Monday, December 26, 2011

Within Reach

Funny how Christmas day always whizzes by in such a flash, that the day after feels like it is filled with so many more minutes.  

It's quiet.  I've been putzing around, still in my pyjamas at 5 p.m.  The rush and stress of preparing for that big day, that oh-so expensive day, is over, and it feels like a weight has been lifted, although, at the same time, the feeling of "what next?" looms heavily.  I've been painting today, which is always very gratifying especially when you feel like you've earned the privilege to do so without explanation, because there is always something else that seems more important needing to be done.   

The past two weeks have been kind of a blur for me altogether.  I worked my ass off at the office, went away for a weekend at the most inopportune time of the year, but for a totally realistic reason not needing to be validated, I started and completed all of my Xmas shopping within less than a week's time, received amazing news via email, and then, not too long after, less than encouraging news.  Talk about a roller coaster ride filled with emotional highs and lows...  but, hey - I like roller coasters, and I have no intention of getting off this ride just yet.

Amongst all of this chaos, I started a small painting that I was hoping to have finished for Christmas day itself, but that didn't happen.  I did work on it in spurts, in between running around and gift wrapping,  but my constant battle with staying on top of the laundry seemed to take precedence... oh, did I mention that my washer decided to conk out just one week ago?!  Yah... there's a bit of a black cloud hovering lately.  

This painting, albeit not a masterpiece, is encouraging (for me at least) especially with how I've perceived it, and the title I've given it.  The reference is from a photo I took on Christmas day two years ago.  I've always wanted to paint it.  It is of my nephew, a very curious little boy, not unlike most boys his age.  Two year olds don't seem to have any qualms about grasping at anything, at whatever is in front of them, at breakables or seemingly irreplaceable items, dangerous or not, they take chances without really understanding the risks.   Why do we as adults lose this ability to just go for the gusto, grab whatever is in front of us, and run?  We are more cautious, always weighing the pros and cons, and validating our reasons for every move we make.  Not anymore though... for me.  I too am going to explore every opportunity that presents itself to me, there's no holding me back anymore... it's all there, right in front of me... within reach.

Within Reach - Watercolour - December 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Out of the Blue and Into the Pink

I received an email last night, out of the blue, from Oli Brown.  Oli Brown is a 22-year old Blues singer from the U.K.  He was here in Canada this past summer at the Jazz Festival in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.  I was fortunate enough to see and hear him sing, and he is one talented guy!  I spent the weekend at the Festival with a gang of friends - it's a beautiful area, and we had such a fabulous time.  It wasn't just about the music, but enjoying each other's company, which often enough, with the hustle and bustle of daily routines, friendships get side-tracked.  Anyway, I was soooooo excited after returning from the weekend away, after snapping close to a thousand photos (that's really easy for me though), that I started painting like a mad-woman again.  Isn't that such a great feeling, when you've been inspired, when you actually hit the nail on the head, without taking much time out, to really contemplate the need for what you're doing?

That's me though... I do things on a whim often enough, erm... with my subject matter in paintings, so this was no real surprise.  Subject matter, for me, is not something that should remain a constant, although there was a time when I felt the need for this... but not anymore.  When I was really young, I thought I was going to replace the Archie comic artist, as all I did was copy (not trace) those drawings... when I hit my early twenties, I thought I was going to replace Robert Bateman (HAHAHAHA - ya right)... and now that I've returned to painting, and although I still love wildlife, I have no ideals other than to just paint... paint... paint... whatsoever I so choose, and to do so a-la-Lisa-O'Regan.

So, the first paintings I did after the Blues Festival were two small ones of Thornetta Davis.  You know how these Festivals work, three to four stages, or more, set up here and there, each occupied by a different artist, different times, you get a schedule, and you coordinate your timing to get in as many acts as you can.  We arrived at Thornetta's stage near the end of her performance, and we were WAY in the back, but when I saw her, I weaved my way through the crowd, leaving my friends behind, till I was up front.  She was mesmerizing.  I know, sounds insane, right, but she was, and I knew right then and there that I had to paint her, so I snapped away, until she was done singing.  It was quick, and I was so disappointed for arriving so late, but I got some good enough shots to work with.

This was a quick 5" x 7" that I did, and really enjoyed it, so I did another one.

Isn't she just amazing?!  I thought she looked beautiful, and it was the hair, the beads, and her fabulous dress that made me truly want to paint her.  So I did one more of her, and this time, it was a 13" x 20" watercolour.

