Tag Archives: art show

Art Battle! …and Art Show!

My brother likes to say, “Art is like football; you either win, or you lose.” I used to laugh, but now he’s right (well, sort of). This Saturday, I am going to be battling it out with 11 other Calgary artists on Art Battle Day. Art battles are going to be held across Canada, with the winners going on to regional battles, and finally, a national battle. The paints and canvases are provided, and the artists are given 20 minutes to paint.


Yikes! I have been training to see what I am able to accomplish in twenty minutes, since I usually take anywhere from 1 hour to several days or weeks to finish a painting. I paint in layers, and like to let them dry in between – this isn’t going to be possible at Art Battle! Two layers, tops, and not dry at all. My experience painting at Gorilla House has given me the comfort to paint in front of an audience, so that part is okay. I’m looking forward to this as an experience of something new, a chance to get myself out painting in front of others (which I love), and just to be able to say I did it!

I have been posting my “training paintings” on my Facebook page, with a pay-what-you-want scheme.

Art Battle Training Painting #3, 16" x 20" Pay-what-you-want

Training Painting #3, 16″ x 20″ Pay-what-you-want

Here is today’s painting. To purchase, today only, send me an email at magknit(at)telus.net telling me why you want the painting, and what you’re offering. I still have my first training painting available, too. See below. If you are sending me an offer, be sure to tell me to which painting you are referring.

Art Battle Training Painting #1, 18" x 24"

Art Battle Training Painting #1, 18″ x 24″

For more information on Art Battle Day, see below, or click here. Please come out this Saturday and watch the battle! I think my training song on the day will be the “Training Montage” from Rocky IV. Yeah.


In other news… I’m taking part in the Sophia Arts Art Show and Sale again, coming up on May 16th and 17th. Details below!



Rainbows in the Snow! Art Show and Sale

Here’s the poster for my show and sale coming up this Saturday, from 2-5pm. If you are in Calgary, please stop by!

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Art at Signal Hill Library!



I’m really excited to let you know that I have some of my paintings on display at the Signal Hill Library for the month of September! All the paintings are for sale – contact me for details. I will be doing some live art there soon, too! Please follow me on my Facebook page for further details!




My paintings are now up at Eleven:Eleven boutique in Kensington! Yay! I love this store. The clothes are fantastic, original and Canadian-designed! Here is the story of Eleven:Eleven (I’m including it because I can’t say it any better!)

“Eleven:Eleven Boutique is inspired by owner Lana Selbee’s love of everything colourful, earthy, and organic, either locally produced or fair trade. The best of all things creative meet in this one-of-a-kind boutique.

Eleven:Eleven carries a variety of lines produced by independent Canadian designers, from Montreal to Salt Spring Island, with a focus on our own Calgary designers and artisans. The styles range from professional and formal evening attire to casual, eclectic pieces for Downward Dogs and frolicking outdoors at your favourite summer festival.

Committed to contributing towards environmental and social sustainability, we provide you with the best of Canadian fashion from companies with mandates centered on creating sustainable and ethical (and best of all local) goods.

Every item is made with creativity and love. Enough of the mass-produced and machine-made, our shop is for those who can’t bear to follow the crowd. We are about freedom of expression, living comfortably, and buying choices that make a positive impact on the world. We are one people sharing one earth. Let’s do things a little differently.”

Great clothes, my birthday (11:11), what more could you ask for? I am super excited to be showing my paintings at Eleven:Eleven. This one has already sold and left the premises!

Photo 2012-06-26 2 23 22 PM

There will be a Wine and Cheese reception on Wednesday July 17th, from 6 to 9 pm. I look forward to seeing you there!

Check out Eleven:Eleven on Facebook!



Two of my paintings (above and below) were not accepted into a juried art show at a local art gallery today. Just like last year. Last year, I told myself it was only because of the canvases (the edges were too thin, I was told). This year, I have all sorts of reasons:

I’m not a real artist (whatever that means).

There are words on the paintings and the jury didn’t like words.


My work is too “pretty” (I have heard this statement before), too colourful, trying too hard, too much like somebody else’s work, too this, too that.

OK, I get it, I get it: I suck.

Before you go commenting to tell me this all isn’t true, I want to assure you that I know this. I know the voices in my head are lying to me. I know they are trying to keep me safe (in a weird way), that they aren’t working for me, etc. I get this. And the whole time I think these thoughts, I also have a witness inside of me, that is completely non-judgemental, and knows that none of it matters, none of it is true, none of it is real. I know.

I’m still crying my guts out.

Rejection is giving me ample opportunity to feel my emotions, to be in touch with what is going on for me, to see what is real, and what I am feeding with my energy. As much as I would rather be jumping for joy that I got into an art show, I am also grateful for the chance to feel so deeply. This rejection is stacking onto another rejection from over a week ago – a more personal one, but one that gave me a huge jab in my core; I hadn’t realized just how low my self-esteem was until that day. I’m still not over that one, and now this double dose of rejection has been difficult, to say the least.

You know how lots of self-help books and websites say, “You can’t love others until you love yourself”? I’ve been thinking about this, with reference to rejection. Is it true that I am actually rejecting myself, and that maybe I don’t love myself enough? At first I thought so, but then I realized I was just trapping myself in my old perfectionist ways again. What I was really saying was,

“I’m not loving myself enough. I am not good enough at loving myself”.

