art + photography

all posts related to artwork I’ve created, or photography

A Walk in the Woods

two-cabins, a walk in the woods, the artyologist

I am not a camper, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, this image here¬†is actually a picture of me. ūüėČ However, every once in a while, I do go camping, or off to camp, and my church’s Family Camp weekend is one of those exceptions. And so, I spent Canada Day long weekend (which also happened to be Canada’s 150th birthday!) at a camp in the woods, getting attacked by killer mosquitoes, getting sunburned, getting heat exhaustion, avoiding a roaming bear and experiencing a¬†severe lack of sleep. Despite all of these things though, I had a great time, and ironically out of my whole family (who do enjoy camping) I ended up spending the most time at the camp. I brought my camera along, which I was glad about, as there were so many pretty sights. Here are a few snapshots from my weekend at camp, and from a walk in the woods. (A quick walk in the woods, as we didn’t want to meet up with that bear!)

butterfly, the artyologist

dock-and-flag, the artyologist

canoes, the artyologist

cabin-2, the artyologist

white-flowers-and-rock, the artyologist

tree-and-lake, the artyologist

wild alberta rose, the artyologist

dock-1, the artyologist

fireworks, the artyologist

butterfly, the artyologist

forest-flowers, the artyologist

flowers, the artyologist

reeds-and-rosebud, the artyologist

Afternoon Tea and Cream Coloured Roses

Afternoon Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, the artyologist

Last month, when Spring had not yet arrived, (who am I kidding- Spring still hasn’t really arrived!!!) but we were aching for some sign of life, my mom splurged and bought a bouquet of roses. Although cut flowers don’t last for long, and can be expensive to buy regularly, they are such a nice treat during the long long days of Winter and the early days of Spring when there is nary a sign of green to be seen anywhere out of doors. It is amazing what a pretty bouquet of flowers can do to lift the spirits! And a bunch of beautiful¬†cream coloured roses, with just a hint of blush pink in the centre, paired with¬†a cup of afternoon tea- what a perfect combination.

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, detail, the artyologist

You might think, judging by the photographs I often take, that all I do is drink tea. And yes- you would be correct. ūüėČ At any given moment of any day, you will most likely find me with teacup¬†in hand, sipping away. The most often answered question in the house is, “Shall I put the kettle on?”¬†And the answer is almost always a resounding, “Yes!”

For me, it¬†must always be black tea (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Ceylon or Orange Pekoe are my favourites), lightly steeped and without anything else added to it. (Although, yes I do occasionally¬†enjoy a cup of green¬†as well) I used to drink my tea strictly the English way- with milk and sugar, if you please, but now I enjoy drinking it plain. I once read that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, after water- and I don’t doubt it! For me, it is most definitely the second most consumed- and some days I have to remind myself that water should come first, not tea ūüôā

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, teacup, the artyologist

What better way is there to spend an afternoon, than enjoying a pretty bouquet of roses, and a small tea party for one?

Do you enjoy drinking tea, and how do you take it? Do you do¬†“afternoon tea” or do you just drink it whenever you feel like it? And do you like to get bouquets of cut flowers?

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, roses and tea at desk, the artyologist

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, roses closeup, the artyologist

Tea and Cream Coloured Roses, tea detail, the artyologist

Happy Easter

Happy Easter, the artyologist

‚ÄúOn the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‚ÄúWhy do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‚ÄėThe Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.‚Äô‚ÄĮThen they remembered his words.‚ÄĚ

Luke 24: 1-8.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! 

Happy Easter, dear Readers. ‚̧ I will be taking a break this week from posting,¬†instead¬†focusing on celebrating this season with family and friends, but I’ll be back next week. May you each have a¬†wonderful¬†Easter holiday,¬†as we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Happy Easter, the artyologist, pysanka wooden stand

Happy Easter, the artyologist, pysanka top view

Happy Easter, the artyologist, pysanka grid

Happy Easter, the artyologist, pysanka scattered

Happy Easter, the artyologist, pysanka egg stand

On Getting Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone, Lessons I’ve Learned

On Getting Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone, Lessons I've Learned, the artyologist, winter lane and memories

In February I did something that I had been thinking of doing for a long time, but never had the courage to actually go and do: I exhibited my artwork at a local art show.

