Category Archives: art

The Daily Newb – Mercury Retrograde and My Creativity

Well, I must say that I have never heard of this before. Yes, I often gaze at the stars wondering if there is some cosmic reason for everything, a universal truth, a bigger plan so to speak. But it wasn’t until recently that I heard of Mercury Retrograde….

What is it? The planets are swinging around at all times and their movements affect us all in strange and bizarre ways. All planets go retrograde, but Mercury’s journey seems to impact people much more than any other. Mercury isn’t really going backwards, it’s just hanging out by the sun, but from Earth, that makes it look like it’s in reverse. This period usually lasts a few weeks and occurs 3 times/year (sometimes even 4 times/year!) This current retrograde is from April 18th to May 11th.

So why does it affect us so much? It’s because Mercury rules communication, clear thinking, truth & travel, so when it goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it’s going backwards in the sky — all these things seem go backwards as well. Unresolved issues from the past rear their ugly heads, you get into strange arguments about nothing at all, everything seems confusing, new projects go amuck. Things just seem to be going in reverse. Electronics, like computer equipment crash. I just recently lost ALL of my 2010 data on my computer and when you operate 2 small businesses from home….this is not a good thing! Travel delays occur…..a certain Icelandic volcano comes to mind? No air travel for a week in Europe? Wow…I am glad I wasn’t traveling over there…although being stuck in Europe for a week couldn’t be that I think I would just park my butt in the Louvre and stare at the Mona Lisa until all the madness has passed.

So what does this have to do with my creativity? It has made me want to go into hermit mode and my creativity went out the door. Actually, I think it went to Iceland and is still trying to catch a flight back. I have been trying to create new paintings for the past few weeks but am struggling with a HUGE creative block. I am actually contemplating going back and looking at a few of my unfinished pieces. Not to mention, I am irritable, frustrated, feeling like half of my brain is missing. Every conversation is confusing and I am having a hard time focusing. As well, my computer crashing and losing my data didn’t exactly help my frustration levels much. Yes, this would be the joys of Mercury Retrograde. And I just thought maybe I was in perpetual PMS (although that is always possible too!).

So that is the BAD news…but I have been thinking (this is one of my clearer thinking days)…maybe…just MAYBE this could be a GOOD thing. It seems to me that this is the Universe’s way of trying to cleanse. Go back and deal with past issues, re-examine areas in our life that need a bit more work, tie up loose ends. Look at you life with fresh new eyes. Deal with that nagging monkey on your back. Instead of swatting at it and telling it to go away, maybe give it some space and listen to what it has to say. I know this isn’t easy….artist’s are usually very emotional beings. And yes, I am definitely an artist at heart. But if the door to our creativity is blocked, how can we move forward?  Gotta tell you I am not looking forward to this part….I have a whole barrel of monkeys to deal  But from what I have heard this is a good time to have great breakthroughs….intellectually and spiritually….and who knows….maybe even creatively!

So here are a few tips that may help deal with the retrograde nasties….

–          Roll with the punches….this is a great time reflect, renew and slow down. Take some time for yourself.

–          If starting a new project be flexible. They may not always start on time…or be completed at all. Don’t freak out! Maybe you have an unfinished project from a few months ago that would better work with the situation.

–          Back up, Back up, BACK UP! Yes, back up your computer before the Mercury Retrograde starts….and don’t lose precious data like I did.

–          Go with the flow….maybe the universe is trying to tell you something. Let it nudge where it wants. Maybe there are important issues you need to deal with before moving on.

–          Be cautious when travelling. You may be delayed. If so, take the opportunity to enjoy seeing places you usually wouldn’t venture. You may find a new source of inspiration.

–          And above all…..don’t take things too seriously! Your spouse is on your case, your kids are driving you nuts and you can’t paint a damn thing…..STOP!  B-R-E-A-T-H…..and try to laugh about it. We have all lost our marbles and are functioning with half a brain right now. Don’t worry this too shall pass and we will be back to our glorious selves in no time!

