Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 24, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
Thursday, December 20, 2012
The accumulated 42 swans by the end of the song would also have required a fairly sizable pond- unless some of them also became part of the feast! In the religious interpretation, they stand for the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. I have written these around the swans- encouragement, teaching, service, prophecy, giving, leadership and mercy. Sometimes "exhortation" is the gift, rather than encouragement, but I felt that exhortation was too strong an urging, more like a sermon and could include warning and admonishing. Encouragement implies urging on toward success and gives hope, courage and confidence ... so "encouragement" was my choice for a more positive gift. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just give gifts like that- to individuals and also to the world.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Friday, December 14, 2012
These are paper mache' baubles that I bought a few years ago. They are, of course, unbreakable and, even though they are a decent size, lightweight. I gessoed the balls first, sanded and then painted in acrylics. They are then varnished with a gloss acrylic varnish. This is the first one and here is the partridge. These were fun to do. This year, due to the kitchen renovation and attendant upheaval, I'm not having a tree but I'll put these ornaments on the mantelpiece along with some cedar. It might be interesting to paint some other decorations some time but I haven't seen any more paper mache' baubles.
Friday, December 7, 2012
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Thursday, October 18, 2012
This coming Tuesday is the Calendar Launch at Richmond Cultural Centre and everyone is welcome. 7-9 pm Tuesday October 23. There will be refreshments. Several of the artists, including me, will be there. Besides the painting shown in the calendar, each artist was allowed an "extra". My two are shown in the previous blog---- and yes, they did get hung! The paintings are hanging in the Rotunda.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Well, here we are into October- but, except for the nights which are cooler, it is almost like summer. The show at Rocanini ends this Friday but I am part of another show in the Rotunda of Richmond Cultural Centre. It is paintings from the 2013 Multifaith Calendar- plus one from various artists. My "Winter Sunset- Finn Slough" is the sidebar for December (I love painting skies!) and "In the Woods"is my plus-one. It turned out that the artists were expected to hang their own but I'm not up to stepladders yet, with my hip - so I ended up just leaving the paintings and hoping they get hung! ...well- what can you do... I'll be over for the meeting on Wednesday and will see what has happened.
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
What triggers the desire to be an artist? I knew I wanted to be an artist from the time I was small enough to walk under the counter-height entry gate to the secretary's office in the old Vancouver Art Gallery. Mary, the secretary, was a friend of the family and visiting her at VAG was an expedition to a magical world of enormous gilt-framed paintings, shining floors that seemed to go on for miles and an exciting bronze-figured fountain. VAG was then a small institution with a basic staff of three- the Curator, Mary, and Tommy the caretaker. Tommy disliked small children who slid on the polished floors and marked them but I didn't slide and my blonde curls helped win approval and I even was allowed close to the exciting fountain.
After some experiences with plasticine in Grade One, there was little art instruction in elementary school. Nothing as messy as paint ever entered the classrooms. We made many paper boxes with designs cut out of squared construction paper while pencil crayons were an accepted medium. The illicit eating of library paste was as wild as it got. Somehow, I still became the "class artist".
Because of Mary, my Mom knew about free Saturday Morning Art Classes at VAG. My school hadn't been aware of the classes but a note from Mom resulted in the required recommendation. My Saturdays turned into special days. VAG was closed Saturday mornings and classes were held in the galleries, right under the paintings. We lay on canvas on the floor with drawing boards while another strip of canvas kept our feet from scuffing the walls. Local artists taught the classes which began with a talk to inspire a theme and ended with a critique. I've never looked at "Rain" the same since it was one Saturday's theme. The artists tended to be "hands on" but a dapper art-critic teacher would remain standing and carefully point his polished shoe at the finished painting he was discussing. I don't think we ever took any work home. Sometimes student's work was displayed. My "Storm at Sea" was shown in a department store window- my first public success! Another painting of a peaceful world went to a UNICEF display. By rotation, we had the opportunity to work in a basement studio with a well-known sculptor. I remember doing a frieze of a forest fire. Sometimes we talked about the paintings on the walls. There were several by Emily Carr, even then BC's most famous woman artist. Paintings by the Group of Seven hung as well as many very traditional works. It was an exposure I would not have had otherwise.
