Because I love to share books that I love, I will be sharing a copy of Austin Kleon's 'Show Your Work!' on March 16. And...because I love to listen to jazz music while I paint, I have decided to add a bonus by sharing a copy of my friend Tim Tamashiro's latest CD 'Drinky'.
When I read Austin's previous book, 'Steal Like an Artist', I connected with it immediately. His chapter titles intrigued me from the moment I picked up the book...
And because music is a huge part of my time in my studio while I create, I also wanted to include a copy of my friend Tim's CD (read more about it here). You might be familiar with Tim's CBC Radio program 'Tonic' (I love everything CBC), and as he says, he is a passionate supporter of the world's greatest jazz and Canadian jazz from coast to coast.
If you would like a chance to win both, please leave a comment here, on facebook, or email. I'll be making the draw on March 16. Good luck!
I have loved Audrey Hepburn for as long as I can remember, and even more as she became more involved in humanitarian efforts. During the Second World War she was a courier for the Dutch resistance and assisted with fundraising. She spoke several languages, including English, Dutch, German, French, Italian, and Spanish. I remember watching 'My Fair Lady' when I was really young and I absolutely adored her as Eliza Doolittle and when I read George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalian' in Jr High School on which the musical was based, I had to watch it again and again. As my daughters grew I shared my love of all things Audrey, including her wardrobe which inspired my desire to study fashion and though I didn't continue on to study fashion in Toronto as I had initially planned, I did design and sew clothing for myself and my daughters for many years. She was a classic beauty in every way.
Whenever I work on a commission I like to meet patrons to go through my portfolio to select the things that they are drawn to in order to create a piece that is special to them. In this case, the way the swallows flew in the painting on the top left, the colour palette and shape of canvas in the top right, the compass/4 directions with arrows on the bottom left and the basic shape of the canoe in the bottom right painting. As I worked on the piece I sent updates, including an initial sketch, base colour palette and work in progress.
I am often asked if I want a down-payment on commissions but I don't want anyone to feel beholden to anything prior to seeing the completed work. I want the finished piece to be loved as much as I loved the process. And I want each piece to be as full of meaning for both of us so that I can be connected to the painting as I work.
The painting was titled 'Hopes + Dreams' as swallows were always a symbol of hope to sailors who had been on the ocean for many months. They are also a symbol of love, care and affection toward family and friends as well as loyalty and freedom. The dream catcher is a symbol of unity and was used to filter bad dreams in order to allow only good thoughts. The compass is also a symbol of finding the right direction or true north, and the four directions or four seasons are commonly used in many cultures to symbolize personal development. Some believe that it represents community. The copper leafed swallows represent the number three which is considered auspicious in many cultures, as well as symbolizing body, mind, spirit and is reflected in both the Bible and the Koran...a magical number.
Michel Arseneau, the Owner and Director of Inglewood Fine Arts Gallery in Calgary is creating videos for the gallery's artists which consists of a work from start to finish and so I'm currently playing with the GoPro camera to track the process of a painting. It is such a tiny camera and my husband thinks it's funny but fitting that it is water and damage proof as I have been known to get paint (among other things) on our camera, phone and laptop. My daughter finds it amusing as she says that my painting process is rather physical. I think it's a calm exercise but she says she hears bumping and other noises from studio all the time and that my canvas never stops moving. Creating a video using such a small piece of equipment that takes in so much information is quite an interesting process and I am really looking forward to seeing all the pieces come together for each artist. Tomorrow I think I'll post a short practice video which I created.
Initially my work was represented by galleries prior to the home computer era and so there were no websites or social media of any kind. Now, every gallery has a lovely site and I'm always so proud to have my work featured on them. I'm also grateful to be included with such an amazing talented group of artists and to be represented by the high calibre of kind, creative and caring gallery owners. These are are lovely spaces to see and I highly encourage a visit.
Bluerock Gallery is located in a quaint combination of vintage stores including Woo's General Store and Evanescence Gallery, which is located in the heart of High River and also across the street from Maggie's Cafe of CBC 'Heartland' fame, both feature a variety of hand crafted art from pottery to jewellery to paintings. Effusion Art Gallery is owned by a glass artist is located in the hub of the Columbia Valley on the northwest shore of Lake Windemere. Inglewood Fine Arts is located in Calgary's oldest neighborhood being established in 1875 after Fort Calgary was established as a trading post, and is known for being an arts and culture-filled district. All are located in beautiful areas and are definitely worth a trip.
Many years ago, on a trip my husband and I took in order to see The Rolling Stones perform, I visited the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and began a love of contemporary art that I didn't get from studying it in books while attending art school. To see the work of Jackson Pollock, Henry Moore, Jacques Lipchitz, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Marcel Duchamp, Constantini Brancusi...and then finally, a woman by the name of Helen Frankenthaler. She was an abstract expressionist and I absolutely loved her organic and fluid colour field paintings. Years after viewing the work, I attempted to work in a manner similar to hers using acrylic house paint rather than turpentine diluted oils on raw canvas and was thrilled by the way everything interacted. I still dream of a time in a large space, where I don't have to worry about paint splatters on flooring or walls, and of working on large sheets of heavy raw canvas.
Lately I have been giving a lot of thought to the way in which I work. Not so much the order of what I do or the colours or tools I use, but rather the fact that I tend to prepare a number of canvases by adding pattern and colour and then move on to adding images to those prepared canvases. I think I enjoy the process of working intuitively, not giving much thought to what I add or how I add it...making circles and lines, dripping paint, grabbing lids and palette knives and different brushes to keep adding colour.
Following that, once this under painting of sorts is complete, I begin to think about shapes and images. Once I'm at that stage I want to try out all these different ideas seemingly at once and am so grateful to have prepared a number of canvases. When I begin to struggle with one painting in progress, I can easily move onto the next and the next again, working out the pieces I struggle with and allowing others to rest when they need it.
The other thing I have begun to notice about myself is the fact that when I have a pile of work together I feel claustrophobic and look forward to moving it out to galleries. And then, once my studio is empty I begin to feel like I haven't accomplished a thing or just feel bereft when all that hard work is no longer around. Yet, having the empty space is actually quite freeing for creative ideas to flow. I'm grateful to have my portfolio in a binder so that I can sit and look through the work....both for a sense of personal satisfaction that I have done this work, and also to stir my imagination once again. Oh the joy of living inside my head.