Living with Art
I highly recommend a visit to The Altered Page by Seth Apter because (in his words):
When we see art posted on the blogs from our community, by far the majority of times it is a cropped picture of a particular piece. We don't often get to see pictures of the art in the space where we actually live. Hanging art. Art on the walls. Art over the couch. Art leaning on the bookcase shelves.
I want to see and show art in real life settings: what Living with Art really means. And this is where you come in. Join me for a quick and easy online project. The brief is simple. I will post on my blog your pictures of art that is actually displayed in your space. It can be your own art or art that you have collected. Or both. Zoom out and show some of your surroundings. Every Thursday, beginning next week on February 12th, I am planning to put up weekly posts that include a group of these images. Along with the image I post, I will include your name and a link to one of your online sites.
If you are interested in joining, no need to officially sign up. Simply email me your pic and one link. If you chose to send more than one image, I will chose one to post.
Send it in as soon as you like, or wait a while. I have enough submissions to last for some time. Please feel free to grab the Living with Art icon and spread the word. Everybody is invited to play.
P.S. It's always great to visit Seth's blog, but this post is kind of special for me as I'm also included here. :)
Thankful Thursday::j for jam
Today I am thankful for homemade jam...well, actually home canning which is something I enjoy doing each fall. Many years ago we lived on an acreage with a massive garden and my husband's elderly uncle shared many tips with me. Even though my city garden is much, much smaller I still enjoy canning to this day. Without fail I like canning dill & bread + butter pickles, tomatoes, salsa, apple butter & juice, and of course, jam...made with blueberries, choke cherries, sand cherries, rhubarb and crabapples from our garden.
When I'm working in my studio sometimes when I'm experimenting with acrylic inks, spray paint, and layering of pattern and colour I feel a bit like a mad scientist. In that vein I've been working with transparent or translucent colours more often these days. I love how the colours allow the patterns underneath to show, even the colours to a certain extent, and how they bring a canvas together. And they blend together beautifully mixing well with water and leaving vibrant stain on my canvas. Plus when you add Titanium white you can create an entirely beautiful, opaque new colour. My favorite Liquitex heavy body paints are Pthalocyanine Blue, Alizarin Crimson (these two have been in my paintbox for years), Dioxazine Purple, Green Gold, Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold (this one's a Golden product), Pthalocyanine Green (these I began using a few years ago), Quinacridone Magenta, and Quinacridone Red-Orange (the newest additions to my repertoire).
I've also begun playing with pearl-type colours with a sheen to them and the next acquisition may be iridescent white. It's interesting to me as I used to be absolutely married to the three primary colours (my favorites were Cadmium Red Medium, Cadmium Yellow Medium and Ultramarine Blue as they are the closest to true primaries) along with Titamium White and now my palette has grown exponentially. If a favorite isn't immediately available then I'll grab something new to try out. It's been fun, to say the least, and though not necessarily always initially successful, I eventually find a way to add it to my work. My dream is to receive a gift of all 100 colours of heavy body paint created by Liquitex...along with two dozen large gallery canvases in varying sizes...ahhhhhh, that would be lovely.
A Work of Art
Several years ago I had the great privilege of contributing to another Mural Mosaic project, this time to celebrate the Centennial of Mount Royal University and I've recently received this wonderful book that commemorates the project. One of my pleasures as an artist is working in collaboration with other artists and working on this project was such a joy. My painting honours the friendships that are made as a young adult pursuing further education and I remember those days well. If not for the support of my friends in college I wouldn't have been as comfortable or as confident in my studies...and I don't think I would have pushed myself as hard to try new media and subject matter, to experiment. I think of those days and those people fondly and often and am grateful that many are still in my life today after so many years.
52 WEEKS::Red Columbine - SOLD
Columbines have been one of the first wildflowers that I tend to plant in my garden upon moving into a new home as they are low maintenance and so pretty, like fairy flowers. Their Latin name, aquilegia, has been attributed to 'aquila' for eagle as their petals resemble an eagle's talons or 'aqua' for water as the nectar gathers in droplets at the end of the spurs. Columbine comes from the Latin 'colmbina' meaning dove-like as the flower also resembles a cluster of doves. They are also known as Granny Bonnets and their nectar is gratefully gathered by bees and butterflies.
