Please join me as I share my experiences with rejection, fear, and the love/hate relationship
with the work of being an artist
on Laura C George's blog here.
In May I had the privilege of working with almost 250 students and, because of their interesting projects, I decided to create a type of puzzle painting. My crow was inspired by the view outside the window and I kept thinking of each of these pieces as a separate abstract work but then, as they come together the work becomes a collaboration of sorts to become a whole new painting.
I keep thinking about creating this project on a larger scale and wonder if it would work as well. In any case, these are created from 9-4x4 inch canvases and I really like how they have turned out. To read a bit about the collaboration during Convergence (a Beakerhead inspired event) visit here and here.
I'm often asked which art supplies I like to use and I have to say, without a doubt, almost anything by Liquitex. I like that the colours are available as spray paints, heavy body acrylics and paint markers and I also like the sizes available (though I do wish they had half-sized spray paint cans). I use white, black and occasionally clear gesso, heavy body gel media, varnish, and fluid medium by Liquitex. As far as my colour palette, I tend to keep a selection of primary colours, a blue, red and yellow, as well as secondary colours, purple, orange and green, and then like to add other shades like crimson, turquoise, and lime. Occasionally I include umbers and ochres but I do tend to gravitate towards vibrant rather than earth tones. And I always, always have a tube or two of titanium white.
I've been slowly working on a new altered book, this time without any pre-planned ideas or themes, but rather a mix of collage, painting and quotes. I think that a theme will arise as I get closer to the end, but at this point I'm just responding to whatever strikes my interest. My process (or lack of it) goes something like this...rip out photos and write down quotes as I am drawn to them, draw/paint whatever I feel like, and put it all in this book. I feel like when this one's done, it will be a fairly good reflection of who I am.
The materials I'm using at this point are gesso (black this time), glue sticks, scissors, ribbons, magazine clippings, white paint pens and gouache. It's a bit of a messy process, but a fun one. The book, which is a tall and narrow and an interesting shape, came from an interesting little vintage shop one year while I was travelling and I knew that one day I would find a use for it.
Knapweed, which is also known as Star Thistle, Centaury and Basket Flower, is considered a noxious weed but the leaves and roots have been used medicinally for centuries. Honeybees are attracted to its abundant nectar and in some countries it has been used as an edible plant, though not in western cultures. In countries such as Turkey, Albania, Italy and Crete the leaves are boiled and fried in mixtures of a variety of greens.
Native Americans used a tea created from the plant to treat venomous bites, indigestion and eye infections. In the 14th Century it was used to treat sore throats and stimulate appetite as well as topically to heal wounds. More recently there has been research for possible use in cancer treatment..
"The story we are to live and write doesn't truly begin
until we face what we have lost
and then turn to see
the horizon of uncertainty ahead.
Our story will gain momentum and depth
only to the degree that we
honestly embrace both loss and fear."
~ Dan Allender
Lately I've been giving a lot of thought to all of the highlights of this creative career and there are many. The greatest, besides doing something creative every day and meeting incredible people, is the tremendous support of patrons, galleries and media. Some of the good memories I've had of late:
- my first opening at ArtSpace complete with champagne, Bernard Callebaut chocolate, music by TimTamashiro and his jazz trio and an interview with A-Channel.
- being invited to write a brief introduction for renowned Canadian artist Robert Genn's last book
- receiving the Tinyan Chan Award from the Federation of Canadian Artists
- publication in numerous magazines, books and other media
- painting 'Honouring the Ancestors' on a utility box in my community
- every time I'm asked to paint live...I love doing that
- being involved in the growith of arts and culture in Airdrie, beginning with the founding of the ARTS Society and Creative Airdrie, as well as my role as the Arts + Culture Coordinator of the Airdrie Public Library and now, speaking into a cultural policy with the City of Airdrie
- the AIRdirondack Art Project, ARTember, Main Street Project, Art-in-Motion, Artists' Alley and Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts
- and most recently, being the recipient of the Professional Artist Award at the inaugural Mayor's Night and the lovely article titled North of 56 and written by Sam Amos for Arabella Magazine
I am so pleased to share my work with Evanescence Gallery once again...it's a wonderful gallery in High River, Alberta, and always a lovely drive to visit. In spite of the hardships faced through the flood a few years ago, the residents and businesses have rallied to become even better than before. Not only is a terrific community, filled with arts and culture, but is also the home of Heartland on CBC television. My daughters and I have been watching that program since its inception and were fortunate to visit their Calgary set and see the actors a few years ago and while I was dropping off work at the gallery which is just across the street from 'Maggies' I watched a couple of scenes being filmed with 'Ty and Jack' and 'Georgie and Val'. And the gallery is beautiful, filled with the work of Alberta artists whom I admire greatly. I highly recommend a visit.
Often when I experience sleepless nights I like to head into my studio, but there are days, even though I have full intentions of painting, I reorganize and tidy instead of doing what I had intended. Maybe it's the change of season that causes much sleeplessness or just the autumnal need to get things in order. Finally tending to those things long neglected...mending, repairing, and replacing....though maybe it's the changing light that requires an entire studio rearrangement. Whatever it is, it feels good in spite of the lack of sleep..