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.

The Art Life: Introduction

This post introduces a new category that will be a resource for others involved in the act of emerging as professional artists. Topics will go beyond the act of making art to talk about work and life in the arts. Subjects will be relevant to the business of being an artist, as well as the personal side, including social, mental, financial and physical health. From time to time I may host guest experts here, as well as announce upcoming sessions of Artists on a Mission and How to Be an Artist.

Learn to Art Introduction

Introducing to a new post category: the Art Lessons category covers further information for art students. It will include tutorials, art history, explain materials and techniques, and announce new and upcoming classes and critiques for registration. As well current students will find information to keep them in the loop on projects, requirements and the status of their upcoming classes.

Your Greatest Masterpiece

YOLO. It’s a contemporary cliche, but it’s true.

Today my uncle passed away. He was only 54, but hadn’t been truly living in years. He was fixated by demons of passed emotional hurts and locked in a battle between the reality of morbid obesity and the ideal of universal body acceptance. Eventually this struggle came to be his personal identity, until it imprisoned and conquered him.

There was so much more to him than his size. He was outspoken, a true big personality, who wasn’t afraid of being contrarian or ruffling feathers. He loved cooking, technology, vehicles and movies. When he was young he loved to draw. He had an intense need to be close to family. He took in relatives for years at a time, and made nearly daily phone calls to his brothers and sisters.

Any one of theses things could have become his identity, and carried him through life, giving him the encouragement he needed to make healthy changes so he could enjoy those activities longer.

I understand the defiance that would lead him to build his identity around his opposition to western culture’s body ideals. In my own weight loss journey I had to make choices to embrace a larger vision of myself than just my right to be big in our culture. I had to separate myself from that dialog in order to pursue what was best for me. I was not responding to cultural perceptions of my value as a woman. I was not thinking about attractiveness or career competitiveness, I just wanted to be at a healthy weight so that I could get the most out of my life, as an artist as well as a wife, mother and living being on this planet.

Art is a long haul occupation. Skill and reputation are developed over many years. Every artist has to forge his or her own path, discovering as she goes along what works and what works for her. Success is rare before middle age, and history is littered with artists who die just as they are hitting their stride. As an artist I encourage every one who is dedicated to the journey to work on the masterpiece of their life at the same time. Even if artistic success as you define it never does call, take pleasure in the best expression of your entire life.

I call my studio One Life Fine Art partially as a reminder that we do only live once (that we know of for certain). That means, not only doing what I love now, but also making the choices that will prolong my life and keep me in the best possible shape so I can enjoy it. It means forgiving myself for not always measuring up to outside ideals, and thus not defining myself in opposition to them. Neither carrying the weight of success or failure, instead embracing every moment of this one life, living it at my pace and making time for the important things that bring me joy. One Life Fine Art is bigger than my studio or my art practice, it is an expression of the wholeness of my life.

There is never certainty, and we are always free to choose how we will identify ourselves and how we want to be identified, but let’s not choose ways which will leave us miserable and suffering, which will limit our futures. Life is too short for suffering. I encourage you all to make your life your ultimate masterpiece.

Goodbye Alvin. Love you.