Though the seeds and roots are toxic, the flower petals are sweet and considered safe if used in small quantities, however Native Americans traditionally used small amounts of the root to treat ulcers. Medical use of the plant is not advised due to its high toxicity,
Working in Three's
I have been working on this series of three paintings for several months now and though initially I was going to create one large vista, in the end I thought it would be nice to create three images that would work together like a triptych but would also work individually. I like to think that this way I get to work in collaboration with the people who live with my paintings.
Often when I work on a larger scale (the three together measure 40x90 inches) I tend to paint several other pieces at the same time, both small and large including my current 52 WEEKS::Wildflowers series and Aa to Zz Gratitude. This helps me to work through challenges and keeps my creativity flowing even when I feel blocked.
The funny thing is that even though I completed the central panel first, it was the last to get a title. The painting on the left, Mother Earth, was named the moment I returned from a day in the Rockies and immediately added forest and mountains to it; the one on the right kept me thinking of a medicine wheel with its four rings of colour and four swallows but I've already named a piece Medicine Wheel so this became Four Directions. And finally, weeks after completing Dreams + Shadows, the title came to me while wandering through a book shop. That often happens.
Thankful Thursday::i for ice cream
For this week's Thankful Thursday I was initially going to paint insects...you know, the ones that are good for the garden (and the soul) like lady bugs, bees, spiders and butterflies. But, my daughter and I have been enjoying evening ice cream with the beautiful weather we've been experiencing this winter so I had to go for the ice cream. My family always had a five gallon pail of decadent, creamy, rich vanilla ice cream in the freezer when I was growing up (they are German and love their cream), and I remember making homemade ice cream on the docks when we camped along the river in the summertime. And though we opt for a smaller container of vanilla bean yogurt ice cream, it's still a treat we keep in the house all year long.
I began following Doris McCarthy's work about 15 years ago and though she was often compared to Lawren Harris (which she absolutely hated) it was her independence, confidence and pluck that really inspired me. She lived to be a hundred (she passed away in 2010) and even though she taught throughout her career, she was so productive throughout her life. She claimed it was the porridge, apple and happy hour every day that kept her young.
I've read all of her autobiographies and watched a documentary about her life several times and am still in awe of her. She loved to paint large, as I do, and once was approached by a gentleman to create a series of larger works which he promised to sell, and he did. And I love the simplicity of her work, large forms and glowing, vibrant colour. She was born in Calgary, a tiny woman who physically built her own home in Scarborough with the occasional assistance of her friends. I love that, too.
What a Night!
The Mayor's Night of the Arts was such a fantastic event and I'm so grateful I was able to celebrate with my husband and my eldest daughter who was also honoured to be a nominee. Though it was kind of strange to be a guest instead of helping coordinate the evening, it was such an honour to receive my award from Mayor Peter Brown and Mona Bartsoff of FortisAlberta. There were so many fantastic performances including the Alberta Ballet, international guitarist and Juno award winner Alberto San Martin, rap by Lyka Fox along with jazz by Johnny Summers and the Calgary Jazz Orchestra. And the company I was included in was amazing. I really am a lucky gal.
52 WEEKS::Labrador Tea - SOLD
First of all...Saturday night at the Mayor's Night of the Arts was amazing! The entertainment ranged from international guitar, ballet and theatre to hip hop that transitioned into jazz...wow! The food and champagne were so delicious and beautifully presented. And I had the honour of receiving the Professional Artist Award which was ever so humbling. I felt like I was in a daze the entire evening and was so happy to celebrate with so many people I think the world of...once I get some photos I'll be sure to share. I think this is what an Oscar party must feel like ;)
When I was a young girl in the north when we went canoeing and camping along the Churchill River we would gather the leaves of Labrador tea to steep into a nice hot weak drink. The leaves and flowers can be used both fresh and dried and are rich in vitamin C but can cause drowsiness and act as a diuretic The tea was often used for colds, asthma and chest ailments and steeped leaves for skin irritations and injury. In larger doses it can be very toxic. Because they are very aromatic, the leaves are often used in barns and houses to drive away mice and fleas. Germans used to add it to their beer to make it more intoxicating. It was also known as Hudson's Bay or Indian tea and highly regarded as a food source by caribou and moose.