Today at the library my good friend Michelle Wiebe taught print making for the Jr Artist Program at the Airdrie Public Library and it was fantastic. She shared a variety of processes and then utilized a 'carving' technique with styrofoam that our local Co-op grocery store graciously donated. Using a glass plate, she showed the kids to spread the printmaking ink out evenly onto the roller and then taught them how to impress their image onto paper using the back of a spoon as a brayer. The kids were totally engaged and did an amazing job. Thanks Michelle...it really was an awesome afternoon.
I'm so excited to share that I'm now being represented by AyrSpace Gallery in Ontario. I first connected with the director, Jill Yuzwa, several years ago through an exhibit titled 'International Women Celebrate: 100 Women Artists Reflect' which I was so pleased to take part in as it celebrated the centennial of International Women's Day.
In the past I've mentioned that I make a point of only working with artists and galleries whom I respect, whose vision mirrors mine and who are above all honest and authentic. I count Jill as one of those amazing people.
The mixed media piece I created for that original exhibit, titled 'My Ritual Blessing', was a reflection of the appreciation I have for the strength and beauty of the women I am privileged to know, and I am fortunate to know many. The painting now lives at Halton Women's Place where I hope it encourages other women.
While I've been working on a couple of other pieces, I've also been working on two separate birch forest diptychs in tandem and I'm liking what I see so far. It really feels like a departure for me, though the process is similar to how I've been working the past two years. The previous piece I shared feels like midnight in the forest, this one feels like autumn. I like seeing references to the aboriginal history of our continent in the layers of glazing and patterns, of arrowheads and warriors, of patterns created by hand and by hand-carved stamps inspired by the pictographs and petroglyphs found in the prairies and mountains around my home.
When I was a child my home in northern Manitoba was surrounded by the boreal forest made up of pine and birch. I was taught by Cree grandmothers how to peel birch bark without damaging the tree, to create works of art by scratching into the bark and by using my teeth to create birch bark biting artworks.
This work-in-progress is my homage to the grandmothers, to the history of the north, and to the sparkling birch bark found in the forests of my childhood.
Today my husband and I celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Whenever I look at this photo, which is my favorite, I can see we looked like babies...what were we thinking?!? I can say without a doubt that I'm a very lucky person. We haven't been without our trials and tribulations but I can honestly share that he's my best friend. He's the one who understands me whole-heartedly. He's helped me to take life in stride, to let go when I need to, and he has supported and encouraged my heart's dream. And even after all these years we still laugh together every day. Happy Anniversary Bubba!
Ten years ago my husband suggested I carry business cards with me (I always thought of them as 'busy'-ness cards) as I was often asked about my work while we were out and about. My first business card (upper right) was created about ten years ago and incorporated a quote by Thomas Mann that I love...
"Hold every moment sacred,
I always like the serenity of both the image and the words but several years ago came upon Moo cards (lower two) which I absolutely adore BUT they are very thick so I can't fit many in my wallet. They were popular, though, and became a bit of a collector item as I had numerous images printed on them.
My third set of business cards (center left), which I created a couple of years ago, incorporated a photo of a 'self-portrait' mixed media piece I had created. It included a crow (as my family calls me 'Crow-Talker') holding a necklace which is very dear to me as it was a gift from a close friend. I also added pattern pieces to represent my family history of making things by hand along with a map of northern Canada...being raised in the north, it is in my blood. This piece also included a wing chair that was one of the first purchases my husband & I made together when we were first married along with the pages of one my first and favorite books, 'Wuthering Heights' (don't worry, the book was falling apart and beyond repair).
Since the 500+ chair paintings I had created over ten years have all found homes and because my work has changed drastically (well, maybe that's an over-statement) I decided to create a new card (upper left). This time I utilized a photograph my 13-year-old daughter had taken of me. I'm finally not afraid to show my face. It's funny, I've always been comfortable with sharing my work live and in print but never myself. I really like this photo and am always pleased to share it...though I think the next batch of printing will include a brighter, more legible font. I love all the colour in that photo.
In Portuguese, apparently the translation of hummingbird is 'flower kisser'...I like that. Years ago when we lived on an acreage a hummingbird used to visit our house regularly, staring through my picture window. I often wondered if he saw the little hummingbird sculpture hanging inside. So number nineteen of the 52 WEEKS PROJECT is complete! Getting closer to the halfway mark.
