Friday, September 15, 2017

Tangled Thought

Tangled Thought (2017)
When I started this painting, the idea was to create another version of the String of Thoughts painting because I feel there is still a lot more to explore. As I was adding the yellow string, I got the idea of wrapping it around the cloud. Not sure why, but it felt right. I don't always come with the name of the piece right away. I tend to let it it for a while and eventually, an idea will come. Two weeks later, Tangled Thought came to mind, and while searching for a quote that would resonate with the painting, I found this one : 
"Move outside the tangle of fear-thinking." 
- Jalaluddin Rumi
Fear is definitely a thought that can leave you bounded or trapped if you let it, but if you act despite of the fear, you realize that there was nothing to fear in the first place, it was an illusion : False Evidence Appearing Real. This is what this painting reminds me of, the fact that most of our fear are illusions. Although it seems like the string is restraining the cloud, it cannot do so because the  clouds is not a solid object, it can't be restrained.  

Friday, September 01, 2017

String of Thoughts Knot

I recently created this painting as a continuation of another series of paintings using the idea of thought clouds and strings. As I was painting I decided to add a loop on the strings on the last cloud and the title that came to me after taking another look at it was String of Thought Knot. I like the idea of matching the painting with a quote I feel resonates with the painting, and the quote that I chose for this painting is the following quote by Michael Ondaatje: 


"We all have an old knot in the heart we wish to untie."
Michael Ondaatje
 
 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Art As Meditation Workshop

 ✱ Thursday, August 31, 2017                                                            

ART AS MEDITATION - INTUITIVE PAINTING NIGHT 

Give your left brain and break and let your right brain play a little. 


What's intuitive painting?

Think of it as meditation but a lot easier and more fun. It’s painting based on what your feel and whatever comes to mind. There are no right or wrong way to do it. It helps you tap into your own creativity and it’s a proven effective way to manage stress. 


Materials will be provided. All you need to bring is yourself.



Friday, August 18, 2017

Portal Paintings


This is the second painting I created recently around the topic of clouds and portals. As I'm creating more paintings around clouds more surreal ideas are coming to the surface inspiring me to keep creating. It seems like I needed to go through the basics understanding of painting clouds first with the 100 cloud painting project before coming up with all these ideas. And I have a lot more coming! There are so many ways to paint the same topic! Enjoy the videos below of the accelerated process. They took about an hour each to complete. 

Both original paintings are available for sale. You can click here for details


Portal 



Portal 2



Monday, August 14, 2017

Painting Live at the Spoke Club

Tomorrow I will be joining 5 other local artists to paint live at the Spoke Club's gallery. It's a fun little competition where we'll be painting for 15 minutes on a given topic and the audience will chose the winners.

Have you ever been to an art battle? Join us in The Gallery to watch a competitive painting tournament where the winner takes all! What is competitive painting you may ask? A group of artists duke it out in three separate rounds as they each create a masterpiece you deliberate on. Vote for your favourite and the best painters move onto the next round for a chance to be the last artist standing and win the ultimate prize. Their works will also be auctioned off after each round. Each $15 ticket gets you access and voting rights at the show plus a glass of wine or beer.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Thoughts are things


Do you have a friend, a relative or a colleague who’s always complaining? Have you ever noticed that they often seem to find themselves in unfortunate situations? What if one of the main causes of their unfortunate situations is their way of thinking? What if our thoughts attract these unfortunate situations, like a magnet attracts metal. And the more we think and complain about everything that’s going wrong, the more they seem to happen. What if our thoughts really create our environment?

“Thoughts are things”. The first time I heard that concept was while watching a motivational video compilations featuring Will Smith. I didn't really get it at the time, but it stuck with me and my search to get a better understanding of what he meant lead me to discover various authors and speakers such as Napoleon Hill, Bob Proctor, Wallace D Wattles, Eckhart Tolle, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Elizabeth Gilbert, and many more. And I started to get a better understanding of the concept behind the idea that our thoughts and emotions affect our environment. It’s essentially what the book The Secret is trying to convey. The part that was unclear to me was the importance of the emotion behind the thoughts. Emotion is key. As I pay attention to what's going on around me, I can now see how thoughts fuelled by emotions can become things.

