Friday, December 23, 2011

and here is the photo

somehow this got missed-

An "installation"

Apart from a couple of drawing sessions, there has been no large chunks of time devoted to painting this past week---too busy with Christmas preparations. However, it occurred to me that I could claim an "installation" - the tree is up and decorated so that is part of my "practice" (to use artspeak) for the week. One interviewed instructor in a glossy art magazine said that after studying art, everyday activities are potentially loaded with social, political and historical meaning. Wow! and to think I was just decorating a tree to make things look nice!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas fast approaching

Christmas is getting closer and tomorrow we have a small group for Life Drawing and a potluck lunch. It is always nice to fit in a bit of socializing while keeping a hand in drawing. I've got the cards done and mailed and am taking a break from tree decorating. I think I like the Grand Firs better but they were out of them and now I have a Noble Fir. It smells great but was really heavy and now I'm thinking it is awfully dense for decorating. I like it when there are spaces for a bit of see-through. The drawing here is one that was done in the small group - coloured conte' on pastel paper. It just got rejected from a show but I know it is a good drawing - especially with the leg muscles. Sometimes there is a real prejudice, still, against nudes in art. When a person gets rejected, it just can't be taken personally and, in the long run, really means nothing.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cards and books-

My Christmas cards have arrived from Apple so now they have to be sent out. Some friends "voted" their choice and I'm going with "Poppies by the Fence" even though they are not exactly seasonal flowers. ... The Globe and Mail printed their choice of the 100 best books of 2011 and Eric Larsen's "In the Garden of Beasts" made the list. I didn't mention it in my last listing... not one artist in it...but it was an excellent slice of history as it is the true story of the American ambassador to Berlin just before WWII. His family's gradual awakening of what was really happening - and the deafness of Washington to what he had to tell them- gives a real sense of what life must have been like then. On the "art" list, I read the biography of Modigliani - and wrote a review on it for Amazon. I also found Constable Portraits by Martin Gayford and Anne Lyles very interesting as I had just never thought of Constable in terms of portrait painting. He was admired by Lucien Freud - which is high praise indeed. Freud said "I've always thought that it was completely loopy for people to go on about portrait painters, English portrait painters, and not to have Constable among them." Further, he added "There isn't a good painter of 'subjects' of one subject rather than any other. I mean, as a game you can say, perhaps, Gwen John was the best painter of cats (as she is) but with really good painters all their work is really good. You can't say 'this is a marvellous painter but don't look at the portraits' "

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Marsh in Winter

Last Thursday we changed the paintings on display in a local politician's constituency office. This is about the third time we have done it and it went very quickly. there are 12 paintings on display. Since the MLA holds receptions, they do get to be seen. So far, no really major results from it, but it does put the club name out here and paintings are seen, rather than being stored in closets. It is a good thing to take advantage of a display opportunity such as this. We show local scenes each time. My painting for this occasion was a winter painting from a nearby walk along the raised dyke by the marsh. I did a series of these a couple of years ago. This one is called "The Marsh in Winter" and is 24" x 30".

Friday, November 11, 2011

Reading List

It's that time of year when the new book lists are with us and it is time to anticipate reading by the fireplace. I was looking over a number of books I've read over the past year and decided it was an especially good year for art books and books whose story line involved art in some way. Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy Ken Follett's Fall of Giants (and I'm looking forward to the story continuing in the next volume.) I'll probably read Catherine the Great this next year- but art did come into a lot of my favourites of last year. Barbara Kingslover's Lacuna would certainly be near the top of the list- if not at the top. Freda Kahlo is in there as part of the story but there is a lot of depth to the book beyond that. I liked The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland - but not as much as some of her other books and I felt the touch of romance would not have been true to the type of person Emily Carr was. A number of readers were not as enthusiastic about her Clara and Mr.Tiffany but I thought it was good in how it showed the era and the setting and felt any detail about stained glass making *was* essential to the story. The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein was an excellent read about a real-life artist who was the first western-style artist from China. Well written and well-researched. Lots of incidental history in there too. More history in Madonnas of Leningrad (Debra Dean)as well as capturing some of the dementia of the aging lead character. Steve Martin, who is a very knowledgeable art collector, did a great job on capturing the crazy art action of modern day New York in An Object of Beauty. The Ghost Brush (Katherine Govver) was about the daughter of Hokusai - another excellent read. The painter in Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves was imaginary but set in the real world of impressionistic painters - and a good story too. I hope I find some more good books this year! The painting was done a couple of years ago in Gail's attic and the model got hooked on The Other Boleyn Girl while posing for us.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ten Cents a Dance

