My husband has been taking photographs of interesting buildings in Calgary for my 'CityScapes' paintings on his lunch hour walks at work which is wonderful as I've been working from home over the past 6 months. Some of these buildings I've seen in the past myself, but occasionally he brings me something I haven't seen before, like the Anderson Estates apartments (image on the left). I have come to realize that painting something I haven't seen myself can have its challenges, but can also be quite freeing as, once I've drawn it into my sketchbook, I don't refer to the photograph again. This gives me the opportunity to open my mind to new creative ideas without locking me in to replicating the exact image (not that I would in any case). I really like that kind of artistic freedom.
The CityScape on the top (Anderson Estates II) can be seen at The Store Upstairs in Airdrie until September 30 part of the pop-up gallery in this year's ARTember and Alberta's Arts Days.
My grandmother was a fiercely independent woman. She immigrated alone to Canada from England as a young woman and that same fearlessness stayed with her for the rest of her life. She was an avid gardener, photographer, and traveller who pursued her interests and passions with fervour. She was never one to back away from a challenge, and approached life with practicality, grit, and humour.
~ Hannah Gaunt
So...back in college I was given the opportunity to work with acrylic gouache, which I really enjoyed at the time. It's quite chalky and flat which looks very interesting. Since then I've given it a whirl on several occasions, trying out different brands of gouache, this time Liquitex Acrylic. I do have to admit that it was a struggle for me. Though the paint is smoother on application than I found other gouache, I still really struggle with it but, because this is in an altered book, I do like the fact that it's not 'sticky' like my usual acrylic paints. I will continue to use it for altered books, and will probably re-visit these pages to tidy things up at some point, but do have to admit that it's still not a favourite medium and still prefer working with my Liquitex Acrylics.
While I was visiting my daughter last week, I decided to work on a painting inspired by Nose Creek as it's where she grew up. Fortunately she had acrylic paint and brushes so I worked on a 30x36 inch canvas that I had previously textured with a mixture of plaster and modelling paste (a combination of gel media and marble dust). I mixed up variations of red, blue and yellow, which is the palette I used for many, many years, and though after the first night I wasn't pleased with it, I knew I had to let it 'rest' overnight before adding more layers of colour. I'm happy with it now and it adds a nice pop of colour to their livingroom.
Louisa was so proud of her little house on Grand Ave in London, spending hours in her garden or crocheting in her sun room. She made beautiful crocheted doilies and tablecloths. She knitted slippers for all her grandchildren each year for Christmas. She continued doing housework a couple days a week until she was 75 years of age. Louisa kept her English ways for a long time, eating her big meal at noon and never eating watermelon with her hands. She never drove a car. Instead, she would walk half an hour to the Covent Garden Market to buy her groceries, carrying home what she had purchased. Milk and meat were delivered weekly by the milk man.
As a very independent woman, Louisa was able to look after herself until 95 years of age, when she had caregivers come in to help her out. She always said she wanted to live in her little home until she was 100 years old, “if it be thy will” and she did it. She lived there until she was 100 and 7 months.
In the last year of her life, Louisa kept saying she wanted to go home to see her mother again. By June 1990, she stopped eating and became very withdrawn. Like everything else in her life, Louisa decided when it was time to go. She passed away on July 15, 1990 just a few weeks short of her 102nd birthday.
I learned so much from this incredibly hard-working and independent woman.
Louisa was a wonderful example of how to rise above challenges through faith, a sense of humor and with the love and support of family. She had the strength to stand up for what was right during a time when women were expected to be submissive and were not considered “persons” in the British North America Act created by the Dominion of Canada.
Louisa’s favorite Bible passage was Psalm 23 and she would repeat it often. It gave her strength to get through the worst of times and hope that better times would prevail. She had the perseverance, strength of resolve and the ability to make her own way despite her circumstances.
Her life story gives me strength to endure hardships and hope for a better life.
Excerpts from Louisa’s Journey written by Sue Methuen:
“At the age of 12 I was told I had enough education for a girl and was sent to work in a hotel. I missed my sisters so much that I used to sneak home sometimes, late at night, just to see them. While working at the hotel I met a young man named Frederick Benjamin Boorman. Fred was trained as a barber from a young age and he was working at the same hotel. He was a couple years older than me and so handsome!
By 1913 times were very hard for Fred and me. We had been married for just over three years and we now felt like our luck had run out. Both Fred and I were fed up with everything. Then one day while Fred was delivering some fish to a customer, she mentioned that her nephew in London, Ontario, Canada may be able to help us. The three of us set sail from Southampton, England on July 4, 1913. I was 25 years old, Fred 27 and Ellen nearly three. We suffered terribly that first winter. The temperature went down to -35°F at times, and we had no boots or warm clothes for this weather. Poor Ellen’s feet froze twice that winter. Even though it was cold, I worked every day doing laundry.
In October 1916, at the age of 30, Fred left with the 142nd Overseas Battalion, traveled across the ocean on the S.S. Southland arriving in England on November 11, 1916. I got a lot of jobs while the war was on. Sometimes I went to three different places in one day, cleaning houses for $1.25 to $1.50 a day.
In 1918, after spending two years overseas, Fred came home. Unfortunately, he was very sick with tuberculosis and had to spend a year in the Queen Alexandria Sanatorium in Byron, just outside of London. In late 1949 Fred became very sick and was moved to Westminster Hospital. He passed away on April 1, 1950 and was laid to rest in the soldier’s plot in Woodland Cemetery in London.
Times may have been very hard and sometimes unbearable, but God has been good. I’ve always been blessed with good health, a wonderful family and have been well-rewarded in my life.”
~ Sue Methuen
Everytime we visit our kids in southern Alberta I am amazed at how different the landscape looks and feels. The coulees are so beautifully carved through the land by wind and water and the dry conditions are home to rattlesnakes (one of two rattlesnake areas in the province). We walked for a couple of hours and I got to visit an art installation along the river that was created a number of years ago in response to the pollution found in the waterways. It really is amazing what people can create from what is considered garbage...the structure is a combination of beautiful and macabre.
Currently I have two portraits in exhibits in Calgary and in Vancouver:
FEDERATION GALLERY: "Agatha" is an 8x10 portrait on canvas which was inspired by the 'WUNDERLAND' series based on storybook characters that I created last year and is on exhibit at the Federation Gallery in Vancouver from August 17-30. The exhibit can be viewed online here.
LOFT 112: "Missing You Monday" was a collaborative art journal created by a group of artists. I contributed a self portrait to represent the joy I have found through painting and studying during this time of COVID-19. The exhibit will be up at Loft 112 in Calgary from September 9-December 16. More information can be found here: www.loft112.org/
This is my 10th bowl for the annual Airdrie Food Bank fundraiser. This year will look a little different as the auction will be held online but I think it's probably even more important this year. The pinecones I chose to paint were inspired by a sketch I had created in Montana several years ago...I love those large pinecones. I'm excited to see what all the artists will be creating this year.
I've been asked to exhibit a few grandmothers with my 'Fashion Plates' exhibition at The HUB Gallery in November so I decided to add 4 more to my roster. I'm honoured to have been asked to include so many wonderful women in this project and don't know how I'll be able to stop at 52 portraits. To learn more about the women I've painted so far, please click on each portrait here: https://www.veronicafunk.com/the-grandmothers.html
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +