Artists' Residency Finally!!
It was in May 2020 when a group of artist friends were to be on Toronto Island for an artists' residency. Initially there were thoughts that we could go because we innocently thought that the pandemic was wrapping up. Oh how little we knew then. We even had thoughts that May 2021 could happen. NOPE, still not safe. But now that the vaccine has come and we have all been double dosed, September 27th was named the date to go. BUT with very careful restrictions. No train travel as once planned, we'll drive. We'll get on the island and we'll stay on the island. No museums, no galleries and no visits to friends off the island. Groceries will be delivered and we'll take advantage of the few eating establishments on the island.
While we patiently waited for the residency to become reality, we kept busy meeting on Zoom every couple of weeks. We even came up with a name for our group: 7 Works Collective. Check out our website to see how we kept busy and inspired when we could not meet face to face. 7workscollective.weebly.com
It's only 2 sleeps away and our excitement is growing. We have all our ducks in a row or island geese as it may be normal on Toronto Island. All we need is good weather to make this all worth waiting for. Come back in a couple weeks and I'll share with you what we each accomplished.
A few images from our 2019 Artists' Residency at Artscape Gibraltar.
Annual juried exhibition
Please visit the Modern Fuel Gallery in Kingston for the Annual Juried Exhibition called "Where from here?" featuring work by Elham Fatapour, Catherine Gutsche, Posy Legge, Elyse Longair, Tara Lynn MacDougall, María Moreno, Andrew Rabyniuk.
"This body of work depicts my 2020 journey through incomplete lock downs, restricted travel and encounters forbidden." ~ Catherine Gutsche
"Finding My Bubble" (2020), cold wax & oils, 24x18
Early on we were given permissions to choose those we'd include in our close-knit worlds.
"The Path We've Been On!" (2020), cold wax & oils, 12x12
The path throughout 2020 had its twists and turns with no one knowing which way to go.
"Safely Inside" (2020), cold wax & oils, 11x14 with "One More May Enter" (2020), cold wax & oils, 11x14
Then we finally chose to close the door on others, keeping to ourselves only opening the door only inches to allow others in one at a time.
Where we go from here is anyone's guess.
Who, What, Where, and When?
These are the most asked questions of an artist. Who inspires you? What drew you to abstract art? Where did you learn to paint? And... When did you start painting full time?
These questions can take on many different variations like... Who would you like to meet in the history of art? What other areas of art have you worked in? Where would you like to see your art hanging? When is a painting finished?
But it all boils down to people want to get to know the artist behind the art. So I'll pick a couple of my favourite questions and hopefully you'll get to know me and my art a wee bit better.
Who are your biggest influences? I've been influenced but the Abstract Expressionist artists right from the first time I was introduced to the movement. Abstract art engages my brain. It doesn't just show me the world, it make me think about it. In a gallery you will see me looking very closely at famous paintings like a Turner and enjoying the 2" square where I see an amazing abstract painting.
What does your work aim to say? My work is a reflection of my surroundings and my place in those surroundings. I'm not attempting to replicate what I see but more often I'm expressing HOW I see my environment and HOW I feel about it.
Where did you study art? I studied fine art at York University but I feel like my studies never finished. Every day I'm seeing art from different perspectives and learning more and more about techniques, expression and me.
When is a painting finished? That is one of the hardest things for many artists. My favourite computer button is "Undo", if only painters had that too. Generally it is finished just a wee bit before the artist thinks it's a wrap. The next step would be overworking the painting which naturally causes the artist to think long and hard, walk away, then stop. But the saving grace is that when we forget and mess it up... there is always another painting down the road, just not the one you had just moments ago. We lament these loses but revel in the unpredictable path that paint takes us on. It is the joy of the process.
If you have a question, ask me.
Have a look how these two started and how they finished.
Days off are important
Even when you love what you do (PAINTING) you have to take a day off now and again just to chill out, recharge and get refreshed.
I recently replaced my decades old camera with a new beginner model that has some amazing options on it. Digital cameras have come a long way. One aspect of my old camera that I loved was its twisty body. I could hold it up in a crowd at a rock concert, twist the body so I could still see the screen and get a photo. My new toy has a screen that can also change angles so I can also put it on the ground without needing to lay on my belly in the sand. My aging knees appreciate this feature.
