Only two more weeks and I'm at the half-way point of this 52 WEEKS PROJECT
. There are times (like this one) where I wonder what I was thinking and that perhaps it's not too late to create something else to submit at the end of the year. But, I plod along and somehow something shows up. This time I knew I wanted to incorporate the stencils I've been creating along with a barn owl of some sort. So, this would be owl number three. They are such interesting creatures...they represent wisdom and helpfulness and have the power of prophecy. There is an ancient Greek story of Athene who banished the mischievous crow then honoured owl by making him her favorite.
They have also been viewed with fear, associated with witches, and evil omens, but I like to think of them as wise and knowing, which is a good thing as owls are one of my daughter's favorite species.
Emerging II / 48x36 / mixed media
Emerging I / 48x36 / mixed media
So, I've finally completed the two pieces I began in Samantha da Silva's FEARLESS
painting class and though I took photos under several lighting conditions I just couldn't seem capture the nuance and depth I physically see in the work (thus the detail images).
The beauty of EMERGING I+II
is that even though each canvas began with absolutely different palettes, the layers
that followed brought the pieces together. I also love the fact that they stand alone as separate works, can be hung side-by-side or as they appear here, one over the other.
I don't publicly share my abstract work very often, and even though I have completed several abstract commissions throughout the years, it still feels so out of my element. It sometimes feels a bit like sharing the deepest parts of myself. But the process is delicious...just responding to personal thoughts & feelings, to the images & music to which I am exposed, to the media & tools available to me. A wonderful way to work.
ROOTED::Autumn I+II/ 30x80 / mixed media on canvas
Yesterday I met with fibre artist Kathleen Long to work on a collaboration combining my birch trees with her quilting techniques and I'm very excited to seeing the outcome of this project. Collaboration is one of my favorite things. As a working artist, there are typically many hours spent in solitude so I miss those times when I can connect and feed off of another creative spirit.
I also love those conversations that amble and connect from one point to another, one interesting topic which leads to another...effortless and enlightening. That's how I feel every time I meet Kathleen. And her vision is incredible, inspiring. I could chat with her for hours.
I'm currently working on my third piece in this ROOTED
series...this time a triptych and this time with a focus on summer and new growth. Excited to see the direction it travels.
"I have a terrible need of - shall I say the word? - religion.
Then I go out and paint the stars."
~ Vincent van Gogh in a letter to his brother
Because I often feel a lull in my creative spirit after a time of hard work I usually visit the library stacks in search of inspiration. I wish these books would have been available years ago, when I felt really stuck and though I was playing and experimenting, I felt a little lost for awhile. I don't necessarily read these books cover-to-cover but the images, words, and sometimes a technique or two are enough to get those creative juices going...Cultivating Your Creative Life by Alena Hennessy
What I particularly love about this book is the artist's focus on watermedia...particularly watercolour...and on contemplation. I was labelled a 'dreamer' as a child so exercises such as 'Make a list of ten things that inspire you' are quite exciting for me.
Water Paper Paint by Heather Smith Jones
I've been following Heather's blog for several years (love her studio) so I was excited to see her book on watercolour and mixed media. It's filled with technique and is once again a visual feast.
Print Workshop by Christine Schmidt
This is definitely a technique book with directions on how to create at home with a variety of printing techniques. It's also filled with great project ideas, including a step-by-step on making your own aspen wall which was interesting to read since I created my own birch wall for my daughter's room last winter.
Painted Pages by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare
The artist, Sarah, seems like such a sweet soul and her work is so soft and beautiful. The focus of this book is sketchbooks & mixed media but my absolute favorite part is the gallery of her work at the end. Such light-hearted and colour-filled work that resonates with a vintage feel and honouring of the past.
Daring Adventures in Paint by Mati Rose McDonough
This is one of my favorites and I have read it cover-to-cover several times. I love her reflections & questions...designed to help you find your flow, trust your path and discover your authentic voice. Her work is whimsical and very, very happy. There was just something about the way she presented her material that I connected with.
Inner Excavation by Liz Lamoreux
This book appeals to me particularly because of the poetry and artist's interviews. It's filled with great, great writing prompts and I love the chapter titles: I Begin, I Seek, I Gather...I Know. I find that writing helps to feed my painting, even when I don't share it, and vice versa.
Printmaking + Mixed Media by Dorit Elisha
This is a great book on techniques and projects for printmaking in many forms - screen printing, monotype, collagraph, relief, sun - and is once again filled with lovely images.
Unfurling by Misty Mawn
This book is really lovely to look at and filled with a ton of inspiration. I love the fact that it begins with drawing, as that is something anyone can do anywhere, and really spending that time to draw will enhance anybody's art process (also a great way to get those creative juices flowing). My daughter loves to draw faces so this is a great book with tips and techniques. It's also filled with fabulous quotes.
Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts
This book has some great mixed media techniques but I wish the writing wasn't so small. I'm not going to admit that it has anything to do with my age (though my optometrist may disagree) but I do tend to prefer books where the font sizes vary a little more (I do like it when main points are in bold). But this book has a few techniques that seem interesting and great questions for reflection.
