Unfortunately Kelly Gannon wasn't able to prepare as much work to hang in the library as he had hoped but, thankfully, I'm always the backup plan and because I'm in the midst of preparing for my next exhibit in August, I did have enough work to fill the rest of the library. I was glad to chat with him last night and am very excited for his Jr Artists Workshop at the end of May...the kids are going to love it!
It's actually nice to see my work from both series (the canoes & the tipis) together in such a large space. It's odd that my work feels so large at home and seems quite small in a 10,000 square foot space with soaring ceilings. And I always find it interesting to see the work against different coloured walls with new lighting, how it changes the look of the work, pulling out new colours that I may not have noticed previously.
It's also interesting that I had nothing planned for exhibiting work earlier in the winter and have now exhibited at AyrSpace in Ontario, Daffodil in Edmonton, Good Earth Café in Airdrie, currently at the library, will be sharing my Totem Animals at Bluerock in Black Diamond in May and then the canoes/tipis at Inglewood in August. I've found in this life as an artist that the old Scouts motto to 'Be prepared' certainly rings true.
So, after work last night I rushed home to finish off two more pieces I had been working on - got up early to complete the last one and do some wiring...thankfully I tend to wire as I complete work so it wasn't too bad - and I'm pleased with how it looks. I'm also grateful that it was only 30 trips up and down the 6 foot ladder, not 80 like our previous exhibit, though I have to admit I did get a good workout this week.
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT::Kelly Gannon
Caricatures by Kelly Gannon
May + June 2014
“I consider myself a crayon, I might not be your favorite color, but one day you'll need me to complete your picture.” ~ Savannah Highnote
Kelly Gannon is a full time Alberta caricature artist, which means he renders images showing the features of his subjects in a simplified or exaggerated way. Early on, he began his career by drawing editorial cartoons for newspapers and later set about drawing caricatures at events. He first saw artists creating live caricatures while attending a convention in Florida and had the privilege of seeing the guest speaker, his greatest influence Jack Davis of Mad Magazine.
After honing his skills, he received a dream offer, to draw caricatures in Disneyland. Then once again another great opportunity, this time to draw caricatures aboard cruise ships around the world. He has traveled the Pacific, Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and the Baltic; has taken his family to see the ruins of Pompeii, Rome and to visit Croatia; has traveled the jungles of Mexico to visit Tulum as well as the beautiful islands in the Caribbean.
Without pursuing a studio career, Kelly was fortunate enough to have drawn cartoons and caricatures for several books, magazines and clothing companies. He has been asked to draw newscasters live on television and been interviewed on radio.
Because he grew up listening to all the great music from the sixties era, a highlight of his career was to meet and draw caricatures of several band members including Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Grass Roots, Paul Hoffert of Lighthouse, Chubby Checker, Mickey Dolenz of The Monkees and Herman's Hermits.
To learn more about Kelly please visit http://kelly-gannon.blogspot.ca/.
I am having so much fun with my sketchbook these days...if I'm not drawing in it with a very fine point sharpie (so the ink doesn't leak through the pages), I'm adding gesso to the pages so I can paint with acrylics (my favorite media). This is a great way to experiment with different forms and colours while I toil away on canvases for my exhibit in August (and I mean toil in a good way). Plus it's wonderful to be able to incorporate quotes that touch me. I keep wanting to add words to my paintings but just haven't found a way that is comfortable for me...maybe some day.
Recently I read an article that featured several chefs favorite things, which got my mind wandering to delicious food (enjoying good food is something my whole family has in common...fortunately I have a very diverse family - Italian, Portuguese, French, Guayanese, Paraguayan, German, Aboriginal, Mexican among others - absolutely LOVE being part of a large multicultural family).
A few of my favorites:
1. Breakfast: eggs benedict with hash browns or my husband's thin German pancakes with maple syrup & strawberries
2. Dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce OR homemade perogies, cabbage rolls and sausage...it's a toss up...plus I love Portuguese spicy potatoes and manicotti and bannock...this is a tough one
3. Snack: ham sausage, ritz crackers and grana padano cheese
4. Desert: warm chocolate pudding with whipped cream OR lemon meringue pie
5. Home baking: chocolate chip cookies (and cookie dough, too) OR home made bread
6. Treat: Miss Vickie's sea salt & malt vinegar chips & Dad's root beer (a guilty pleasure)
7. Restaurant: The Grizzly Paw brew pub in Canmore
8. Ingredient: homemade vanilla
9. Tool: Kitchenaid mixer
10. Food to Avoid: olives (really, really don't like olives)
The Discipline of Creation
Beltline Youth Center
I'm very excited to be joining the Beltline Youth Center in downtown Calgary on May 8 to speak about my journey as a professional artist and to begin a mural with them. I've met with a young woman who is preparing the canvas and she's lovely...what a wonderful group of people making a difference in young people's lives.
Doing things like this, and the art program at the library as well as sharing my methods and my work with others makes me feel as though I can make a difference for someone else, too. When I was growing up I often felt like an outsider as I preferred to spend my time alone with my thoughts and art & craft supplies. Our town centre, which was a test for a northern community, included everything from the arena, hospital, school, and curling rink to shops and restaurants. This is where I spent much time, between the library and the exhibition centre next door. I could read a dream and bead and weave and enjoy a variety of exhibits that traveled throughout the country. I know I've mentioned this several times before, but my favorite and the one that inspired me most, was work by Benjamin Chee Chee.
