July 25, 2011

The struggle of starting

After weeks of procrastinating I have finally started the first piece of my ‘Montreal Boroughs’ project. Now, I always have some difficulty starting a new piece, there always seems to be a period of apprehension, but starting the first piece of this series has been exceptionally difficult. 

This ‘Montreal Boroughs’ project is my first large scale project, it will consist of 34, or maybe 35, pieces and that is probably where the extra difficulty of starting the first piece comes in. Knowing that I have to make some decisions that will influence the entire project while creating the first piece have been withholding me from starting that first piece. Even now, with the composition more then halfway done, I’m still questioning some of those decisions, something I usually never do. 

Another hurdle in starting this series is the size of the individual pieces. I have decided to go with 18x18” panels for this project. A decision I’ve made for several both practical and creative reasons. Starting this first piece though, has brought the realization that 18x18” is rather small, especially in comparison to the sizes I’ve been working with recently. This has some creative consequences. I will have to work with smaller prints if I want to at least make a decent representation of the borough. And there is no way I can use even close to all the photographs I have taken. 

Now this isn’t something new, in general I’m not even close to using all the photographs I have of a subject and I’m always faced with the choices of which elements to include and which to leave out. But these choices being so close to the time that I actually took the photographs and the fact that I’m doing a series of 34 pieces where the subject is more similar then usual just makes the decisions seem that much harder. 

And then there’s the fear that at one point I will realize that the subject matter is too similar and that I’ve set myself an impossible goal. I don’t think this will happen, I’ve photographed almost all of the West-island and I’ve found something unique in each borough so far. But it might happen and that’s just one more hurdle I have to take every time I’m working on this.

But even with all these hurdles and insecurities I am still enjoying myself and I think it will make the project that much more satisfying when it’s finally finished. No one has ever claimed that creating art is easy, ok, maybe I have in the past but that was before I started writing about my creative process, it always seems easy in hindsight. That’s why I will keep pushing along taking one hurdle at the time, because slowly but surely I will get to that point where I have 34 finished paintings and it will all have seemed to have been a breeze.

July 18, 2011

A Wonderful Weekend!

My husband likes to go rock climbing, he does this twice a week at a gym but to change things up a bit he wanted to do some climbing outdoors. Together with a buddy he enrolled in a two day course. This course was going to take place in this regional park in Val David about an hours drive from Montreal in the Laurentiens. Since the weather was going to be gorgeous and the scenery even more so, I decided to tag along. I packed a bag with some sandwiches, my sketchbook, some pastels and charcoal and loads of water and went off by myself to explore Parc Regional Dufresne. 

On Saturday I spent my time on two look out points where I could sit on the rocks and look at this amazing view of the valley. What surprised me the most was how quiet it was, I spent about eight hours there and I encountered no more then 5 people, it was absolutely amazing! The views were magnificent and because I was by myself I had al the time in the world to do some drawing. 

On Sunday I divided my time between drawing and exploring because I wanted to see a little more of the parc. I entered from a different spot and walked around from lookout to lookout sometimes stopping in between to do a quick sketch. The park is used mostly by rock climbers and it is pretty clear why. There are these huge rock formations scattered around the park and the hills have these amazing cliffs. Because it was Sunday I encountered a few more people but when I was sitting on the lookouts it was so quiet that it felt like I was the only person for miles. 

It had been a while since I did some outdoor sketching, I rarely give myself the time to do it. The good thing about my trip this weekend was that I was by myself and I knew I had to be there for at least eight hours each day since my husband was doing the course. I had brought a book and my drawing tools but nothing else so I could either read or draw. I had forgotten how much I enjoy just drawing, it is so relaxing! Being able to do it two days in a row in a place with so much beauty, absolutely amazing! Yeah, my life is pretty good!

If you would like to check out the drawings I made this weekend you can visit my Landscape Drawings gallery here: http://www.denisebuismanpilger.com/Denise_Buisman_Pilger/Drawings_Landscapes.html

July 13, 2011

Four new greeting cards

As I type this I am sitting in my garden, it is early enough that I can still sit on the patio in the shade which means I can still see my screen, convenient when you’re typing. I front of me there are a box of newly printed greeting cards, a box of envelopes and a stack of sleeves. I am looking forward to opening the box of cards just for the smell of freshly printed ink. After I finish typing this blog I am going to spend the morning outside assembling my greeting cards. It’s pretty rare that I’m able to do work outside so I’m going to enjoy this opportunity immensely. Not just for the opportunity to work outside though, although that is a great benefit. I’m also looking forward to doing the assembly work, a couple of hours of just putting cards and envelopes in plastic sleeves. I know it sounds boring but I really enjoy doing stuff like that every once in a while, I find it extremely relaxing. 

