Friday, February 29, 2008

Art and Wine, a perfect match

Last fall my husband picked a pail full of wild grapes from the neighbour's fence. He has produced 4 bottles of his "Mowat Ave Red Fox Wine" as he calls it. Not to be outdone by the vineyards who commission artists to create labels, I was asked to print out 4 of my pastoral scenes for his exclusive and very limited varietal. Some vineyards pay the artists outright; others supply them with wine. I think I'll go for the latter.
Here in Ontario the Hillebrand Winery in Grimsby has an annual contest for artists:

"Our long standing support of the arts comes to life in Artist Series. Each bottle features the original work of an Ontario artist, a beautiful piece that captures the spirit of our province and shows the incredible talent found here. Inside the bottle is the work of our talented winemaker, Darryl Brooker. "
You can see some of the past winners here.
Next time you visit the LCBO remember to support the wineries that support the arts!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Great Day!

Tundra #1 - 14" X 30"
click to enlarge, lots of nice texture!

Both Sally and I were thrilled with the turnout for the opening of our show on Sunday. The Frameworks staff (incuding Sally) had done a super job to make the space inviting and many folks spent the afternoon chatting and munching, munching and chatting. And enjoying the art of course; we both sold pieces which was very gratifying.
My impressionistic landscape above (which has not sold yet) was
one of my favourites in the show. It did get lots of attention but no takers. If it is still unsold next month I may keep it. I did 2 others like it, all reminiscences of my travels in Labrador. Labrador is a magical beautiful place, one of the last true wilderness sites in the world, right here in Canada.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"Double Feature" Opening on Sunday!

Evening, acrylic on canvas 24 X 36

Dave, at Frameworks, has called our show "Double Feature" as 2 artists are showing new work. As well as my quirky landscapes, Sally Chupick has a large number of her sumptuous landscapes, cityscapes and florals in the show. I have 15 unusual pieces on display, all new, completed within the last few months. Despite the variety of interpretation in my work I am consistently examining landscape, some pieces quite representational and others more abstract, patterned or atmospheric. I like to discover new approaches so I'm not sure I will ever leave my period of "artistic gymnastics" as VanGogh called his stylistic explorations. The one above was finished yesterday with the blow dryer hastening the varnish so it could be delivered to the gallery. Our show opens on Sunday from 1-4pm. Sally and I have our tiaras polished and shoes shined so we hope to see you there. The art will be on display until April 30. Frameworks is at the corner of Princess and Montreal, in downtown Kingston.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stop Blaming Mother!

The long ride home had me thinking about the workshop, the pros and cons. It certainly was a new experience for me to view art as a therapy, a process rather than a product. Blocks to creativity were discussed : the usual nuggets of conformist schooling, repressive parenting and the evils of coloring books. I have problem with this as most of the artists we admire today came from very strict societies and frequently had major demons nibbling at their psyches. Their education focused soley on knowledge rather than imagination. Did they go to BE workshops to open up? Maybe they meditated for at least an hour a day or were sexually abstinent - these were also discussed. But I have read "Sex Lives of the Artists" know the latter is is rather dubious. (See also The Big Bang Theroy of Art, fascinating reading about creative types, maybe being promiscuous and schizophrenic is the answer.) Or was it the copius amounts of absinthe that led early artists to be more expressive? Maybe their sad, demanding or neurotic mothers were the muses that led to creativity? (Van Gogh's mother Anneke above.)
I loved my coloring books and had a huge collection of crayons. I coloured within the lines, sometimes I added my own lines. I learned that with careful amounts of pressure and various forms of hatching you can shade and blend even with wax crayons. Push enough crayon onto the page and you can put a paint wash over top. Take the page out, turn it over and make a rubbing. Oil it and make it transparent. I could go on and on. Colouring books are just another tool to use creatively. Thank you Mom!
Some more intersting reading about creativity in kids, click here.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Get in Touch with Your Inner Pain

Sunday's session at Jonas' and Kat's BE workshop started with a warning that we would have to work harder, dig deeper. We needed to really let our deepest fears, angers, hates, sorrows etc emerge in our paintings. The kind of joy we admire in Jonas' work is only possible by first unloading all the baggage that is holding us back. Now I had been having a good time and didn't really want to drag up old issues let alone waste good paint on them. I should have struck firm but also thought I should conform to these expectations. So I painted about my experiences with health crisis, typical dysfunctional family problems and gloomy winter depression. What emerged was angerlite. Jonas wanted to see more angst, more blood and guts. It made me angry, I didn't want to be angry. Was he goading me to attack the paper? If so, it worked. Here is something I blasted off in a few minutes when it was clear my work was too mild. But even this one turned out to be just plain silly.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Painting Marathon

Today we started painting at 9 a.m. and worked to 5 with a short break for lunch. I did 4 paintings, not completely finished but close. We were instructed to work silently and just enjoy the process without trying to create a polished product. Jonas and Kat circulated asking about our thoughts and offering some of their own which frequently came in the form of more questions. The one above (tempera 20 X 24) started as a stylized self portrait. I rotated it and the temple emerged.

Another full day of painting tomorrow in Jonas'
huge studio space. A pic of his painting table, a
work of art in itself, is here. He uses the edge of the table to wipe his brushes. Years of accumulated acrylic paint has totally covered the table edge with a rainbow coloured coral reef.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jonas Gerard & Asheville NC

Heading south, over the Smoky Mountains to Asheville

Hi y'all, greetings from Asheville, home of sun, no snow and the studio of Jonas Gerard. My workshop starts tomorrow, have a look here and you will see why I am stoked!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

"Now What" is nearing completion

still untitled, acrylic on canvas 24 X 36

Today I worked on this piece, I posted an image of the underpainting earlier this week and waited for the inspiration muse to arrive. Putting work aside when I am at an impasse seems to be a good strategy but it means a lot of unfinished work sitting around the studio. I'm also waiting to decide if a piece is finished. Sometimes it looks great when I stop for the day and the next morning it may look like poop! Right now I'm thinking this one might be close to DONE. The layers are formal, somewhat meditative and playful too. Hints at a natural order that keeps us on an even keel. It has my landscape line thing going on so maybe you can see some consistency with other recent work.

Framing and Naming

This is one of two pieces I took in for framing yesterday. Choosing a frame from the hundreds available was a lot easier than choosing a title from the infinite number of possibilites. Obviously it is a landscape but a loose and somewhat abstracted version so I think the title should be loose too. I like the viewer to bring his own intrepretation to my work so I don't like to direct the response. A vague title or nondescript title is what I need...