Thursday, November 29, 2012

Canvas #40: Rec Centre, Leduc, Alberta, Canada

Bridget made this seriously cool canvas!

How'd she do that?! Does the door actually open or is it a neat visual effect?

Bridget says, I put this at the Leduc Rec Centre by the big fireplaces. Hopefully it will give some inspiration to someone looking for a warm spot to relax and reflect.

Thanks for participating, Bridget!

November Project Check-In

As most of you are probably aware, The Blank Canvas Project was created as my independent creative project for my grad studies in Creativity in Educational Practice. Every so often, I need to check in with the project and write about where it's at. I thought, in the spirit of openness and the celebration of the positive, I'd post my reflection here this time.

The project has taken on a momentum that is so exciting. As of this post, I have sent 207 canvases out into the world. I have received 36 canvas photos and stories back so far. It has been really interesting to see what people have created. There's been huge variety of the different topics and themes people tackle in their art.


Two themes that seem to come up a lot are:

Hearts and love

Canvas # 27

Canvas #11

Canvas #137

Words of Inspiration

Canvas #18

Canvas #24

Canvas #36


The canvases have been placed all over the world. Most of the canvases have found homes here in Alberta, but canvases have also been placed in Halifax, Hollywood, and Abu Dhabi!

Canvas #13

Canvas #37

Problems and Snags

The main problem I've run into with my project is people not meeting the one month deadline I've asked them to stick to. I completely get this. I understand that life gets busy. I think it would be very easy to put the package in a pile and just sort of forget about it. And then look at it when you walk by and feel like you should work on it, but then life gets in the way again and you forget.

At the beginning of the project, I wasn't tracking the date I sent the packages out, but started to keep track in September. I sent some check in e-mails to all the people who received canvases in August and September, and a few people submitted photos in response to that. I think I will just need to keep e-mailing people just to remind them about it, even though this would, I'm sure, be very annoying to receive. However, I have put a significant financial investment in this project, which I would hate to lose.

Another problem the project had was that some participants worried that canvases placed in public places and businesses might be mistaken as art that was supposed to be there. People don't know if they should take the art, or leave it, or in some situations, like in libraries and coffee shops, if it's part of the decor and supposed to be there. So I decided to get some tiny labels printed, which will grace the easels from this point on.

A Question

I've only had six people leave a note on the site saying they found a canvas. Two of those people then signed up to participate in the project. But I am really really wondering what has happened to the rest of the canvases! Did someone take them? Are they still where their creator placed them? If people found them, why didn't they go to the site? Just an unanswered pondering that keeps running around in my head.

All in all, I am really pleased with where this project is right now, and I get so happy when I see an e-mail in my inbox from someone wanting a canvas or sending in a photo for the story. I am just loving the creativity that participants are demonstrating. I also am so excited at the thought that people are finding these canvases and being surprised by them. If I came across a canvas out there in the world, I would be so thrilled!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Canvas #137: Mojo's Pub, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Sarah made this beauty:

Sarah says, I left the canvas at a pub in Lethbridge, Alberta called Mojo's. We had dinner there and I left it on the table when we left. I hope our waitress or whoever found it likes it.

Wouldn't you love to see it there if you were a waitress? What a beautiful way to brighten someone's day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Canvas #27: ATC Center, Rundle Park, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Look at this gorgeous canvas that Julie made!

She says, I took it to the ATC center at Rundle Park in Edmonton. This center provides activities and a pool open to the public and but it also provides recreation for disabled individuals.
At the main building where the DATS buses load and unload individuals with wheelchairs. In front of the building are to park benches where I placed my canvas. Because we had a foot of snow yesterday I chose this location rather than along one of the trails because I was concerned the canvas would be lost in the snow.

After placing the canvas, I took my dog Stryder for a walk along the trails,  about a half an hour later we returned and walked by the park bench and the canvas was gone! It gave me a very warm fuzzy feeling on a cool day!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Canvas #5: Found!

Someone found Dale's canvas! The finder writes, I was curious and thought it was a clever idea. Took it to my girlfriend and she found your site. She is now taking with her to California and leaving it somewhere where someone else can find it.

