While returning to plates has definitely felt like I'm in familiar stomping grounds, I have decided to step out of my comfort zone for at least part of the series. For the past few months I've been bumping up against the limitations of my usual medium, acrylic paint. Recently, I had an epiphany - my children are old enough now for me to be painting in oils!
My studio is in my home and so I've had to be careful these past few years because I have works in progress all over the place. When I realized I could leave wet paintings out if needed, there was no looking back.
I'm thankful for the tips and encouragement I've been getting too as I step out of my familiar patterns and grow in this medium. Already I'm loving the versatility that is so different from acrylic. Don't get me wrong, acrylic has been a great friend over the years and I will continue to use it in situations where it's strengths shine, I'm just so excited to be exploring and growing in my practice as an artist. Change is as good as a rest!
I'll confess, I've had a hard time wrapping this series up. Not that I was feeling sentimental or anything, more that starting a new big project and shifting gears can sometimes make me feel intimidated. Clouds and cups are familiar. Their trajectory from start to finish is predictable now that I've spent a year doing them.
Change isn't hard for me as long as I feel like my next thing is somewhat fleshed out and I know a little what the boundaries and expectations are. That can be a difficult thing when you set all the boundaries and expectations.
But, here we are, completed. On to new things. See all 18 Cloud paintings here.
One thing that I've learned from my Sabbatical year is that I keep returning to beloved themes to play with, improve upon or expand the idea. With that being said, a few years ago, I had a series I called "Collection of Plates" that were assemblages of plates that belonged to my mother and I. They were almost like an intertwined story of personal taste, shared history and a balance between identities.
Lately I've been drawn back into patterns. I find myself covertly snapping photos with my phone while I'm walking through stores, almost as if I"m illicitly stealing swatches of colour for my personal enjoyment later.
I've been thinking a lot about intersecting lives and shared stories. How we all bring our unique patterns and colours to gatherings. These arrangements flex and shift, depending on the reason for the grouping, the mood and environment. One artist that I am very inspired by is Giorgio Morandi, a still life painter who took the same bottles and rearranged them over and over into pleasing compositions. You can spot beloved objects in his various paintings as he includes them in new ways.
So, part of my next series (I kind of have an overall, big picture theme that I'm still working out in my head) will be a return to plates and vessels. Over the past few weeks I"ve been collecting treasured plates and stories from those around me so I can mix them into my own personal narritive. It's been interesting having all these new guests sitting in my living room. I've been mixing and matching, playing with light and dark backgrounds to bring out new elements for these upcoming paintings.
I absolutely love teaching at the Airdrie Public Library. Veronica Funk, their Arts and Culture Coordinator sets up the entire afternoon to run beautifully. It doesn't hurt either that she keeps the cupboards stocked with plenty of quality supplies.
I led two classes on Saturday. First was their junior artists (age 9 - 12) who were introduced to printmaking using styrofoam plates marked with pen then printed.
The Teen/Adult Class got to be much riskier with classic linocutting where they used sharp tools to cut their design. We finished off by pulling prints using my antique book press.
I am never ceased to be amazed at how much creativity happens in a classroom setting. People stepping out of their comfort zone, trying new things and working on a tight deadline resulted in some amazing work.
I'll have to admit though, that girl in the first photo is my helper and daughter... she was my favorite!
For those of you who would like to do a small printmaking lesson for kids or even a linocut class, I've prepared my handout that I used as a downloadable pdf file. Please feel free to take it to teach from or to share - the more people who learn this art form, the better!
Around a year ago I started painting clouds. Living in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains makes for some very wild and beautiful sky scapes that constantly inspire me. Clouds are kind of a personal symbol of the eternal, and as I like to ponder and process, these have been helpful to me in my journey this past year.
All this being said, I've been quite busy in my studio these past few weeks finishing up this series so that I can shift gears. I've been shooting a ton of research shots and playing with sketches for the next series (more on that in a future post).
I'm not necessarily done with clouds though, I have one more to paint in this installment then I will give that focus a rest. I'm learning that as I get older, I keep returning to earlier tracks with fresh eyes. Clouds may return in that manner!
The main group of the Cloud Series can still been seen at the Airdrie Public Library, it's been held over an extra week until October 30th. A select few will then make their way to the Leighton Christmas Show I'm participating in.
Lots has been happening behind the scenes at my studio these days!
Printmaking Classes at Airdrie Public Library
October 17th, I will be at the Airdrie Public Library teaching a kids class and a teen and adult class on beginner printmaking. It should be an interesting time as the students learn some basic mono printing techniques and try out an antique book press!
For more information contact APL through their webpage
Art Battle #323 at the Hifi Club
October 29th, I will be painting live against 11 other artists for the Calgary season opener of Art Battle! See my previous blog post for more information.
Christmas Show at the Leighton Art Center
November 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th I will have a number of pieces for sale at the annual Leighton Art Center Christmas in the Country Art Sale. There is no admission fee to get into this great event. For more information visit their site here.
Art Battle has been a pleasure to compete in. Not only do I get to paint live in a night club, I have made a bunch of friends who have the same strange skill set - painting fast!
These are so much fun to come and spectate. Art Battles are known for their "slow tornado" - the audience rotates around the six easels set up for each round, watching as artwork unfolds before their eyes. The music and energy in the crowd makes for an exciting night out. I have heard more than once that people feel transfixed by or deeply connected to a painting they have seen created right in front of them. All the pieces are auctioned off during the course of the evening.
I would love it if you could make it out to cheer us on! If you are interested in knowing more, message me or go to the Art Battle Event Page