Three Things

Sugar-n-Cream-web‘Petit Point’
11″x14″ Oil on Canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

At the beginning of 2012, I began a journal called ‘My three things’. Each night I’d write out three things that made me feel really good that day. Well, maybe it wasn’t every night; more like as close to every night as I could – I’m no night owl. It was a peaceful way to end the day. And even if it were a trying one, there always seemed to be some little thing that would pop into my memory. Some nice little moment that, when put to paper, seemed to resurrect the day from the dreaded ‘wish I’d just have stayed in bed’ pile.

My new 2013 journal however remains blank-paged. Don’t really know what it is; the chain some how got broken. And I’m missing it. I remember last year, when I’d have a low day or two, I’d page through that journal and remember all the little shiny bits of days that I treasured enough to write them down. Moments that without my journal, would have been lost in the blur of all the ‘had-to-do’s’, like grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom, or pumping gas when I was already late for a meeting. And it always lifts my spirits, soothes me or helps me relax. Never fails.

So I thought perhaps I should begin my journal again, though this year, right here – in a new venue. These are some more of the reasons why I paint. So, here they are – three things that made me feel good today:

1) Finally buying myself a new heated throw. So yes, it’s got a gigantic logo for the Winnipeg Jets on it. (Hockey’s the one with a puck, right?) But it was one of the last few at Wal-mart so I grabbed it. Nothing feels better than cranking it up and burrowing down in the sofa cushions. Bliss.

2) Washing my Shih Tzu, Emma’s ‘bankie’ for her. She knew exactly what I was doing – watched carefully as I tucked it into the washer. And when it came out of the dryer and I fluffed and folded it up on her sofa spot, she flopped about in it with glee. Guess it’s just like clean sheet day for humans.

3) Hot cocoa and those teeny marshmallows. They’re made of the same stuff as the big ones, but they just taste better, you know?!

Thanks so much for reading. If it inspires you to begin your own ‘Three Things’ journal, let me know in the comments below. Take care. Cheryl

Cowboy Blues

CowboyBlues-web

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.

10,000 hours

‘The Journey’ – 7″x9″
Southwest of Calgary, AB along Highway 22
Oil on Canvas  • SOLD
by Cheryl Peddie.

My morning coffee didn’t do the trick today. As I found my eyes getting heavier, my motivation to get to the studio began to fade. Then my Monday morning blues hit. My brain began to whirl – why on earth was I trying to ‘be’ an artist in the first place – after all how many artists really get anywhere with their craft anyways? Isn’t this really just a pipe dream? And besides, after all the years I’ve been painting if my work was ‘good enough’ wouldn’t I be selling tons of it already? With these questions nagging at me, I went looking for some inspiration online. Happily I found it. But maybe not in the places one would expect. I found it in Malcolm Gladwell’s theory of 10,000 hours. From his book ‘Outliers‘, the premise goes that it takes 10,000 hours to truly master a skill.

Well I thought, surely I’m nearly there. Even though painting was primarily just a hobby of mine for the first 7 years or so, surely the last few years of working at it more seriously have made up for it. And after that many years, wouldn’t my lack of results still prove that I should just hang up my brushes? Not being a math whiz I dug out my calculator. The results left me a little gobsmacked. Even with generous approximations of the number of hours I’ve spent painting over the last 15 years, my total came to just slightly over one-fifth of that golden 10,000 hour mark – 2640 hours to be ‘approximately exact’.

Although I was a little floored to realize I still had over 7000 or so hours to go, I also felt a little lifted. Suddenly I didn’t expect to ‘prove’ myself through the dauntingly blank canvas that waits on my easel. If it turns out to be a dud and ends up a frisbee, (hurtling through my studio towards the garbage can) it won’t mean I’m not a ‘good’ artist. It will only mean that being a creative person is a journey. A journey in which success doesn’t mean creating a masterpiece each time I step into the studio. Success means stepping into the studio. Every hour, every day, every week, every year.

