I've had the most wonderful summer experimenting and learning so much more about watercolours. It's been good to get out into the countryside on the outskirts of my community, as well as a bit of travelling that I've done this year, especially with a sketchbook. Everything began because I forgot something to draw with so I had to go straight to watercolours (something I've done with acrylics for years).
I already had a set of Peerless Watercolor Sheets and of Jane Davenport watercolours (brights) as well as a set of Art of Soil neutrals (a gift from my children) which I placed in an empty Altoids tin along with a travel mini Winsor & Newton and a Pentel water brush. I've now expanded my supplies to include another basic travel set (as small as the Altoids tin but it has 3 primaries & water brush, along with a pencil, sharpener & erasor (which I may not need after all) - beautifully vibrant colours and a Canadian company (Joan of Art). I also picked up the Derwent 1/2 pans (waterproof when dry) which I placed in a White Nights tin paint palette (I prefer the Jane Davenport as the mixing wells sit flat on that one) along with a few full pans that I filled with Daniel Smith and Winsor + Newton colours that I picked up on sale. Definitely won't be doing that again as it was messy! I also added the 3 neutrals from the Derwent set to the Art of Soil tin. Now I also have a Derwent water brush (really like it except that the lid does not fit on the bottom of the brush when painting) and a Princeton no. 8 travel brush to go along with my W+N no. 12 brush I've had for years (I have used it to apply acrylic glazes to my portraits). I'm really happy with this combination, though I would love another large travel brush.
As far as paper, I've been trying several different sketchbooks, both in shape and paper colour/type. My favourite so far, besides the 5.5x3.5 inch Pentalic which has heavier watercolour sheets, is a mixed media 5.5" square Hand Book by Speedball. My 8.5x5.5 Rae Dunn sketchbook is a great shape (my fave) though the pages are cream and wrinkle quite a bit but that's fine for a sketchbook. I also use a 6x4 inch HJ Permanent Sketchbook (a bit thick but great shape for landscapes) and 5.5x3.5 Field Sketchbook by Peter Pauper Press (perfect pocket size). I have also picked up a block of 9x12 cold pressed watercolour sheets to try on location. I just need to practice more first.
When I initially posted my 'error' of not including a drawing tool, another artist directed me to Reta Summers Cowley. She was a Saskatchewan artist that painted directly onto 1/4 sheets of watercolour paper without using a drawing so, necessarily, I had to order a book about her from our library. I think I may have seen her work at the MacKenzie Gallery in Regina many, many years ago. I also need to look into Dorothy Knowles work again...she's also a Saskatchewan artist who was initially taught by Reta at Emma Lake (a place I was invited for an art retreat years ago but the girls were so young then). I love the abstract quality and light in both of their work so I am inspired to keep going and seeing where this may lead.
What is Airdrie Reads?
Airdrie Reads is a local Alberta spin on an epic national book battle – Canada Reads. Airdrie Reads combines the passion for books with the drama of reality TV--think The Bachelorette meets literature! The contest is sponsored by Big Sky Author Services and The Feathered Pen, local author services providers, with the aim to promote authors in Alberta. We also hope to inspire Airdronians to read these local treasures over the summer. Finally, during the Airdrie Reads contest, we will also be engaging local businesses in the community on social media to promote the ‘support local’ theme.
How it Works
Once the book entries have been shortlisted, five Airdrie Champions will choose one of the finalists’ books to indulge in, and then they will pitch their book selection to a panel of judges. Airdronians can cheer on their favourites while they watch the Champions persuade the judges in a video-pitch showdown, and the winning Alberta author will be crowned this year’s Airdrie Reads winner!
In addition to the winning author’s book being highlighted on the shelves of several local stores, they will receive a free social media endorsement from both Big Sky Author Services and The Feathered Pen, and the grand prize of a professionally written article in the fall issue of airdrielife Magazine!
Deadline for Author Submissions is April 15, 2022
Read along with the Champions from May to July 2022
Champions pitch their book choices on social media during the month of July 2022.
Winner will be announced no later than August 15, 2022.
Big Sky Author Services and The Feathered Pen have partnered with airdrielife Magazine as our official media sponsor. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the magazine in donating both print and digital advertising and editorial pieces for this project.
"I am a 21-year-old designer based in Calgary, Alberta and inspired by history. I am currently a history major at Mount Royal University, and I use my studies to inform and influence my work.
My fascination with history and sewing started when I was 6 years old, when my mom taught me how to hand sew. Since then, I have always had a project on the go - first small art dolls, then doll clothing, and finally people-sized clothing when I made my first skirt at the age of 14.
I started my first blog when I was in grade 12 and made a Special Project for myself (a Special Project is a project that I created and counted as a class and credits in my last semester). The project included researching and sewing a round gown from the 1700's, which is when I started taking my sewing more seriously.
Since then, I have been lucky enough to be a part of MakeFashion (a wearable technology show based in Calgary and Shenzhen) and the VIM Future Oceans Fashion Show in 2019. I also attended a year at the Olds College Fashion Institute.
