Thursday, December 22, 2011

Daily Painting

Some artists like to paint a small painting each day as a warm-up and practice, just as the writer writes each day, not necessarily on a project, but to practice. This practice could be likened to physical exercise, daily stretching, or a daily practice on a keyboard or other instrument, to limber up the creative muscles, so to speak. There are several places on-line where artists can sell their work, on e-bay artists sell small paintings for between $100-$200.

I started a daily painting practice at one point, but didn't get too far. Now I'm painting larger paintings, but considering painting small pieces on paper as warm-ups. I will upload a couple of pieces here that I painted a year or two ago, with just this idea in mind. These are acrylic on paper and they are framed. They are $150/each, plus tax and shipping.  To order, contact me at

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Art Show Open House

This Saturday, from 10-4, I will have my studio open for a showing and sale of cards, paintings, and shadow boxes.  It's a retrospective of sorts, all of my work, including multi-media boxes, collages, cards, and small originals.  I'll be donating the proceeds of the sales to my grandnephew's medical fund.  He got his new heart on Labor Day.  It is such a miracle, let me tell you.  Now his sweet parents have these huge medical bills to pay off.  The piece shown here is one of many pieces I will sell for $15-$20 each to help them out.  I hope you will come by and see my work, meet me, and enjoy some hot cider and cookies.

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
1000 Harris, #206
Bellingham, WA 98225
Entrance between Artwood and Goodearth Pottery in Fairhaven.  Huff up the stairs to the third floor and take a right, #21.  Other studios will be open too, so bring your checkbook or cash and do some Christmas shopping.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Studio #21: East Wall

Curled Leaves
This is the east wall of my art studio.  The painting you see is 4' x 6' acrylic painting entitled Curled Leaves.  Below it are a series of small collages that I've made over the past couple of years.  This is the size I make with participants who attend my collage class.  We make a number of them and use them later to find answers to life questions, much like you might use a tarot deck.

To the left of the artwork is a non-functional chimney that adds to the ambiance of the room.  On the chimney, a multi-media shadow box.  Above it, an abstract painting on plywood.  Then my bookshelves filled with supplies and books on writing and art. I have tables that seat up to 10 people set up in front of this painting where I work on collage and at  my writing.

The Morgan Block Building is historic, as are many buildings in Fairhaven.  MBB was a brothel originally.  Up the street at around 20th is an old boarding house.  Folks came and went between the two buildings and the waterfront, where a lumber mill spread out along the water front.  Now Amtrak comes through Fairhaven, as does the ferry from Alaska.  


Friday, November 18, 2011

Artsmith: Announcing the 2012 Artsmith Artist Residency Fell...

Artsmith: Announcing the 2012 Artsmith Artist Residency Fell...: We're very pleased to announce the fellows for the 2012 Artsmith Garden Party Artist Residency have been selected: Lana Hechtman Ayers, poetry
Nancy Canyon, Painting
Lin McJunkin, glass and metal sculpture
Katherine Ryan Ross, Sketching after Van Gogh
Shirley Sachiko Kishiyama, Chinese calligraphy and poetry

Monday, November 7, 2011

Art Parties

Once a month or so my friends and I meet up in my studio for art parties. Most of us are writers and when we do art, it opens up our writing. "Opens" means we are able to move into our writing in a new creative way. So we had a lovely evening recently, eating first: chili and corn bread, a nice red wine and apple crisp for dessert. We then started in on masks that we made with bark and wood from the beach, feathers, paint, shells, moss, seaweed, etc. It was a fun project and once done, we decided to hang as a traveling show, rotating the masks between our different offices. Right now they are hanging in my studio at 1000 Harris, Fairhaven, WA.

Art parties can be made to fit your need. We can celebrate a birthday or a wedding. We can make collages for a milestone, such as a graduation or a new job. We can have food or not. We can drink a celebratory toast to your accomplishment once the project is finished. It's great fun and it's also anchoring for the participants passage into a new phase of life.

If you'd like to invent a passage art project, just let me know in the comment box and I'll connect with you to organize it. Together we will plan your party, food, project, etc. Generally parties cost around 30/person. My space will hold about 6 to 8 people.

Enjoy the masks and contact me for your special event. I'll look forward to meeting and working with you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Nancy Lou Canyon

I'm named after my grandmother, Lulu.  And I'm a lulu--not in a bad way, but in a creative way.  It just doesn't stop, this creative urge that runs through my viens.  When people tell me they are blocked creatively, all I can think of is how many ideas are always pressing on me to get out on the page, on the canvas, in a mixed-media box, a collage, a hand-made book, another poem, etc.  It is endless.  

