Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Creative Inspiration - Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

Artist Trading Cards:

a wonderful by-product of your practice art that you don't like!

(and scraps from collage and so on)

In my fundamental workshop: Energizing and Experimental Abstract Painting in Acrylics and Mixed Media we all work on lots and lots of little 9 x 12" on loose canvas paintings. Adding paint, removing paint, splatting paint. We may make mini masterpieces but mostly we make a lot of rejects or practice pieces - which I encourage as it really gets participants into process. The challenge is we end up with a lot of unwanted art!

This blog is just ONE of the many things you can do with your little practice pieces when you are finished working on it. My litmus test for whether you should keep working on an art piece is this: if it de-energizes me (ie it ain't fun no more) I know it's time to put it aside: WHen it's not working, give it up! and in this case - turn it into something else.

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) are simply small little pieces of cut up heavy water color paper (or you could use loose gessoed canvas) in the size of a business card that you can embellish and decorate with scraps from your reject loose canvas pad paintings, among other things - collage papers, found objects, string, yard….the list is endless. My recommendation for adhering things is YES! glue which has a claim to fame of drying flat, that's why I prefer it.

(These pieces were fun as I added in stamps and words)

One year my daughter (I think she was in grade 1 at the time) and I made home made ATCs for every child in her class for valentines day. Hopefully by the time this blog post is due to post I will find them so I can share them with you.

Another thing I sometimes do is make a card and then glue my business card to the back of it and give them away as gifts.

If you need some inspiration for designs of your cards, check out this book: "The Artist Trading Card Workshop" which has tons of images that could leave you creating for hours.

(found the photo - I think we made nearly 30 cards that year for every
child in my daughter's class and both her teachers!!)

Lastly, keep on eye out for my "Creative Inspiration" blogs as I will post more ideas on cool things you can make with your practice pieces/aka unwanted art!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Artist Interview: Lisa Penz

Introducing Vancouver Contemporary Pop Artist Lisa Penz.

Lisa and I have been friends for several years now and it all started at OPUS Framing and Art Supplies. Lisa can you share with us the unique story about how we met? :)

Sure! A few Christmases ago I was given the book "The Artists Way" from my boyfriend. He told me he wanted to give me a special gift and that he had met a really awesome artist who worked at OPUS who recommended this book for me. Over the following weeks he strongly encouraged me to go to OPUS to find this artist because he thought we needed to connect. I went OPUS several times looking for the artist but no luck! I persisted and after my fifth attempt I finally met Deb! She had told me how my boyfriend had visited OPUS, looking for the "best' thing he could get me for Christmas. The book that Deb recommend was the best, but I also got another amazing thing that Christmas.... Deb!

Thanks Lisa. Feelings are mutual! Recently I recall you opened a pop up gallery here in Vancouver. Can you tell us what this is and share your experience about this venture? Thank you.Would you do it again?

During the month of October 2011 I opened up my own 'pop up' gallery, which featured works from my 'Indulgence' collection. The theme 'Indulgence' was a provocative extension of my unique female portrayals. I found subject matter of temptation, guilt and other dark associated emotions to be a very interesting. Although the 'Indulgence' collection contained dark undertones, the surface of this work was very bright, radiant and candy-coated.

I used this 'pop up' forum to both expose the works of talented female artists and to promote Vancouver as a player in the contemporary art world arena. There is so much young artists talent in this city without a lot of the opportunities available to demonstrate it. I wanted the experience for everyone that visited the gallery to be fun, engaging and visceral.

The gallery took nearly 6 months to prepare for 1 month of it being open. It's hard to say if I would do it again. I gained so much from the experience — mainly business skills. I'm so happy to have a better idea now of what it's like to run and curate a gallery.

Link to Lisa's blog: http://lisapenz.com/blog/2011/10/live-painting/

Link to Lisa's Urban Rush tv interview: http://www.youtube.com/lisapenz

Link to photos of Lisa's Pop Up gallery opening: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150349145865942.351093.177152365941&type=3

I understand you work as a designer and also in theatre you do have a very busy life...How do you make time for painting when it's never urgent nor a priority to take time for our creativity?

