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Training Creatively – Growing As an Artist

Portrait Training

Growing Artistically
Treasures - Training
Most recent portrait, charcoal on white paper. I have always tried to steer clear of blonde hair but realize now it is not that different from the grey hair of my first portrait.

In order to grow as an artist, regular practice or training is necessary.  Just like any skill, the more practice the better the skill becomes.  Over the last year, I started on a journey of drawing portraits of Canadian musicians.  This journey had two purposes.  The first being practice.  Committing to drawing a variety of Canadian musicians in my sketchbook is a good way to incorporate regular specific practice sessions.  Although I have not posted a Canadian artist for a while, it is still a journey I am continuing.  What I find interesting as I continue to practice is the freedom in trying new styles, techniques, and artistic feels. 

I love any opportunity to explore Canada.  This brings me to the next reason for these weekly practice sessions – a celebration of the diverse and rich landscape of Canadian musicians.   I had no idea when I started this trek how many great musicians Canada had/has.  With this newfound appreciation for Canadian Music, I now find myself incorporating more songs from Canadian artists into my playlist.  I think that is pretty cool.

Measuring the Growth
My first portrait which was done in 2010. Even though I enjoy the simplicity of the lines in this piece I know where and how I would make changes while incorporating simple lines.

Every once-in-awhile I like to compare portrait work that I have done.  I am always surprised by changes that I see in my work.  Sometimes it is hard for me to measure where and how growth has happened, but when I compare pieces from a year ago (or even six months) I can see improvements or style changes that I have unknowingly incorporated.  What a great feeling!

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Countless Female Musicians – Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell – Canadian Musicians

Musicians - Charcoal Drawing
Joni Mitchel – Charcoal on Tan Paper

With so many amazing female musicians it is hard to choose which talented lady to feature.   Each artist has made a  contribution to the music scene in Canada.  This week, however, I chose to highlight Joni Mitchell (Roberta Joan Mitchell).   There is no question that she has had successes as a singer and songwriter, it is, however, the poetic and musical intellect that I am fascinated by.  Also intriguing is the evolution and progression of her musical styles that include folk, rock, jazz, and pop.  Her willingness and ability to explore music through piano and open-tuned guitar show a great depth and understanding of complex harmonies and rhythms.  Poetically developing her music from many genres, she has had a strong musical presence in North America.   It is hard to sum up in a few words the influences that Joni Mitchell had during an exciting musical time in our country.

Check out the Joni Mitchell website for more information along with her collection of paintings.

Earlier this year I watched an interview with David Yaffe, author of the biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell.  I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during his interviews with Ms. Mitchell.  I guess the next best thing would be to read his book.  I am excited and looking forward to reading it and learning more about the influences and factors that led to the growth of Joni Mitchell’s musical career.

The Artwork

Another reason I chose to highlight Joni Mitchell this week was the artwork.  In comparing the four pieces seen here I decided to be less rigid and closed with the drawing I did of Joni Mitchell.  I feel it gives a lighter and unbound feeling.  Each style has a different type of beauty, but for me, there is something refreshing and freeing when I don’t get too detailed.

Shania Twain – Charcoal on Tan Paper


It comes down to knowing when to stop the piece.  Is it finished, or should I add more detail?   Do I want it to look like a photograph or artwork?

Serena Ryder – Charcoal on Tan Paper



This type of self-reflection along with studying artwork that intrigues me is what helps me grow as an artist.  I am hoping to develop a more open style as I continue to study art.


Alanis Morissette – Charcoal on Tan Paper

The list of Canadian female musicians is a long one.  I am looking forward to exploring more great music as I spend time with my sketchbook.

Follow me on Instagram for weekly art updates @eisycindy

More Canadian Musician Drawings





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Portrait Time



Drawing and being engaged in creative activities gives hope, spurs productivity, and elevates mental alertness.  Every time I work on a new art piece I find this to be the case.  So, if this is true, why am I not drawing more?  That is a great question.  I guess I am just too lazy to pick up my pencil.  No, really, life just gets super busy sometimes.  When I do have time to become absorbed in a new art piece it is a great treat.

