So, I have now painted a second 3D printed lightsaber for the Airdrie Public Library. The 3D printer is so neat as the materials used are recyclable (corn based) and the printed items can be painted with either acrylics or oil paints. This life-sized lightsaber is printed in nine pieces (I believe) which were clicked together (though I did use gorilla glue on a few bits to keep them from moving). I began with a primer of black gesso then used layers of a white glaze (which I dry brushed), gold and silver paint, thin layers of raw umber, and sprayed deep red ink, then finally finishing with a coat of varnish. I love how these turn out. For anyone interested in having one printed is only $14 - for more information visit the website:http://www.airdriepubliclibrary.ca/content/3d-printing-apl.
By the way, the lovely brass bracelet was a gift to myself for my 50th birthday this weekend. It's the five deep breaths bracelet by Soul Mantras (http://www.soulmantras.com/) which I have been eyeing for some time. Because I tend to work until I'm exhausted (and these days in excruciating pain), seeing this on my wrist reminds me to slow down and take five deep breaths and relax my shoulders. The stone is a blue agate which symbolizes calm. It's already doing its job.
We paddle down the shore, along the bay
The rocks beside us - black and rose and gray,
Lichens bold, tattooed upon their sides,
Vestments bright, that yearly multiply.
The ice, sharp candles, with our paddles breaks,
Loons swim ahead, we follow in their wake,
Two dark sleek heads point onward, mark our path,
Their echoed calls seem mournful as they laugh.
Destination reached, we moor the boat,
To a twisted tree, leave it to float,
No waves to send it crashing on the shore,
We tramp uphill, through tea of Labrador.
Mosquitoes rise in the clouds, no incense here,
Whisper, it's been long since we've come near
To this lonesome graveyard long forgot,
Where weathered, tilted crosses yield to rot.
Forgotten graves, markers lean drunkenly,
Can scarce be seen amid the waves of green,
Dwarf willows reaching, tangle, slow our pace,
Though reverent movement seems right in this place.
The velvet barrow moss is deep and wide
A fitting cradle where the dead abide,
The spruces vaulted round them bow their heads,
In homage to these few eternal beds.
I wonder as we paddle back t'ward home
Whose loved ones lie beneath the mossy loam,
Do they visit still, or have they all
Faded out of time, beyond recall?
Looking back, the graveyard can't be seen,
It hides from view, within a swell of green,
Markers and crosses blurring, blending in,
No telling where one ends, or one begins.
~ Jen Atkin
I'm at the half-way mark on this year's 52 WEEKS project. After doing this previously (three times) and coming this far I thought it would be easier to follow through but I find this fourth time just as much of a challenge as the first. The first few pieces in the year have always been the most difficult...leaving me feeling out of my depth. The beginning is challenging until I have a few pieces behind me, and let me tell you, sharing the work publicly as I go is very, very hard. I judge each piece, questioning myself, the work, my choices of everything - colour, subject matter, execution. But, on the flip side, sharing the progress publicly seems to keep me committed. I feel bound to keep going, even if no one is watching. It's as though I have made a promise and it would be rude not to keep it. There is something to be said for this kind of responsibility as in the end it is so good for me and my artistic practice as become more confident as I go, even when the paintings don't become what I had envisioned.
Murder Mysteries have often been favorite summertime reads. I began reading Agatha Christie's crime novels when I was in Jr High School. After reading all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy novels in the library during my earlier years I couldn't wait to get my hands on more juicy detective novels. I also enjoyed watching Inspector Poirot mysteries with my mother and then with my children as well as Miss Marple and more recently Tommy and Tuppence. Though Agatha Christie initially struggled to have her work published, she is now considered to be one of the best selling authors of all time with her writing third most published, after the Bible and Shakespeare. Though she also wrote a few romances, it was the mysteries for which she became well-known. Her initial writing consisted of short stories that were all rejected by magazines, something that I find encouraging as they were all eventually published because she never gave up her passion for writing. During her writing career, she changed the ending of one novel at the Publisher's request and regretted it. She worked as an apothecary's assistant during the Second World War where she learned about the poisons that made their way into her stories. During the war she was also investigated by British Intelligence because a character in one of her novels was named Major Bletchley as they believed she may have been a spy focusing on their top-secret code breaking center. One of the things I learned about her in my youth was that she tried desperately to enjoy cigarettes, smoking one after lunch and dinner each day for six months but, thankfully, never enjoyed them.
I thought I'd share a little step-by-step of the portrait I'm working on for next week. I begin with a base of colour...using brayers, stamps, stencils, spray paint and my fingers to add layers of colour. At this point I don't really care if there is any kind of cohesive pattern or colour but just like it to be interesting.
This base is followed by the drawing of a portrait. I like to block in places of shadow and highlights kind of like a paint-by-number to make things easy for me as I don't want these paintings to be labour intensive but instead fresh and loose.
