Archive

My sketchbook

Sketchbook page in response to the following quote: "The creative force flows over the terrain of our psyches looking for the natural hollows, the arroyos, the channels that exist in us. We become its tributaries, its basins; we are its pools, ponds, streams, and sanctuaries. The wild creative force flows into whatever beds we have, those we are born with as well as those we dig with our own hands. We don't have to fill them, we only have to build them." - Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves

Sketchbook double page in response to the following quote:
“The creative force flows over the terrain of our psyches looking for the natural hollows, the arroyos, the channels that exist in us. We become its tributaries, its basins; we are its pools, ponds, streams, and sanctuaries. The wild creative force flows into whatever beds we have, those we are born with as well as those we dig with our own hands. We don’t have to fill them, we only have to build them.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves

In January I began ROOT: A 30 day sketchbook journalling project (with Lisa Senora Beam at www.lisasonorabeam.com. The sketchbook project is over for now but she provides great resources for artists, check it out) that has proven to be quite influential to my new studio work.

I have long been a fan of the sketchbook as an essential learning and experimenting tool for artists of all levels. So sketchbook projects pique my curiosity. Last year I developed classes focusing entirely on filling the sketchbook with a variety of 2dimensional mediums. We study, we practise, we let go of expectations. And this year I am going to finally take part in the Sketchbook Project out of Brooklyn, NY. (http://www.sketchbookproject.com/projects/sketchbookproject) This project takes small sketchbooks on a tour across North America, landing finally in the Brooklyn Art Library and in digital form if you choose.

I was excited to begin the 30 day challenge and it turned out to be a great way to spend the first month of the year.  Daily practice is something I know produces great rewards but something I had not committed to for awhile. Thoughts, ideas and images overload me sometimes, and it is a relief to get them out of my head and into the sketchbook. The daily practice builds confidence, takes away specific expectations, and allows creativity to thrive without boundaries. (See my Spotlight magazine article on “Daily Practices” in March, find it at http://www.spotlightmagazine.ca/)

The daily practice is having a positive effect on my studio work by providing the habit of taking risks, disallowing premature judgement, and supplying me with pages of images from which I can glean inspiration for larger work. The new series will evolve privately in the studio as I work this spring and summer, but I thought I would share a couple of recent sketchbook pages.

(Eight weeks of Sketchbook Study 2 is currently underway but a new session of Sketchbook Study I will begin in early May at the Hive Artists’ Hub. Contact me for more information)

Sketchbook double page: Casa del Sol

Sketchbook double page:
Casa del Sol

Archive

Time

Time slips away when I am painting. And sometimes when I’m not! I have been busy these last few months, so I havent been blogging or posting. I thought things would slow down in April, then May, now its the end of June and I am looking at a very full summer ahead. I don’t buy into the “I’m important because I’m busy” attitude that I sometimes feel is present in our western society. I would like nothing better than to live a simpler life and I’m always trying to reach that goal. I try to take one day at a time, to “do less”, like my yogi friend advises.

Nevertheless, I am teaching a lot lately; private classes, groups, and summer camps in both Medicine Hat and Redcliff. I have also been working on some comissioned projects and writing an article every month about visual art for Spotlight magazine.

One of my recent projects are small paintings to be used for a friends’ gospel album. These paintings are 5 inches square, the size of a CD case. Working in a small scale is appealing to me. But I love working large too. I seem to enjoy the extremes. I just finished a painting for Alberta Health Services, it measured close to 4 x 8 feet.

Later this summer and fall I will begin a new series’ of my own work. A freelance life can be chaotic but it is never boring! And the simplification project continues…Stay tuned.

untitled, 5x5 inches

untitled, 5×5 inches

 

Archive

Better to Bend

 

Better to Bend than Break

I’ve been cleaning out the studio, thinking I need to move out the old to make room for new. While it’s great to have work on the walls for visitors to see, there’s a time when I find that past work being in my line of vision can hold me back. So, I’m trying to find homes and new places for it, to clear the slate so I can continue going forward. In the process I have been coming across past work. This drawing on paper is one of my favourites from a small series that I did a few years back. I like to take the oil pastels to work outside on location; a lawn chair and me in the middle of a prairie field. The trees attracted my attention that week. The wind was strong but that tree just held its ground. Reminded me  of our own human strength and determination. Always better to bend than break.

Archive

Distant; mixed media on canvas

Distant – mixed media

Various activities lately; painting a large mural, working in the studio, writing, teaching classes and open studio. Fall has been busy, I’ve been meaning to do the blog thing, I’ve procrastinated. Today, I’ll quickly put something down…

I’ve been working in the studio, creating new work for various Hive shows including GIVE, a group exhibition that used the gift giving name exchange ritual as a starting point for creating. Hive artists each brought an object, names were drawn, and objects were handed out. The challenge was to use the objects as inspiration/motivation, there were no limitations beyond that. I recieved a small relief metal airplane in white and red.

I considered it for awhile. I wasnt sure whether to integrate it into the piece or not. But, I had an old canvas that I was wanting to use for experimenting with building up the 2d surface. In the end, I transferred a reverse image of the airplane to my canvas by stitching it on with black thread. The piece is called Distant, it is mixed media including thread, fabric, latex paint, and paper.

I have been doing continuous-line drawings lately and love the effects of the movement and energy, making the line quality so varied and interesting. It brings to mind the lines of a face, or a road map. This piece presents both of these images together. Distance in kilometres, distance in years, distance in opinion, I see there’s distance between… so I left white areas, some blankness, some silence. I wanted the layers but simplicity too, so I resisted doing MORE.

I enjoyed the process, and I’m happy with the result. I have some more stitched pieces planned. In the meantime I will try to get to the blog more often.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archive

History, the river, and me

River Treasure

“River Treasure” was made for our “Let’s Do it Downtown” exhibition. Medicine Hat’s  downtown is full of history, and my favourite part, the river, sometimes goes unnoticed by visitors.

I meander through the streets from my house to downtown, see the gas lights, stop at the roastery for a latte, maybe drop into the library, gaze at the river, and then head to the studio. I could go to the Monarch movie theater later, or see the live entertainment at Inspire… there’s a rich cultural presence here. All my life’s downtown! Now, time to get a kayak so I can enjoy that river even more. This piece was conjured, painted and assembled to honour the life and continual evolution of downtown Medicine Hat.

Downtown in every city is where the heart beats, it is unique and original. Big boxes are everywhere, but your downtown is unlike any other, rediscover it today…

Archive

Inspired

I am currently working on small and medium assemblages that incorporate painting and other mediums. One of my favourite artists Robert Rauschenberg makes it seem effortless. Here is “The Pilgrim” for you to ponder… I am inspired by this man’s work.

Robert Rauschenberg's "The Pilgrim"

 

Archive

Working in miniature

I’m working on small paintings which began as a festival treat for our summer Spectrum fest here in Medicine Hat. Now I cant seem to stop. Small art is addictive for me, I tend to like the miniature so that I can create grids with them. Its a constant struggle because I do love to make very large work, but dont know where to put it all! For now the miniatures are multiplying.

I also have some medium sized pieces in progress, one in particular made from an old box I found at a yard sale. So far it has been mounted permanently open, it will be a wall piece, filled with painted images and found objects. It will be “in progress” in my Hive studio at the upcoming downtown roving reception. The miniatures will be in the gallery with new work from all the other studio members. Every Friday I am at the Hive from 10-4. Come say hello, have a chat, discuss art…

Here’s a pic of a small piece that I’m working on, at my Hive studio today