Recently I was gifted with an assortment of very fine, small pieces of wood. This is especially timely as in the spring I’ll be teaching a mixed media, acrylics on wood class and the wood is giving me a chance to experiment. In the image taken in the art room the bits that were used to create the piece are scattered around: a pencil crayon to draw the initial sketch, bits of the kozo paper that was collaged on to the wood, paint tubes, and a sharpened stick which is my favourite drawing tool for adding lines and details.
Category Archives: dragonflies
Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year to all my friends and family! Back in 1995, Alexander was 4, we spent Advent working on a Nativity set. 18 years later it’s still a treasured possession. The best part is it is kid friendly and children who come to visit are encouraged to play with it. Maybe this is the year I add the camel?
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.
I ‘finished’ (are they ever finished?) a 10″ X 10″ acrylic painting over the weekend. Here is a picture of my ‘Dragonfly World’ painting; still on the easel in the studio. A lot of paintings of dragonflies tend to be lyrical and soft and here is mine; in a dive-bomber position with bright, garish colours all around and in general a deep intensity about it instead of the peacefulness, beauty, light, and joy that many associate with the dragonfly. There are moments where dragonflies are at rest but that is only half the story. A perfunctory perusal of the scientific sites on the internet show that first and foremost, a dragonfly is a first class predator. They are extremely adept at capturing prey and have a 95% success rate when hunting. They know what they are after and how to get it. Another aspect of dragonflies I am in awe of is their longevity and adaptability to the world around them. Their ancestors, called Protodonta, were some of the first winged insects on the earth around 300 million years ago.
With all of this scientific information in mind I feel the strength and passion in this painting captures something of the reality the dragonfly inhabits. How would they see their world? These are some of the thoughts that made their way into my mind as I worked and ultimately effected the outcome of the painting.
My latest dragonfly is wee in size (4.5″) and is an exploration into the mythical possibilities inherent in this ancient creature. For example, in Japan the dragonfly is a symbol of early fall and of courage, strength, and happiness. Incorporating trinkets and beads that are personally meaningful to me adds my personal touch to the symbolism and it becomes a story-keeper entity.
Notice in particular the golden rose on the dragonfly. My Grandmother, who lived to 99, was intrigued by my doll making and on one of my last visits gave me a small box of one of a pair, bits of broken jewelry that she couldn’t bear to throw away but was glad that I could transform into something new. This rose was one of those pieces. What a gift to have had such a warm, caring Grandmother for so long and to continue to keep her memory alive through my art!
It is time again for Place des Arts’ Annual Teacher & Staff Show Art Feats, from September 5-October 5 with the opening reception from 7pm-9pm on Thursday, September 12, 2013. For this exhibit I created a mixed-media, 3D dragonfly inside a circular shape and a painting in response to the sculpture. Pairing work is a technique that works well for me.
Artist Statement: “There is something both ancient and other worldly about the dragonfly. They first appeared on earth during the Palaeozoic Era (wingspans of over two feet) and have been a source of inspiration to artists as far back as the Egyptians who created dragonfly amulets (2000 BCE). During the last five years my fascination for dragonflies (rooted in childhood) has been coming out in my art. This particular pair of works draws on the decorative and ornamental style of Art Nouveau for inspiration.”
Looking over earlier work and thinking about creating work for a gallery I came across this image of my wee, blue elephant. He’s very small (egg sized) and is one of the menagerie of small pieces that lives in my studio. He looks so serious (makes me think of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh) that I feel I need to think about creating a family of wee elephants for him; wee elephants of every hue! Stay tuned to see if this idea materializes or not. 🙂