Next I add the shadows utilizing a translucent dark like pthalo blue, dioxazine purple, pthalo green, paynes grey, alizarin crimson or a mixture of two or three of these colours. In this case I mixed purple, blue and grey. I like to add the darks like I'm using watercolours, thinning the paint and working in layers in order to allow some of the background pattern and colour to show through.
The next step is to begin adding mid-tones. At this point I begin to incorporate titanium white, unbleached titanium, raw umber and a mix of any of the previous colours.
Then I begin to add highlights, including orange and or yellow along with napthol crimson to my previous palette. I will continue to add shadows and highlights until I am happy with the completed image. I also consider the background and how it reacts with the portrait. Sometimes I leave it as is as I like the contrast and at other times I will add either a translucent colour over the pattern like a glaze to create cohesiveness or an opaque colour to highlight the portrait. During the entire process I find that I enjoy the colours and patterns that make their way through the painting as I feel they add interest to the completed piece. This one will be ready to share on Monday. Have a terrific weekend!
This week my new carry-all pouch arrived from Society6 and I am so pleased with it! I chose the medium sized one which has two small pockets inside and it fits my small moleskine watercolour sketchbook along with either my watercolour kit or small tubes of acrylics (my favorite). This makes me so happy...I can't wait for summer holidays!
Recently I was wandering around a bookstore when I stumbled upon this great little book titled How to Be an Artist by JoAnneh Nagler. In it, the author writes about everything from the call to be creative to managing time, money and motivation. I've only just begun, but already love her advice to find the right job in order to pursue creativity - from one that doesn't involve the arts to one that does. She discusses being appreciative of the job opportunities that come our way in order to fund our creative endeavors. She speaks about working with 'good people', those people that make you happy and that you enjoy spending time with and I feel that this has always been important to me. Initially I worked as a bookkeeper (one job was filled with good people and, unfortunately the other wasn't), as an administrator and a manager in a variety of environments from a car dealership to a dental office to a school to a church (all good people) and in those roles I learned so much. I was taught phone etiquette, customer service, professional correspondence, website creation and business practices along with budgeting and government reporting. I also learned staff and time management both on the job and through courses offered by my employers. Now I have the great privilege of working as the Arts + Culture Coordinator for my public library and I get to incorporate everything I have learned with the arts....my favorite thing. Plus, I get to bring this all back to my personal career as an artist when writing artist statements and magazine articles, creating my website, and presenting my work to galleries. It's a great read already, very inspiring, and I highly recommend it.
July + August 2016
Two Calgary artists, Dave Nielsen and Craig Friesen, took eighteen panels of wood along with inspiration from a classic Greek myth and re-told the story of the First World War. A soldier travels overseas, facing many terrible ordeals and injury. He is cared for by a nurse until he finally returns home to his young family.
The two artists met when Friesen received his practicum placement with high school art teacher Nielsen and, despite a 20 year age difference, the two became fast friends. When they initially conceived this idea the plan was to complete six panels, which quickly became eighteen. They were both inspired by the artwork of German artist Max Beckman along with the imagery found in graphic novels.
Odysseus is the classic trickster-hero. His story is based on the traditional folktale of the homecoming husband. Odysseus and his 10-year journey home are archetypes, or a recurrent symbol or motif, and therefore are the basis for stories and myths told over the centuries. The basic story of Odysseus is a universal story of longing for and journeying home and thus can be reimagined for contemporary narratives.
These artists have taken symbols from the Greek story and shown them as a single propeller aircraft, bored and apathetic soldiers, bombed out cathedrals of Europe, poison gas, no-man’s land between enemy lines and a tank. Visually, the panels reference both comic book panels and war time propaganda posters, infusing the story of Odysseus with many levels of meaning.
Anais Nin was a writer who was born in France of Cuban parents who were musicians but she lived most of her life in the United States. Her writing consisted mainly of critical essays, novels and erotica, though her personal journals span more than sixty years of her life and were considered her most important work. As a young woman she modelled and trained as a Flamenco dancer, had relationships with many men of note during her lifetime and had the most beautiful outlook on life in spite of a childhood of abuse. Above all throughout my teenage years it was her words that buoyed me...her quotes are inspiring and empowering - Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country...People living deeply have no fear of death...Dreams are necessary to life...Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
This week has been filled with some challenges - I received sad news, my computer crashed, I had a difficult situation to deal with and as the week progressed so did my shoulder pain. Thankfully, most of the challenges have been dealt with and today the sun is shining. Plus, I received the travel mug from Society6 that features my painting 'Autumn's Song' and I love it! So, today will be a day of rest and a time to focus on the good stuff...and, of course, that includes painting. I know it will be a good day. **Travel mug available online at https://society6.com/veronicafunk