I just posted this painting for my November Newsletter but the format cut off her feet- so here is the full painting. It was done after Helene posed for us, at Adrienne's, in a costume that included a vintage hat that had belonged to her aunt. We set up the lights so there was rather dramatic edge-lighting. At the time, I did a drawing in coloured conte' and took photos. Then I painted this. There was something about the hat and the pose that made me think of the Depression era and the position of women then. They had a determination to somehow survive and make things right for their families... so I hoped to convey that determination in the painting. Since then, I've also made a 5"x5" ink and colour drawing that is now part of the International Mail Art Exhibition opening on November 17th in Richmond Art Gallery.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ballerina sculpture

I"m doing another session of sculpture and so far have made a sort of "tree person", but last session I did this ballerina. I had an idea for something different that didn't sketch out, so took some drawings of Iva to use them. It was from the five-minutes rotating pose. I had to carve, rather than model, the legs. That was a bit different way of working. She has ended up being a bit sturdy for a ballerina but I like the attitude of the pose. Working three dimensionally is a good practice and a challenge. It is a different way of thinking compared to putting three dimensions into a two dimension medium.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Spicing it up

Art isn't all painting and drawing. Sometimes it is gardening and sometimes it is changing something about the house. My spice jars had been around forever and were quite grungy. However, you know how it is- you just get used to them! Then, for various reasons, I saw them in a fresh light and decided to make a change. First, I changed over the grungiest to new jars and new labels protected with storage tape so that they would wipe off. The problem there was that then the rest looked worse than ever! So- no answer for it than to do a major re-do. Peppers of various types all got hot pink labels and I changed the others according to the spice and my mood. One advantage is that the new jars have a slightly smaller diameter - so they fit on the turntable better. Not likely to make it into an art gallery, but it is nice to open the cupboard door and see bright, fresh jars of spices.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

...and another change

After due deliberation, the decision was made to change the sky yet again! Yes, I do seem to be obsessing over a subject I didn't really *choose* in the first place, but I'm trying to see if it can't be made to "work" better. Anyway, I think I went overboard with too bright a yellow sky, so it now has a toned down version- and a slight adjustment in the shading on the car. Your opinion is welcome!
On another subject, I am now in "LinkedIn", and ready to link up with others there too. I did the "WhoHub" interview some time ago and am on a few other things- but no time to Twitter and I don't really like Facebook as an artist- and no real time for that either. Mostly, I think I will stick to the odd blog....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Art in public

Last night we did our Life Drawing with a draped model at the Art Centre- down in the foyer. This was for Cultural Days. We attracted a fair crowd of watchers and a couple who tried their hands at drawing with us. We had the light on the model but the lighting for we artists was not so good- so it was a bit of "drawing in the dark" - but an improvement over "painting in the rain" which was how we started out at the Grand Prix. Since then, I've noodled a bit on the plein air painting - changed the colour of the sky and added crows- just to have a bit of fun with it---- and because I felt the foreground needed something. So here is the result.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cultural Days

How did we get near the end of September so soon? Some of it whirled by in preparation for the Grand Prix of Art Steveston, where we started out painting in the rain this year. Now we are up to Cultural Days and Richmond Artists Guild is doing a Life Drawing demonstration in the foyer of Richmond Art Centre this Friday evening. We will have a clothed model in one pose and the general public will be invited to watch or try drawing. I plan on worked in coloured pastels (conte' crayon) so I may produce something like this one. This was Helene in a hat with a veil. We have a different model on Friday night so I may very well post the results.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


September always seems like the start of a new year- guess that is sort of an academic hang-over! Still, it is a time when meetings start up again after the summer break and we get into the swing of things again. I've already received notice that my painting, "Have a Cool One" will be in Autumn Salon at the Federation Gallery, Granville Island, Vancouver. It opens on September 20th and runs until October 2nd. I love the play of light and shadow and this was especially a joy to do with the interesting shadows cast by the straw hat. Nadine, the model, likes the way the painting turned out too. I did a pastel in an hour and a half - and also took a photo for additional reference. Being able to put paint on in layers really adds a richness that isn't quite there in the pastel. Peter Aspell, one of my former teachers, used to talk about "the sensuous quality of paint." I like to aim for that. I used transparent darks for the shadows. Anyway, I'm glad that "Have a Cool One" is having a chance to be seen in an exhibit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Summer Gallery at Omega

