Okay, confession time. I ate my subject before I finished this piece. It really was as crisp and as sweet as the title suggests. I have so much fruit in my kitchen right now as a result of this little series of acrylic on cradled panel paintings. I am definitely getting my daily quota of fresh fruit this season!
This week has be very productive, might be a few days till I can post another of these little still life paintings. I have an exciting public art project in the next few days that I'll save for another post. In the meantime though, I was happy I got an early start today in the studio so I could finish this piece.
Another little 6" x 6" completed painting. I think I've figured out what has captured my heart with these pieces lately - I'm having so much fun trying to paint these new patterns without actually painting the patterns.
One thing about a small space like this to work on is you are forced to prioritize and simplify. To actually depict these patterns in their entirety would require a 000 brush and infinite patience. The outcome would probably be stiff and stilted as well. Instead, by focusing on the impression of the pattern, it gives the viewer a chance to participate in the experience by letting their imaginations fill in the blanks. It's neat when painter and viewer can engage in this dance.
Half the fun of these little plate paintings if for me to have a chance to really stop and look at what I am painting. I chose this plate because I love hand painted floral patterns an I wanted something with reds and pinks. It wasn't until I started painting that I realized that the little flowers were made up of cute little hearts. Observing what makes up a pattern really makes me appreciate the artisan's hands that drew the plate design.
This was another piece where the name just came to me. It is those sweet little red hearts against the sour lemon - Sweet and Sour. It is another tiny 6" x 6" acrylic on cradled panel piece.
This little cradled panel is so tiny and sweet! It measures 6" x 6" and is part of a little series of individual plate and fruit still life paintings I'm working on. I want to concentrate on these new patterns to get familiar (and honestly just enjoy each one in it's own right) but I also want to focus on keeping things fresh and loose. It was a joy to move fast and free while I was creating this!
For a few weeks, I have had stacks of new bowls and plates in my studio. When I'm in the middle of a project and trying to think, I sort these into new arrangements until something catches my eye. In this particular set up, it was the juxtaposition of the icy cold, late afternoon light against the warm rusty reds of the shadows cast by the objects. Winter has very much arrived in the Foothills and I feel this painting reflects the warmth and coziness of my studio perfectly.
On a side note, it has been tough for me to get in the studio this week. I've had a number of pressing deadlines that are for future endeavors mixed with a wobbly, sick dog. I felt really blocked for painting, which is unusual for me. Today it was so good to put on a cup of tea, play music and just paint. I find when I have too much on my mind I feel creatively scattered. If I'm not creating and making stuff, I feel stifled. Definitely left the studio feeling much happier than when I entered.
Also - my Card Making class at Leighton has been moved to a later date! There is still room to sign up, Just follow the links below!
Leighton Art Centre, Calgary:
Classic Holiday Cardmaking Workshop New Date!
Sat, December 9th, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Cost: $85.00 (Leighton Members receive a 10% discount)
Make the Holidays extra special by printing your own Christmas cards! Join Michelle Wiebe as she guides students through some simple printmaking techniques. In this fun, fast paces class students will learn basic linocutting skills to make their own Christmas themed blocks that they can keep to make other great gifts and cards. Participants will cut blocks, learn some special embellishment tricks and hand print their own set of Christmas cards to take home. Excellent for adults and teenagers who are beginner and intermediate linocut students.
Space is limited and registration is required.
Please visit Leighton Art Centre or contact them at email@example.com to register.
How cool is this? Calgary Arts Development contacted me this week wanting to feature the above photograph for their Calgary Living a Creative Life series! They also asked me to share some thoughts on how I live a creative life. This is the article in it's entirety here.
What a neat surprise to have happen this week! The creative team over at CAD was great to work with too - thanks guys!
The short answer is yes, you can print using linoleum flooring. While they are very similar, I found there were some differences to this material from artist grade linoleum. Recently, my sister (who works for a flooring company), gave me some samples of discontinued linoleum flooring to try. On initial inspection, they looked almost identical to battleship grey artist grade lino.
To touch, I found that the flooring was more pliable and had a very, very slight texture to the cutting surface. I did not sand this sample down, because I wanted a baseline test to see what out-of-the-box lino would be like to work with. In future tests though, I will take a very fine grit sandpaper to the surface to reduce this. It almost feels like a surface coating.
