For some time I have been looking for a better alternative for spray paint as I do love to use it in my work. When I was bringing work to the Evanescence Gallery in High River earlier this week, I stumbled upon 'Sugar' which is a low VOC, vibrant, UV resistant paint that is made from sugar cane. The colours are gorgeous and I cannot wait to try it out! By the way, I will be painting at the gallery on March 3 for First Friday at 7pm if you'd like to join me. No spray painting that day as I'll be indoors but it will still be fun complete with a variety of beautiful art. great company and delicious refreshments.
Oskar Schell, is an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm.
The piece I've been struggling with has been good to me this past week. I found the most glorious stencil while I was out browsing art supplies and decided to add texture to the painting with gloss gel medium and I've been having fun adding patterns and contrasting colour. As I've struggled through this one, this Biblical verse kept cropping into my thoughts. Not only because I've been toiling with this particular piece, but with things in my personal life as well. There are those times in life when I know without a doubt that I must make a change and yet I fight it. I end up struggling with things instead of trusting myself and allowing the best to take place. Worry is definitely my biggest challenge and I wonder if it contributes to my shoulder pain. Anyway, lilies are my favorite flower and I suppose it might be for a reason...to keep reminding me to stop toiling. I'm thankful for the gift of these flowers that have been showing up in my work of late. And thankful for all the great suggestions in my struggle with this painting...it's funny how those same thoughts were in my own mind but it was good to have them clarified in writing.
I am really looking forward to an upcoming paint night at the library. It's going to be a fun evening of painting, even if someone has never picked up a paint brush before, and delicious refreshments. I love that painting events like this can introduce people to something they've never tried or necessarily been comfortable with before but, with a few tips and tricks, they can create a piece that is actually recognizable. And it's also a fundraiser for the Airdrie Public Library, which is always a great cause. :)
I have been enjoying the printmaking process immensely so I decided to create some cards...just for fun. And it really is fun. I love handmade everything and try to pick up art cards as often as possible. I've really been enjoying the SpeedyCarve rubber blocks because they're quick and easy on my shoulder and because I loved teaching the printmaking workshop at the library, I've been playing with it some more. Since I'm not a perfectionist (when it comes to art in any case), I like the flaws, even the fingerprints I leave behind when I pull prints. The odd little cuts and errors I make on the carving reminds me of the days of old, when things weren't thrown away, but instead used as is. I remember carving wood block prints many, many years ago and being disappointed because they weren't perfect, and now, I just have fun. That's my goal whenever I teach a class, is to encourage fun as I believe that is where we find ourselves. And the investment to begin block printing is quite minimal...just need a block, carving tool, ink, and a brayer (roller) which are all available in a kit from Speedball (online or through arts and crafts stores). Just keep in mind that everything you do prints backwards so certain images and any letters need to be reversed.
So, I have finally created a book of the second 52 WEEKS::Gratitude project I painted and I'm really happy with this one. It's a bit different than my previous books as I didn't really write anything in this one but rather used the art journal pages in their entirety as the entire book - you can preview the book online here. It's so great to have all the projects kind of immortalized in this way. Unfortunately this copy had a printing error on the back cover, but, fortunately, that means I have a copy to give away. If you're interested, please leave a comment here or on social media (instagram, facebook, twitter), or email.
It begins in 1952. Ten-year-old Abdullah and his younger sister, Pari, are everything to each other. What happens to them, at the despairing hand of their father, will test the unshakable bonds of family and irrevocably change not just their own lives, but those of multiple generations. The novel explores how families nurture, wound, betray, honour and sacrifice one another; and how often we are surprised about the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most.
I've been working on this 3x4 foot lily...well, struggling with it actually...and am absolutely uncertain as to it's direction. Parts of it I absolutely love, which I think might be my biggest challenge. I don't want to screw it up. From experience I know that treating my paintings like they are too precious can be my downfall as I am loathe to push boundaries and experiment, which results in fear which leads to an impasse...I always think it must be a bit like writers' block. Intellectually I know that I need to push some more darks and lights but, oh my goodness, this is difficult! Maybe I should set it aside, turn it around, and stop thinking about it for awhile. We'll see how that goes.
Playing with printmaking of late has been very interesting. The lino block on the right has been a challenge to carve, requiring a heat gun and extra strength. At the same time, it takes nice fine details well but printing it definitely requires more effort. Each flaw in the block is visible in the print, but in this case, it actually adds to the character of the image as the flaws look like stars. The Speedy Carve print on the left was created as a sample during my printmaking workshop at the library and took minutes. In fact, I didn't even finish it but someone needed my carving tool and I quite like the effect. The print is cleaner, too, and I only used my hands to press the paper to my block after quickly rolling a brayer of colour over the block. After this little experiment, I think I'll probably stick to the rubber carving blocks because they're quick, fun, and much easier on my shoulder though I think I may just hang the lino block as a piece of art in itself.
The last week began very stressfully in our household and ended on an amazingly high note. My eldest daughter has begun to receive incredible reviews while in her final education practicum after also recently completing her Bachelor of Arts degree. I overcame a few major challenges at work and then got an 'A' in my third year University English program. And, the best of all, my youngest finished a difficult semester in her final year of high school and then received the Qualico Youth Artist Award at the Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts. She has worked very hard on improving her skills in fibre arts for many years, culminating with the creation of her own course of sorts in high school where she created a beautiful 18th Century gown. She was absolutely shocked to receive this award and we are so very proud of her....of both our daughters. I just dream that they continue to pursue their passions.