After three years, most students were beyond the age limit, but a smaller number of us were invited back as Class 4A. We formed a tight group although we were from all over the city and never saw each other except for Saturdays. Our instructor was a well-known artist who taught us to look around with artist's eyes. At that year-end party, I received a scholarship to Saturday art classes at Vancouver School of Art. I also started Junior High School- with a real art teacher in a real art room where even "messy" paint was allowed. My art education took a leap forward - but it had all started with stepping under that counter in the old Vancouver Art Gallery.
Further note- Alas, my blonde curls turned to straighter brunette. Interestingly, the bronze fountain was removed after a wealthy patron tumbled into it as he stepped backward from painting inspection. Vancouver Art Gallery is now in a different building and Saturday Morning Classes have been replaced with Family Sundays.
The painting is "Danish Danish". I painted until I felt like I could nibble.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
I find myself busy being the coordinator for the Richmond Artists Guild display at the upcoming (August 11 and 12) Maritime Festival. It takes place at Britannia Heritage Shipyards near the foot of Trites on the Fraser River waterfront. We will be showing affordable paintings on the "maritime" theme - and probably a few of local scenes. As well, several of the Guild artists will be painting in various spots on site so you will have a chance to see artists in action. Last year was great fun with stilt walkers -I think the Eagle was my favorite - singing mermaids and more. It is a terrific chance to go onto the docks to see the various vessels that are moored, view the displays - and have a great day out. It is on rain or shine...with our summer, you never know. Be sure to drop by the Guild display as well as the Potter's, the woodcarvers and others. To see this painting, you will need to go on to Steveston to have a cup of coffee at Rocanini and the view the "Heart of Steveston" display which continues through this month. To see more of Steveston and Rocanini, view Episode 8 on Shaw TV "local connections". You can see it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR02XFfx5su. However- the paintings on youtube are not the paintings currently on view. As well as mine, there are works by Jeanette Jarville, Rita McArthur and Karen Parker. There will be a special invitation event on August 24th when all four of us will be in attendance. Fill out a request at Rocanini or phone in to ask to be on the list. Time will be 5 to 7 pm.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I'm currently in a clean-out mode and reassessing some paintings. Time to make some changes and time to get rid of some. Some served their purposes as learning ---which sure is a constant progress--- in some areas but may not be total successes - so maybe they should be"gone" - at least in their current state. Sometimes it is interesting to paint on a repainted surface as it doesn't absorb the paint at all. And, maybe, a real shift is coming- cleaning out the old makes way for the new. -in the meantime, the show at Rocanini is on and runs through this summer. This is a 12" x 12" from the show- the landing down at Steveston as night comes on. I wanted to get all the dazzle of the lights reflected on the river.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Going up for the busy Salmon Festival Weekend at Steveston - but actually staying up through to October 12, is a show called "Heart of Steveston". It takes place, appropriately enough, in the heart of Steveston - corner of #1 and Moncton- in Rocanini Coffee shop. I am showing paintings - of Steveston, of course, along with three other artists - Jeanette Jarville, Karen Parker and Rita McArthur. 10% of any painting sale will go to Richmond Hospital Foundation. I'm including a few of areas not right in Steveston, but nearby, such as Britannia and Finn Slough. It is a great opportunity in a great location so I hope it all goes well. I won't be able to manage the opening reception as I am recovering from hip surgery but I will be in and out of there in the future. This one is "Winter Sunset, Finn Slough"
Thursday, June 14, 2012
June is speeding along and the "Nooch" show is now down. A new show on Steveston Themed Paintings will be going up in Rocanini coffee shop- corner of #1 and Moncton- for July, August, September. I'm showing, along with Jeanette Jarville, Karen Parker and Rita McArthur. Next week is the Cocktail pARTy at Gateway Theatre. Attendees pay $350 per couple for a fabulous evening and the guarantee of a painting worth at least $300. I have donated this painting of the bridge at Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Gardens so I wish it a happy new home. I picked this because it is peaceful and would fit into a lot of homes. As anyone who reads this blog will know, I love reflections - and here I have the magic to enjoy again. This garden is one that mingles nature with art and has made this piece of land a better place. For this, I did work from a photograph as there was simply not enough time to do a painting of this size on the spot with changing light conditions. However, the scene has to be interpreted and edited in order for it to be a painting and not a photographic enlargement. I also worked to get a feeling into this piece so that feeling would be there for the viewer. I definitely wanted the painting to be serene. I usually don't frame my paintings, but I felt for this event where it would be with a number of framed paintings, it would "show" better framed. So, it does have a simple frame and I think it does set it off and give it a classic look.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
