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It's hard to believe how something as simple as rearranging the placement of a few things in my studio could make such an enormous difference. About 3 months ago I cleared everything out and set up my studio in a different way thinking that it would make my space more usable and efficient. That didn't happen. Instead, I found myself almost unable to enter into my coveted place. The angles were all wrong. My work bench seemed to cut me off before I could even cross the threshold and while my large easel was in a good place for light it couldn't seem to easily access anything else.
The whole space - my space - felt unwelcoming and my just muse sat outside the door waiting for me to figure the problem. My problem started by looking at another artist's work space and thinking how amazing it seemed! And so I tried to make mine like that. Problem is, I am not that artist and my space is about 10 times smaller :) There was no real hope that it would work for me. Mostly, because it was not mine.
Artist's studios are like chef's kitchens. The space needs to work for that particular creative mind and body. Our ability to move about and think. To play. To test. To use our tools. It's very individual and idiosyncratic.
So, I have pulled everything out again and organized to what works for me. Since then, I have found my way back in to my studio, my muse has followed and new work has begun.
Sunday Reflections August 18, 2019
It’s been one of those weeks ~ struggling to understand why I can’t seem to get into the art room or any creative space either figuratively or I my head. I jokingly posted on Facebook that while looking for my muse it appears she went on summer vacation. And while there was sympathetic support from creative type friends about all things needing a break and that ideas are constantly percolating in our heads I have continued to struggle with the knowledge that weeks are zipping by and I have nothing to show for them. Nothing. Barely even a suntan. Being self-employed (a family business) and in the peak of our season there seems to be little left at the end of any day to get creative about.
With shows and events looming like the moon on the horizon I have stood on the threshold to my creative space contemplating what I can salvage out of my existing inventory to make any kind of a showing in the next few months. Just thinking about it all has been overwhelming . . . the other day, as I stood on the threshold to my art room, yet again, a thought began to formulate and I started to ask myself “if I was my muse ~ would I want to work in the space?”
It’s not a big space. A reclaimed bedroom following the exodus of our last nestling. I had been using our diningroom before that. And while the space is conveniently located between our home office and the kitchen (easy access) it is also a problem for conveniently throwing things inside the room to “get to later”. My space has become so claustrophobic even I don’t want to go in there. I can’t move in there. Paints and tools can’t be located. Clutter is abundant. Paintings from one event and then another stacked around the room leaving no empty spaces. No breathing room. No creative ambience.
The muse tapped me on the shoulder and offered to stick around while I cleaned up. It’s a daunting but satisfying job. I took everything last thing out of the room and in doing so was able to jettison stuff that needed to go, made decisions about my own historical art (we all have some good & not as good). And while I am certainly a messy artist, the kind who wears as much paint as my canvas does, my creative space needs to be organized in such a way that I can communicate with my muse and hear what’s being said instead of being distracted by the state of my creative space.
The other day I stopped into the local art supply shop. As I live in a small community it would be fair to say it is a small store compared to the much larger suppliers that are at least 45 - 60 minutes away on a good day (in Vancouver that means there is no one else on the road and no rain). While grabbing a few tubes of my favourite Golden Acrylics to replenish my personal stock for the next go in the art room - I saw a colour I had not yet seen. Smalt. I glanced at the swatch of colour on the outside of the tube, noted how transparent it appeared and wondered if it was blue or purple or . . .
I left the store without it only to return a few days later with the sound of SMALT running around in my head. I had to have it - just so I could see it against a piece of white canvas. Like the name Smuckers I believed it had to be good. After all, it looks like a blend of my two favourite colours from childhood - royal blue and regal purple. On examination (finger smearing) I can say it seems more purple than blue. Either way I am already thinking of a piece that is already on the go to layer this juicy transparent paint onto. And, I like the word - Smalt!
I don't know why but I didn't take individual photos of these sweet little hearts. Group photo for a FB post. And off they went to the "Flower Shop in the Village". Hearts and flowers speak to people. The little green one has sold and this is the only photo of it. A cell snap and not very clear. I was just in too much of a rush ~ probably thinking I would get around to it and of course I didn't.
There is another juried event coming up in a few weeks that I am contemplating entering. My last foray was a bust! In looking at the submission details of the next show I'm a bit taken aback to see that jurors is also one of the jurors from "the bust"! My work is recently completed pieces I was thinking of trying again - you know, different show - different criteria - different jurors. Not knowing if this particular individual liked my work or not is a bit unsettling and puts another challenge before me. What are the considerations for me: the concepts of the two shows are very different and the works should judged in a different way (my thoughts - but hey - ya never know). There are still 2 other jurors who may or may like them and the other truth is there is no possible means to know the competition. And none of that matters anyway. It's all in the moment when the work is being considered.
