Art

Getting Ready for the Riverdale Art Walk

Now that all the painting is done, I'm enjoying writing far more then the million things I should be doing to get ready. I am super excited and nervous about this show. This one feels very different from my usual. First of all, there are a lot of artists in this show, over 150. Many of them are artists who I have admired and secretly worshipped from afar. Okay, maybe not that secretly or that far... To be sharing my work at the same venue as them is an incredible honour.

The other element that makes me both excited and nervous is the large amount of people traffic that typically attend this show. (I won't mention car traffic - because when I visited the show last year, on a glorious sunny day, I had no problems finding a parking spot... Just sayin'!) Getting to meet so many people is really exciting and a bit of a scary. Anyone who comes up and says hi, will have no clue (unless they are reading this) that I am anxious in these kinds of social situations. I love people and connecting with others once I am in the moment, but the days and hours before I wonder if I'll remember my own name or say something incredibly stupid. Oh wait, I made a sign with my own name, so it's just the saying something stupid part I need to worry about. 

Thank you vista print for an amazing banner!

Thank you vista print for an amazing banner!

After I finish writing this, I will get to all the things on my to-do list for the next 4 days... Things like sanding and painting edges,  buffing paintings, attaching hanging hardware and then packing my paintings in these envelopes...

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I made some fancy painting envelopes. Some were made from insulation (bubble wrap in silver foil....) and some out of flooring underlay. The big ones needed the heavy duty insulation but I think the smaller paintings will be okay with underlay... 

I may have neglected to mention that I've been creating some new works for the upcoming show. I am always influenced by the seasons, and come spring (well sorta Spring) I have begun working with brighter colours.

Calling this one "This City is For the Birds"  It is 36x48 and will be at the Riverdale Art Walk...

Calling this one "This City is For the Birds"  It is 36x48 and will be at the Riverdale Art Walk...

Also been working on a series of 12x12 square paintings. 

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You can see how messy my studio is these days. Household chores have become an all or nothing thing lately. Once I start cleaning I won't stop, and then I never get any painting done. So I have had to give up cleaning. : ( And I feel guilty (no joke) and uncomfortable about it. But I am realizing that when I share the mess, I don't feel quite as bad. So here  I am embracing the mess and my bright green crocs. Absolutely embracing those too. I love love love this quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write... and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning... it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
— https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/901977.Clarissa_Pinkola_Est_s

 

Buddy has also been getting the cold shoulder. Between me being so busy and the weather being so... crummy, he is getting shorter walks then he would like... He follows me around the studio, staying in my view no matter where I am until I finally take him out... Here he is photobombing me again.... 

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I would love to see you at The Riverdale Art Walk, this is the link with more information including a site map of where to find me. Remember booth 21 11-6pm inside the community centre.... Riverdale Art Walk Event Info

The Same Sky

I like looking up. Looking up at the sky and clouds offers an ideal escape from the suburban tangle of brick houses, wood fences, metal garage doors and rubber tires that all compete for my gaze when I cross the street. Sometimes an orange and purple sunset, with clouds highlighted in yellow, literally cause my jaw to drop. Sometimes, on a clear day the sky proudly displays well-defined fluffy clouds on a backdrop of brilliant blue. This is the kind of sky so joyful that only a child's drawing could do it justice. The only thing missing when I look up, is a haphazardly drawn smiley face on a yellow circle with rays vibrating out in all directions from a top corner of the page.

My first cloud painting was on the ceiling of my daughters' bathroom, which I painted in soon after they were born. While floating in their baths I wanted them to look up and be able to imagine clouds above. Painting clouds in my current body of work wasn't a strategic decision like the clouds on the ceiling of that bathroom. I noticed little bits of sky popping up in most of my paintings over the past couple of years. The pure enjoyment of creating cloudy textures, subtle variations in colours and working with interesting edges compelled me to do it again and again.

 

And so, I began spending more time looking up at the clouds and the sky for inspiration.. I spent car rides (while a passenger) looking up. I sat in the backyard while it was still winter, wrapped in blankets stolen from the couch, so I could sit on a frigid adirondack chair and just look up. One thing that struck me while I was looking up one day, was how no matter where I have been in the world, I see the sky that I see from home. It struck me how people from different continents who speak languages and live lives I will likely never know of, all share in the very same sky that I see. They see blue and clouds and on some nights see the moon and stars. I like to imagine that there are other people studying evocative clouds, discovering shapes, dreaming about the future and feeling part of something greater then myself. I imagine that we are all doing this together. 

At the King Heritage Centre and Museum, King City

At the King Heritage Centre and Museum, King City

Some of my Sky paintings on display.  