This is what inspired this painting called Thoughts are Things. As I mentioned before, this year I felt compelled to paint clouds using the colour trends of the year and later discovered that my painting are essentially a representation of what I see around me. As an artist, I observe and see the world differently and reproduce it visually to share a new perspective with you. I paint was feels right and analyze it after. And after completing this particular painting I started to notice parallels with what I see around me and in the media : people (including myself who create their own negative environment by holding on to thoughts they don’t like ). The problem is, the more we hold on to those negative thoughts clouds, the stronger they can become. Those little negative thought-clouds fuelled by our emotions soon become storm clouds, casting more shadow into our lives, and if we keep holding on, those storm clouds can turn into tornadoes, turning our world upside down.

I can see how the more we focus on negative thoughts, the more negative events we can attract. They don’t need to be our own thoughts to have this effect. Watching the news and witnessing a lot of negative press can get us emotionally involved in nurturing thoughts that has nothing to do with us. But by latching on to them, they start to affect our own lives. I see that a lot, especially when it comes to politics lately. You may have seen many example on your Facebook feed like me, of people just arguing online about events that are completely out of their real lives and affecting their own genuine relationships which has a direct impact on their lives.

So what’s the solution? We can’t avoid all negative thoughts but we can be mindful, observe them from a distance, let them pass by without holding on to them and focus on the thoughts we want to materialize instead. It takes practice because it doesn’t necessarily comes naturally to all of us, but it makes life a lot more enjoyable. Instead of focusing on what we don’t want, we can focus on what we can, fuel these positive thoughts with our positive emotions, and these emotions will then fuel our actions and we’ll see our worlds change for the better.



Head over to Cafe Press to get a print of this artwork

Monday, June 05, 2017

Uncovering Saskatchewan's historical faux pas from sketching the Devonian Pond


Yesterday, the Toronto Urban Sketchers headed over to the Devonian Square, near the Ryerson Image Centre, to sketch the Devonian Pond, also known as Lake Devo. I was hoping to get a nice picturesque pond with the surrounded buildings and boulders reflected on the water, but there was no water. Just a couple puddles here and there, probably from the rain earlier that day and some discarded coffee cups. There was also large images of a lady wrapped in a bright red fabric standing on a rock pasted onto a couple boulders . Not what I was expecting, but then again, Toronto is always full of surprises. 

It turns out that the images are part of a temporary art installation by artist Lori Blondeau regarding Indigenous identity. It was a bit shocking a first to see this but not nearly as shocking as it must have been for the Crees and Assiniboin who saw their 400-tons sacred gathering rock blown up by the government in 1966 to make way for the man-made Lake Diefenbaker, named after the John G. Diefenbaker, former Prime Minister of Canada. Knowing a little bit more of the story behind the installation, it makes a little more sense. I can see the parallel between the sacred rock in the 1960s that was destroyed to make way for a man-made lake vs an empty man-made pond using imported boulder from the Canadian Shield plastered, almost like a graffiti on a natural stone, with the image of a Cree artist defiantly and ironically standing on a rock in pristine nature wearing a red cloth. 

From what I understand, this installation brings more awareness so that we can hopefully make better decisions.  It's great to be aware of these stories to get a better understanding of the complexities of our history. But, where do we go from there? What's the next step to make things better? Apparently the site it still considered sacred despite being 60 ft under water. Steven Thair, a diver in Saskatchewan discovered the remains of the rock and is looking to make a documentary about it. He's also looking for experienced Cree divers who would be able to work with him. 