I have been creating artwork for as long as I can remember, and yet I have never considered myself to be an “artist”. What a heavy word that is! An artist is purposeful. An artist is talented. An artist is trained, not self taught. An artist has a defined style. An artist sells their work. An artist is focused only on creating art- they don’t have other jobs and hobbies, right? Wrong!¬†These are ideas that I had always held about artists, and thus I never placed myself in the¬†category of being an actual artist, because I don’t line up with what a¬†so-called “artist” should be. But, an artist is simply someone who¬†practices a¬†creative art; whether or not¬†they are paid for it, or whether they trained at an Academy, or whether anybody even likes their work. (Think of all the famous artists, who are now revered, but during their time weren’t valued, appreciated or even paid for their work!)

I have always struggled with a rather low opinion of my talents. Can you relate to feelings like that about your own pursuits? This past year I decided that it was time to start taking my artwork¬†seriously and the first step I decided to take, was in exhibiting at one of the local art shows held in February. It was a very big step for me to start selling my work at a few of the Christmas craft shows last November and December, but another altogether to exhibit at an Art Show. I felt so intimidated to show my work at the local Art Show, and yet it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in regards to my artwork. Not only was it an inspiring experience to see the artwork of 60-70¬†other local artists, and mine among them, but it was just the kick-in-the-pants I needed! ūüėČ Here are the lessons I learned about getting out of my creative comfort zone, and I hope you can learn from them too- whether you are an artist, or whether you can apply them elsewhere in your life.

On Getting Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone, Lessons I've Learned, the artyologist, discovery watercolour and ink

Showing my work at an Art Show forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and start taking myself seriously.

I had to actually call myself “an artist”. In the same way, whatever you are pursuing- own it! Call yourself “a blogger” or “a fashion designer” or “a photographer” or whatever it is you want. It is funny how simply acknowledging that this is a serious part of your life can make a huge difference in how you view it, and approach it.

Having a deadline meant that I was spending time creating, not just for personal enjoyment, but because I had something to work towards.

I couldn’t not create because I had to have pieces ready to show. I finally got the courage to get five¬†of my photographs printed up on 16″ x 24″ canvases. (I had never, before this, printed my pictures any larger than 5″ x 7″- which is just crazy!) I was spending time every day sketching and painting and pottering about with my camera, but with a purpose in mind. Not that you can’t create without a deadline, but for me personally, having a deadline was a great incentive! Sometimes, finding an outlet for whatever goals you are pursuing is a great way to make sure you are spending time on them. Look for local places to exhibit your artwork. Plan a trip in order to practice that new language you are learning. Look and plan ahead for ways to put¬†your skills into practice.

On Getting Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone, Lessons I've Learned, the artyologist, tithe barn and lilacs after the rain

As intimidated as I was about exhibiting, there was absolutely no reason to be so. 

There were so many artists of all different varieties there. There were self taught artists, as well as professionally trained artists. There were hobby artists and career artists. There were artists who had one very distinctive style, and artists who created and experimented with multiple mediums and styles. There were artists who had been creating for years, and artists who were showing for the first time. There were artists who were young (students) and artists who were old (retired). There was artwork¬†I didn’t much care for, and artwork that stopped me in my tracks because it was so overwhelmingly beautiful.

In short, all of the drawbacks I had about my artwork¬†were absolute rubbish. I am my own worst critic, and the fear of failure often stops me from even trying things.¬†I am mostly self taught, except for lessons throughout high school, and I have always considered this to be a drawback and a hindrance to considering myself a serious artist. Seeing the work of so many other artists¬†of all different levels (many of whom were self-taught too!) and different stages of life was so encouraging. I realized that¬†I have absolutely every right to¬†consider myself an artist (without being vain about it, of course!). I realized that I was one of them. You are too! Whatever it is that you are pursuing, you are a valuable part of the community. Don’t feel intimidated by what others are doing,¬†and get stuck on what you consider to be your drawbacks. Maybe, like me, you will be pleasantly surprised to find out that the things you are worried about are not things that should be holding you back at all, but might actually be things you have in common with the others you are comparing yourself too. And on that note- stop comparing yourself! ¬†(Easier said than done, I know; I am the Queen of Comparison!)

I came away from the show inspired to create. 

It was incredibly inspiring to see the work of so many¬†other local artists and art students. There were all kinds¬†of styles and mediums. ¬†There were pieces made with mediums and techniques that I had never thought about before. There was one collage made with magazine clippings combined with watercolour and ink. I had never thought of combining my love of ephemera and collage with watercolour and ink. It was such a simple, yet ingenious idea and I don’t know why I had never thought of it before. I am now eager to try that medium myself! Going to the show was so refreshing, creatively speaking. Seeing what other people are doing can be very¬†inspiring. Don’t get stuck in a rut of looking at only the same thing all the time, or becoming so focused on what you are personally doing, that you stop looking outwards.¬†Look at Renaissance¬†artwork, if you are normally drawn to Impressionism. Follow a modern style blogger, if you love to wear period vintage. Look at things that are normally outside of your style, and be inspired by them, as even things we don’t like can be tremendously helpful in¬†honing our own skills and styles. Don’t feel the need to limit yourself to only one hobby, or one style either. Experiment and explore.

