I have shown with this organization before but always 3D which can be 4″ on 2 sides; 2D work is different and if 4″ on one side it can only be 3″ on the other. What to do? Being a bit frustrated and still hearing the decree from others, on a daily basis, that I’m having fun I decided to shake it up a bit and am adding feet to my paintings and turning them into assemblages instead. I’m amused by what’s emerging and am scrambling to find a place to show the work in before Christmas. Look for a new posting soon of the next one up for alterations: ‘Rhino and Bird go for a Walk’.
Monthly Archives: October 2013
This blog will be a wee rant on the word ‘fun’. Where I live, anytime I mention I am an artist and that I teach, the response is almost always: “Fun!” or “That must be fun” or a 100 other sentences with the word ‘fun’ in it. I’m not denying the fact that my work has an element of joy and satisfaction, and on occasion ‘fun’ but generally; not so much. My work provides no security, I have to find my own work, I move constantly from place to place and more often than not have to figure out how to present my classes in the best way possible in places with out proper facilities. In a worst case scenario I was teaching 5 different art forms (drawing, collage, painting, printmaking, papier mâché) to 5 classes of 30 (150 children) in a day – without running water – in a hallway.
There’s a lot of research to what I do, courses I take to enhance my art and teaching abilities, materials to buy, a ton of preparation to each project, transporting the materials to the location, setup, teach, take down, back into the car and home again to start all over the next week.
Early this morning, thinking about the word fun, I decided to change tactics and embrace the word for awhile and see where it took me. A little girl in my class had drawn a ‘happy girl’ picture for me so I did a 4″ by 4″ painting inspired by her drawing… and did find that rather fun. Then I did another ‘fun’ painting of the ‘Rhino and Bird’ sculpture that I rather like as well. We’ll see how long this ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ phase lasts. At least I’m feeling less cranky about the whole ‘fun-fun-happy-happy’ thing I run into on a regular basis.
On Saturday I presented a variation of my mark-making workshop to a group of women from my church at the annual retreat at Cedar Springs Retreat Centre which is tucked into the side of Sumas Mountain in Washington, U.S. I emphasized the meditative, contemplative possibilities inherent in making art when the focus is kept on art as a process and we pay no heed to the product side of the equation. This is easier said than done but some of the tools to help bring this about include: using nature as inspiration (leaves, flowers…), blind contour drawing (NEVER look at the paper while you draw!) and use drawing materials that are unorthodox (i.e. sharpened stick and ink).
I had a chance to create myself after the workshop and these two works are the result. In the yellow and purple piece I drew in wire and painted it yellow before gluing it on to the blind contour and print, mixed media art piece. The one in red and purple happened serendipitously as it was where I had placed the leaf when taking a print of it and the empty space created was an invitation to bring a stick and ink drawing into the space.
Spending time walking in nature, drawing in response, and making new friends made for a wonderful, memorable weekend.
Today I am posting a close up of my ‘Dragonfly World’ painting and an image of another recently finished dragonfly piece, ‘Beaded Dragonfly on Blue’. The images are deceptive in that they are different sizes (10″ sq vs 4″ sq) but I like how they look together. My dragonfly paintings are taking on a life of their own and are becoming bold in colour and stained glass like in their appearance. I like this shift in style. It starts with lots of random colours spread over the canvas and then painting the dragonflies on top while letting some of the original bright colours work their way through. I think it’s a style that could work on any scale and I am toying with the idea of a wall sized piece – which would be a real departure for me in size. Protodonta (dragonfly ancestor) were huge in the Palaeozoic period with wingspans up to 28″ across so having paintings in the same scale or bigger could be interesting.
Even with all the busyness of Thanksgiving weekend I managed a little art time on the side. ‘Shell Studies’ are four small works (each 4″ square) that are serving a dual purpose; one is to have work for Place des Arts annual Positively Petite show coming up in November and secondly as homework for the Adult Acrylic class I teach on Wednesday nights at Place des Arts. The first three are works in progress: 1 and 2 on the top are value studies (warm and cool) while the bottom left is a value study glazed over with complementary colours (orange and blue). The last shell is a completed study and ready for display.