Sometimes we are our own inspiration

We all scroll through sites like Pinterest and Instagram to spark up ideas these days.

But I think, as artists, we almost always overlook that our very own art can serve as inspiration.

Case in point: I painted this piece over 18 years ago and it still hangs on my walls. I sometimes think that should take it down at some point but I took a closer look today and this particular detail stood out and spoke to me.

The impasto texture technique, the colours as well as high energy markings on the right side gave me a whole new appreciation for my work and that perhaps I don’t give myself enough credit.

I examined it with newer fresher eyes and it totally inspired me.

I must do more and do less thinking about doing!

In the end, we should all look to our own work as a tool to further exploration and inspiration.

Advertisements

Creative work and art practice – they just don’t belong together

download-1

I decided to write this because I need to let this out.

Let me begin by saying I have always worked for someone else. However, recently I decided to plunge into the freelance graphic design world and I must admit, I was terrified. The prospect of not earning a steady bi-weekly pay was not what a Capricorn Gal like me is used to. Stability equals safe and comfortable, right? I really wasn’t sure I would feel the freedom that freelance is supposed to provide. Time would tell.

As of late March of this year, my contract was done with the museum and I was officially off on my own. I was lucky and had negotiated a good base contract before leaving my previous employer and that secured a start of the road ahead.

Some info about my work set-up:

I live in a suburb of Montreal (off the island) about 20 minutes south (with no traffic of course). My condo is about 1,000 square feet and open plan in style with two large bedrooms. My son, who is a full-time university student, has his own room but isn’t always home.

This means I had no choice but to set up my graphic design “studio” in the living room area. Not a bad spot either! I work on a beautiful teak MCM 1970’s desk and have lots of inspiration around me. The one main issue with this area is the lack of natural light. Not ideal admittedly but I would be okay. Right?

But sadly, after a few weeks in the darkish living room, I naively thought it would be a better idea to just move my business operations to another space – a space which had more natural light and was already set up to be a creative space. It was located in the corner of my bedroom which is dedicated to my art, sewing and crafting. I thought all this creativity would marry well since being a graphic designer is creative too. Right? Boy, was I wrong!

But this first: Business is great! I’ve been working on great projects and my graphic design business is running smoothly. I even created a website (Maker Flair Labs), a Facebook Page as well as an Instagram page for my business.

Back to the issue at hand:

Two months on since the “move” from the living room to the bedroom and I have to say, it’s been a struggle to do anything creative in that space. Every time I sit at my desk it’s to do business – graphic design. It’s no longer my space to practice drawing nor is it to paint nor is it to do embroidery. It has become my “work” desk. Even worse, I feel as though I have lost my creative mojo.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been feeling down. My lovely boyfriend mentioned that he noticed that I was indeed in a slump. He’s even recommended that I move the “business” back into the living room and that the bedroom business-y space is not having a positive effect on my personal art practice. He is absolutely right! I need to physically separate the two spaces in order to regain my personal creative groove.

Believe it or not, I was keeping my graphic design books, business documents and Pantone charts in with my art books, my paints, my sketch pads, my fabric collection and my textile art and sewing supplies. Not so focused! Too much stuff going on in one space. I need to totally separate the two creative spaces. I know now this type of set up never really did make sense but I am new at this working from home thing so I forgive myself.

I am in the process of moving the graphic design studio and business back to the living room and it feels great.

I hope this will help me! Goodness knows I need to get my mojo back!

Now, I have to solve the lighting problem in the living room. Alas, it’s a small price to pay if I can put my personal art practice back on track. Any suggestions?

Have you experienced this sort of thing? I cannot be the only one out there. What have you done to refocus your art practice from your business practice when you work from home?

Yikes, I just spotted a paint splash on my computer screen from when it was in my craft corner. Ugh!

 

 

Playing around with gouache one morning…

In an effort to expand my artistic horizons, I decided to see where a gouache exploration would take me last weekend. It turns out, it took me somewhere surprising.

As I was painting and layering in my favourite botanical go-to style, I made some very interesting marks.

Flower Print Test.png

A few days later, I decided to see how they would appear if I turned this pattern into a bold surface design. Using Spoonflower and then Roostery, I was able to mock up a few items and they look pretty awesome to me.

The mirrored effect, rather than the regular repeat pattern created a very interesting effect.

Screen Shot 2018-05-25 at 7.32.58 AM.png

Mirrored Meadow (bold) and its smaller sized version simply called Mirrored Meadow, will soon be available as fabric on Spoonflower.  The items shown above should be available on Roostery in a week or so.

I will definitely start integrating my artwork into my surface pattern design in the future.

Dream a little dream of… an art studio

One day (soon I hope) I would love to have a my own space to create, paint and hang out (close friends would have an open invitation to share and play with me too). Right now my space is located in my bedroom. It’s nothing fancy but suits my need for now. I have a large bedroom so it’s not that bad but *sigh* I (and always have) longed for my own and “real” studio and yes, with an sink!

In the meantime, get my fill of inspiration and great ideas from Houzz. I have had my account for many years now and love hoarding away images in my Ideabooks. These images make me smile, dream and hope.

Here’s my curated “Studios” Ideabook. If you aren’t already on www.houzz.com, you should be. It’s wonderful.

Craft Fairs, Art Shows, Festivals and Sidewalk Sales Are Coming! Are your ready?

remy-baudouin-94648
Photo source: Unsplash.com

Attention Crafters, artists and artisans: Craft Fairs, Festivals, Art Shows, Bazaars and Sidewalk Sales Are Coming! Are your ready?

Spring is around the corner (really, it is) and this means it’s time to rejuvenate your look for 2017. You’ve sewn, painted, knitted, crocheted, beaded, sculpted all your beautifully handcrafted items throughout the long and cold winter months for the seasonal fairs and you feel that you are all set to go. But are you really? With so many people vying for attention and sales at craft fairs and festivals these days, now more than ever, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd.

Signs, promotional cards, banners and posters can help you gain more attention and more sales

Don’t get lost in the sea of table tops this year. Your artistry, talent and craft are on display and you need to attract and keep eyeballs (and wallets) at your table for as long as possible.

You cannot afford to overlook your look in 2017 – Claim it

If you are in the midst of preparing for the craft fair and festival circuit this summer, let me help you boost your promotion strategy and bring your craft and talent the attention it deserves.

Contact me and we can make your idea happen!

Gouache & Acrylic (matte and metallics)

Today I decided to experiment with my paints and wanted to see how the high pigment but matte quality of gouache and the equally unique pigments in my metallic paints would play against each other.

I really like the result. I used a high quality archival Touch marker to outline my forms.

I feel as though I may have been channeling Klimt.

IMG_20170317_142205IMG_20170317_143257IMG_20170317_143306

Take note: creative services on offer

If you don’t look good, we don’t look good. – Vidal Sassoon, 1976

Shout out to South-Shore business owners! With over 15 years of graphic design experience (see my portfolio page) , I can help you look good. Really good!

Whether you need a new snazzy business card or a service card (like mine below) for your business or even a poster to enhance your shop window or craft show table, I’m your gal!

Depending on the scope of the project, I can offer clients a flat rate or hourly rates. Just drop me a line here  and let me know what you need.

My aim is to provide a turnkey graphic design shop for my clients, so get in touch with me and we can discuss your project and best of all, we will make it happen!

jm-postcard-v2

This is an image of my what my card will look like and yes, I cannot wait to receive them. Local shops and businesses on the South-Shore take note: you may be seeing this beauty in your post box very soon (if you’re lucky)!

 

 

Boho accessory scarf for change of season

Over the last two weeks I’ve been doing some exploring with my crochet work. With Spring soon coming, I know that bundling up is going to be less of a priority and I need to adapt to that seasonal change. ** Hard to believe but it won’t be this cold for much longer (fingers crossed).

Scarves as accessories are something which interest me because as someone who loves the look of chunky yarn crochet, I’d like to wear my creations well into the Spring without the threat of overheating.

1000x1000In my first experiment I used Schoeller und Stahl Pebble – Mahagoni. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available. I have that uncanny luck!

I loved the colour combination of rusty red, orange, green and creams throughout this unevenly spun and felted yarn. It was a total pleasure to work with and I so regret not purchasing more when I had the chance.

The idea for this accessory scarf was to play with the organic quality of the yarn as well as use it’s informal patchwork of colouring in a free-form crochet fashion. This allowed me to also experiment with the interplay between random increases and decreases throughout the length of this scarf. The “wibbly wobbly” quality of this long (like really long – 124 inches) scarf is very bohemian and carefree. At it’s widest, the scarf is about 2 inches and about 1 inch at it’s narrowest. The addition of mismatched crocheted flowers adds to its boho charm.

I now need to find this style of yarn in a cotton blend which would also do well in the Summer time. Accessory scarves are worth exploring and I will do so in the coming weeks.

img_20170210_094553
Wibbly Wobbly accessory scarf – patchwork colours with flowers

It’s all about texture and layers

IMG_20170126_090240-02.jpeg

An exploration in intuitive painting, texture, collage and various media have led me to this recent piece.

The contrasting textures I achieved in the base layer were created by working with molding paste then adding multiple layers of acrylic paint colours. The handmade paper collage sits well on top of this highly textured background.

The use of marker (black and coloured) as well as white pen allows the flower and vase to rise to the surface. I also love the delicate shake-y illustrative quality of the white outline.

More exploration in this style is the plan. Thanks for reading this.