Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Week 25 - in the Studio

Like I mentioned last time, I learned to deal with some big disappointment and move forward. The time I spent in quarantine wasn't wasted as I was able to focus on some office work. 

My business coach is a big fan of a planning and content app called Notion. I've known for some time I needed something far more robust than my paper calendar , something that would hold everything from daily tasks to long term plans.... So, after watching some YouTube videos (and, trust me, there are lots of videos) I downloaded the free version of the app and while resting in bed, I started to build the systems and populate the templates I had chosen. Some of the things I love about this app are its ability to be on all my devices and I am work with both home and art all in one...

My approach is to do a big "brain dump" of every idea I have in my head and then move those ideas into different areas and populate them with tasks or just let them sit until I'm ready to use them. If you are looking for something like this, do some research and see if it fits: https://www.notion.so/

I also finished and posted a new YouTube video, Colouring Clothhttps://youtu.be/1meoNgaZe6M Check it out and leave a comment. If there's other topics you'd like to see covered, let me know.

In Colouring Cloth I focus on creating the cloth I use for my totes and sketchbooks, using raw art canvas - super inexpensive and so versatile to work and paint on. I think my technique in the video is loose enough that you could adapt and change it up for your style and mediums. You can also adapt it for other fabrics and by using textile focused products and I think it would work for clothing.


A couple weeks back I mentioned that I've been working with circles - I think one could spent their entire art life just focused on this shape - are you tempted? I designed more Thermofax screens for my Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/FabricImagery?ref=seller-platform-mcnav&section_id=5879181


Speaking for circles, the grandies and I played with Spinner Art again, I love what they made and we turned some of them into cards:



I guess I'm feeling better now, I did have an Open Studio last weekend, it wasn't very busy and so very HOT outside. It gave me the opportunity to tidy up a bit and make some of my Art to Carry totes - the video I mentioned above is how I create the fabrics that I use.


Do you like the little labels I had made? I found a designer on Etsy and they make them from ultra suede - lots of colours and sizes, I'd recommend them: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SpottedZebraCA?ref=yr_purchases

So, I guess after the last blog post, I'm back on my art track...how about you?


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Week 24 - in the Studio

I’ve been working hard for a great art show this past weekend, it was the first event to showcase two of my new series, Starting from Anywhere and Timeless Moments. It was exciting to plan the layout, make the show cards and get some great words together to talk about my work.

 

Then it happened, you know, the thing we’ve been living with for the last 2 1/2 years... not me, but in my household. Oh my, gosh darn, and several other expletives! There were a few tears shed, but I was offered Plan B. I was able to go early and hang my pieces, others volunteered to look after them...thank you dear friends! But it wasn’t the same....


 

So I’ve done a few other things this weekend, I worked in the garden, read a book and I started using a CMS or Content Management System to organize my ideas, plans and goals. It’s called Notion and the basic one (which I’m sure is enough) is free. And I’ve done a bit of research about dealing with disappointment... one source talked about 5 steps to work through it:

  • Let It Out - don’t let it fester, feel it - ok I shed some tears

  • Get Perspective - talk with your support network - ok, I dumped on my family

  • Know Your Own Heart - My art and I were not being rejected

  • Practise Self Acceptance - Like breath, disappointment comes and goes. So breathe into it and let it pass

  • Don’t Let it Fester - Winston Churchill said it best: “success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm”

 

I appreciated these stages, disappointment will come and go, and there is always another opportunity and I will regain my enthusiasm. But I also remember to acknowledge all this and make it part of me.

 

So I spent time looking at different e-commerce sites to put up my work and I have some plans for videos. I was also totally thrilled with a piece I made for the Silent Auction at the show - I’ve been mulling over some small works for my Industrial Shoreline series and it I think I totally nailed what I had in mind.



Sailing into Hope


The piece is about 6" x 18" and is my response to the theme "Resilience in the Time of Climate Change". The board behind is a piece from my husbands family farm in Manitoba, I used a hand dyed vintage linen napkin, some indigo dyed fabric and paper collage. In the artist statement I wrote that "strength and focus will be two of the important components to making change for the future"


Here are a couple of closeup views:




This morning I pulled more barn board out from our shed to work on more pieces...any suggestions for a title for this sub-series?


Sunday, July 10, 2022

Week 23 - in the Studio

There is a lot happening right now - spring into summer and hit the accelerator! I did spend a couple days at the Gathering the Threads Conference and Exhibition in the Cowichan Valley - I had fun as a student taking an Advanced Gel Printing workshop with west coast artist, Jennifer Love. It was lots of learning with several new techniques and methods of working, including how to clean my brayer with Murphy's Oil Soap. It seems like there's YouTube video for everything: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6J5fO3wj5w8

I had a shift in the local gallery and took a selfie with my art work in the background, I didn't realize that I actually matched the pieces with my glasses and a new top!