What an awesome idea! Take someone's canvas, and put it somewhere else! How cool is it that Dale's beach is traveling to a state full of beaches?!

Canvas #5: Safeway, Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada

Like many, Dale struggled with what to put on her canvas. She says, I had a hard time starting my canvas. I wasn't sure what I had to share. I started daydreaming and then it came to me...I can share my happy place...and so I did!

I placed it in our local Safeway to provide a little sunshine (note the Sunny Boy cereal - a local product!) in someone else's day. Grocery shopping is an everyday mundane chore but you can go traveling even there.

I love the mixed media details in Dale's beach!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Canvas #36: a library, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Molly made this gorgeous canvas as a reminder to the students at the university where she works.

Molly says, I left it at work this evening - sitting on a table in the U of C Library link, near the top of the escalator, where students often relax, hang out with their friends, wait to meet someone or have a nap.

It took me a while to commit to a message.  At first I wanted to say "the truth will set you free" but decided it was too personal and maybe not quite positive.  The message I settled on will be, I hope, inspiring and reassuring at the same time.  Leaving it for students to see is personal - the message is an anthem from my youthful student days.

Now that its finally completed, I feel like doing a series to leave in public places.  I wonder if this is what graffiti artists feel.

I've been thinking about the comparison to a graffiti artist, too, Molly. I think the comparison is quite apt! I certainly felt a bit of a rush when I left mine in public. And I wondered how people would respond to my art, which I'm sure street artists wonder too.

I sure hope a student who needs a pick-me-up finds the canvas at just the right time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Canvas #139: a gym locker, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Won't someone be surprised when they find Jenn's lovely canvas in a gym locker!
Jenn says, My canvas is just a collage of inspiring and encouraging words. I chose to leave my canvas in a locker in the change room at my gym. I feel like everyone who is at the gym has their own goals and reasons for being there. But I also feel that people can be too hard on themselves at times. I wanted to make someone realize how beautiful they already are!
What an amazing message, Jenn!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Canvas #37: a cafe, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

I am so excited to have our very first submission from outside of North America!

Rachelle says, I received my canvas over a month ago. I was eager to start and had a message I wanted to share but just wasn't quite sure how to start. Luckily I am a teacher and have a wonderful art teacher to collaborate with. What resulted was an experimentation of two art techniques and a growth in confidence in my creativity abilities! I have been working on a personal journey understanding the concept of time. Specifically how to slow down. I knew I wanted this to be the main message on my canvas. I decided to put the word STOP in the middle with a stop sign to catch people's eyes and force them to slow down and observe the canvas. I then wrote, appreciate the moment, smile. The two most important lessons I have learned on my time journey.

I live in Abu Dhabi and I wanted to be sure I left it somewhere it would be appreciated. I left it at the main cafe that is home to many art events in the city. I was surprised at how emotionally attached I had become to it and how hard it was to say good bye. Because I was reluctant to part ways, I made my good bye short and abrupt, as a result I didn't get a close up of the canvas…sorry! However, I am thankful for this experience as it challenged me to become more comfortable with my creativity and to know 'coloring in the lines' is not the only way to creativity is seen as 'good.' I am excited to see if my canvas gets discovered! Thank you for allowing me to be part of this project!

I think Rachelle's experience of becoming attached to the canvas is a common one for participants in the project. We just have to remind ourselves that it's bringing joy to someone else once we let it go!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Canvas #2: outside a regiment, New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada

Arusha is a creative girl, with an amazing artistic talent.

Here's what she says about her canvas: So I have been waiting for inspiration to hit before I got to work on my little canvas, and today, it finally came. I was sitting in a Remembrance Day service that my choir was participating in, and the minister said something that really got me thinking. It got me thinking about war, politics, technology, and life in general. Here is what he said:

In a world where justice has not rolled down as waters,
nor righteousness as a mighty stream,
where knowledge floods in,
but there is only a trickle of wisdom,
hear our prayer.