If you want people to see your work you have to put it out there. Or at least try. Most artists I know want to know who is jurying a show before they submit. I don't want to know because it doesn't matter - you can't create a work for a team of three. It's a crap shoot. Everytime. I suppose I should run with my first thoughts. Give it a go.
I ran into a fellow artist in our local art supply store a few weeks ago and I asked if she was entering any of her work into an upcoming juried competition. This woman, who (I think) is a deliciously talented painter with a strong group of collectors who gobble up many of her distinctive works looked me in the eye and said, "I don't think so ~ I'm not a technical painter so I don't do well in these types of things. I want to be able to tell my story my way on the canvas. My work doesn't jury well". Huh.
Interesting. This is a well trained artist with a great pedigree of schools and instructors. So she knows the technical bits and chooses to express herself in spite of that knowledge. Her work is brilliant, colourful, dynamic, full of movement and has a voice all its own. It's kind of magical.
She went on to tell me (because I asked) about all of her upcoming events and shows. Jurors may not necessarily give her work the marks required to get into a competition but gallery owners, event coordinators and the buying public love her stuff!
We moved our conversation to the price of art supplies and how we buy them anyway - because - it's impossible not to buy art supplies. We said our goodbyes.
About a week passed and I mentioned to another artist friend about my brief conversation with our mutual art friend. They too had spoken about the same art competition (we are not boring - it's what we do) and the artist from the art store had shared this "I don't think all art is meant to be juried. It's just meant to be enjoyed".
Personally, I like that thought. It's like permission to colour outside the lines.
PLEASE JOIN ME AND 3 OTHER FABULOUS ARTISTS FOR RECEPTION ON FEBRUARY 16TH 2019 AT NOON
February 16 @ 12:00 pm - March 9 @ 4:00 pm
* Deerlake Gallery Hours: Closed Sunday/Monday and all holidays
Horizons is an exhibition that will be held at the Deer Lake Art Gallery featuring the works of Deb Chaney, Jan Rankin, Wolfgang Vogt & Ronald Watt, and is hosted and organized by the Burnaby Arts Council. The exhibition will open Saturday, February 16, 2019 from 12 to 4 pm and will run until March 9, 2019.
Horizons is a unique exhibition showcasing a diverse selections of an artist’s perspective of a landscape. Horizons includes a rich and varied survey of the natural world. Exploring the relationship between painting, glass and the abstract. Horizons brings together for the first time 4 outstanding artists with differing views featuring Deb Chaney, Jan Rankin, Wolfgang Vogt & Ronald Watt.
Deb Chaney is a contemporary abstract artist, speaker, & workshop facilitator. Recently named by Vancouver City Buzz and Culture Trip as one of the top 10 contemporary artists to watch in Vancouver, her artwork has been featured in Style At Home Magazine, The Georgia Strait, thrice on the homepage for Saatchi Online Gallery, in Rainmaker Films and on Telus TV. She teaches and speaks about the creative process and living an inspired empowered life.
The infinite and ever changing sky is the jumping off point for most of Jan Rankin’s work. Rankin’s “Dark Night Skies” series of auroras and galaxies
Ever since Wolfgang Vogt visited a glass studio many years ago he has been fascinated with the art of glass and its many forms. Vogt’s sculpture are in natural and abstract forms and each one is a unique piece of art. Their varying colours bring to life the different seasons.
Ronald Watt is an autodidact artist from South Africa, now resident in North Vancouver, B.C. His preferred theme is landscapes for which he draws inspiration from the South African “Highveld” and “Karoo” regions with their vast plains and big skies. Ronald holds signature status with the Federation of Canadian Artists and is regularly accepted for the Federation’s group exhibitions. Since 1974 he has exhibited extensively in South Africa, including with the South African Association of Art
Please join us at the Deer Lake Art Gallery for the OPENING Horizons on Saturday, February 16th, 2019 @ 12 pm.
"Like a true nature's child
We were born, born to be wild
We can climb so high
I never want to die
Born to be Wild!"
Every once in awhile a line of a song (or a few) will take hold of my heart or my head and stay there with persistence nudging at me until I make it sing on a canvas. The first such incarnation of a song was "Born to be Wild" ~ the painting is created by feelings of freedom and joy. The energy of wild nature.
With great gratitude on this Valentine's Day - all my hearts have a home. All You Need is Love, Flux & Reign. None were purchased for this day but because each one spoke to the buyer on a very emotional level. I had the wonderful opportunity to be inspired by the prose of local Vancouver writer Derrick Bauman and from his words came these works.