You never know what you're going to find out when you take the time to sketch the city. We had a great turn out. About 20 sketchers showed up to sketch the empty pond and surrounding areas. You can see more images on Facebook and Instagram


Friday, June 02, 2017

Chasing Clouds

Here's a quick little clip showing the acrylic cloud formations of one of my recent paintings. I hope you enjoy it too. 😊

Music: Dark Hallway by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. (via YouTube Library)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Don't let fear be your guide


Yesterday I listened to an audiobook called The Instant Millionaire: A Tale of Wisdom and Wealth by Mark Fisher. It was a nice little story about a man who's unhappy with his life and met a self-made millionaire who teaches him the secret of becoming wealthy in all aspects of his life. It's a beautiful story full of great simple insights that really resonated with me. I'm probably going to listen to it again because it reminded me of various lessons I've been picking up along my journey so far, but I haven't necessarily applied all of them. 

One quote that particularly struck me wast the one shown above : "Don't let fear be your guide". How many of us make decisions or avoid making decision out of fear? I know I still do it and too often. The silly thing is that a lot of those fears are silly : fear of the unknown, fear of getting hurt, fear of hurting other people, fear of feeling judged, fear of feeling embarrassed, fear of making a mistake. The longer they stay in my mind, the bigger the can become if I don't take a step back and look at these fear honestly with a certain amount of detachment. Most of them are not life threatening. They're just uncomfortable. And uncomfortable is where growth happens. So it was a nice little reminder for me to get uncomfortable in order to keep growing. Silly things like going to an event even though I don't know anyone. What's the worst that can happen? Nothing really, but I'll learn and experience something new.

Another beautiful quote that I really connected with was this one :

Always remember that at a certain height there are no clouds. If there are clouds in your life it’s because your soul hasn’t soared high enough. Many people make the mistake of fighting against their problems. What you must do is raise yourself above those problems once and for all. The heart of the rose will lead you above the clouds where the sky is forever clear.
Mark Fisher, The Instant Millionaire: A Tale of Wisdom and Wealth

This quote is freakishly aligned with my thoughts regarding my art project on clouds this year and almost reenergized my determination to pursue my call to paint clouds

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Timeraiser Toronto Party was a Success

I first heard of Timeraiser when I lived in Ottawa back in 2009. It's a unique concept that enables artists to sell their artwork to the organization which, in turn, enables art patrons to bid for the artwork in exchange for their time volunteering for various non-for-profit organizations. Fast forward 6 years later, I decided to attend the event in Toronto last night and it was quite inspiring. 

There was a lot of interesting artwork, a lot people interested in volunteering in exchange for the artwork as well as great live art installations by various local artists. I didn't plan on staying long but I ended up staying for 4 hours! 

Artists were making portraits of the visitors. The lines were long to get the opportunity to be sketched by them. It's quite impressive that they were producing so many portraits surrounded by so much activity around them.  


An artist called dahae invited visitors to co-create art pieces with her by leaving their handprints on canvas fabric fixed on the wall. 



Some artist quietly created their work in their bubble while others involved visitors in their work. It's interesting to see the different way artists create. 


I was particularly fond of the work of Jonathan Edwin Simpon who patiently engrave wood trucks with letters creating some sort of poem. Very inspiring!

I really like the way it was set up. There was drinks and food for everyone as well as a clever game Timeraiser put together. We were given a Nonprofit Passport including the logos of each of the participating organizations. They had a booth in the main area to talk to visitors. And for each representative we spoke to, we got a stamp on our passport. If we collected at least 6 stamps, we could participate to a contest to win a prize. This encouraged visitors (including myself) to go talk to the organizations reps and find out the amazing work some of them do. In my case, I found out about groups I genuinely would love to get involved with. Kudo's to Timeraiser for an effective solution to getting more people to connect.




From what I gather, it was a huge success. Timeraiser Toronto raised 15,863 volunteer hours last night. There's  probably more to come from those who, like me, who plan to connect with great organizations such as Emerging Young ArtistsFull Circle and Luminato amongst many others. And if you're interested in participating as an artist, they are still accepting submission for their online version here : http://www.timeraiser.ca/artist