Summer is not over yet and the Summer Gallery show at Omega is still on. I am one of four painters and my contribution to the show is all European paintings. This one is of Orvieto, a hill town not too far from Rome. We parked at the bottom, because the medieval town could not take modern traffic, and took a funicular railway up to the old town. There is a beautiful 12th century cathedral there with a mosaic front - and interesting narrow streets. I like the way the space over the streets is often used - as in this painting with the building forming an arch over the street. I think that there is a bit of a sense of mystery - what is down the street, through the arch? Who is the lady meeting? I used a palette knife on the building so that the layers of paint show through somewhat - just like the old plaster. It adds a richness and surface interest to the painting.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Maritime Festival

Richmond had its 8th annual Maritime Festival last weekend at Britannia Shipyards and the Richmond Artists Guild was invited to take part. We had a tent for a display of (mostly) maritime paintings. I set up the scheduling for "sitting" the show and for having painters on site. I was going to paint but found the sun too much so just did some sketching and photography- reference shots. I told everyone that it wasn't for selling but just to represent the Guild, make people aware that we exist, give out our new business cards and so on. We did get a good response. However, and much to my surprise, I actually sold a painting. It was "The Balclutha" which is an old sailing ship down in San Francisco. We had a perfect day when we visited it as it was sunny but very few people were there so it was easy to get people-free photos. Needless to say, I did not paint on the spot as just drawing all the rigging took some time before I even got to the painting. At any rate, the painting has found a good home. It goes to show that you never know when a painting will be in the right place at the right time. The Festival itself was really interesting with lots to see and do. For most of us, our favourite performer was the Eagle- on stilts- and I have recorded her in my sketchbook.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Omega Gallery Show

The Summer Gallery show at Omega is on and was mentioned in the FCA's Art Avenue magazine. I was up at the gallery on Tuesday with two friends who enjoyed the show. The gallery is looking lovely and fresh and everything was nicely displayed. I hope more people can get in to see it. Dunbar Street has it's challenging parts as construction goes on in parts, but there is parking on side streets. In a previous post, I showed one of the two new paintings I did for this show- the one of Burano. This is the other - the Christmas market in Trastevere, Rome. The star-lights are strung across the street. What interested me in this was the contrasts of light and the more shadowy figures and capturing some of the magical feeling of the market. What interesting items might we find for sale?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The importance of drawing-

Robert Genn's latest newsletter talks about drawing and its importance to artists. I totally agree. Life Drawing, especially, really helps keep up a person's skills in observation as well as in drawing. Lately, I have been drawing in three colours- in conte' or in charcoal pencils - black, white and sienna- to work on capturing tone values. I do them on a medium tint paper. This is a fairly "classical" way of drawing and I'm looking at realism, not so much interpretation. I'm just about finished the current pad of paper and I think I'll go to something more freewheeling for a while... more colour, playing more with variety in line, etc. Just a change to shake things up but the same actual *drawing* challenge is there- capturing a pose, the foreshortening of a limb, the way light falls on the body... The illustration here is one in coloured conte' of a 30-minute pose in the last Drawing Marathon.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Google

The promotion advice newsletter that I get said to post on Google as it would work for a person by coming up first on a search - so I did. I picked a photo of me in the Czech Republic coming out of Karlstein Castle - that is my "castle owner's smile" - maybe!
At any rate, the Google listing is interesting because it brings up all the painting photos from my website. Time will tell if there is any value to it. I also survived posting photos of the Fraser River Art Festival to the Richmond Artists Guild blog. I found it a bit more difficult to do than this blog but I must be getting more computer savvy because I *did* manage to do it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Gallery at Omega

I delivered my paintings to Omega this morning. The gallery is looking lovely and fresh and even has a new floor. My paintings include the one of Burano from the last blog and this one of the Estates Theatre in Prague. This is just a little painting (10" x 8") that I did to try to capture the magic of an evening at the opera. This is the same theatre where Mozart premiered "Don Giovanni". (And conducted it ) If you saw "Amadeus", you saw the inside of this theatre. The amazing thing is that it is still the same- with electricity substituting for candlelight-but still with the beautiful boxes and their gilt cherubs and drapery. When we were in Prague, we went to this theatre, sat in a box - and even saw and heard "Don Giovanni". People do dress up - at least to the extent of nice clothes and no jeans. I didn't see anybody there in full evening dress. Nevertheless, it was a very elegant evening. Each box has a mirror that reflects another box - this was so some subtle flirting could go on without having to lean out and be obvious to others.I'm not sure how a person could arrange to be in a box with the mirror reflecting the object of their affection- but I'm sure it was worked out. I used our reflected box to do another sketch. Not as romantic, but I enjoyed myself.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Getting ready for summer

Lots of things are happening so there will be no "summer doldrums". The "Summer Gallery" at Omega would have started but Dunbar Street is being ripped up for new water mains and access to the gallery is only under difficulty.Jenny Mao, the new owner,decided to take the opportunity to do some redecorating, so when the show opens on the 15th, everything will be new and fresh. Before then, on the 10th, at London Farm, there will be the Fraser River Art Festival. There will be tents out on the lawn and about 25 artists (including me!)displaying. Live music will be provided by Steveston Folk Music. ,,,and we've just been invited, and accepted, to be part of the Maritime
Festival by Britannia for the BC Day weekend. Today is Canada Day but I didn't go out to any events. I had a quiet paint-in, mowed the lawn and did some other garden work. Next week I have to organize what I am taking to the London Farm event and pack up the paintings for Omega. For Omega's Summer Gallery, I will be showing some of the European paintings - and I've done two new ones! This is one of Burano, island by Venice, which is a new painting.

Friday, June 24, 2011

"The school of life"

"The school of life" is what Robert Genn calls his latest newsletter. He notes that every year about 900,000 North Americans try painting for the first time and 800,000 quit in frustration. "Apparently, at any given time, three percent of the population is trying to paint." He goes on to say "On the surface, painting looks easy, offers mounds of personal satisfaction and has the potential of big bucks. But then again, so does golf. And we all know that golf makes grown men cry. When closely examined, high-aimed painting is difficult, loaded with disappointment and the dubious benefits of poverty."- This is applicable timing as I was out the other day for an appointment for my husband. I took the books I "published" on my Mac and the doctor was appreciative - but-- immediately assumed I must be in the "big bucks" category. Complimentary, in a way, but far from the truth. Most of us persist because we *must* paint, but most of us would have starved if we had to rely on or art income. We carry on through sheer determination.
Here is Lawrence as painted. I showed, in previous blogs, the graphite drawings done in Life Drawing. Originally, the background was lighter, but, following a critique, I re-did it. It probably looks a bit more like a suggestion of foliage now and is more dramatic against the flesh tones. An artist has to keep questioning.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Whimsical prints

Yesterday I was at the Federation Gallery to pick up my painting from the "Canvas Unbound" show and to take a look at the new print show. I find printmaking intriguing but I haven't done any since Art School. However, yesterday I was thinking that there seems to be a different level of acceptance- or would that be theme of acceptance?- in prints than in paintings. Maybe it is brought on by their very smallness, but there is a lot of whimsy and some almost cartoon-ish pieces. I felt some might be the kind of stuff for doodles in sketchbooks but would be rejected if submitted to a regular show. Not to say that I didn't like them. I don't know enough to say whether the techniques were outstanding and that was part of the acceptance or not. I could only judge the images -and I found a lot appealing. Some brought a smile. I just wonder about the difference and acceptability. Or is it something that come with the choice of medium? Are people with a sense of whimsy - and showcasing it- drawn to the printmaking process? Something to think about.......for the illustration here, here is my Singer in Red.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Vancouver Riots

I don't usually blog about anything except art and art events, but I am rather sickened by last nights rioting after Vancouver lost the Stanley Cup Hockey final. These are the same streets I walked on as a child after Saturday morning art classes. This is where I prowled with sketchbook later on, as a student at Vancouver School of Art. This was just a hockey game, not a plea for democracy. As The Guardian newspaper notes, it makes us look like a fishing village, not the "world-class" city we claim to be. Politicians are saying it was a few yahoos and punks, but the hockey fans inside the arena showed a distinct lack of class and decency when they booed the Bruins at the end of the game. Where was the sportsmanship in that? After the violence and looting on the streets, while spectators filmed it all, Vancouver ends up with a reputation it will take a long time to live down. There is no point about extolling the virtues of a "livable city" and its natural beauty when its citizens end up looking like jerks and worse. .....For the record, I was at Wednesday night Life Drawing and not even watching TV!... painting is of a kayak just by Granville Island- I call it "To Each His Own" and it is a calm and peaceful view in Vancouver.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

