The Last Few Months

In July, I had hung up quite a few artworks all over my house after the “Sky and Water” group show in Tatamagouche at the Ice House Gallery. There were no sales, but you know how it is during a freaking pandemic! Well I think we all do now! It’s not so easy at the best of times. But it was such a lovely venue and it’s so nice to get to Tatamagouche every so often.

It does please me to put my own art in the house. I had it set in a nice way and it is pleasing to the eye alongside some of my collected works throughout the years by other artist friends and aquaintances. Having it around does prepare a person, I think for a new direction without abandoning some of the main ideas. I did take a huge break in August because we were traveling to Ottawa and Montreal to visit my family and friends. It had been a couple of years. I honestly had not taken a break from art for a whole month in at least 10 years.

Anyhow, to help me jump back in, I did a September prompt called #coloricombo on Instagram which was really great because I was using a very limited palette of two colours plus black. I chose watercolour as my medium because lately it’s what I feel like using. I used no white except for the white of the paper. It was a most delightful exercise and I am thinking of exploring a new direction because I did this exercise. We will see!

Come mid-September, I get an email from the owner of Aumbience Yoga https://aumbienceyoga.com/studio. I reached out in May because they were seeking artists to display art there. I heard that they would get back to me at some point. I did not expect them to have such great timing. Michelle was very kind and said we could meet and I could see the studio. When I showed up there was a lovely person there that I remembered from somewhere. With masks it can be tough to recognize people and I had just gotten a dramatically short haircut. She said, “Is that you Kim?” and then I figured out that she was the medical assistant Liz from my doctor’s office. She had retired when they moved offices right before Covid-19 hit. It was a happy coincidence to find out that the owner Michelle was actually Liz’s daughter. I had brought my paintings over and it was nice to get such positive feedback from them both. Michelle has such stunning Macrame as well that she displays at the yoga studio.

I was ready to go set up art the following week but when you are a mom and there’s sickness and covid lurking about, you have to do the right thing and cancel everything! No school, no after-school childcare and no setting up an art show. So it was delayed a week…BTW my daughter was fine!

I had to buy these great 3M hooks for the show and it’s nice to learn some new non wall tearing, non hole making tricks of the trade. I had a really heavy one too, fingers crossed that one stays up. I really loved setting it up and I haven’t done this type of thing in a long time. Usually the gallerist or the curator sets up the show and you show up to a nice surprise. The last time I was involved in something of the sort was 20 years ago when I was a member of insight Gallery in Sydney Mines therefore I thoroughly enjoyed the task. Setting up my work the way I think it will look its best is a rare but welcome experience!

I think I have written enough for now about the last little while. I must run and practice my Italian Duolingo.

TRYING ETSY

I have been wondering for a long time if I would ever get around to opening an Etsy shop. I had not thought it would be so difficult! Everytime I would start it, I wouldn’t have time to finish. Somehow with everyone using my laptop for this or for that, I would lose any progress and that’s just for one listing. You see, you can’t save your work on Etsy and put it away for another day, until you get all the information in. This is what I recommend if you are to try it. Get one item ready for shipping and get it weighed at your local post office. It’s easier if every listing is the same size. Basically instead of freaking out like I did, just list all the things to need to fill out and then answer them on a sheet of paper before putting it online. Once you list one and you will have a general idea of what way to go after that.

The harder part now is how to get some online presence. I have no clue so I thought I would write this blog and see if it might help a little. I shared the items on Instagram and posted on Facebook as well.

I decided that starting with a few might be the way to go so that way every so often I might have a grouping to share on social media. I am trying to figure out how people actually get attention on their Etsy page. I have followed or liked a few items and that is rather fun. The friends and family I know on Etsy are being followed and some are following me. It’s fun to look around and see what people are up to.

I am going to continue this blog in a question and answer format. Have fun reading!

Why watercolours?

Well, paper watercolours paintings are small, lightweight and easier to ship than my acrylic on canvas paintings. I also have a small scanner that offers a really good image quality. I have a new mat cutter and therefore I am able to ship them matted. If I put these in a gallery I would have to have them framed which adds to cost. I am really enjoy painting the watercolours and I make a lot of them so they needed a place of their own.

Why Etsy?

Well, it’s worth a shot. I don’t know anything about how to get some attention to my page but I think I can learn this as I go. Months ago, I put one acrylic painting on Saatchi. But before I decide to put any other acrylic online, I think it might be best to get better photos. There are many rules about how to ship on Saatchi but with Etsy I think there is more freedom. I could look into a local market, I think that could take away from much loved and needed family time. So for now, Etsy is what I will try.

Why try it now and not before?

