Today is opening day for my solo exhibition and installation called "Improv" at the Sivarulrasa Gallery in Almonte Ontario. Over the past few years I have assembled a series of paintings featuring works that talk about the randomness of nature and how it is always changing. This collection shows how I capture moments in time freezing them in one instant.
In this installation I have included three elements from nature. First when you enter the gallery space you see the "Twig Rain" featuring a branch of leaves and twigs suspended from the ceiling. As the show continues, the leaves change over time, as does nature in the external world. Below that I have assembled a slice of a pine tree that was removed from our garden. When it dried, it split, in that split I have added shards of glass resembling sap that oozes from trees. Lastly, I have in the center of the gallery, the "Rust River" where you will see smooth river rocks parting for the river of rusted metal that flows through the middle.
Please join me for my artist talk and virtual vernissage live on Zoom from my studio: Wednesday August 3, 7:00pm-8:00pm. You can join from the comfort of your home – email the gallery at email@example.com to register for this Zoom event.
Keeping up the momentum for workshopping. Is that a word? Whatever, let's make it one today. One of the benefits that has come out of the past 2 years of being isolated is the plethora of online workshops. And I hope these continue. It gives teaching artists access to students from around the world. For students, it gives us access to teachers in all corners of the globe. (I've always wondered about that term..."all corners of the globe", which to my knowledge is round. Where are the corners?) That aside, these workshops give us easy access, quite often, to free tasters, no charge samplers. Then we can dive deep into the paid versions be become immersed. Awhile back I showed you my work from a fiber artist's taster class. I've watched many demos by Bob Burridge, with whom I took a paid week long workshop (see last month's blog), I sampled Judy Woods mixed media zoom all the way from Australia, and most recently I enjoyed Louise Fletcher's online taster class.
At the moment, I'm not signed up for any paid workshops but that's never off the table, maybe one day. In the meantime I thoroughly enjoyed hear about and testing the techniques and processes from other artists. Below are samples of what came out of those workshops. What I really liked was that these were not paint parties where you reproduce what the instructor shows you. These teachers were bent on pulling from their students their own creativity through new thinking and processes.
FINALLY the workshop that I registered for over 2 years ago was going to really happen.
It was hard to believe but I was in the car and on my way to Montreal to meet Bob Burridge and gain knowledge of his artistic methods and painting processes. Once that would be under my belt, I could adapt many of these approaches to my own work. I was most impressed with his approach to starting out with a subject or theme in mind right from the beginning and keeping his brush in motion so that the work would not suffer from over thinking resulting in a work that is way to tight. I'm still trying to get his very specific colour wheel in my head. Surprisingly though I mixed some yummy greys and was off and running in this limited palette concentrating on the collage materials and focal point exercise. Normally, I'm into colour, colour, colour, but this muted selection was really tickling my fancy along with the cruciform composition. I wanted to explore both these aspects with a theme and series in mind.
I took advantage of this complete week of art with a room full of other artists to talk art art art. Both the in-person aspect of really being with people AND having everyone in the room concentrating on art was food for the soul!!!!
Oh and don't worry, I didn't abandon colour entirely for the week. I did spend some time experimenting with Bob's goof proof colour wheel, attempting to understand the percentages and colour selections that work best together. AND understanding that when you pick red as your dominant colour, red's neighbours can also play in the same garden, along with knowing that there is a time and place for breaking the rules and 'making it work'.
I'll certainly have fun playing with these colour concepts down the road.
When April arrives all we want, in this area of Canada, is to see the snow MELT. This always seems to inspire something in me that requires me to express how I feel about the melt down. This year the concept of the slow tedious melt that gradually reveals what lays beneath was my visual. Beginning with a grounding layer of multi coloured and patterned collage papers, I created the initial layer of the work with texture whose topography would show through on all the layers to come. This layer would soon be concealed with several more layers of coloured paint applied in patches and relief lines. Every few layers, I would pause and sand back to reveal, as in the melt, what was below. The final layer was applied with white, like the snow, that was still hanging on through until mid-April. The final sanding revealed just enough to give me the feeling that spring was about to surface with joyful colouration, nodding towards the warmer days of summer.
This initial work is the first of a series that I am planning on the theme of layers, stratification, uncovering, revealing, unearthing, excavation... Each piece will be alive with a history of the past layers left behind. The collage elements will be important as they will consist of past paintings, sketches, letters, photos, printed words, most of which you will not be able to read but parts may be seen. Viewers will bring to each painting their own deeper history and unearth what they need to see.
You've heard the old saying "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade". Well, it can be said that in the past 2 years there have been a lot of lemons handed out. It didn't take long before the world's creatives pulled out their lemonade recipes and began to adapt new recipes. This meant that a lot of new online opportunities sprung up for artists to share worldwide. Teaching artists managed to go online and teach from studios in Canada to students in Australia. Groups of artists, like the 7 Works Collective, connected online to inspire and support each other. Galleries created online exhibitions with zoom meet & greets.