No Tub after All

Well, the tub was there - a round one- but it just did not fit well into a composition from the position that I had. So, I left it out. It still was fun to have a full day of painting and to see what everyone else came up with. All were different, of course. Different media, different styles - and everyone had a different position, of course. I'm not sure what to call my painting. Any suggestions? I can always resort to "In the Studio". ...and so, the marathon is over - until the next one.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In the Midst of a Marathon

Mark is having a drawing marathon this weekend at Phoenix in Steveston. I've done nine hours of drawing so far and have six hours of painting tomorrow... and that isn't quite a *full* marathon. So far, I have done drawing in coloured conte' on "charcoal" paper 12" x 18". The paper is slightly smaller than I use at Adrienne's - for easier portability up those three flights of stairs. It also works better for half hour and 45 minute poses. I'll probably photograph and post some of the drawings fairly soon. We've had fun with a variety of models and some creative costuming and themes. Tomorrow is an all-day pose ( with a break for lunch) on the theme of a "Degas Bather". Yes, there will be a tub. This is one I couldn't resist. Back when I was in Art School, one of the exam paintings was a model in a bathtub. There was an actual tin bathtub and we were on risers around it, so we could see into the tub. A bouquet of lilacs completed the scene. I remember the young fellows in the class being eager to volunteer for the job of adding more warm water to the tub! This tub, for tomorrow, is the round kind used in country households back in the old days when the bathing took place in the kitchen. It should be another interesting day. My posted painting is another where I did "brush editing". The actual pose had only one visible foot- but criticisms were that it seemed strange and unbalanced. The solution was to invent where a foot might have been and just show a bit of toe. It has been a major improvement. It's also made me aware of avoiding awkwardness in the first place by seeing that hands or feet don't disappear mysteriously.

Friday, May 13, 2011

After DoorsOpen

Richmond's DoorsOpen was last weekend- and I'm still not quite tidied up again. It was a good weekend- except for the weather. Unfortunately, the Saturday was wet so not as many people enjoyed the garden. Everyone was really nice and I had some interesting conversations - some in translation. One young fellow brought his parents. The Dad does traditional Chinese brushwork so was very interested in the paints and surfaces I use. I find the open studio is more of a community outreach than anything else. People like to see the workspace and ask questions. Some want encouragement to try art for themselves - or for their children. One Dad told his young daughter, "See, a lady *can* be an artist!" I wonder if older brothers had been discouraging her? People find we are (relatively) normal, that we try different things and enjoy what we are doing. I always put up some of my drawings (such as the one of Lawrence here) and put out sketchbooks too. Oh- and all the Neapolitan cookies I made got eaten.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Be an Artist in 10 Steps

"Be an Artist in 10 Steps" is the title of a book that appeared in a catalog. Wow! now if it was just that easy...Not only that, the book covers pastels, pencils, acrylics, watercolours and oils! Most of us consider art to be a life-long learning process, requiring at least the 10,000 hours to attain any level of proficiency! Even then, we don't rest and continue on the same way. We keep experimenting, keep practicing, keep reading, going to life drawing, attending demos and workshops... somehow I doubt that 10 steps is going to do it. However, it does show that many people are intrigued and challenged with the idea of getting into art. !0 steps is just the tip of the iceberg and I hope the purchasers of the book are happy with their glimpse at "what it takes". Sometimes people gain greater appreciation when they try it themselves, so that's another positive.....My illustration for this one is "Three Pears" which will also be in the "Moms in Our Midst" show at Omega Gallery (27th and Dunbar in Vancouver). It is one of my "Iconic Edibles" where I used metallic gold paint to make the edibles like icons. I'll probably get back to doing more fruit and vegetables but they will, no doubt, be a different series again.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Poppies for Mother's Day

There is going to be a Mothers' Day Show at Omega Gallery - all the artists will be Moms. I thought something floral might work well for this show. This is a new painting from a photo I took last summer- Poppies by the Fence. The poppies were part of a community garden. They are pink poppies with yellow centres- not the red ones with black centres. They were fun to paint - trying to capture the way light fell on them and the almost-rustic fence. I'll be taking the painting up to Omega on Monday but here it is for viewing now.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Into April...

