Monica Burrow
Original Art from BC and Beyond

Blog - A Palette of Ideas - on being an artist

(posted on 13 Aug 2017)

It's been a month of extraordinary heat and no rain, with over a week of smoke filled skies that looked like a tube of Golden's Titan Buff. Two days ago the heat broke, we began to see a faint hint of Prussian Blue to the sky and then the clouds showed up. I saw a star at night and the moon was a normal colour.

Painting was a way to pass the hours, but motivation at a humidex of over 30 degrees can be an elusive thing. 

Yesterday the rain moved in at 10pm and we got a good overnight soaking. The first rain since July 21 when we had a few drops.

The best thing I could do for my studio in July, was to look around and see what could be thinned. I once took a workshop from a woman who said if she was blocked, she would tidy her surfaces and creativity followed. Some people need to have a lovely layered chaotic space where they know the whereabouts of each item in the layers of detritus and sediment, while I work better with spaces between the bits of visual chaos. Calm areas that make me feel productive.

In 2010 I came into possession of three large canvasses.  A 24 x 36, a 30 x 40 and a 28 x 40. I used the 24 x 36 to paint "Pumpkin Time on Westham Island" (which can be seen in the gallery Sold and Archived Works). It went on to win a spot in a competition in our Guild, it won an Envision Credit Union Category Prize in a local art show, and went on to sell on the last day of the show.

The other two canvasses stayed in the studio waiting to receive the  right image. Somehow clients never chose the size, canvasses that large have to be something that is live-able for more than just myself, and then there was the empty white canvas intimidation factor.

One day this past month I realized that they were taking up mental as well a physical space in my studio and one day I sent out an email to fellow artists I know who like to paint big, put a good price of 30% of the orig. pre tax value on the two as they had been no cost to me, and within an hour had four artists willing to take them off my hands. By supper time they were gone and I had the equivalent of two tubes of paint I would definitely use in my wallet!

Last week I was sorting through some knitting wool that was taking up a drawer in the corner of the studio while other items remained homeless and distracting on the floor. As I opened another drawer, I noticed a tray of coloured acrylic inks I was given once. At the time  I thought they would be very inspirational. In over ten years they never made it out of the drawer! Sent out an email to fellow artists I know who I thought might find them useful and within an hour I had someone who works in illustration, and does the most beautiful detailed fine work with ink, reply. She was thrilled to the extent of 3 exclamation points in her query about whether they were still available. Within a day the inks were in her studio where they WILL be used.

The feeling of weight, relief and freedom I feel when this happens contributes directly to my enjoyment of a tidier studio where I will feel more productive. The enthusiasm of the other party is infectious. Things I won't even miss out the door, leaving room in head and heart for a more creative space. It's something i highly recommend.