Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Starting a new page

Towhee taking a closer look

"The New Year lies before you like a spotless tract of snow. Be careful how you tread on it for every mark will show." Unknown author
This is sage advice for the start of a new year. We get the opportunity to have a fresh start, a new canvas and fresh page. So it is time to give some thought to what we will put on that page. An opportunity to take stock, make fresh plans, set a path or continue a journey already begun. Some will say that the beginning of the New Year is an artificial time for this, that a new path can be followed at any time, the start of a day, a week or a new month. Starting with a new year, though, a beautiful fresh new year, is like starting a huge new empty sketch book.

I have started my New Year with a cleaning and reorganizing frenzy in my studio, I now have a much more functional workspace (neater too). I also now have my own computer, yeah! Well, I think so most of the time, for someone who did not grow up with computers (remember the abacus and slide rule, you get the idea) so new technology can be daunting and frustrating at times as well.

Head scratching seagull
This guy seemed to be giving it some thought, wonder what he concluded. 

Have a look around and then hop to it.


Red wing blackbird

LBB (Little Brown Bird, sparrow probably)

Now its time to get back to a regular drawing and painting schedule. This year I want to experiment with some new techniques (poured colours, negative painting), and balance the detailed work (which I love) with some more spontaneous and quicker drawing. I need to finish up a couple of pieces that have been in progress for too long or abandon them entirely.

Smiling gargoyle

I need to make time to do at least one or two 15 minute paintings each week; these were recommended at the workshop I attended last September.

Watchful Crow

At the same time I have been struggling with the lack of light at this time of year, I guess I have seasonal depression. It will pass. With the short daylight hours and dull weather I think nature intends us to hibernate a bit, rest, refresh, and not push ourselves too hard. Why is it that we often are a lot more understanding and realistic about others capabilities than we are about our own?
For my part, I will try to get a bit more sleep, if the sun doesn't get up until 8 am, maybe that's when I should rise too, when I can.

But it's the beginning of a new year, a new page to start, a new path to tread, don't be so afraid that you make no mark at all, for that would be a shame; go ahead take a step, make your mark, follow your own path.

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang the best" Henry Van Dyke
I am pleased to report that I have 2 pieces, one drawing and one painting in the student show at the FCA Gallery (1241 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, B.C.) from Jan 10 to Jan 22, 2012. The opening reception is on January 12 from 6 to 8 pm. The Gallery is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10-4 pm, it is closed on Mondays.

Fall Colour III - Gillian Olson watercolour

"Little Cutie" - Gillian Olson Pencil
 Starting here, starting now (Barbara Streisand):

Until next week, happy Whimsy Wednesday, thank you for dropping by.............


  1. You are one tealented artist! I love the pencil drawing. One of the things I once spent time doing, but somewhere through the years, stopped to raise a family. Now I can hardly draw a straight line. Nice pics of the birds, too.

  2. Great shots full of clarity! Rare to see the pupils of a bird’s eye so clearly as in the top photo, Gillian. The saying beneath it is profound if not a little intimidating. When something is as fresh as new fallen snow or a blank sheet of paper in a notepad or sketchbook, beginnings are often carefully measured becoming more relaxed along the way. :)

  3. I hope your year is productive Gillian.
    Lovely pictures; and I love your artwork.

  4. love the towhee photo. and your drawing is superb! congrats on having 2 pieces in the show!

  5. A wonderful post to read.. lovely artwork.

  6. I love that you started with a towhee. I have a lot of them in my yard and they are fun to watch. All the photographs are wonderful. I wish I could get motivated to organize more. I used to get that New Year frenzy but haven't this year.

  7. Good thoughtful post Gillian! Your photographs are superb but your artwork is out of this world. That must be one heck of a art show.
    You know I quite understand the usefulness of using the new year as motivation to turn the page. I do it myself. But isn't it amazing that change is there for the taking every minute and second of every day? Maybe that has something to do with the difficulty of making the choice to do something, anything. Still, it's exciting that to a great extent we are the only impediment to our ideal selves. Now is the time!

  8. Love your post, very inspiring to read and to look at. Love your work. Enjoyed the rabbit shots!

  9. Thank you all for the comments, I appresiate them very much. Gillian

  10. Tree Sparrow think. I really enjoyed the still life. I also like drawings of birds. I find they are easier to identify from drawings and engravings than from photographs.

  11. These images are fantastic, you have been working very very hard. I love your artwork as well.

  12. A great post, superb pictures and lovely art painting!
    Thank YOU!

  13. Lovely post and photos,Gillian! The bird shots are awesome. And I believe your little brown bird is a golden crowned sparrow. I hope you have a great day.

  14. Your birds are beautiful!! I especially LOVE the Towhee! The White-crowned sparrow you created is WONDERFUL!!

  15. Hello Gillian.. Yesterday, there was wonderful light, mid-day, and I thought of you. I love to see life at Jericho, one of my favourite haunts, but less frequented lately. Your words about a new start are interesting. As my own new beginning slips to the end of its second week, I find myself sitting back quite lazily, enjoying long walks and some trips to the gym, but neglecting some goals I had thought I would be speeding along to complete. Penelope's post this morning reminds me that we dance like the ocean to life's rhythms, sometimes at the whim of external circumstances, but when things calm down, that dance comes from within, almost in spite of us. Well, as you can see, your beautiful post has inspired a little introspection:) Thank you for that. Wishing you lots of light and a great show.

  16. What a wonderful post.. I just love your photos. And good for you getting all organized.. I really need to do that.. It is always such a great feeling when I do!!

    Such wonderful pieces you have here. Looking forward to seeing more in the upcoming year...

  17. The New Year is so full of promise. Congratulations for tidying your work space. I think cleaning is very good for improving our attitude...well it sure helps mine.

  18. Lovely pieces! I now what you mean by the short days ... it gets dark so early! I just re-organized my office today and it feels SO much better!

  19. A wonderful post filled with meaningful words, fantastic photographs and exceptional art work! Your talent shines brightly. Wishing you a sensational 2012!

  20. Your talent is amazing, such life in your work. How wonderful to be part of a show, Granville Island is so funky, and inspirational. And now here I am up country.....otherwise I would have dropped by and seen your work in person.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  21. Beautiful post Gillian. I love your quote and both pieces of artwork. You really are excellent at drawing and paining.I find it interesting that your pencil drawing of the bird just has the eye in colour, love it, gives a real focal point and sense of the bird looking at you.

  22. I really love your bird photos. I truly believe we are offered many "new beginnings" with the first of the year being one of them.

  23. Gillian Olson
    I always enjoy your blogs and photos. The beginning of the year is the best time to start something new. When the fresh and brand-new year is in front of me, I feel I can do what I could not make last year. There is no difference in the weather but there is a huge difference in our mind between December 31 and January 1. Wonderful painting and drawing, and beautiful creatures!!! Thanks a lot for sharing!
    Best wishes,

  24. I’m not such a talented drawer and painter like you, Gillian, but I’d like to fill my 2012 fresh canvas with mellow pastel colors and occasional sharp, brilliant colors. I like all the close-ups of birds and rabbits. See you next time.