In fact my whole thought process reminded me of a conversation I had with a fellow at Galleria, while I was doing a painting demonstration there this weekend. The nice man asked me if I believed that creativity and artistic talent was a ‘gifted’, innate thing, or if it was something that could be learned. I replied that I truly believed it could be learned. And that if there was a ‘gift’, I believed it was the gift of having enough desire for it. So much desire that we’re willing to spend enough time at our art to become proficient at it. I guess I should have taken my own advice!

So in contrast to how my morning began, I’m heading to my studio, anticipating success. Every hour of it!

PS – the painting above was finished just this past Thursday. (Hour 2635) Thanks for reading! Cheryl Peddie.

Gems and Jewels

‘Gems & Jewels’
12″x16″ Oil on canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

Fresh off my easel yesterday afternoon. Lately I’ve been venturing out of the kitchen for subject matter, and this week it seems my bathroom decor has taken top spot. These great old ‘Jewel’ and ‘Gem’ canning jars were left over from a batch of my mom-in-law’s preserves. Now, they hold my collection of seashells, and sit on my bathroom shelf. I’ve always found the colors to be harmonious and soothing to look at.

Now for the challenge. Often my paintings turn out in vivid colour. Which I find interesting, because I’m naturally a more introspective, reserved person. So with this painting, as with the china cups I painted last month, I wanted to celebrate the softer side of who I am. Allow some of the more delicate tones to take centre stage for a change, and see what would happen.

It’s always challenging working outside our comfort zones, but I think it’s there that we learn the most about ourselves and the true extent of what we’re able to accomplish. We also have the opportunity to learn self-compassion, as it’s in this place of newness that our self-confidence is most likely to wobble.

I still love to paint more quirky subjects though, as I’ve been pursuing with my kitchen series. And I’ll continue to follow that theme here as I begin exploring other nooks and crannies in our house. Thanks for reading and thanks in advance, for sharing any of your thoughts.

Have Easel, will Travel

Come by my booth at ArtWalk 2012, an event of Canadian Artists for the Poor!
Date: Aug 2 from 10am to 5pm
Location: Along both Stephen Avenue and Barclay Street (3 Street SW) – downtown Calgary!

Along with other Calgary Artists, I will be displaying and selling my artwork, plus doing painting demos all day! Hope you can stop by for a visit and check out my new art.

For more info on the festival, visit: http://www.artistsforthepoor.ca/calgaryartwalk.html

Fresh off the Easel

‘Memories to Keep’ 36″ w x 24″ h
Original oil on gallery wrapped canvas
by Cheryl Peddie – NOT FOR SALE

(The perspective is a little off, so had to leave a bit of the wall behind my easel in!) Had a tough time naming this one. This piece is of a desk in my parents’ home. The little zippered case to the left of the lamp is actually my Dad’s old grooming bag. Dad passed away last fall, but he left us many treasured memories of his life and love for us all.

Stone Ground

‘Stone Ground’ – 20″x20″ Oil painting
on extra-deep wrapped canvas
by Cheryl Peddie

I was a little stumped for a name for this one until I realized ‘Stone Ground’ would be perfect. I caught this image while we were watching the final game of the 2012 Tim Horton’s Brier at our friends, Karen & Andrew’s home. For those of you not of the curling ‘bent’, the Brier is a Canada’s annual national mens curling championship. We’d brought the guacamole & hummus, Karen & Andrew supplied the corn chips and other yummy snacks. Thus the name… ‘stone’ ground corn chips? Curling ‘stones’? Get it? Yes. I know. I think my Shih Tzus rolled their eyes at me a little when I tried to explain it to them, too.

On my easel today

This painting is still in process on my easel. It’s a softer, quieter piece than some of the recent work I’ve done. Caught this image in my Uncle Ed’s kitchen. Ed collects a variety of antiques; this is just a few pieces of his impressive china collection. The decoration on the sides of the cups that I’ve just roughed in, are pictures of Bachelor Buttons. They’re one of my favorite wildflowers and remind me of him (he’s a bachelor himself).