I have realized that in reality, I am very good at loving myself. I cry when I need to cry. I call my husband when I need to hear a loving voice during my shitty day. I ask for hugs. I take myself out dancing. I blog (sometimes.. haha!). I ask for what I want.

I also listen to music when I need to listen to music. During my rejection experience last week, I noticed I wasn’t really in touch with “sadness”, even though I felt sad-ish, and knew I would be sad later. I knew I needed a cry, it just wasn’t happening yet. Music to the rescue: I instinctively played Sigur Ros in the car, without really knowing why, and BOOM! A flood of tears, all day long. A few days later, that sadness turned into anger, and Nine Inch Nails has been helping me feel that and move through it.

You know what? I like my paintings, I really do. I have fun making them, I even like looking at them afterwards (except after a few months – I start to cringe if they hang around too long). I am grateful for all the people who like to look at my art online, whether on my blog or my Facebook page. I am especially grateful for those who send me supporting comments and feedback, and the people who purchase my paintings. As much as I do paint for myself, I don’t want to work in a vacuum, keeping it all locked away for nobody to see. I want people to see my work and to enjoy it.

But not everybody will, and that’s alright, too.

Weekend in Santa Ana: Journal It! party

It was a whirlwind trip to Santa Ana this weekend, but I had a blast! Many months ago, I told Jenny (Doh, the author of Journal It! and many other titles) that if she was going to have a book launch party for Journal It!, then I would be there. I loved contributing to this book, and I am so proud to show it off.


After a morning walk, admiring the local fruit (WOW!), we set up at Jenny’s studio CRESCENDOh. Lynn Richards and Stephanie Ackerman also set up tables for the night.


It was a wonderful night- I met some amazing people, and especially enjoyed meeting some of the people I follow on Instagram. I sold 5 paintings and traded one with Jenny. I had a great time painting the whole night; it was meant to be a 20 minute demo, but I couldn’t resist finishing the entire thing! It was a little different from my weekly Gorilla House live art battles since I was the only one painting, but it was still lots of fun! Here’s the final result! The painting is on display and for sale at Studio CRESCENDOh.

photo by Cynthia Shaffer

photo by Cynthia Shaffer

Click here to see Jenny’s blog post about the party.

Here are the photos from the night. This is my first time trying the gallery thing for photos. Click on the first and it takes you to a slideshow. Pretty nifty!

The Naked Leaf

I am super excited that The Naked Leaf, a tea shop in Kensington, will be featuring two of my paintings on their tin labels! I can’t wait to see them in person. Here’s what they are going to look like:

These are going to make great gifts! And to top off that excitement, I will get to take part in the 3rd Annual Tea Party, a show at the Resolution Art Gallery featuring the artists from The Naked Leaf tea tin collection. My friend Cheryl is going to be in it, too! More details to follow.

Something’s Gotta Give

Two nights ago I had a meltdown. OK, not a full-on, crying, hyperventilating, you-know-the-kind (my mom knows) meltdown (the kind I used to get during my undergrad- read: perfectionist), but the kind that wouldn’t let me fall asleep. When that happens, I know something has got to give. The bright side of this muted-meltdown is that I must be much less stressed overall than I used to be! Thank goodness!

The gist of this worry was that I can’t be supermom. We are getting a puppy shortly, and I finally figured out that something has got to give. I can’t do everything I planned for the fall AND devote time to training a puppy. Once I realized that, and I cancelled my participation in a September art show, I felt much better! The pressure is off now. Whew!

You know the moral of this story: listen to your body! It’s trying to tell you something. Oh, and life is short, so slow down and enjoy.

Moving on.

It’s been a downer kind of a day. I submitted my art to a juried art show, and it was rejected. I realize that artists have there work rejected all the time, that I’m in good company, but it still stings. Especially when I have been on such a high, for so long, and feeling really good about my work.

“Moving On”


Today has been a questioning kind of day. Is my art really any good? Does it matter that my paintings were rejected? Will this affect my work? Well, I did add quite a bit of black to my canvases today, but even though that’s because of how I am feeling, I also realized that I was missing black from my paintings before. They were almost too joyful, and they didn’t feel quite like me yet. They are getting there, and I will continue to make art that I want to make. I know not everyone will like them, but my hope is that I there are enough people who do and want to buy them – because I don’t want to keep my paintings for very long after I make them! [As a side note here.. yes, I do also donate paintings for silent auctions or related fundraising events]

Today was made just a little bit harder because my 6 year old son spent a full day at school. It was a day for them to meet their next-year-Grade-9 buddies (Grade Ones get paired with Grade Nines), and spend the full day with the senior kindergarten kids. I was really looking forward to having a full day to myself. Relaxation! Bliss! Quiet!

I was lost.

I almost crumbled to bits every time someone asked me “How are you?”, including the cashier at Safeway. Safeway was the loneliest place for me today, because he is always with me when I shop – he’s been with me for the last 6 years. I’m still feeling pretty fragile. When my girls reached grade one, it was exciting, but now that it’s my son, my baby, it’s heart-wrenching. I’m feeling the first taste of empty-nest syndrome, and it’s not fun. I wandered around aimlessly for some time today, and then felt guilty for not getting anything done. Oh, and lonely.

Perfect time to get a puppy, right??


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.