I painted two poppies in the corner of the canvas, thinking that in areas of war flowers can still grow, just as there can be bits of wisdom in the craziness that can be in the world. On days like today I pray wisdom for leaders in the world, particularly someone like Obama who wields so much power.

Arusha says, I put this little guy outside of the regiment down the street. Hopefully the rain doesn't get it! And I hope they take it inside and find it a home :) I wrote the above text on the back of it.

What a beautiful message of peace, Arusha.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Canvas #118: a tree, Coronation Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

It's cold and snowy in Calgary these days. Elaine's canvas's message sure comes at a good time! Elaine is the last of the four team-builders who painted canvas at their office.

Look at it perched there in that tree!

Elaine's encouragement to think spring is such a great reminder! She says, since it is snowy and cold in Calgary right now we hope who ever finds this canvas will have warm thoughts of spring.

Love it, Elaine!

Here's the four canvases together one last time:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Canvas #143: a bench in Confederation Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Here's the third in the series of canvases painted as a team-building activity at work. This one was painted by Jen.

Jen's painting includes a red heart over green swirls and abstract patterns. Isn't it awesome!?

 Jen said, Since it is snowy and cold in Calgary right now we hope that someone will need a rest and see this canvas.    

And here are the four canvases all together for the last time:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Canvas #31: a bridge in Confederation Park, Calgary, Alberta

Here's the second of our series from the team-building exercise Jen, Laura, Jen, and Elaine did at their office.

Here's Jen's canvas:
Look at this happy little dude! I wonder what the caveman is all about?

Jen said, since it is snowy and cold in Calgary right now we hope who ever finds this canvas be warmed up by how bright and cheerful it is. 

I don't see how anyone could not be cheered up if they saw this!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Canvas #133: a washroom in Confederation park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Jen, Laura, Jen, and Elaine all painted canvases as a team-building activity in their office. Here's all their canvases together, one last time:

What a great team-building exercise, hey? We'll be revealing each canvas over the next couple of days.

Laura made this lovely reminder of joy and left it in a public washroom in Coronation Park in Calgary. Doesn't it look great up against that beautiful wall mural?

 Laura says, since it is snowy and cold in Calgary right now we hope who ever finds this canvas will have warm thoughts of spring.

Love the texture and the sweet vase of flowers.

Happy in its wee corner.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Canvas #24: Found

Paul e-mailed to let us know he'd found Kelsey's canvas on the boardwalk in Halifax. He included this photo:
 He also asked, Am I allowed to take it? Probably not. ;(

I quickly e-mailed him back saying, YES you CAN take it! It's there for YOU!

Paul e-mailed me back saying he went back the next day and the canvas was gone (but oddly, the easel was still there!). This just reinforced something I've suspected about this project since day one: people don't know if they should take the art, or leave it, or in some situations, like in libraries and coffee shops, if it's part of the decor and supposed to be there. So I decided to get some tiny labels printed, which will grace the easels from this point on. See?

Canvas #24: the board walk, Halifax Harbour, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Kelsey has such a lovely story to share about her canvas.

She says, last September I packed up my life in Edmonton and moved across the country to start law school in Halifax. Like most of my classmates, I had no idea what I was doing and was completely overwhelmed in the first few days.

Looking upon the 70 terrified students in their first week of law school, my prof paused before starting her lecture to provide a bit of advice on being successful in the next few years: Make sure you sleep. Continue to eat. Read literature. Take days off. Help each other. See friends. In essence, be kind to yourself.

14 months later, I often recall these words and the importance of being kind to myself.

To have a meaningful positive impact in my community, I must ensure I have the capacity to do so. Which means allowing myself to take time away from life's obligations and relax.

I painted the canvas with acrylic paint in the same style as a my current art project. Taking the occasional painting break is one way in which I am kind to myself.

That other piece is gorgeous, isn't it?

I left my little canvas on the boardwalk at the Halifax Harbour. For me, the ocean tends to put life in its proper perspective: it's almost impossible feel overwhelmed when standing next to a giant ocean.

How beautiful was that?!