Holiday Art Show & Sale

“A Covid-Style Chistmas”

Art Show & Sale

Hosted on zoom

Sunday, December 6th @ 1pm

You can register for this art show by emailing me (Jenni) at gentle_hatha@live.com. It is a very casual event, I will send out a link before 1pm on the 6th. Curl up with a warm drink, and enjoy the show! I will be in my tiny home studio, sharing stories about my paintings and any other merchandise I have for sale (cards and prints).

If you are unable to join us online, you can view all my work here on the website: Oil Paintings 2020 and Small Oil Paintings. You can purchase any work by messaging me directly to arrange payment and delivery.

Make Life Your Masterpiece

Since September I’ve been exploring creativity with Jessica Outram and her “Creativity Coaching Canada” business. She has offered so much insight and content for me over the last three months; but the most valuable lesson I have gained is understanding that art really is my life work. Not just painting, but writing too, and expressing myself in a variety of creative ways, and that EVERY MOMENT in my life is a part of a bigger picture: my life masterpiece. My life IS my masterpiece. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a journey of learning and growing.

A masterpiece isn’t something that happens instantaneously. It’s a work that takes weeks, months, years, or a life time. It takes time, investment, there are mistakes made a long the way, and with each mistake, each day that passes, you learn and you IMPROVE. You become a master at your work.

I have been really hard on myself creatively this year. I feel like I’m uninspired, stuck in a rut, unable to paint in the ways I dream of, angry that I’m not more successful after committing so many years to my dreams and business (art, yoga, writing). Over a decade of time and energy invested, and here I am still scraping by… but I do feel a lot of pride, that I have been able to create a life I truly love, that I have time to give to creativity at all. Few people have that privilege.

I’ve been reflecting a lot about other artists I admire: Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Tom Thomson. How did they become so successful? Were they really so successful? Define success, right? Carr didn’t paint for fifteen years, and painted the majority of her most famous pieces in the last decade of her life. Harris, was born into money that allowed him the freedom to explore (and invest) in the art world, freedom to travel, learn, and connect with other people of wealth who were also interested in art. Thomson died at 40 years old, and never gained the financial success of his work. Regardless, all of them dived into their work, fully. A privilege in itself!

Since becoming aware of these other artists stories, and journeys, I have realized how different my own is. Not born into wealth, very little art education, no connections to the Canadian Art World, no freedom to travel (not just financially, but also because I am a full time parent). I am also limited in my creative space; I work off of one easel and two tables that are tightly crammed in my should-be dining room.

As a result, I have come to the understanding that I am successful; because despite these challenges I am still creating. Despite my lack of money, time, and space… here I am doing it anyways. I am learning to master my life of creativity. I am making my life my masterpiece, and if I’m lucky I’m only half way through this creation.

Emily Carr wrote “Look at the earth, crowded with growth, new and old bursting from their strong roots hidden in the silence, live ground, each seed according to it’s own kind… each one knowing what to do, each one demanding it’s own rights on the earth. So artist, you too, from the depths of your soul… let your roots creep forth, gaining strength.”

When Jessica Outram shared that quote at our last Creativity Chat, I had an “ah-ha!” moment. I realized how stuck I had been feeling, YET, when I looked closer, I realized I am not. That my roots ARE creeping forth… In that slow growth that roots do. Every photo I take, every background I paint, every walk to the shore, every time I clean and clear my space; every list I write, intention I set, those are my roots… gaining strength. Growing my tree, at midlife, now.

A Covid-Style Christmas…

Custom Oil Painting “Gaia” 2020

It’s November. Normally, at this time of year I’m a few weeks away from my annual Christmas Market, or preparing for other art events. This year, it’s looking a bit different.

Art Merch 2020

With all events cancelled, sales now are shifting to online “venues.” Orders now have to be shipped, or pick-ups and drop-offs arranged, which takes a bit more time and planning. So, in lieu of this years Christmas events, I am going to try hosting a live online art show. Stay tuned for details, but tentatively plan Sunday, December 6th.

Until then, you can find some of my work (and 2021) at the Northumberland Arts Gallery and Shop in Port Hope. You can also follow my art journey on Instagram @JenniferAnneBurke or on Facebook Jennifer Anne Burke.

In Retrospect

Retrospection is the contemplation of the past; a survey of past time or events. Before Covid-19 hit, I had already made the conscious decision to take a break from art events. I still wanted to paint and create, but not with deadlines, and definitely not for too many shows, events, or collaborations. Then Covid-19 hit, and alllllll the events were cancelled anyways.

During 2020 I wrapped up a few old projects, deepened my work in oils, and just last month I completed two custom paintings. I feel creatively revived!

More recently I was reflecting on the past, feeling grateful for all the events I was able to participate in during 2019:

  • January: Spirit of the Hills: Northumberland Hills Hospital, Cobourg
  • May: Colborne Art Gallery 7th juried show, Colborne
  • May: Art Gallery Northumberland’s “Shop on 3” wall take-over, Cobourg
  • July: Waterfront Festival, Spirit of the Hills booth, Cobourg
  • November: Parrott Gallery Juried Show, Belleville
  • November: St.Mark’s Christmas Market, Port Hope
  • December: Shannon’s Studio Show, Port Hope

2020 has been quiet, but a much needed break to help me refocus and revive. I completed a variety of oil paintings, and had enough new work to create a 2021 Calendar; and have been working hard recently to design some new merchandise for Christmas (magnets, bags, and mugs).

Be sure to follow me on Facebook or Instagram to get regular art updates! Email me (Jenni) at gentle_hatha@live.com for any art inquiries (custom work or to order any merch).

Creativity Coaching Online

At the end of the summer I attended a free online “Creativity Chat” hosted by Jessica Outram, and it felt really good to connect with other creative souls, and talk about art, writing, and the process of creativity. It was all about giving ourselves permission to create! (The next zoom gathering is this Sunday, September 20, 2020).

Jessica has a variety of offerings ranging from email newsletters and creative prompts, to online chats and workshops; So if you need to break-through a creative block, or if you have had the urge to create but don’t know where to start “Creativity Coaching” is for you! Certainly check out her creativity blogs for more info too.

“How do you integrate creativity into your daily life? Do you search for ideas?  How easy is it for you to identify with each creative opportunity that is available to you every day? Have you recognized creativity as a core function of a happy life? Creative energy is sustainable and renewable. It is available to everyone. You can live a creative life without compromise. This is possible.” – Jessica Outram, owner of Creativity Coaching.

​Be sure to follow Creativity Coaching Canada on Facebook for daily updates.

Expanding On The Arts

There is something about the crisp air of September that always helps clear my head, and get me motivated again. Since August I have been working on a few custom oil paintings, and playing around with some merchandise from previous works. Tote bags, mugs, and the 2021 calendar are a few on my list of “things to do.”

Since covid hit, and my yoga classes have gone virtual, I have had to get creative with my business (no pun intended!) and expanding the arts just seems like the most natural direction to go.

Keep your eyes open, as I am hoping to contribute my work to a few upcoming events in October, and I will be promoting them on my social media platforms so be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

If there is any chance you might want a custom painting as a gift (to give or receive), please contact me as soon as possible. Since changing my medium from acrylic to oil, I need much more time to prep and for paint to dry! Planning ahead is the best option.

I look forward to sharing more work in the near future, so stay tuned as always!

Forty-One is Fun

August 25, 2020, I turned 41 years old; and I must say, despite this pandemic, it has already started off better than last years 40th!

I felt like 40 was going to be a turning point for me, but instead of it being the positive one I envisioned, it turned out to be a mildly tragic year. Pandemic being the most obvious challenge of the past year, but also dealing with health concerns, relationship challenges, and a massive creative block.

During my 40th year I had so little energy or motivation to do anything – and once covid-19 hit Canada, there was no opportunity to focus on anything but getting my kid through his online schooling and trying to re-structure my yoga classes to online teaching. That was overwhelming enough!

With that being said 2020 has actually ended up resolving many of the said-challenges noted above. All my health concerns are resolved, my energy and focus has returned 10-fold, I made peace with my relationships, yoga classes are back on track, and I have busted through my creative block with flying colours (pun intended).

Plans are in the works for my 2021 Calendars (the new collection of oil paintings), and tote-bags, and other possible merch (mugs? magnets? What would you like to see made available for purchase? I’m thinking Christmas gifts!)…

All in all… Life is okay, and I’m looking forward to another year of creating!

Painting and Writing

WAVES

Words roll over me

Like waves in the sea

Sometimes above

Sometimes below

But always

Drowning

(2008)

A writer my whole life, rarely have I shared or published any work.

I am much more in my comfort zone as a painter; it is a form of expression that feels more limitless to me. Open to interpretation, for better or worse. I know what I see and feel, but someone else might see or feel something different gazing at a painting. I like that about painting, that my landscapes likely won’t be judged as harshly as my writing might be.

Writing makes one much more vulnerable. Writing can become messy, and entangle others into a world they don’t want to be apart of, or exposed in. Writing can hurt feelings, cause conflict, and trigger people. Writers, in my opinion, are the bravest people in the world. They are bold, fearless, want to be seen and heard, they don’t care what you think (or they do, but they write anyways!), they value their own voices and opinions and ideas. They voluntarily throw themselves to the wolves. Why? I have no idea… a calling?

I have felt my whole life, called to write. It helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings. Since I was a teenager I have likely filled over a hundred journals, all of which I burned before 2010. Since then I have filled 46 more books. I have binders full of poetry, stories, and notes. Writing has always been very private for me, therapeutic and cathartic.

Then, I wrote my first song last year; and a new connection was made for me in writing. David Newland hosted a workshop through Spirit of the Hills (SOTH), annual art festival. At that point, I had just picked my guitar back up for the first time in years; I had chords and a tune for a song, but no lyrics. This felt very backwards to me. Yet after this workshop, talking with other creative people, and basically being given permission to “create” without judgment, it all came together. The most valuable part of this workshop, was talking with like minded people, being introduced to new songs and lyrics and allowing a new form of inspiration into my life – community.

With that in mind, when I renewed my SOTH membership recently, I added “writer” along with my usual “visual artist” in the application; because I want to connect with other writers too. I want to dive in, explore, and learn about this art form that I’ve never taken seriously; or more so, that I have been afraid to take seriously. Wish me luck!

Who Inspires You?

20200405_134157

In June 2017, I saw the O’Keeffe exhibit at the AGO, in Toronto. It blew my mind. She was never an artist I related to, or was really very familiar with. I always associated her with big flower paintings, that were of very little interest to me. However, when I saw this exhibit, of her vast subjects and materials, I gained a whole new respect for her and her work.

The more I have learned about her over the last three years, the more relatable she becomes, especially her relationship to land/scape and painting. Can you believe I bought this book at the exhibit three years ago, and just yesterday sat down to read it? I had looked at the images many times, but never read the content. I found myself more and more inspired by each essay, letter, and time period.

As I lazily make my way through these early pandemic days, mostly with very little worries as I am privileged enough to stay home safe with my child; I read about this woman artist who lived through the first world war, a 2-year flu pandemic, the Great Depression, and then the second world war… I feel nothing but awe and reverence towards her. Very humbling.

At 53 years old, in 1940, she bought herself a small piece of property in New Mexico. But it wasn’t until her husband passed away six years later that she made it her permanent home. She found a new freedom in her life, she learned to drive, she traveled the world, and she painted.

After finishing the book last night, I pulled out an old acrylic painting I have been stuck on for over a year, and decided to do it over in oils. I’m thinking about the travels I will be able to do once this pandemic has passed, and we are safe to explore the world again. Ghost Ranch is on my radar now. Iceland is still a dream. And I’m thinking a drive through the Northwest Territories to the Yukon would be good for my Canadian Landscapes inspiration.

20200405_190121
“Dreaming of Iceland” Work in Progress

In the meantime, I will keep working with what I’ve got… books, photographs, and other artists to inspire me. Who inspires you?

Keep On Truckin’

 

What a strange time, in the calm before a potential storm, of this covid-19 pandemic. How are you spending your time, as the world around us (at least in Canada) slows down?

I am trying to do as little as possible, and avoid as many people as possible. A lot of this is beyond our control (I was notified that our yoga groups can no longer gather at the current locations).

When I titled this blog “keep on truckin'” I didn’t mean – keep on living life as normal. I meant it’s time to do something productive, at home. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to do things that have been on my “to do” list for  years. Like finish writing my yoga manual. Maybe write another simple song that has been brewing in the background of my mind. Create. I unpacked the art studio again, and got out the oil paints… and the 8th Juried Show for the Colborne Art Gallery is coming  up. I wasn’t going to enter this year, because I didn’t have anything new, but maybe I will by the end of this month… and even if I do none of these things, I have a ginormous pile of books I’ve been wanting to read that I never get to.

 

What’s your plan for the next few weeks? I hope something that can ease your mind and soothe your heart. Share in the comments below!