Shortly after my father passed away, I was going through old family photographs when I began to wonder how I could honour those women who came before us. The idea of remembering what our grandmothers have done, often without recognition, inspired me to begin creating a body of work consisting of weekly portrait paintings based on photographs and stories that have been shared with me.
My goal was to include our ancestors and to share their stories in order to share the challenges and successes of these women. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit worldwide during this process, I found 'The Grandmothers' project to be even more important. So many of these women had survived world wars, droughts, poverty, violence and illness. They were uprooted from their families and still found a way to support and encourage their children and grandchildren.
Each day I entered my studio, I was encouraged by the faces and stories of these women. With this project I wanted to honour the women who have made a difference in the lives of their families, through their portraits and their stories and memories of their sacrifices and how they overcame many challenges. They give me hope.
'The Grandmothers' book is now available for preview and purchase online via Blurb Books here.
About 1 1/2 years ago I started another altered book, this book was titled 'Worthy' and, though I loved the title, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. I started by gathering together all my materials...rubber stamps, lace, ribbons, hole punches, magazine clippings, photographs, paint swatches, small envelopes and gouache paint. After gluing things throughout the book, I began removing pages where it was too thick, and adding pages where I felt something was needed. I kept gluing and cutting and painting until it began to come together. Over the Christmas holiday, as I was cleaning out my studio, I decided to keep the book on my drafting table so that I would continue to work on it. And it is finally finished! It makes me really happy to flip through the pages, so I know it's perfect for me.
For awhile I've been preparing these canvases for a new project...actually two parts of a new project. The first stack will be 'Extraordinary Women: Part I' and the second 'Extraordinary Women: Part II'. When I was interviewed about 'The Grandmothers' project recently, I was asked what was next...I kind of fumbled an answer so I think I'll wait a couple of weeks before I begin, I need the break in any case, plus I have an exam to prepare for (math...yikes!). Anyway, since I had these canvases set aside for art classes in schools that didn't happen this year, I've decided that Part I will consist of 18-7x14 canvases and Part II 14-8x10, so 32 canvases in all, not quite the 52 or 100 that I've been leaning towards in the past. The other thing that is different this year is that my focus will be on using non-toxic professional grade oil pigments which I will be mixing myself. That is very exciting to me. So, it will be a year of experimentation and a big shift in my way of working. A little nervous, but mostly excited.
Several people have asked about the purchase of 'The Grandmothers' paintings. Since our current circumstances are still a bit of a challenge, the date for the exhibit hasn't been set yet, so those who are interested in purchasing a painting may at this time. Each piece is painted on 8x10 gallery depth canvas and will come with their story and are listed at $275 each. If you would like more information, please email me at any time here.
Over the past few months I chose to work on an abstract series of gallery depth canvases in order to ground myself in these turbulent times. Each mixed media painting was inspired by the colours of the sky and graffiti on the streets and a variety of music, as I believe that nature and the arts are extremely important, especially now. My goal was to create work that could be hung in any direction and that pieces would complement each other so that they could also be displayed together (like a quilt or a puzzle), allowing the viewer to be part of the creative process. I have decided to focus on small works so would like to find these canvases new homes. You are welcome to use them as a base for new works and I am also open to adding an image to a canvas as well (ie. canoe, wildflower, tipi...see my portfolio for ideas). I can safely deliver to a doorstep within the Calgary region (and, eventually, the Lethbridge region) otherwise shipping charges will added and, as always, would be happy to donate pieces to support special causes. The available works are shown on my SALE page and sizes are listed in inches (click on each image to enlarge). If there are any questions, please do contact me via email here.
Huge gratitude to Scott Strasser of the Airdrie CityView for another lovely article on 'The Grandmothers' project. If you are interested in reading it, please visit the article online here.
I started keeping an annual journal in 2005 and in 2008 I began selecting a word to set my focus or tone for the year ahead, rather than setting resolutions (I'm not so good at keeping those). I thought that after the year that has just passed, I wanted to be sure to select something gentle. Here's to a much kinder year ahead.
If you want to learn more about selecting a Word-of-the-Year, please visit Christine Kane's website here, where I first read of the practice, though I have since learned that it began in Germany as 'Wort des Jahres'. You can also read more about my previous words here.
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +