I am happy to share the first new paintings of 2016! I have been very productive and have a few new pieces to share with you. Meet “Chinook” (above), a delightful moose pausing to soak up the moonlight. Chinook is an acrylic painting on fine art paper measuring 13 x 9 inches and is available for sale. Click on the image to purchase the original or prints.
As I am sure you have noticed, there have been a few changes to the website over the past week as well. Online sales are back up and running and if you have not done so already, please click on the Subscribe button at the top of the page to make sure you do not miss out on any special promotions and the latest news from My Painted Path.
The weather has warmed up marginally enough to get out for a few good ski’s and with all the big changes coming up the extra energy has been very helpful. Last week the gallery exhibition at the theatre came down, but new work is going up at Gourmet Girl and Whimsy this week. On January 11 Creativity Classes resume with Vision Boarding for the New Year. I am keeping busy with planning for a big move in April, taking many online technology-type courses, and, of course, working on fulfilling of some of my biggest dreams; to be a full-time working artist, to build my own tiny portable studio, and to get out and live a healthier, more sustainable life a rural setting. Imagine all the inspiration that will greet me the moment I walk out my door every morning! What makes this extra special is that I will be taking all of you on my journey with me! Yay internet!
This move is big, and this move is scary, but it is exciting and opens so many opportunities for me and my family.
Below is my second painting for 2016, meet “The Night is Wild”. This delightful bear is bellowing his soulful cry to the night. “The Night is Wild” is 16 x20 inches on cradled hand-stretched canvas and is available for sale for $400. Click on the image to purchase the original or prints.
I hope the new year is treating you all well and I look forward to sharing more art soon!
Everything happens for a reason, this is something I truly believe in. Note; this post is not really about art, but more about sharing my journey with all of you. It is not a “woe is me” post, I am not looking for pity, sympathy or any kind of financial assistance, I am writing this because I know I am not alone in my struggles, and if my story can resonate with even one person and help them get through a hard time, it will have been worth it.
So, let’s start way back in 2011, if you have been reading my blog, you will know that in early 2011 I expressed frustration with my health and not knowing what was going on with my body, but I knew something was not right. I have been treated for depression for the past 17 years so I and my doctors attributed my malaise to the ongoing effects of this diagnosis. By fall of 2013 I crashed into a very deep depression and knew I had to make some changes to my life or I was never going to feel better. I had been dragging myself through life, only getting from one day to the next, that was the best I could manage, I was in survive and sustain mode. I was not operating at my best at work, I could not keep up at home, and I was losing my optimism. After some time off of work, I came to the decision that making art was where I was happiest, and sharing that creative passion made me shine from the inside out. As I am a single mother, it was not an option at that time to just quit my job and wing it. I asked at work if I could go from full time to 3 days per week in order to achieve more balance. Hopefully, I would find some relief from the pressure of full-time work, pursuing my passion for making art and raising my son while feeling unwell. I presented it in a way that would be a win for everyone and it worked! They said yes.
It was an adjustment, my household income dropped by almost 50% but I was selling enough art locally at that time to make up a bit of the difference. And in September of 2014, I went part-time at work. Awesome! Except, then the local economy tanked, and a mass exodus from the wonderful community I live in happened. The oil and gas market dropped out, the Canadian dollar fell to crazy lows, inflation was up, food, fuel and all of my living expenses skyrocket and our one-resource town took a nosedive. Nobody was buying art, the people who stayed were not spending any money they did not have to.
Still, we were managing, but my health was still deteriorating. In August our old Ford Explorer kicked the bucket. (I really miss that Grape Ape) In September, on the way back from my son’s yearly Ameloblastoma check up in Fort St John, the motor went in my van, 2 and a half hours out of town. It sucked, but such is life, and you trudge on anyhow.
Finally, in October of 2015, after being on day 13 of a migraine headache and months of feeling unwell, I was once again visiting my doctor. This time, I told him “I don’t understand how this can be depression, I am tired and achy and sick all the time but I don’t feel hopeless and in despair?”. My doctor then proceeded to check my blood pressure. It was through the roof and the warning bells were finally loud enough to see. So I went once again for blood work and this time, my Doctor called me personally at home the next day and urged me to get in to see him NOW!