I do hope that the work I share with the world does inspire someone else to believe in themselves...to know that they are fine just the way they are, that there is nothing wrong with them because they like to be alone to dream and create. As long as I follow that calling, I am a happy, committed, contributing member of my community. This life works quite well for me.
52 WEEKS: An Artist's Labour of Love
I wanted some way to commemorate this project which I enjoyed so much before sending the work out into the world so I decided on creating a book through Blurb. In it I decided to include a photo of each painting along with the blog post for that week as I want to remember what inspired the image along with the totem animal meaning.
Whenever I look at these animals I select a different favorite...whether it is for the animal itself, the colour palette, or the meaning behind it. It's difficult to choose. So I'm especially grateful to have this memento of the project to keep. Now it finally feels as though this work is ready to move on. Not bad, I think, as it was only completed four months ago. I thought it might take longer for me to let go. I guess hanging it to live with for awhile was the best thing I did, thanks to my daughter.
Yesterday as I worked in my studio I was suddenly filled with an almost overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I've been thinking a lot about what it is that I want to do, my calling if you will, and realized that I'm doing it. I get to paint every day. I get to spend time with my daughters and my husband. I get to enjoy my home which is also my sanctuary. I get to be involved and contribute to the arts. I get to read and write. And I hope that the words I send out, whether through blogging or publication, will inspire someone else to do what they love to do, too.
My dream has always been to create and to inspire others to create. As a child I always found my peace in reading, writing, crafting and drawing...it's where I could be fully myself. Either sitting in the library or in my room at my little writing desk, and even in a busy classroom, everything around me would melt away as I focused on these little worlds of my own creation. It was in this work that I felt accepted and happy. There was no disconnect or feelings of lack. It was during these times that I didn't worry about saying or doing the 'right' things, about how I looked, or if I fit in. Everything just felt right.
Maybe it's because we just celebrated Easter or because the sun has been shining so beautifully, but it is such a lovely gift to feel grateful, even amidst some great challenges. This feeling that emanated throughout my body is a blessing, I know it, and I hope to remember it. Life is so good when I remember the small stuff.
Ever since the lunar eclipse, also known as the blood or big spring moon, last week I've been dreaming of it and knew I wanted to include it in a painting somehow. Though I am a moon child (a Cancer) a full moon wreaks havoc on me, and a special moon like this one is even more difficult and yet I love what it does for me creatively. It seems to get those creative juices flowing and my dreams become especially vivid.
I've read that these special moons occur when the veil between the earth and spirit are thinnest which makes it the best time for spiritual growth. There are many stories of the moon but this Cree legend is one I like best:
The Origin of the Moon
A long time ago, there was no moon. There was only the sun. The Creator had messengers who helped him in his work. One of these was the Caretaker of the Sun. He had two children, a boy and a girl. All three lived in the Sky World. They were very happy.
The daughter looked after the camp. She kept it clean and tidy. When she shook the feather bedding, the feathers would fall to the earth as snow. The son hunted and fished. When he hung his nets to dry, droplets fell to earth as rain. The father would be away. All day he kept the great fire, burning on the sun. He was very old. Soon he would leave his children, never to return. He said to them, "When I die, you must keep the fire burning, or else the people and animals on earth will die."
One day when the fire was low on the sun, the father came home tired. He said, "Children, my children, my children. I have to go. I will never return." The children cried and mourned. They knew he would die.
In the morning, it was time to start the sun's fire. The children began to quarrel over who would do the task. "I will tend the fire, I am older," said the sister. "No, I am the man, I will do it," said the brother. They yelled thus to each other.
The people on earth began to worry, saying, "Why is the sun so late? It should be up by now!" Wesakechak went to the sun to see what was the matter. When he arrived, the boy and his sister were still quarreling. Wesakechak was angry. "The People and animals will perish," he said to them. "It is up to you! You keep the fire burning," he told the boy. "Your name from now on will be Pisim." To the sister he said, "You, too, will work as hard as your brother. You will keep the fire in another place. You will work at night. You will be Tipiskawipisim, the Moon. The two of you did not get along. As a punishment, you will see each other once a year. For all time, you will see each other from across the sky." And so it happened. Even now it is so.
I love getting to see where my paintings end up and it has been a special treat to see my work surrounded by an antique basket and Fiesta ware...a perfect combination especially since the colours and patterns are replicated. I feel fortunate when I get to see where the art lives.
Evening in New Mexico
A lovely woman contacted me to let me know she had won the bid for the letter 'h' through the Canadian Artists for the Poor fundraiser and wondered if I would consider adding to it as a gift for her husband and I was thrilled. What a wonderful idea...to have something that not only commemorates your family but that is also original and unique to you.
It's been a sad week in Alberta which is yet another reminder to appreciate and value those who are close to me. Life is too short and it really is about those relationships that are important to us. Even though we live far away from our immediate family, I have always appreciated their love and support...when we first moved here seventeen years ago, my parents helped with our belongings and our then 3-year-old...while we lived here my mother-in-law flew out to help us with our home and children, a newborn and six-year-old...and while raising the girls, my aunt and uncle became honorary grandparents, dropping everything to help when we needed it (and making the best homemade chicken noodle soup and German pancakes regularly - thanks Tante Eva & Uncle Hein!).
And there are so many others, not necessarily related, but who with an encouraging word or an offer of assistance have made a difference in our lives. It really does take a village to raise a child.