Friday, 28 February 2020

Finding Balance

Fishing Huts at Petrie Island, 8" x 10", oil

Blog 5

This week I experienced my personal “Friday the 13th” day. It started right after I woke up and continued until I put on a meditation session just before I went to bed. 

As many of you know, I am a night owl. Dealing with any kind of important decision at 7 am is not my cup of tea. Talking of tea, before I start my day, I prefer to have a nice cup of tea and some quiet time for reading, before exercising and getting ready for work.

However, on that particular day, I was bombarded with important tasks which included contract negotiations, financial decisions and schedule changes due to the impending winter storm. All this was even more difficult to handle as we did not have any Internet access for most of the day. I was forced to cancel my online class and to postpone any of my administrative and marketing work. I would not have been in the right mindset for it anyhow. I felt like drowning in a heap of demands without having the time to consider my options.

Luckily, I still decided to take care of my health and went to my regular mobility class. What a relief it was to concentrate for an hour on something besides all the problems and the noise in my head! Unfortunately, the stress did not subside for long. Everything I touched seemed to be more difficult to master than on a regular day: I kept searching for missing documents and any of my many glasses because I constantly misplaced them. You probably all know days like this when you wonder why you got out of bed in the first place. On a positive note, a friend offered me her office to get my work done. However, during a short time with Internet access, I was able to finish and schedule my monthly newsletter at home, before heading out for a short walk with our dog in the quietly falling snow. 

The Path, 10" x 8", oil
The next morning, I still felt frustrated and worried. To clear my mind and get rid of the frustration, I went into the basement to work out with weights. After the workout, I felt good about myself, and my thoughts were so much clearer. I quickly finished up all my administrative and teaching duties, took our dog for a walk, and was able to retreat to my happy place, my studio. There, I finished my painting from this week's plein air outing to Petrie Island. While I was painting, I felt like being back at the side of the road at Petrie Island looking at the huts and enjoying myself. I was so energized that I also added some darker contrasts to the painting from a previous outing to Petrie Island. I finally found my balance again, and I am ready for new opportunities and challenges.

I could have stayed in my little burrow to feel sorry for myself, but by exercising and painting, I was able to be in the moment and concentrate on activities to calm down and re-energize. What activities do you choose to get rid of negative energy or strong emotions?

If you would like to bring more fun and balance into your life, please check out my spring schedule at

Friday, 21 February 2020

Blog-free Week

Bouquet of Joy, acrylic, 20" x 16"

By the middle of February, my longing for spring gets stronger and stronger. I usually buy a bouquet of tulips to help spring arrive early at my house. I am excited about the longer days and the increasing intensity of the sun. This weekend, the temperatures are supposed to climb above 0 degrees Celsius in the Ottawa area. Time to get outside to enjoy the sun and dream about the first signs of spring. Have a wonderful week! Next week, I will post about my February artworks.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Express Your Creativity

initial painting / new painting with added shells and turtle

Blog 4

Last weekend, I hosted a painting party for a small group of ladies at my house. I have a designated teaching area next to my studio, that is surrounded by artworks so that the place feels relaxing and inspires to get creative.

The theme of the painting was “The Perfect Fish Tank”. If you compare the painting that I created to promote the painting party and the painting that I created during the event, you see that they look quite different. You might be wondering, why I did not create a more or less identical copy of the first image. It should be easy enough to do, right? Would it not also be easier for the participants to follow my example brushstroke by brushstroke?

While it would be easy to copy the initial image quite closely, it would take the whole fun out of creating the new painting. I would tense up to get every brushstroke and colour quite right. In the end, you would feel the lack of energy in the painting.

Whenever I create art, a little piece of me goes into the artwork. My goal during any art event is to guide the participants to explore their own creativity. I will show you the basic steps but I want you to explore and put your energy into the artwork. This way, every artwork will be individual even though we all started with the same blank canvas and the same image as a reference. I am very happy when I see all the different results.

When I guide you through the process, I am not concerned about me finishing another project, but I concentrate on how I can help you to reach your potential. During most events, I have participants with different skills. Some are complete beginners, who have not touched a brush since high school, others have gone to many painting parties or visited other art courses. Everyone can succeed as long as they have fun and don’t judge their work by that of their neighbours. It is my task to push you as far as you are able and willing to go outside of your comfort zone.

Aside from my conscious efforts to get you to create a unique artwork, my mood and my general well-being during an event are also reflected in the way I create my artwork. A couple of years ago, I hosted a painting party days after the death of a close friend. While my original painting was quite bright, the colours that I mixed during that event were more subdued.

One of my former students summarized my mission perfectly: "Kerstin Peters's workshops have helped me to become very creative. Kerstin is a multi-talented artist who loves art and people. In my case, she helped me see my potential, become more confident and daring as I learned and experimented. That is an amazing gift! Expressing myself through art (painting, collage, felting, mixed media) and enjoying art generally now enriches my daily life.''

If you would like to learn how to paint, but feel overwhelmed by the choices in the art stores, I offer an Introduction to Painting with Watercolour, Acrylic and Oil Paints. The mini-session starts next Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 10 am. For more information, please go to

Friday, 7 February 2020

Blog-free week

 The Path, oil 10" x 8"

This week, I took advantage of the mild weather and painted with some of my friends at Petrie Island in Orleans, Ontario. Although the sun did not shine most of the time, it was wonderful to be outside. For the past couple of years, I had not done any plein air painting in winter because it was often too cold or icy. Plus, the last time I painted with oil paints was two years. It was great to get back to it.

I wish you a wonderful week. I hope you will be able to spend some time outside. My next blog will be published next Friday.