My blood work came back that I had a major infection raging through my body, but most importantly, I was diabetic. Full blown diabetic, not just high A1C because I was fighting an infection. I am diabetic. Diabetes makes you more susceptible to major infections, it makes you tired, etc, etc. Finally, after years of feeling like crap I had a diagnosis of something! Now we are getting somewhere, now things were starting to make sense. I made some big lifestyle changes and I finally felt like my health was manageable, but this diagnosis was a big hit financially. As a part-time employee, I no longer qualify for any medical benefits.
Two weeks later, my gallery show “Magic in the Moonlight” happened, and while it was a success, I was still struggling financially. My pay was not what I was expecting and I was so busy, that I just shrugged it off to the new expenses for fresh food and medication and medical supplies, yadda, yadda, yadda. My Maternal Grandmother passed away in early December, things were sad and hard and it was not getting better. Art sales and teaching were helping, but by the time Christmas came, we were financially in an extreme crisis.
After months of fighting and struggling through life, all I could do was give it up to the Universe and say “Something needs to change! I am doing everything I can, but it is not working”. There are no jobs here for my son, and his future is also looking bleaker by the minute. If he stands a chance, he needs to leave town to attend school and get the trade he wants, but I can not afford to send him away. So I came to the decision to take my wonderful friend Tina up on her offer of letting us move out to her farm outside of Fort St John.
What do I have to loose, I am getting nowhere fast were I am. There are no part-time jobs available for me to pick up some more slack, and I really want to be painting, not working for someone else. After 17 years of doing this on my own, I need help. On the farm I can raise my own food and I never have to worry about a bare cupboard again, I can cut my own wood for heat and I can paint. We can share meal prep, chores, etc. My Dad, Step-Mother and my siblings all live just down the road from where I am moving. My oldest son will be able to visit me much more often. My dogs can come with me, my son has a place to stay and will be closer to school. Win, win! The dream I have had for a tiny home and studio on some land is right there for the taking. Next year when I want to go for a ski, I do not have to worry about having enough gas in the truck to get there, I will just open my front door and ski away! What more do I need? What the heck am I waiting for? There, decision made! Now I have something to look forward to. A goal and a plan.
And in true “Universal Master Plan” fashion, things are quickly beginning to fall into place. This week I discover that by technical error, I was being shorted on my pay for all of November and December. Three weeks worth of pay over those two months! I am feeling a whole lot less like a failure now, and as if by magic, an affordable, fuel efficient car has happened my way. I have given my notice at work and started packing! I can sleep again knowing that my pay will be what it is supposed to be until we leave, more of my dreams are coming true, and soon, I will not be doing it all on my own. Yay Universe! (but seriously, does it really need to be so hard before I clue into what the “Universe” is telling me I am supposed to be doing?)
Anyhow, in not so much as a nutshell, that is how I have made it to this new path. I am equal parts scared and excited for this new journey. But I know in my gut and in my heart that this is where I am supposed to be going. That it is going to be ok, that I am going to be ok, and best of all, I am going to be healthy and strong and spending as much time as my soul needs in nature, with my hands in the dirt and making art.
Thank you for joining me on this wild adventure called my life. There are GREAT, BIG, AMAZING things to come. XX
Last week’s Ted Harrison inspired class was a blast. I love to see just how different everyone’s art work turns out. Ted Harrison provided the perfect inspiration to get our creative juices flowing and everyone left with a piece of art they can be proud of. Well done everyone!
I can not wait to see what everyone creates next time. If you happen to be lucky enough to live in our amazing little hamlet, tomorrow’s Creativity Class we will be using wood blocks to create a diverse and unique holiday sign for our homes. Come on down to Whimsy Flowers at 7 pm and grab a seat!
