. I love this aspect of my work! Sometime though, it’s good to stop and say, I hope your life is also subject to your wonderful creative spirit. I hope those who are close to you are blessed by who you are, as well as by what you create. Shine on! 


As an artist, I get energized by great photo references. By putting the paint out onto the palette. By the happy anticipation of a blank canvas all set to go. By the movement of colour and the placement of strong darks next to lights. However, I find that even on a productive day, I can work too long and lose the zing. Sometimes forcing myself to continue is a recipe for disaster! There are signs I have learned to watch out for. Things like fussing too much over a small area on the canvas. I tend to paint vigorously, so I pay attention if the brush starts moving slower, or I sense I’m just not concentrating well. At times, I just need to stop and make some chai tea, and then I can go at it happily again. Sometimes going for a brisk walk does wonders. Still, each of us is so unique. What gets me going, might not do a thing for you. It’s really worth examining your life and figuring out which are the energy giving things for you – both to get you started, and to keep you going. Today I’m wondering, because it might be really helpful to fellow artists – including me, what kind of breaks re-energize you? 

3 Sure Fire Signs of Creative Mode

All artists long for more of it – the sometimes illusive creative mode. How does it manifest? 1. Time stands still – in other words you lose all track of time. Einstein said, “When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you are sitting on a hot cinder, a second feels like an hour. That’s relativity.” The first part, about courting, that would be the creative mode. 2. No worries, no problems, no matter how pressing, can intrude into the creative space. This aspect of being absorbed into creativity is just plain wonderful! A refreshing escape without having to pay for a plane ticket. 3. At times it feels like the creative work is making itself. What happens feels so natural that the artist has the odd sensation of being a mere observer of their creation. These 3 are my own personal experience as an artist. How do you experience the creative mode? Anything to add to my list?