Up until 2014 much of my artistic practice revolved around still life, urban scenes, floral and interiors. However at that point, my focus took a radical turn. I’ve turned into a devoted landscape painter because I learned to paint ‘en plein air’. For newbies, ‘plein air’ basically means painting outside from life. I began painting plein air by taking a workshop in Jasper from artist Liz Wiltzen. After that I was hooked.
I’d tried painting landscape from photos for years. But I never was able to achieve what I was hoping. My colours were always off and nothing I created felt ‘real’. I wrote the genre off, thinking I just wasn’t a landscape painter. Was I wrong. Once I began painting outside, away from photos, I could actually see the real colours I was trying to capture. And even better, I was part of that image – it was all around me. I could see, hear, taste, smell and feel everything. What a difference. Now I can’t imagine working exclusively from a photo because it’s far too limiting. Below are a few of my most recent plein air works – I hope you enjoy.
PS – If you’re an artist and would like to take a plein air workshop from me, visit my Workshops page. I have a class lined up for the end of July in Calgary. I hope you can join me.
I’m excited to share my newest project, ‘Road Trip 2015’, with you today. This year, I’m visiting and painting on location at 9 communities throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC. The purpose? To explore the concept of creating meaning.
Meaning-making has a fluid, interconnected nature that fascinates me. A quote I found on my sister’s website – leewardclips.wordpress.com – speaks to this: “When you change the way you look at something; what you look at changes.” Deepak Chopra. And I’d add to that: when what you look at changes, it can further change the way you look at it… and so on. It’s never-ending and ever-changing. Love that.
I began this journey last month with visits to Vulcan, AB and Eastend, SK. The biggest insight I came away from these two trips was: Finding and sharing what has meaning to you, helps create meaning for others.
Vulcan, Alberta In Vulcan, I was invited to teach a workshop on Streetscapes to the ‘Nine in a Line’ Creative Art Society. Their studio (the Vulcan Art Studio) is located in the gorgeous Healy Heritage Art Center. The center is also home to Caelo, a haven of mouth-watering baking and home cooking owned and run by Kellie & Terry Hartle. (My painting above, ‘Best Seats in the House’ are of a cozy spot in Caelo.) Kellie has made Caelo a special gathering place. Her interior design skill has touched every corner; there are even ‘reader’ glasses of various strengths artfully placed for patrons to enjoy, so they can read while enjoying their meal. And at the end of my visit, Kellie packed up a date bar and banana loaf for my travels. I tried to make them last. But they were so heavenly, I gobbled both down in record time. After that luscious first bite, they didn’t stand a chance. Thank you Kellie! I can’t wait to visit again.
In Eastend, I was joined by fellow artist and Gallerist, Arlene Westen Evans. Arlene owns Evanescence Gallery in High River. We laughed, talked and painted for an entire week at the historic ‘Eaton’s House’. Eaton’s homes, were mail-ordered through the Eaton’s catalogue – piece by piece! Then they were built on the owner’s site. This particular one, is one of the last remaining in Alberta, and is now a guesthouse. Located at the Riverside Motel, it is run by Ed and Wendy Sanford. Ed and fellow Eastend resident, Steve Garamzeghy renovated it into a stunning character home. It was an artists’ dream to paint and stay at. On rainy days, I painted many interiors of the space. Below are two of my paintings from this trip:
I’ll be painting lots more from all my trips throughout the coming year. I’ve also submitted the project for consideration as an exhibition to one gallery, and possibly more as I continue.
For the upcoming month, I’m planning two more trips. I’m off to Jasper, then to Blairmore. I’ll be posting what I learn and paint during those trips, in a month or so. Hope to see you back again. Take care, Cheryl.
‘Blossoms’ was a good lesson for me in judgement. Or, make that – a lesson for me in NON-judgement. I began this piece as a demonstration at Galleria in Inglewood – the gallery that represents me. I’d originally planned to do a more detailed still life of books and mugs on a shelf. It was a gorgeous summer day though; the gallery was playing awesome music and I just felt like painting from my shoulder. Maybe other artists know what I mean? Just splashing the paint on the canvas, Letting loose and piling on the pretty colors. ‘Blossoms’ was the result.
Trouble was, that the next day I looked over my canvas and thought ‘WTH IS this mess?!!’. Sure it was fun, but… this piece was so flat, wasn’t it? The flowers looking up at me had no depth; they were a mishmash without a light and shadow pattern I usually strive for.
So I went into it, and yet again, let loose. I did fix up some of the blooms that I hadn’t yet gotten to. Adjusted some of the temperatures and values. Added a couple petals flowing off the canvas. It was fun. By then I had so much oil on the canvas that I really couldn’t add any more without making mud.
