Tag Archives: postaweek2011

Where I’m at

Hey all,

I’m posting because I miss being on my blog. I don’t often have something that I want to write about. Too bad I’m not a writer instead of a painter – then I’d have lots more to say, I suspect. Oh, and I’d say it well, too! Ah, well, too bad!

I’m feeling a step removed from this whole holiday thing. It kind of feels like it’s going on around me, and I’m not really involved in it. Maybe it’s because the kids are getting older, and not quite as excited about it as they were in the past – I’m not sure! Maybe I just waited too long to bring out the Christmas CDs.

I’m starting to feel a bit stalled with my paintings – not sure where they are going. They feel kind of stale to me. It’s time for some fresh ideas! I just haven’t thought of any yet. I’m hoping they will just come once I start painting. I guess this would be a good time to do some process painting a la Michele Cassou!

On a totally different topic, I haven’t actually enjoyed any movies since the Matrix (!!) so I am thrilled to actually be excited about two movies, almost three. I say almost because I am not excited about seeing “We Have to Talk about Kevin”, because I know it will be disturbing, but I want to see how it compares to the book. The other two I’m looking forward to are “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “The Hunger Games”. I really did not enjoy TGWTDT books and I had no plans to see the movie until I found out that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were going to do the soundtrack. Well. That settled that! Go back and listen to (yes, listen, more than watch) “The Social Network” and you’ll see why I’m excited to hear this movie. I just might keep my eyes closed for several scenes! Loved “The Hunger Games” book, so I am looking forward to the movie adaptation. Yay!

You have permission.

It’s OK to ask for help.

If you’re a mom, you know this story. You’re busy, constantly getting things done for the family, in the home and away from home. Things could not possibly go on without you. Then you get sick. Not just a sniffle, but dizzy, fall-over kind of sick.

The secret is, that yes, things CAN go on without you. Give your partner some credit! They will find a way to make it work. They’ll eat Kraft dinner, or pizza. They’ll get to school late. Their lunches might be a little less than nutritious. But at the end of the day, they will all make it home, without a scratch.

Above all – take care of yourself. Spend the day in bed. You deserve it. You have time for it.

You have permission to heal.

Hollywood!

I’m back from Los Angeles! I had a picture in my head of how I thought L.A. would be, and it really wasn’t like the picture in my head at all. Maybe I didn’t see enough of it to know, but considering I was staying right in Hollywood, I doubt it.

I stayed at a quirky Bed & Breakfast, aptly named the Hollywood B&B. I would go back there in a heartbeat – friendly owners, clean room, good breakfast, pool out back – what more could you ask for? (ok, a gym would be nice, but it’s not happening at B&Bs.)

During the weekend, I took an intuitive painting workshop with Michele Cassou. I have read her books and done some process painting in the past, so it was wonderful to finally meet her and learn more about it! In a nutshell, Michele teaches painting as process, rather than focusing on a product. It’s a way to get the creativity flowing, and really notice how the mind works to prevent that from happening! Very similar to a meditation retreat, except that the brush is always moving. I would love to try one of her longer workshops, as two days was barely scratching the surface.

I met up with my cousin Chloe for dinner on Sunday night.(right)

On Monday I had the chance to meet Jenny Doh,  author extraordinaire! I recently contributed to a project that Jenny is working on and will come out next year. Super excited about that! We ate brunch and then did a little collaborative drawing in my sketchbook (read about it on Jenny’s blog here!) You know how when you are sitting with someone, and there’s silence and you feel kind of awkward? Well, it wasn’t like that. We are both on the introverted side, and our moment of sketching silence was comforting to me, like a cozy mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day (which describes Calgary, not L.A.). I really enjoyed the conversation we had, and listening to some of Jenny’s observations about painting.

Later on Monday, Marisa from Creative Thursday (who I have admired since I saw her in an magazine issue of Where Women Create several years ago) stopped by the B&B. [An interesting point to note: Jenny Doh co-wrote the book called "Where Women Create". Cool!]

Marisa brought her computer and huge Yeti (see me hogging the Yeti?) and we sat and chat and recorded a podcast for the Creative Coconuts, interspersed with several minutes of coughing fits on my part! We had dinner at a cute little French restaurant.  I felt such a mix of disbelief (that I was finally meeting Marisa for real) and that feeling as if we’ve been friends for a long time- kind of a strange mix.

I had a wonderful time and look forward to seeing both Jenny and Marisa again at the Makerie in April!

P.S. – Apparently this is my 100th post!

Why do you like these paintings, anyway?

My mother-in-law came over last night and made a sizeable dent in my supply of cards and paintings! The three paintings she bought were the ones that I struggled with the most. The two large ones (“Sometimes I feel stuck” and “Surrender”) were re-painted a few times, and hated a few times (or more), but when they were finished I ended up liking them (-ish). They weren’t my favourites, but I liked them enough. I continue working on paintings until they feel complete, not until I like them. I found it really interesting that my mother-in-law zeroed in on those three right away. Even at the Sophia Arts fall show and sale, most of the comments I received were about those paintings (the two large ones, anyway). Someone even wanted to buy one of them at the show! I find it really interesting how people respond to the paintings I make, particularly when I am not sure I even like them. Somehow, my least favourites end up being somebody’s favourites. It gives me the courage to bring everything to a show, because you never know what people will respond to! My guess is that it has something to do with the energy I have invested in the painting. I think some people are able to sense that when they look at a painting. This is part of why I don’t like to duplicate paintings for people – they will never have the same energy that was put into the original.