While working on my book covers I grabbed some scraps of canvas and painted circles with spare paint...I like the heaviness of this canvas (12 oz) and the combination of simplicity and interesting colours...I wonder why we are so attracted to circles as a universal symbol?





I found this quote: "The circle is an omnipresent, universal symbol with extensive meaning. Without beginning or end, without sides or corners this geometric shape tells about perfectionunity,spirituality and life like no other form." The author went even further - considering a variety of cultures and faith groups and quoting Pythagorus that "the circle is the most perfect shape - no beginning, no end, it is infinite and stands for both non-existence and eternity". The website is fascinating and worth a read: https://thoth-adan.com/blog/symbols-based-on-circles In fact, spend time exploring the website, you'll be glad you did!Two treasures I've found this week: a pile of old sheet music ready for collage and other ideas and a walk on the beach produced a small collection of sea glass, do you see the little bit of blue pottery at the top?




My family came for a visit this past weekend and we spent a bit of time at the beach - I love the variety of textures that nature provides:




This coming week, I'll be prepping for an art show, stop by if you can!












Sunday, June 12, 2022

Week 22 - in the Studio

This past week I've spent time getting pieces finished and ready for the show opening next week. I mentioned last week that I wanted to change the designs up a bit, adding new elements and playing with the designs.

I gathered a bunch of stuff and figured out the dimensions, combining painted papers and fabrics was a bit challenging, trying to stitch through heavily painted paper with out cracking it...yikes!


Here is the initial layout, strips of fused organza and linen with paper and a base of gessoed fabric



Finished and waiting to be mounted onto a wood panel.

You might notice that I've used a very controlled and neutral palette...a recent podcast had me considering the concept of scarcity and how it might encourage creativity. If we work with limited resources (paint, fabric, dye, thread) does that change our approach to our art? If we spend more time thinking and looking before diving into creating our work, will the art improve?

One study shows us that when we stop buying new things, we look at what we already have in new ways and come up with new uses for products we own. In other words, scarcity drives creativity. When we aren’t surrounded with ready-made solutions to problems, we have no trouble coming up with our own.

While I am not suggesting we ditch our stash, it might be worthwhile to experiment with limiting our selection for some approaches and see if our art develops in new ways. What do you think?

I am so happy with the photos I've taken on my new series Timeless Moments, its tricky to take good photos with glass - too much reflection! After several tries of taking the glass out of the frames, it seemed to work best to close my blinds, turn off the lights and photograph further away and crop.

Here are two of my favourites:


At the Still Point


At the Still Point - detail


Through the First Gate


Through the First Gate - detail

These works are 12" x 12", mounted on acid free matt board and then framed to 16" square. The paint, collage and asemic text are applied to vintage paper from an old photo album and have a lovely suede-like feel. Each title is from favourite passages in poems by TS Eliot. They are for sale, message me for details....

Every Wednesday until the end of June I am taking a Drawing class online, this past week we studied abstracted architecture - by working designs that resembled buildings but were not realistic - more representational. We used Conte crayons - a new-to-me product and not as messy as charcoal, working with value and shading....a great exercise and I think my work is quite "quilt-like"...





Saturday, June 4, 2022

Week 21 - in the Studio

Some art and some business this week....it's surprising to me that the "business of art" is, well, all about business, go figure!

I've been updating some images of my work on the gallery pages, Pinterest and a couple other sites, my old profile picture, taken in 2016, needed to be retired, so I'm gradually replacing it and a few others. I had some professional images taken of my Industrial Shoreline series, editing and resizing takes a lot of time (and patience) but the lighting is so much more vibrant and real - such a difference.

I have a paper taped to the wall in my studio, I keep meaning to get it typed up and made "pretty" but I rather like the rough and ready...


Can I tell you how many times I see it each day? It's very obvious and very visible and a very important reminder of the "why and how" of my art practise!

Show Up - I'm fortunate to have an outside studio, away from home. When I am there, it's about BEING there, not doing laundry, gardening or anything else. My space is special and and the work gets done only when I show up!

Do the Work - It's only me, no one else can "do my work" and I am there to work. Sometimes I play, experiment and try new ideas but much of what I do is work! My husbands joke when I get home is to ask "did you get your work done"? He's right about the work part...but is it ever done?

Take Risks - experimentation and trying out those ideas is the only way to grow as an artist, its easy to go with what sort of works, but the best work is done when I stretch myself.

It's not Precious - during my Open Studio a couple weeks ago, a visitor complimented me on a piece and how easy I made it look. My response was to mention the stuff that went into the garbage before the  successes. Stop hanging onto the stuff that doesn't work but remember that stuff is the foundation of success!

