Friday, December 8, 2017

What I'm reading now...

At first glance, Cast looks like one of those coffee table books-  large and beautiful but not much more. However, Cast goes far beyond being beautiful to being totally interesting and informative. I'm a fast reader usually, but I've enjoyed slowing down, lingering over illustrations and thinking about casts in a way I've never thought before. The book covers both fine arts and every day life. The art of casting, pouring material into a mold, dates back to antiquity but modern manufacturing casting has changed our lives- toilets for modern sanitation, bricks for construction,  mass-produced plastic toys- these only touch castings influences. Beautiful photos illustrate ancient and modern masterpieces. A chapter on jewellery illustrates pieces far beyond what the reader is likely to see in ordinary circles-"from wearable to conceptual". This is the first-ever in-depth resource about casting- truly a book to enjoy over time. Back in my fabric-art and doll-making days, I did a little casting- but the authors tell us that if we have ever made ice-cubes, jello or muffins, we've all done casting. I took the above photos, but you can see more about this book at  I certainly recommend this as a real treasure.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

ArtRich 2017

ArtRich has opened in Richmond Art Gallery and will be on display throughout December. There are 40 pieces on display, juried from 120 entries. It is the final local celebration of Canada's 150th and the themes were Environment, Diversity and Reconciliation. My "Sandpiper Time- Britannia Heritage
Shipyard" was selected. We were asked to write statements for a binder so that people can see where the paintings fits into the celebration of Canada's 150th. This is my statement for this painting " "Sandpiper Time" is about what changes and what endures. Every September, the sandpipers come to Britannia and here they sit on a floating log and on a piling. They were here long before settlers and the great salmon runs of the past - for which the remains of the piers are a mute testimony. Will we protect the environment so that they can always return?" I made a point of making the paint thicker on the pilings above the waterline while the reflections are thinner paint. I think the dimensionality adds to the interest of the painting.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Long pose again

Now that we can get the painting room in the daytime (which we can't in the summer, due to  kid's classes), we are back having long poses again. Most people are painting although some are drawing, and I am back to mixed media. I had a rough grey paper for this ... now I can't remember the name of the paper but it is quite rough and has flecks of something that looks like bits of straw in it. I started with a drawing in black conte' and then used pthalo blue, alizarin crimson and arylide yellow  acrylic in some washes. After using the blow-dryer, I painted on acrylic gel for pastels and then dried that too. Since the paper was already quite rough-surfaced, I then had a nice gritty surface to work on. Giving created the pose from inspiration from a statue who was part person but also turning into a fern and returning to the earth. The statue's hands had already melded into fern fronds. So it was fun to have this different idea. I worked a bit of green into the skin tones. I used some powdered pastel, applied with a sponge to get a base going as both soft pastels and harder pastels tended to sit more on the surface of the rough paper. However, I also liked the effect of the upper layers of pastel on the rougher surface. I think I only have one more piece of this paper but I may do a search to find some more. I recall that it did  come in different colours. So, what should I call it? Lady of the Ferns?

Friday, November 17, 2017

GuessWho? a great success!

This shows the set-up we had for GuessWho? on November 4th at the Pioneer  Church at #3 and Steveston Highway.
We set up grids and hang all the 10x10's on both sides of the grids. We had 137 paintings and sold 52 - all from 10 am to 3pm. There was a terrific selection and we made $2350 for the  Richmond Food Bank. We also had a lot of fun so it was a great success. If you didn't make it this year, mark your calendar for next year when it will be November 3rd. You'll never had a better chance of getting terrific original art for only $100!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

GuessWho? is November 4th!!

Something different today- I didn't paint this and I'm not telling who did - but this lovely 10x10 painting could be yours for only $100 at this year's GuessWho? sale... and then you will find out who the artist is. The sale is this Saturday, November 4th from 10 to 3 at the Pioneer Church at the corner of #3 and Steveston Highway-- the little church on the grounds of South Arm United. $50 goes to the artist -- so you see the artists are making a contribution too -of time,materials and talent. Then the balance goes to Richmond Food Bank - which is a very good cause especially with the colder months coming up. There are 132 paintings to choose from this year. They include paintings by artists whose works sell into the thousands - and also works by students of Steveston/London Secondary and some of these may be worth fortunes too when the student artists become famous!  Since they are all the same size and don't need framing, you can start to build up a collection. I have some sitting on  strips of wood painted the same colour as the wall. That way it is easy to get them at the same level without bothering with wall hangers. A gallery wall is a lovely way to enjoy a variety of paintings. Often I deliberately do something a bit different - so my challenge to you is to guess which ones I painted this year.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Cultural Days

Richmond Artists Guild planned our usual contribution to Cultural Days - which was September 30th-by having a model and the public could either watch or join in. We decided to have a bit of a twist by having our model pose on her motorcycle. One good thing was, when the model took a break to stretch and walk around, the motorcycle stayed put so some more work could still be done.Some were painting on canvases but I decided to work on pastels and I chose a neutral grey pastel paper. Pastel paper is two-sided. One side is smoother and the other side has more of a grid surface to hold the pastel pigment. Good quality pastels have more pigment than cheaper ones. Pastels come in soft, hard or even pencil forms. There are also very soft powdery ones that come in little cases much like the compacts girls used to carry to powder their noses. In fact, this form of pastel is applied with a sponge - and make-up sponges are cheaper than the ones sold for the same purpose in art stores. Pastels have to be kept sorted to like colours so that they don't rub off against each other and become grubby. One of the joys of using pastels is that the colours have a lush richness to them that can be a delight to apply. Well- it rained on our Cultural Day, but we were under a canopy and managed to finish- but I bet our model would have been happier indoors with a heater.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sunflowers and yellow paint

Here is the 2017 sunflower painting. I can certainly understand Van Gogh's fascination with sunflowers- somehow they are always a bit different and always interesting. Plus there is the challenge with working with yellow. Yellow pigment tends to be on the weak side - no mater what the medium it is in. I often under-paint with white so the yellow can then show to its best advantage. Today's paints are permanent but Van Gogh had trouble with his yellows because they changed with time and became more green- thus making a challenge for restorers. The question being - not only what to use - but what shade was he actually aiming at?  It is also a challenge to work shadows with yellows and not have them turn muddy, I like acrylics as the shadows can be done with glazes and it keeps the colours fresher. No vase in this one but there is in my sunflower painting in Mila's online gallery at  Van Gogh signed his name on the vase- so, as a tribute to him, I signed my  name on the vase too.  There are actually several different yellow paints in this painting- not only Cadmium Yellow Light, Medium and Dark, but also some Azo Yellow and a few more! Tjen there is Naples Yellow in with some blues and Sap Green to make the greens. Colour is fun!