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  • Writer's pictureAlanda Calmus

Checking In

First Forage Hedgehog available as a print

Wow, I’ve just realised that it’s been nearly 4 months since my last newsletter. I do apologise for that. So much for bi-monthly, eh? I must have started, edited and added to this a dozen times since then and still never managed to press “publish”.

I know it’s been a while but I just wanted to drop you a line to say hello and let you know that I’m sorry for being a bit rubbish at keeping up with these newsletters.

The lead up to Christmas and the first couple of months of the new year, I should really just hibernate because I’m routinely a bit flat and floppy until Spring.

To compound the general malaise, there has been so much upsetting news recently, on personal and global levels. I have been feeling sad, frustrated, confused and helpless.

When things feel overwhelming, I try to keep life simple. I sleep, I make soup, I walk, I take a deep breath and pause before I speak, I don’t always get that bit right.

The most important thing I tell myself is that I just need to take one day at a time and look at all the beauty that still exists in the world.

To help me see and remember it, I paint. What better way to record the things I find joy in, than to commit them to colour and canvas?

I’m grateful that art has always provided me with nourishment for my soul so I keep coming back to it as a focus and it never fails to enrich my life. I hope that in turn my paintings brings joy to others and help them see the beauty in the world too. That is certainly my aim.

Art News

A few of weeks ago the ladies of the FiVe for Inspiration Artist Collective each donated a piece of our artwork to a charity auction. It was to raise funds for MFR Cash for Kids which helps children that need it the most across the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire. Between us we raised £500 for this good cause.

This was the painting I donated. It happens to be the very last of my pastel landscapes, although I do still have a few mixed-media ones available here, Mixed-Media Landscapes. It was lovely to meet the winning bidder when I hand delivered the painting and I am very pleased to say that they were delighted with it.

CVP 2022

This year I decided to do an online painting course by artist Nicholas Wilton.

CVP (Creative Visionary Program) is an intensive, 12-week artist program for rediscovering what brings you alive in your art and life, learning the essential Art2Life Principles, Design, Value, Colour, Texture, Risk and Soul. Art2Life.com

We are now at week 5 and have just started working with colour using a limited palette of Cadmium Red Dark, Yellow Oxide, Black and White. I didn’t have those exact colours so I used Crimson and Yellow Ochre as a fairly close match.

Creating the value scales below were much harder than I expected and took several attempts. I had to overpaint a few times to balance all the values. As you can see from the lumpy paint the yellow ochre caused me particular trouble.

Yellow Ochre, Black, White, Crimson Value Scales

Although using colour instead of just black an white, the emphasis is still on value and design. There is a lot of information to take in and despite thinking that I understand it, it is not always easy to apply when painting.

Peonies Version 1

Peonies Version 2

Although the second version of this painting is more aesthetically pleasing, I can see that there is still more work to do. I thought I had moved away from the strong diagonal cutting the first painting in two from corner to corner but I can see that I have just brought it further down the panel. I’ve also inadvertently created a pale corridor down the centre. Certain parts of the leaves are still too dominant and the shapes and sizes of some of the flowers are too similar.

I will try to fix these things and hope that a better painting follows but this is more about the learning process than creating a finished painting.

I am learning so much and it’s great but seeing things with fresh eyes makes me want to repaint or destroy more than half of all the older paintings sitting in my studio at the moment.

Some of them will definitely get a rework that’s for sure! Others I may offer in a flash studio sale at some point.

If there’s anything you’ve had your eye on for a while from my older work, it may be worth contacting me to see if it will be offered at a reduction or to save it before it gets painted over.

That’s All Folks!

I’ve got so much more to update you on but if I don’t publish this now, another 4 months may pass. I will try to remember what I told myself last time about these newsletters. “To avoid overwhelm, tackle them in bite sizes, little and often!”

Until next time dear ones, sending love.

Alanda xx

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