Finding Creative Space

I’m betting you are busy. Not just a little, but crazy busy. It’s the way our world runs these days – fast! How do we get off, slow down, make a creative space? I’m talking about 30 minutes to an hour of lovely creative time a day. I don’t have all the answers, I struggle too. But here are a few things that help me to find some creative space. 1. Recognize that everything else will benefit, yup, even go better, if you take some time to refresh your spirit by being creative.2. Acknowledge that most of what we do in non work hours doesn’t have such huge urgency that it can’t wait an hour. Or even a day. If you don’t tidy up before Great Aunt Bertha gets there, the world will carry on, quite oblivious. And so likely will Aunt Bertha.3. Stand still. Breathe deep. And then make a list. Figure out what you must do, and what can wait. Writing things down can be a great way to have a brief closure on the “to do” (or as I like to call it, “do do”) list. 4. Go Create. Because no one else can create in the same unique way that you do. End of story.  Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Share with us what things help you pull away from crazy busyness and find a creative space in your world. 

Website – Live!

Welcome to my new website and blog! Paintings, contests, surveys, featured art students, art course info, tips and techniques – and more. I hope you will enjoy what this site has to offer. The blog appears on the homepage. What’s this blog about? This is where I write about creativity and how to be more creative. I share painting tips and techniques. There will be links to art websites. You will also find some favourite quotes here, about art and about life. The category ‘Outside the Box’ is a catch all for topics that don’t fit into the other ones. A lot of what I write will be art focused. Some of my writing will share my experiences as a full time artist/art instructor, and hey, some will be about life! Because – art happens, and life happens. The technical difficulties with the for sale and sold galleries have been fixed! If you couldn’t see images there before, you should be able to now. Yay Wilf! New blog posts happen most weekdays, Monday through Friday. Here’s the thing. I also hope that this blog will be about you. How? I’m hoping for comments – lots of them! I’m hoping you will find the content often worth sharing with your friends too – on Facebook, on Twitter, or anywhere at all. So today my request is, take a look around and tell me what you think. Tell me, over all impressions, your favourite parts, if something doesn’t work for you. Whatever your thoughts are, I’m hoping to hear from you. Enjoy! 

Famous Painting: Previous Winners

Here are our previous contest winners. Click on any thumbnail to see the entire painting! Artist: Salvador DaliPainting: Persistence of MemoryClose Date: June 30, 2012Winner: Kathie Wright Artist: Gustav KlimtPainting: The KissClose Date: May 31, 2012Winner: Cheryl Cashman Artist: Johannes VermeerPainting: Girl with a Pearl EarringClose Date: April 30, 2012Winner: Connie Mabb Artist: Lawren HarrisPainting: From the North Shore Lake SuperiorClose Date: Mar 31, 2012Winner: Lynne Tomlinson Artist: Claude MonetPainting: Woman with Parasol/La Promenade/Madam Monet & SonClose Date: Feb 29, 2012Winner: Scott Smith Artist: Vincent van GoghPainting: Starry NightClose Date: Jan 31, 2012Winner: Linda Summers Posey Artist: Edgar DegasPainting: The Dance Class (La Classe de Danse)Close Date: Dec 31, 2011Winner: Alexis Chadwick  

Mary Ellen Young

How long have you been painting? I’ve been painting since I retired 20 years ago. I’ve been studying with Cheryl for about 15 years. What type of paint do you like to work in? Acrylics are my favourite because of the versatility. If I’m not happy with the results, I can always gesso over it. What inspires you to be creative? Nature, and classes with other people always increase my creativity. Do you have a favourite subject? Landscapes and flowers are favourites Do you have any favourite artists? Our Canadian Group of Seven and Stephen Quiller. How does painting affect your life? Painting allows me to express my inner soul. It appears to bring happiness to others as well.     Paintings by Mary Ellen Young  

Lynne Pinchin

How long have you been painting? 6 years – all with Cheryl O What type of paint do you like to work in? I work in both acrylic and watercolour paint. What inspires you to be creative? I wanted to try something new and different. I am a sports fanatic, and painting is very different! Do you have a favourite subject? I am definitely a landscape painter. I love painting beaches, clouds, and peaceful scenes. What inspires you to be creative? Place that I have been, or places that my family has been – they share their photos with me. Do you have any favourite artists? Our Canadian Group of Seven. How does painting affect your life? This is a great question! Painting has added a totally new dimension to my life! It has opened up so many new interests, and friendships. I now notice things that I never thought I would faintly pay attention to. I can’t wait to steal time to sit and paint, or find new inspirations to paint. I love Cheryl’s attitude and credit her talents for inspiring me to learn to paint, to improve, and enjoy art. Her classes are so welcoming and just positive all the time. See more of Lynne’s artwork on her website, link below.  She also works in stained glass! LYNNE PINCHIN – WEBSITE   Paintings by Lynne Pinchin 