So my "days off" have entailed learning to use my new toy. Remember I said 'beginner camera', so yes I have a lot to learn. I'm grateful that it is digital and I can take hundreds of trials with all sorts of settings to see what happens.
I'm having lots of fun with it and hopefully getting some nice photos that may worm their ways into new paintings. I just need to start making notes on my settings so I can repeat the successes. Perhaps a hand bound notebook is a new project in my studio soon.
June has made me wonder what my work would look like in a forever home. Playing with an 'art-in-a-room' application gives you a really good idea of how a room can change with a selected painting. So often a work of art is purchased and goes off to a new owner and the artist never gets to see their art in situ.
Below I have selected a number of beautifully staged eye-catching settings to showcase a few of my favourite paintings. In reverse, if you want to see one of my paintings on your own wall, send me a picture of your wall, shot squarely on with the measurement of the wall and I'll pop the painting virtually on your wall - no obligation.
Cooped up for far too long, a trip to a new art supplies shop looks more like a ROAD TRIP! Throw in lunch on a patio and it's almost a summer vacation.
So "where did she go?" you say. I went to 'The Art Factory' in Renfrew Ontario. The Art Factory is a 100 year old foundry on the main street of Renfrew, Ontario. Abstract Painter Patrick John Mills has poured his heart and extensive knowledge into bringing the art community an incredible selection of art materials and a factory that will some day be THE hub of art in the area. Do your own road trip even if you are not an artist you will be blown away by this project.
May Day May Day
"May Day May Day, we're going down!" OK maybe not, maybe the pandemic numbers are just tilting a wee bit to the good. The vaccines are working. Now the scramble to get enough folks jabbed with a first vaccine followed as soon as we can with a second. "They" talk about a double vax summer. Wouldn't that be 'loverly', as My Fair Lady said.
If we could manage the double doses I could meet a friend or two (maybe three or even four) for a long overdue cup of coffee. It was this thought that made me paint "Meet Me For Coffee". But I could not refrain from including a wee bit of separation between me and my besties. We'll do it. We'll do it outdoors. Still cautious. Still careful.
April Fools Day
I waited with baited breath for April First to see if this whole pandemic mess was really just one fat worldwide April Fool's Day joke. Turns out it was and is not. And we are still, despite vaccines getting into arms, not keeping our heads above water more than just to keep breathing. It's exhausting.
The latest "thing" is the numbers of people who are violating all the rules that have been set up to keep us safe and to push numbers down. People protesting against these rules without any realization that this is not going to end any time soon if they don't follow the rules and remain cautious.
Below is what came to me right after a news story about protesters. "Then They Protested" is a group too close together, flinging off their masks, walking on their masks and breaking all sensible restrictions.
March marks my birthday month. This is the second pandemic birthday for me. I said last year that I was not celebrating therefore I was not counting it sooooo that means I'm the same age I was last year. Do you think I can get away with that two years in a row? Yes. OK you are now my best friend.
How do you celebrate without friends and family? I'm an artist so that means, of course, PAINT! Candy Floss was always a sticky sweet treat when I was a kid and it brought me pleasure. I even got it for free because my grandmother's friend worked on the candy floss booth at the fall fair. At my age, it is far to sweet for me now so why not translate that childhood happiness into paint.
With great joy the news of vaccinations becoming available gave most of us a bit of a skip in our step. Even with the knowledge that getting it to the bulk of the population was not going to happen tomorrow, it was still the inspiration for my next painting, "Light at the End of the Tunnel".
Even in the dead of winter with no possibility of hugging a palm tree on a tropical island any time soon, I felt downright euphoric.
eu·phor·ic -- elated, happy, joyful, joyous, delighted, gleeful, excited, exhilarated, jubilant, blissful. These are most definitely not the usual words that I think of in February in Canada. In a normal year, I just want February to be over... kind of like what I'm thinking about my relationship with this pandemic. Generally the feeling I usually have when I painted "Stormy Weather" but some folk love storm watching. All to his own I say.
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.