Hello from the land down under, where I am delighted to be "Exploring Anew" (my 2023 theme now that the world has opened up again).
There seem to be many parallels in the year I envision for myself, to previous years, and a chance to explore similar places and activities in a new way. So far I have tried 2 new forms of printmaking already--one quite simple and one very complex.
The first is cyanotype, which I have been wanting to try for a while and, serendipitously, my friend who was my first stop in Australia had come into a little kit and we had a beautiful sunny day in her garden full of materials to use. The results were delightful and I could easily be seduced into exploring this process for a while.
The second was mokulito printmaking, a Japanese developed form of lithography on wood. Moku means wood, in Japanese, and lito is lithography. I have been interested in learning about lithography for a while. Luckily I had an experienced teacher, Sam Sosnowski, and a 5 day course to understand the elaborate process a little better, and produce a very limited number of prints.
I was reasonably happy with this one, of an old gum tree in Kuringai National Park, north of Sydney, before the plate deteriorated to being unusable (as happens with this type of printmaking).
Other things that are reprises of previous events happening in my life:
My first show of the year is of figurative work, in Summerland Community Art Gallery, starting next Thursday, while I am away. I'm part of a group of artists that has had a show here previously, with the addition of works from the gallery's permanent collection and other invited artists participating in this show.
I will be traveling to South Africa and Namibia for the 3rd time in April and May (which was the time we went there previously). To add a new twist to this adventure we have decided to rent a camping equipped pickup truck with a rooftop tent to explore both Kruger National Park and Etosha National Park (Namibia), neither of which we have been to. Very exciting adventures to be had! And who knows what art will come out of that!
New Zealand, very soon, is another repeat holiday, this time with family and staying on the North Island for 3 weeks.
And finally I have been loving exploring, swimming, hiking and painting on Sydney's Northern Beaches for the first time in a few years. The painting below is a plein air from Flint and Steel Beach, a hike down through red gums, other gums, rocks, palms and she-oaks to a lovely small cove with beautiful sandstone rock formations at each ind.
So, stay tuned, hope you are thinking about what you might explore anew this year along with me!
Hello out there in the world! I'm here too...at least I think I am!
Just a quick note to say I'm working hard at Christmas shows, having work in the Summerland Arts Council Light Up the Arts gift shop (which I organize with the help of a great crew who have decorated the building beautifully!) November 15-December 24, I had 2 pieces juried into the Peachland Artists of the Okanagan show opening November 26 until Christmas, and I have 2 pieces in the Penticton Art Gallery's Under $500 sale (already open).
I will be showing lots of new work and my 2023 calendars are also available at the events below or by sending me an email. I was able to keep the costs to $14 again although they are bigger (shows off the art very well) and the mailing costs are a little higher.
This encaustic (beeswax with oil paint) piece is in my calendar, and although it sold right away I have a number of smaller ones in the series that are still available.
Two events I'm also participating in are this weekend, Saturday November 19, Kaleden Progressive Market, from 11-3, in an artist friend's garage on 3rd Street with another artist this year. A great idea where there is a map with many merchants, food providers, and crafters setting up in locations throughout this beautiful community, and people can drive around and visit who they like--no charge!
And the biggest sale of the year, for me, is December 2-4 in Coquitlam with a cast of thousands. Do come and see me, I should be in the same place as I've been for years and it's always a pleasure to be surrounded by the creativity and bustle of people!
Come on out and see me if you're in the lower Mainland! So glad to have made it here!
Hello everyone, it's been a while and the world has changed, hasn't it?
I hope you are all making the best of these times, such as they are. Perhaps this is my generation's world war. Certainly we have been fortunate to live in prosperous, healthy and relatively peaceful times and places, and so the last 20 months have been a bit of a shock. That the pandemic has impacted us for so long, and in so many unimaginable ways, has been even more stunning. And that it continues still, and likely will, until we can get global solutions in place, is confronting to our confidence in thinking we know it all.
But I digress from the general tone and purpose of my blogs, which is to keep you posted about my work and have you thinking about art, instead of the state of the world!
I'm pleased to be able to invite those of you in the Vancouver area to the Coquitlam Christmas Craft sale which will resume, after last year's cancellation, on December 3-5. Same place on Poirier, Friday night 4-9, Saturday 10-6, Sunday 10-4. I'll be bringing lots of new work and hope to reconnect in person with many of you!
I am in the middle of a year long, 52 lesson online course in encaustic painting, which is working with beeswax to paint, collage, embed objects, and mix with other mediums. It's very versatile and with 26 fabulous instructors from around the world, you can only imagine the variety of styles I've been exposed to. One of the instructors embeds her photos in wax and I thought I would reimagine my Faerie Woods image into wax. The pieces below are the result and I will have some for sale in December. They are 6x6" squares on a panel, $50 each. I like them and may try bigger pieces in this style.