One feeling you get when visiting Europe is an appreciation of how the architecture fits the setting. It would be impossible to visualize a Prague without red tile roofs or a Venice where the old buildings had been razed and all replaced with glass and chrome. In our part of the world - and probably a lot of other parts too!- we seem to be losing our relationship to our landscape. Buildings become "one size fits all" and could exist almost anywhere- just like the blue vinyl in the last blog. Once houses looked more like they fitted the subdivision and all settled in in a neighbourly fashion. Now they loom large on their lots and glitter with lights under the eaves and false-stone tiles that will mildew in our west coast weather. When will we learn to adapt to where we live and not try to impose other ideas? In this canal painting, I've tried to capture the "rightness"of the buildings showing their age and adaptations to time. The colours and reflections in the water...it could only be Venice and that is as it should be.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
This is another of the paintings currently at Nooch. I liked the contrast of the gondolas in the shade and the buildings across the canal in sunlight. When I was in Venice before, the gondolas were then covered in black oilcloth for protection. Alas! Now it is ubiquitous blue vinyl
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
...continuing the "stories" that go with the paintings currently at Nooch. This one is an Italian hill-top town. It was about 2 hours out of Rome - and three hours back , due to traffic! Since it is an old town with narrow streets unsuited to much vehicle traffic, cars are parked at the bottom of the hill and people take a funicular railway up to the hilltop. There were nice restaurants, nice gelato spots, interesting shops and a very old cathedral with a mosaic front. However, I must report that I was shocked to find some graffiti **inside** the cathedral - and found myself wishing that a bolt of lightening had come down to strike the perpetrator! It was shocking to see no respect for this centuries old cathedral. I find the old buildings that are connected across a street or pathway of special fascination, so the one in the painting caught my eye. Some people paint empty streets but I like to show some life so an attractive woman gives interest to this painting. I think it also add a story element - is she meeting someone in that restaurant or hurrying someplace else? I used a palette knife when I was painting the building's walls to work on that aged plaster effect. The painting brings memories of that nice day in Italy.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I took brochures for DoorsOpen over to Nooch today and was told that people were enjoying the paintings. So I'm continuing the "stories" that go with them. This one is also in the Czech Republic - in Cesky Krumlov. In some ways, it is like a miniature Prague - castle on the hill, town square, same river curling around the town, red-tile roofs and interesting old buildings. However, it is medieval style buildings where Prague is baroque. One thing that made me smile was that a lot of older buildings were "updated" a way back when - with false fronts just like towns you see in the old Western movies. Well, not the same style, of course - but the same idea. Another interesting thing was the doors on the shops - when opened, many had display cabinets that then became street-front displays. Our pension had a breakfast at 9 am - which was too late if you wanted to be at the castle at 9am - so we got a discount and then found a great cafeteria on the town square - where the locals ate. Regular food was in one part and the coffee was in a separate Art-Nouveau style area that also had incredible pastries - and so, we created a special-to-Cesky-Krumlov tradition of "breakfast dessert". The two towers in this painting are the clock tower from the Castle - which is big enough to go up and walk around - and the church tower in front. The turquoise roof is oxidized copper- such a beautiful complement to the red tile roofs.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
This is another of the paintings currently on display at Nooch (#3 and Anderson,Richmond)
This one is from the route up to Prague Castle and the cathedral. I took one photo and then a man dashed by and I snapped him as he reached the top of the stairs. I liked the energy of having someone in action - and I liked the way his leg echoed the leg of the cherub statue on the wall. And, of course, more of those red tile roofs that I like! Needless to say, this was painted from the photo but I think, when you have done enough actual work from life, it is a painting, not a mere photographic reproduction. I wanted to emphasize the contrast between shadow and sunlight. I like paintings with a bit of a story and I like to imagine where he might be going and what is around the corner.