AIRDRIE PUBLIC LIBRARY PRESENTS...
Sunshine by Rhea Dallaire
May 6 – July 2, 2013
Rhea (pronounced Raya) Dallaire is a mixed media artist who loves to push the boundaries of colour utilizing a variety media, in hopes of awakening the human spirit. Rhea’s passion for the arts emerged as a child.
Fascinated by the kaleidoscope of colour, light and shadows in nature, or a box of Crayola crayons, she began her journey as an artist.
Working in the world of mixed media allows her to incorporate reclaimed and three dimensional items in a myriad of ways either by using acrylic media or the ancient Egyptian form of encaustic which involves combining heated beeswax and coloured pigment.
Working mainly on abstract pieces and painting live have been passions of Rhea’s who has been invited to teach in the Arctic to share her love of art and people. In 2010, after the terrible circumstances that friends in Africa experienced, she organized a fundraising art auction which raised funds to build a greatly needed orphanage.
Both she and her work have been described as a ray of sunshine, bringing hope to those less fortunate.
Rhea is also well-known for the altered shoes she creates, adding layers of colour and adhering items to create items that may no longer have a use in society but, in her hands, become beautiful works of art. Her work can be found in the private collections of African kings, Arctic mayors, and throughout the United States, Mexico, Germany, and Canada.
Painting a bowl for the Empty Bowls Festival is one of the things I look forward to every year. Last year's bowl was a canoe, the previous year was a chair and so, of course with the subject matter I've been focusing on, this time I had to paint birch. This year I also had a massive bowl, which was fun. It will be interesting to see how it looks fired as the colours I chose were galaxy (a navy blue), something blue (a soft grey-blue) and Kermit (green for the outside).
It's always wonderful to spend an afternoon with people I adore but don't get to see very often - and I work within a block or two of many of them...you'd think Airdrie was a huge city. I am so glad to live and work in a community full of people who want to support one another in great ways.
The Empty Bowls Festival in Airdrie will take place in Nose Creek Park on June 22 and it's a fabulous day filled with art, music and amazing food...along with a plethora of beautiful bowls to take home. I'm afraid my cupboard is getting full, but I know I will get another bowl (or two). You can read more about it on Discover Airdrie (AIR 106.1).
Over the next week or two I'm hoping to finish painting my kitchen cabinets a dreamy blue (starry night...an ode to my favorite painting by Vincent van Gogh). I love the blue and was pleasantly surprised that my husband does, too. The colour selection has taken us two years as has the paint choice and I'm not only thrilled with this van Gogh chalk paint but also thrilled that it's carried locally by Ava Blake Creations.
Can't wait to see my plain oak kitchen turn into this vibrant blue. I'll have to be sure to share a few 'before' and 'after' shots. I should really be sweeping and mopping my neglected floors...oh, but painting on a dreary rainy day is so much more fun, wouldn't you agree?
I love Banff so much...visited for the first time when I was a very young girl. It was a long trip from northern Manitoba and it felt like such a big city to me at the time. Makes me laugh to think of it now. My husband & I lived and married in my northern town of Leaf Rapids in our early years and spent our honeymoon along with many anniversaries in Banff. I feel so fortunate to live so close and to be able to celebrate our 25th Anniversary with our girls there.
We visited the Whyte Museum which never disappoints and this time it was probably one of the highlights for me. Not only do I love the history of Peter & Catharine Whyte, I was also fascinated by an exhibit of watercolour sketches by Ontario artist John Hartman. They were filled with colour and loose brush strokes along with simple frames that shared the integrity of the raw edges of the 11x14 paintings. It was a series of work he created based on travels along the Columbia River in British Columbia. It was especially fun for our family to recognize different locations as we had spent the summer along the Columbia in the Kootenays two years ago.
We also saw Tony Bloom's kinetic sculptures which were fantastic. Last fall we were in his studio in Canmore and saw a few of the pieces in progress...so nice to see the finished work.
