So pleased with how the Teen space (aka The Den) worked out at the library...and grateful for my daughter's assistance. The small picture frames are created with chalkboard paint so that budding young artists can add to the décor and it also provides an opportunity for the library to leave information specifically for the youth.
I'm also planning on ordering picture frames for the space so that young adults can bring in drawings or paintings on paper which I can then hang for all to see, to really make the space theirs. Unfortunately my can of Liquitex spray paint clogged and I was unable to try out the graffiti with it...thank goodness for old fashioned paint and brushes.
I'm also working on a series of eight paintings to ship to The Daffodil Gallery in Edmonton. It's been so wonderful being represented by them, as with the other galleries who represent my work, I feel so fortunate. So, back to my studio to finish up the last two pieces and touch up one or two others, wire and photograph and package...it's going to be a busy day...a great one in spite of the grey skies.
Thanks to Connie Hozvicka of Dirty Footprints Studio I'll be giving away a spot to the Fall 21 SECRETS online workshops - yay! So, I thought I'd introduce four of the instructors each week to share how wonderful this program really is...21 teachers will each share different tips and techniques that they use in their own work. I've been taking part in the 21 SECRETS workshop and it never ceases to amaze me that even after all these years of creating there is so much to learn.
To add your name to the pot this week, please leave a comment along with a way to contact you at the end of five weeks...and GOOD LUCK! And, if you just want to register for the program to make sure you reserve a spot, you most certainly can, just click HERE. There may still be a few early bird spaces left!
I've begun working on a new project in my art journal with a focus on gratitude. But...instead of just listing or painting what I'm most thankful for, I decided to paint an image for each letter of the alphabet. And of course, the letter 'A' had to be art. I'm totally thankful for the opportunity to paint, to be creative. There have been many times in my life where I've struggled and the process of creating has literally saved me, saved my sanity.
I'm interested to see what word and image comes up for me each week and how it will push me to try new things. And a palette was so fun to paint. Odd how I struggle when I'm trying to draw daily but when it comes to painting, I seem to want to paint everything, including the paint. Very interesting.
My daughter, Alex was a little incensed that she wasn't the first thing on my mind for the letter 'A', but I'm sure I'll get to her at some point ;)
One of the ways I like to either finish up a tube of paint, use up colour I don't particularly care for, or use leftover paint from my palette is to apply it to fresh canvases as a base for future paintings. There are times I apply it with a roller or paintbrush and leave it, and other times when I like to spray the paint with a ton of water, allow it to sit and then move the canvas around to manipulate the paint or mop up the excess with rags to create patterns. I tend to like to use up paint fairly quickly as I don't like waste...and I really, really enjoy 'fresh' acrylics.
It's fun to see what happens while they sit. Then, after quite a large block of time for drying, I continue to add colour and pattern. This is where I can cover those blocks that don't interest me and where I can see how the previous colour, which I may not have liked initially, allows the layers above it to pop. I also find that squeezing the colour directly onto the canvas makes the work more playful, plus I don't have a palette to clean at the end of the session. A big bonus.
Oh...and I have also learned, if I don't want to dip my paintbrushes into my drinks unintentionally, be sure to pour my drinks into closed containers ;)
If I'm not standing at my easel to paint I'm often working on the floor which is really hard on my knees...particularly as the years go by. But this week, after yoga in my studio one morning I suddenly realized the greater value of my yoga mat and my knees felt great after my session on the floor. I don't know why these things often take me years to figure out, but I'm glad they finally come to me.
I am a huge fan of poetry, particularly poetry about nature. Several of my books are small, pocket-sized editions that I can take with me anywhere I go and as I was reading Robert Frost the other day I wondered how the poetry would look written on a canvases. I'm really pleased with it so far.
There are those times when I'm so unsure of the direction that my work will take that I often pause, but then become tired of being stagnate and need to do something...anything. This is one of those times and I'm finding it a challenge to be still for a little while. I've also felt rather anxious, which I know tends to precede a creative breakthrough for me, and it certainly is difficult to weather. It always feels like harrow and fallow. Working a field and then allowing it to rest. I like the definition of fallow as '1. land left unseeded after being ploughed and harrowed to regain fertility for a crop; 2. an idea or state of mind undeveloped or inactive, but potentially useful.'
Next I think I'll incorporate more stencils and then add the canoe or tipi image...I wonder which rabbit hole this will lead to?
I've begun work on a mural for the Teen room at the library...thank goodness I'm used to working on a six foot ladder as there is much precarious balancing and stretching involved. When I began running the art programming at the library I was terrified of getting on that ladder due to my fear of heights, but now that I've done it hundreds of times it's become quite comfortable.
This is just the beginning stages, something to differentiate the space from adult space in the library. I'm hoping to give it a bit of a graffiti vibe. I'm also adding chalkboard paint squares for the kids to draw and write in...I think it'll be fun. I'm hoping to complete it within about a week...fingers crossed!
