Fashion...pursuing a life that is not about appearance but self-empowerment.
Living so close to the Rocky Mountains often means unexpected weather and this month began with a bang...which means lots and lots of snow. It's a mess getting out and about but so very beautiful looking out my studio window. I have to say that this season certainly motivates me creatively, not that I struggle to be creative, but it almost forces me to stay in the studio...in a good way. I mentioned recently that I am thinking of painting whatever tickles my fancy rather than working in series but now that I've begun painting these 'Fashion Plates' (hmmmm....a new series title?) I am so excited.
I have always loved the idea of personal style and fashion as a form of self-expression. I don't believe it's vanity at all but a way to increase self-confidence and develop your own way of being in the world. It's comfort and beauty and luxury and simplicity, really a personal art form that we each get to carry around with us.
Back in my art college days I had applied to study fashion design in Toronto. Needless to say, I stopped in Manitoba on my way and began dating this really cute guy - we're still dating 30+ years on :) - and I never ended up going further east. Over time we ended up back in Alberta and I've continued to study visual arts but am still living my dream through my daughter who designs and sews and is currently studying Fashion Technology. Because of her great love, I get a lot of opportunity to photograph her creations which seems to have my creative juices flowing. Win-win.
On October 5 I will be speaking about inspiration & process and sharing pieces from the Nasty Women project at the Forest Lawn Library in Calgary. The event is open to everyone and will be held from 1-2:30 pm. I hope you can join me.
After a lot of thought and many years I have decided to reopen my Etsy shop online. So often I'm asked where my work is available and it can sometimes feel difficult to connect with a gallery so I'm happy to share that the final 12 paintings from my 52 WEEKS::Totem Animals (7x14 inches on standard canvas) and 52 WEEKS::Wildflowers (8x10 inches) are now available at a 75% discount. Shipping is included. If there are any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
This weekend was really, really lovely as we enjoyed delicious soup and live music at the Airdrie Food Bank's annual Empty Bowls fundraiser. My bowl featured Airdrie's grain elevators which I am still sad are no longer here. There is something so beautiful and majestic about old elevators.
We also headed to Beakerhead at Fort Calgary as our daughter, fashion designer Katherine Funk had a dress again in this year's MakeFashion show which showcases wearable technology. Her dress is titled 'Breathe':
My dress is called Breathe, and features a switch at the waist which changes the colours of the skirt. It was made to help with mental illnesses- the colour of the lights in the skirt indicate how the wearer feels. This makes sure that the people around them know what to do when they are having a bad day.
It was wonderful to visit with so many people I adore in my community but I am totally peopled out. That's always the challenge about being introverted...I love people but spending too much time with others, especially being away from my studio, is draining for me. It didn't help that I've been battling a terrible head cold. Thankfully everything is on the mend.
This year my submission for the Alberta Society of Artists 100@100 fundraiser is a white lily...and I couldn't resist adding two bees, too. I had fun creating the patterned base and then no idea what I wanted to paint on top of it. I went through old reference photos I had and was drawn to the photos of a bouquet that my daughter's beau had given me sometime ago. I love lilies, especially white ones, so on it went. Then I left it to dry in my studio where I noticed an open mixed media sketchbook. There were two bees I had drawn in ink and initially I was going to paint them directly to the wood panel but decided to cut them out and adhere them directly with gel media instead. They were nice in black and white on the panel but I love the colours of bees so I added paint and I love how it turned out. To purchase, please contact the Alberta Society of Artists.
Growing up I struggled with low self esteem. I was small and pale and wore glasses when they weren't fashionable. In a time when mental health wasn't discussed, I felt that the upheaval in our house was my fault. As a young girl I was painfully shy, extremely introverted and tried so hard to make things better but couldn't.
When I was in college I was approached to model on numerous occasions. I thought this would make me feel better about myself but it didn't. It wasn't until I had my own children and began to research mental illness and alcoholism that I began to understand the importance of setting personal boundaries. I learned that you cannot help someone who doesn't help themselves first.
As I grew older, I was very fortunate to be surrounded by teachers who believed in my creative abilities and they helped me believe in myself. They taught me to work hard and trust my instincts. The more I embrace that, the happier I am.
Now my daughters are grown and they recognize when they need help and get it. They also trust that they are doing what they were meant to do and work hard to achieve their dreams. I am so proud of them.
I'm always amazed how a frame around a painted panel elevates the painting. And different frames definitely make the painting feel very differently. I'm always torn about framing versus not framing as I do love gallery depth canvases unframed but, especially with these smaller pieces, I kind of like the frames. I do tend to leave the framing options open to the eventual owner, and also like a variety, from rough hewn wood (like this one) to contemporary white or simple natural wood floater frames. That's the beauty of selecting something personally, like adding jewellery to an outfit.
I've begun working on larger paintings based on the 5x7 plein air miniatures I painted this summer. It's a good challenge, but certainly a challenge. It can be difficult retaining the fresh brush strokes that are prevalent in small works that are created quickly. Plus it certainly feels different working on location versus my studio. There is light and colour that you see in person that you might not remember, especially after some time has passed. I'm excited about this body of work, though, which is a lovely thing.
It's that time of the year where I'm beginning to prepare for workshops and paint nights at Bert Church Theatre for the season. One I'm really excited for is the Hedwig paint night for families which is inspired by Harry Potter. To learn more or to register, please visit Bert Church Theatre online here.
I have two pieces of exciting news...the first is that I'm creating another panel for this year's Alberta Society of Artists (ASA) 100@100 fundraiser. Though I don't know quite where I'm heading with this one yet, I do have some juicy ideas floating around in my head.
And the second is that I'm now officially a Board Member for the ASA. I have long admired the association and their membership and am honoured to have been invited to contribute in this way. I know I said I was going to remain off committees for awhile, but I just am so passionate about advocating for the arts that I just can't help myself.
AIRdirondack Art Project