I've just done my April Newsletter and realizing that, yes, it is a month until DoorsOpen and there will be quite a bit of organizing to do- setting up displays, doing a re-hanging in the main display area, baking a few cookies so I'll have refreshments and figuring out which painting will be the "free draw". Not to mention actually taking advertising brochures around to as many places as possible. In the meantime, regular activities continue (and we are not mentioning the Spring garden clean-up) -such as Life Drawing and a new session starting for Sculpture. I'm working in water-soluble graphite for Life Drawing- in one of my periodic switches of mediums. The combination of the pencil and wash makes an interesting change....until the next switch. This is one of Lawrence done a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Another book from Apple

My second book arrived. I did this one as a coil bound. This painting is what I used for the cover design and this is what I wrote about it: " "Journey's End" (24 x 30) is the cover painting as this volume is paintings of close to home landscape, people, and things. Sometimes it is nice to travel and see new sights, but sometimes what is closest is the best. We just have to learn to appreciate what is all around us." So now I have two "Paintings Book"s to have for DoorsOpen - and I'm relatively up to date. Maybe I will have another volume for next year. They are surprisingly easy to make on I-Photo and the delivery is very quick! Next project is definitely getting ready for DoorsOpen which will be May 7th and 8th this year. This is the only time I have an Open Studio and I like to take the time to really get things displayed more than I normally have. I also will do some baking so there will be refreshments. I have a "free draw" for a painting so I"ll have to decide which one it will be. Actually, I usually have two, so the winner has a choice.

Friday, March 25, 2011

In Print!!!

Excitement today when the Fed-Ex truck delivered my book from Apple! It is a 20-page hardcover with a printed dust-jacket the same as the book. For this "Paintings Book", I selected all paintings about Europe. This book has only one painting per page. My next book, which will be coil-bound has a couple of pages with two paintings. I kept the book simple as I didn't think there was anything to be gained by having a background of a softer view of a painting or by going for any fancy effects like cast shadows. I wanted the paintings to stand alone and I'm really pleased with how it has turned out. This is the cover painting- one that sold at Omega Gallery.It is rooftops of Cesky Krumlov.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

"Brush" editing

Not everything is a matter of photo-editing. Sometimes changes have to be made right on the canvas. This can happen after you think you are "finished" - then something jumps off the canvas and you realize that either a minor - or even major- change has to be made. I noted, in an earlier blog, that "Predictions" didn't make the cut in a selection I was making because the knees proved to be distracting. So, here is the changed canvas. I eliminated the knees, making it just more visible stomach, changed a bit of the beading and the drapery - and I think it works. Marjanka is one of my favorite models. I like the imagination she puts into her outfits and her poses. Next post may show another bit of "brush editing".

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Keyed in...

I've been learning a lot in some sessions at the Apple store. Today I learned more about editing photos. Sometimes it is difficult to get a photo that is *just* like the painting. "Difficult" is not even the right word. There is often a lot lost in the process. Now I've learned more about how to fix it and I've been playing around with some of the photos of paintings. It can be quite surprising. Here is "Keys" after I edited it. Furthermore, it is fun to do!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring and growth-

Now we've changed the clocks and the weather is picking up, it is time to think of growth in many ways. Years ago, we used to see a painter in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island. He was always in the same spot and always painted the same picture- shafts of light coming down through the evergreens. I'm assuming he sold them - to buyers who had no idea that their painting was virtually a duplicate of many others. Original? -yes, sort of. It wasn't a print and it was freshly painted but without an original thought!
For Life Drawing, I like using different materials. For painting, I like different subjects. I'd probably paint people all the time if I could afford to hire models just for myself. But then, I enjoy plein air, studio painting of landscapes, and even the occasional still life when something really appeals to me. I've done quite a few bouquets and a whole series of fruit and vegetables. I choose subjects because of a strong feeling I have for it. Right now I'm working in a couple of different directions. For me, the enjoyment of painting is the constant challenge and opportunity for growth. I may not always be sure of where I'm going, but I find pleasure in the journey. The painting this time was done about a year ago because I loved the old-style keys. And so the painting is called "Keys". The rest of the story is up to the viewer.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Finn Slough Art Show

