December 30, 2011

The new year begins!

I know... I've been slack at posting...but it has been the holidays :)

There have been numerous parties and a couple of gallery receptions and just the fun of family around at this great time of year.  Those are my excuses and I love them.

Below is the last of the paintings that I did in front of the congregation.  It was done on Christmas Eve so I had more time to paint since there was a lot more worship time than normal.  Doing these quick paintings in front of a crowd has been great fun.  I hope I get a chance to do it again.

I hope you have a wonderful 2012 that is filled to overflowing with great joy.

December 22, 2011

The theme was love...

Christmas seems to be coming together.  One more painting to do on Christmas eve then the celebration.

Another Sunday quick paint.   Jesus died for us.  What awesome love.  This is more Easter than Christmas but I painted what came to mind when I thought about love.  All my other paintings will have to wait for the new year.

December 20, 2011

Are you as busy as I am?

Are you as busy as I am?  Time is whizzing by... only five days left!  My unfinished paintings have been stored away 'til the new year and all my supplies taken out of the diningroom.  The tree is up and decorated but the Christmas village is still in the box.  I haven't bought the turkey yet but I've managed to bake several dozen cookies of three different varieties. 

The best part about all this busyness is that I'm quite relaxed and enjoying the whole Christmas adventure this year.  I think painting in church during worship time has added a new excitement to this holiday. I spend time all week long, thinking about what I can paint that best represents, to me, the theme of the service.  I should spend this much time reflecting on the service all year round.  But alas, without the added incentive, my mind doth wander.

The theme for this painting was light.

December 10, 2011

Another quick painting

The picture below is the one I painted quickly at church last Sunday.  I had four songs during which I could paint at the beginning of the service.  Then I sat down and realized I had the wing coming out of the top of his back, almost like it was pinned on.  Fortunately there was a song at the end when I could get up and fix it.

It was a beautiful experience being able to paint with a live band while they lead worship. I get really nervous in workshops because people see what I'm painting but this is completely different.  I feel bold and energized.  It doesn't even matter how the painting turns out because I'm enjoying myself so much.

I'm glad I can do this again for three more weeks.

December 3, 2011

A poem for my painting

The person who bought my Triptych presented me with a poem she wrote.  It's a beautiful piece of writing that tells what the painting "Ribbon of Life" means to her.  I feel very honoured.
She also invited me to a party at her home and introduced me like I was a celebrity.  Wow. 

Here's her poem:

Ribbon of life unravels
Road Block-Darkness
somewhere snatches of light

hopeful brightness emerging 
edged with receding blood
cut ribbon seeks uniting
somewhere  bleeding continues

ribbon of life uplifting 
lighting the way ahead
is in our hands
somewhere road block melts 

by Estelle

November 29, 2011

Painting can be Worship

I was asked if I would paint, at the front of our church, during worship.  Yikes!  I said okay, and they told me the theme of the service would be "Joy" and to paint what brings me joy.  That would be pansies of course. I just have to look at them and I smile.  Unfortunately, the person organizing the event, called the night before the service and said they had made a mistake and the theme would be "Hope" not "Joy".

I love change, but I'm not good at painting something I haven't given a lot thought to and I'm definitely not a painting-a-day artist. Hmmm... Pansies are one of the first garden flowers for sale in the spring.  To me they say that winter is over and the warm summer breezes will soon be here. I think that Pansies are a perfect symbol of hope.  I'm not sure if anyone else caught that but it didn't matter.  I had a wonderful time painting to the awesome worship music coming from the band on stage and I look forward to doing it every Sunday of advent. 

My ten minute Pansy.  I posted it at a distance so you see what the congregation saw and not the sloppy details up close.  16"x20"acrylic on stretched canvas.

November 21, 2011

I'm so excited!

Things are starting to get busy.  It's that time of year.  I love the energy that starts to build before Christmas.  There are craft sales going on all over the place.  It's so much fun wandering around all the pretty booths with their hand crafted items. I always try to drag my family along so I can suggest what I'd like for Christmas.  With it being so long until the 25th of Dec. I often forget what I hinted for and have such wonderful surprises when the day comes.