It's very difficult to make time for painting. It's even a challenge for me to sit down and write about my work. I can now recognize my avoidance tactics, so I will often stop and force myself to start a project. Once I begin a painting, I get obsessed with it and it's hard for me to walk away from it for a few days.

I like working in themes as that helps get me hyped up about the new body of work and it's a good motivator. Setting deadlines for myself is also a great motivator.

What's your favorite art piece of yours and why? of another artist?

I am attached to a lot of my paintings and for different reasons. One of my favorite pieces is 'Butterscotch Ripple Effect' http://www.lisapenz.com/gallery/2011/butterscotch_ripple_effect.html

This piece was my first of the Indulgence series. I wanted to create a painting that was as beautiful to look at as the chocolate was to taste. I realize that flavours from our childhood hold many wonderful and fantastical associations that stay with us for our entire lives. This is my celebration for that notion.

My favorite piece from another artist is 'Longing To Dance' by Disney artist Larry Nikolai. I've purchased a limited edition giclee of this beautiful work. I've written about it here on my blog http://lisapenz.com/blog/2012/01/returning-to-the-magic/

What are you working on currently and please tell us about it...

I'm working on a new collection. I'm not going to reveal too much at this stage but I'm taking a darker turn with this work — in theme and in tone. On the surface, my female portrayals hint at fairy tale and fantasy, while thematically, they go much deeper.

Stay tuned!

For you, What the best thing about being and artist?

Although this is so very personal from one artist to the next, for me, the best thing about being an artist is being true to your nature. I've been in corporate roles before and it felt like I was living a lie and doing nothing to further myself really or enhance the lives of others. Creating with few limitations is a blessing.

For you, What 's the most challenging thing about being an artist?

Perseverance in the face of rejection and not seeing results is the most challenging.

How would you define success for yourself as an artist ? zWhat are some success you have achieved thus far on your journey, and what has been a key factor in you achieving your success?

That's a complicated question. There are many different levels of success that I think of when trying to define it.

Simply put — if I'm painting what I desire to painting and having the work "out there" seen by others and being recognized for that — I'm successful.

I make a list of new goals every year. Some of them may seem very difficult to achieve and could take six months of solid dedication and perseverance (eg: my Pop Gallery). If I achieve most of my goals by the end of the year, then I'm successful.

Having the freedom to create, touching others in a positive way with my work, getting recognition for that and living comfortably and happily — that's success to me.

A factor in achieving my success has been prioritizing and tackling those most important things first. I get easily overwhelmed thinking of the infinite possibilities and paths to follow. Sticking with my top priorities helps maintain focus.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to other artists?

- Follow your intuition with your artwork. It may work or not work but at least you can feel you were true to yourself.

- Every artist has their own story. Make your own path and practice what works for you.

- Be mentally prepared to make your art a lifetime commitment.

I am, as you know, a big believer in self care - especially for artists! What do you do to nourish your self and soul?

I have a lot of little rituals that I incorporate into my day. For example - I take time at the end of the day to go for a 10-20 min walk. This is really simple but I find that if I do it, I'm a lot happier and more productive.

Lisa, thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. Connect with Lisa Penz and visit her website here:

Lisa Penz prints and original work are for sale —via facebook page http://www.facebook.com/LisaPenzArtworks

and website http://www.lisapenz.com/

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Details of January's Vancouver Public Library Talk " Illuminate The Artist Within"

Wednesday January 18th, 2012 marked my first public presentation which was entitled "Illuminate the Artist Within" and held at downtown Vancouver public library. We had a head count attendance of 105 people with a full room. I want to give special thanks to Amber Ritchie for setting up the event, Drew Hutchinson for recording it, and my friend David who sold copies of The Little Inspiration Book and also Artist of British Columbia, Vol 3. Thank you all!

The presentation was well received and I have to say the audience was awesome and fully participated and honestly made my job fun and easy!

We discussed what creative dreams we have, what stop us from getting to those dreams, how we can over come those blocks, and lastly the benefits are to ourselves ( and often those around us) of being in creative process.

Funniest part? A young man at the end of the presentation came up, thanked me and asked me to sign his bare chest!!! ( I signed with a ball point but I wish I'd had a sharpie on me!!)

The next day I sat snuggled up on my sofa, opened up my lap top, and read several emails from presentation participants. I'm taking the liberty to post them but I have to admit I did not ask for their permission to re-print these emails but truthfully I was so excited by their comments that I just had to share them here with you...

“Thank you for taking the leap and doing that session - I am one person, and probably not the only person, who made a big leap myself because of it. I've taken that little step you recommend (and will take a little step more often) which was to choose the best paper for a watercolour drawing. And in so doing, stumbled across a little gem of a painting of my little cat that I had forgotten I'd done. It hadn't turned out as I wanted it to, last spring, and tonight I fell in love with it. “ - Kathryn

“I just want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed your talk tonight at the library. Well done - you were amazing!!! Fear plays such a prominent role in the lives of people and it is so important to address it. You have great energy and I know you are the teacher for me. As I mentioned in a previous e-mail, after having been to your recent Opus demo, I will be taking the beginner's weekend course with you.” - Adrien

“Thanks again for bringing such a wonderful program to our Library. It was a terrific turn-out, and the audience was very appreciative – one gentleman told me to keep an eye on Vancouver’s creative output, because you just lit some fires! I know I’m going to make use of your tips myself!” Amber Ritchie, Community Relations Librarian, Vancouver Public Library, Central Library

If you missed the talk, it is be posted on youtube here:

Deb Chaney: Illuminate the Artist Within Presentation Part 1 - http://youtu.be/NoNNnZKtQ_U

Deb Chaney: Illuminate the Artist Within Presentation Part 2 -

Deb Chaney: Illuminate the Artist Within Presentation Part 3 -

Deb Chaney: Illuminate the Artist Within Presentation Part 4 - http://youtu.be/Rt85OBD8_W4

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Havana Gallery: New Pure Abstraction Paintings

Birds on a Wire

Mixed Media, Acrylics, & Collage on Canvas
36 x 36 “

Just a wee little blog to announce the opening for a short 2 week show "Pure Abstraction" Abstract mixed media works on canvas being held Havana Gallery. The show went up last Thursday and I was warmly received by Havana restaurant staff and gallery curator Patrick as well as the restaurant owner. I do have to say that the staff were incredibly enthusiastic, curious, excited, and supportive as I set up - Thank you all!

Dates: Show runs Feb 5 - Feb. 18, 2012

Location: Havana Cafe and Restaurant

1212 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, British Columbia V5L 3X4

Ph (604) 253-9119 loc. 402

website: http://www.havanarestaurant.ca/

Gallery Advisor: Ken Conquer

Artist Liaison: Patrick O’Doherty

All Red

30 x 40 “ Mixed Media, Acrylics, on canvas.

I decided not to have an opening as I chose to go away with my family to Whidbey Island that weekend instead --- see photos of my short getaway on an upcoming "breathing space" blog post -- however if you are interested in purchasing any of the works I'd be delighted to meet with you there. info@debchaney.com (604) 736-5111.

Uncommon Lines I & II

(on the left)

Mixed Media, Acrylics, & Collage on Canvas

As a side note, during my art show set up I got to see the back theatre which to be honest until now I didn't even know existed! It's super cute hidden away behind the restaurant and can fit 50 people with shows ongoing and comedy being featured on the weekends.

3 paintings from left to right

Vancouver Morning

28 x 36” Mixed Media

Romance II

36 x 34” Mixed Media, Acrylics on Canvas

Mystic Places

40 x 30” Mixed Media, Acrylics

& Sand on Canvas

Here's a link to the theatre schedule if you're in the area and would enjoy a live performance:


You can see many of these paintings up close and in detail here: http://www.debchaney.com/debchaney/Art_Portfolio/Pages/PureAbstraction.html#0