On Getting Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone, Lessons I've Learned, the artyologist, hens and chicks watercolour and ink

I am now a part of the Arts community and am actively seeking other opportunities to be involved in it.

If I had never taken that first step towards exhibiting at this show (which isn’t even in my own town, but rather in a neighbouring one) I would never have found out about other opportunities. Because I went to this show, which was more widely publicized, I have found out about a couple other shows coming up, and have applied to another one in April. Because I went to this show, I also found out about an opportunity at a local library, where I signed up to display my work for March and April, free of cost.¬†If I had stayed at home and never taken that first step of applying for that show, no more opportunities would have come my way, because I wouldn’t have even known about them. Don’t hold yourself back from taking the first step, because you might be surprised at what other things may be out there waiting for you to discover them.

I am now eager to continue learning and improving my skills. 

I touched on this in my post about creative goals. I am happy with what I have learned so far, and I do see how far¬†I have come, but there is still so much to learn!¬†Taking that¬†first step to showing my work, helped me immensely and¬†gave¬†me such a confidence boost. Getting a positive response¬†and¬†selling some¬†of my prints was a real happy dance moment for me. But, I also realized just how much I don’t know. There were some seriously talented artists at the show. I could have compared myself to them and come up severely lacking, but rather than feeling like a worm, I¬†have instead become¬†all the more¬†eager to learn and improve myself. We all learn from the Masters. There is always someone who is better at something than you¬†are- but rather than feel bad about the fact that you don’t know something, instead be inspired to learn and grow! And on that same note, negative feedback isn’t the end of the world either.¬†Just because one person doesn’t like your work doesn’t mean it’s a failure¬†either- art is extremely personal and it will appeal to different people.

So, those are the lessons I have been learning lately. This was going to be a quick little “recap” post and now it’s turned into a long and drawn out Dear Abby life advice column. ūüėČ Well, I hope that the lessons I learned through this experience can help you in whatever creative or non-creative pursuits you are working towards right now!

Have you ever struggled with feelings of comparison and inferiority in your pursuits and¬†interests? Have you ever found yourself stuck in a “creative comfort zone”? What are your current goals? If you want to share; I would love to hear about what you are working on!

On Getting Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone, Lessons I've Learned, the artyologist, winter lane and memories

ps. All of these are pieces I created for the show, both photography on canvas and watercolour and ink.

Tea and Tulips on a February Day

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist

It is in February when I start longing for the sunshine and flowers of spring and summer. November and December hold the anticipation of Christmas and the snow is fresh and clean and appealing. January brings¬†the promise of a bright New Year and fireside days. But, by the time February comes along, the snow is not a novelty anymore, and the days seem¬†cold¬†and lifeless. The weather warms up just enough to tease us with promise of Spring, only to freeze¬†again. It is in the later days of February¬†that we start to look towards Spring with¬†expectation.¬†I am not one to buy cut flowers often, but sometimes a bouquet of flowers is just the perfect thing to brighten up those¬†long winter days. My mom surprised me and my sister this year on Valentine’s Day with a bouquet of gorgeous yellow and purple tulips. Yellow and purple are two colours that go extremely well together, and these tulips¬†created a beautifully simple, yet elegant, bouquet.

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip vase

I love tulips as they¬†are one of those funny kinds of flowers that seem to have a mind of their own. As soon as you arrange them in a bouquet, they rearrange themselves and completely undo all the arranging you did to them. Tulips actually continue to grow in¬†the vase, and these certainly did as soon as I¬†put them in the vase. I promise you that they¬†were arranged in some kind of order, but by the time I took these photos, they had drooped and flopped all over the place. It’s OK though, as it makes them seem that much more natural and alive; and they do give me hope that Winter is not forever!

What could be more inviting on a cold February day than a bouquet of Spring flowers and a piping hot cup of tea in a pretty china teacup?

Do you like to have bouquets of flowers in winter? And tea in a pretty cup?

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, vase and teacup

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip details

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup top view and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip detail

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup and vase

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, horizontal tulips

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, teacup

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, tulip and teacup detail

Tea and Tulips on a February Day, the artyologist, top view teacup