Friday, 27 July 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 30

Blog 30

It has been a busy week for my as I prepare for my trip to Germany that is just a couple of days away.

I continued to created 15 minute art projects that I posted on my Facebook page from Monday to Friday. This week, I picked one subject and painted it with watercolour, gouache, acrylic, and oil paints to give you a quick glimpse of the differences of the different media. I will continue my 15 minute projects until July 31.

As you probably have noticed, often I went past the 15 minute mark, usually because my project was too ambiguous. However, I always like to go with my feeling, and I really was drawn to create a certain image that day. If you are not inspired by what you see, it is really hard to bring excitement to your project. Instead, I love it when students do not want to stop at the end of the class because they are so involved in their creative process. They have fun. This is so much more important than to follow a timer. Some days, you might be restricted in time but if not, why not keep creating? In general, I recommend to take a break after about 90 minutes to move around and stretch. Creating art is lots of fun but it is also challenging for your eyes and hands. However, if you are in a flow just keep on going. Sometimes, you do not want to break a very productive streak. Set your own rules and routine, because we all have different needs.

Here are the other artworks that I created during the last week:

I finished both another felted butterfly and a felted elephant that I had started during my vacation. They were challenging but I am quite happy with the results.

unfinished acrylic painting, 8" x 10"
I also went out twice with two of my friends. Once to the Beechwood Cemetery where I painted the pond with the water lilies.This painting is still unfinished.

The other time to the Humanics Institute Sculpture Park in Cumberland, where we spent the morning drawing the sculpture “Motherly Love” of a hippopotamus holding her baby in her arms.

from left: Janis Fulton,
Hélène Martin, Kerstin Peters

I also felted a butterfly that I had started during my vacation at the cottage.

As I am putting together my schedule for the fall, are there any skills that you would like to learn, any projects that you always wanted to work on but always postponed? You can either send me an email to or send me a message to my Facebook page at

Friday, 20 July 2018

Creativity Challenge - Week 29

Blog 29

After the last two blogs about “Creating Art with a Group” that were a collaboration with fellow artist Anne Warburton, I will continue with my Creativity Challenge for the rest of July.

Since July 2, I have created 15 minute art projects that I posted on my Facebook page from Monday to Friday. I hope they have inspired you to follow along or to pick up your own projects. The main goal is to have fun in the process and hopefully to learn something new along the way.

I am very passionate about sharing my art with you because I hope that it will help you to look at the world around you with a fresh eye. Has it ever happened to you that you have driven through a part of your neighbourhood and all of a sudden you see a house or a barn that you never noticed before? Or maybe you reach a spot on your way and you wonder how you cannot recall your way? Our world is so full of sensations and we have so many things on our mind that we often do not really pay attention to our environment.

I would like to challenge you to have a fresh look around. If you have certain art materials, try a new technique, a new pattern. Challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.

foam sheet mosaic that took much longer than expected
Creating these 15 minute projects have been out of my comfort zone at times, especially since I have tried new materials or a new technique. I always was nervous that I would not be able to live up to your expectations of me as an artist. However, if I try something new, I also have to practice to find out how to get the most of the material or how to apply a certain technique properly. I had to remind myself of my own advice: The important part is the process and having fun. Only when you try different things can you find out what works for you and what doesn’t.

If you would like to see the 15 minute projects of the past three weeks please go to my Facebook page

Here are some of the other artworks that I created during the last two weeks:

I did a lot of sketching while I spent a week at the cottage. Some of the sketches turned out to my satisfaction, while others were too ambitious but will still give me enough information to help me remember a certain moment, even if the perspective or scale of elements are not correct. Then there were those where I tried to draw without looking at my sketchbook that were at least good for some hearty laughs.

I also took my sketchbook to the theatre again. It was so dark that I had to sketch without really seeing what I was doing.

still untitled, acrylic, 10" x 10"

At the cottage, I also painted a peony that I had seen at the Ottawa Ornamental Gardens a couple of weeks earlier. I was lucky to be able to rely on a good photograph of the beautiful flower.

"The Old Shed", acrylic, 8" x 10"

On Wednesday, I finally went painting again with some of my painting buddies. We spent the morning at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum where I painted an old shed that nature is slowly taking over.

I would love to see some of your projects. You can either send me a photo by email to or post a photo on my Facebook page at Please do not hesitate to ask for advice if you are stuck. I will do my best to help you.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Creating Art with a Group - Part 2

Blog 28

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting talk with my artist friend Anne Warburton, a versatile fibre artist from Navan, about “Creating Art with a Group”. In this second part, we talk about finding locations, the challenges of creating in a group, and about collaborating on a joint piece of art.

Question 4) Where do you meet - are there any challenges with finding locations?

In the summer, weather is a factor because we don’t want to be out in the rain or out during a thunderstorm. If you need an indoor space, cost is often an issue. We are lucky in one of the smaller groups, as we go to each other’s homes, and have enough space in a couple of basements or sometimes we use a carport. Many indoor places do not want to rent space to painters, because they are afraid that the floors will be stained. And the price can sometimes be prohibitive too.
Some groups, like the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, seek out locations to go to, with permission of course, or get invited to events. For example, we were at Lansdowne Park for the curling trials a couple of years back, and more recently, we attended a dress rehearsal with the the Ottawa Pops Orchestra at Centrepointe Theatre. Ottawa does have some beautiful outdoor spaces and parks that are perfect for sketching and painting. This coloured pencil image was sketched at the Rockcliffe Park Pavillion.

