Mountain Goat symbolizes sure-footedness, traveling where others fear to venture. He reminds us to be playful and active while we journey into new adventures.
The past few weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster beginning with the flooding in Southern Alberta where many friends were directly affected. The Siksika Nation was one of the communities that was hit especially hard and I was so grateful to be able to contribute to a convoy of over fifteen trucks and trailers that was organized by our local MLA Rob Anderson...and then, during our Canada Day parade a small group of the Siksika people sang and danced to thank our community even though they are still struggling. I was moved to tears. By far the best part of the parade for me.
The foodbank donation bins have been filled to overflowing throughout Airdrie and financial donations to the Red Cross keep pouring in. My daughter's sorority, Delta Eta Iota, from the University of Lethbridge gathered over 600 graduation dresses for the students of High River who lost everything. And then, an artist in Calgary, Terri Heinrichs, began The Alberta Flood Rose Project where artists were invited to create a 4x4x1 inch piece of art (artists are still welcome to join as long as the work is dropped off at one of several locations listed by July 26) and over 350 artists stepped up immediately. I am so glad to be part of such a giving community. Our interview on CKUA radio was broadcast on Sunday...you can listen to it on ArtBeat here (fast forward to 16 minutes):
During all of this, our old van finally went to its final resting place and as it has been our only vehicle, it made it difficult to be able to help anywhere but locally, so I have been especially thankful to contribute financially through the Red Cross, with donations through the Airdrie Foodbank, and now by helping Terri with The Alberta Flood Rose Project. And I have to give a huge thank you to Airdrie Honda...they have been absolutely amazing to work with.
And still I have been grateful to be able to be involved in organizing arts programming for adults and children as well as continuing my own arts practice (on a smaller scale but still moving along). And thus piece number 28 of the 52 WEEKS PROJECT was completed just this moment. Whew! I love the mountain goats that we see standing nonchalantly along the narrow rocky cliff edges every time we drive through the Rocky Mountains. I am more thankful than words can say when I see how blessed and how fortunate I am. And though my heart breaks for those who currently struggle, it gives me such a warm feeling inside to see everyone work together to help one another however they can. People are good.
I love speaking with other artists and taking a peek into their creative lives so I decided to dedicate a portion of my blog posts to sharing the incredibly talented people I have the privilege to work alongside in my community. Today my first guest is painter Frances Iverson.
Frances' work is filled with a multitude of juicy texture and vibrant colour. I first saw it several years ago at a meeting at City Hall and was surprised to find out she had only recently begun painting. Her use of colour and contrast feels like years of experience have gone into the work.
She is currently excited to share three of her paintings in an International Exhibit in New York beginning July 25 and running through to September 10 but was also recognized locally a few years ago when she won first place Creative Arts & Crafts honours at the Calgary Stampede. Studying with a few artists exposed her to a variety of media and styles of working but she has finally found her own muse in abstraction. She finds joy and balance in painting binges followed by small breaks in between.
I had a nice chat with Frances and was happy to hear that she feels about her art in a similar way that I do about mine...it seems many artists do. Perhaps these are the desires that inspire creativity.
What are you inspired by?
I love colour...and I love to paint, it centers me. Painting is like meditation. I find real inner peace when I do it.
What is the best advice you have received?
Basically to do what you love. A lesson I learned was not to paint for anyone else but yourself. I paint for me.
Why do you do what you do?
I tried many different things and finally came to a place when this made sense to me...the abstraction, the texture...makes sense. I love colour and texture, using a palette knife. To me art is a feeling. One feels a certain way when you look at artwork. The artist portrays one feeling and the observer may feel something different.
Though her father passed away when she was a toddler, his love of painting was inherited by her as she began doodling and drawing as a young teenager on a farm in Saskatchewan and she was recognized for her talent. Growing up amidst some difficult times followed by marriage and then twins halted her creative journey for awhile but thankfully she has returned to her early passion. As well as being involved in the local art community through her involvement on the Board of Directors of the Airdrie Regional ARTS Society, Frances has been painting, learning and exhibiting regularly. You can view more of her work along with her exhibition schedule online at http://www.francesiverson.com/.
Today I thought I'd relax in my personal AIRdirondack Art Project chair and send you over to Sarah McMurray's She-Tribe Project to read my guest blog post TEN THINGS. I've shared an article in Sarah's online magazine in the past, my story of being 'Different' can be found on page 15. Today I'm excited for the day ahead and hope you have a good one, too.
Lately I've spent many hours working on an amazing project, The Alberta Flood Rose Project. A call went out asking artists to complete a 4x4 inch piece of artwork in any media which will then be framed in groups of 100 and auctioned to raise funds for Alberta flood victims through the donation to the Red Cross.
My painting didn't take long, but I've been helping the project visionary & coordinator, Terri Heinrichs, to upload photos of the finished pieces...and let me tell you, it is so fun to see the completed works. It's also great to see so many artists whom I admire tremendously step up to contribute to such a great cause.
Yesterday Terri & I met with Kathleen Renne of CKUA Radio as Terri would still love to have more artists involved (currently the number is 300). One of the possibilities is that this project will travel around the province in order to raise more awareness and, ultimately more funds. The interview will be broadcasted on ArtBeat between 12-1 pm. The deadline for completed works is July 26. More information can be found on the website at www.thealbertafloodroseproject.com.
Recently one of the ladies at the library celebrated twenty-five years working for our public library. Part of her gift was this mug which I was grateful to decorate with the term 'library' in many different languages. As much as I love images, words are just as beautiful. And I love these Starbucks mugs with a permanent marker that have both black & white tips. I'm thinking I may have to get one of these for myself. Hmmmm....what would I draw & write on it I wonder?
