Maybe we should call it “through her eyes” … in her hands,"
- what do you think?' asked Hannah Linn, Executive Director at the Bracebridge YWCA, (see more about her HERE) as we brainstormed ideas for our all women art show that we had co-conspired to plan just in time for International Women’s Day this past March.
I thought it was a brilliant name, and so was born an art show, with over 20 Canadian female artists from Ontario, Canada contributing pieces to the event.
As an artist myself, and always looking for inspiration, I wondered what inspired these other women and how they came up with their unique ways of painting. Lucky for me I was able to get to know some amazing women during the show and ask some questions guaranteed to inspire you in your creative process.
One of the many inspiring artists whose art deeply moves me is Pat Sheppard.
Pat reminisces about her early experiences that she and her mother shared. She says, “My mother taught me to paint with oils when I was very young, and I studied art at university later. It was messy. I liked it.
I love being able to rescue a painting while the paint is still wet or ruin it and know I can paint over it or make something different with it. I paint straight from the tube and mix on the palette. I love solving - or not - the problems presented in the process. My mind leaves the shackles of the daily hubris and time flies away. It is messy and I like it.”
Pat explains that she is often inspired by her surroundings and other artists who give her both ideas and courage to expand her reach. Her recent paintings concentrate on the figure, and she enjoys the freedom that creating art gives her.
In preparation for our all woman show and in celebration of International Women’s Day, Pat created a series of three paintings depicting some of the slow progress of women in Western civilization over the last century.
She continues “I began thinking of the time before the suffrage movement and did a portrait of a woman and her children of that era and called it "Hold Still". Next, I painted a mid century ballet dancer exhausted from practice and called it "Try Harder". I finished the series painting a present-day athlete racing and called the piece "RUN". Pat believes that there can be many interpretations of the painting and that varying viewpoints will make a difference in what each person sees.
The second artist I spoke to was one whose art has inspired me for years. Col Mitchel’s graciously explained her process in finding her unique process. Col’s art consists of enchanting pieces using pen and ink on sculpted paper. She described how her process began while taking an art class, and how she used what she learned in that class and took a chance by playing with the process. Her experimental journey took several years; however, she now has a unique style all her own, and creates award winning pieces that are highly sought after.
What stands out to me about Col’s artistic journey is that she wasn’t afraid to play and experiment. She saw an opportunity for growth by educating herself. She used that opportunity, added her own ideas and literally played until she came up with an incredible process.
Sometimes our paths aren’t straight forward. Sometimes we must let go a little, to find our way. Great things come from taking chances, and Col Mitchell is a great example of this! Check out her amazing work HERE - you will surely be inspired by the work and story of this incredible female Canadian artist.
As a final inspiring note I'd like to share the poetry that Pat Sheppard created to compliment her deeply evocative painting "Run". Let it encourage you to believe in your worth, let it strengthen the bond with your sisters and let it inspire your creativity. I believe it stands alone in power.
Gathering speed, strength, courage
For the future