So I keep looking at the list!

Are you wondering about the Focus on 4? It's to remind me not to go after the "shiny stuff" and only have four projects/series/pieces going at one time.....if an idea or adaptation comes to me, I might make a small prototype or make some notes or sketches until I have completed one of the 4 and am ready to move on it!

So...what art stuff happened in the Studio this week...


A pile of scraps cut from new work! Our Gallery on Pender Island has one show running through the summer and my Salish Sea pieces usually sell well. The first one I glued to wood panel was a flop...if it doesnt adhere completely, I have to tear it off and start anew...no second chances. My fault as I used the wrong glue, thinking I could take a short cut!


Here's a video of the pieces that are ready for glueing to the panels, this time I'll wait until I have the right product. (you might have to hit the full screen button for it to show) Here's a link to how I do this: https://sallyhirst.co.uk/technique-mounting-work-on-paper-onto-a-panel/
And there are several YouTube videos explaining the same process.
Here's one of Our Salish Sea that I made last year:


So what have I learned about working on this series? 
  • its good to go deeper into the composition by repeating some of the same elements in each piece.
  • it can get boring doing basically the same composition over and over again.
  • the recent pieces are more challenging since I've added more collage elements and changed up the  strong horizontal lines.
  • I like using both paper and fabric in my work.
  • these are basic but very important lessons to remember for the future.
On Monday I delivered new work to the Current Threads exhibition at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council Gallery. I hope you'll take the time to see the exhibition - on until the end of June:




Thursday, May 26, 2022

Week 20 - in the Studio

 I jumped right back into work mode after our holiday and got the studio all spiffed up for the Open Studio - well sort of!

The very first time I had an Open Studio here on Pender, I cleared almost everything out, dusted, tidied and had it totally beautiful! Then visitors asked me where my studio was.....it looked too much like an art gallery! I guess visitors want to see the nitty-gritty, art work studio hanging out everywhere....so this time, I made sure new art was hung up, the garbage was emptied and the floor was swept - that was about all! I had a great time, made new friends and chat with "old" ones...made a few sales and generally chilled out!

Here's some pictures:




I'm planning another Open Studio for the end of July during the Mosaic Festival here on Pender Island, July 29-30, stop by!

What else is going on in the Studio? I had my second Drawing Workshop online through Vancouver Island School of Art, I'm a student, not a teacher... I always want to improve my drawing skills but seem to procrastinate, I'm sure I am the only one?
This weeks lesson was drawing branches and twigs with charcoal, not my favourite medium...but I did learn patience and a bit about Jim Dine, an American artist who used charcoal to draw a variety of topics but most notably... tools! An interesting subject, to be sure and wide scope for shading and details. You can see more about him here: Jim Dine

Here are some of my images from the class, not too bad:





I am also beginning to prepare for the summer exhibition season at The Gallery at Hope Bay, its always popular spot and the curator does an amazing job displaying the many pieces of art in a very cohesive way...
So I'm painting watercolour paper with acrylic inks and my first go wasn't very good at all, too disjointed and yuck! So they are heading to the collage pile. My second attempt was much more like what I have done in the past and will work with the additional fabrics I will use. I also added some swipes of candle wax as a resist, there are many more steps before completion but I do enjoy my Salish Sea series:



Towards SaltSpring - made last summer

Tomorrow, I'll have my gallery shift, its always delightful to meet and greet the visitors and sit amongst the beautiful art.

How was your week?








Saturday, May 14, 2022

Week 19 - in the Studio-ish

 The last couple weeks have flown by and I've been able to spend dribbles of time in the studio...working on some new ideas, being challenged by framing work and making a very big mistake!

The large collages were completed and I am very happy with how they  turned out, but getting good photos is really tricky! It seems I can't get them straight and when there are several I can't get continuity in lighting and sizes....Several will be framed and others are wrapped in cellophane. If you have any suggestions on good, consistent photos, I'd love to hear them. Right now, YouTube is my friend!






This one is mounted on 16" matt board - I love the look!

I made some smaller ones, intending to frame those....the paper I used was very fragile and wrinkled terribly when I glued them down with PVA, an archival glue. It was so disappointing...in addition, the matt board was cut just a teeny bit smaller than the frame and it wouldn't fit properly. So best to call it quits on this and start again. I might be able to salvage some of the collage bits...



DH and I spent last week traveling up the Sunshine Coast in a rented RV. I thought it might be fun to try before considering a purchase - good thing! It was far too big to feel comfortable driving, next time we might rent a camper van, more our size. But we enjoyed some lovely days exploring Sechelt, Lund, and Garden Bay and I managed to squeeze some art making in!





If you're thinking about something to do over the may long weekend, plan a trip to Pender island, my studio is open and I'd love to see you!


And how has your week been?