“Guardian Angel” Copyright Amy Yetman Speirling Images. Used with Permission
Amy Yetman is a local photographer whom I have had the great pleasure to get to know over the past year. She specializes in capturing the incredible aurora borealis we experience here in Fort Nelson and loves to travel the world and capture her adventures with her camera. Recently I sent her a list of questions and I was pleasantly surprised to learn she is as masterful with words as she is with her camera. Amy will be the featured artist for the month of November at Whimsy Flowers. You can find her contact information at the end of the interview.
“Snowy Owl” Copyright Amy Yetman – Speirling Images. Used with permission
What type of artist are you?
I am a time freezing specialist with slight abilities to adjust the time-space continuum; also known as a photographer. I am incredibly fortunate to have the ability to capture the beauty I see in the world and share it with others.
What does your current body of work speak to? Are you working within a theme?
My current body of work is life themed, though I never intended for it to be that way. My photographs capture the beauty I see in the world, as I see it. Some photos are of wildlife, others of where we (and animals) live, others are the views from our favorite perches.
What are your favorite tool and materials to use. Can you recommend any to other aspiring artists?
I have a fairly large kit bag due to the variety of what I shoot, but it’s easy to whittle it down if I know what I’m going to be shooting. For landscapes or night skies I prefer wide angle high aperture lenses; for wildlife I use a telephoto lens with a much longer focal length (on a crop sensor for added distance). When shooting people I prefer to use a full frame with a prime (high aperture) lens. I like to change up the lenses if I’m trying something artistic.
I don’t shoot people as often; if I do it tends to be someone I know well, since I want to capture their inner beauty as well as what I see outside. I tend to be a very private, quiet person so it takes a little while for me to figure out how to capture someone’s soul in one moment. It’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together though. My advice would be to know what you want to shoot, and pack/purchase accordingly.
Leave things as you found them so the next person can enjoy the scene as well. Learn your manual settings if you haven’t already; they will be your best friend. Never underestimate the power of the right settings and filter; it’s much easier to get it right in camera than it is to edit after the fact.
“Super Blood Moon Eclipse” Copyright Amy Yetman, Speirling Images, used with permission. All Rights reserved.
How has being an artist in Fort Nelson helped and hindered you?
Let me address the local skies first. The northern lights are both the joy and bane of my existence since moving here. They’re absolutely awe inspiring, as well as a challenge because they’re constantly changing (my settings often change from one capture to the next, depending on their speed and intensity). They also keep me up way past my bedtime, even though I still have to get up in the morning. The explanatory phrase ‘lights were out’ has become a common one, usually indicating that I need more coffee before having an actual conversation. The wildlife here is so diverse that it’s mind-blowing, as are the many backdrops (including the mountains). We are so incredibly lucky that there are no words for it. We have so little light pollution that we have great conditions for astrophotography, even within town limits. The Northern Rockies are a photographers paradise.
Fort Nelson itself has been incredibly supportive, as well as great for giving local photographers a variety of opportunities to hone their skills. While we’re far away from larger traditional galleries, we do have some galleries in the region, as well as support from local businesses, such as the Phoenix Theatre where my Speed of Life exhibition was held. The Visitors Centre and Whimsy’s carry my photos all year round. I had the privilege of working with Marl and the Historical Society on the Heritage Museum’s calendar last year, which was a really fun project. Since moving here I also got to shoot at the 2014 Trapper’s Rendezvous, 2014 Heritage Days at the Museum, and the 2014 Northern Rockies Triathlon in an official capacity. I was shooting at the 2014 Canadian Open Dog Sled Championship, the Family Fun Circus, the 2015 Mile 300 Figure Skating Carnival, and the 2015 Johnstone’s Fireworks Spectacular at the river for fun and a chance to shoot in different lighting conditions. One of my museum photos graces two of the street banners around town and many of my recent captures can be found in the Fort Nelson News.
“Finding Light in the Darkness” Copyright Amy Yetman, Speirling Images, used with permission. All Rights Reserved.
What feeds your creative fire? Do you have any special activities or rituals you use to get your creativity going? Any special places that inspire you?
