My friend Terra created the most beautiful wool shawl that I treasure...it has become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe which I've worn to attend a formal event or when I stay at home. I can dress up a t-shirt for work and it always makes me feel special. It's so soft and I love it even more now that I've been enjoying watching 'Outlander' (it's as good as the books which I absolutely adored) as the main character, Claire, wears the most lovely hand knit shawls, cowls and gloves. I am so grateful to have my own gorgeous, hand and heart made gift.
Recently I was asked to decorate a box for a fundraiser and so, inspired by this year's 52 WEEKS PROJECT I decided to add wildflowers...columbine, crocus, fireweed, Labrador tea and paintbrush. Though I wasn't very happy with it while in progress, I love how it turned out.
Nobody will protect you from your suffering.
St. John's Wort is a beautiful five-petalled yellow flower that is considered a noxious weed in North America, it was originally introduced from Europe and was named after St. John the Baptist. The spots on the leaves were said to ooze blood on the day of his execution. It is poisonous to livestock but was traditionally used as an anti-depressant and is still prescribed in some countries though it can reduce the effectiveness of other medications and has been known to cause psychotic episodes.
Yesterday we had 27 kids aged 3 to 13 at the library for the Creative Clay workshop based on children's author/illustrator Barbara Reid's books and it was so much fun! Thank goodness for the 10 parents who volunteered to help, especially with the little ones. The thing I love most about working with children is their pride in their own work...and the stories that come with it, too. My goal is always to give them supplies and samples, to show them how to use them and then let them run with it. I hope these kids grow up knowing that art is fun most of all, and that you can create with anything, anytime and that what they create is valuable.
This week I am thankful for my radio...a gift I received from my husband several years ago. This beauty is small, has great sound, comes in many colours and finishes, and has been made for over 60 years. My favorite stations are CBC, which I've been listening to since I was a girl in the north, and AIR 106.1, our local radio station. Plus, I can connect my phone and play any music I'd like as I paint. I tend to prefer music that has a steady beat so that my brush and my hand don't move quickly and then slowly as without realizing music influences the speed in which I work. I have always wanted a stereo that was compact and beautiful and well-made so this definitely fits the bill. Radio is the perfect fit when I'm painting as there are often times I totally zone out, especially when I am really connecting with the work in progress so that means no need to switch music. And then when I 'hear' the music once again, I am delighted.
From mid-April until the end of May I will be working as an Artist-in-Residence at St. Augustine Fine Arts School and I'm really, really looking forward to working with 164 students in grades 1 to 6...not all at once, thank goodness, but in eight separate groups. Because I love working with the Jr Artists Program at the library (our students range in age from 7-13), I am so excited to be asked to be involved in this venture and have already begun preparing samples for the classes. I feel so blessed. The Vision Statement of the school resonates with me and I wish I would have had an opportunity to attend a school like this:
“We witness inspiration of spirit in the voice of a child, in the colors of an artist, in the vision of a teacher, and in the most simple acts of daily kindness. Let our creative spirits shine.”
Celebration and assessment of integrated arts learning is a key part of our Fine Arts Program. Documentation of student learning is visible throughout our school. Teachers and students work with a variety of Calgary artists throughout the year in the areas of visual, photographic, dramatic, movement and musical arts.
“inspire” “dream” “explore” “achieve”
Why Fine Arts Integration?
Orange Hawkweed is found in meadows, along roadsides and ditches and often in rocky and disturbed areas. The plant was named because it was once thought that eating the flowers improved a hawk's vision. The milky substance found in the leaves, stems and roots was used as a type of chewing gum by tribes in western Canada.
One type of Hawkweed, known as Mouse-ear, is still used in a tincture by herbalists to treat affections of the lungs such as whooping cough because of its properties as an expectorant. Also, the bruised or powdered leaves were used as an astringent, both internally and externally, to stop bleeding.
There are so many parts of the process of painting that I love, from selecting the size and shape of canvas and colours of acrylics I'll use to choosing which brushes, stencils and tools I will use to add pattern. But I think the part I love best, besides putting the finishing touches on a completed painting , is drawing in the image with fluid paint, either a white heavy body Liquitex acrylic mixed with water or fluid Golden paint. I always keep a spray bottle filled with water and a rag nearby to 'erase' marks I don't want to keep such as a perspective that doesn't quite sit well with me, though I tend to like my drawings a little wonky, or funky as interviewers often say when referencing my last name in jest. And I tend to step back from the work regularly, especially at this stage so that I can view composition from a new perspective as I work. There really is joy in this work.