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Before we left for Prague, a person who had grown up there told us to "look down" to see the various mosaic cobblestone patterns and to "look up" to see the statues and decorations high on the buildings. One day we went up the clock tower in the town square and got to see the rooftops in all their variety from up high. The architecture is mostly baroque with the red tile roofs providing extra charm. The colour of the tiles can vary- no doubt some came from different factories and they may have been installed in different years. Some roofs have a copper trim which has oxidized to a lovely complementary turquoise. This painting was a challenge because I did not want it to be photo-realism, yet I wanted it to be true to the actual scene. Working out the perspective was another challenge. As well, I didn't want the painting to be overly busy and felt the viewer's attention should remain focused closer in - so I created a bit of a late-afternoon mist in the background. This is where an artist can interpret and *be* an artist, not a camera. This painting is hanging near the entrance in Nooch restaurant - right by the bean-bag chairs. Enjoy!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Of the European paintings displayed at Nooch cafe on #3 Road, this one was Nick's favourite. He liked hearing about it so I've decided, for the next wee while, to tell the stories that go with the various paintings. After our initial stay in Prague, we headed out into the countryside in our little van driven by Iva's former school-bus driver. We went to Beroun - a small town that has a biannual pottery fair that attracts hundreds of potters. The entire town square is filled with pottery displays and booths. There was everything from huge garden statues to tiny decorative pieces. Each potter had their own style and choice of colours. This was the work of just one potter - all displayed on the cobblestones. I've never seen anything like the incredible array of pottery. At lunch, Bonita and I shared a table with a friendly resident who was delighted to find we had come from Canada. In a nearby closed fabric shop, a tabby cat was snoozing. There was a sign on the window asking that she not be disturbed. It seemed like a really nice town. Then we went on to overnight at Karlstein.
Friday, April 6, 2012
This is the painting that I started as a demonstration for a senior's group. I worked out the composition ahead of time and outlined the poppies so that I would have time to do a bit of actual painting. Thirty or forty minutes is not long for a painting! They all thought it looked like a bit of a mess to start with. Then I painted a loose green "wash" over everything that was not a poppy head and they were surprised to see the poppy shapes jump out. I got a little bit of "beginning" pinks and reds in and a little variation in the greens before we ran out of time. I promised I would post the finished painting on my blog. Alas! the blog has been neglected and not much was done on this painting. I haven't been all together idle - there were two figure-painting weekends and some weeding and tidying in the garden. However, I have now finished it. This is the third painting inspired by the poppies in the community garden kitty-corner from Choices on 57th. "Poppies by the Fence" was the first (and I used that for a Christmas card) and then there is one just called "Poppies" which is California yellow-orange poppies and now this one. Maybe more yet. They are nice to paint because the planting is quite random. I don't grow any in my garden as they wouldn't really fit with my other plantings. Somehow, that makes it all the easier to appreciate them elsewhere. I worked from my own photographs but did a bit of rearranging. A few years ago I had fun with extreme close-ups of flowers but right now I'm enjoying the "pattern" effect of a group of flower heads. We'll see what the next inspiration is!
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
The Finn Slough Art Show is this week- always fun to see what others interpretations of the Slough are. Interestingly, there is always something different to see. The reception is on the Friday night and I'm looking forward to hearing Michael Kluckner speak - and, I must admit, also hoping that he does not go on too long. The problem with some speakers is that, while they may be interesting, it is just too long to sit - and even worse if the seats have run out! I painted a new painting for this year's show and had fun with the light and shadows. Also, it was different to have the fishboat not by the houses. Anyway, I hope people like it.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The new issue of Maclean's arrived today - with an article about a long time love of Ian Tyson. I was interested to read it as Ian was at VSA when I was there. I don't remember a lot about him - somehow he didn't especially appeal to me - and obviously he wasn't especially taken with me either! I do remember that he came from a fairly well-to-do family in Victoria and his mother went to London, England each year "for the season". This used to amuse me in later years as Ian cultivated the "old ranch-hand" personality. I also remember that he seemed to drink a lot, even then. He and a friend had part-time jobs in a bar - or a restaurant ??- and used to drink anything left in customer's glasses - or so he said. I don't really remember his girlfriend although she was a lovely looking girl. I guess I was too busy doing my own thing and figuring out where I was going with art. In my second year, I took an extra class of life-drawing in the evenings. I had some art supplies in a tool box and I remember being on the trolley when it broke down. I think the trolley just slipped off the wires- but a more conventional looking office worker commented to a friend that maybe I could fix the vehicle. Ian comments on art students being a different breed in those days - I guess we were- and sometimes tried to dress the part! .... "Streetwise" is a little cat that just wanted to be featured this time.