And speaking of libraries...I just finished the latest Giller Nominated book I was reading:
The Imposter Bride
by Nancy Richler
This story is set in postwar Montreal and begins with a woman traveling by the name of Lily Azerov, who arrives from Eastern Europe prepared for a pre-arranged marriage that doesn't occur, and ends up married to her intended's brother. Lily's cousin was present at the wedding, knowing that the bride was an imposter, and then Lily disappears mysteriously a few months after the birth of her child. Lily's daughter, Ruth, spends her life trying to uncover the secrets that her family keeps in order to find out who her mother really was...a definite page turner.
The mural the kids created during Fun Friday at the library last week is finally dry and hung. This 4.5 x 8.5 foot canvas is now on its fourth year of being painted by 40+ children each time so it is becoming quite heavy. It amazes me how much canvas can tolerate. And it also makes me a believer in the strength of acrylic paint.
This year I decided to incorporate a bit of our local Main Street though I did embellish it (quite) a bit along with dinosaurs (which isn't too far off since Drumheller is close by) and giraffes and instruments and different modes of transportation (including a paper airplane). The theme for this year's Summer Reading Club is 'GO!' which references new experiences, both near and far, through books and travel and food and imagination. The mural adds such a vibrant pop of colour to the kids' section of the library. Love it!
Unfortunately I didn't measure the space prior to hanging the canvas but fortunately it fit perfectly! I've run art programming at the library long enough that I should have the measurements of this space memorized...but I don't. I can't wait to see the kids' faces as they come in the library and see their masterpiece up for everyone to enjoy.
This week I decided to honour white buffalo with my 52 WEEKS PROJECT. White buffalo is considered sacred and is honoured in many Native American rituals.
As a child I heard a story about White Buffalo Calf Woman who brought seven sacred ceremonies to the people: Sweat Lodge for purification; Naming Ceremony for the children; Healing Ceremony; Adoption Ceremony for the making of relatives; Marriage Ceremony; Vision Quest; and the Sundance Ceremony for all nations. She taught that these ceremonies would remind us to be guardians of the land and of one another.
The white buffalo symbolizes harmony, balance and spirituality. I like that.
So...as usual the mural painting portion of the Summer Reading Club at the Airdrie Public Library was a busy (and messy) place. About sixty people crammed their bodies into a room that was quite crowded. Can't wait until the heavily painted canvas dries so I can put it up in the kids' section.
It's great to see how proud they all are of their completed 'masterpiece', bringing siblings, friends, parents and grandparents to show them their contribution to art in Airdrie. What excited me the most was the number of boys that wanted to paint this year...typically there are far more girls interested.
In some areas the original image is no longer visible, but I'll fix that with a marker this weekend after several hours of dry time. I'll share the finished product next week :)
I'm currently working on a dream journal - sort of a vision board in a small carry size journal as a personal reminder of my dreams and goals to help keep me focused - out of leftover canvas from a previous project. But while the layers of gel media and paint dry, I'm spending my time in the kitchen with my youngest daughter now that she's home for the summer...yesterday we made delicious rhubarb crumble (aka crisp & crunch). You know, rhubarb and oatmeal so I feel like I'm eating a healthy snack and utilizing items that are ready in the garden. This is a recipe I've used since I was a teenager, but instead of baking it in a pan, I decided to use these cute little canning jars which make a perfect sized treat and even leaves a bit of room for some frozen yogurt (and though I probably shouldn't even think this, it's delicious warm drizzled with cream or cold with a dollop of whipped cream).
3/4 c flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1 c oats
- mix well and add
1/2 c melted butter
2-3 c chopped rhubarb
1 c white sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 c water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pack 2/3 of the crumble into 11 small (125 ml) mason jars or 8x8 inch pan. Equally distribute the rhubarb between all 11 jars. Mix sugar, corn starch, water and vanilla together in pot and bring to a boil. Pour equal amounts into each jar. Sprinkle remainder of crumble equally over filling. Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour (until golden & bubbly). Serve warm or cold. Yum!
So...I promised I'd share my experience with monoprinting and I've finally screwed up the courage to do so. For those of you who don't have experience with printmaking, I'll share a very basic overview of several typical methods:
Monotype or monoprint: There are two ways to create a this type of print - by rolling ink onto a smooth plate (ie. glass), drawing a design into it and pressing paper onto that pattern; or by again rolling ink onto a plate and using a tool to press into the back of the paper to transfer ink to the paper (which is what I did). These tend to be singular prints.
Engraving or etching: Incising a pattern into a hard, flat surface such as metal with tools (engraving) or using a ground such as wax then acids (etching).
Lithography: This one is a little more complicated. A chemical process using a limestone or metal plate along with water-repelling and water-retaining properties to create more detailed images.
Woodcut or linocut: This is the one most people are familiar with...cutting out the negative spaces in surfaces such as wood, linoleum or rubber to create a 'stamp' on which to apply colour that transfers to paper.
Screenprint: Woven mesh is stretched onto a frame and a stencil is created (using items such as a liquid rubber). Once dry, ink is placed inside the frame and pulled along the image with a squeegee to transfer colour to paper or fibre.
I had such high hopes as I have been a fan of the printmaking process for years and a follower of many artists who practice it. But I have to say that with this little experiment I preferred the watercolour backgrounds I created to the final printed images. Maybe it's the vibrant colour I prefer. Oh well...I had fun. Though I think I'll stick with paint & canvas ;)