Without any good segue, I will also say that my children are almost all healthy again, thank goodness! Z’s fever finally broke after 4 days, and they are all back to school. Yay!

This post is good enough.

I haven’t been outside for 7 days. OK, I’ve been out, but just to walk to and from the car. My son’s been sick and it’s a week off from school, so we have been chillin’ around the house. I’m starting to get a bit cagey, and noticing that I’m getting down on myself for not doing anything creative. Instead of focusing on what I have been doing, like posting something everyday on etsy and writing blog posts, I’m beating myself up for not painting. Then I go and make it worse by reading blog posts by people who are painting.

So. I wrote that paragraph yesterday, but I painted today and I’m feeling better about it all. I’ve even had moments of just enjoying (gasp!) the chilling around the house time. Been working on a jigsaw puzzle for the last few days. Oh, and now my daughters have fevers, too (why can’t kids co-ordinate their sicknesses?!).

Today is my 39th birthday (11/11/11!). I feel like I should be writing one of those big blog posts about 40 things to do before I’m 40, but that would be too much pressure to put on myself in the next year, so I won’t. I already have a lot of things that I’ll be working on in the next year, anyway. One is a new website. By the way, you can now reach this blog by typing belindafireman.com! My brother Nate bought me a domain- cool birthday present, eh? This is quite the mixed up post. I will publish it as is – think of it as a statement about not having to present everything perfectly! Yes, that’s it.

Oh, wait.. I forgot to talk about this painting. Ha! These messages are exactly what I have needed this past week (see first paragraph above!). This is part of why I am always using positive messages in my art – I hope that someday it will actually sink in!

Spines and Lines

I showed my paintings at the end of October in the Sophia Arts Fall Show and Sale. I sold one painting and lots of cards, but all in all, it was a pretty slow two days. Very few people came out. That being said, I am not disappointed! It means I get to show my work again (since most of the people I invite couldn’t come, maybe they can next time!). I really loved being able to share the space with some amazing artists, especially Christina Wallace-Ockenden, Knicki Markolf, Malcolm Glover and Eden Thompson. They are so wonderful, helpful, friendly and always ready to give a hug. I’m excited to be able to show with them again in the future!

During the show, one of the other artists pointed out that I have a lot of vertical lines in my work (she said it was difficult for her to make these kinds of marks on her paintings). Later, one of my friends pointed out that many of my images look like spines.

I have purposely made drawings to look like spines in the past, but only in my sketchbook. This was the first time I realized how prominent the theme really is in a lot of my work! [Side note:  I'll assume most people reading my blog don't know this much about me - that I had corrective surgery for scoliosis when I was 12, and that more recently,  I have a bulging disc which sometimes throws everything out of whack and I can be bent over, crooked, for days.] I use words in my art to consciously deal with healing, pain, and recovery, particularly with my back. I just never really realized that I was doing it visually as well. It’s like I was trying to bring a vertical structure into my crooked perspective. I love that. I think it’s pretty obvious in this painting, “Fully at Home” (Not-so-subliminal message: purchase inspirational art!).

While talking about this during the show, I also realized how much I love to dance in a structured way, too. Moving in a straight path, turning abruptly, expressing myself with solid vertical and horizontal movements – these are all a huge part of my dance (Core Connexion) every week. All of this is a way for me to be in touch with what I’ve been through, what I want to be, and where I am. Thanks for reading.

How to make a painting in three (or more) easy steps.

1. Draw some circles. Place them kind of randomly, but kind of in a linear fashion. Whatever.

2. Squeeze three colours onto your plastic lid. Any colours will do. One should be white. And one should be yellow. The other two should mix well together. But other than that, you choose!

3. Paint your yellow stripe first, kind of randomly. Anywhere is good. It should also be strategically placed to catch the eye at about 1/4 of the way from edge.

4. Mix a bit of one of the colours into the yellow, and paint that stripe next to the yellow one. It’s OK to overlap a bit, since you are using acrylic paint. Oh, I didn’t tell you? You’re using acrylic paint. [Side note: Not any acrylic paint will do. Cheap student versions do not have good enough opacity/coverage. Pay the extra bucks for the quality paints!] This makes it faster when you are painting the stripes, so you don’t have to be super careful at both edges. Just one. And not THAT careful.

5. Without cleaning your brush, mix a bit more of that next colour into the yellow (the one you mixed in step 4), and paint your next stripe.

6. Keep going in this way, changing what you add, in sequence, so that you get a nice gradation of colour. Good!

7. Once your stripes are all done, and have dried for at least a day, take your favourite, waterproof black pen with the chisel tip and make some lines! They can be thick, then thin, just make ‘em look good!

8. Oh yeah, don’t forget to paint the circles white.

9. Sit your painting upright, upside down, sideways, etc, and figure out which way looks most appealing. Add some doodles or writing into the circles and voila! You have finished your painting in three-ish easy steps!

If you don’t feel like making your own, then you can purchase this inspirational OOAK (one of a kind) original acrylic painting here!