When I stepped back to look at it I still couldn’t quite decide how happy I was with it. I mean, there was no perspective, still very limited depth, and still no firmly established light and shadow pattern. And yet…
It’s pretty. I love the blues, purples, and pinky-corals. And my kind friends and acquaintances on my Facebook page seemed to really like it. But it was still unsettling. I mean, creating it wasn’t that HARD. I felt like I was cheating. Shouldn’t something I’m charging money for require more justification and evidence of my artistic skill? Surely something that was this fun to create couldn’t possibly be in the same ‘league’ as my more detailed urban scenes, for example.
I wish I could say I had some sort of revelation at this point. That I realized I don’t have to exhaust myself or analyze a canvas to death, to make it valuable. I guess I still enjoy the detailed pieces too – just in a different way. And maybe there’s room for both – I could bring a little more ‘fun and loose’ into even my more intricately composed pieces. I like the idea of that, because work and life really shouldn’t HAVE to be so hard, to be of value.
But, it’s 9:00 now and time to open up my studio for the day, and begin again.
8″x10″ oil painting on cavas
by Cheryl Peddie
This was a demo painting I did for my art students last night at Atlantis Framing. Peppers are such fun to paint because of their bright colors. I guess that holds true for all fruit and vegetables. There are few other places in nature where we can find such bright, vivid color. They also make great ‘models’ for painting – they never complain or fuss about their likenesses.
Come join us at art class! Our next series runs Thursday nights from 6-9 pm; June 6-27. $125 plus GST (MC & Visa welcomed). We enjoy creating all kinds of art – landscape, still life, interiors, floral and even streetscapes. Specially set up for beginning and intermediate students, with lots of one-on-one, patient and encouraging instruction. (I even bring cookies!) Located at Atlantis Fine Framing Studios – 4515 Manhattan Rd. SE. Just north and east of Chinook Centre. To register, please call me at 403-201-6532 or Atlantis Fine Framing Studios at 403-258-0075.
Here’s a few pictures of some of my students enjoying creating art!
‘Mellow Yellow, Pleasant Purple’
12″x 12″ unframed oil on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie
New! I can also now accept credit card over the phone.
Contact me directly at (403) 201-6532 or cheryl(at)emergecreative(dot)ca Thank you!
I will be donating 50% of this painting’s sale price to the Parkinson Alberta Society!
I started ‘Mellow Yellow, Pleasant Purple’ as a painting demonstration for the ‘Unfussy Florals’ class I taught last night. I finished it in my studio today. There was lots of fun and good-natured ribbing of the teacher in class (ahem!) because the lovely asters I thought we’d have so much fun painting turned out to be a pain in the keester! They were an unusual shade of purpley-pink, that absolutely defied recreation with our acrylics and oils! As such they became a good exercise in artistic license, and each of us created our own unique expression of the purple hues. Thanks ladies for coming to class, hope to see you again soon!
*Please note that as I create my paintings in oil, they require about 3-4 weeks to properly dry and cure before I can safely deliver them. Thanks so much for your understanding!
Cowboy Blues – 11″x14″ Oil on Canvas – SOLD –
by Cheryl Peddie
I painted ‘Cowboy Blues’ as a demonstration at Galleria in Inglewood, back in December. This is actually from a picture I took at Gratitude Cafe, in Kensington from the fall. It’s a great little restaurant, filled with lots of unusual trinkets, books, and displays. This coat rack was loaded down with bags, wraps and this awesome hat. The sun was hitting it just right; my perfect subject matter for a painting. If you’ve not been to Gratitude, you’re missing out. Now I’m no vegetarian, but I still found lots to love on their all-veggie menu. I sat for quite some time, just taking in the atmosphere and watching the bikes and shoppers go by. Thanks for reading. Cheryl.
Please note that due to bad weather conditions, this evening’s workshop has been postponed.
PLEASE JOIN US ON OUR NEW DATE: Wednesday Nov 7 – 6:00 – 9:00pm
Painting the Colors of Harvest & Autumn Wine & Cheese Workshop Tuesday Oct 23 – 6:00pm – 9:00pm POSTPONED DUE TO SNOW
Join Cheryl Peddie for a workshop painting the colors of fall. Designed for beginning students in acrylic and oil, we focus on creating a supportive, relaxed environment for new painters. When you’re painting from photo references, it is easy to become overly focused on trying to reproduce colors only as they appear in your photo. However this can result in paintings that lack the airy freshness and light of the landscape you remember experiencing. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to visualize, mix and integrate those experiential colors into your landscapes. We’ll also cover how to incorporate and build on the light and shadow patterns in your composition. Cheryl will also do demos on her own canvas throughout the evening to help illustrate the concepts being explored. Bring a variety of photo references of fall landscapes, plus your painting supplies.
Location: Atlantis Fine Framing Studio – 4515 Manhattan Rd SE Calgary (AB)
To register: 403-258-0075
Workshop fee: $35.00 plus GST
Door prize: Set of two framed mini-paintings by Cheryl Peddie
Above – The photo reference I’ll be working from today – this is a sugar/creamer
set from the Royal Doulton China pattern called ‘Petit Point’.