The annual Finn Slough Art Show is on this week. We deliver our paintings for hanging on Wednesday evening and then the show runs through to Sunday afternoon. The reception is on Friday evening- with some entertainment and delicious goodies. This is always a fun show as it is not juried, will include photographs and maybe have some kid's art too. It is always interesting to see the various interpretations of this community. My entry this year is a winter sunset as viewed from the little bridge. Something I learned about the bridge is that the centre part can be removed for boats going further up the slough - and that this section gets chained in place for Hallowe'en! Most of the artists will be there on the Friday evening so that adds to the enjoyment too. Somehow the show keeps getting better and better all the time. You can find out more about this event and about this historical community at the Finn Slough website.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Paintings 2010 up to date

The posted paintings are now up to date - scroll down on the right side of the web page to see the collection from 2010. It is always interesting to review the year's output- and 15 of them - more than half- are figurative. Two are cats. Five are still-life and two are flowers -one indoors, one outdoors. So that leaves only three that are landscapes- a bit of a switch from how it is sometimes. I might paint more cats - but the current residents are pure black and too hard to see all the detail! The painted cats don't live here - one is a resident of Finn Slough. I have some more ideas for pretty well every category but some depends on opportunity- like having a model to paint. -this one is of Nadine and I call it " The Straw Hat". She looks very tropical but actually posed by a heater in winter. I loved the way the hat made such interesting shadows on her face.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Working on an application...

My effort for the last bit has been to put together a "package" for an application...details to follow if I actually get it. I've decided to go with all figurative work and had friends in to vote on their choices. I'm including the one of Marjanka that is "Memories" but we decided against this one of "Prediction" although there are certain things I like about it. The "against factor"? - the knees at the bottom of the painting. One friend suggested I just paint them out, at a future time, and I think I might try that. This is one of those times when what was actually *there* (her knees) becomes a thing that doesn't contribute to the success of the piece. So one of these days, I may be posting the changed version.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

New Endeavours...

I just listed myself on the BC Travel page- as I was looking at another listing and found I could do this one for free. I've posted my snowy painting on it. So that is a new one for me. This week, the figurative show has opened at the Federation Gallery on Granville Island and I have my painting "Little Black Book" in it. This was done last year up in "Gail's Attic" with Helene modeling. We had fun with the set-up - trying to avoid a boring "girl in chair" pose, yet have something that wasn't a strain on the model. We decided to create a "scene" and have her with shoes off. Tanya picked up the shoes and dropped them so they would fall casually and then we also decided to have the book too. I think we had a glass of wine on the table but, in working out what I wanted to paint on the challenge of a different-shaped canvas, I left that out. I had fun painting the shoes. This was a four or five-hour pose and was all painted right then. Definitely the fun way to paint! I probably would choose to paint people over and above most other subjects but I'm waiting to win a lottery so I can afford to hire models all the time. Definitely I would consider portrait painting too but so far have not found a lot of demand in that field.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Successful Opening

The show at Artizen (Jeanette Jarville's) opened last night with a good crowd attending. Everything looked great and the jewelry, sculpture and pottery really added to the paintings. The show goes on for 6 weeks- opening on Saturdays- but not on February 12th. There is also a silent auction that is a fund-raiser for Juvenile Hockey. There is such a nice variety of art. My magazine Art News runs an advertisement for a gallery that always says "Nothing enhances the beauty of your home like art". This show is an excellent chance to see art displayed in a home- which should help people realize how it might look in their own home........ This painting is "Gary's Woods"- one my paintings on display along with the works of 17 other artists.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another winter ago-

In spite of all the threats that this was going to be a bad winter on the Coast, it has been pretty mild most of the time. Two tiny snowfalls - and lots of rain. It has been really easy getting around- not like two years ago when our street was snowed in and I put on my cross-country skis and skied from our front door up to the dyke, something I've never been able to do before! One of the problems with snow here is that we rarely get to actually enjoy it. Usually it snows with a grey sky and then it turns to rain, with more grey and nothing photogenic or paintable at all. But when we do get snow and sunshine, we really feel lucky. This was one such day. I like the reeds and water along the dyke walk which overlooks Sturgeon Banks. I felt the dried reeds added a warmth to this snow scene. This painting is one of three of mine that will be displayed at Artisan Studio as Jeanette Jarville's salute to Winterfest. There are eighteen artists showing this time, including sculptors. The show opens this Friday evening and will be open for 6 weeks (except February 12th) on Saturdays.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More about Emily