For the afternoon I’ve got some time in the studio planned. I suspect the sun will be to hot to stay out anyways by the time I’m done with these cards so I’ll be heading indoors to work on my Tremblant piece. I’m already into the painting stage of that one so I hope to be able to finish it today. I would like to start on the first piece of my boroughs project this week, if things go as planned that shouldn’t be a problem. 

I will keep this entry short, I’m excited to get started on those cards. They will be available in the web store together with all my original artwork and the previous series of greeting cards. You can check them out here.

July 07, 2011

Borough adventures...

On Tuesday I had planned a trip to do three boroughs in one day. I was going to visit Baie d’Urfe, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and Senneville but halfway through the day my camera ran out of juice, it turns out I had forgotten to charge the battery before leaving, pretty stupid but hey, lesson learned right? So today I went back to finish the job.

I have to say I absolutely love this project already, it gives me an opportunity to spend some time in the sunshine which is never a bad thing and I have to say, Montreal keeps surprising me. You would think that with 34 boroughs in one city there would be little to distinguish them from one-another. NOT true! Granted, I’ve only done 6 boroughs up until now but every single one of them has given me a unique atmosphere and unique elements that really make them stand out from the rest. The other element I really enjoy about this project is the exploration element. I want to really explore all the borough has to offer so I try to cover most of it which takes me to places you usually wouldn’t visit. I’ve seen the most amazing houses and who knew that in Baie d’Urfe they decorate their fire hydrants? 

Today I had the most wonderful walk along the boardwalk in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. That borough is really like a little village. I could almost do two separate pieces on Sainte-Anne alone because I’ve discovered that about half of it is like a collage town because there’s a huge campus and a lot of the houses around there look like students live there. On the other hand it is really a touristy vacation spot with little cottages and a great boardwalk with restaurants and little shops. 

After my nice walk I hit Senneville. Senneville is relatively small, it has a huge nature reserve in the middle but as far as houses and buildings go there is less then in the other boroughs. Due to it’s size I had decided that I wanted to cover as much of it as possible. After I discovered a nice little church by accident, I started with a walk through a neighborhood with a lot of really nice houses. It was almost like walking through a forest. After that I had decided that I wanted to follow the road along the water. Unfortunately this turned out to be impossible because of roadworks. Fortunately there were detour sign which I followed and which took me right back to the point I had started following them :(.

At that point I was very tempted to call it quits and return home for some studio time. I am SO glad I didn’t though. I drove to the point where I would have ended my tour of Senneville so I could drive the riverside road the other way around. It was like driving through the countryside with an accidental view of the river and the mountains. There were fields with sheep, old looking barns and the most amazing villas complete with driveway and imposing fences. It was such a difference from the little college/tourist town I had visited earlier, I was blown away! I can’t wait to see what the next borough has in store for me!

July 04, 2011

Web-store Work

I’ve been amazingly productive in the past couple of weeks, a lot of my time has been spent in my studio working on all the different projects that I have going on. One of the pieces I recently finished is called ‘Empire State Building’, this was an unplanned piece I did as a side project. 

Spending all that time in my studio has been wonderful but it does mean other things are put on hold for a bit. It’s always a difficult balance trying to figure out how much time to spent on painting and how much time you need to be doing ‘business stuff’. Many artists will shy away from the business side of things and even try to ignore it at times. I’ve met artists who claim to make their art for the sake of art and who look upon the business side of things as something evil. I happen to disagree with that. As an artist you are an entrepreneur and just like everybody else I would like to make some money so I can buy new paints and wood panels. 

So today, instead of painting, I spent some time behind the computer to add some work to my web-store. Up until now I only had some greeting cards that could be bought through my website and some free downloadable content. Today that will change. From now on all my Mixed Media pieces can be purchased directly through my website. In the near future I will also add my other artworks and my drawings but since it’s a very time consuming process I’ll take it one step at the time. 

I’m very proud of the result, I thing the store looks awesome and I hope it will generate some sales. Please come check it out and let me know what you think, I’m always open to constructive criticism!