I also want to announce that I sold another big painting.  I've been calling it "Life's Journey" but the collector asked if she could rename it "The Ribbon of Life".  Of course I agreed even though the other name is written on the back.

"Ribbon of Life"
Tryptic 60"x 20" on gallery wrapped canvas

My goal has always been to increase my yearly sales by 5 to 10%.  The sale of this painting brings this years sales to double that of last year.  I'm so excited I could burst!

November 14, 2011

It's not a painting.

Oatmeal Bread

I know, it's not a painting but I like to think of it as a work of art. Now that the pansies have been delivered and I don't have any shows booked for a while (besides the virtual kind), I thought I'd ignore my painting schedule and do some baking.  I'll still be painting but not as often until the new year when I'll get back on track and be more productive.  Fortunately, I'll still have my classes every Wednesday morning.  Even though I'm teaching, it's a fun time and I actually get some quality painting time in as well.  

I haven't baked any cupcakes for Myra yet but it's on my schedule.

November 8, 2011

Lots of Pansies

The "Under 100 Show" is fast approaching.  I hoped to have eight pansies available but seven will have to do.  I love seeing them all laid out together...they look so colourful.  In my photo you will notice a pair of Red Shoes.  They are in honour of Myra and her "Red Shoe Day" series of paintings.  Go look at her blog and enjoy her amazing imagination and her colourful chairs.

PS.  I know I said seven pansies.  One of the above is a gift to a Special Niece who has shown exceptional courage in the past year.

October 31, 2011

Pansy #12

P.S.    This is just a little update to this post... This Pansy is #12... That's the last of my personal challenge for my flower box series.  Hmmm what to do next?  Chairs like Myra or cups like Janett Marie?  Maybe I'll keep doing pansies until the new year...

Don't you love it when things go well and you accomplish everything you planned? It's been one of those weeks for me.  I finished my Pansy, faded the background in my big Black-eyed Susan painting, started a batch of peach wine and cleaned the chandelier lights in the hallway.  I even went canoeing and hope to go again in November...just to say I did. :)

Here's the latest pansy.  As usual it is 6"x6"x1.5" on gallery wrapped canvas.  It will be included in the juried, "Under 100" show that I, happily, was accepted into.

October 26, 2011

The difference in colour

Fall in British Columbia is different than it is in Ontario, where I grew up.  The fall colours here are deep green with brillant yellows.  At first I missed the reds and oranges that I was used to back east but eventually I grew to appreciate the unique fall beauty of the West.  The picture above is from my living room window. I love this view even though the trees have taken over my glimpse of the lake.  

I feel extra blessed though when I look out my kitchen window and see the view below.  The resort I live in has planted maple trees along it's streets.  I now have red and orange leaves right outside my door just like it is back east. The photo doesn't show it well but take my word for it... the colours are rich and beautiful.

I hope if you have autumn where you are that it is filled with abundant beauty and joy.
My VIP mention for this post is the Art Biz blog.  It's a great blog to help to help with your questions about promoting your art.

October 20, 2011

It's a beautiful day in the Okanagan Valley

Today the sun is shining and the temperature is sitting at 20 degrees in the shade.   It feels like it's my last chance to tuck in the garden and tidy up outside before retiring to the indoors for the long cold winter.  Did I mention, I'm not a winter person.  I love autumn sweaters and kicking my way through fallen leaves but I do not enjoy winter boots and icy sidewalks.  Soooo... today I will go for a walk, wash my outside windows, fill the bird feeders and enjoy life to the fullest. I may even paint another pansy.

This is a small palette knife painting I did to demonstrate using impasto medium during my painting class.  I painted a dark glaze over top and then rubbed it off in the center.  Not too great a painting but lots of fun to create.

VIP mention for today is Potter's Addict.  It's a wonderful place to create and buy some awesome pottery.  The place is run by a great artist with a great name... why not drop by and visit another Bonnie. Tell her I sent you. :)

October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving is over-time to get back to painting...