Carol Meredith

How long have you been painting? I have had a life long affection for all things creative. My father was an excellent oil painter in his retirement and he provided lots of inspiration and encouragement. I started ‘seriously’ taking painting lessons after a chance conversation, about 6 years ago, with artist Barbara McKnight. As she painted in Bayfield at the Sail and Canvas Festival, she shared her own artistic journey with me and I jumped in. I started taking classes with Cheryl O about 5 years ago. What type of paint do you like to work in? I have tried various media but always come back to my favourite … watercolours! I love the challenge of a media that offers such a narrow opportunity for correction but promises such lovely reward it you ‘think it through’. Also I love the magical things that happen when beautiful colours are dropped onto wet paper. What inspires you to be creative? Whether it is watching a painting demonstration or just admiring the work of others, I find I can’t wait to get my brushes out and begin! How does painting affect your life? Author Martha Beck wrote about creativity and compared it to yoga. She said yoga makes your body flexible and responsive so it can adapt to any stress. Painting is the psychological equivalent for the soul … painting stretches and strengthens! I love that hours can pass when you are painting and it feels like mere minutes. Another lovely benefit is that you meet the most delightful and interesting people in classes and art groups. (Gallery Painting Group, and Brush & Palette Club.) After a week together this summer at Cheryl’s Wet & Wild Class, four of us continue to get together for lunch and to art talk. Carol can be contacted at: [email protected]     Paintings by Carol Meredith 

Betty daCosta

How long have you been painting? In about 1962 I took a night course in drawing at Beal. I was introduced to a book on drawing that I purchased and when I had time in the intervening years referred to it and dreamed mostly. In 1968 I took a credit course at University of Windsor in life drawing, and painting. I tried a couple of landscape paintings in the late 1990’s on my own. When I met Cheryl at the library two years ago, I was inspired by her enthusiasm and skills and knew I would enjoy learning from her. This is my fourth course. Why did you first want to learn to paint? It is a form of expression, a language, that I wanted to learn and share in. I have a pretty strong emotional response to colour and visual experience, and am now learning more about the intellectual challenges art can pose. Life is just richer with art. What type of paint do you like to work in? I used oils until 2 weeks ago, and am in the process of learning how versatile and fast acrylics are! Do you have a favourite subject? Not yet. Anything organic, and people. What inspires you to be creative? So far, the best inspiration has been the enthusiasm of fellow artists in these classes. It is a creative environment that can set the stage for days of inspiring and inquiring pursuits – books, camera trips, going to galleries, and people watching. How does painting affect your life? It brings me joy and a sense of wonder. I take more time to take in and appreciate the world around me. It is a way that I praise the one who created and sustains all of this, and process my experience and responses. Betty can be contacted at: [email protected]     Paintings by Betty daCosta  

Judy Stirling

How long have you been painting? I have been painting for 4 years, since I began lessons with Cheryl. I have been taking lessons consistently since that time as taking lessons keeps me painting. Why did you first want to learn to paint? I began to paint as I was looking for a new hobby while I was recovering from surgery. I knew I wasn’t able to maintain my regular more active hobbies so painting seemed a good choice. What type of paint do you like to work in? My favourite medium is oil. In addition to the thick and luscious texture and the depth of colour, I love the flow of oil from the brush. Having said that, I also enjoy watermedia, particularly the wet-in-wet style as I love to watch the explosion of colour as the paint explores the canvas. Do you have a favourite subject? I like most subjects as long as there is depth of colour. I particularly enjoy close-ups of fruit and flowers. In painting these subjects, I am encouraged to really see them and appreciate the beauty that usually eludes me. What inspires you to be creative? I am inspired by colour. I am also inspired by being surprised when I see everyday objects from a totally new perspective, as if I am seeing them for the very first time. Do you have any favourite artists? Barbara Rainforth is my favourite artist. I love her use of colour. How does painting affect your life? Painting increases my mindfulness. When I am painting, I don’t fret over the past or worry about the future. Painting puts me in the ‘here and now’. It’s wonderful therapy.     Paintings by Judy Stirling  

Carol Prusak

How long have you been painting? Painting has been a part of my life on and off since childhood. It only has taken a major role since 2005 when I began classes with Cheryl. Why did you first want to learn to paint? I have always been creative with things like knitting and sewing, but find that painting gives a more immediate result and satisfaction. I tried decorative painting but found it too rigid. What type of paint do you like to work in? Acrylics for the versatility. I also like to play with acrylic mediums. Do you have a favourite subject? Right now I’m painting a lot of trees. What inspires you to be creative? Colour and texture in painting are very important to me. Often the subject matter is secondary. Do you have any favourite artists? I have always been attracted to Monet, van Gogh, and Group of Seven paintings; and more recently the work of Stephen Quiller. How does painting affect your life? Painting is a gift to myself. It nurtures me in a good way and helps to balance me. It makes me feel whole.     Paintings by Carol Prusak