21Feb/21

Motivation to create art …

I make a lot of art in the winter. Perhaps it’s being cooped up inside that lends itself to this pastime. I’m not inside much in the late spring, summer, and autumn. But winter is a different thing. The weather can be harsh and unrelenting as it pelts us with snow, sleet, and westerly winds. Just being inside, IN my studio, motivates me to experiment with the materials at hand. Maybe the myriad of contests / juried shows gives me the nudge I need.

A peak at my studio office in Bruce County, Ontario

Florals have it!

This past month (February, 2021), I can’t seem to stop making art. Acrylics, mostly. Florals seem to be calling me again. Close-ups. Abstract florals. Large ones. Small ones. It doesn’t seem to matter. I’m also drawn to adding texture to my paintings. Collage (papers, detritus, collected and dried vegetative matter). Modelling paste added to a canvas before painting. Palette knife painting. Anything to remain loose and abstract.

Goals for viewers:

The goal of my paintings is to draw the viewer in, to fill the viewer with emotion, to make the eye wander around the real estate of the painting. Up, right, left, down again. I want the viewer to stand back from a large creation, then inch forward to soak in the details. I want to challenge the viewer’s eye and assumptions. Cause the viewer to think, emote, breathe in the creation.

Inspiration:

Bundling myself up and going for walks (snowshoeing/x-country skiing) helps stir up even more motivation and creativity. Fresh air clears my mind and allows colour (viewed, imaginary, and remembered) to seep in. Often the backgrounds of my paintings are desaturated with the main items punchy with colour. The underpainting (the layer of colour added after the substrate has been gessoed) is often bright. Then I begin the process of muting the vibrancy by moving paint using various techniques and materials (spraying, glazing, scrubbing, scrambling, acrylic inks, liquid acrylics, oil pastels, charcoal, to name a few).

Importance of Walks:

The image below was taken in mid-February. I remember that it was a particularly chilly morning. You can probably make out the accumulation of ice and frost layering the branches and buildings of my neighbour’s property. The bleakness is beautiful in an understated way. The portability of my smartphone with its decent built-in camera makes it easy to capture the mood this sort of landscape offers. Those ‘moods’ inform my painting (and writing).

Underpaintings:

Below is an underpainting for a acrylic floral (36 inches x 48 inches stretched canvas) I intend to enter into a large Ontario painting competition. Do you know what has been placed over the wet paint? It’s plastic wrap I’ve salvaged from a large canvas. Like many artists, I hate throwing anything out! Here I’m using the plastic film to manipulate the paint, to smear and create an underpainting filled with texture. Sometimes a hint of the colour will still manage to peak from the background into the finished painting.

Stay tuned:

Stay tuned for future blog post updates about the finished painting and how it does in the upcoming painting competition.

Contact Me:

If you have thoughts you’d like to share in response to this blog post, kindly let me know via the Contact Me tab on this website.

21Feb/21

New Member of the Blue Mountain Foundation of the Arts

I recently became a member of the Blue Mountain Foundation of the Arts (BMFA). This organization based in Collingwood (Simcoe County) is a huge supporter and champion of works by local 2D and 3D artists. To see my member page, click here.

In 2020, I entered this painting ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ into the BMFA Juried Art Show. It was my first time having work considered by the BMFA jury consisting of three professional artists. The entry was accepted. The show was solely online due to pandemic restrictions. While this entry didn’t sell at the juried art show, it did sell when shown at the Durham Art Gallery Show and Sale in December 2020. It is now in the home of an art collector in Southwestern Ontario.

01Feb/21

New Video Up

Recently I was approached to create a video about my writing process. The video content from local visual artists and writers was part of the Milne Crawford Reboot, an effort to engage youth in writing / visual art. I was happy to oblige. Here is the link to the YouTube video. Thanks to various sponsors for their support of this important venture.

08Dec/20

Art Banner up in Waterloo Park

I’m thrilled to announce that my art banner is available for viewing. It’s hanging in Waterloo Park. What a honour to have my mixed media art accepted to be displayed with other artists’ works from in and around Waterloo Region.

The title of my piece is Helping Hands, a Covid-19 themed painting. Scroll down to view a picture of the banner. Photo credit to Savio Wong.

This was the call to entry for the art banner project: City of Waterloo Facebook.

Artists have had a challenging time getting their art work out into the world during the pandemic. I combed the Internet for art opportunities.

It’s great to have friends and supporters of visual art such as Savio Wong and others. Living two hours from Waterloo makes it challenging for me to pop down to take photos of the banner.

I hope you enjoy the art banner. Let me know your thoughts by dropping me a line. I promise to reply!

Waterloo Park Art Promenade, Cindy Matthews, ‘Helping Hands’ mixed media art submission
21Oct/20

Did you know?

During the early days of the pandemic, many organizations and companies needed to develop creative methods to continue being relevant. For instance, Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts’ 2020 Juried Art show transformed from being in-person to being virtual. My painting ‘Hope Springs Eternal’ was selected to be in that virtual show. It is a framed acrylic painting (24 inches W x 30 inches H). To inquire about acquiring the painting, please use the Contact Me form.

05Oct/20

Did you know? The City of Waterloo …

… selected my image ‘Helping Hands’ to be made into a banner to hang in Waterloo Park’s Art Promenade. Sometimes some positives come out of drastically difficult situations such as a pandemic in 2020. Thank you City of Waterloo for this honour to show my art in your park. I have many great memories of spending time in that park while I attended UW in the late seventies and while our children were young.

01Jul/19

Still Wanting to Ignite Your Creative Mojo? Keep Reading.

(Note: an earlier version of this post appeared in WHT/SWG)

You’ve got your watercolour set and a handful of Sharpies, right? While you are at it, find your scissors and some Post-it notes, small ones are perfect, around an inch by an inch.

Alcohol Ink on Yupo. Whimsical landscape by yours truly.

Next ~ Find a large (up to 8×10 inch) picture of a celebrity or someone you know. Photocopy or scan the picture and print out two copies. Tile Post-it notes across the picture. Label the backs of the Post-its with row and column number so you can reassemble later. Cut the picture into pieces along the Post-its. Over the next week or so randomly select a couple of Post-its, and draw that portion of the photocopy onto the Post-it. Don’t even try to cheat by referring to the original picture! Once you’ve done this a few times, reassemble and compare to the original. You could do this with a buddy, or in a group, too. (Credit for this idea goes to Danny Gregory’s ‘Art before Breakfast.’)

Who is stopping you from being creative?

Spend time doodling. Draw squiggles on scrap paper. Start carrying a notebook with you. Doodle while waiting for a beverage at your favourite coffee shop. Copy phrases you hear or read into your notebook. Sketch the words to depict what you think they mean to you. Glue small things that you collect into the notebook: the slip of paper from your fortune cookie, or a movie theatre stub.

How can children’s books help? Check out a couple and you’ll soon see. What’s stopping you?

Head for the children’s section of your local library. Borrow picture books by artists whose illustrations you admire.

Drop into local art shows. Visit the Walkerton Juried Art show. Head over to the Durham Art Gallery and check out their ever-changing shows. The folks at Nature’s Millworks in Paisley host shows throughout the year. Take a drive to the Owen Sound Artists’ Co-op. Their members have displays plus the gallery runs guest artist shows. In the summer, check out the Owen Sound Art Banner project in the Owen Sound Harbour and admire the artist banners on display.

Drop me a line via my website to let me know how your creative mojo is coming along.


01Jun/19

Get Yourself a Little Creative Mojo

Have you been trying to create more time to be artistic?

(Note: an earlier version of this blog appeared in WHT/SWG)

Make sure you have an inexpensive watercolour set and a handful of Sharpies (black ink) with different sized tips.

This whimsical piece was created with Alcohol Inks. When dry, I added squiggles and wiggles with thin tipped Sharpies to create a fantasy ocean scene.
This was created as a gift to the grandchildren.
NOTE: I had absolutely no plan or intended outcome when I began this piece.

Without giving it much thought, create the landscape outside your window or an architectural image using only one colour of paint. Or use only green to create your grandson or niece’s face. Sketch the building across the street using only a fine tip Sharpie. Paint over parts of it using only orange. Use a Sharpie to bring out details in a painting you did earlier in the week. 

This winter I craved colour. Don’t we all after a long winter. Ours seemed particularly long because we were in Yellowknife more of October (YK already had some snow by then) and by the time we were home, winter threw her fierceness at us in Bruce County.
We still had mounds of snow in mid March.

This piece is done on YUPO paper with Alcohol Inks and white Posca Pen (like a Sharpie only white ink comes out).

Draw or paint with your non-dominant hand. I like large tip Sharpies for this exercise. It makes me feel like I’m back in primary school with an oversized crayon in my hand. This exercise allows you to create something that isn’t perfect. Draw something like the toaster on your kitchen counter, your other hand, or a bird outside your window. Take about one minute to make the picture. Record only your impression of what you’re seeing. There could be scribbling in this rendition, and that’s perfectly okay.

Alcohol Inks on Yupo ~ My version of tulips

You don’t have to go to Paris or China to find things to paint. Paint or draw what is around you. Do you love to cook? Create a still life painting of some favourite fruits or other yummy foods. Like to play cards? Paint a stick picture of people playing Bridge. Draw your partner or a child’s portrait while keeping your eyes trained on the face and not the paper. Draw your breakfast before you eat it. Draw it again after you’ve eaten it. Draw the ketchup bottle standing next to your eggs. Draw the coffee maker. Draw it again from a different angle. Do these sketches and paintings in five minutes or less. Again, you are only capturing the essence of what you see and not getting hung up on every detail.

How was it? Did you have fun? Did you find you made mistakes? Mistakes are lessons wearing disguises, what Barney Saltzberg (author of ‘Beautiful Oops!) calls oopses. Maybe you need to slow down your drawing, or speed it up. Maybe you need to paint or draw more often. Drop me a line via my website’s contact page and let me know how you made out.