Brave Intuitive Painting by Flora Bowley
Well, many of you know I took Flora Bowley's class and loved it...it came at a perfect time as I had been experimenting with abstraction for a year, already incorporating many of the techniques featured in this book but wanting to push it further, to connect the canoes I was creating with the abstraction I was practicing. And this is what turned on the light bulb for me. I'm glad it turned into a book. Flora's work is colourful and very intuitive, which is how I like to work so I was immediately drawn to her, though I tend to prefer a little more representational work. Thank you Flora.
Many of these books overlap, using similar techniques and materials, and yet the work is all so individual to its maker. Love that. Such is art.
This piece in the 52 WEEKS PROJECT
was SO. MUCH. FUN. Anyone who knows me knows my love of crows. My family calls me 'CROW TALKER'...for good reason...and I grew up with indigenous stories of crows & ravens as being Shape Shifters or Magicians. And Biblically how the crows fed Elijah when he was hiding out. Love that.I've also been enjoying the creation of my own stencils so this time I decided to create NEW MOON. Originally it was meant for a larger project (another canoe, it will show up again) but it ended up near my pochade where I had a canvas ready to begin piece number 23 in this project and so it became part of this piece. I love her gentle face.
Does Crow look a little wicked? I think yes, which reminds me of my youngest daughter when she was a toddler. That glint showed up in her blue eyes and we knew we were experiencing a visible representation of her thought process...which was usually followed by trouble of some sort (she didn't think so). I still see that glint in her eye at times, but fortunately she now puts it to use in a creative project. Thank goodness.
I just got back from the post office and LOOK WHAT I GOT IN THE MAIL!!! Not only has my article been published (on page 26) of the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors PAGES magazine but...MY PROJECT IS ON THE COVER!
My life seems to leap from one amazing opportunity to another and I cannot believe my good fortune. I feel blesses beyond abundance and for that I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone I have had the privilege of having in my life. It is because of all of these fascinating, talented, creative, inspiring women and gentlemen that I know that give me the courage to keep moving, keep working, keep trying.
The article is titled 'TELLING STORIES' and, once again, was inspired by reclaimed material (items that would have ended up in a land fill had my neighbor not thought, "Hmmm...
Veronica is an artist, I wonder if she could use this?"
After a time of melancholy, which always seems to happen after a season of joy and fulfilling work, things manage to turn around in a big way...so I encourage anyone who is struggling to hang in there. It does get better. I promise.
Since my workshop with Samantha daSilva
I've been working on my two canvases, adding layers of colour and texture...modeling paste, gloss gel media, glass bead gel, pages from an original copy of 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'
by Betty Smith (almost feels sacrilegious BUT it was falling apart), stencils that I created after being inspired by 'The Great Gatsby'
(FABULOUS movie...amazing visuals), a spray bottle, rollers, paint scrapers and a notched trowel (for applying adhesive for tiling walls). I love the hardware store for a variety of interesting tools.
It's an interesting process, no palette to clean (bonus) and a lot of area is certainly covered quickly. It's also been interesting to see the evolution of the work...so many steps, totally following intuition, a desire to incorporate symbols and images from the Art Deco period. A fascinating time of decadence and over-indulgence and also absolute poverty but, boy, the creativity.
Many years ago I was accepted into fashion design
in Toronto based on the designs I created for my portfolio, which were all inspired by the 1920's...sumptuous fabrics in simple styles, pin stripes and silk, clean lines. Instead I stopped in Manitoba for the summer and ended up married to a wonderful man shortly after...not such a bad trade. And I did continue my fine art studies being mentored by a professional artist through the Winnipeg Art Gallery
The words and images that keep coming to my mind while I work are those of the beauty of decay, archaeology, history, memory, evolution, erosion...time. Each layer is kind of frightening, especially when I really love a layer, but I know that as I keep pushing and pulling the paint and texture, the more interesting it will be.
I've been listening to 'The Great Gatsby' soundtrack as I work, both indoors and out (thanks to my daughter) and it is so hauntingly beautiful, just like the story and the movie. It feels like the paintings are beginning to feel. It's perfect.
So, here is my letter for Canadian Artists for the Poor
which will be up on Stephen Avenue for First Thursday Artwalk that begins this week and runs throughout the summer. I'm really excited to see the rest of the letters.
It was so much fun to create this little project (it measures 11x14 inches) and was the impetus for the Jr Artist
workshop I taught the kids at the library. I'm so glad the kids enjoyed the class so much. It looks like I may be teaching an adult class on this technique as well, though we'll be working on large canvases. I'll let you know once I know more.
This week has been all about working on a commission as well as painting my cabinets. Now I realize why I have avoided this task for a couple of years...painting cabinets is a ton of work! But I'm down to the last quarter now, though I will still have to finish waxing the entire thing.
And the sun is shining...I think I'll bring a drop cloth out and focus on working on my canvases...and so the cabinets will wait yet another day. Oh well, it's supposed to rain (again) this weekend...
I spent my Saturday at the PAINTING BIG, PAINTING FEARLESS
workshop led by Samantha daSilva
at the Calgary School of Art
and it was fabulous. So out of my element, working only with a roller and squeezing paint directly onto my canvas. The bottom two canvases (and detail photos) are the pieces I worked on, both measuring 36x48 inches and though I'm not certain if they are done or just in progress, I do know that they will remain abstract.
It was fun layering colour and texture, playing with modeling paste and glass bead gel media. Sam has such an interesting process that it was as much fun to watch as to try. And she was such a lovely teacher, sharing her technique while encouraging everyone to experiment and play. Definitely recommend a workshop by her.