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  • Writer's pictureAlanda Calmus

Working Towards a Break.

“The goal is not simply to ‘work hard, play hard’. The goal is to make our work and our play indistinguishable.” Simon Sinek

(You’ll understand the relevance of that quote when you’ve watched my last video.)


Now that my exhibition at the Elgin Library Gallery is underway, I’ve been working on finishing the pieces I need for Art Aboyne.

I already had a few of pieces ready and some that were nearly there. There were also some that had barely begun.

First on my ‘to do’ list was to rework one of my jumping foxes. It was the first one that I thought was completed earlier in the year, of a series of 4, 12x12in canvases.

It went away to a gallery and I continued to work on the other 3. The problem with that was that the 3 that were brought up together ended up being more cohesive and I felt they also had more depth to them. So I retrieved that first fox and got to work trying to get it to the same stage as the others.

That’s no mean feat when you’re trying to mix similar colours long after the others have been painted.

This is how it looked before and after, as well as one of the others as a reference point. I’m much happier with it now. Both of these are going to Art Aboyne.

The next job was to pull a stag out from another mess of paint. This was quite a bit trickier because I never have an exact reference photos for the poses I find my animals in.

I have to research each creature thoroughly to understand its form and how the body would look in different positions. To me, that’s a really important part. When I’m stretching the boundaries of texture, pattern and colour, I want the form to be, if not entirely correct, at least believable. Deer legs are super tricky.

I made a few little videos while I was working on this one and put them all together. This will hopefully be useful if you want to pick up some tips on working with acrylic and adjusting things as you go along.


Next was this barn owl which I really enjoyed and seemed to come together with far less struggle. In the second photo you can see where I saw the shapes that made up the owl and how I stuck with these shapes for the finished piece.

And finally!

I have one last piece to finish for Art Aboyne which needs to be handed in on Tuesday. I had a plan to paint a nuthatch that I’d already found in a canvas but, just this morning. I decided to change that plan.

Watch these videos to discover what the heck is going on in my head this close to the deadline!!


And here’s the reason that quote at the beginning of this is so relevant.


Dates for your Diary

Out of Chaos Solo Exhibition at Elgin Library Gallery is on until Friday 21st July.

I’ll be taking it all down on Saturday. In the days before, I’ll be getting in contact with everyone who has purchased paintings to arrange collection from the library on that day if at all possible.

Art Aboyne starts on Saturday 22nd and is on until Saturday 12th August.

There you will find 10 of my latest paintings that I am calling “The Emerging Collection” as well as a huge array of wonderful art from other artists.

The Art Aboyne exhibition is a highlight of my year whether I’m participating or not. The work is always of a high standard and is a diverse display of subjects, mediums and techniques. It is well worth a visit.

Taking a Break

There won’t be a newsletter next weekend or the weekend after because I’m taking a well needed break and heading off to Italy for my 10th Anniversary. I’m really looking forward to it.

My work commitments will still be pretty full-on when I get back, what with Aberdeen Art Fair, North East Open studios and The Mind, Body, Spirit festival but I feel like I’m doing really well at keeping organised.

I’m looking forward to being able to switch off for a bit, recharge my batteries and have some fun to keep my creativity flowing.

I’ll be hitting the ground running on my return, curating the Autumn exhibition for Aether to Easel and preparing for Aberdeen Art Fair. It’s kinda crazy but I’m actually having fun and feeling great about everything despite all the busyness. Long may that continue!

Until Next Time…

All that’s left for me to say is thank you for following my journey. Wishing you all, everything you’d wish for yourselves.

Love and gratitude

Alanda xx

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