Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Top 5 Moynahan Studio blog posts for 2014

In May 2014, I started the Moynahan Studio blog to feature some of my sketches and art work, to connect with other artists, grow as an artist and explore information about other artists and techniques.

In total, I created 54 blog posts in 2014.

So blessed am I - my 2014 Plein air painting spot
(my french easel and painting supplies)

The following were my top 5 visited blog posts according to google analytics:
  1. Strathmore Mixed Media Art Journal (posted May 18, 2014)  I have to admit to being slightly surprised that this was my most visited post. When I saw this page come up in my statistics, I thought initially that it was referring to the video of my completed Strathmore Mixed Media Art Journal . That video was top in visits in my flickr photostream
  2. Friday #FemArt: Alma Duncan (1917-2004) (posted Nov 28, 2014)  I was so happy that this post ranked #2. I developed the #FemArt hashtag because I was seeking to learn from other women artists. #FemArt posts originated with a post on Artist Louise Bourgeois Louise Bourgeois on Mapplethorpe and after my first blog post - I was hooked! It became an #ArtistDate as well
  3. Artists in Canada (posted Oct 17, 2014)  Hill Strategies actually promoted this blog post and my artwork on social media so this was no surprise when it showed up as #3.
  4. Killbear Mixed Media Collage (posted Oct 9, 2014) I cannot even begin to express the happiness that I feel about these last two "Top 5" blog posts. Both feature artwork that I created that was well out of my comfort zone. (Note: For the record My abstract "She Who Hesitates" would represent the farthest outside my comfort zone!!) In some ways The Killbear Collage started as a complete and utter failure from my plein air painting retreat. But in every stage of trying to salvage it, I learned some valuable lessons.
  5. Linocut Printing: "En Pointe" (posted Jul 6, 2014) I had created a few linocuts in 2014 but none were motivated by such love as I felt for this one. My daughter had purchased her pointe shoes in January 2014 and by July 2014 I witnessed her dancing en pointe at her summer recital. To commemorate this beautiful event, I produced a small run (10) of 4 colour prints.
The 5 top countries visiting my Moynahan studio blog were:
  1. Canada
  2. United States
  3. France
  4. United Kingdom 
  5. Germany 

*Some 2014 Highlights*
I am eternally grateful to Wilson Street Studios for their great and serendipitous gift in 2014
and for the time spent in community with so many other amazing artists.
(P.S. "serendipity" was my word for 2014)
Composite of journal sketches from time
spent with other artists.
I was honoured when Vrtucar fell in love with one of my journal sketches that I had shared on twitter!

Journal sketch - my vrtucar

I had daily inspiration for my Centretown paintings and sketches
thanks to my many walks with my beloved lab Lexie.
"Centretown Laundry"

"Cooper Street Colours"

"Lexie Walks"

2015: My best is yet to come!

Plein air painting - feeling blessed!

Thank you for visiting my blog
and may 2015 be an inspiring and creative time
for us all!
My lab Lexie and me sketching on the patio
(Summer 2014)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Art Journals - Year In Review

In December (along with the baking and shopping and wrapping and decorating) my mind begins to collect memories and reflect on the events of my past year in preparation for my "Year In Review" art journal page.

I start by undertaking a review of my art journal drawings and sketches for the whole year. I try to distill my life events and then highlight them in a thin ribbon around a new year's art journal page (see years 2010-2012 below).

Some years my "Year In Review"page also includes my plans for the upcoming year or sometimes I create a seperate art journal page to record my new year's resolutions (like my 2011 plans below).

Art Journal: My Plans for 2011
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
I love this tradition. It keeps me balanced. It fills me with gratitude.

16 Questions To Help You End The Year Well

This year I received a list of "16 Questions to Help You End the Year Well" from a mailing list that I belong to called "Always Well Within".

These are wonderful, interesting and hard questions. They would be hard questions especially if your 2014 has been particularly rough.

I plan to do this exercise. I will carve out some quiet time with Tazo chai tea, candles and soft music to do this exercise. You might consider it too? Be sure to visit Sandra Pawula's web page for more information and join her email list.