Interesting that when a person is noticing some particular thing, that that "thing" then starts cropping up all over! I've barely finished with the fictionalized account of Emily Carr's life when it seemed like she was mentioned in many places. Now the Globe and Mail had an article about two photos that have been in separate archives and are now together. Photos of a tennis party, one has a young man gazing at Emily instead of at the photographer, while one taken minutes apart has him, seated, leaning against her leg - which as the article states would have been very unusual behaviour for the time. and then there is a recently published story by Carr called "Stone and Heart" in which she recounts a tennis party and a young man lifting her down from a ladder and kissing her. She went on to say "Soon I found the young man was only flirting with me, but too late, my heart was lost. It took 15 years to pull myself out." Interesting indeed, as I found that a far more realistic "romance",considering the times and her upbringing, than the one in "Forest Lover".There is going to be a new Exhibit about Emily Carr at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria, curated by Kathryn Bridge. She is hoping to find out who the man in the photos is before "The Other Emily:Redefining Emily Carr" opens in March. -How times have changed! ---- This photo is the figure I did in the last Sculpture session. The nice contrast with the black against the fired white of the sculpture, was provided by a strategically seated cat!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back at the Easel

I'm actually working on three paintings at the moment- well- not all at the very same time! One is a large close-up of allium seed-heads - and I'm feeling my way on that one, with pauses between sessions. Another is just a blocking-in of something to have for the next Finn Slough show. The third is *probably* finished. I was working from a coloured conte' drawing from a Life Drawing session. Our model sat on the stand while we were figuring out how we wanted the pose to be. She was just very relaxed and had her feet turned in. It was a bit different, so we decided to go with that pose. I thought it would make a different painting - so here it is. Interestingly enough, while a lot of classical nudes are in major museums and private collections, it is very difficult - at least here on the West Coast- to exhibit nudes --- and even harder to actually sell them.Granted, you might not want one in your living room, but they are nice in a bedroom. Well,maybe that depends on your guests. When my mother was alive, she used to complain, every time she came over, about the nude I had in our bedroom. I still like *that* nude and will post here sometime. And I like this nude too - she has such an impish expression.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Show at Gateway

Monday, My show at Gateway Theatre was hung. It will be there until February 28th and can be viewed when performances are on and also Monday to Friday from 9 to 1 and 2 to 5. (Enter via the box office door.) It is paintings from my trip to the Czech Republic and Rome - plus a few others. This is what I wrote for the "Statement" - European Memories- While I enjoy painting this wonderful part of the world where we live, I also find excitement in painting a different environment. These scenes of the Czech Republic and Italy bring back treasured memories that I am happy to share. I love paint, brushwork and the play of light and colour. the way light hits cobblestones, shines off red tile roofs and creates delightful reflections in water is all very special. While I want places to be recognizable, I edit and emphasize to create a feeling and capture the essence of a moment. This is one of the paintings in the show- Prague Rooftops.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Price of Everything

"The Price of Everything" is the title of a new book by Eduardo Porter, mentioned in an article in today's Globe and Mail.Mr. Porter says that paying a high price for something actually stimulates the brain. He says, "The price is a signal about you, not about the thing. When you pay something for something you're sending a signal about the quality of person that you are. About the resources at your command." Interesting when you think about the story I've told before about the man in a gallery who was set to buy a painting and had his check-book out - only when he found it was $2,000 and not $20,000, he didn't want it. ...and, yet, a lot of people think art prices are a way too high when they might be $500 for a painting. I guess it depends on the market. Recently, a fellow artist admonished some reasonably well-to-do people that she knew who were complaining about an artist's prices. She told them that they didn't question $70 an hour for a car mechanic, so why should the artist be working for low wages? Another factor, rarely considered is that a gallery takes 50% for their expenses. However, the artist has paid for materials and often framing, so actually ends up with slightly less. Maybe we need to somehow suggest that buying a painting "sends a signal about the quality of person you are." Or - like the advertisement for a Park Avenue gallery I saw recently, "Nothing Enhances the Beauty of Your Home Like Art." Have a cup of tea and consider... the painting is of a copper kettle I don't use but keep by the fireplace. It was hand-made in the old B.C. Penitentiary, bought by a guard and given as a wedding present to my parents.