ANominations are now open for the 2019 Airdrie Mayor's Night of the Arts for which I was the recipient of the Fortis Professional Artist Award several years ago (that's me on the bottom right) and my daughter Katherine also received the Qualico Youth Artist award two years ago. With the award, she received a scholarship which is being put to good use as she's currently studying at the Fashion Institute in Calgary. For more information or to nominate someone from Airdrie, please visit the AMNA website here.
New Work & Bluerock
On a gorgeous, sunny September day I decided to pull over by a farm yard to paint the beautiful Southern Alberta landscape on my way to Bluerock Gallery. I find that driving stresses me, just being in a vehicle does, so I planned to bring my small pochade on this trip to deliver artwork to Black Diamond and am so glad I did. Not only was it pleasant to stop and enjoy the autumn, scenery, but instead of feeling like a chore, this trip felt more like a little vacation. I appreciate the galleries that represent my work so much and love visiting them, I just wish they were a bit closer and didn't require travel through a busy city. And the visits are always so lovely, especially because I get to see new work of some of my favorite artists and also pick up gifts for family and friends.
Last week I delivered a new batch of 4x4 bees along with these new 6x6 little guys on deep gallery canvas to Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond. The colour palette is a little softer than the ones I created previously, a little more pastel, which is a bit of a departure for me but I love them. I also decided to use black spray paint since I had some Liquitex left after an earlier commission and I have to say that I really like the look of these. I'm thinking that this may translate to my larger paintings in some form as well. I also utilized a damask pattern to look a bit more like aged wallpaper, kid of like bees got into an old country home.
I'm a Cover Girl!
I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to create the cover image for the arts + culture issue of AirdrieLIFE magazine. Not only is this a fabulous local magazine but every issue features local arts. I feel very fortunate.
Airdrie artist Veronica Funk has been a featured artist and regular collaborator with airdrielife both on and off the page for 15 years. Giving her the arts issue cover was the natural choice. "My work over the past several years has been inspired by a combination of street art and traditional imagery. I love working intuitively, layering vibrant colour and pattern by utilizing stencils and other mark-making tools such as my hands. The imagery I selected for this particular piece was meant to evoke an almost dream-like sense of movement and passion that is prevalent in the arts."
It has been so great using my little Christmas pochade paintbox from Judson's through the summer. Working smaller, in this case 5x7 inches, and having a much smaller travel box means things are much lighter and the paintings go much quicker. I am struggling a bit with my two paintbrushes as the bristles bend while drying in the box (they're a little long) but I'm thinking of investing in a couple of really good travel brushes in order to combat that little problem, just need to find the right style. If the bristles are too soft, then it's difficult to move the paint around the panel, if they're too hard, they scrub the paint on rather than lying it on. Oh the challenges of plein air painting.
I've not only been enjoying my holidays in my home province, but also the beautiful views and opportunity to capture them in my own way. The top row is Beaver Mines Lake in southern Alberta, the middle HooDoos Trail by Drumheller, and the bottom are views from Tunnel Mountain by Banff. My preference in travel is to either visit family and friends or creating art, so the small pochade is perfect.
And the Open Acrylics by Golden work like a charm. They're almost oil paint like in that they take quite awhile to dry so I can blend well. The only challenge for me is that I'm used to acrylic paint drying quickly so I have to allow time for drying and then go back into the pieces to add highlights and darks.
Taking a break...
In the last few years I have painted 192 portraits and so I have decided to take a break for awhile. Also, as it is autumn, I am heading back to my studio with all of the sketches and inspiration I have gathered over the summer to create larger works once again. I love painting big.
Lately I've given a lot of thought to body shaming and the fact that it was rarely males who were disparaging to me or my girls but, unfortunately, it was often other girls. After a rest, I know I will still paint the beautiful faces of the many women I connect with and admire but may begin to add some males to the mix as well as I'd like to honour the fact that my daughters & I are lucky to have many good men in our lives.
I know I want to exhibit this group of 50 portraits and would love to create another book, this time including all of the portraits together and perhaps gather each woman's personal favorite quotes. It will be interesting to see where this combination of old & new portraits will travel. I'll keep you posted.
En Plein Air
I've often been asked what supplies I use to paint on location and the most important item would be my Judson's pochade box. This one accomodates 2-5x7 panels along with a small set of Golden Open acrylics. They take quite a while to dry so painting in the Rocky Mountain winds or bright Badlands sunshine is much easier.
Right now my colour palette includes titanium white, ultramarine & manganese blue, cadmium primrose & indian yellow, cadmium red light & alizarin crimson and sap green but even though they are only 22 ml each it's a little tight in the box so I may adjust that eventually. I also use a small rag (one of my husband's cut up t-shirts), a small round & small flat brush, a brush washer (metal cups that attach to my palette) and a view finder as well as a pen and pocket moleskine for thumbnail sketches.
The pochade is still nice and light when everything is all packed plus I bring a bottle of water and granola bar along with my phone for photos. And that's it. I really like to keep things light and simple.
Nasty Woman, Too: Cheyenne MacDonald