I remember a time when a blank surface intimidated me...nice, bright, shiny and clean. Once I learned to tone the surface I began having so much fun just throwing on colour and pattern, and this past year I've been having fun spray painting and stencilling, too. These days, though, I seem to get stuck at details. I sometimes spend days mulling over the finishing touches, wondering if I need to add more pattern or more colour or tone things back down. I love to draw so some of my favorite newer tools have been paint pens (particularly white). I picked up this Liquitex paint pen about a year ago though I kept returning to the inexpensive paint pens I picked up at Walmart but the other day my other pens had run out so I grabbed this one again, and to my surprise it worked like a charm even though it has been neglected for months. I still haven't found the absolute perfect acrylic paint pen that is absolutely opaque and free-flowing for ease of use, but I have to say that Liquitex has won me over once again.
Kinnikinnick (also known as Bearberry) is a clustered pale pink flower that bears dull red fruit that resemble a bunch of grapes. They are highly appreciated by bears and birds. Though they do tend to be a bit dry and mealy for people, the berries are edible and can be prepared in a variety of ways such as a tea or a spread. The common name is believed to be of Algonquin origin meaning 'something to smoke' as the leaves were often dried and used as tobacco.
...from Irwin Greenberg:
1. Paint every day.
2. Paint until you feel physical strain. Take a break and then paint some more.
4. When at an impasse, look at the work of masters.
5. Buy the best materials you can afford.
6. Let your enthusiasm show.
7. Find a way to support yourself.
8. Be your own toughest critic.
9. Develop a sense of humor about yourself.
10. Develop the habit of work. Start early every day. When you take a break, don’t eat. Instead, drink a glass of water.
11. Don’t settle for yourself at a mediocre level.
12. Don’t allow yourself to be crushed by failure. Rembrandt had failures. Success grows from failure.
13. Be a brother (or sister) to all struggling artists.
14. Keep it simple.
15. Know your art equipment and take care of it.
16. Have a set of materials ready wherever you go.
17. Always be on time for work, class, and appointments.
18. Meet deadlines. Be better than your word.
19. Find a mate who is really a mate.
20. Don’t be envious of anyone who is more talented than you. Be the best you can be.
21. Prizes are nice, but the real competition is with yesterday’s performance.
22. Give yourself room to fail and fight like hell to achieve.
23. Go to sleep thinking about what you’re going to do first thing tomorrow.
24. Analyze the work of great painters. Study how they emphasize and subordinate.
25. Find out the fewest material things you need to live.
26. Remember: Michelangelo was once a helpless baby. Great works are the result of heroic struggle.
27. There are no worthwhile tricks in art; find the answer.
28. Throw yourself into each painting heart and soul.
29. Commit yourself to a life in art.
30. No struggle, no progress.
31. Do rather than don’t.
32. Don’t say “I haven’t the time.” You have as much time everyday as the great masters.
33. Read. Be conversant with the great ideas.
34. No matter what you do for a living, nurture your art.
35. Ask. Be hungry to learn.
36. You are always the student in a one-person art school. You are also the teacher of that class.
37. Find the artists who are on your wavelength and constantly increase that list.
38. Take pride in your work.
39. Take pride in yourself.
40. No one is a better authority on your feelings than you are.
41. When painting, always keep in mind what your picture is about.
42. Be organized.
43. When you’re in trouble, study the lives of those who’ve done great things.
44. “Poor me” is no help at all.
45. Look for what you can learn from the great painters, not what’s wrong with them.
46. Look. Really look.
47. Overcome errors in observing by exaggerating the opposite.
48. Critics are painters who flunked out.
49. Stay away from put-down artists.
50. If you’re at a loss for what to do next, do a self-portrait.
51. Never say “I can’t.” It closes the door to potential development.
52. Be ingenious. Howard Pyle got his start in illustration by illustrating his own stories.
53. All doors open to a hard push.
54. If art is hard, it’s because you’re struggling to go beyond what you know you can do.
55. Draw everywhere and all the time. An artist is a sketchbook with a person attached.
56. There is art in any endeavor done well.
57. If you’ve been able to put a personal response into your work, others will feel it and they will be your audience.
58. Money is O.K., but it isn’t what life is about.
59. Spend less than you earn.
60. Be modest; be self-critical, but aim for the highest.
61. Don’t hoard your knowledge, share it.
62. Try things against your grain to find out just what your grain really is.
63. Inspiration doesn’t come when you are idle. It comes when you have steeped yourself in work.
64. Habit is more powerful than will. If you get in the habit of painting every day, nothing will keep you from painting.
65. There are three ways to learn art: Study life, people, and nature. Study the great painters. Paint.
66. Remember, Rembrandt wasn’t perfect. He had to fight mediocrity.
67. Don’t call yourself an artist. Let others name you that. “Artist” is a title of great weight.
68. Be humble; learn from everybody.
69. Paintings that you work hardest at are the ones you learn the most from, and are often your favorites.
70. Read values relatively. Find the lightest light and compare all other light values to it. Do the same with the darks.
71. Grit and guts are the magic ingredients to your success.
72. Let your picture welcome the viewer.
73. Add new painters to your list of favorites all the time.
74. Study artists who are dealing with the same problems that you’re trying to solve.
75. Have a positive mindset when showing your work to galleries.
76. Don’t look for gimmicks to give your work style. You might be stuck with them for life. Or, worse yet, you might have to change your “style” every few years.
77. If what you have to say is from your deepest feelings, you’ll find an audience that responds.
78. Try to end a day’s work on a picture knowing how to proceed the next day.
79. Don’t envy others’ success. Be generous-spirited and congratulate whole-heartedly.
80. Your own standards have to be higher and more scrupulous than those of critics.
81. Howard Pyle said, “Throw your heart into a picture and jump in after it.”
82. Vermeer found a life’s work in the corner of a room.
83. Rembrandt was always clear about what is most important in a picture.
84. If, after study, the work of an artist remains obscure, the fault may not be yours.
85. Critics don’t matter. Who cares about Michelangelo’s critics?
86. Structure your day so you have time for painting, reading, exercising and resting.
87. Aim high, beyond your capacity.
88. Try not to finish too fast.
89. Take the theory of the “last inch” that holds as you approach the end of a painting, you must gather all your resources for the finish.
90. Build your painting solidly, working from big planes to small.
91. See the planes of light as shapes, the planes of shadows as shapes. Squint your eyes and find the big, fluent shapes.
92. Notice how, in a portrait, Rembrandt reduces the modeling of clothes to the essentials, emphasizing the head and the hands.
93. For all his artistic skill, what’s most important about Rembrandt is his deep compassion.
94. To emphasize something means that the other parts of a picture must be muted.
95. When painting outdoors, sit on your hands and look before starting.
96. When composing a picture, do many thumbnails, rejecting the obvious ones.
97. Study how Rembrandt creates flow of tone.
98. If you teach, teach the individual. Find out when he or she is having trouble and help at that point.
99. Painting is a practical art, using real materials—paints, brushes, canvas, and paper. Part of the practicality of it is earning a living in art.
100. Finally, don’t be an art snob. Most painters I know teach, do illustrations, or work in an art-related field. Survival is the game.
When the girls were little we used to pack a picnic lunch and head out for drives. A favorite trip was to head south and stop in at quaint little towns, Nanton, Alberta being one of them. To this day, we love to visit the antique shops in the old hardware store. It has a very interesting history:
The building itself, steeped in area history, is reason enough to stop by. Built in 1909 as a hardware store by Charles Marshall, the upper storey served Nanton as a meeting and social hall for local lodges and other groups. Purchased in1935 by William S. Keeley, who expanded the stores range of goods and converted the top floor into apartments, the newly-renamed Keeley Building soon found itself pressed into wartime service as a residence for officers assigned to the nearby aircrew training base.
The discipline of creation,
Inspired by Tibetan Prayer Flags and wanting to celebrate my chosen Word-of-the-Year over the last four years I decided to create this Word-of-the-Year banner to hang in my studio (and in the garden this summer). It was a simple and fun project that took a few hours (mostly drying time).
A few favorite acrylic paint colours + white**
White acrylic paint pen and/or small paintbrush (you can also use chalk to sketch out your word)
Palette & water dish (a plate or plastic container works well)
Ribbons, twine, embroidery floss or yarn
A piece of raw canvas or heavier muslin (my piece measures approximately 14x16 inches)
**I tend to be drawn to acrylic paints that are transparent and highly staining: pthalo blue, alizarin crimson, magenta, dioxazine purple...they all mix beautifully with titanium white...and often use lime greens & turquoise
Once I have my supplies gathered, I just have fun squeezing some spots of colour onto the raw canvas and using quite a bit of water on my paintbrush I spread colour randomly around the canvas. I also thinned out alizarin crimson with water and placed it into a spray bottle (in this case a recycled old body spray bottle) and sprayed through stencils that were placed randomly around the canvas. I use both stencil I have purchased and also created myself, using both the positive and negative shapes of the stencils (the pieces I cut out as well as the stencil itself).