The "AlwaysWellWithin 16 questions are:

  1. Describe your year in a single word, sentence, or paragraph
  2. Look back at each month of the year. Write one sentence to describe  each month. Or write a sentence that elucidates the most important  lesson learned from each month.
  3. What were the highlights of your year? The low-lights?
  4. Read through your journals, highlight the juicy bits and compile a mega  list of lessons learned. Then whittle your list to your top 3 life lessons  from this year.
  5. Who/what were the significant people, events, and places during the past  12 months?
  6. What would you like to forget about this year? Do you have any regrets?  Anything you would like to have done differently?
  7. What was the emotional tone of the year? What were the dominating  emotional patterns? Don’t forget the good ones!
  8. Capture your year as a color, a taste, a feeling, a visual or a smell.
  9. Look through your photos and chose the ones that best represent the  year. Write an evocative headline for each. Create a photo collage that  represents the essence of your year. Collect your ideas here:
  10. What did you accomplish? What challenged you?
  11. List your most important insights about your body, emotions, mind, spirit,  work, finances, and/or relationships. And anything else important to you. 
  12. What lessons, insights, perspectives, and new behaviors would you like to  carry forward into the new year?
  13.  Is there anyone to forgive, including yourself?
  14. Did you choose a single word as your guiding star this year? If so, how did  it go with your word? Did you remember it? Did you bring it alive?
  15. Is there anything you would like to complete before the start of the new  year? List them here.
  16. Create your own question(s) about the past year here: 
Art Journal: 2010 Year In Review

Art Journal: 2010 Year In Review
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Art Journal: 2011 Year In Review

Art Journal: 2011 Year In Review
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Art Journal: 2012 Year In Review

Art Journal: 2012 Year In Review
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Byward Market Sketches

Byward Market 1
(artjournal sketch: ink and watercolour)
Byward Market 2
(artjournal sketch: ink and watercolour)

Byward Market 3
(artjournal sketch: ink and watercolour)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday #FemArt: Alma Duncan (1917-2004)

1st Conference of Canadian Artists at Queen's University
This photograph caught my eye when it was tweeted by the Library and Archives Canada (@LibraryArchives) on November 14, 2014 and it has inspired this #FemFriday artist post about Alma Duncan (1917-2004) (who is seated in the second row wearing the white dress).

Alma was an Ottawa based artist who was born in Paris, Ontario in 1917, and later moved to Montreal in 1936 where she worked and studied under artists Ernst Neumann and Goodridge Roberts.

A self-portrait of the artist Alma Duncan
Credit: Library and Archives Canada / C-146139 Copyright: Alma Duncan, c/o Audrey McLaren

Ottawa Art Gallery
 October 3, 2014 – January 11, 2015

I decided to visit the Art Gallery of Ottawa to see the exhibit called "Alma" 
before it closes on January 11, 2015.

 "Alma" is the title of the career retrospective of Duncan's work, now at the Ottawa Art Gallery to Jan. 11, 2015. This is the first ever retrospective of Alma Duncan.The exhibit  includes Duncan's works from as early as the 1930s covering 55 years of her life.

Alma's Woman series (1965) on display at the Art Gallery of Ottawa

According to the Ottawa Citizen article, Alma "painted ... compulsively, and in ever-changing choices of media and style. And she did more than just paint: she may be better known as a film-maker of international acclaim."

Alma's Abstracts on display at the Art Gallery of  Ottawa

OAG co-curator Jaclyn Meloche says about Duncan, "She wasn't just a painter. She wasn't just a filmmaker. She wasn't just a landscape pen and ink drawer. She was a woman who was uninhibited, brave and strong and curious and never let anything stop her," 

"(Duncan) made art every day of her life. It was an extension of her," 

(via kate.tenehouse) 

Young Black Girl (1940) on display at the
Art Gallery of Ottawa
(This painting inspired a poem by George Elliott Clarke)

Ottawa Citizen May 27, 1947
Ottawa Citizen May 27, 1947

Alma and her friend Audrey (Babs) McLaren (1916-2014) lived in homes in Arnprior, Cumberland and Ottawa, Ontario where they loved to entertain, always in the company of beloved family dogs.

Together they formed Dunclaren Productions and their stop animation films, peopled with handmade puppets, garnered international recognition.

