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About Anima's Blog

My name is Anima and I'm an emerging artist living in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My blog is on tips for artists, artist reviews and interviews, art business and marketing, art collecting, how to decorate with art, oil pastel painting tips, giclee print information, finding creativity and inspiration, my travels, works in progress, new paintings, personal revelations, and everything in between.

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Delicate Dream 1 - Oil Pastel painting of a beautiful woman in purple, white, lilac and beige by Canadian artist Anima McKertcher

Delicate Dream 1
© Anima McKertcher
12" x 12" (30 cm x 30 cm)
Oil Pastel on Stretched Canvas

I love lists. I love making them, reading them, crossing items off of them, seriously. I. Love. Lists.

And I've got a list 163 strong of painting ideas. When am I going to get around to painting all of them? I don't know. But now I don't have to worry about forgetting any ideas - they're stored up in case of an inspirational drought or whenever I come home with a prestine new 36 by 36 inch stretched canvas.

I have an ongoing list describing my experimental acrylic painting process. I like to follow the steps closely so I can learn from what works and what doesn't and tweak my process as needed.

Then there's the list of all art work in progress including how many hours I've spent on each piece and what the next stage is.

There's my 28 day calendar with lists outlining what tasks need to get done each day and which events are coming up that I need to prepare for. This helps me juggle my crazy schedule and battle my urge to procrastinate.

And as the saying goes: the list of my lists goes on and on. I may be knee deep in lists but I'm happier, more organized and less stressed because of them.

So what are you waiting for? Go make a list.

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Posted by Anima on November 26, 2009   0 Comments Links to this post

Patience is an Artistic Virtue

Beating Hearts of Fire - Acrylic abstract painting in red and cream by Canadian artist Anima McKertcher

Beating Hearts of Fire
© Anima McKertcher
12" x 9" (30 cm x 23 cm)
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

So how virtuous am I? Apparently not very. My patience is being severly tested, artistically speaking, especially in the last few weeks.

I've painted a slough of experimental pieces with a goal in mind that doesn't seem to want to get achieved. And I'm doing this with a medium that's relatively new to me, acrylic paints. While oil pastels are like coming home, acrylics are like a trip on the Mindbender in West Edmonton Mall. I'm praying on the way up and screaming on the way down.

Hopefully once this particular journey in experimentation comes to a conclusion, I'll have an acrylic painting technique to complement my work with oil pastels. Plan B is an acrylic paint bonfire in the construction area a block from my house.

But really, what I'm learning from all this is that I need to take a deep breath, exercise patience and persevere in my experimentation. It's only a matter of time till I make it to my final goal.

And in the meantime, I must admit I've been learning a lot and having a ton
of fun on my way up the roller coaster.

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Posted by Anima on November 19, 2009   0 Comments Links to this post

Rebel Against Creativity Killers

Blue Pendant ~ oil pastel on canson mi-teinte paper

Image: Blue Pendant by Anima

Copyblogger's Brian Clark compiled quotes shooting down what history has proven to be great ideas. Here are a couple samples.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” ~H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” ~Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962

Do you ever get those kind of responses to your artwork? As a visual artist, negativity and rejection flood in from all fronts: galleries, juried exhibitions, schools, instructors, critics, the media, collectors. We should expect criticism, listen contemplatively, and ignore, reject, and do the opposite of it most of the time.

By all means, improve your technical excellence and develop your style, but never, ever, ever, give in to the creativity killers.

One I've gotten a lot of: "Who wants a picture of some strange girl on their wall?" If you've seen any of my art, you'll notice I'm completely ignoring that one.

When have you rebelled against creativity killers?


Posted by Anima on May 21, 2008   0 Comments Links to this post

Color Reference Tip for Artists

If you're an artist, I recommend you go to Home Depot and grab one of every single color card from the CIL paint collection. I did this on Saturday. Then I grabbed the Ralph Lauren color sample book for good measure. I'm not sure how long it actually took but it felt like an eternity - there were hundreds, and hundreds of cards. Plus, I braved a record-breaking snow storm and icy roads. Ah, the joys of spring in northern Alberta!

So why bother? For three reasons:

1) Commissions

Getting the colors right on a commission is critical, especially when your collector has plans for where the painting is going to hang. But the words your collector uses for colors might be vague, inaccurate, or just plain different from what you're used to. For instance: peach, coral, and pink, or turquoise, aqua, and sea green, or mauve, lilac, and lavender. Which one is which, and would your collector, husband, sister, and best friend all make the same call?

It's so much easier to have them just point to the color on the card! This even works when there's no chance to meet with your collector locally. Just have them email you with the names and brand of the colors they like.

Then all you have to do is match their selections within reason.

2) Choosing the Right Color

Whether it's for a commission or your own self-directed painting, take the color samples to the art supply store when you're picking out your oil pastels, or your colored pencils, or whatever you're medium of choice is. If your memory is anything like mine it's best to have a tangible reference to work from and not a vague recollection.

3) Inspiration

This was an unexpected side effect of looking at all those colors. I felt instantly inspired. It was kind of like the feeling I get at the art supply store when I'm looking at all those gorgeous oil pastel sticks. Honestly, I'm getting tingly just thinking about it.

The different hues, shades, values, and tints can really get you going if you ever get painter's block. Just imagine all the color combinations you've yet to explore!

How About You

Check out how Jerry Lebo uses color references or share what you use for reference colors and why.

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Posted by Anima on April 21, 2008   0 Comments Links to this post

Another 4 AM Painting Bender

I think last night proved once again that I'm not the smartest person around these parts … but I couldn't resist. I started painting a really soft, dreamy background of yellows, peaches and pinks. And from there the painting progressed really quickly - so quickly in fact that the hours just raced by.

A seven-hour late-night painting binge later, I completed Breath of Light and I absolutely love it. It's proved to be very popular too, with the original selling before it was officially released.

I may have suffered a painting hangover the next morning, but it was well worth it. So that means I didn't learn my lesson and I'll probably be doing this again very soon.

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Posted by Anima on May 4, 2007   0 Comments Links to this post

Hanging Out in Panorama

The view from Taynton Bowl in Panorama, British Columbia
My husband Terry and I just spent 5 days in Panorama, British Columbia skiing, hanging out and in general having a blast. The village sits on the side of the mountain heaped in snow and twinkling with pretty yellow lights. It was definitely a sight to see from the mountain when we were night skiing.

We took a ton of photos. My husband had to take the photos of the views from Taynton Bowl because I’m way too chicken to go up to the summit. Maybe one day? – Who am I kidding, it’ll never happen! But with all the pictures we got, I’m planning a series of new original paintings. I can’t wait to get started on them! Thanks to our great friends Corey and Tiffany Young at Alberta Real Estate Opportunities for their hospitality.

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Posted by Anima on December 31, 2006   0 Comments Links to this post

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