I've also been doing a lot of plein air painting in the beautiful Okanagan. Some of the watercolour and ink paintings made it into the 2022 calendar and some have sold already. This one, From June near Osoyoos, at Nk'Mip Winery, is one of my favourites.
And I've also been doing my regular life drawing practise--during the early days of the pandemic online direct from Barcelona, which had the most amazing models and started off each session with 5 one-minute poses, then 10 3 minute poses, then 5 5 minute poses. You learn to draw VERY quickly with that kind of intensity--not to mention that the models can do the most amazing poses when they only need to hold them for 1 minute!
I was happy to get back to our live sessions (2 minute, 5 minute and 20 minute poses) once the vaccinations started to allow gathering in person. This drawing below is one that I'm happy with. I called it "Standing Strong".
Lest you think all I did during the absence of blogs was art, I'll let you know that I had a huge creative project on the go from the moment we finally (after numerous booked, cancelled, rebooked, ad nauseam flights) returned from Australia in late March, 2020. The foundations for our new house were in the works and during our 14 day quarantine we were able to watch the house come out of the ground, and it became a great project to concentrate on when we were unable to travel, meet with friends, or do any normal activities. We moved in just over a year ago but of course the outside finishing still needed to be done, so as the pandemic continued this year we still had lots to keep creatively busy.
The new house is right next to the original house, and I maintained my studio, which is again open "by arrangement or by chance ", in its same location. In the long term I will move it into a space above the new garage but perhaps that will wait for a few years.
That's about all the news for now. I have a few other Christmas shows on my calendar: in Summerland at the Arts Centre, starting this Friday, November 12; a piece juried into the Peachland Artists of the Okanagan from November 20 to January 23; a fun Winter Market in Kaledon November 20, in a friend's garage; and 3 paintings in the Penticton Art Gallery's Under $500 Sale, until Christmas. That's enough to keep me out of trouble...I think!
We sure hope to get travelling again soon. I'm missing my beloved Australia and hope that I can return there in February. I hope you are all well and that I can reconnect with you in person sometime soon.
As I post from sunny Australia, I am thinking about the decade to come. Will it be another "Roaring Twenties"? Who will still be here at the change of the next decade, and who will we be missing? These are things I sometimes think about as I get older. As you may know from previous years, I have a theme that I work from for the year and for 2020 I have landed upon "Designing the Future".
We have just got the approval to move ahead with our long-awaited subdivision and build a smaller house (and studio) that we hope will serve us for the next 30 years (or more? Best not to take too much for granted!) The house design has been ready for ages while we paid for the extensive work and inspections required to get a lot registered. Hopefully the next approval stage won't be so lengthy!
With designing in mind I registered for a week-long Silversmithing and Jewellry design class--my first foray into this kind of three dimensional work. I found it very exacting and precise (not my forte, you might know!) But with a lot of help from the tutors and a more skilled classmate I managed to complete these beautiful pieces.
I think I may go back again next year to improve my skills--my big accomplishment by Day 2 was to be able to turn on and adjust the torch, safely and unsupervised (I kid you not!) There were so many tools, techniques and things to learn about that I needed to be put back to simpler work (ie the ring without the stone), which I preferred anyway!
Back to my stronger suit--painting and printmaking! Last year I was inspired by a collography course with UK artist Sarah Ross Thompson, and her gorgeous work, and upon returning to Canada completed a number of collographs. As I age I find my body and mind show more signs of weakness but hopefully this is offset by increasing artistic skill and vision!
Here are a few collographs I am pleased with.
Entitled "FLICK OFF", I made this as a demo for the Federation of Canadian Artists that I joined in 2019. Cards are available if you have a special someone you want to send it to 😉!
I was delighted to have my best year ever for sales at my Coquitlam Christmas sale, and will be there again in 2020. I will again participate locally in the Ryga Festival--my piece below included related quotes from many of his works as a response to my designated inspirational cue titled "The Protector".
I will be planning (Designing and executing!) some larger works as I have been selected for a 4 month show on the large and long wall of our local credit union starting in September. This is a great opportunity and I have some time, and now some ideas, about subject matter and medium.
As usual, I continue to love painting Wednesday night's with the life drawing artists at Shatford Centre in Penticton. What a great bunch of people!
It's not all nudes--on nights when the model doesn't show the artists draw one another--here's one of my friends striking a pose for me. I do love my ink and watercolour!