Our Canadian Thanksgiving is over and now to lose those pounds that remind me how good it was.  I really do love turkey and all the trimmings. :)

I didn't accomplish a lot of painting this week but I did finish another pansy.  I painted this one before and since it sold I decided to try again.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out this time.  Sorry the photo has so much shine, it's a rainy day so I didn't have enough natural light and had to use a flash.  This one won't be put in a juried competition so I'm not taking to time to make the photo perfect. It's the same as the rest: 6"x6" on gallery wrapped canvas.  I painted it using water soluble oils.

I'm looking forward to my class tomorrow.  I think there is a distinct possibility that my students will create better paintings than I do...  I'm glad to have them in my art group.

My VIP mention today is Michael Godfrey.  He paints scenes that I love.  Awesome artist.

October 3, 2011

It's a good time to paint flowers.

The fall rains have come to the Okanagan Valley.  By this time of year we're usually quite happy here to have the hills and trees watered.  I love our desert climate but not to the point where everything is on the verge of becoming a wild fire.  That said, I'll spend my time painting indoors and praise God for the rain.

I finished another pansy.  This one is those little ones I call johnny-jump-ups.  Aren't they cute!?

My VIP mention for today isn't a specific artist but a really interesting blog about art/artists.  It's called Making a Mark.  Go visit them.

September 30, 2011

Back to routine, and it feels good...

Hello everyone,
I'm diligently working at my pansy collection, hoping to be ready for the Christmas shows.  Here's the one I'm working on.  These are those cute little ones that come back to us every spring.

It's amazing how a change in background colour can make a difference. Take a peek at my last blog post to see the difference in the one below.  I think I'll buy some of these for my garden next year... so unique.

My VIP mention today is another blogger who doesn't post often but when he does, it's really interesting.  Go see Larry Kassell's art blog.

September 26, 2011

A painting in process and one that sold...

Hi everyone.  It's so nice to be back to a routine.  My next pansy is well under way.  My art class has gessoed three canvas's:  one smooth, one textured and one sculpted and I'm making progress on the painting of some black-eyed Susans (I'll post a picture after I make some more progress).

This orange pansy is a unique colour but it doesn't have the happy face the others do. It's much brighter in the painting.  Still a bit to do.

Another painting that sold at Art Walk.

My VIP mention for this week is by Leo the Toucan... yep, you read right.  He writes a great blog about Martine Alison's art.  The original is in french and the translation isn't perfect but I'm sure you will still enjoy.

September 19, 2011

My latest pansy.

September has always been the month when I get back on track.  The lazy days of summer are over and it's time to get reorganized.  This year I thought I might have to wait until October.  It's the 19th and I'm just getting back on a schedule today.

Did it ever feel good to get in a morning of painting and drawing practice.  I finally finished a pansy I started a couple months back (except for my signature) and reviewed my drawing lessons to remember what it was I had learned in the spring.  This afternoon I'll prepare for the painting lesson I'll teach on
Wednesday morning and review what's needed to enter the "Under 100" show that's coming up at our local gallery.

6"x6" oil on gallery wrapped canvas

I want to mention a special guest who stopped by my booth during Art Walk.  Dennis Weber is an amazing artist but I think his real passion is playing the flute.  When he stopped by my spot during the show, I noticed he had his flutes with him. I was so pleased when he offered to sit a play a while.

September 12, 2011

Lessons anyone?

I decided to go for it.  It's been three years since I taught adults painting, but I've been convinced to do it again.  It's always nerve racking for me but I believe we should give back to our community and since painting is what I do...  deep breath... I can do this.  There will be a get together at my home on Wednesday morning at 9:30 to get organized and find out what everyone wants to learn.  Classes will start the week after.  I've decided to supply all the materials for the first four lessons to give students the chance to learn about water soluble oils before they go out and spend money on paints, etc..