Covid19 changed a lot of things for many of us. I am selling on my own now therefore I need to have my work somewhere online. Instagram is great and attracts other artists with occasional sales. Facebook is the same with a range of people interested in many things and sometimes it’s art. But it isn’t enough. I could look into local markets but what if the virus makes it hard to be in contact with other people again. I had been wanting to do it but for a variety of reasons, I was getting in the way of myself. At times, I want to do too many things and get stuck. Last week I took a week off from painting anything to help with gaining perspective. I am actively trying to stay healthy by walking, skiing and doing Yoga with Adriene this winter. I want to eat healthier; which for me means giving up any sugar, unhealthy treats and excess carbs (I did have one chocolate last night because of Valentine’s Day). I want to live a more balanced lifestyle. I decided that these are things I can control. I can control how much I paint within my time limitations and where I place my work online. I can’t control whether other people like my work enough to purchase it. But that does not mean I shouldn’t try. I do believe this new found relaxed healthy lifestyle might be the reason I was finally able to let go and just do it.

I just wanted to share my latest life story and I hope it helps you and if you can perhaps check out my three Etsy listings at: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/FlyingMackerelStudio

Thanks for reading,

Kim

Dunvegan Watercolour Sketchbook

In July, we spent three nights at Macleod’s Camping Ground in Dunvegan during our pandemic stay-cation. It was the first time we went camping in 8 years due to a number of factors and it was such a pleasure for us. We had not been to Dunvegan in perhaps 9 or 10 years and it still takes my breath away. We were lucky to have beautiful weather while we camped and the camping site is just near Dunvegan Beach.

I now always take my watercolour set to the beach and this was no exception and this time I brought Brigid’s watercolour set too. It was her very first camping trip and I think she was pretty excited. She does get a little nervous about long car rides  because of car sickness but she did just fine.

I loved being in Cape Breton again. When we were first married, my husband and I lived in Sydney. We lived there for several years and our summers involved a little bit of camping along the Ceilidh Trail and along the Cabot Trail.  Cape Breton is a magical place and this year we brought the kids! We did a little sea kayaking, sunset watching, gallery hopping, beach going, wave swimming, brewery pub crawling (to eat), friend visiting and we stayed in a fancy “inn” too.

I was glad to see when I came home that many people took the stay-cation seriously and traveled within the province. It was clear that the Cape Breton Island needed more travelers about while we were there but according to my social media peeps, many we knew did the same vacation.

Here is my little tribute, in the form of a handmade book of a little slice of The Ceilidh Trail:

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Another Series

It is very common for creative people to get artist’s block. It happens and it is not unusual. I have had it and I am terrified of it. It usually creeps up after a show that I have worked on for months or when I am doubting my direction. I know other creative people get it and I don’t know the answer to this problem. I just think I need to put myself through it and quite possibly it might be part of the creative process.

There are times, during artist’s block, where I continue to make things out of fear of never doing it again. Maybe I make curtains for the house, perhaps I make facemasks for the family (pandemic duties), I bake yummy things (also pandemic duties…haha) and I think I continue to produce sketches and paintings in all varieties. I go through a hyper critical view of myself thinking I do not have what people call having “a style”. I have always been very creative and found it hard to commit to one way of working. In art school, my printmaking looked nothing like my painting because the processes were different. Printmaking was a place to explore and painting was a place to learn a skill for me, I guess. Over time, I think I explored more in my  painting practice. But the flip flopping led to mild criticism from one instructor suggesting it would seem like I had a mental health issue. Luckily and surprisingly, I took it lightly as I did with most “art crits”. I am not convinced that someone who is in their early twenties really knows what they want, but I digress.

I have spend the last few years in this limbo state. I did manage to get through a group show and paint quite a few series of things for practice and for fun. It wasn’t a complete dry spell but it was all over the place and I wouldn’t change a thing.

I am happy to announce that I have finally started a series of work I am totally and passionately excited about. I am working on large (for me) mystical landscapes in acrylic paint that celebrate the movement, colour and pattern where I have one foot in reality and one foot in my imagination. This would not have happened if I didn’t decide one day several years ago to take my watercolour set to the beach, and paint in plein air. It would not have happened if I didn’t make my big abstract for fun in January (I am still playing on it) it will go in my house someday. I don’t think it would have happened without the pandemic which gave me time to work though all this stuff in my head. I managed to produce quite a few beach paintings when people were so lonesome for the beautiful Nova Scotia beaches so I know I love it. It might not have happened if I didn’t do The Sketchbook Project thanks to my friend Leah who gave me it to do because her son did not want to do it.

Everything you make leads you somewhere so just go with it.

The Sketchbook Project-Stuck Inside

sketchbook home

This week I bound my little book for “The Sketchbook Project”. Here are the little watercolours I made in the right order of my little handbound book. It will be sent today and will stay in “Brooklyn Art Library” in NY with many other little books to be viewed by the public. It was very fun and I am pleased that I was given this project by my really nice friend, Leah. I hope one day to go and check it out myself.