All of my clothing is one of a kind and made with couture techniques, and most of them have been created completely by me, starting with the design and pattern drafting. The designs are inspired by historical and vintage fashion, specifically the designs of Charles James, Coco Chanel, Jacques Fath, and Edith Head." - Katherine Funk
It's been a busy summer and I can really feel that it is a time of transition. I have discussed this feeling of 'shift' previously and am nervous/excited about where I'm heading, even though I'm unsure of where this road leads. I am extremely happy to be working in watercolour for the first time in my life, though I have always dabbled when travelling. It's nice to be working in a medium that doesn't affect my family (environmental allergies) at all and to be experimenting with something new. I don't know where or if it will lead to something greater for me, I just know that it's an important step.
"My name is Lorena Busto Hurtado (she/her/hers) and I am a finance professional working at a Spanish bank in London. I have been working in banking and financial markets for nearly a decade, starting in Madrid at a very junior position and making my dream come true of moving to London four years ago. As a finance professional I am really involved in women in banking & finance empowerment in London and globally, and in boosting financial education in my home country Spain.
My passion for languages started at an early age and they have been the key which has opened many doors to me - they opened my mind, allowed me to pursue studies in other countries and let me get to know amazing people who now I call friends.
I am lucky to say that economics and finance are part of my profession but also some of my genuine interests. Specifically, I am interested in the latest technological developments in the industry and in the role it plays in society as a way to erase social inequalities within and out of the sector.
In order to fully satisfy my curiosity, I had to learn to ask questions, being a fully independent researcher doesn’t help much. But independence comes with the ability to keep going forward, if necessary, on your own.
Probably the experience that has defined me the most and made me who I am was my first international trip. Although I was curious about the world, as a teenager I was happy in my relatively small hometown. I guess I was not dreaming big enough at that point.
Everything changed when at sixteen I landed for the first time in London. My mind was blown and eyes were opened! So many different people and things in front of me that, instead of making me feel uncomfortable, made me want to explore more. It can sound a bit cheesy but London was love at first sight and the relationship that has defined me.
“Mrs Brown says that in London everyone is different, and that means anyone can fit in. I think she must be right - because although I don't look like anyone else, I really do feel at home. I'll never be like other people, but that's alright, because I'm a bear.” – Paddington
I love fashion, I understand it in a personal way though. I think women’s fashion is more fun, there are no prejudices about colours and after all, you can wear a suit or a dress. Although there are still many obstacles for women in this world we live in, I see fashion as a way of free ourselves. I wish for the same for men, because gender stereotypes set limits to self-expression whether you are in one box or the other.
I don’t know how, since my teenage years I was inspired by Coco Chanel. Later the more I knew about her the more I understood why. We both went to religious schools - her story is a bit sadder than mine as I had my family - and wore uniforms. The colours of children and nuns’ uniforms were a huge influence in her designs - proving that you can be creative even in a standardised collective.
Another thing I discovered we had in common is the love for England and its Prince of Wales check suits. There is an urban legend that the Chanel symbol is in the lampposts of Westminster in London, because the Duke of Westminster asked many times Coco Chanel to marry him. However, there is no evidence of that.
‘There have been many Duchesses of Westminster, but only one Coco Chanel.’ - Coco Chanel
There are many more memorable quotes of her, but if I had the chance to talk to her I would ask her what was her greatest strength, the one that made her succeed in a male dominated industry. Also I am thankful that she freed the women’s figure from corsets and created casual - but elegant - attires."
~ Lorena Busto Hurtado
Several years ago I purchased a booklet that contained sheets of watercolour paper. The colours are vibrant and, when small pieces were cut and adhered to a small folded sheet of watercolour paper, it was the smallest travel set I've used...especially since I could tuck it into my sketchbook and also pop a water-filled brush into the pen holder. Perfection. These sheets by Peerless were originally created to tint photographs, which I am amazed by, and I'm very glad they still make them. Lots of fun to use and kids love them.
I was so excited to see a photo of our cat Walter in my studio in the latest issue of 'Where Women Create' magazine (far right). The photo was taken in the midst of Covid-19 while I was working on 'The Grandmothers' project, which makes it even more special. To read the original article from 'What Women Create' visit the link here.
"Before the pandemic, I had finally balanced my work-life around my passions for music and writing after trying for many years. The pandemic took away my two part-time day jobs, one at a school and one at a chain of daycares (both companies seemed to take advantage of the situation to downsize), and venues stopped hiring musicians because the UCP prohibited singing, claiming it spreads Covid more than speaking, although scientific research suggests otherwise.
I am now a full-time security guard trying to pay off CERB debt, and I teach online atwww.alexandrawriterscentre.org. The bands I play with have shows again, but the lack of work-life balance is exhausting and hard on physical, mental, and emotional health." ~ Laurie Fuhr
Beginning on September 24, 10am-12pm, I will be leading a new group with Mastrius where we will be focusing on creating and exhibiting a body of work. It's one of my favourite topics as it is a favourite thing for me to do. Something I was taught as an important part of an artist's process in college in the 1980s. To learn more or to register, please visit Mastrius online here.