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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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Make a List
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.
Patience is an Artistic Virtue
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
Exchanging Roses for the Big Five
Photo: One of the lilies from the giant beautiful bouquet of roses and lilies Ter got for me.
Friday, May 9th, was Ter and I's 5 year anniversary. If you're reading this, happy anniversary, baby!
Ter surprised me with a spectacular bouquet of red roses and white lilies from Victor Michaels. The smell is incredible! I think they're the most beautiful bouquet he's ever gotten me - and he's given me lots of gorgeous flower arrangements over the course of our relationship. I do so love getting flowers from him! And for the first time ever, I sent him a dozen red roses at work today too.
Photo: Roses from the bouquet of red roses and baby's breath I got for Ter.
Our actual celebration, though, will have to wait as we're out of town this weekend and too busy to do anything special. Next weekend we'll do a romantic dinner at Normand's, our traditional anniversary spot, where yummy French food meets immaculate service. Then we head out to Miquelon Lake Provincial Park for four nights of camping. Ah, camping. Night-time fires, day-time painting, sleeping in, and general laziness (accompanied by liberal doses of Amarula). Sigh. Perfection in a vacation.
This will be our first camping trip of the season with hopefully two or three more to come before the dreaded winter rolls back in. Let's hope for plenty of sunshine and anorexic mosquitoes while the summer lasts.
My goals for our camping trip? Lots of painting, of course, and taking as many reference photos as I can. Particularly of the sky and close up shots of trees. I promise to share a few when I get back.
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An Unwelcome Visitor
Last night I spent the evening painting peacefully on my balcony until … well I'll get to that shortly. Let me set the stage first: I'm about to spend the rest of the night painting and usually, when I'm painting, I listen to music or watch a movie or something. But, alas, I had temporarily misplaced my iPod. And instead of popping in Pride and Prejudice and painting on the island in my kitchen, I'm lured outside by the warmth of the sun. For the last couple weeks, Edmonton has been having sensational weather: clear skies and 28 C (82 F) all the time. Absolutely perfect.
So I'm sitting back in my chair with a 6" x 6" canvas on my lap, watching the tall grass in the park dance with the breeze, and listening to the birds sing. My fingers were sticky from rubbing yellow, orange, and pink oil pastels onto the canvas and the sun is just starting to set. Contentment has slowed my hyper heart to an easy relaxed beat.
Then, my visitor arrives.
A ½ inch long spider. Grey and white with dark markings. Suspended behind my head on its silky white web. Wonderful. Just. Wonderful.
I'm pleased to announce that I neither screamed nor leaped up and spilled my art supplies all over the place. On the contrary, I'm very calm as I begin plotting to kill it. I contemplate using the painting I'm working on. After all, the flat edges of the canvas would be great for spider squashing. But no, I wouldn't want to jeopardize the painting so moving on … oh look! In my hand is the paper towel that I use for keeping my oil pastels clean. I could use it to grab the spider and squish it. That would bring the spider into very close proximity with me, though. And what if I missed when trying to make a grab for it and it wound up landing on my lap or my hand? No. Way. That would be unacceptable! So what now?
Ah, I finally notice the sandals I'm wearing. And as I'm preparing to slip off the sandal and do the spider in, I start to feel bad. I flash back to my husband telling me how spiders eat mosquitoes and how they're so small and we're the big mean giants compared to them. And, here I want to kill another living creature that's just minding its own business. This is the guilt trip (that inevitably fails) that my husband uses when I ask him to kill a spider for me. It's just - why does it have to have so many legs? And why does it have to be so creepy looking? I guess it can't help how it looks … maybe I should just leave it alone …
It wasn't easy, but I did manage to leave the spider alone. I turned around and tried to continue working on my painting. Concentrating was impossible and I found myself turning around again and again to peer at the disgusting little thing and make sure it wasn't about to pounce on me. But eventually I became re-engrossed in my painting, forgot all about the spider, and enjoyed the lovely sunset.
I'm very proud of myself for letting that spider live. However, I make no guarantees for the safety of the next spider that crosses my path. In fact, I make no guarantees for the safety of this spider if it manages to crawl off the balcony and into our condo. Hopefully, it's smarter than that.
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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.
Hanging Out in Panorama
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.
The Anima Controversy
I've seen a lot of blank stares on people's faces the first time they hear my name. "Ani - what?" they may ask. "Anima," I reply. That's pronounced Ah-Nee'-Ma, not Animo, Amoeba, Enigma, Anemic or 'that girl whose name is a disease' - though I have been known to respond to the preceding. I've even been called George, but that's an entirely separate story.
When my husband first met me he wrote down my name phonetically - I guess he realized he'd never be able to remember it otherwise. Now after I'm introduced to someone, I'll tell them that my name is spelled "like 'Animal' without the 'l'." It's amazing how much that helps.
People often tell me how unique or different my name is, that's why I'm so surprised when I "Google" my name. First I'm asked if I meant "Anime" which I find kind of funny. Then I come across a gamut of different ways that the name Anima is used:
And on and on it goes. My favorite comes from my mother: She's always told me that my name means beautiful. I know I was named after my uncle Anim, so how can that be true? But why ask too many questions? She's my mother therefore she must be right and therefore my name means beautiful.
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