(One of my all-time favorite patterns)
Join me at Galleria in Inglewood today from 1pm-4pm! I’ll be demonstrating my painting style and am always delighted to chat about creativity and painting. Today I’ll be finishing up a couple new canvasses from my ‘In the Kitchen’ series of paintings. These pieces are of some vintage china, collected by my Uncle Ed. I love china, and I have a small collection of teacups stashed in my china cabinet. As I’ve been working on these pieces, many other ladies have shared that they too have a treasured collection of their own. It’s funny, because I’ve learned that although none of us use our china often, we also couldn’t dream of getting rid of them. For me, I think it’s because I view these lovely old pieces as art forms, in and of themselves. I remember spending many happy times admiring the intricate details in both the form and patterns of my mom’s teacup collection. And still, I often pull my own teacups out and get lost in the delicate beauty of the designs.
These pieces are also a little different than the other kitchen paintings I’ve created because they’re smaller. I’d realized that my other kitchen paintings were so large, they wouldn’t fit on any of the walls in my own kitchen! And petite walls & modest-sized kitchens need art too! Sure looking forward to finishing them up and seeing the final result. Hope you can join me there and have a quick visit while I paint.
Thanks so much for reading. Wherever your weekend takes you, I hope it’s a lovely one. Cheryl
PS I’ll also have info available about the new art classes & ‘Wine & Cheese’ workshops I’m now teaching. I’m starting a new emailing list, so if you’d like to leave me your info I’ll be happy to keep you updated about future courses. Can’t make it to Galleria today? Just email your contact info to cherylatemergecreativedotca, and I’ll put you on the list.
‘Ouzo Greek Taverna’
7″x9″ Oil on Canvas – Framed
by Cheryl Peddie
To purchase please call Galleria in Inglewood
I’m packing up my gear and getting ready to move into my booth at the Calgary Home & Design Show for the next 4 days! I’ll have a variety of my new artwork available for purchase, including ‘Ouzo Greek Taverna’, the painting above. I’m proud to have created this painting, as this little gem of a restaurant closed a while back. It’s good to know I’ve captured a little piece of the history of 4th Street in downtown Calgary.
Come by and join me at the show – I’ll be in booth 512, just across from the ‘M(Art)ket’. We’re in Hall C of the BMO centre on the Stampede grounds.
Evening Calls was a great learning opportunity for me. It taught me how repetition can enable us to learn about more about our capacity for creativity. And it taught me not to judge my ‘failures’ too harshly, because they’re usually what provide me the opportunity for my successes.
I began this piece long before I actually started painting on this particular canvas. It began with my usual value sketch. Just a small 2″x3″ pencil sketch in my artist’s journal. And then, again as I usually do, I painted a small 2″x3″ color sketch of it. I decided to work this piece in a small format – just 7″x9″ on another canvas. After I finished it though, I just wasn’t that pleased with the result. It was a lovely enough painting I guess. But it just didn’t glow like I remembered the scene looked that evening.
Now, my typical working style is that I only paint one version of most of my references. In the 15+ years I’ve been painting I’ve found that a second attempt is rarely as successful as the first. I know a lot of artists regularly paint a study, often on location (ie ‘plein air’) and then a second piece in their studio.
I always found though that trying to create a studio version of a study was terribly unsettling. I could never recreate the feeling I had of discovering all the wonderful moments in the painting the second time, as I’d experienced painting the first canvas. The feeling of creating a second piece was never as spontaneous or fresh as the first. Also, perhaps worse, my perfectionistic and critical dialogue would spin in my head, pointing out all the places that didn’t look ‘the same’ as the study. I typically found it to be a frustrating and self-defeating exercise, and would rarely come out with a better piece anyways. And so I decided that this must just not be ‘my style of working’ and gave up on the idea of being able to create two, enjoyable painting experiences and as a result two uniquely lovely paintings, from the same reference.
However, this time was a little different. I’d put the original away for a few weeks; didn’t really think much of it afterwards short of feeling a little disappointed in it. However this time I’d scheduled to do a painting demonstration at Galleria in Inglewood shortly afterwards. I’d had a reference in mind that I wanted to paint, but for some reason that morning, I woke up not feeling like working on it that day. As I was preparing my supplies to leave I quickly changed my mind deciding to give my Glenbow study a second attempt. The result of my demonstration that day is the 11″x14″ canvas above named ‘Evening Calls’.
What a thrill! I actually was able to create a second painting that was (in my humble opinion), even better than the first! And the process was just as enjoyable – perhaps even more. I’d finally overcome my own roadblock. It enabled me to see that no matter how used to a working process we may get, we can always step out of it and end up with a great result. Sometimes it just takes time. Maybe sometimes it’s that the right time for us to learn something new hasn’t happened yet. I don’t really know how it all works I guess. And maybe sometimes it’s ok to not know. Sometimes it’s just about accepting yourself and the way you work each moment. And knowing that when it’s time to find a new way it will call to you itself, and show you the way.
This is another reason why I paint. Thanks so much for reading and for allowing me to share my thoughts and feelings with you about creativity and art. Happy day. Cheryl.