Following Legends

Following Legends
20 x 28 O/C
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Hi there again, and happy Friday the 13th! Hopefully you all ate your Lucky Charms cereal this morning, and don’t have any work to do under tall ladders or anything.

Following Legends is the second of two paintings thinking about female western legend Annie Oakley. The legend of Annie Oakley forms the backdrop, the wall paper, to the life of the little girl from Wild Roses (last week). The little girl grows up and perhaps becomes one of the flag bearers at the Calgary Stampede, our equivalent to Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. And so “the show goes on”, and “on with the show” as the text at the top of the painting mentions.

You can see more of my Western Series here:

Getting the New Western Gallery on to the Website

I have just added a new western art gallery to my website. Included in the gallery is the painting featured in my last post, and I will be talking about some of the others more in depth as we go along. The images are not super high quality yet, the captions are short, and the design does not line up with the other galleries either, but it is there. Adding it required changes to all of the other pages, and will also require further changes, but one could spend all week on updating and never get into the studio! The other side of my new years resolution is spending the afternoon in the studio, so what it is really about is achieving balance between office and studio so I am neither binging on one nor neglecting the other. So, even though it is super difficult to break focus and move to another task, that is it for website stuff today. This afternoon I will be working on a still life painting of fruitcake. In the mean time, take a quick peek at the new gallery, and check back in a week or so to see what has changed, I am sure you will enjoy!

Latest Painting: Wild Roses

Wild Roses
20 x 28 O/C
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

I began the tedious task of taking action on my New Years Resolution to spend my mornings on administrative work (like updating my website) and afternoons painting. While there is a daunting backlog of updates to be made, I made good progress on my landing page today.

The image above, Wild Roses, is not in the web-galleries yet. Updating those will be a job for next week, and when that is done you should be able to link to a bigger image. (update: Western Gallery is now online!)

Currently featured on my landing page, Wild Roses is one of my most recently completed paintings, from the body of work that I am painting for the  Western Showcase.

I am a born and raised Calgarian. In Calgary the biggest annual event is the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. It is billed as the greatest outdoor show on earth, and the entire city takes 10 days off to celebrate our western heritage. Growing up in Calgary, I could hardly have avoided internalizing a perspective informed by our western heritage. Part of this body of work is looking at what that means to me.

Wild Roses shows a little girl in western dress riding a hobby horse. Behind her is a wall covered in wallpaper featuring a repeating pattern based on historically iconic photographs of Annie Oakley. Text in the margin reads “Legends of the New West.”

In Wild Roses I was thinking about how  western themes are typically seen as suitable fantasies for little boys, hence their role models, the Cowboy, the Gunslinger, etcetera, tend to be presented with a masculine face, while females populate the setting of the hero’s story. I wondered what historical western female characters little girls might choose to emulate in their heroic fantasies, and what lessons they might have to teach.

Annie Oakley was an early western female sharpshooter who made her fame and living performing with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Growing up she had the deck stacked against her, but through her strong sense of individuality and commitment to her personal strength and vision she rose above her circumstance to become a staunch advocate for female independence, and someone worthy of inspiring a new generation of western women to create their stories on their terms.

New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year that we are all looking to the future and deciding what we want that to look like! For many of us, myself included, that means resolving to lose the 10 pounds we put on over the holidays. Clear clutter, get organized, take care of finances, focus on family, all great personal resolutions. But what about our career resolutions?

That is not just something for people in offices looking for raises and promotions, it is for us creative types too.

I propose using your resolutions as career planning tools. What has not worked in the past year, and what are you going to do about it?  What do you want to do more of? What new projects look interesting and how can you get started on them?

For my resolutions, first of all I should let you know that I am still working on the last painting for that deadline which is fast approaching, this Thursday to be precise. It was not my intention to be pushing this close to my deadline, I had wanted this all done by mid December so I could enjoy the holidays without stressing over work. However, life and personal commitments got in the way and here I am stressing.

SO, my first resolution, since this is an annual deadline, is to start on the paintings for next year ASAP. Next week I will work on tying up lose ends such as website and bookwork, and a couple small painting projects left hanging until this was out of the way.  January 16th 2017 I will begin the paintings for the 2018 deadline, to be completed by March 31st 2017.

