The snow started late this year, just around Christmas (there have been winters where it snows before halloween); and other than a week of unusual mild temps back in January, the snow hasn’t really stopped.
Most of Canada (other then the west coast) gets some heavy duty snowfall during our winter season (which can feel like forever, even though it’s “technically” only 3 months). Many people here hate winter. They hate the cold. The lack of sun has nasty affects on our moods, and this time of year is very depressing for a lot of Canadians.
I, on the other hand, have come to love winter. I love the fresh air, the fresh snow falls, the solitude, and by February I feel the sun coming closer and days getting longer again. This time of year is a turning point of hope for me- I already feel (despite the foot of snow outside and yesterdays blizzard) that spring is coming.
My January chaos (a.k.a. depression) is over, and I am back into my normal routine. This morning I was up before the sun, and decided to hit the waterfront before anyone else did. The heavy blue clouds hanging in the sky, the still dark water, and the white untouched snow were enough to calm me for days. This solitude refills me. It motivates me to paint.
A few days ago I wrote a blog about my love of Lake Ontario. I wrote it while paint was drying, and afterwards I started 5 new canvases. These are just the beginning of the next series inspired by my “home” Lake O.
At this point I now have 14 canvases I’m working on. Paintings of the Rockies, Hoodoos, Killarney and Lake Ontario. Yikes. I need to finish some soon! Remember you can follow me on Facebook Jennifer Anne Burke, or find me on Instagram @BurkeUntitled.
Okay, if I’m honest, Lake Ontario is not my favourite Great Lake (Superior is far superior!). However, over the last year I have really come to love the moody skies and landscapes that I witness every day. The sunrises and sunsets, the breaks of sun-rays through the clouds, the unlimited colour palettes, and no two days are ever the same. It’s pretty awesome, and a bit of an artist’s dream, really.
So, after a month of painting hiatus, this morning I decided it was time to get back at it.
I’ve roughed out the sketches, and prepped the canvases, and while that paints dries here I am blogging about it… Super excited to share this next series.
As an artist, I tend to paint as I feel inspiration, and when I do that things just seem to flow so effortlessly. When I approach this as work, or as a job, or as a scheduled necessity I run into trouble. I also had myself in this mind-frame of: YOU CAN’T START ANY NEW PAINTINGS UNTIL YOU’VE FINISHED THOSE OLD ONES! Oh man, why limit myself? I think that was where half of my creative block was stemming from!
I have 9 unfinished paintings, and have started 5 new ones this morning. I still have a larger blank canvas I’m saving too. Why do I do this to myself? (kidding- I love it all). Instead of blocking my creative flow, I’m just going with it. I know some awesome Lake Ontario landscapes are being channeled today… Those hoodoos and rocky mountains will just have to wait a little bit longer.
Want to follow the process? You can find me on Facebook as Jennifer Anne Burke and Instagram @burkeuntitled.
I’m not gonna lie, January has felt like a shit show, and I know I am not the only person who feels this way! Weather has been fluctuating, moods have been fluctuating, and my mind has been all over the map. My appetite and sleep patterns have been a mess. I feel utterly exhausted. Yesterday was a full moon eclipse (which included blood moon and blue moon). Maybe now that THAT is all over, we can get back to life as normal?
With that being said, I am so grateful that within this chaos I have a home so accessible to nature and especially the great Lake Ontario. Almost every day I go stand at the shore, and watch the skies and waves, and incredible patterns on the ice and sand. It is often uplifting, powerful and grounding; and always inspiring.
I have decided I need to buy a real camera. There are so many details I have been missing out on in my photos, which I snap from my cell phone. These images will get used for paintings, and the higher the quality (especially for lines, textures and colours) of the photos the better for the painting.
ARTISTS AND OUR SCATTERED MINDS
So we artists get a bad rap I believe for our disorganized homes and offices and lives… and even though my spaces are always full of creative clutter, my mind is usually very clear and focused. January has certainly challenged that.
Just a few days ago I was hitting the lowest emotional point I had in years. It’s a scary feeling, grasping to keep mind and emotions in check. I am very fortunate to have so many supports set up in my life (great friends, family, nature, walks, journalling, and art). Plus yoga, meditation, and a deep understanding of myself and life cycles.
While writing a few weeks ago, I dropped my head back against the wall and saw my reflection in the big mirror across from me. I noticed how tired I looked. The “new” lines appearing in my face. The grey hair I recently tried adding blond streaks to. Sigh. I hadn’t drawn a self portrait in almost a decade. It was time.
I started to think about all the drawings I had done over the years, and self-portraits used to be one of the easiest ways to practice drawing. It was a meditative process, and a study of Self which I always found fascinating.
2004 Ontario College of Art and Design self-portrait practice:
Self-portraits between 1995 – 2004:
ONWARD AND UPWARD
Tonight is the first night I have had to myself in a few weeks, and I’m looking forward to getting in the studio, and possibly catch up on some art (or at the very least, get studio organized). Set some clear goals and deadlines on my work. I have paintings to finish from last January still!
Don’t forget to follow my progress on Instagram @burkeuntitled or Facebook: JenniferAnneBurke.