Singing the Blues - 13" x 20" - Watercolour - August 2011

Now, how could you NOT want to paint that dress?!

Anyway, after painting Thornetta, I found her on Facebook, and sent her an email to let her know that I had just finished these paintings.  She loved them, and posted them on her page, and even as her profile pic.  How gratifying that was for me.  I wasn't looking for anything more.  I had been inspired, I painted, and I received approval.  Isn't that what it's all about?  So, on to the next, were my only thoughts.  

Oli Brown was next, and you're probably thinking, FINALLY, she's getting back to the point of the whole damn email thingy that she mentioned in her first sentence!  So, yes, I painted Oli Brown next, and although I was happy with the painting, my desire to paint singers from the Blues Festival had waned, and it was time to move onto the next subject... like I said, that's me.  So, because my interest had somewhat faded, I didn't persue a search for Oli Brown.  I respectively posted my paintings to my Facebook profile, as well to my DeviantArt page, and then went on my merry way to start something totally different, the next thing that tickled my fancy.  

BUT, last night, guess who contacted me?  HE HIMSELF - YES - OLI BROWN, sent me an email, mentioning that a Canadian friend had seen my painting on DeviantArt, and had forwarded him the link.  He loved the painting, and basically wanted to know if it was okay to post it as his profile picture on his fan page on Facebook.  Why, of course he could!  AND why not, right?  

Oli Brown - 13" x 20" - Watercolour - August 2011

Anyway, where I'm really going with all of this... with all my excitement about hearing from Oli Brown... it's just to say that sometimes getting unexpected news like this, out of the blue, is the most rewarding gift that anyone could receive.  I was tickled pink.  It was not all for naught.  I did okay after all.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Miracle of the Portrait

I miraculously entered my first ever portrait competition, well... first ever painting competition EVER, and I made it as a finalist in the Portrait Society of Canada's "The Miracle of the Portrait" competition!!  I was so excited when the finalists were announced!!  Actually, I'm not sure what I was feeling the exact moment, but I can tell you that my spirits were lifted like crazy when I saw my picture flash on the PSC's home page, after what seemed like an eternity of other paintings flashing by.

I had seen the announcement for the competition at the beginning of November, and thought, heck, what have you got to lose, Lisa?  So I decided on an image, burnt it to a cd, walked to the post office, and posted the damn thing.  There... it was done.  No turning back.  For Christ sake Lisa, get a grip... worst case scenario, you just don't get selected, right?  Where's the harm in trying.  So very glad I did, and if this is as far as I get, I'll be just as happy.  I did it.  I was brave enough... finally.  And you know what the beauty of it is, if you go and look at the selected portraits.... mine is posted right beside an artist's work whom I really greatly admire... Marina Dieul.  That's privilege and honour enough for me. 

I chose to send in the image of "Mellow Yellow"... a painting of my daughter that I did earlier this year (at one of my craft weekend's - well... I had started it at a craft weekend, at least)... It's 24" x 30", acrylic and a limited palette of only yellow ocher, black and white.  It was probably one of the most tedious paintings I've ever worked on, all that knit, but it was such a joy to paint!

Anyways, now I just sit and wait until the 20th when the jurors will make their selection.  There is another award too, the people's choice award, where the viewer gets to select their favourite.  If you are interested in taking a peak at the competition, follow this link:

That's it for now!!

Missing in Action - Action Packed

Wow... am I ever pathetic... but I have reasons... really, I do.  First and foremost, I don't have an audience here on my blog - ha!  Secondly, I don't have a life!  I work too much... and it's getting to me... a little bit... because it's eating into my time.  Speaking of time, that's something else that I don't have, but heck, I just like to fill it up till there aren't enough seconds left on the clock.  On top of working full time, plus overtime, I was involved in a play that our theatre group presented at the end of November.  We spent over two months rehearsing for a lousy three nights of performances.  Why do I do it, you might ask, if it's over and done with so quickly?  It's a rush.  It's fun.  I enjoy it.  I regain some sanity.  I get to work on my memory, which I've been losing for many many years, and it's quite incredible that I can even retain the amount of lines that I do have to learn, especially when I couldn't even begin to tell you what I had for dinner last night, let alone a ton of childhood memories.  That's why I take pictures, tons of them... they are my memory banks, because I'm certain my life-long friend, Diane, who's been feeding me bits and pieces, here and there, of what I've forgotten over the years, may not stick around forever.  Oh... that's crazy, of course she will always be there for me... but I may forget who she is! ha!