Alma Duncan creating her NFB film Folksong Fantasy (1951) in Ottawa
Photo: Audrey McLaren

Alma Duncan, (left), animation artist, and Nina Finn, of the music department,
National Film Board of Canada. October 1949.

Alma's film props on display at the Art Gallery of Ottawa

Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Artist Dates - Week 47

I had grand intentions at the beginning of 2014. I would undertake 52 artist dates with such devotion that I would record them in a dedicated journal.

My "Artist Dates 2014 Journal" cover
I was able to record an artist date each week until Week 33 only. There has been plenty of art making in weeks 33-47, but not exactly the "Artist Date" activity as prescribed by Julia Cameron in the "Artist's Way".

My "Artist Dates 2014 Journal" inside page

What Are Artist Dates?

"The Artist Date is a once-weekly, (minimum of 2 hours), festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it."

Here are some samples from my Artist Date Journal for 2014

Artist Date Journal 2014 #1
E.B.White on CBC radio while driving to Montreal to visit
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and see Varekai
Artist Date Journal 2014 #2 and #3
Group of Seven Wall Calendar shopping and
Skate sharpening for skating on the Rideau Canal

Artist Date Journal 2014 #12
The Tenement Museum, New York City

Artist Date Journal 2014 #14
Versefest poetry reading by
Mary Ruefle and Michael Burkard
Artist Date Journal 2014 #15
Reading Nick Bantock Griffin and Sabine books
and then creating my own envelope/letter page

Artist Date Journal 2014 #27
Shenkman Centre Ballet Recital and
"En Pointe" linocut print that I created afterwards
Artist’s Date Ideas For The Future

There are six weeks left in 2014. This week is Week 47. I will schedule artist dates for the remainder of this year and resolve to do better in 2015. Here is an edited list of artist date ideas that appeal to me taken from comprehensive lists that can be found at: wherever the wind takes me and the artists way blog
  • Look through old photos.
  • Walk the historical part of your town and make architectural sketches. 
  • Look for a Canadian woman artist you have never heard of and write a blog post about them.
  • Mind map a decision that you’ve been thinking about.
  • Choose a fantasy mentor. Take time to read their books, watch their videos, learn about their life as an artist. Let them inspire you.  
  • Try some origami.
  • Spend some time outdoors with your journal, sketchbook, craft supplies, etc. 
  • Visit a sacred space.
  • Draw a fun map representing your life’s journey.  Give the places along the way fun names, like ‘City of Joy’ or ‘Stream of self-esteem’.  Make sure you include your hoped for future.
  • Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience. 
  • Go to a movie matinee alone. 
  • Visit an artist’s supply shop.
  • Buy yourself flowers from a real florist.  Hand pick each bloom and let them make them up into a beautiful bouquet all for you.
  • Watch an old favourite movie again.
  • Look up the top rated ‘things to do’ in your town on a site like Trip Advisor.  Pick something that you fancy trying.
  • Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board. 
  • Go to a free museum.  
  • Find a cool DIY project on Pinterest and actually do it.
  • Watch the sun rise/set.
  • Take an hour and have tea. Use your nice dishes, including the creamer. 
  • Put a key word like ‘inspire’ or ‘courage’ into TED  and watch 5 of the videos that come up.
  • Find an interesting place to have a cooffee or a tea and just sit and people watch. 
  • Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit, etc. 
  • Spend an hour going through your books. Pick ten to read or re-read and ten to donate to charity. 
  • Spend time making an area of your home beautiful.
  • Go to a thrift store. Give yourself 5$ to spend and find something really great that you can do something creative with. 
  • Take a walk on a nature trail. Take your camera. 
  • Give yourself a beauty treatment – a face mask, a foot soak, exfoliation, hot oil treat, etc. 
  • Go sit somewhere close to water (any water - a river, a lake, a fountain etc) and play in your sketchbook. 
  • Go on a guided walk or tour of your own town.
  • Go to Home Depot with 10$ in your pocket. See what cool things you can find there to create and art project with that 10$ (only). Go crazy.
  • Pick a special holiday or place (where you took a lot of photos) and make a photo book.
  • Wine and dine yourself… go to dinner and a movie. 
  • Paint something in or outside your home (a fence, a shed, or a chest of drawers).
  • Go cloud watching. 
  • Make an image board of where you would like to go on your next holiday – find a pile of old magazines, tear out any images you like, and stick them on a big piece of paper.
  • Spend some time browsing around and create a Favorites list – a list of items there that speak to you on a creative level – to refer back to and be creatively inspired by. 
  • As a follow-up, contact some of the artists that created items from your list. Tell them that you admire their work; inquire about their technique; start a conversation. There is nothing better than being in contact with and becoming friends with fellow creatives. 
  • Try an all-day drawing marathon. Wherever you are, take your journal or sketchbook and start drawing. You could participate in a SketchCrawl event: 
  • Take yourself on a culinary artist date, and try a new cuisine, recipe, restaurant, fruit, vegetable, etc. 
  • Create a self-portrait. 
  • Try Tai Chi, Pilates, yoga, bellydancing, etc. 
  • Write a poem. 
  • Write a limerick.
  • Write a haiku.
  • Plan a road trip. 
  • Write a letter to the person you plan to be in ten years. 
  • Listen to the audiobook version of a novel you adore.
  • Write a letter to your parents. Tell them what you are grateful to them for. Send it. 
  • Take a creativity course at the local community college or community center. 
  • Do a spa at home – have a bath with candles, a facemask, chocolate (or your treat of choice) and do your toenails with a more adventurous colour than normal!
  • Go to an estate sale or a yard sale. 
  • Watch a movie you’ve always thought you’d hate. 
  • Make a list of one hundred things you love about yourself. 
  • Make a list of one hundred things that make you happy. 
  • ‘Declutter’ a room (or a drawer if a room is too big a start!).
  • Have a complete day of silence. 
  • Have a technology-free day. 
  • Watch a movie with the subtitles on. 
  • Cook from scratch. 
  • Have a silent day. 
  • Take a day and go to a neighboring town and poke around. 
  • Go to a local market. 
  • Go to a u-pick farm. 
  • Go for a walk around the neighborhood. 
  • Create an accomplishment board Create a vision board. 
  • Make a “bucket list”. 
  • Make a list of things you want to do before Christmas. 
  • Make a list of thirty things you’d like to do before your next birthday. 
  • Organize your closet. 
  • Create a piece of artwork entirely with things from your recycle bin. 
  • Go for a bike ride. 
  • Read a children’s book. 
  • Read poetry aloud… to yourself. 
  • Give yourself five dollars to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store. See how far you can stretch it. 
  • Take yourself on a picnic to the park. (Dogs can go too.) 
  • Collect fall leaves and then take photos of them in whatever neat compositions you can. 
  • Read an old journal. 
  • Watch a documentary (or read a biography) on your favorite artist. 
  • Finger paint. 
  • Take a walk around your town looking for heart-shaped objects (or any shape). Take photos
  • Buy a box of 64 crayons and a coloring book. Have fun! 
  • Play tourist in your own town. Visit the local tourism office and see what you might not have known before. 
  • Go to the hardware store. Create an art piece with items on bought there. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Art Journal Sketch: "Lexie"

Art journal sketch: watercolour pencils
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
“...and then, 
I have nature and art and poetry, 
and if that is not enough, 
what is enough?” 

Vincent van Gogh

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Comes

"Lexie Walk"
Art Journal sketch (graphite & water colour)
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman ©

"November comes 
 And November goes, 
 With the last red berries 
 And the first white snows. 

 With night coming early, 
 And dawn coming late, 
 And ice in the bucket 
 And frost by the gate. 

 The fires burn 
 And the kettles sing, 
 And earth sinks to rest 
 Until next spring." 

 Elizabeth Coatsworth

Friday, October 24, 2014

Face It

"Face It"
Art journal mixed media sketch
Artist Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

This art journal sketch above reflects my mood this week given the tragic events in my neighbourhood of Ottawa. It makes no sense and it makes me sad.

Shifting Focus

I am planning to move to still life paintings over the months of November and December.

I love doing figurative and landscape works but now, as the weather turns, I too am turning to something new.

I love to explore new subjects and new methods. I have done so very few still life paintings despite the fact that I love them when I see them at an art gallery and see what other artists have done. (Like Al Gury below)

Alla Prima painting by Al Gury

Thursday, October 23, 2014


This is my latest acrylic, the second in a four piece grouping. It features my son when he was very young doing what he loved to do most - hide in boxes.

"Sony" 6x6 acrylic
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
The previous piece in this series was called "Pumpkin" of my daughter when she was quite young.

"Pumpkin" 6x6 acrylic
Artist Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

The pair

The Concept Sketches

My art journal value sketches for "Pumpkin" and "Sony"
(note how Sony box values were adjusted)

My art journal concept sketches for a grouping of
four 6x6 acrylics

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Art Kits & Supplies

I stumbled upon a great "Pinner" Jennifer Alvarez on Pinterest 
and one of her boards is on "Art Kits and Supplies" with 
3, 263 pins as of October 2014!

If you enjoy browsing art supplies, this is a must visit.

Below is one of my favourite pins

Russell Stutler's Book about Sketching, Page 4: Tools and materials 

Other Interesting Art Kit "Pinners"

Friday, October 17, 2014

Artists in Canada

In October 2014 Hill Strategies published "A Statistical Profile of Artists and Cultural Workers in Canada" based on 2011 data.

Art Journal Page based on the Statistical Profile of Artists in Canada
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Did You Know?

  • There are 136,600 artists in Canada who spent more time at their art than at any other occupation in May of 2011
  • One in every 129 Canadian workers is an artist.
  • The number of artists (136,600) is slightly higher than the labour force in automotive manufacturing (133,000) 
  • There was a 56% increase in the number of artists in Canada between  1989 and 2013. This is higher than the 38% increase in the overall labour force.
  • Women represent 51% of artists 
  • Average income of artists is 32% lower than other workers ( averages $32,800)
  • Female artists earn much less than their male counterparts
  • Aboriginal and visible minority artists have particularly low earnings.
  • Nunavut’s X0A region is the most creative rural area in Canada. 

Artists in Ottawa (2006)

Individually, the five cities in this study (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver) have the largest number of artists of all Canadian municipalities. Toronto has the largest number of artists (22,300), followed by Montreal (13,400), Vancouver (8,200), Calgary (5,100) and Ottawa (4,600).

  •  About one in  every twelve Ontario artists resides in the City of Ottawa (4,600, or 8%). 
  • The K1M neighbourhood ranked #1 in concentration of artists (Only in Ottawa did the top-ranked neighbourhood in 2001 remained top-ranked in 2006)
  • Ottawa and Calgary have a  higher percentage of female artists and a higher earnings gap between artists and all local  workers

More Links about Artists in Canada

NB Because of the Harper government's major changes to the data collection methodology between 
the 2006 census and the 2011  National Household Survey, 
data in the 2014 report are not comparable to data in  previous reports in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blessed Are We Who Stand Before The Easel

Plein air supplies

For as long as I can remember, I have been looking for art inspiration, new art materials, new art techniques and the work and wisdom of other artists.

Robert Genn (1936-2014) is an example of an artist I have found along my journey who has so generously shared his work and wisdom through his Painter's Keys twice-weekly letters to everyone  (like me) who has subscribed to this free service. (Read the welcome letter here.)

I am grateful that his daughter Sara intends to continue the Painter's Keys letters and the well organized and useful Art Quotes page.

A few nuggets of wisdom from Robert G. that I cherish and think about all the time:
  • Your easel, your altar: "You might pause to consider how blessed are we who daily stand or sit before the easel.."
  • The Idea Life Cycle: "You can't be an apple seller without apples in your apple cart."
  • On signing and dating: "...signatures should be clear, consistent and pretty well always in the same place--lower right....the colour of the signature can often be harmonized or integrated into the painting...My advice to most artists is "unobtrusive but clear."
  • On solo shows: "The solo show, while often a vexing experience, is nevertheless a catalyst that can bring out the best of what is currently in you. Shows help to define an artist." 
And I love Robert's "Eleven Steps". Steps 1, 4, 7 and 10 are ones that resonate with me:
  • Step 1. Art is a perfectly complete cause. 
  • Step 4. You are responsible for radicalizing your strengths. 
  • Step 7. Learn from the greats, and expose yourself to better work.. 
  • Step 10. "Play" is your route to mastery.

One of my workspaces of my altars.

My art journal that I play in daily.
Blessed am I.