Next resolution: I have found that I am quite behind on my website updates, newsletters, proposals and applications. I was watching a video on youtube of Paul Klein talking about what it takes to be successful as an artist. One of the things he mentions is spending AT LEAST 30 percent of your time in your creative life on the marketing and administrative end, as opposed to the actual research and art making side. That sounds like a very useful piece of advice for me at this time, so for the next year I resolve that during studio days my mornings will be devoted to the ‘office’ side, and my afternoons to the ‘studio’ side.

So, there are a number of other things I would like to see happen this year, however, I think these two actions should make such a significant difference in how I look back at 2017 come next New Year, that I may find that a few of those other things actually come about because of these resolutions.

So here is to a happy, productive and successful 2017!

A look back at 2016

This will be my last post for 2016, and my next will be the first for 2017.

In the spirit of endings, this should be the time when I update my CV and take some time to honour the activities of the past year. However, since I am still painting furiously under deadline, I will have to defer that until the new year. Until then, I will just take the time tonight to take a look back at a few of the activities I took part in and will be adding to my CV.

I have quite a few things to be proud of this year: I exhibited a couple paintings in the I Love Inglewood Show at the Edge Gallery, as well as at Parksday and Creekfest in Fish Creek Park. I sold work at the Thickwood Hills Studio Trail in the Shell Lake area, facilitated a collaborative painting project at Confederation Park, taught a plein-air painting workshop in Fish Creek Park, got some great feedback from a critique at the Leighton Centre, donated several art books from my personal library to Wafaa Bilal’s 168:01, attended many art shows and screenings, and conducted numerous Art a la Carte parties.

So I will be thinking about this list over the weekend: what do I want to do more of in the coming year, what I would like to discontinue and what new things I might like to tackle?

For the first post of 2017, I will be posting my New Year’s resolutions for my art work. See you in the New Year!

Boxing Up your Art (metaphorically speaking)

I hope you had a great Boxing Day!

I know at least some of you were out picking up deals, while others were packing away your holiday decorations. Myself I was back in the studio after taking all of the Christmas weekend off for last minute preparations and family fun.

Yes, I still have four paintings to finish in the next week, and I will photograph and share them soon I hope.

In the mean time I was looking for a couple seasonal recent works to share with you, and realized that I have a lot of art that needs to be added to my website. I did not want to share something I don’t currently have a decent photo have and haven’t added to the website galleries yet!

So this brings me to a topic I need to explore. The problem with being a ‘one man band,’ is that one can only do so much by oneself, and there is always some task that is getting neglected; Apparently I have been making lots of art work, but for at least the last year I have not been sharing the work on my website. The problems with this are that it might lead a casual visitor to my site to assume I don’t make much work, and it is also tough to show someone the direction of my recent work if I don’t have it online! So I need to find a way to consistently BOX up my work each DAY -oh my, see how I made that seasonal connection- so that it is ready to go when I need to PRESENT it.

I can set up a schedule to do some administrative tasks each day, or I can find an assistant to help with doing those tasks regularly. Either way, I resolve to undergo a major gallery page update after this upcoming deadline, and then I will look for solutions to my consistency dilemma.


Happy Holidays from the Studio:

Christmas Ornaments, a lesson project painting by Debbie.lee Miszaniec

So it is almost Christmas, and I have been furiously working in the studio finishing paintings for a deadline. I can’t share any of these with you yet, although I already have 6 in the series complete, as I won’t have the time to photograph them until the new year. You will just have to enjoy the suspense!

In the mean time, I thought I would share a few of my teaching plans for the upcoming year with you. Nothing firm yet, I can’t take the time away from the studio to make arrangements or set dates, but I can certainly let you know what to watch out for!

So, for 2016 I will be setting up a few independent workshops for Calgarians who have expressed interest in taking a class with me. There will need to be a minimum registration in order to go ahead, but I am planning on doing a workshop on atmospheric perspective for landscape painters, one on creating a convincing illusion of space for still life painters, and a plein-air painting workshop in Calgary’s Fish Creek Park this year in the late spring or early fall.

Stay tuned for details, and definitely contact me, subscribe to my newsletter, or comment below to express interest in taking one of these workshops. The more interest I get, the more of a priority I will make it!

Behind the Art Introduction

This section is for fans of my work. Here I will be announcing new pieces,  products, exhibitions, and opportunities to meet me or see the work first hand. As well you will find some of the backstory or thought process behind individual pieces and bodies of work. I might ramble a bit as I work out my thoughts on art history, the value of art to society and vice-a-versa.