I have, throughout, the pandemic taken advantage of many of these online workshops and exhibitions offered in many locations. The most recent is a FUN project that is being hosted by Blue Monkey Network in conjunction with Edgeland Modern out of the UK. It will be "displayed" progressively on Instagram through the month of May. Artists were asked to create a work of art on the back of a used envelope. They say that doodling on throw away materials, like an envelope, allows for spontaneity with fewer inhibitions. Keep your eye on Instagram for the reveal.
You may notice that my entry above combined the envelop with the stitching and paint techniques that I learned in a previous online workshop.
Every year I like to kick it off with something just a wee bit different. This year I signed up for a free sample workshop with TextileArtist.org If you have ever been curious about fiber art check out this website. They offer some amazing workshops from some extremely creative textile artists. The workshop I enjoyed was give by textile artist and author, Gwen Hedley. She showed us her process to paint on fabric, dissemble then re-assemble the fabric by stitching it back together. After that she demonstrated how she embellishes her work with hand embroidery, backing it and edging it for a finished look.
This kind of work is not completely outside of my comfort zone, I'm a lifelong sewer, but it's been years if not decades since I have done any hand embroidery. Combining it with paint brought it right into my zone of comfort. I think I will be bringing this process to some of my work on paper. Below is a sample of what I did in the workshop.
It's only February and already the 2022 shows are lining up. Due to COVID many more opportunities have opened up for artists for online exhibitions. Applying to and being in international shows is always a tremendous amount of work, not to mention expense when shipping to galleries. Online exhibitions offer artists the chance to be in some very prestigious shows without the worry of navigating borders.
I'm grateful to have been accepted in two new galleries in the USA that are being hosted strictly online.
As 2021 comes to a close we are once again being ravaged by COVID. There were moments in 2021 when we thought things were wrapping up and we were seeing numbers go down. I even manged to gather with my fellow artists on Toronto Island for a week long Artist Residency in relative safety with masking and dining outdoors in what turned out to be an awesome week for beautiful fall weather. Then BAZINGA we are back into yet another round. This darned boxer just won't lay down for the count.
My gallerist worked very hard and made some online sales for me. I understand that people are wanting their homes to be beautiful places where they can hunker down for the duration. Thank you to every last one of you who gave my work a new place to call home.
Keeping to my home territory kept me close to my studio where I enjoyed many long hours painting and thinking of new projects, dabbling in some 3D work which you can see at the Sivarulrasa Gallery. I zoomed with my 7 Works Collective friends at least every other week to keep up with each other's work. I joined an artist-run gallery in Kingston called Modern Fuel where I showed in 2 exhibitions. A couple of my paintings went to the Ottawa Art Gallery Annexe, one of which is currently out on a rental contract, the other on display in the year end show & sale. And most recently I was accepted into the Herringbone Online Gallery hosted out of Port Williams, NS where I am showing my works on paper for sale.
For the most part this year I enjoyed working in acrylics on wood panels. I really like the panels for their sturdy surface. They give me the opportunity to use a somewhat heavier hand. Even when I have been working on canvas, I'm usually working on unstretched canvas stapled to wood so that I can get the same feel.
Here's hoping that 2022 holds the promise of a safer, healthier world where we can meet up in person. Keep safe, see you in 2022.
I'm pleased to announce that three of my small Cold Wax & Oils paintings will be in the Modern Fuel Gallery's RE:MEMBER 2021 members' show & sale beginning on December 10 through to December 18. The opening reception will be held on December 10 at 7PM. Works will be available for purchase in person or on the gallery's website with pick up after December 18th.
At the opening reception, you'll also have the opportunity to win exciting raffle prizes, catch up with the Modern Fuel community, and enjoy some fabulous wine from Rosehall Run!
Register here. Registration is required for the opening reception to ensure the health and safety of everyone. Thank you for your cooperation.
This month you will find my "Cranberry Bark" painting hanging in the OAG Annexe Art + Parcel: Holiday Sale.
Art + Parcel: A Holiday Sale 13 November 2021 – 10 January 2022
The OAG Shop is dedicated to supporting Canadian, with a focus on regional, makers and artists. They have a number of unique and wonderful gift ideas for the art lover in your life including ceramics, textiles, jewelery, books, homewares, art supplies and educational kids crafts.
OAG Shop is connected to the Galerie Annexe, a commercial gallery space dedicated to supporting regional artists through the exhibition, sale and rental of our work. Revenues from the OAG Shop and Galerie Annexe support artists and the Ottawa Art Gallery programming.
Members receive 10% off shop purchases.
Open: Wednesday – Sunday: 10 AM - 6 PM
Closed: Monday and Tuesday
50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON, K1N 0C5 (1st floor of the Ottawa Art Gallery)
I am preoccupied by the intuitive journey that paint takes me on with its colour and texture when working with layers that can be revealed through scratching back, rubbing away or lifting, to bring back the history of the previous layers.