"The Prince Edward Island Visual Arts Festival" is set in a perfectly beautiful location which I can't wait to paint! Hope you can make plans to come, enjoy the gardens, meet the artists and support a worthy cause- Gardens of Hope Respite Cottage. Saturday & Sunday August 12-13
This summer, the Wyatt and Lefurgey Cultural Centre is celebrating 150 years! I was honored to be one of the artists to participate in the "150th Anniversary Celebration Art Exhibition" to mark the occasion. The Lefurgery Cultural Centre has done much to promote the arts in my hometown. I imagine I'm one of many who can say it was my childhood art classes in the building that began my love of art. The participating artists were given a tour of the museum and each artist chose a subject in the Wyatt or Lefurgey building to inspire a piece of art. The exhibit will be on display until the end of the summer.
Here is my piece inspired by "The Girl" (a.k.a. the maid!) along with my write-up that explains it all!
"The Girl's Day Off"
Taking the lower step down into maid's room, I felt a camaraderie with the maid who was just a girl, but held a household of new responsibilities. The humor of the lower step down to remind the maid of her status was not lost on my post-nanny-in-Europe days; I immediately latched on to the idea of giving this girl, so called "the girl", some much-neglected attention.
The room -too- inspired me as a delightful, girlish space. The "eyelash windows" and vintage blue-green walls instantly caught my imagination. I've always romanticized the 1940's era, and wondered what it would have been like to live through that period. The fine details of the room, the 1940's calendar (which inspired the magazine in her lap), the charming quilt and tiny vases on the window sill were perfect hints at a great story.
The maids of the Wyatt House held many responsibilities. These maids often credited their skills in needlework, finances, etc. to the precise supervision of the Wyatt women. No doubt their new skills, fine-tuned to perfection, gave satisfaction to both maid and overseer. But my focus turned to the other side of "the girl's" life…
I learned that "the girl" would receive one afternoon a week off, Sunday. One maid who worked in the Wyatt House in the 1970's explained that Thursday afternoons were sometimes free as well (if no-one was expected for tea). Free time was most often a day out and away with friends, but sometimes friends would be invited to into the little room for a fun get-together. I imagine "the girl", who was often far from her family and busy with tasks, looked forward to these hours of freedom with great anticipation.
In this piece, her apron has been tossed aside, her curlers are out, her handbag ready. She was just "the girl", but even "the girl" looked forward to a day off.
The Charlottetown Streetscapes art opening happens this Saturday (Nov. 19), 2-5pm at Details Past and Present Art Gallery in Charlottetown. Presenting the little city and buildings of Charlottetown was a step out of my artistic comfort zone, but in the end, I learned that painting cityscapes might be something I'll return to again (after a nice long break with some cow paintings!). It was a fun challenge. I'm really looking forward to participating in this group show!
(Image: Detail of "The Sunny Side of the Street")
A heartfelt "thank you" to all my friends and supporters for a great summer season. This past summer held a few major, but positive, adjustments for me both in my personal life and perhaps also in my creative habits. Despite the adjustments slowing down my paintings a bit, I've still had a great summer of art creation and sales. So, I thank The Lord, and to the rest of you all, I say, "thank you" too!
I've heard it said that an artist needs a routine, but have only recently discovered how vital my routine has become for my art production. Having an established time slot for creating, is the only way for wishy-washy, artists like myself to get art made (besides being a bit of a sanity saver too!). Some good advice I received: mark it on your calendar, set that timer and don't move until the timer goes off. Do I always follow that advice? Nope. But it's a helpful guideline!
While routine and methods are great, it's not good to get stuck in a creative-method-rut. It's also been said that an artist never stops learning. It's easy to get into a creative rut, or a "method" for production. I've recently made an effort to spend some time in some good art books and magazines. There's nothing like finding an artist from the past with whose art you still connect! Looking back at the masters works can be most inspirational and educational, and I am currently being inspired by a handful of Canadian Impressionist artists whose art is incredible (yet they are almost unheard of in the national galleries of Canada - another topic for another day!).
On that note, I'm looking forward to a fall and winter season full of creativity and growth. It's exciting to think of the possibilities!
Excited to have two new pieces on display at the Summerside's Eptek. "Nostalgia", is the theme of the show, and a theme I am very pleased about. I love reflecting on happy moments from the past, but I especially enjoy reflecting on the nostalgia of childhood, and the innocence and joy of just being a kid!
Did you pick up your September copy of "The Buzz" yet? I'm so pleased to have my painting "Farm Boy" on the cover! Thank you to The Buzz (a great resource for keeping up-to-date on all the artsy-art-ish events and activities on PEI). Remember to find your copy and support your local artists and artisans!
So many beaches to walk, friends to visit and iced coffees to inhale, but so little time! It's been wonderful to be home and to be enjoying this beautiful season. I've been having a great time cleaning, arranging and rearranging my studio and taking pictures and - and- oh yeah, painting a little bit too! I hope my excitement about being back in PEI reflects in my most recent pieces (for your viewing I just updated the website today, or you might catch them on display at the gallery in Charlottetown): Cows, fields, salt-water, and (my current work-in-progress) wild-flower bouquets. I'm thanking God for this beautiful, inspiring place!
What a great way to kick-start my return to Canada! It's so great to be back HOME. Canada Day week my American artist-friend, (Amy, of Amy Karnes Fine Art) and I participated in the Montague Plein Air Festival in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
The annual event was a real treat- meeting new artist friends, seeing lots of beautiful PEI scenery, and enjoying the challenges of painting in all kinds of weather.
Thank you to those who put so much hard work into bringing the festival together. :)
It's happened. Finally, I reached down somewhere in my heart (and wallet) and supported another starving artist. AND IT WAS AWESOME. Collecting art is kind of fun...
The last few weeks have been filled with Italian sightseeing. Hopefully, some of these new sights will show up on some canvases of mine in the months to come, but until then- I'm the proud owner of a BEAUTIFUL little sight on someone else's canvas (HA! I love being on the opposite side of the art-collector scene. It's a really good feeling to support an artist... I think more people should try it, hehe...)!
This little gem of a gallery is located in Taoromina, Sicily. If you get the chance to visit this GORGEOUS village, make sure you drop by this gallery. The artists of Glady's Art Gallery are all Italian and very accomplished. I left in a state of absolute inspiration- inspired to capture all the vibrant colors and variety of textures Sicily has to offer, just like these Italian artist's continue to do.
I'm so blessed to bring a little painting from this gallery back home to Canada with me. It will remind me to keep studying, keep learning, and keep observing and marveling at God's creation!
I admit that I've been struggling a bit with painter's block. How in the world can an artist have such a thing AND be in the art capital of the world (in my opinion) at the same time?! I don't know. But it's happened. However, just as I like to remind the little girl I babysit, "Sometimes you have to do things you just don't feel like doing". So, I'm trying to work through this one and just paint some small study-style pieces.
It's been quite an adjustment getting used to the chaos of Italian city life. This piece, perhaps, reflects a bit of that chaos. In this city there is color everywhere, stuff everywhere, people everywhere (with the exception of my paintings, hehe). It's a crazy, chaotic, interesting place. This market, though much smaller and more tidy then some, was fun to paint for that reason. I happened upon it one day on a short trip just outside the city. The blast of shapes, colors, and values, was a good exercise to work through.
Grace Curtis is an artist living and painting in Prince Edward Island, Canada... and she loves it.