Tom Thompson is another member of the Group of Seven whose work I have admired for many years. I attended a number of exhibits at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Glenbow Museum in Calgary to view his work and oddly enough it was always his small colour sketches on wood panel that drew me. It's odd in that I prefer to work large (the painting above on the right measures 4x5 feet) but I am inspired by his love of Canada and the strong lines in his work.
A wonderful friend (thank you Jacky) often sent me books of his work and they never ceased to inspire me. For many years I preferred his work to any other member of the Group but over time I learned to appreciate them all for different reasons.
His use of line and vivid colour still inspires me and I hope that I can bring some of it to the landscape work I've been creating of late. I love how he lays a bright turquoise against a hot yellow in his skies and how many of his trees are outline in reds and oranges. It was he who inspired my use of a rich orange ochre or burnt yellow on my canvas prior to painting many of my pieces and to work alla prima, just laying the colours down quickly and intuitively.
Several years ago I received this wonderful 'Spirit of the Wheel' set of cards created by Linda Ewashina and Jody Bergsma (whose watercolours I absolutely love) and have been looking for a nice way to keep them. Last year a friend gifted me with this beautiful little cigar box which I initially painted and filled with stones but I found I rarely ever opened it. Suddenly, this weekend I realized how it would be the perfect box for my cards, a favorite stone (Apache's tear) and crystal, one of the feathers I've gathered on walks, a small bundle of sage (another lovely gift) and a word-of-the-year necklace from a couple of years ago (fearless, still need the reminder to walk bravely). Now that I've removed the center of the box it is the perfect little cabinet of curiosities for me. I may yet decorate the inside but for now this is perfect.
The Creative Airdrie Society has brought about many wonderful initiatives in our city and I was so honoured to be included in the Art-in-Motion project for a second time. These are bus passes for the commuter ICE Bus which means that on public art projects I've now had one of my chair paintings from my Simple Pleasures series - actually it was included in the library's panel for the Main Street Project, one of my Sacred Vessel canoes on the utility box project, birch trees on Artist's Alley - the street lamp banner project, another of my canoes from my Drifting Series which was a transitional piece from the Simple Pleasures to the Sacred Vessel series on a previous Art-in-Motion project and now tipis from the Sacred Space series.
For so many years I have exhibited my work across Canada and in the United States plus my paintings have found homes around the world and so it is with great pleasure that I finally get to share my work locally. When our 'new' library opened I was asked to share my chair paintings and it was a perfect fit as they all feature a book and cozy blanket or lamp but since then there haven't been many opportunities to share my work in my community. And I do love sharing art in public spaces as it is accessible for all plus public spaces are non-intimidating environments so that everyone has access to art.
This morning I will be visiting our local radio station to discuss the upcoming AIRdirondack Art Project (this marks our 6th annual) as well as all the initiatives that have taken place over the past year, there have been many, and I have to say that I am proud to be involved in the growth of arts and culture in our community.
I'm on round two of the Gratitude Project, which means I'm already halfway through another 52 WEEKS project. This week my focus is on the food I ingest...specifically apples. I have always loved apples but for some reason have barely eaten them the past few years. And since we are near the season of making resolutions, I've been making a conscious decision to eat more apples - you know the old adage, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" and all. We are fortunate to live in a time where we get fresh fruit and vegetables all year round, but to be honest, I can't wait for fall when fresh Okanagan apples are available at the local Farmers' Market....mmmmmmm.
In the early 1990's I saw my first Lawren Harris exhibit. The funny thing was when I learned of the Group of Seven in college I wasn't really taken with their work, but when I was surrounded by Harris' large glowing paintings I wept and needed to learn as much as I could about his work and inspiration.
Harris was a Transcendentalist and I always believed that his spirituality flowed from his work. Being in that room surrounded by his paintings felt like being in the sanctuary of a church, so very spiritual. And that feeling is something I attempt to bring to my own work to this day.
I also found it interesting that he stopped signing his work, so that it was judged on its own merit and didn't influence the viewer. Georgia O'Keeffe also didn't sign her work but I believe it was so that it could be hung in any direction that pleased the patron. Again I was inspired by the light and organic form, just like in O'Keeffe's paintings.
I was surprised the other evening when a friend gifted me with these hand-made fingerless gloves...and they really do fit like a glove. She obviously knows me fairly well as I love the colour and the fact that they're made by hand. And I really love those mismatched buttons. The pair I knit myself years ago have taken a beating as they're mostly used for painting outside. You know, those times when it's just too cold to have bare hands but bare fingers are still necessary to do the work. So, I'm thinking I'll be kinder to this pair, using them for sketching instead of painting so they hang in a bit longer. Last week another lovely co-worker gave me red tea from China and now this. I work with amazing people and feel abundantly blessed.
I had the great privilege of teaching a room full of Realtors to paint during their Christmas party at the Toad'n'Turtle yesterday and had a great time doing it. What a fantastic group of people. And though none of them had ever painted before, each one of them created a painting that was full of contrast and perspective. Initially they were skeptical but in the end they were all pleasantly surprised. It really is an honour for me to introduce people to painting and so thankful they had fun. Plus, painting with delicious appetizers and wine is always a great bonus.
So I finally completed the second Gamer Computer for the library, this time being inspired by The Hobbit (the first real book I read my daughters as toddlers...and excited for the new movie!), The Game of Thrones, tattoos, video games and even The Paper Bag Princess. I found out that the fans will be replaced with lighted ones which is going to look fantastic! I can't wait to see them in the Teen Zone and hope the kids love them.
This was another bit of a cheat...though you can see the zipper (just barely) I really wanted to paint my favorite, well-worn sweater. Though I did study fashion design and was accepted in fashion in university in Toronto (many, many years ago) plus I sewed my daughter's clothing for years so zippers were really important to me.
I don't sew as much anymore, mostly mend, I still do appreciate sewing in all its forms. And now that I've run through the alphabet once over the past six month, and since I enjoy year-long projects I will be doing it again beginning next Thursday, but in lower case ;)