Gratitude. Gratitude inspires me and feeds my creativity. Even on my worst days, I am so much better off than so many others in this world that I cannot help but be grateful. My basic needs are met, I have freedom, and I live in a place with medical care and many other benefits. I have sight and the ability to capture the beauty I see all around me, so I do. Waking up gets my creativity going. I am grateful just to be here. Every day that I wake up on the right side of the sod again is a good one. Sometimes the things I see are small, like a flower in the community garden. Sometimes they’re big, like northern lights that fill the skies, or a whale in the Atlantic Ocean (I came here by way of majestic Newfoundland). There is beauty everywhere in everything, & I want to document every bit of it that I see so everyone else can see it too. I think my only real ritual is grabbing my gear and running to get the shot before the opportunity passes. If I’m planning on shooting then it’s fun to take my time assembling my gear, but it’s usually a spur of the moment capture, especially with the northern lights.
What changes would you like to see for artists in the region?
There is so much talent here that I’d love to see more exposure and opportunity for local artists of all mediums. The skills displayed even just in Fort Nelson are overwhelming in their abundance.
“Connection” Copyright Amy Yetman, speirlingimages.ca. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
What words of encouragement or advice can you give to other local artists.
If you love working in your medium (whatever it may be), then ignore the naysayers and do what you love. Do what makes you happy. The rest will work itself out. I started with a disposable camera and a skill-set that involved cutting people’s heads out of the photos 29 times out of 30. Mind you, I was about 5 years old at the time, but the point is that everyone starts somewhere. Don’t let people who give up on their dreams stop you from pursuing yours. When you do something you truly love, magic happens. Be unique. Don’t waste time trying to duplicate someone else’s style. Be different, quirky, and feel free to experiment. Find your own style and rock it! Art is subjective; some will love it & some won’t. It’ll make your day when your art is all ‘you’ and you find the ones who love it (or they find you).
Do you have any upcoming events you want to share with us?
I will be the Artist of the Month for November at Whimsy Flowers & Gifts, so feel free to drop by and have a look at some of my current collection (though feel free to do that anytime).
“Peace at Parker” Copyright Amy Yetman, speirlingimages.ca. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Where do you show your work? List all venues and online galleries, etc.
Locally, the Fort Nelson Visitors Centre carries some of my matted prints and one of my photo books. I just had two pieces on display in the Dawson Creek Art Gallery for their Surface Tension exhibition. My biggest local supporter is Whimsy Flowers & Gifts, which carries my canvases, framed prints, photo books, cards, phone cases, & postcards. Special projects, like photo restoration, can be inquired about via my website. My recent captures can frequently be found in the Fort Nelson News, so be sure to keep an eye out.
Make and Take Creative Classes – ARE FINALLY HAPPENING! Watch Facebook for the announcement. I will be teaching two creative classes per month starting in August at Whimsy Flowers and Gifts. Click here to like Whimsy’s Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss the notification of when registrations begin. Yippee! Space is limited so once you see the announcement, book quickly. It is going to be so much fun. I can’t wait to play in the paint with some new people.
I can hardly believe that July is almost over! It has been a great summer so far. I have some exciting news to share; keep your eyes open for the formal announcement of my next gallery show, happening at the Phoenix Theatre here in Fort Nelson. I am expecting it to happen in the first half of November. Once the dates have been nailed down and everything is confirmed, I will be posting a special invitation to the event.
I have a couple of commissions to finish up, and a couple of pieces to make for an upcoming competition and then I will be “nose to the grindstone” making sure I have some spectacular new paintings for the November show. I am SO EXCITED!
For those of you who look for my art at Gourmet Girl, here in Fort Nelson, I will be restocking framed prints and I have a couple of printed canvas prints going up for sale as well. Stop in and say hi to Nicole and the girls and take a peek.
I got my copy of my coffee-table book a couple of weeks ago. It looks great and I will have copies of it available for sale at Whimsy in September. The one and only copy is available for viewing at Whimsy Flowers and Gifts right now if you want to have a sneak peak.
SALE – I have several 9 x 12 works on paper that I am making available for sale for an incredible $50 each. Shipping within Canada and the US is FREE! Get yours before they are gone.
Just a quick post, I am a busy, busy girl right now. I wanted to share my two latest paintings with you. Wild Warrior is one of my latest paintings. Sorry, this one has already been purchased, but prints will be available in the future. Wild Warrior did not even make it up on the walls at Whimsy before it was plucked up and sent on to a wonderful new home.
Pictures do not do this one justice. Waking Up is a large 24 x 36 inches and is rich with texture and detail. Waking Up will be available for viewing at the Dawson Creek Art Gallery in a day or two and will be hanging until July 30th. This new piece is replacing “Family Time” which will be joining “Wild Warrior” and “Bedtime Stories” with a wonderful new customer in Alberta. (Goosebumps of Joy!)
There are a few more pieces close to completion that I will be sharing soon, so stay tuned!
In the heat of the summer, I have been painting winter. My most recent piece is “Bedtime Stories” I love the cool tones and the conversation that is going on between the bear and the tree. I feel cooler just staring at it. “Bedtime Stories” , it is 16 x 16 inches on cradled birch. SOLD
If you follow me on Facebook you will see that I recently pulled out a HUGE cache of my older art from storage. Stay tuned, I will be reworking some of these, and will soon be making several available for sale.
Wonderful Kelly Hodge helped me to get five of my original paintings in to the Dawson Creek Art Gallery summer show. If you live near Dawson Creek be sure to stop in at the gallery until July 30th to have a look, or do some shopping :). The very talented Amy Yetmen, a very talented photographer from Fort Nelson has five beautiful northern lights photographs hanging on the walls as well. WOO HOO!
To learn more about the Dawson Creek Art Gallery and all of the amazing work they do, and to find more information on the South Peace Art Society, click here.
Spring has arrived and I am bursting with creativity right now! Long warm days, hands in dirt and brushes in paint, I am a happy girl! So I thought I would share my joy with my two latest paintings!
This graceful buck, in full velvet is 9 x 12 inches on cradled canvas.
“A Spring Voyage” – Another bear, haha. You know I love me some bears. This darling beastly represents the teaming life unseen below the snow during the awakening of spring. He is 12 x 16 on cradled canvas. SOLD
A couple more are on the way, but I need to have a good photo session before I post any them. Have a great day!
I have been busy! I have several new pieces to share with you today! For the past week I have been busy making handmade journals. To learn more about my journals, read through to the bottom of this post.
I just finished a darling painting called “Afternoon Delight”. This acrylic painting in on cradled canvas and is 18 x 24 inches. This darling fox makes me smile every time I look at her. “Afternoon Delight” is available for sale.
I was lucky enough to be commissioned to make art for two incredible local boys. Here are the finished pieces.
SOLD – Dax’s Dominion – Original Acrylic Painting on cradled birch. Copyright Lori Lynn Fell 2015
SOLD – Kade’s Kingdom – Original acrylic painting on cradled birch. Copyright Lori Lynn Fell 2015
“Listen to the Whispers” is another recently finished commission. It is 16 x 20 on cradled canvas. SOLD
And last, but not least, here are a few pics of the journals I have been making!
April 13 2015The journals are hand made, hand bound and have a heavy 70lb paper that is perfect for art journaling. I have hand painted the canvas covers and each journal has 100 pages. I make these journals because they are what I use. The way the pages are bound and the protective flap keep my pages nicely, even when they are thick with paint and ephemera. I will have the journals available for sale in the next 24 hours, keep watching!
SOLD – Happy to be Alive – Handmade reclaimed wood hand-painted sign by Lori Lynn Fell. www.MyPaintedPath.com
Lets start with this quote. “Always find time for the things that make you happy to be alive”. When I am creating, I get lost. Sometimes I drift off into a meditation of sorts, other times it quiets my brain and lets me sort out things going on in my life. Either way, I never feel more alive that when I am in the “zone”.
Remember the sculpture I made as gifts for Christmas a couple of months ago? Here are two that I have made for sale.