Cutting the flooring was a pleasure. I honestly breezed through the entire sample. It was somewhere between a soft block and standard artist grade. It held the tool well without me feeling like I had to force anything. The line quality was decent. One thing I noticed though was hit the bottom layer very easily (making for a not as pretty block) Since it is a thinner material, there is a finer layer of the linoleum surface on the hessian.
Once I got to inking the piece, I noticed the surface texture a lot more. It is very smooth but minutely pebble like to touch. When I rolled the brayer of oil based ink on it, I noticed it didn't drink it up quite the same way as the first layer of ink on artist grade linoleum.
I let it sit for a moment to soak in, applied another coat of ink and then proceeded to print. After a few proof prints, it printed almost identically for for the first 10 prints or so. I achieved nice inky, deep blacks and crisp lines with the usual amount of effort. As an aside, I pull prints with the help of an antique book press, so I don't know if hand burnishing would get the same results.
I found after about 10 prints, I started fighting an odd resistance to the ink. I noticed my edges were fuzzing out a little here and there and had a closer look at the block. I appeared to be that the all the cut lines were pushing back the ink. I blotted the block when I noticed this happening and it seem to alleviate the issue for a few prints but it always came back. I'm pretty sure sanding the coating off the top layer is the way to fix this issue.
All in all, I will keep experimenting on this, for sure. I really like how it carved and I like the fact that if I wanted a bigger piece to work on, this would be an economical way to get materials. I'm not worried about the "artist grade" part of this on a conservation level because the time span that a block is in use is so short and the contact with things that need to be artist grade (ink and paper) is very brief, it wouldn't have much of an effect. Remember, flooring is where linocut printmaking all began in the Die Brucke movement... it was a cheap, easily sourced alternative to woodcut blocks.
Stay tuned for the reveal of the print I made with this block! I'm not quite done with it yet.
I love it when the theme of a picture just sorts itself out for you. I've been playing with plate composition all week in the studio with my new treasures. Stacking, re-stacking, moving to a different light - its been an undercurrent of activity and thought while I putter away on other projects.
Once and a while, I'll snap a picture or two of a pleasing arrangement and sort the images out later. When I was editing photos, this one leaped to the the forefront. Absolutely by chance, the shadows on the table and the bowl interior were in the same family as the rosy pink plate. What would have normally stuck out like a sore thumb (the lone pink plate) works in harmony here because of this. What fun to paint = I loved pushing that airy, precious pink into every corner of the canvas that I could fit it into!
This painting is part of my submission for the Christmas in Country show at the Leighton Art Centre in a few weeks. You can read more about it here.
A recent trip to Jasper was the source for this picture, specifically the Maligne Canyon area - we took a winding side path that felt almost vertical at times and we were rewarded with this alpine meadow filled with a cacophony of colour. I've really been enjoying playing with the the range in my limited palette lately. Pushing the colour combinations as bright and far as they can go while still maintaining harmony with the rest of the series. It has been a healthy challenge!
Right now I am busily preparing my submission for the Christmas in Country show and sale at the Leighton Centre and this piece will be one of them. Here are all the details you need to put this fun event on your calendar:
Leighton Art Centre, Calgary: Christmas in the Country Art Show and Sale
Sat - Sun November 4th & 5th, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Sat - Sun November 11th & 12th, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Over a thousand pieces of fine craft and unframed artworks by local artists line the historic Leighton Home this Christmas. Beautiful decorations and festive treats will make you feel at home. Discover over 100 artists and find a special gift for your loved ones at this annual art sale. Visit their site here for map and directions.
I have exciting news - I've taken the step of seeking out gallery representation! This move has been in the making for some time, I wanted very much to find a gallery that not only suited my paintings, but also was supportive of my printmaking and letterpress work as well.
I am delighted to partner with Bluerock Gallery in Black Diamond, Alberta - they have an amazing collection and great curation. Every time I step foot in this space, there is a buzz of colour and energy. There are many artists also represented with this gallery that I feel honoured to share wall space with.
Check out what work of mine they are carrying here. Thank you, Bluerock!