Art Walk is over for another year and, like always, I'm pumped for the coming year.  I'll post pictures over the next few days of paintings that sold.   Hope you're having a great Sept..

"Winter's Rest"

My VIP mention for today is an artist friend of mine who calls her blog, Amo Vitam.  It's a fantastic blog that I love to read,  She's thinking of quitting her blog, which would be a shame, so go take a look at some of her past blogs.  Maybe she'll reconsider.

September 9, 2011

Tomorrow is Art Walk.

I think I gear my painting for Art Walk for the whole year.  Will it suit the show?  Will anyone like it?  It's almost a relief to know it's finally here and I'm ready. Hope I can sleep tonight.

My four foot by six foot painting is finally finished and ready to ship to the new owner. I know you have seen it many times over the last few months but I can't help but show you the finished piece.

My VIP mention for today is Jackie.  She is an old friend from Ontario who is an awesome artist and a great encourager.

September 6, 2011

Fundraiser for Carol Marine

I just read this terrible news and thought I'd send along this notice.  Carol's blog has been an inspiration to many of us.  I hope you can help in this time of crisis.

Art Walk

Hi everyone.  Sorry I haven't posted lately.  It's been hectic around here with lots of out-of-town family coming to visit.  What a treat it has been.

 I did take quick minutes here and there to read some of your blogs.  Some of you are so productive but I was glad to see many like myself who took time out to enjoy the warm weather.  My prayers go out to all you bloggers in Texas.  Stay safe and may you have rain really soon.  

Art Walk is this weekend!  I'm so excited!  I love this event.  300 artists and over 7000 visitors.  

My Vip mention this week is Nancy Goldman.  I especially like her oils.  Go look.

August 27, 2011

Art Auction.

House of Rose Winery
The Art Auction Fundraiser is on Saturday, September 3rd! Fabulous local artists, with minimum bids as low as $5.00 AND all proceeds to the Kelowna Women’s Shelter and Critter Aid (where their pets go while they are in the shelter). With free wine tastings, complimentary appetizers and the opportunity to purchase affordable art from local artists. Help House of Rose and these talented local artists raise funds for the Kelowna Women’s Shelter. Appies at 12, auction at 1 pm - 2270 Garner Rd.
I put this painting into the auction...please support this cause by bidding on a piece of local art.

August 20, 2011

It's sold!

I haven't finished my big painting yet but it's already sold!  This will be the second piece bought by this collector.  I'm doing a happy dance.  Thanks for all the encouragement.  I appreciate you readers soooo much.

My VIP mention for today is Robert Genn.  He has an extremely popular news letter that I highly recommend.  Below is a quote from his last letter that I really agree with.

August 18, 2011

Wow, where did the time go?

I've been enjoying this summer so much I didn't notice the time was passing.  I've taken time to read some of my favourite blogs and I've been doing a lot of painting BUT two weeks!  The only thing that makes it so I don't feel too guilty is the fact that many of you have taken time to relax as well.  This beautiful warm weather is so inviting, I just want to be outside enjoying it.

My blog will probably suffer for another couple of weeks.  We don't live close to many of our relatives so when they can make it for a visit, we try to give them all of our time.  Three sets of them plan on visiting before the end of summer.  Could prove to be very busy and exciting.

My big picture is coming along very well.  I'm down to the fixing stage.  Unfortunately, with this style of picture, there's a lot.  I have a lot of areas where I have to bring the sky down and the leaves up.

On the floor of the living room.

My VIP mention for this post is Myra...drawn to paper .  I've mentioned Myra many times before because of her interesting blog posts and beautiful ballerina paintings.  I have to warn you though, her site is addicting.

Don't forget to enjoy the good weather.  'Til next time.

August 5, 2011

Yikes! Art Walk is just around the corner.

I was quite pleased with myself... I had enough new paintings to enter Art Walk without having to rush in August like I usually do.  Well,,, that was the plan.   One of those new paintings is my 6' by 4' picture of the boardwalk heading into the trees.  It's not done.  It should be... I scheduled my time well and it should have been complete by the first of the month.  BUT  I went camping for two weeks and have spent the rest of the time trying to get over the head injury I received at the art show on June 4th.  Two months and I'm still complaining and getting very little done. sigh....

