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? 





Sunday, April 24, 2022

Week 16, 17 & 18 - in the Studio

 Time got away from me, as it often does, some good weather prompted me outside and into the garden...

But studio time has been a bit weird...I am moving forward into unknown territory and that can be frightening - in an art-kind-of-way! My series, the Industrial Shoreline, is evolving and I am on my (possibly last) piece of textile wall art. I enjoy creating these but they have become an easy place to be...pick a photo, change it around a bit, make the work. Interesting and appealing but not mind blowing, exciting stuff. 

I have some ideas for new ways forward with 3D work, collage and some smaller mixed media but the next steps are experimenting, trialing and foundational work - stuff that seems if it fails - then I fail. Realistically I know thats not true, but it's hard to push on through into new work - what if it falls flat and is terrible? At least I know I'm not alone - and I've been in a safe place too long.

So here's a bit of a start on that last piece, the long strips will be cut up as sky:


Speaking of sky...I just posted a YouTube video "Paint the Sky" on how I create the sky pieces...dyeing and painting a variety of fabrics: https://youtu.be/eIK3_fniC7I

So I mentioned some more collage pieces that I'm working on, using elements that I created in my Scan n Cut. I painted soft greys and blues on water colour paper and am auditioning different ideas that I could incorporate into the work. Still very much exploration and play - something I need to remind myself over and over again...it doesn't have to be "finished" - it's about the journey, not the destination...yada, yada, yada!




On a totally unrelated note, some of our family gathered for Easter and we had a Lego contest. We made up bags of random Lego bits and had to create something using every piece! It was a fun activity!


Be Creative, everyone!



Saturday, April 2, 2022

Week 15 - in the Studio

Ups and downs this past week! The grandsons were visiting during March Break so it wasn't too easy finding time alone....

So we did a couple art projects together and had fun learning about "spinner art" - now I need a new salad spinner! After a couple YouTube videos, it was easy to tackle.


We needed:
  • card stock cut into circles to fit the inside of the basket - white and black paper
  • inexpensive craft/acrylic paints - we didn't use my Golden paints!
  • salad spinner, I have a cheap Ikea one so didn't feel bad about using it
Put the paper inside the spinner and dribble a few colours - just a little, we used too much!
Put the cover on top, make sure it's secure.
Turn the spinner handle one way a few times and then in the opposite way.

So simple...



And so much fun! We dyed T-shirts as well but no photos!

I did get some canvas painted for sketchbooks and totes - happy, spring colours! I'll be putting them together next week - an easy but repetitive job.


I spent this afternoon learning about WaterColour Grids with Wendy Welch, online with the Vancouver Island School of Art https://www.vancouverislandschoolart.com

Nothing fabulous was created but I did learn a lot and saw some possibilities for collage and maybe cutting some of them with my Scan n Cut - particularly this one, no redeeming qualities otherwise!


I quite enjoyed this one - one colour and then lightening and darkening and using analogous colours:


Wendy mentioned other artists who used grids in their work: Paul Klee, Ralph Lemon, Agnes Martin and Gunta Stoltz - a weaver during time of the Bau Haus whose work I find particularly intriguing!

You can see more of her designs here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search?q=Gunta+Stölzl&sortBy=Relevance&pageSize=0

Here is a couple more I made:


And that's about it! How was your week?

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Week 14 - in the Studio

This past week has been about finishing some work, I'm not sure why the latest in my Industrial shoreline series took so long to put the facings on...I just procrastinated too much!

It is smaller than recent work at 27" x 43", but the size seemed to work for the topic. It was a photo I had taken when we travelled to the north end of Vancouver Island and spent time around Port McNeill and Cormorant and Malcolm islands - a beautiful area I'd love to visit again. I was loving the linear aspects of a log booming area and took a few photos. 

The challenges of logging, clear cuts, forestry management and sustainable practises are part of my series - there are no right answers. I don't support clear cuts and tearing down old growth but we do need long term employment, especially for first nations in these remote areas, and properly managed, forestry can be part of this approach.


No title yet but it's 27" x 43"

I finished several collages that incorporate mark making and collage on vintage pages. I ordered packs of paper from Etsy and used them with white paint, acrylic inks, asemic text and marks...I love these! I'll be framing them soon and have them for sale - stay tuned!




Speaking of Etsy - I ordered some ultra suede labels from a vendor on Alberta - super quick service and very well made: Spotted Zebra and used them on my Art to Carry Textile Totes:


And I have a few available now HERE


I framed a little piece that my grand daughter had made a couple weeks ago:



And I took a monoprinting workshop today via Zoom, a different approach from what I have been doing but I learned several useful techniques that I can incorporate into my work. I'm taking a two day workshop on gel printing in June and looking forward to learning even more!


If you are yearning for an inperson workshop, have a look at the Gathering the Threads Conference in Cowichan Valley: https://gatheringthethreads.ecwid.com