Monday, October 5, 2009

Reach Out and Touch Someone...

The life of an artist can be a fairly solitary one, often by choice as well as necessity. Many hours are spent alone in the studio in the pursuit of knowledge, challenge and the hard work of painting.

However, artists tend to be very good at networking. As a result of my website, blogs, and newsletter, I've come to know and share with artists from many parts of the world. The contact is more often than not a single email with an enquiring artist; but sometimes it's a timely note of support.

Messages can be brief...welcome words of encouragement or notes sharing methods and ideas about the business side of this life. It's all good, in the spirit of friendship, and it makes life as an artist fun, fulfilling and much less isolated.

But it hasn't always been this way.Recently, I reflected on the incredible resources available to today's artist and I realized how decidedly different and complex my life as a working artist has become over the years.

It's barely conceiveable that just a dozen years ago, I couldn't turn on a computer myself, much less operate one, unless one of my children was at home. Today, I have a lovely website and several blogs, all of which I have learned to navigate myself. How did I ever manage all those years ago without these tools?

Looking back to those early years of my two decade plus career, my life as an artist was very simple. It was a world without internet, so unlike this instant world which now lies at our fingertips. But artists have always been networking naturals. It's part of our enquiring, resourceful pyche to seek out like-minded artists, to compare notes on methods and techniques; to search out the workshop of our dreams or the gallery which will become a home to our life's work; to savour words written on a favourite artist's blog or newsletter; to explore what other artists are creating, and more importantly, how they're doing it. The world has very definitely become our oyster.

And so today, while my studio days are still solitary, it is never with feelings of isolation that I view my world. As I prepare my canvases by hand and joyfully put pieces of paint on these surfaces, I remember the artists who have so generously passed along their hard-won knowledge over these wonderful years.

Friendship is merely an email away; companionship an inbox waiting to be opened. Sometimes it's even a surprise in my 'real' mailbox...a Christmas package, filled with incredibly delicious home-made Italian cookies from my Italian artist friend in Omaha.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Under Rembrandt's Watchful Eye....

Bobbi's Studio - location of her workshops
It's hard to believe that summer is now behind us and a glorious fall has once again arrived in all its splendor. For me, the wonderous colours and earthy smells of cool, crisp fall mornings always elicits memories of the first days back to school. September is also a time for me to regroup, to shake myself free from those lazy days of the summer months and once again reassess my goals, my direction. It's a time to re-focus. To concentrate on learning; that never ending quest to know more and always, to do better.
And so it was with my recent workshop: "Painting the Still Life in Oil, From Life", September 19th and 20th. The participants arrived at my studio with serious intentions of getting down to the business of learning! What an incredible group! Energetic, attentive and eager for the challenge at hand. These artists worked hard and left exhausted, yet very happy and content with themselves.
Thank you to those who attended. The workshop was a rewarding experience for me, as well. I look forward to seeing you again in my studio workshops and to welcoming others for the same exciting challenges!
My next workshop is: "Painting the Figure in Oil, From Life", October 17th & 18th, 2009. For further details please visit my website Bobbi Dunlop Fine Art or my demonstration blog Dunlop Demonstrations

For my complete Fall 2009 Workshop Schedule, see the archived links to the right or go to my website's "Events and Workshops" link.

Painting News....

"Relic Ride and Roses", oil on Belgian linen, 20x24

As a child I would spend hours drawing horses, dogs and people. These were my favourite subjects of all and I never grew tired of them. Many years later, horses were often the subject of my paintings, as were cows, dogs, kittens and the people in my life. Growing up in a rural farm setting in Saskatchewan, it turned out it was natural for me to paint these subjects. My Dad raised a few horses, restored and drove his collection of buggies and he passed along to me his love for the country life and animals. It's been a number of years since I've painted those pastoral scenes of the farm that I loved so much. I am so happy that I did, because the farm is no longer there. Painting this sculpture of a relic horse was a pleasant reminder for me, and while not the real thing, it dropped me into a huge pleasure pool of reminiscences.