A great source to find places to rent is SpaceFinder SpaceFinder is a free matchmaking tool for people renting out their space to artists and artists looking for a creative space.

Question 5) What are some disadvantages of creating with a group? Are you afraid to lose your own creativity when you participate in group activities too often?

It is easy to mimic someone else’s style when learning a new technique or working with new materials. That is a risk at first during the learning curve, but we do fall back to our own style, and adapting to incorporate the new technique.

Group dynamics are very important. We tend to take on roles such as organizer, doer, planner etc. We need to be open to what others want to accomplish in each group so that everyone feels their own needs are being met, and also ensure that our own goals align with that of the group.

Question 6) Have you collaborated with other artists to jointly create a piece of art?

Yes, we’re just finishing up a piece for a show next year. This was the first time I have been involved in a joint creation, and I’m pleased with how it went. It’s very important that everyone agree in advance on all the parameters, yet be flexible enough to make changes during the creative process. There were four of us and we have created together in the past as a group, so each of us was able to fall into the roles that we usually play in planning and organizing our creative get-togethers. For anyone who does want to create a piece jointly with others it’s important that all the tasks be identified and assigned, so that one person doesn’t feel burdened with more, another doesn’t feel listened to, etc.

Both Anne and I answered the same questions. To read my answers to the same questions please go to Anne’s blog at or you can access her blog through her website  If you missed the first part of our discussion, please scroll back to last week’s post.

Anne and I were both very excited about working together and had a lovely chat. However, it was quite out of our comfort zone to record the session. It was even harder to watch and edit the video afterwards. It is not perfect, but it shows us in an authentic way. I am sure we will get better with time. You will be able to see the clip "Challenges with Finding Locations" at

What about you? Have you ever created art with a group? We would love to hear about your experiences.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Creating Art with a Group - Part 1

Blog 27

A couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting talk with my artist friend Anne Warburton about “Creating Art with a Group”. Anne is a versatile fibre artist. Her passion is stitching on paper and fabric, and incorporating paint, photographs, metals or recycled materials. A love of colour and travel inspires much of her work. She has a love of learning, and continues to develop her art through experimentation and courses, and is also trained in the expressive arts therapies. She is an active member of several arts associations including Arteast and the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, and is Chair of the annual Navan spring Fine Art Exhibition & Sale.
In the discussion below, Anne talks about her experiences and perspectives on the topic of Creating Art with a Group. To see my answers to the same questions please go to Anne’s blog at or you can access her blog through her website

1) Anne, Why do you create art with a group? What do you get out of creating with others?

I have learned so much when creating with others, and have grown as an artist due in part to such groups. Valuable tips, resources and new ideas are just a few of the benefits. I’m currently active in three groups: an open studio, sketching group, and fibre art playdates.

For example with the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, there are artists of all levels, it is great practice and you get inspired by each other, especially if you don’t sketch on a regular basis. When you start out, it is often very uncomfortable to have other people looking over your shoulder and it’s comforting to have other artists sketching or painting next to you, even though the public is very interested and supportive. They are not critiquing what you are doing but are very interested.

There is an amazing energy in creating with a group. You just feed from each other. You get excited again and want to continue creating when you get home.

2) What types of groups do you work with? How did you find these groups? Do you have a group you meet with regularly?

I have worked with art organizations like Arteast and the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, the Ottawa Urban Sketchers, gone to workshops and classes, shared studio time, gone out with plein air groups.

With a group of fibre artists as well as through the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, we get together regularly every month or so for “play dates”. We spend a day learning how to use a new material or technique by playing and experimenting with the material, and the results can be just fascinating. We can’t always predict the results, which is part of the anticipation and surprise. Even the mistakes we make while learning are extremely valuable. We had one experience where only one of five in our group was successful with the technique we were learning, and we did not know why she had success. It took much more research but we really did learn more and just how much practice some techniques can take.

Part of the fun too is finding finding materials we need in local second hand stores, and some materials we didn’t know we needed but just had to have. So generally, it is not just a learning day but a whole event.

This picture was from a get together where we were experimenting with bleach dyeing. The original of this piece of clothing was black, and by tying up parts and bleaching, a beautiful brown was the result, with interesting circles left in black.

I have found these groups by joining local visuals arts and fibre arts organizations, then getting together with friends made through these groups where we have like-minded goals. We are lucky that Ottawa has many such opportunities through organized groups and through several shops.

3) Do you think it is helping with your success as an artist?

Definitely. You get good constructive feedback from the other artists of the group, and are exposed to new ideas that you can consider for your own work, learn about resources, upcoming shows, and so much more. It’s amazing to see how everyone interprets a scene or technique differently. You find support, get inspired and excited again in a way that you want to continue creating when you get home.

While I have posted Anne’s answers, I hope you will be interested in reading my answers to the same questions in her blog at Anne’s website is

If you would like, you can also watch the clip “Playdates with Fibre Artists”of our discussion at and the clip “Ottawa Sketching Group” at 

In next week’s blog on Creating Art with a Group we will talk about finding locations, the challenges of creating in a group, and about collaborating on a joint piece of art.

If you would like to see what I created during the past week, I encourage you to follow my 15 minute art projects on my Facebook page  During the month of July, I will post them from Monday to Friday. I hope they will inspire you to follow along or to practice whatever inspires you. The main goal is to have fun in the process, and hopefully learn something new along the way.