I have never considered myself as a teacher. However, sometimes when an opportunity comes up that seems inviting and connects with my speculating spirit, I go for it.
Many years ago, after the earth quake in August of 1999, I was invited to teach women in northern Turkey how to start a small business and maintain it. Over 200,000 people had lost their homes and livelihood.
The men were still contemplating where to begin and what to do, while the women of Turkey, being very family oriented, needed to get their lives back in order as soon as possible.
Since most of the Muslem women had not worked outside the home, they wanted another woman to teach them skills on how to earn money to feed their families.
My business background of being the former owner of Enda B Fashion in Vancouver, enabled me to give the women some basics and empowering them. The most challenging was hearing their traumatized stories.
In this process, I became very passionate about their need to succeed. I used everything I had learned in personal development and business workshops to support them. It was a matter of survival for both myself and the women, and it worked!
Now back to art. A few weeks ago I received a call from Kathleen Landry www.kathleenlandry.ca in Deep Cove, whose art instructor was not able to make it to her therapy workshop the following day.
As I was flying out the door, the phone rang. Kathleen was stuck and I was available.
Not knowing what to expect in such a workshop, I thought I would just see what the participants needed and went for it.
To my surprise, I got more out of it than I could possibly expect. I loved it!
Now I have been invited back to do twice weekly workshops for a short while.
Teaching satisfies a certain need in me to bring (I hope) joy to someone, enabling them to see some positive results, or at least growth.
Thomas Edison said “Each time you fail, you have eliminated another wrong option”.
My plan now is to figure out how to make more time for this, while balancing my art career, family and personal activities such as swimming, dancing and socializing.Comment on or Share this Article →
THREE IN ONE
My Summer of 2011 project is completed. It was a bit of a rush, spending time at our cottage at Point Roberts, family and other events, to try and paint 60 plein air watercolour paintings in 60 days during July and August.
The challenge took place mostly on my balcony in Kitsilano, Vancouver, British Columbia, after dinner, where we take in beautiful views of rapidly changing sunsets over Bowen Island, English Bay and the local Coastal Mountains.
I had no idea of the speed of light until I started painting it! In order to capture the essence of this spectacular vision, I managed to fine tune my method into painting 3 works in 1 hour. Now that is pretty fast, having to make rapid decisions!
From the moment I looked up at the sky, to the moment of applying the paint, to back up again, which probably took about 30 seconds, the cloud formation and light had changed! It was almost “fast forward”!
I did not have the luxury of contemplating the next step. It had to be “alla prima”, all in one go!
The evening schedule went something like this:
Dinner on the balcony, followed by taking with me 3 quarter sheets (10 x 14”) of Arches watercolour paper taped to painting boards, watercolours, brushes, tissue, cloth, and water container. No pencils or sketch book. Then wait and watch for the sky formation to appear. It was look and paint.
Sometimes there would be a plain hazy sky in soft delicate peach and light turquoise with a few snippets of cloud.
Other times there would be a full blazing hot orange sky with strips of dull purple clouds.
Yet, other times there would be an extravagancy of puffy cumulous clouds in hot white, pink, orange and burgundy on a back ground of light Antwerp blue, which was Toni Onley’s favourite colour and is now mine too. I use it for all my skies and water.
As the summer progressed with the sun setting earlier by 2 minutes each day, which seemed like 10 minutes, the skies changed more rapidly and so did my painting pattern.
I found I had to get the paint down in a much shorter time before it got dark. Since watercolour lightens as it dries, I had no way of knowing exactly how light or dark my colour was until the paper had thoroughly dried later in the studio either by natural drying or blown dry with a hair dryer.
To get a smooth gradation of sky colour, I painted very wet into wet so one colour flowed into another colour determined by the placement of the board, upside down or right side up when drying.
The result produced an interesting surprise effect sometime. The exciting aspect was the unpredictability of what I would end up with until the following day! Most of the time, the paintings worked but some did not make it to the photography session nor did they deserve a title.
This whole vigorous process certainly satisfied my risk taking and gambling nature for a while.
Like Forrest Gump said "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get”. My Balcony Sky paintings are like that too. I never knew what I was going to get until the next day.Comment on or Share this Article →