CarterWorksArt Tips for Beating Winter Blahs – Feb. 2014

What a title!   Who really wants to admit to having a case of cold weather blahs towards our artwork?  Sunshine has been in scare supply and cold temps have abounded.   Even when around other artists, there’s just not the usual enthusiasm.  On the rare day that en plein air, [the French expression for “in the open air”, the act of painting outdoors] has been possible, it is short time.   The scenic spot found, equipment set up and my painting has been started when the fickle temps start turning chilly.  Soon, with icy fingers, the dropping evening temps have me packing up and heading for the warmth of my studio.  I did have pictures of the scene and did a nice job of completing the picture in the comfy warmth of indoors.  That being said, how can we find ways to self motivate and stay involved in being happily creative in winter months?

Snooping through your “art stuff”.   I like taking out trays, bags and travel packs and unpacking them to see what I have got that I have forgotten I have.  Last month I found a complete set of oil pastels and a set of water-based oils and accessories that I had put up.  I sorted through my art frames purchased at local GCF  stores and measured them out, arranging them with the store bought frames so I know what I have and what sizes are available.

Sorting through partially completed paintings.   Now’s the time for true confession.  Am I really going to finish that painting that I started off on so full of excitement?  I like to sort through my sketching notes and see how my style is developing.  Some things wind up going to the wastebasket, while others go into my filing system.  I love what Watercolor Artist, Sterling Edwards, said about paintings that didn’t turn out like I expected.  There is always the other side of the paper and if worse comes to worst, slap a base coat on it and turn it into a mixed media piece.

Move stuff Around.  I needed to make a few changes in where my easels were located.  During most of last year I was so busy that I didn’t want to waste time playing checkers with my studio furniture.   This winter has made me enjoy being a house/studio mouse.  Except for one awkward moment with a ceiling fan, everything is now finally located where I find it to be the most useful.

Watch the painting shows you have recorded on Public TV.  This is so cool.  I have several artists I enjoy  who appear weekly on our local UNC Channel 4.   During the busy times, taking time to sit and just watch them demonstrate their painting techniques is not possible.  Winters such as this one makes it perfect to watch them and learn.  I love listening to them talk about their love of what they are doing.  During their shows, I keep a notebook and write down so many helpful tips that they are eager to share with their viewers.  It is also a good time for me to weed through and protect the ones that I want to keep for future reference.

Painting ceiling tiles for Healing Ceilings.   If the winter blahs have a tight hold on your spirit, visit the Healing Ceilings website and Facebook page.  I just received word that my 2′ x 2′ hummingbird with pink tube flowers tiles has been placed in the ceiling of one of the treatment rooms at the Rex Wakefield Cancer Treatment Center.  I am presently working on two more tiles to add to that one tile so that it will be a three panel artwork.  There is an inner joy that comes from knowing that my paintings are there for the patients and staff to see and bring happiness.  Amy Jo Edwards,  started the Healing Ceilings project and it is spreading into cancer treatment centers everywhere.

I think I have given some good tips to help banish those winter blues and blahs. If none of them seem to be of interest, just send me a note.  Maybe we can plan a trip to our local NC Museum of Art.  Now there is a great place to be to get a great dose of inspiration.

Take Care,

Dianna and Mark Carter