Monday, November 28, 2011

Focussed on New Cards

I have so much enjoyed reading  your comments about the role creativity plays in your lives, and appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts and personal experiences.  Creativity is certainly a powerful force for our physical and emotional well being, and one I'm so glad to have back in my life.  I so 'get' the comments about art being frustrating at times when results don't mesh with expectations and expectations of the result getting in the way of just enjoying the experience. Sounds like a few of us share a common bond!  : )  We sure can get in our own way at times, can't we?  A mental health counsellor I know has business cards that encourage people to  "go beyond expectations".  How true that is in the field of art!?  Only by having the courage to stretch beyond our expectations (or comfort zone) are we really able to connect with the depth of creativity in our souls. (Ok... that was a kind of deep way to start this post... Let's change into a slightly lighter gear here.  lol... )

The past few weeks haven't been quite as creatively productive ones for me as what I was hoping they'd be. (Oops... there are those 'expectations' again!). Unfortunately winter is not being kind to my physical health and is slowing me down. Still, I'm happy to say I finished the forest creek painting - the one that is watercolour painted on gessoed canvas.  Here's how it turned out...

I had originally envisioned a piece with more lighter green areas fading softly into the background but when I painted the water it turned out a fair bit darker than intended and it was such a challenge to paint the water that I didn't have the heart to remove it all and try painting it again.  Joanne, my art teacher, suggested darkening the top part of the painting to balance out the dark water.  The effect was amazing and I am fairly pleased with the piece now.  I say "fairly pleased" because I need to stare at it for a week or two yet to see if there are any last little tweaks that I need to make to it.  I am thinking that a few light/white dots added as highlights in the water might work well.  Hmm...

To protect the fragile bond between watercolour and canvas, the piece will need to be sealed with a varnish-like product (not sure exactly what product... the teacher did tell us but obviously I wasn't paying close enough attention to that part of the class so will have to ask her to tell me again!).  Once it's been sealed no more changes can be made, so I need to be very sure it's really "finished" before  taking that step.  Part of me would love to do this same painting on watercolour paper just to compare how a painting looks on canvas versus paper.  Right now I have more ideas than the energy to execute the ideas, so this may be one of the ideas that has to be put on the back burner for now.

My main creative priority lately has been developing 12 new cards to add to my greeting card line.  I'd like to have them ready for sale in January, so need to get them to the printer as soon as possible.  Tonight I felt like I'd finally reached the point where I was ready to go to print with them.  Yeah!!!  : )  I won't show you all the photos - I'll just tease you with a few. (Gotta leave something for another post!!  lol...)  Here are some of the photos that will be used in the new group of cards.  I'm showing you the photos without text, but will give you an idea of what kind of sentiment will go with the picture.

This card (pink magnolia) will celebrate new beginnings
This thoughtful crow will grace the front of a card about retirement
This photo will be used on a humorous card celebrating the strength we get from relationships.  Ok, I appreciate that at first glance it may not be readily apparent how this picture could celebrate relationships, but you're just going to have to wait until I can show you the final version to see what I mean.  : ) 

In addition to the writing the words for the fronts of the cards, I've written a 'story' for the back of each of them.  The story is only a few sentences long and tells something about the photo, like why it inspired me, what I think of when I see it, or where it was taken.  It takes me much longer to write the words than it ever does to take the pictures and decide which ones I want to use.

As a break from all the writing I did manage to take a few new photos this week.  A neighbour told me about three young racoons huddled in a tree just down the block.  It was late afternoon and the light was fading (in the winter it starts to get dark here around 4:30 p.m.) which made it a challenging shot. Also challenging was the fact that they were completely absorbed in snuggling that they didn't bother looking down at the by-standers often.

Aren't they adorable all snuggled up together?  Later in the evening I went out and saw they had all left the tree.  They were probably busy tipping over garbage cans and generally wrecking havoc in the neighbourhood, as racoon tend to do.  As bothersome as they can be, their little masked faces are just so cute!

I also spent an afternoon at Butterfly Gardens where I thoroughly enjoyed the tropical temperature!

Some of these pictures are begging me to try and capture them in paint.... one day!

To those of you who commented that you used to paint or want to paint, I sincerely hope you will take the plunge and give it a try.  For so long I was very afraid to try drawing and painting again, and am no so grateful that I was able to push myself over that wall.  The benefit of expressing one's self creatively is very worth the effort of breaking through the fear.

Hope you are all doing well and finding time to be creative!
: )  Fern


  1. I love your finished painting Fern. I really like the high contrast - it works really well. Your new cards are super too. I would love to see the last photo of the blue flower (dont know what it is) in watercolour. You have been very busy and it all looks superb!xx

  2. It's beautiful! I would like to see how this watercolor on gesso differs from painting on watercolor paper. If you do it, please show us the 2 together!