Anyway, aside from working on the production, I have been pretty busy with the palette too.  I completed one of my biggest portraits ever, but have yet to post it anywhere, as I have yet to present it.  It's a 3-foot by 4-foot canvas of my boss.  Yup, my boss.  He turned 60 this year, end of October, and my co-workers thought it might be a nice idea if I painted him a painting.  I really like this painting of him, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that he likes it too.  Still have no idea when we are going to give it to him... hopefully in the next couple of weeks, because you know what... it's enough that I've seen that man every day at the office for the past 22 years, but to have him staring at me from every angle, sitting on my easel, in my livingroom... it's kind of eerie, don't you think?!

I've done a few little in-between paintings as well, little water-colour portraits of my son... I really like them, as they were quick, one-nighters, not too much thought process to them, but they were a lot looser than what I'm accustomed to doing.

I also finished my watercolour of my precious Simba, my 17-year old cat.  It didn't turn out quite as I had hoped, but it'll do.  It's all right... I suppose... I think I made the background too dark... ah whatever... I can always paint something new another day.

"Such is Life" - 12" x 18" - Watercolour - November 2011

Otherwise, I've got another 3-foot by 4-foot canvas on the go.  I started working on it last weekend when I went away with my girlfriends.  Ya... we do that... at least two to three times per year, we pack up all our painting shit, and take off to a rented cottage for a long weekend.  It's great.  No distractions.  No rules.  No MEN or CHILDREN!!  It's great, and we always have a fabulous time... well most often anyway, whenever other shit doesn't get in the way.  This past weekend, my good pal Wendy had a really bad bout with her migraines, it wasn't good... each morning she woke up to this dreadful pounding, and had to sit out the morning and the early afternoon before it finally cleared by late afternoon, only to go through it two more mornings in a row.  Surprisingly enough, she still whipped out three canvasses!  And I'm still not finished my one... oi.

I'm of course saving the best news for last, but I'll put it in a separate post.  I am so very very VERY excited!! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Simba... just another WIP

Wow... I'm so lame... I'm not progressing entirely as fast as I had hoped.  I should have been painting this evening, but I am just so drained from a full day, plus overtime, at the office... and feel like doing absolutely zilch tonight.  At least it is coming along, slowly...

You can see the difference in time of day when these photos were taken... the most recent (above) I shot tonight when I returned from work... it was already duskish outside.

I think the fact that I've got two 3 foot by 4 foot canvasses sitting on the sidelines, might be intimidating me a bit... keeping me sucked into this detailed and tedious work... daunted that I'll have to trade my size 2, 4 and 6 watercolour brushes for size 6, 8 and 10 acrylic brushes!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Last night's progress!  This is only a snippet of the full image... I'm hoping to work on it a little bit more tonight, but we'll see... this blogging stuff takes time! :)

Here's my progress from Tuesday night this week... I was thinking she looked pretty evil looking in the first progress shot... but not so bad now that I've filled it in a bit more.

This is the start of my latest watercolour, a painting of my oldest cat, Simba, who is seventeen... she's tired and she hates the camera.  I have countless photos of her, but she never looks at the lens.  She did this time, and it was such a nice photo, that I had to paint it.  Now, I don't normally start with the eyes, when doing animal paintings in watercolour, but for some reason, I wanted to this time.

Losing my virginity on Blogger

Wow... I'm absolutely clueless as to what I am doing right about now, but here goes anyway.  I'm just going to start uploading (thoughts, and stuff I'm working on), and perhaps even downloading (thoughts, and stuff that has nothing to do with what I'm working on).

I have been procrastinating about starting a Blog for a good while now.  We won't even mention anything about the non-existent personal website that I've been meaning to get up and running for over a good year now!  Ugh... I just haven't got the time.  I work, I have three kids, and I try to squeeze as much painting time in as possible in between the maybe five or six hours of sleep that I get each night!  Yikes!

And I HAVE been painting - like a mad woman.  Whatever possessed me to let it go for fifteen years is beyond me.  I have been so consumed with my new-found passion, I am certain that I will never stop painting ever again.  There is so much I want to try, and do, and accomplish, over the next little while, so that means I need to paint, paint, paint my little heart out!

Anyway, no one is listening right now, so I'm just going to upload some progress shots of my current painting that I'm working on!  Hope to figure this Blogger thing out soon, and start looking for a few to start following!