There is one month left before the show... can I do it?  Oh, I hope so.  Prayer appreciated.

Here it sits.... waiting for me.   Soon...

VIP mention today is for my friend Valerie Roger's.  What an awesome artist.  Go look.

July 28, 2011

Big show this weekend!

Hi everyone.  I'm back from vacation and all excited about my show this Sat. and Sun.  I'm so pleased to be one of five artists that will be exhibiting on the long weekend.  Click on the poster below for more details.

Thanks everyone who wished me well on my camping trip.  The weather was not the best (the worst since 1976) but we enjoy ourselves and kept warm by the campfire.  I never dug out the paints or my drawing supplies, that I took along, but I did take lots of pictures, especially of the many dramatic cloud formations that swiftly came and went.  Now that we're home the weather has turned nice...maybe we'll go again after the show.

My VIP mention for today is Hilda Muxo Klinger.  I really can't make up my mind what I enjoy more, her oil paintings or her pastels.  They are both beautiful...go see.

July 11, 2011


The view from our camp site.

We're going again.  The weather isn't predicted to be perfect, but it'll be warm.  I have my novels ready, my fishing pole packed and my bathing suit washed and ready.  This time we hope to camp for two weeks.  A lot of my friends can't imagine living in a tent that long but it's the living outside that's the real attraction. I love the way my skin feels after a day or two and I really enjoy the freedom from house work.  I know I still have to cook, but it's all done on one burner or over the camp fire, and doing dishes is so much more enjoyable when it's done outside.  

View from inside our tent.

July 5, 2011

Decisions... decisions...

Oh, how I want to paint something new...  but I can't because I have to get the big one I'm working on finished in time for Art Walk.  Summer's are not very productive for me... I'm not complaining because it's my time to be laid back.  I love summer and after working for the last few years, I now want to enjoy every  minute of the wonderful Okanagan weather.  I live in a resort condo and I can hear children playing a game of street hockey, birds singing and the gurgle of my water fountain on the deck.  The outdoors is calling but I'm a studio painter through and through and I must complete my goals.  Sigh...

I'm smiling to myself.  What a wonderful dilemma.  After many years of serious life altering choices and decisions that needed my attention, I now can sit back and blog about my choice to paint or go outside and read a book... life is good.

6'x4' oil on 24 squares of stretched canvas

My VIP mention for today is Hilda Muxo Klinger.  Even though Hilda has some wonderful pastel paintings, I'm drawn to her lovely oil paintings the most... go have a look.

July 1, 2011

I love my blogging buddies.

Look what Myra did!  She honoured me by putting my painting in her painting of a really glorious chair.  Couldn't you just sit there for hours... drinking coffee of course... like the one below by JanettMarie :D.

Happy CANADA Day!!!

June 29, 2011

Win one of my paintings.

I had a wonderful week of camping.  Unfortunately, my camera's battery died after three pictures and I didn't get around to painting anything.  It was a great time of canoeing, swimming and relaxing.  I read several romantic suspense novels and ate way too much.  

Just before I left to go camping, I delivered a painting to "House of Rose Winery" for their charity auction.  The silent auction will last all summer and the proceeds go to our local Woman's shelter.  If you get the chance, drive out to the vineyard and taste some wine, have a picnic on site and bid on some of the wonderful local art. 

"Deep In the Forest"
11"x14" Oil on stretched canvas
Win this painting by bidding on it at the House of Rose Winery, Kelowna BC

My VIP mention for this post is Trudy Gomez.  She has the most wonderful paintings made with acrylic washes.  I love all her vibrant paintings.  

June 20, 2011

Gone camping.

Hi Everyone.  I'm away on a camping trip in central British Columbia.  The scenery is amazing and I want to paint everything I see.  I probably won't be back online for a week or so, if the weather stays good. I'll be missing you and will write again as soon as I get back. Hugs.

