Hello everyone and happy December! The countdown to Christmas has begun in our house. No tree yet but my not terribly secret hiding places are filling up with presents… In the spirit of consistency I thought it would be nice to introduce a weekly round up of my life and posts and projects on Sundays. I did a little redesigning on Saturday night to make the blog posts more prominently featured on my homepage and added separate pages for galleries of my personal and commission art work and also a page for my soon to grow video collection. If you missed it, you can check out Pardon Me? here.
Speaking of videos I filmed my first full length time-lapse video this week which you can watch here (look at me learning to set up links, lol). I find it really addictive when other artists post videos of themselves painting and I wanted to give it a try. I think it’s a really cool way to let you in on my process and also for me to get in more quick freestyle painting time. Consistency (in painting, blogging, life in general) is the key. I’d like to make this a weekly feature on Tuesday’s – so come back for more of the “What I Painted” series to be updated weekly.
Now I know that special gadgets exist for clipping your phone to your easel or desk and positioning it up above you with lights and lots of cool bells and whistles (and stability, safety) but I’ve been able to MacGyer a pretty good set up for the time being (yes those are children’s letter blocks and my acrylic palette propped on top – that’s where my phone goes so it can hang above me as I paint)… Christmas is coming… but in the meantime it works.
And speaking of Christmas – I finished up the last of my Christmas commissions this weekend. They will get a few more coats of varnish and will be shipped this week to their new homes. Since these projects are secret right now I haven’t been able to share. I’ve been photographing and cataloguing every thing since September and will write a post about my experiences and update my commissions after Christmas. Like, immediately after. I can’t wait.
This week was a mixed bag. Kickboxing is a big part of my life, and has been for many years now. We’ve been trying to make it out to more training sessions so I was happy for that but pretty sore and rundown by the end of the week. It’s been dry here and the snow has melted for the most part so I was able to make it out for a few runs with the little monsters – I always found it so pointless to watch them run around a field and just do nothing myself – I run, they run, we all run and it’s good for all of us and I feel real out of sorts when we can’t go due to weather (mainly ice is a huge problem when running with three dogs). We finished our Christmas shopping and I was gifted a new surprise Dyson Animal (for all the animals in our family zoo that shed constantly) – to know me is to know my love of vacuuming, and this vacuum is a life-changer. We took Teelo for a Teelo tune-up at the vet and he got his teeth cleaned and some bumps removed. Nothing serious but I still cried. Some weeks I feel full of energy but this week was pretty low key. I felt pretty tired most of the week and no surprise I got a cold by the weekend – the couch and a blanket were much more appealing than sitting upright to paint but I’m hoping I’ll feel back on track and ready to tackle the world next week.
Lastly, speaking of next week – The plan is to start working on my Wiggis painting (which I’m not entirely thrilled with yet but sometimes that’s how I feel right at the start). I’ll also transfer another Beesa sketch over to a larger canvas that I prepped weeks ago. Once done that will complete my cat trifecta. My schedule has opened up a bit with commissions done and some other projects finishing up so I’ll be focusing on my personal work for the next little while and sharing it with all of you.
In my perfect world, I would be a full-time artist. I would wake up every morning, clean the house from top to bottom (a clean house is a happy house), take the dogs for a long run (in my perfect world it’s also always summer), and then I’d make a coffee and head to my art room for the rest of the day. In my real world, I wake up every morning at 5 am (my alarm is set for 4:45), run around to clean/make breakfasts and lunches/work a full day in health care/take the dogs out/workout/dinner/dishes/and THEN if I’m lucky I can carve out an hour or two of painting before bed (if I don’t fall asleep on the couch first) and then it starts all over again. Just like Ground Hog Day.
Painting and artistic skill is definitely like a muscle – the only way to get better is to do it consistently – in some small way everyday. Even if you’re tired 🙂 I’ve been really busy lately finishing up some Christmas commissions that I can’t share just yet. However, I really wanted to let you in on my painting process so I created this time-lapse video of a little warm-up painting I created tonight before diving into my commission work. For those interested, details about the materials used are posted below the video. Enjoy!
For the painting, I used my new favourite watercolour paper – Canson Mix Media Artboards – it has replaced Arches for me as my go-to watercolour paper. The board is so thick you don’t have to worry about it bending when it gets wet and the surface texture is half-way between hot and cold press so you can use ink easily which I love.
Sharpie markers (another product I love – they don’t skip and they create really sharp, dark lines – I have gone through so many dud markers), Winsor & Newton Artists’ Water Colour paints, and Robert Simmons round brushes #6 and 8.
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Hello world! Welcome to my website. In the days that I have spent working on evachristensenart.com… and then reworking and then deleting it all in frustration (thank you to the wonderful people at WordPress – the premium support package has definitely paid for itself in dividends) – I kept thinking about what I would talk about in my first post. So many thoughts and now here I am, sitting down to type and it’s a little tricky to get started.
I “did art” my entire life up until university and then I took a break so long it seemed like all of those memories were part of a different person’s life. School – biology, chemistry, physics – wasn’t conducive to artistic inspiration, and once I started working neither was the one bedroom condo where we lived for ten years with two cats hell bent on knocking paintbrushes off tables and drinking paint water. When my husband and I finally moved into our house four years ago I declared one of the bedrooms to be my art room, set it up with a brand new drawing table and easel and then… let it sit dormant for a few more years.
It’s not that I haven’t had any inspiration or any urge to create in that time. An idea would come and I’d think oh that’s a good one, too bad I don’t know where any of my art stuff is. I even managed to complete a few paintings here and there from sheer force of will, but I wasn’t too thrilled with them.
This really changed for me this past January. I completed a painting of our view from the top of the La Cloche mountains from our epic backcountry hike at Killarney park in the summer of 2017. When it was complete I posted it a photo of it on Facebook for the first time. Two things happened. One, I got a lot of positive feedback and I was somehow able to shake the feeling that unless my painting looked just like reality, it was a fail. Instead, the Killarney painting captured all the good feelings from our trip. Two, since I had finally gone to the effort of getting my paints and brushes out of retirement and literally dusting them off, I quickly completed another painting of our sweet vizsla Clicquot at Algonquin park the summer before.
And then everything snowballed. I found myself making more and more time for painting on weekends and in the evening after work, I decided to make a real effort to conquer acrylic paints, and I also made the decision to only paint the things that matter to me. I started an Instagram account to share my artwork (@evachristensenart). And I realized that as much as I enjoyed painting in high school, when there was a grade attached to creativity, I always felt like I had to make my artistic decisions based on getting the best mark possible.
What does it mean to paint for myself? I paint when inspiration strikes me, and when I need a break I take one. I like to paint what I see, what is real, but I am inspired by the things I love – our three dogs and two cats (Teelo, Riggs, Clicquot, Beesa, and Wiggis), experiences captured in photos I have taken, paintings that tell a story, my favourite artists. I like to paint big, and I love colour. I started painting with oils. As it turns out, inspiration begets inspiration. I now have a long running of list of projects – personal and commissions – and I was outgrowing the confines of my Instagram account.
I really want to share my art with the world, and to connect with people through my painting. So without a single technological bone in my body, I signed up for a website on a whim and here we are. I would really like to explore my relationship with art through my blog posts, share a little technical know how for those who are interested, and have a space to really discuss the evolution and inspiration of my work, now that I have finally found my way back to it.