The next Mercury Retrograde will be August 20th –  September 12th……oh joy…lol 🙂


The Daily Newb – Pop Art in 6 Easy Steps…

op Art is an art movement and style that had its origins in England in the 1950s and made its way to the United States during the 1960s. I have always love pop art…it ranges from illustrative works like Roy Lichtenstein to a collage form like Robert Raushenberg (one of my favourites!) to the crazy and iconic images of Andy Warhol. Modern Pop Artist (Fatoe) Mike Orduna infuses a new breed of the pop art generation by adding digital images and photoshopping. Pop Art is created to show an object or person in a new light and I think all of these artists accomplish this extremely well.

Pop artists generally focus their attention upon familiar images of pop culture such as billboards, comic strips and supermarket products not to mention famous figures in history. I personally focus on singers and guitar legends. I really enjoy the iconic images that they bring to the table. As well, I find that the pop art style is so simple but so effective at getting “pop” or “wow” factor in a painting. I will be eventually trying my hand at Pop Art style family portrait…I will let you know how that turns out!

Here’s a look at how I do a Pop Art painting. The following is a commission painting I am doing on the great Tom Waits…enjoy!

 Step 1.  Posterize your picture…

Posterizing an image is generally done in Photoshop or any other photo editing software. I like Nero PhotoSnap Viewer because it is simple and easy to use. Posterizing, in general, is taking an image and reducing the number colors a picture has while still maintaining the “look” of the picture. From a posterized picture it is easy to create Pop Art painting.  If you are having problems posterizing a picture you want to paint, please send me an email at and I will be glad to help!

Step 2. Grid your picture and canvas…

This is a great method of transferring a photo to canvas or paper. The grid method involves drawing a grid over your reference photo as well as a grid of EQUAL RATIO over your canvas or paper. If you are unsure of how to do this…check out this tutorial

Step 3. Transfer the picture to the canvas…

Draw your image on to the canvas focusing on one square at a time until the entire image has been transferred. Once you are satisfied with the transfer, erase the grid lines on your working surface. I love this method because you picture will always be in proportion if you correctly draw one square at a time.

Step 4. Block in the greys…

Before painting the picture, I want to know how many shades of grey I have in the posterized picture. These will need to be painted in the new picture. On my posterized picture, I had 6 different colors…..these went from white to black with 4 different shades of grey in between. I begin by mixing my paint starting with the black. I find that straight black does not look great in paintings therefore I always add a touch of Phthalo Blue to the black. From there I add a touch of White Gesso to until I get the remaining shades I need. And instead of using Titanium White for the last color, I use White Gesso. I like the consistency of Gesso…nice and thick! As well, I find it more vibrant than a regular white acrylic paint.

Step 5. Adding Color

After you are satisfied with the “greys” you have painted, you can then add some color. For this painting, I decided that a red background would look great. In researching Tom Waits I found a great lyric in one of his well known songs “I Never Talk to Strangers”. The lyric is “A good man is hard to find*Only strangers sleep in my bed*My favorite words are good-bye*And my favorite color is RED”.  I thought this was a great lyric and decided to incorporate the color red into the painting because of it. I painted this background in Crimson Red.

 Step 6. Adding Finishing Touches…

I always like to personalize my pop art paintings. In this painting, I streaked the background with black and white paint making it look distressed. As well, I added a few of his more memorable song titles…..such as “Closing Time” and “My Piano Has Been Drinking” in the background. They are very subtle but look great on the finished painting. By doing this, it adds a little personality to the painting!

Finished painting “And My Favorite Color is Red – Tom Waits” by Angella Goodon

So there you have it….. a pop art painting in 6 easy steps! How do you approach a pop art painting? Do you like the black and white style? Or do you like the punch of color? What’s your style?

To see more of my pop art paintings as well as a close up view of this one….please visit the gallery page of my website! Pop Art is located at the bottom of the page.