Monthly Muse

Force Majeure

A year ago I wrote about the perils of being too comfortable and how that can affect one’s motivation and growth.

Well, after 12 months of leaning into some terrific – and sometimes uncomfortable – growth, the universe must think I am still wa-a-a-y too comfortable in my current situation.  An extra dash of force majeure has been thrown into the mix.
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Stacked

This is what my proposed annual timeline looked like for this year – all nicely spaced over the twelve months so that I could function like a normal, sane person:

Proposed Timeline
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The Secret (Second) Life of My Art

In case you hadn’t noticed, my surname is MacDonald and I am a pure (make sure you roll that “r”) Scot.  I love me some prudent frugality.

When I was 15 I talked my mom into giving me a clothing allowance so that I could buy clothes on my own.  I figured out pretty darn quick that I could buy more (and more interesting) articles of clothing from the Sally Ann than at the trendy shops.  Since then I’ve bought most of my clothing from second hand or consignment stores.

Likewise, whenever possible, I’ve always sourced and used recycled materials for my artwork.

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Getting To Know You

It occurred to me that while all the pieces I create have detailed narratives, in my 8 plus years of blogging I haven’t voiced the finer points of my own narrative; the story of how I came to be the artist I am, making the work I currently make.

I thought it might be fun to share a bit of personal mythology with you.
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Ladies And Gentlemen, In This Performance The Part Of The Lion Will Be Played By January

[Cue orchestra. Raise curtain.]

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. A long while.

Mostly it’s been due to the frenzy of a new year.  Trying to line up those ducks, catch those greased pigs, herd those cats…

I could go on, but I think you know where I’m coming from.

In a word, the start of the year was FRUSTRATING. I’m seriously hoping I can apply the idiom “in like a lion, out like a lamb” to 2015.
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Getting My NYC Legs

Transitioning from working at an in-home studio to an out-of-home studio has been interesting.

There has been a learning curve.  Oh my, yes, has there ever.

Which, to be honest, caught me off guard, as I have had prior experience working in out-of-home, communal studios before (Dynamo, and Emily Carr University).  Guess I got so used to the creature comforts of working in-home that I didn’t realize I had forgotten how to function like a person with an out-of-home job.
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Cocooning

It’s been a while since I’ve posted…you might be thinking that New York has swallowed me whole.

Not to worry.

Even though it does feel as though I’ve been scooped up and held in the mouth of the beast, I haven’t been chewed up…yet, and, fingers crossed, I won’t be spit out.
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TFF in NYC

Our temporary New York home is smack dab in the middle of tourist central, and most of the people schlepping the surrounding streets are decked out in tourist garb: travel-easy t-shirts and shorts. It wasn’t until I had been in New York for two weeks that I finally witnessed some Truly Fabulous Fashion.
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The Water Is Different Here

If you’ve read my last few posts you’ll know that my husband, Andrew, and I are in the midst of a massive relocation.  And, yes, I was all for Andrew accepting the job offer in NYC, even with the many ways in which we had to perform to ensure the acceptance of our application for TN (principal alien) and TD (non-immigrant dependent) visas.

Get married?  No problem.

I can’t work?  No problem.

No control?  Umm….

Now that I’m here, in New York,  it’s starting to sink in just how much control I’ve relinquished.
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Should It Stay Or Should It Go?

It is almost four weeks to the day when Andrew and I will be flying on a one-way ticket to New York and I have just started the sorting and packing of the studio.

On emptying the first bin an overwhelming feeling of melancholy immediately descended upon me. I have been experiencing a growing sadness at leaving my sweet friends, but I didn’t expect to have a similar reaction to an environment.
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As Dog Is My Witness

A week ago I said a final farewell to my beloved bully-boy, Elvis.  He’s been a faithful studio companion for 13 years, witnessing both me and my practice transform from my early 30’s into my mid-40’s.  It is more than a little strange to be suddenly working alone in my studio.
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Showing Up

I received a message on my voicemail yesterday that at first I didn’t understand.

I had to listen to it a few times to understand what was being said.

The voice was telling me that I had won something and I could pick it up at such-and-such a store at the corner of X and Y streets.
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Too Much Of A Good Thing

I live in a two-level loft unit.  To make life easier for my senior dog I’ve put a second water bowl situated in the upstairs bathroom so that Elvis doesn’t have to stumble down the stairs every time he’s thirsty.

As with any canine companion, Elvis possesses a collection of endearing quirks.  One of these odd behaviors is centered around the upstairs watering bowl:  if the bowl is too full, he refuses to drink from it.  The water will stay at the same level and would start to grow algae if I don’t empty, clean the sides, and fill it with not more than two and a half inches of water.
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I Meant(or) To Do That

Fresh off the phone from a strategy call with my fabulous business coach and I’m marveling at how fortunate I am to have had mentors and coaches involved in the development of my art practice.  What would my practice have been like without the input from these fabulous, talented women?  Frankly, I’d rather not think about it.
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Setting The Tone In The Studio

I’ve long been in the habit of listening to music while working.

This habit was founded and fostered in the printmaking studio of the bealart annex, where open studio time was accompanied by early Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Who, and for a spell, the smooth crooning of old blue eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.  To this day, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I still revisit the British Invasion – ahh, those formative teen years!
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Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to: An Art Print Primer

As I prepare for my upcoming Spring Studio Sale I’m reminded of of a semantics issue that artists who engage in printmaking are regularly plagued with: despite sharing the colloquial term “print”, a print that is made using fine art printmaking processes is quite different from a piece of art (such as a painting or drawing) that is made into a print.
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Shock Of The New

Plenty has been happening since the beginning of the New Year – so much so that I’ve made the exec decision to limit my posts to bi-weekly.  This poses an ever-so-slight semantic problem…I really can’t continue categorizing my musings as weekly.  Therefore, as CEO and supreme ruler of jodymacdonald.ca I hereby decree that Weekly Muse shall hereforeto be known as Bi-Weekly Muse (a few simple adjustments in the settings….et voilà).

With that out of the way, let me share some of the studio shenanigans I’ve been up to in the past 6 weeks…
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The Evolution of “Right”

An artist makes a lot of mistakes in the process of creating a piece.  You try something, it doesn’t work, so you try something else.  So it goes until you feel you’ve accomplished what you were trying to achieve (or you reach a fairly close approximation of what you were trying to achieve).
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Everything Is Better Together

OK.  Maybe not EVERYTHING…but the right combination of things and/or people do, on occasion, add up to something much more than the sum of their individual parts.

My good friend Tzaddi and I have been talking (scheming might be a better word 🙂 ) about working on a project together.  I don’t want to spill the beans and spoil the surprise, but I will tell you that it plays to both our strengths and witty natures and I am SUPER EXCITED about it.
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Annual Review: The Bullet List

Last week I shared my experience of resisting this year’s annual review – I was stubbornly avoiding it because I felt the past 12 months had been disappointingly underwhelming.  After buckling down and completing the review I gained a surprising sense of accomplishment.

Here it is, in all it’s bulleted glory, for your consideration…

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Re-View

It’s that time again.

Yup, a time of endings and beginnings.

Time to reflect upon the past year and look forward to the bright, untarnished new year burgeoning on the horizon.
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Fire(Kick)starter

A couple of months ago I attended an informational workshop for Kickstarter, which opened it’s doors for Canadian based creators on September 9th, 2013.

My brain-cogs have been churning ever since.
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Get Stuffed

After several hopeful – and incorrect – predictions on when it would happen, it has finally happened this week.

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Double Vision

A few weeks back my circa 1969 Bernina sewing machine started behaving a little, um…temperamental.

I LOVE my vintage Bernina – nothing fancy or flashy about it.  It’s just a brilliant, solid, reliable workhorse of a machine that has seen me through projects a-plenty.  This wee glitch in performance got me wondering what I would do if and when my machine decided to call it quits for reals.  Frankly I’m terrified of having to buy and work on a brand new, modern machine.
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