I've been so busy with AirdrieFEST, the AIRdirondack Art Gala, and ARTember since returning from vacation along with trying to finish up a few paintings that need to be shipped that I've forgotten to remember all the goodness that has come of this creative life...like the things listed above. There have been so many amazing opportunities that have come my way from many different directions, but all related to this painting life:
- working with children both at the library and in schools
- painting with troubled youth who have such amazing creative spirit
- opportunities to write and publish about the beauty of art
- interviews in newspapers, magazines, radio and television
- contributing to incredible causes, such as Ronald McDonald House, High River Flood Relief, Women's Shelters, Food Banks, Calgary AIDS Foundation, libraries and many other non-profit organizations around the world
- partnerships with gallery directors whom I admire
- exhibiting internationally
- collaborations with numerous artists
- awards and nominations
- public art projects, both contributing and coordinating
- sharing the work of local and regional artists
- meeting so many incredible people
It seems I've only just begun this journey and I wonder where it will lead. I often think of Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken' and can't help remember the lines, 'two roads diverged in a wood and I, I chose the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference'' and hope that my journey has made a difference.
The title 'scorpionweed' comes from the rash that can be caused by the soft, stiff hairs of certain species of the phacelia plant and the cluster of flowers grows in a coil similar to a scorpion's tail. It is native to western North America and, when the leaves are crushed, they smell like onions. The plants not edible, are toxic and are known to be allergens.
So many pieces have found new homes recently and I am beyond grateful. This winter I will continue my fine arts studies and this will bring me so much closer to my dream of completing them. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Often when I'm working large, especially four feet and up, I find it nice to work on smaller pieces while layers of paint dry. This helps me to clarify colour palettes and mark-making and allows me to experiment a little before trying it out on such a large surface. Basically, it helps me find my way as working large can be a little overwhelming at times...though I do love it. But, I have to admit that I like working small, too, so I am glad to move back and forth.
The paintings & prints of Michelle Wiebe
sabbatical [ səˈbatikəl ]
noun: sabbatical · plural noun: sabbaticals a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel, traditionally every seventh year; adjective: sabbatical of or relating to a sabbatical.
Michelle Wiebe has exhibited her work from Nova Scotia to British Columbia and had the unique privilege of painting a mural with a group of children in Africa. She has been a fixture in the Airdrie art scene for several years, with work included in three AIRdirondack Art Projects, Artists’ Alley banner project, Art-in-Motion bus pass, and the Main Street mural project. Most recently she has become involved in Calgary’s utility box painting project as well as Art Battle, a finalist and winner in several live competitive painting events.
This past year has been a time of sabbatical for Michelle; a time of leave to focus on creative experimentation, change and growth. Previously she fulfilled the role of Pastor of Kids’ Ministry at the Airdrie Alliance Church where she travelled extensively, working with children in places such as Turkey, Hungary and Swaziland.
Michelle’s goal is to convey truth in her art, whether through representational images or through symbolism as a painter and printmaker. To read more about her inspiration and process, please visit her online at http://www.michellewiebe.com.
It's been a busy time, but a very good one, with a focus on working both large (48x60 inches) and small (6x6 inches), writing a new article on arts & culture published by the American Library Association, artwork delivery to Bluerock Gallery (where I met the most lovely patrons), assisting Creative Airdrie with placing artists in business for ARTember, designing a new logo for the Airdrie Public Library, helping my daughter plan and cut out a new skirt pattern, and thankful that my husband was home and cooking the past four days. Plus he's always my chaffeur (I don't really care to drive)...and now it's back to happy work. :)
On this cold and rainy weekend I did not feel like painting flowers, and yet, painting these goldenrod lifted my spirits. Goldenrod has a history of being used as a diuretic, to flush the system of extra fluids and reduce swelling. Its Latin name, solidago means 'to make whole', and has been used to treat tuberculosis, allergies, asthma, gout, diabetes, internal bleeding and arthritis. It is often been named the cause of seasonal allergies but the culprit is actually ragweed which blooms at the same time. Native Americans chewed the leaves to treat sore throats and chewed the roots to relieve toothache.
As much as I enjoy a little holiday, I enjoy time spent in my studio so much more. We extended our little 'vacation' by sightseeing in our own back yard, spending time hiking at Lake Louise, visiting Heritage Park in Calgary, and a few little drives around the countryside to see all the changes happening around us. Now I'm back to working on five larger canvases (with another biggie on its way) and several smalls and this is how I like it. Though the room I work in is tiny, the light is nice and I have all the space I need...as long as I can move things around while I work, it's all good. Many works in progress head to different rooms (and outside) to see where they are headed, to guide me a bit in decisions to make, and to view them in different light. Plus, it allows me to step further away from them to see any adjustments in form, colour or any additions that are required. It also gives me time to allow my imagination to soar, away from the studio, in order to envision what is yet to come.