Working on this portrait for my niece was a refreshing break that seemed to come at the right time.  Usually I need to give myself permission to relax and draw, so when I have a commission to work on it allows me to ease up on my self-imposed obligations and duties.  After all, immersing myself into a creative space enables me to be more productive.
 15 x 12  Charcoal

Thank you, Karly.  I had a lot of fun reliving the past.
Now on to the next commission.
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Calyx Art Exhibition and Sale

Exciting News

I have been selected to participate in the Calyx Distinctive Arts Exhibition on Saturday, May 2nd.


Calyx Distinctive Arts has been helping grow and support artists since 2001.  I am looking forward to participating in this great event.  Mark your calendars and come on by on May 2nd.  It promises to be a great day of great art and artists.


Location:  Crescent Heights Community Centre

1101 – 2nd Street NW

Calgary, Alberta

Saturday, May 2nd – 10:00 am to 4:00pm





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Pike Place, Seattle, Washington – Charcoal

Summer Vacations and Art

Pike Place

12 x 9 Charcoal with Watercolor.

It is never too soon to start thinking about summer vacations, whether they are from the past or still to come. This drawing brings back great memories of a family vacation to Seattle, Washington in 2012.  The market place is alive with activity, energy, people, and culture. My family still talks about the throwing of the fish at the Pike Place Fish Market. Also found at Pike Place is the founding Starbucks which maintains its original appearance because it is located in a historical district. Markets, art, and coffee are warming thoughts of summer especially on a cold January day.

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Chikara – Strength

Chikara (pronounced Chee-kah-rah) is the Japanese word for strength or power.

It is amazing what can happen with a little bit of courage and a lot of determination.  Years of training in martial arts may at times be challenging and tedious, but those years are worth it.  Determination helps develop physical and character strength.



Charcoal 16 x 12

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Enchanted – North American Gray Wolf

The North American Gray Wolf


20 X 30 Charcoal On Sanded Canson Board


The North American Gray Wolf is a crucial member of our ecosystem. The positive ripple effects of their presence is incredible and often disregarded.  Have a look at the following video, I think you will agree.   How Wolves Change Rivers

The more I learn about wolves, the more fascinated I become with these beautiful and enchanting carnivores.  If observed in their habitat you would see that they are very social creatures.  They hunt only to survive and do not kill for sport.  The pack life, consisting of seven to eight wolves, works on a hierarchical system.  The mother and father being the alpha members of the pack and the leaders.  They work together much like a family would.

For more information on wolves have a look at Defenders of Wildlife.

For this art piece I wanted to explore working on a different surface.  Enchanted is done on Canson board with a finely sanded texture. There were a couple of benefits that I did enjoy when working with this product versus a toothed paper.   I found the integrity of the tooth or grit in this situation) was never compromised and I could build up many layers of charcoal.  Also the material was a little more forgiving when I needed to lift charcoal in areas.  These benefits add an element of freedom to play more with the charcoal.


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Strathmore Regional Art Festival – Alberta Art

Happy to announce that I will once again have an art display at the Strathmore Regional Art Festival.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

                                                                       …yup, that’s tomorrow


Click on the poster for more information.

See you Saturday!

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Summer Update, Market – Art

Accidental Happenings

Becoming a vendor at the Millarville Farmer’s Market has been a valuable experience.  Besides actually selling prints, originals, and cards, many other benefits have come from this journey. The way people respond to each piece gives great information to help guide me as to how I want to direct my art focus.  Whether it be other artists, customers, or just “window-shoppers”, knowing what draws them in and why has been very encouraging and energizing. The exposure of my art pieces and potential commission work is another great spinoff.  One other benefit has been “talking shop” with a veteran artist.  Hearing her art story and the many lessons she has learned on her journey has been invaluable.

As-fun-as the market has been art is still more fun for me, so back to the art.  Thought I would post a sneak-peak…what is on the easel.


Sun, summer, and art, could there be a better combination?  Looking forward to some great drawing time this week. Keep posted for the update and enjoy the summer.






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Millarville Farmers’ Market Dates – Cindy Eisbrenner

I am happy to announce that I will be selling prints and original art pieces at the Millarville Farmers’ Market this summer.


These are the dates I will be at the Market.

June 21st,   July 5th,   July 12th,   and  August 16th.

Market 2013

Millarville Farmers’ Market hosts over 200 vendors and has been running for 32 years.  Come check it out!

Millarville Market Map

 See you at the Market!