Some of my Sky paintings on display.  

JCC Visual Arts Instructor Show

I really enjoy my teaching gigs. After working in solitude in my studio, the opportunity to get out and meet other artists who are passionate about creating art is so enjoyable. When I'm working I have to stay so focused and it sometimes even feels selfish. So helping and sharing in the classroom creates an opportunity to remain balanced. My point is, that I teach because I really enjoy it and find it personally enriching. That the art school wants to support us teachers by sponsoring a show is a wonderful gift. I've posted a few of the paintings I have on display.

 

On display at Prosserman JCC, in the  visual art instructors art show. so are the paintings below. 

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Today in the mixed-media classroom...

After a busy, and wonderful weekend exhibiting at the wonderful Heintzman House Art Show, I woke up tired this morning. And early. Lots of things were on tap for the mixed media class I teach for the Town of Richmond Hill. 

 

We started off sharing our work. With everyone inspiring one another with their unique creative direction and ideas. Love what people have done.. These are some wonderful snippets.

Student works in progress. Made with acrylic pastes, mediums, papers and acrylic skins.  

Student works in progress. Made with acrylic pastes, mediums, papers and acrylic skins.  

Then I demoed some new techniques for creating and manipulating skins. 

Acrylic skin - they make an interesting composition!

Acrylic skin - they make an interesting composition!

Different acrylic skins layered and woven.  

Different acrylic skins layered and woven.  

Then we made these beautiful and unique collage materials.   

Student creating tyvek collage materials.  

Student creating tyvek collage materials.  

Some of their glorious results.  

Some of their glorious results.  

I will be teaching a one day floral collage workshop for the Town of Richmond Hill on Saturday May 28th. Contact me for details.  

 

Getting Good at Being Bad

This isn’t about the time Buddy got into the garbage and left a collage of ripped up food wrappers on the kitchen floor.  Or how he runs into the studio while I am teaching classes and hides under the chair of the person who happens to be very allergic to him… (Sorry about that!). Or how he recklessly jumped out of a canoe to catch a fish last summer. Despite his very naughty behaviour I still love him so much and find him easy to forgive. I mean look at that face. 

                         Taken moments before the silly boy attempts to jump into the lake...

                         Taken moments before the silly boy attempts to jump into the lake...

It has not always been easy extending to myself and my artwork the same love and positivity I extend to my doggie, especially when a painting is bad (pee on the carpet bad). My process incorporates a lot of trial and error.  I get an idea, and very impulsively begin to play (it's a bit like jumping in a lake trying to catch an elusive fish). For a long time, a very long time, the paintings that ended in disaster, were very discouraging and upsetting.  My self-worth and quality of my day hinged on the results I achieved in my studio. Talk about pressure!

It's still frustrating when an idea doesn’t materialize, or when days spent on a piece results in “doggy collage".  But over time, many of these mishaps have led to some exciting work, so I’ve begun to cut myself some slack, or gotten good at being bad. Reading and watching movies about successful creative people, in different fields has been impactful. The first time Julia Child made Coq Au Vin, it wasn’t cookbook ready. Lots of tinkering took place before being ready for  “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. There were so many decisions Julia needed to consider. How much salt? Burgundy or Chianti? How long to sauté?  It’s similar in many ways to painting. How much red? Which red; pyrrole or cadmium? How much value contrast? How large should this shape be? How much wax to achieve the right translucency? Julia could answer her questions through cooking and tasting, and then cooking again. I try to create, taste and create again, just as Julia did. (NB: do not taste your paintings).

As a result, a bad painting is no longer a bad painting, it's actually a wonderful painting, because it is a valuable learning opportunity. I like to ask myself questions as I spend time with my challenging works. I wonder what to do next. I consider the process, my state of mind, the techniques. I wonder if my feelings are because it doesn't work, or because I just don’t personally connect to the piece? I have learned that trying to paint like someone else, or feeling bored with the subject-matter all result in bad work. From studying my work I realized that I needed to (and have) improved my ability to work with value. I learned that the music I paint with, influences the mood and energy of my work. From spending time together, I discovered that the work speaks to me, and tells me things about myself, that I have long since forgotten. The paintings that aren't quite right, are the ones I spend the most time with, learn from and grow from.  

I recently read up on Paul Cezanne, who seemed to work in a manner entirely different to Julia Child. He was known for leaving many of his paintings behind, in a field of all places, because he found them inadequate. Perhaps he was so good at being good, he did not need to be good at being bad.

This recent work, evolved from several trial and error pieces, that I first tasted but have since left behind in a field.

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