And I met up with a friend, printmaker Linda Cote (gosh I love her and her work...one day I hope to own one of her original carved block ravens) as well as being introduced to another artist whose work was stunning, Veronique Bottaro. Definitely recommend a visit to her website. I don't often meet other Veronicas and typically not artists. I was particularly drawn to her wildlife and feather pieces.
And, of course, we ate extremely well, slept fabulously on the most comfortable mattresses in the quietest room, and walked along the river and mountains...how can you be surrounded by such glory and not take advantage of it?
Lately I've spent a lot of time watching the swallows in our trees and shrubs...they always seem so happy. And since I had already created the swallow stencils for another project, I thought this would be a great opportunity to utilize them again.
There seems to be a sense of freedom and connection in the families of these little birds that travel together. Flitting from branch to branch, tree to tree, tipping their heads jauntily from side to side as something catches their attention.
Swallows were often the first bird to land on ships returning home after long periods of being away at sea. So they symbolize being close or finding your way home. They also represent spring, blue sky and eternal happiness. I like that.
I just realized that I forgot to share the completed painting I created for my friend Koos de Jongh. I knew I would incorporate orange as it is his favorite colour (if his shirt isn't orange his shoes are) and also wanted to include Payne's Grey as a deep, masculine charcoal. I added turquoise as a strong third colour as it feels like sky & reflected water to me. Bright and fresh and new. Because I know he's experiencing new change and growth in his life, I added the circular image from a telescope or binoculars which also resemble crosses for the faith required to focus on new paths, to travel in unexplored territory, as I do believe that each of us has more than one way we can contribute. The scope also is a physical representation of the word, which means 'aim or purpose'. And finally, the red lines represent enthusiasm, energy, protection and the confidence to go after your dreams.
THE LUTE WILL BEG
As I was working on a painting I began to envision a group of swallows but didn't want to paint each one separately even though I have done so in the past. So, I looked through my stash of art supplies, was drawn to the blank stencils and since I was creating one, I thought, why not create two?
So, I have added a few swallows, those teeny tiny happy birds that constantly flit about chattering in my garden. I've decided to keep the cut-out or 'positive' shapes as well as I think they may show up in other work in the (near?) future.
And the bison stencil was a natural next step after seeing them in so many pictographs throughout the years (and incorporating them into paintings). Can't wait to add these guys to another piece.
Yesterday my family & I enjoyed a glorious day with a picnic and hike. This was my first visit to Glenbow Ranch and the vista was incredible...prairies and hills to the east, the Bow River and mountains to the west.
I'm so grateful for a husband who packs a lunch and tells us to hop in the car for a surprise. We've experienced some sad news with several extended family members lately so it was lovely to get into nature and recharge. Isn't it always those little things that mean so much? Watching an eagle fly overhead or the clouds casting beautiful shadows on dancing grasses.
I physically felt my stress-meter plummet and now am ready to face the day...which, so far, has been amazing. Those days I begin in the studio (or, in this case, with my pochade on the deck) are typically the best.
Well, week no. 20 of the 52 WEEKS PROJECT was a bit of a challenge for me...loved the subject matter but wasn't sure how to go about it. While I worked I kept remembering my childhood up north (which often seems to be the case).
My best friend's brother had come upon a fox with his leg caught in a trap which he saved though not without difficulty as the fox snapped and snarled. When he got it home, he created a cage to keep it safe until Forestry & Wildlife Services could arrive to nurse it back to health to re-release into the bush.
While we awaited the gentleman from Forestry, my friend and I sat, not too close as to frighten him but near enough to feel like we might be of comfort the fox. At one point I stared into his eyes and felt a real kinship to him...so connected to something which had seemed so far removed from me.
I still try to keep that connection to other living beings in mind whenever I make decisions as to how I choose to live my life. Making a point of walking or riding my bike instead of driving, only owning one vehicle, living in a community where that is possible, recycling as much as possible, and not making purchases in the first place when I don't really need to. It was a good memory.
Although often considered sly, fox is also quick-witted and courageous. He observes his environment in silence, teaching us to remain calm, cool and collected, reminding us not to jump to conclusions.