June 14, 2011

Triptych Show

First I want to thanks everyone for their kind comments.  The headaches have eased off and my neck now allows me to look around.  I will get back to painting this week and hopefully accomplish my monthly goals.  

The reception at the Little Straw Vineyard was delightful.  No sales unfortunately, but a really nice time visiting with some very talented artists.  I'm one of the blessed artists who gets to have her husband accompany her on all these fun events.

The next really important one is coming up on Friday.  Robert Genn will be there!  I have followed his twice weekly newsletters for a couple years and enjoy them soooo much.  Hmmm... I think I'll make him my VIP mention for this post.

June 11, 2011

My booth at The Garden Party in Kelowna 

Hi everyone.  As promised, I've attached two pictures of last weekends event.  It was beautiful weather during the whole show.

This week I haven't been able to paint due to my tumble from the above chair on Saturday.  I will sure appreciate painting when I get back to it.  I did deliver a large collection of my art to the Little Straw Vineyard for that two week show.  The reception is today, from 4 to 6.  I'm hoping I can make it and if you happen to live in the area.... please come over.  There will be fine art, music, food and wine tasting.

My VIP selection today is JanettMarie's blog.  Please visit and see her awesome fun art.

Hope you're enjoying the summer.

June 6, 2011

This show runs for two weeks.

Hi everyone.  The show on the weekend turned out great except for me falling off my tall director's chair and hitting my head on the metal fence post.  Good thing I have a hard head.  I'll show some pictures of the event soon but  today I want to announce my show that starts today.  It runs for two weeks and it's a chance to taste some great wine as well as see some neat art. The top painting on the poster is mine.  

My VIP mention today is someone I've mentioned many times.  She has one of the most interesting blogs on the net.  May I introduce......  MYRA ANDERSON

June 1, 2011

Are you mobile ready?

Are you mobile ready?  They say that's how most people will be looking at our sites.  I'm not ready but I'm working at it.  I'm slowly changing my web pages so they are only 600 pixels wide and my paintings take up more of the page.  I hope this helps.  It seems to on my husband's iPad.  I notice the print on this blog is pretty small but easy for him to expand on the ipad but I'm curious about the smart phones... can they even read my blog if I put the QR code on my flyers?  

My question for you today is:  Have you tried the different templates offered by blogger, to see which ones show up the best on the new phones?  If you have and you figured it out...please let me know.

Bonnie Heather

May 27, 2011

You're invited to a Garden Party

I have two shows coming up in a week;  the first, on a weekend is outside, and the other a two week one at a winery. I didn't realize I had so many, not quite finished pieces of art.  Some haven't had the wire attached to the backs, some need varnished and a lot are missing the labels for the backs.  I'm soooo glad I decided to start preparing a week in advance.   I will be ready on time...  I will be ready on time..  I will be ready on time.

My VIP mention today is Carol Blackburn from Maine in the US.  Carol's water colours always bring a smile to my day.  They are fresh and cheery.  Go look.

May 21, 2011

So many photos to choose from...

Recently an artist friend, Cindy Wietzel and her friend Robbie Graham started a page on Facebook where people can add photos that other artists may use for reference material.  It's a wonderful site!  The only problem I have is that I can't decide what picture to use... so many choices... so little time.

The page is called:  Artist reference photos.  I highly recommend you Like the page.  

Cindy Wietzel

May 17, 2011

Time to choose something new.... :)

Goals are important to me.  I accomplish a lot more when I have them.  With my painting it's especially important since it's a challenge with back problems.  The desire is there but sadly the flesh is weak.  Determination to meet set goals is one of the biggest factors contributing to the fact that I do accomplish something.  Besides completing a pansy each month, I'm committed to adding a minimum of four finished panels to my large painting each month before starting any new pieces.  Oh, how I itch to start something new.