Last night my girls and I headed out to the country to enjoy a fun evening with friends crafting and eating. It was a reminder of my own childhood, when we would tie dye and macramé, try wood burning and potato stamping, though this time we played with bleach. Myself and my eldest daughter used my watercolour brush filled with pure bleach and drew directly on our t-shirts while my youngest created a TARDIS stencil out of a cracker box and sprayed it with bleach. My eldest still wants to outline her dandelion seed heads with fabric paint pens since her t-shirt was such a light colour but otherwise we're quite pleased with the results.
Prior to bleaching a pattern onto them, we flattened out cereal boxes to place inside the t-shirts so that the bleach wouldn't leak through to the back. And once we created our patterns, we allowed them to sit for a few minutes and then rinsed them well in cold water. All that's left is to throw them in the wash and then to wear them. We had a late night with great food and friends and lots of laughter. It was perfect. Can't wait to do it again. Hmmm...what to try next?
Look what came in the mail from Stampington & Company...nothing like new art supplies to get those creative juices flowing! I've never tried the Dina Wakley acrylics but am excited to try them as they are non-toxic and vibrant. The tubes are cute and tiny though they carry the same amount of paint as my Liquitex tubes but these fit into my pochade better (very exciting for summertime travels).
Flora Bowley's book titled Brave Intuitive Painting is based on her workshop which I took several years ago and was the impetus for connecting the abstract and canoe work I was creating at the time. It was just one sentence in the entire workshop that was the 'aha' moment for me so I'm looking forward to more inspiration. Plus the images are bright and colourful...just my style.
I remember being taught the necessity of adding greys to artwork to give the eyes space to rest but I just absolutely love, love, love colour! My house is neutral, greyed greens and taupes and browns, so I love the bright colour against the walls. It makes me happy. Just one of those instances where rule breaking is necessary.
In the past few months I seem to have stumbled upon the most amazing books which I have neglected to share...so here goes:
The Bishop's Man
by Linden MacIntyre
A riveting novel set in eastern Canada that follows Father Duncan MacAskill as he navigates a number of difficult situations faced by the Catholic church. He is haunted by memories in his past and the effects of choices and decisions that were not always within his control. The story involves scandal, wayward priests, and their effect on the community.
The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is a heartbreaking story of two young boys growing up in during the tumultuous history of Afghanistan. As the story unfolds, a short moment in time changes the trajectory of a life. It's about betrayal and redemption...a difficult but fascinating read.
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Another novel set during the upheaval experienced in Kabul, this one focuses on two women, the wives of a manipulative merchant. Theirs is a story of love and loss, of unlikely friendships and of the challenges faced by women who suffer without basic human rights.
Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant
by Veronica Roth
This was a fantastic young adult trilogy set in a dystopian world where young adults choose to live in one of five factions when they turn sixteen - Candor (honest), Abnegation (selfless), Erudite (intelligent), Dauntless (brave) and Amity (peace). Initiation into the faction can be highly competitive, leaving some factionless and homeless. It's a great reflection on today's society and the human need for acceptance and belonging.
Half Broke Horses
by Jeanette Walls
Some reads are particularly hard, especially The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls which I read a few years ago as it was a memoir of a difficult childhood. It always amazes me how people survive and even thrive under the most horrific circumstances and it was actually a treat to read this second novel as the author delved further back into her family's history. Everyone has a story to tell and challenges to overcome, and the generations that follow are also shaped by them.
by Donna Morrisey
I love stories set on the east coast, and this one did not disappoint. The story is set in a 1950's floundering fishing community and speaks to the conflicting desires to stay and to leave. Adelaide wants to escape her troubled family and the challenges of life in a fishing community but she is lead instead to the handsome and wilful Sylvanus whose life revolves around it.
by Robert J. Wiersema
When I began reading this story it reminded me a little of The Princess Bride but as I read further it really stood on its own. It's filled with fantasy, magic and mystery. The story revolves around a man, a writer named Christopher Knox, and his 10-year-old son David and their bedtime story ritual. For his son's birthday, Christopher purchases an old copy of a book titled To the Four Directions which, as David begins reading on his own, causes a severe seizure and state of unconsciousness. His father begins a quest to save his son, as David, stuck in the story, faces his own quest.
We were so lucky to have caricaturist Kelly Gannon teach the Jr Artists Workshop at the library this weekend...he was absolutely fantastic with the kids. He usually works on cruises and places like Disneyland so it was a real privilege that he not only gave the kids pointers on drawing caricatures but even drew every one of them and it was a full house.
I always look toward the May workshop with a mixture of joy and sorrow as I enjoy the break I get in the summer but always miss the kids. This weekend I got many hugs, even from the boys, and so many lovely comments about the program from the moms...I am so grateful the library offers this class.
This summer I have a new art project for the teen room and can't wait to share it...at least art programming in the library doesn't end when the Jr Artists program is finished for the season.