Thursday, January 3, 2013

Taking Exciting New Steps...

Here we are at the start of a new calendar year and I can't believe I'm about to enter my first art show!  Wow... how did that happen...??  : )

I've been very inspired by fellow alumni of the "Creative Courage" e-course who have done amazing things like found galleries and shops to sell their work, offered on-line courses of their own, pursued licensing opportunities and secured studio space outside the home.  But I didn't think I could do those things.... at least I didn't think I could to them yet (and I really can't say when I thought would be the best time, either!... lol...).  Fellow watercolour artist, Richard Wong (whose masa paper paintings I introduced you to a few posts back) had encouraged me to join some local art organizations and consider participating in some of their events.  Somewhere along the line, the inspiration and encouragement tipped the scales (in a good way!) and I submitted artwork that was accepted for a local art show in January.  The show is specifically for emerging artists.  Somehow that feels like a gentle way to dip my toes in the local art scene - to display my work along with other new artists who may just be as apprehensive as I am!

What pieces have I entered into the show...?  I thought you'd never ask...  lol...

First is an 11"x17" B&W photo of a maple tree.

I loved the backlighting and how it accentuated the trunk and branches.  When I look at the branches on this tree it reminds me of the branching nature of veins and arteries so I've titled this piece, "Patterns of Life."  

Originally there wasn't going to be a second piece entered, but just a few days before the deadline I finished this watercolour painting and decided I should enter it, too.

This watercolour is 6" x 12" on 140 lb Strathmore cold pressed watercolour paper and I've titled it, "On delicate wings".  Funny, but so many times before it was finished I quite nearly chucked this painting.  It seemed to go through an eternally "ugly" stage and it wasn't until I was nearly finished before I decided I was really rather pleased with how it was turning out.  That's a lesson for me - don't write a painting off too soon!

I tried something a little different with this painting and decided to leave the background with a soft washy look rather than painting in stems and leaves.  My thought was that the soft, blurry background would focus more attention on the detailed wing patterns.  I also tried some different paints.  

One new materials was the Shinhan brand of Sap Green that I used along with my regular Winsor & Newton, Da Vinci and Veniza watercolour paints.  I've read that the Shinhan watercolour pigments are suspended in something other than Gum Arabic and that they behave a bit differently.  While my initial impression is that they do behave a bit differently, I'll have to try the brand again to really know how much differently they behave. What I am pleased with is how intense the Sap Green colour was - it was really a challenge to water the paint down enough to get a light green. 

In the picture above, the Art Bars and paint tube are sitting on a "test piece" on which I tested whether the Shinhan Sap Green would "play nice" with my other watercolour paints.  I love how intense the dark Sap Green is while still maintaining some translucency. 

The other new material I used was some Derwent Art Bars (water soluble).  They are amazing!  Derwent Art Bars and Inktense pencils are going to be a permanent part of my watercolour painting kit.

So that's my exciting news for the start of this new calendar year.  Let's hope the viewing public like the pieces I've entered into the show.  If you happen to be in the Victoria, BC (Canada) area please visit the show!  It's running from January 9 - 20, 2013 at the Coast Collective, 3221 Heatherbell Road.  

I've also checked out upcoming shows... who knows, I just might get brave enough to enter more!

Thank you to everyone who has directly encouraged me or indirectly inspired me to enter this art show.  A special thank you to Stephanie Levy for her "Creative Courage" e-course as it and the support I've found in the discussion group that grew out of that course have greatly contributed to me having the courage to participate in this art show! 

So, what's everyone else going to do that's creatively brave?
: )  Fern


  1. Fern, Congratulations! That is wonderful news and so exciting. You are an amazing photographer and an extremely talented painter. The tree is so atmospheric and the butterfly is incredible :) Lucky people of Canada who will get the chance to buy your art. Great news!Cant wait to hear how it goes.:)

  2. Fern, Congratulations! That is wonderful news and so exciting. You are an amazing photographer and an extremely talented painter. The tree is so atmospheric and the butterfly is incredible :) Lucky people of Canada who will get the chance to buy your art. Great news!Cant wait to hear how it goes.:)

  3. Dear Fern,
    Thank YOU for always being such a talented glowing light in our Creative Courage community - you inspire us all with your positive thoughts and beautiful artwork! Congratulations on your first art show - I am certain that there will be many more to come and I wish you a wonderful experience. Happy New Year and keep in touch!


  4. Congratulations Fern, I hope your works go well at the show and that you enjoy being part of it. They are both wonderful pieces of light and lines. Great that you persisted through and never took the easy way to throw out your butterfly, it is stunning! It has been lovely to meet and share much with you this year through Creative Courage and I wish you a very Happy and Creative 2013!

  5. O my! The tree is wonderful! It looks like a very very old photo of an old fairy tree, I really love it.

    The butterfly is gorgeous as well and I think leaving the background blurred is what makes it so. It's like a macro photo of it.

    I think you should be selling prints of your works in an Etsy shop!

    1. I agree with Nini, the butterfly would certainly work well as a print.

  6. That's fantastic Fern! I absolutely love the butterfly painting.

    I just checked out the gallery's website but I couldn't see any info about the show. Hopefully, they'll post some info soon! I was thinking of telling my in-laws about it. Funnily enough, the gallery is located in my huband's childhood stomping grounds!

    All the best Fern.

  7. What a wonderful adventure! I love both of your entries and I bet you will be so glad to have gotten the butterfly wing entered, it is breathtaking!

  8. Hello Fern, I love your butterfly painting and I think that your choice to have the background soft was genius. I am so excited for you . . . If you get a write-up in your local paper about the show, be sure and post it. I sounds like it is time for you to start a journal to archive all the art shows in your future.
    Here's wishing you a clean fresh new year . . . May it be filled with self-discovery and expression. I'll be following and peeking in to see what creative avenues you explore.
    Your blogging sister, Connie :)

  9. Oh, Fern! What an amazing start of the New Year for you :) I've 'yessed' quite a bit while reading this post - I know how you felt, and I'm really inspired by your courage to do it anyway! Your work is absolutely stunning, and it deserves to be seen! I would love to be able to see it in person! I love seeing that you hit the ground running, this New Year, and I see a lot of energy to take it further - my thought alongside the tree was - branching out :) Go for it! - & I'm adding that I think you totally deserve those coveted Dr. Ph. Martins? ;)

    Love the butterfly and totally agree about the background - it makes it pop, like macro photography! Your watercolours are so strong in this piece - I love it! And I'm so familiar with the ugly stages of work. Pretty much everything I make goes through a stage where I think I might as well bin it, but I know by now that sticking with it - always - helps! Good on you :)

    May 2013 be filled with much of this goodness - inspiration, paint, your camera and knowing to stick it out! And the action - I love the action! So much better than just voicing intentions :)

  10. Congratulations, Fern! How wonderful to be accepted into this show. And I love your pieces too. I can identify with your description of working on your painting - I feel like every painting of mine goes through an 'ugly' phase but you never really know how it's going to go until the end. Luckily you persevered because You've produced a beautiful piece! Congratulations!