Well, that's where I've gotten to in designing my near and long term future. I must keep in mind that if I intend to last another 30+ years that I need to keep designing my body and mind to last that long. What about you--any designs have you got for your future, and how do they play out?
How fast does time fly? And how long is a piece of string? (An expression I heard in Australia that has no answer, I believe, but I like it!)
I'm busy getting ready for the Coquitlam Christmas Craft Sale as usual,
Hope to see you there where a few new pieces will have their first showing. Not to reveal too much, but I have a couple of mermaids similar to this painting below which was sold in the "Inspired By" show in August.
I had a lovely piece of writing to respond to in a painting, about two special friends sharing ice cream. The mermaids popped into the painting as a result of seeing the fabulous fountain at Catherine the Great's Summer Palace in Petershof, Russia. There were a couple of golden mermaids blowing horns to warn, or perhaps lure sailors, and I knew I could put my own twist on them. The baseball hat was my addition too.
Here's the fountain!
What a fabulous trip to the Baltic/Scandinavian countries it was. And I was glad to have found that inspiration for painting, as well as doing lots of sketching in Normandy and Brittany before the cruise started.
Do you recognize this place? (I hope so, as an artist, if you've been to the most recognizable Mont Saint Michel, a thousand year old pilgrimage site surrounded by quicksand.
We spent a day there at very low tide, and it was so photogenic, and striking. More paintings to come--if you want to commission one from me I'd be delighted!
And then there was one of my life's highlights--painting in Monet's garden in Giverny. At least I painted until I was reprimanded and told it was forbidden to paint there--who would have thought? Luckily I was allowed to finish this painting (which is already sold...sorry☺)...I do have another couple framed for the show as I had managed to sketch and paint a few more before I was caught..lol as they say! Again, I'm happy to take commission work on this subject matter and already have one on the drawing board!
How special to be there, one of my dreams as an artist!
So, with that I will carry on preparations. 2019 calendars are selling fast at $12.50, same format as last year. There are 3 Monet-like paintings included, and a variety of pieces completed in the last year. Get me to put one aside for you if you want one.
Until next time, I'm dreaming of painting in Giverny
Spring has finally sprung in the Okanagan Valley and I've been hard at work since returning to Canada. I think time goes by faster as I get older. And I do feel older, having celebrated a milestone birthday (at a most lovely spot in the world, a place you've likely never heard of, Australia's Lord Howe Island. At the risk of letting out a big secret and spoiling the charm of a place with only 300 residents and 400 tourists allowed at any time, I encourage you to check it out!)
But 60 has nothing compared to my mom at 90, so I'm just going to carry on and hope I'm as healthy as her at that age! Here she is two years ago at 88 and she doesn't look much different now
Meanwhile there are a number of exhibitions I'm preparing for including "2 From Trout Creek".
Come on out to the reception, or to the show in the 6 weeks it's open!
This painting will be at the show:
During the opening I'm exhibiting at one of the gardens in the biannual Summerland Garden Tour on Saturday, June 23. The Devine Art Group, of which I am a member, the Summerland Ornamental Gardens, and a selection of beautiful local gardens are open for this benefit for the Quest Society, improving quality of life for the deaf and hearing impaired.
At the time this is going on we are working on designing and building a new home, and preparing for a 3 week European trip including 2 days in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Yes, I'm going to see The Hermitage (as well as a lot of other lovely places in what is reputed to be a most beautiful cities)!
After that I have one more art challenge to prepare for. Our local Arts Council, in conjunction with the local George Ryga Festival (in its 3rd year), are putting on a display of art work paired with writing. I have submitted one painting, and a writer will be assigned this painting to write about--poetry, essay, story, whatever they like. In return, I have been assigned a lovely bit of writing (dare I share it with you yet? I think not) to paint. Set aside some time between August 28 and October 5 to view this exhibition. I guarantee you it'll be fabulous!
That's it for now, until next blog...
Well, actually the sheep in Australia aren't usually that white and fluffy but I've learned a new definition of the word "graphic" as it applies to collage. It means, according to a wonderful artist and tutor, Denise Vanderlugt, to keep things as minimal as possible--just shapes, outlines, instantly recognizable symbols (that are hopefully easy to cut out and glue--my editorial comment!).
For example, this gum tree trunk and branch are graphic as well
So beautiful--i might have a go at painting this soon!
The Christmas sales ended off the year of "Believe" on a strong note and I am contemplating 2018's theme. We are working on a project to subdivide a lot off our property and build ourselves a new and smaller house and studio. For someone with pioneering, exploring and travel-loving nature it is a bit counterintuitive to be thinking about designing and creating a "forever" home so I've been toying with how to work a year on that theme, and having others inspired to think about what exactly is home. Maybe you'll supply me with some great ideas! Ive landed on "@Home and Away"-- as of course, you might guess that I definitely have more travel plans for the year!