Mixing white with some of my colours and using my palette knife I spread it through the stencils. I flip the stencils over and wipe them onto the canvas, as well as wiping off my palette knife onto the canvas because I like the layered and worn look.
Because I like the ragged edge of prayer flags I only make a small cut and then tear the fabric into sections. I don't measure, instead fold the fabric to where I think it looks good. Approximately in half lengthwise and then in thirds to create six pieces altogether.
Once I'm ready to create my word, I search for a free font program (like Dafont or Urban Font) and type in my word, looking for a font that appeals and that somehow reflects the word for me. At this point, I use my paint pen to transfer a reasonable facsimile to my banner. I'm not concerned if it isn't perfect, just like the rest of the banner, I find beauty in imperfection. If the paint pen doesn't seem bright or opaque enough I will go over it again once it is dry with paint and a small brush.
Finally, I cut small slits into the top right and left hand corners of each flag and string them onto a ribbon to create a banner. In between each flag I tied additional ribbons and yarn. NOTE: to keep the silkier ribbons from loosening up, I used a dab of gel media but you could also use paint or glue. If there are any questions, please feel free to ask and if you create one, I would love to see it if you'd like to share!
My daughters were always enthralled when we came upon Forget-Me-Knots, a flower that is believed to have been named in the 1500s when a blue flower was worn to retain a lover's affections. There is a sad story that claims a young couple were walking along when the woman commented on the beauty of the flower growing down the steep slope near the river. When her sweetheart attempted to retrieve the flowers he fell into the river calling out to her as he fell, asking her to 'forget me not'.
It has been used in salves and lotions used as eye remedies and ground into powder it was used on wounds. At one time the juices in the leaves were used to stop nose bleeds. It is apparently toxic but has also been used in very small amounts in salads and on scorpion bites though there is no evidence that it is effective.
For several years I have selected a word to guide me during the year...sometimes to force me to step out of my shell and other times to encourage me to sit more quietly. And each year I have an artisan create something for me to celebrate that word, and often order several items (particularly jewellery) so that I can share my favorite guiding word with friends and family.
I also label a journal/sketchbook every year so that I can track my year, both the ups and downs, in order to see how my chosen word affects my choices and how I treat opportunities. My reasons for choosing the words can be seen here.
And this year, inspired by Tibetan prayer flags, I decided to create a Word-of-the-Year banner to remind me of my previous words and I left space to add a few more. It was a great way to use up some canvas in my studio and it makes me happy to look at every day. Currently it hangs in my studio. but I'm looking forward to hanging it in my garden this summer.
I am a moon child, born under the sign of the moon and highly affected by it...and I love it. Days preceding a full moon are usually kind of difficult for me and I have difficulty sleeping but, boy, do my creative juices flow. After all the restless nights, and lots of painting and reading and writing, I typically feel so much relief and joy. My favorite moons are Harvest Moons, large and full and glowing orange...but I'm happy to view any moon, full or not.
High School Mosaic
Bert Church, George MacDougall, St. Martin de Porres &
WH Croxford High Schools
March + April 2015
mo·sa·ic (mōˈzāik/): a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass; a colorful and variegated pattern; a combination of diverse elements forming a more or less coherent whole.
Each time the Airdrie Public Library is privileged to host the work of our local high school students we are amazed by the vast array of creative talent showcased. And though the work spans a variety of genres and media it comes together, like a mosaic, to create something new, thought-provoking and beautiful. And like a mosaic, it always gives me great pleasure to share the diverse work of several high schools in Airdrie. Though the work is all as varied and unique as each student, I believe that the goal of each teacher is always the same, to teach their students to capture what they see and feel, to share their voice through their work.
The teachers who take this time to encourage and inspire their students by sharing their talents with our community are to be commended. What their students learn now will aid them in their future endeavors, regardless of their career choices, whether they become professional artists, work in other professions, or in their involvement in their community. And the commitment and talent of these students is something to be admired. We are grateful for this opportunity to share this amazing work with our community.
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +