Art Therapy // My first abstract art piece

Art Therapy // My first abstract art piece

After high school, in lieu of taking a year off to "find myself", I went to Sheridan College for a one year program called Art Fundamentals. It's the kind of course that kids who want to get into Sheridan's esteemed Animation Program take to give themselves a leg up the following year. And it was the kind of course I needed to get my artistic jollies out before moving on to my career focus of advertising.

I loooooved Art Fundamentals. We did everything from charcoal life drawing, to photography, to textile printing, to glass working, to 3D design.

T'was amazing.

It was exactly what I needed. It gave me the essential base skills for so many things, and has truly made me the type of person who isn't afraid to explore a new artistic medium. It also taught me how to live (platonically) with boys. But maybe we'll talk about that another time.

Something I used to love more than anything was painting.

I haven't done it for years, but when I started my latest home reno project in my office, I knew I reeeeeally wanted to save some pennies by tackling a bunch of DIYs.

Big art. The room called for Biiiiiig art.

(I'll show you the whole room in a Before + After post to follow. Just hold your horses. I haven't finished yet.)

My friend and neighbour (BONUS!) Sarah Jaynes is an art teacher at a local area high school here and an incredible artist. She's the girl behind this project, and this Instagram account documenting her budding business. (I carry her charcoal prints in the shop).

Sarah has quickly become my art project enabler. She was all over the idea of teaching me through the process of an abstract piece, and honestly, I could NOT have created anything like this without her fine tutelage. (STAY TUNED FOR A WORKSHOP!)

I booked a date with Sarah, bought myself a big ass wooden canvas, and away we went.

Inspired by THIS ARTIST I've long coveted on Etsy and THIS RUG I purchased on Society6 from Barbra Ignatiev, Sarah went ahead and pulled out the colours we needed to work with.

You can copy me and nab one of her gorgeous rugs here! OMG do it.

Sarah's a planner. I never would have done this.

I pulled out my blank Makeful Tote and decided to kill two birds with one stone (I have to transform it and make it "my own") by using it as my blending palette.

Then Sarah asked me to hit up Google Maps to find a location ("preferably with lakes") that meant something to me. I chose Lake Rosseau in Muskoka. The lake where my grandparents cottage used to be.

Then she had me roughly sketch out the map using chalk on my canvas.

Then I forgot to take a picture and started filling in the background with what I had planned to be my main colour.

From there, I just basically kept filling in blanks, blending colours at the edges without over thinking it too much.

It should be noted here that if you ARE an over-thinker, abstract art may not be for you. Or maybe it's exactly what you need, but there will probably be a lot of suffering throughout. Oh how you suffer so! I can't relate, but I feel for you. I really do.

See? Lake Rosseau.

It's uncanny. You'll note, my #toteallymakeful tote was also coming along nicely.

Theeeen I started adding white and began basically ruining my previous work.

But I had never intended the piece to be very colourful. And the awesome thing about acrylic is that if you get the timing right you can wipe it off to reveal the colour underneath.

It's magical. I scratched some circles and wobbly shapes into it, stepped back and realized a) it was so dark that I couldn't see the true colours anymore and b) someone drank all the wine.

We decided to call it a night.

Layer One:

It was okaaaay, but a little too pastel-y.

I kinda hated it.

I met Sarah in her classroom the next day, taking advantage of the space entirely void of students who'd stayed home due to the snow day.

No amount of snow is going to get between me and an art project, so I selfishly sent my own two packing (whatever man, snow days are fun when you're 5&7) and high tailed it to mecca.

Sarah taught me a few new techniques like using random tools to create lines and patterns, and how to use water to reveal the colours underneath. She encouraged me to have a little more fun with colour and contrast.

And suddenly, the piece started to take shape.

I am SO thrilled by how this turned out.

I realize not everyone will "get" the whole abstract thing. But I love it.

I'll look at this painting and I know it'll bring me calm because it represents that time I took a few days to do something for me. With an encouraging friend who seriously boasts a seemingly endless number of anecdotes to keep me laughing.

And there's nothing better than that.

There really isn't.

Before I could hang it, I needed to finish up the edges. I decided to go with fluorescent pink because, again, this piece is for me me me and pink isn't a colour I can ever have too much of.

Check out the finished project(s)! And stay tuned for our full home office Before + After!

xo Em