Soon I will be finished with my 50s so will be spending a celebratory week on World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island. As I look back on the last 10 years, I note they have been amazing and fun, starting with gaining my Australian citizenship, having a hip replacement, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on said hip in one of two trips to Africa, departing the Lower Mainland and moving to Summerland, establishing my website and studio, visiting Australia each year, going to Greece, Scotland, New Zealand, Germany, France, driving across Canada for 3 months, and making lots of new friends, and seeing nieces and nephews taking hold of their lives.
It has been wonderful and so I say "bring on the 60s!"
All the best to you and yours for a fantastic 2018!
Just a quick note to advise those who don't follow me on Facebook that I have 2 Christmas shows upcoming. One starts tomorrow
in Coquitlam, as you may note!
The next is in Kelowna, next weekend, December 9 and 10th
I'd be delighted to see you at either one, if you're in the area!
I have some new work to show, the Winter birches are selling very well (4 in the last month!) So I painted the second biggest one yet and it will be at its first show tomorrow, all framed up!
A quick look at some other new work:
This watercolour called "Hugs" is now framed and I've just had cards made for sale, $3.50 for small cards, $4.50 for 5" x 7".
It's of a friend's daughters on their local beach
just north of Sydney. They are gorgeous girls!
Another Sydney bushland scene--watercolour and Ink, from a day I had with a drawing friend who was born in Sydney, but has lived in the Okanagan for decades, and returns to Australia for 3 months each year (like me!)
And one last taste of my year (when I wasn't blogging and keeping you updated with my escapades:
I spent two weeks on the Greek island of Skopelos, doing an amazing photopolymer printmaking course with master Australian printmaker Diane Longley. Although the above print was a different printmaking technique, I include it here to show you a bit of the work I did channeling mermaids during the course. This one was from a little cardboard plate, printed onto gold Chine colle tissue paper, very delicately! I do love my mermaids and also made some art with "The Sirens of Skopelos".
If you are interested in learning more about printmaking, at the same time as having a fabulous holiday on the island where Mamma Mia was filmed (and Mamma Mia II is about to be filmed), check out Skopelos Works on Paper for their next year's course offerings. They gave me one of the most incredible 2 week art experiences of my life!
So, that is all for now, the year of "Believe" is almost over and I find to that hard to believe. Lots of great travels from Australia, to Canada, to Greece, Germany, Switzerland and Nice, back to Canadian Rockies and then to Ontario's Muskoka cottage country to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. Hope your year has been as good, wherever you have been, and that I see you somewhere or another soon!
Welcome to Australia, day 1 on the side of the road in the town I was visiting!
Great to be in the Land Down Under and immersing myself in summertime. I have been busy, creating paper out of natural plant materials and making a little sample book of the various papers. I have more to use in block printing, chine colle and collage. Possibly may paint but they are quite textured as well as fragile to water and ink so block printing may be the best.
AlAlong the road I also attached a great exhibition called "Nude", from the Tate Gallery in London, which was showing at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. As a life drawer/painter, I was particularly interested in how classical painters integrated their works into shows, and the history of how nude works were accepted into society. The sculptural pieces in this exhibition were particularly beautiful (well, for the most part--there were some shockers included too!) My favourite piece was this beautiful Rodin sculpture, "The Kiss", which had not left Europe before this show.
Along the way I've done a few other bits of painting myself, including this ink and watercolour vista of a bushland Aussie scene that I am pleased with.
And i always try to seek out artists in their studios, so was pleased to have a tour of Bundanoon potter Bruce Pryor's expansive studio and see the huge woodfired kiln he built in it.
He actually crawls to the back with his pieces, fills the kiln (about twice a year), then builds the fire at the front of it, and bricks up the front while he is firing.
Amazing the work that goes into creating beautiful pieces!
There are a couple of pieces of exiting news--while traveling I am making preparations for an exhibition opening April 6 in the Summerland Arts Centre, its first show since moving last May. I will have about 5 paintings there with The De Vine Art Group, and you are invited to opening night 7 pm Thursday April 6 if in the area. The show will be on until early May. Currently I also have a few paintings hanging in the Summerland Council Offices, which is a new venue for me.
Most exciting however is my next trip to the Greek island of Skopelos for a printmaking workshop with Australian Dianne Longley, who pioneered solar etching. Greece has always been on my bucket list so to combine it with this workshop is an amazing opportunity!
Well, that's it for this edition -hope all is well in your world and will post another blog in a couple of months.Signing off, as a supporter of the arts!