Elaine Watts
Watercolourist and Printmaker


(posted on 1 Dec 2015)

December 1st already, and in Australia it's December 2 as I type away in my cozy studio with the wood fire going. I've just packed up for my last show of the year, in Coquitlam this weekend. And this will be my last public show for at least 6 months. Will tell you why soon.

All the artists are together in the same building in a corner of the usual complex, in case you're coming! I've been going to this sale for many years and have lots of repeat customers, but I'm a little nervous that I won't have so much space so I'm bringing less framed work this time.

If I'm a bit tight for room, well, that's when they say your creativity is stretched so I'm going to trust that I'll be creative when faced with change! Say, that's probably a good theme to be entering 2016 on. Maybe I'll work with that a little over the next month. I always like to have a bit of a rallying statement to keep in mind over the year and I haven't thought of one for the new year yet.

Right now it's time to start reflecting on this last year--successes and failures, highlights and blessings. I hope you are able to find some time to do that too, in the rush leading up to Christmas. We are so fortunate to live in a peaceful, wealthy and beautiful country (me doubly so as I consider my second home Australia). And for me to have the luxury of time to create art that is meaningful to me, and to others, as a reflection of that life, is another blessing.

People struggle and still go on in so many places in the world, and indeed some do in the first world as well. There are a few times this year that I have been touched by the passing of friends and family, mostly older but some well before what I thought would be "their time". As a wise friend said to me, as we get older we must deal with more grief and loss--the price to be paid for living on, I guess. I suspect I have some paintings to create about that yet. For the moment though I am still working from happy places--often rooted in the landscapes around me, or the beauty of the human form, or interesting shapes and meaningful symbols converted into collage or printmaking.

Ink and watercolour and printmaking continue to be favourites and as I review my sales this year I've been surprised to see how much figure work I've sold. When I started I really didn't expect there to be a market and yet just in the last month I've sold 3 pieces.

This simple but quite large ink sketch was one of them. It was the basis for a series of solar etchings I did (see below for one of them), and I had it at the "20 Minutes Max" show at the Summerland Art Gallery in October/November.

I'm not sure where people are displaying this art but I have been trading with my fellow life drawing artist friends as they are a very talented bunch and I've decided to start working on my own "collection" of art. (Another sign of our first-world wealth, I suppose, is that we can and do collect artworks that we love, and have space to display them!)

My birch paintings have been selling well too so I have painted a few more, and am toying with the idea of making another very large one as a showpiece. If I could only figure out how to frame a huge one cheaply and so that it travelled well!

Meanwhile here's a small autumn birch card I finished a few weeks ago--before winter arrived!

It'll be available at the Coquitlam sale, and is totally suitable for framing after it's been written in!

I was also delighted to finish this commission for an Ottawa woman who had been visiting the Okanagan and done the spectacular bike ride on the KVR Trail, to Little Tunnel at Naramata. I had another similar painting on hand and framed, but not so portable, so between us we decided I'd do another one that showed her husband and his brother riding towards the tunnel entrance. I'll be making cards of this one for next year's tourist season!

I have many happy memories of bike trips to this striking location, sun shining on the lake below.

Just one more thing before I close--the studio will be close until further notice as I have a big travel year planned ahead. As well as my usual Australia migration, we will be heading for southern Africa and having a long stopover in Europe--likely hiking in the Scottish Highlands, and spending some time in France. This blog may again become a bit of a travelogue rather than an art blog--painting time permitting! And my publishing schedule is likely to be...well...a little MORE erratic!

All the best to you and yours for a peaceful and light-filled Christmas season--filled with love and laughter. "Home for the Holidays"