Even though they are the smallest known bird, Hummingbird inspires the impossible. They can fly in any direction, back and forth, sideways, and even upside down, teaching us that magic comes in all shapes and sizes. As a totem animal, they share that we have to savor the present moment and the sweetness of life.
Yesterday I spent a wonderful Mothers' Day with my family...I read while they prepared delicious meals for me and went for a lovely walk with my husband. We all chatted and laughed together...a perfect day, really.
Thankfully my daughter begins work today so I will stop slacking off and get back to my work. So much to do...so excited to do it...
I'm currently working on a new project, something I began a couple of months ago which came to a complete screeching halt but have recently been inspired once again. I decided to incorporate the idea of the birch trees I painted in my daughter's room with the process I've been applying to my canoes. Wish me luck as I continue along this path.
I've also been working on a second abstract in collaboration with my daughter, just to mix it up a bit and to play while I challenge myself further. Even though I've studied and practiced some of these methods in the past, and in fact created a piece similar to this for my final portfolio many years ago, I'm enjoying pushing myself to try something different once again.
And now for another great read...it was a quick one but I was enthralled...
The Art Forger
by B.A. Shapiro
When I was in Kengsington last week, I stopped by Pages bookstore (always stop at Pages) where I stumbled upon this book and though I have a shelf full of books that I intend to read this summer, I couldn't help myself. I've read many fictional books based on artists and most of them are not good because the author hasn't taken the time to research the process, but this was definitely not the case here. It focuses on the main character, Claire Roth, a struggling artist with an interesting history who is hired to forge a stolen Degas. As the story unfolds, the past and present weave together. I really appreciated the attention paid to the details of producing the actual artwork and though the story is purely a simple summer read, I truly enjoyed every moment of it (finished it in three days).
Gosh I love summer in the city. Yesterday my daughter & I went to spend the afternoon on 17th Avenue in Calgary to enjoy coffee at Cafe Beano and pick up art supplies at Mona Lisa Artist's Materials.
Unfortunately at the cafe a young gentleman fainted and I rushed over to see if he was okay, fortunately the cafe employees were right there to help, calling for assistance as soon as I asked them to, and also fortunately the young man was much better by the time the emergency providers arrived, which was very quick...I love Emergency Medical Technicians!
Then we spent some time walking around in the beautiful sunshine...it's so nice to see all the outdoor patios filled with patrons on such a gorgeous spring day. Our final stop, and the reason for our visit, was Mona Lisa for supplies...picked up some copper leaf for another commission I'll be starting within a couple of weeks along with an interesting book, just for fun. It's more of a workbook than just a read though it seems that there is valuable information inside, but I love filling out questionnaires so I couldn't resist. The title is 'The Successful Artist's Career Guide' by Margaret Peot. My problem is that I am a sucker for an interesting cover, so of course this ended up in my shopping bag.
The chapter titles were intriguing:
1. What do you want to do and where do you want to live?
(hmmm...day dreaming, one of my favorite things)
2. What will be your expertise?
(this one has always been acrylic on canvas for me even though I've experimented with everything)
3. What is your art worth?
(always a difficult question to answer, fortunately I've been guided by galleries throughout my career)
4. Practical considerations
(all the boring stuff, you know, legal & health...and really, really important)
5. Promoting yourself
(again, difficult, especially if you're introverted...I've learned just to share what I'm doing because I've been asked to over and over)
6. Interesting art jobs
7. Getting to work
(which is what I should be doing right now)
It also ends with additional suggestions for reading along with online links. I think it will be valuable for me to write things down, to clarify so I don't go off on little tangents in directions that don't feel 'right' for me. So, I will be spending a little time in the sun with this today, in between drying layers of paint, that is.
I'm excited to share that there are now canvas prints available of some of my canoes that measure approximately 13x17 inches (depending on the image) through Society6. They are fine art prints on bright white, fine poly-cotton blend, matte canvas using latest generation Epson archival inks. Individually trimmed and hand stretched museum wrap over 1-1/2" deep wood stretcher bars and includes wall hanging hardware.
Each piece in the Sacred Vessel series has its own story...this piece is titled BRAVE:
Travels to the west coast,
wind in my hair,
water scented with pine
and fish and seals
swimming and barking.
Stories of Haida
shared in the trees
and thumping against the bow
of the dugout canoe.