Even though it's been a hectic month, I've fulfilled this months must-do's.  Now to choose the next subject... :D.
This is a picture of the last two panels I painted for the 6'x4' piece I'm working on.  Where did that large leaf come from?  There's no sign of the rest of the plant in the reference photo.  Guess I'm not finished after all... taking photos always make me more work.... ;)

My VIP mention for this post is an artist from Whales whose work I'm positive you will enjoy.  Besides creating wonderful art he tells great stories that always inspire me.  Thanks Ralph

May 14, 2011

Pansy #7 is finished.

I love it when I complete a painting.  It means I have another piece for sale,  AND I have something new to post to my blog,,, that's the most exciting.

Today I get to post #7 in my Flower Box Series.  As you can see, it's of  a very pretty white pansy.  

6"x6" oil on 1.5" gallery wrapped canvas 
$100.00 with painted sides (no frame required)
Free shipping in Canada and US

I've been reading about how it's important to have our blog/name mentioned as often as possible on the web so the search engines can find us.  On my blog I have a gadget that lists all the wonderful people who comment on my posts.  I also have several other gadgets that show the artists I follow and those who follow me.  I hope all this helps get their name out there into cyber space.  Now, I'm going to add to that by mentioning one of my followers blogs at the end of each of my blog posts and posting their link.  

So with that in mind, here is my first VIP mention:

This person has an excellent blog where she discusses Art History. Her painting challenges add a fun touch as well.  A great blog to visit:   Tapestry of Art Through Time

May 9, 2011

From: Fine Art Views

I seldom copy from another people's write ups but this one is such good advise I couldn't resist. This newsletter is one of my favourites.  Enjoy.

Put the Fire Out

by Keith Bond

This article is by Keith Bond, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews.  You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.

A forest fire was blazing out of control.  Many acres had burned and the fire was continuing to grow.  Firefighters were called in from across the nation to help battle the blaze.  They were spread out around the perimeter of the fire, trying to contain it.  But to no avail.  As hard as they worked, they simply could not make any progress.

Finally, the Fire Chief realized why.  All of these brave men and women were fighting this fire.  But there commission was not to fight it, but rather to put the fire out.  This simple change of focus made all the difference.  And it prompted a change of tactics.

Instead of being spread all around the perimeter, the Fire Chief concentrated the effort to one area at a time.  With much more man-power and a concerted effort in a smaller area, they were soon able to contain that portion of the fire.  They then moved on; working together to contain the next area.  And so on until the entire fire was completely contained.

There is a parallel with your art.

Let’s let the fire represent the areas which need improvement – both with art itself and with your business.  If you are like me, there are plenty of areas in which you need to improve.  It is a lifelong endeavor – that is, if you wish to continue growing as an artist.

Some of the areas might include:  proficiency with your medium, color theory, drawing, composition / design, value relationships, texture, mood, harmony, rhythm, meaning, etc.  Some of the business tasks that need improvement might be:  organization, bookwork, marketing, writing, talking about your art, following-up with clients, managing time, maintaining your website, etc.

Throughout my career I have frequently identified areas which I need to work on.  Much like the firefighters, I concentrate my efforts on one thing at a time – seeing value relationships, for example – until I feel that I have that fundamental “contained.”  I then moved on to something like color theory or composition.  By focusing on one thing at a time, I make quicker progress.  Whenever I attempt containing too many fronts at a time, I struggle and get frustrated.  Little progress is made.

When a fire is contained, it is not extinguished yet.  It is still burning within the containment line.  That line serves as a barrier around the circumference to prevent it from spreading in unwanted directions.  Once it is entirely contained, the fire crews can then work within the containment lines to control the blaze.

Likewise, some level of “containment” in art and business principles does not mean that you have “put the fire out”.  Mastery of all there is to learn – to totally extinguish the fire – takes more than a lifetime.

Although I have reached a certain level of proficiency in several of the principles of art, I find myself returning to them over and over.  There is always more to learn – more work to be done.  I may have contained the fire, now I need to work on controlling it.

And I hope I never put the fire out.

Best Wishes,
Keith Bond

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