I believe the answer to non-production, or blockages is in taking action. You must set aside time and space, though, where you can take action.  There is nothing more frustrating than to get started just a little bit--or to have an idea and not have a place or the supplies to put it together.  

My suggestion is to clear your schedule, open up at least two hours a week for creativity: say Monday or Thursday afternoons.  Give up scrubbing the toilet or putting new shelf paper on the kitchen shelves, just have at the art instead.  It's the only way to satisfy the muse.  Then let it become a habit.  You will be richly rewarded, I promise.

I also think it is important to own that you are an artist or writer.  When people ask what you do, say, I'm an artist.  Or I'm a author.  Owning your creativity makes you believe in yourself.  Even if you dabble, even if you do art only for yourself, own it.  It is yours, after all.  Making up a resume is helpful to show you what you've done in your life.  Or write a list in your journal noting where you've taken classes or what you've read to support your artistic love.

I'd like to support you in expressing yourself artistically.  In the comment box, let me know what project you're working on and how much time you gifted yourself this week to work it.  Yes, we can do it...we can all be lulus.

Peace, Nancy       

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Studio #21: North Wall

The Morgan Block Building in Historic Fairhaven and is owned by the People's Land Trust.  We, the selected artist's run the building, have monthly meetings were we make decisions about repairs, work hours, mutual art openings, etc.  And we spend many hours working on our given artistic expression.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, we'll have an open studio complete with hot cider and cookies.  You can see my studio then and enjoy the art of my fellow painters, jewelers and potters.

This is the north wall of my studio.  As you can see I have a couple of windows that open into a window well that used to be open to the roof, so lots of air circulation.  We had leaking problems into Artwood below, so we had a skylight installed over the top.  We still have some cross ventilation if the other studios also have their windows open, but very little otherwise.  Still, it adds extra light and beauty.

I love this old building, lots of wonderful woodwork, wainscoting, pressed brass hinges and ornate knobs.  Come see me at 1000 Harris, #21 on Dec. 3rd. 10-3:30


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Studio #21: North Wall

I began painting in my attic bedroom when I was in gradeschool.  Sounds funny, I know.  But I was only 12 and it was that or my brother's basement bedroom, or the kitchen table (not private enough).  I loved the color of Spokane sunsets, so I painted the silhouette of a Ponderosa Pine with a gorgeous orange sunset behind.  Unfortunately, I ran out of oil paint--it a Christmas gift, you know those little tubes, a wooden box, some brushes.

As an adult, I painted in many different set-ups: dinning room table, a small enclosed back porch, and a freezing upstairs bedroom. Eventually I built an amazing studio, 20 x 20, overlooking the shipping lanes of Puget Sound.  This place was great, complete with a bathroom.  I lived and worked there for six years before divorcing and moving to Bellingham.  Finally, I ended up in the Morgan Block Building, an artist co-op in Historic Fairhaven.

In this photo you see a 4' x 6' acrylic painting that I used an orchid plant as a model.  Orchids have great twisted air roots and wonderful pods that hold water for later use.  So fabulous.  The style I've used here is layer after layer of transparent paint, which makes for a lovely texture and lots of depth.

My studio is located at 1000 Harris.  If you want to come visit me, call and make an appointment: 710-7139.

Studio #21: South & West Walls

I feel most myself in my studio.  When I walk up two flights of stairs to the third floor, unlock my door and step inside, I let down.  I live across the street in a small condo, and while at home, which is also a place where I live with my art, I feel this ongoing pressure to clean up, or cook, or do wash, check emails, watch TV, etc..  In the studio, I sweep once in awhile, I take out the trash, or I go through my paints and discard the tubes that have dried up--but mostly, I create.

The pictures are of the South and West Wall of my studio. Yes, light comes in from the south.  South light for a painter is difficult, as it changes quickly, moving around the room and the spot of light you see, could fall on my canvas, which doesn't work.

North light is the ideal.   Plus, with bright light the eye, which is like a camera light meter, closes its aperture.  Then the lights and darks of the painting get skewed--because I can't see the values as well.  There are corrections that I can make in lighting.  One is, hang rice-paper shades on the windows.  I'll be hunting some down soon--I heard they have them a Home Depot.

The painting on the easel, Reflection at Padden Creek,  is from a new series: Reflections through the Seasons.  The one on the shelf, Skunk Cabbage, is also in the series. I've taken a number of photos on my Mt. Baker hikes to use as research for this series.  I'm excited and challenged by the task of capturing light on the surface of water, what is beneath the surface, and the object being reflected.  Very much fun and just like life, don't you think?