three books

three books

Monday, 27 August 2012

catching up and moving on

More than a week gone by in a flash which always seems to happen in summertime. Especially as we near the end of it and I am desperate to be out and about every possible moment. The husband took a three day weekend and we had fun poking about the fair on Friday. It was my first and likely only trip to the PNE since I am not especially fond of games, rides or gross fair food. I do like the animals but I always feel sorry for them and it makes me sad to see them penned and pinned with tags in their ears. I took some pictures of some particularly pretty cows and thought I would draw them but then I realized that I wanted to draw them looking happier and that is a weird kind of denial - wanting to alter reality by drawing it differently. Okay, maybe it's not such a bad idea. In fact I think I do that all the time anyway.
Sunday we went to a huge flea market in Cloverdale. We found a gorgeous strawberry pitcher for my fruit and veggie collection and a lovely brass pig to go with Daniel's hare. That made it worth the trip.

Earlier in the week my lovely friend Carole was in town and we went along to the Vancouver Art Gallery to see the Cone sisters collection. Lots of lovely Matisse and more, more, more. It was brilliant and by the time we were done I felt like I had been dipped in colour. Neither one of us could be bothered to look at anything else for a while. Too much richness to take in all at once. Of course we wandered through the gift shop on the way out but the only thing I bought was a postcard of a Matisse portrait called The Blue Eyes. Not because it is one of his more spectacular ones, it's quite quiet actually, but because the pose is particularly intriguing. It seems a little awkward and yet, just right. I am always drawn to that quality of just a little off. So, as part of a new resolution to do a drawing a day (nearly every day) I imagined one of my ladies in that pose and did a quick little cartoon. I liked her so I decided to make a transfer to lino and let her evolve.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Queen of Hearts

A few years back I did a little exercise in not-so-serious doodling just to free up creativity while working my way through a series of paintings that I was taking much too seriously. I didn't expect them to be useful but several years later I was asked to do a large painting for a casino and one of those little doodles became the basis for the nearly life size "Lady Luck".
This week's drawing challenge was hosted by Ariane at Rose and the theme was "playing cards". I immediately thought of those little scribbles and it seemed a natural thing to turn one of them into a queen. I was certain she wanted to become the Queen of Hearts.

Here is the drawing, and the painting, Lady Luck. Sorry about the poor photo of the larger painting, the background is actually the colour of a copper penny.

Funny how things come back around isn't it? And so nice that they found a reason to be. Have a lovely weekend.
See Ariane's blog for a list and links to this week's participants.

One shots

I will try almost anything once and I know from experience that most things are easier the second time so I am not faint-hearted. There are some things though, that I know with absolute certainty, will never be repeated. Child birth was one. Thank goodness the first one turned out okay because a second attempt was out of the question. They say you forget how bad it truly after the fact but I never did.
I'm pretty sure that Gel prints are like that too. In fact I was thinking, as I was scraping the moldy gunge out of the pan, that I do not want to forget how nasty that is because I am fairly confident that a second attempt would incur the same result - that is my forgetting that a pan of disgusting goo was moldering in my refrigerator bin. Ew!

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Mini Books

Mini books were the theme of this week's drawing challenge, hosted by Norma at the Fairyyellowbugqueen.  It's been a very long time since I have made any sort of book so I spent a very cheerful afternoon getting re-inspired.
First I made a simple little stitched book of zebras inspired by a carved wooden bead that has been on my fridge for years. This one is about 2 x 2.5 inches, made to fit into a little box that needed a use.

While working on that one I cam across a series of lino cuts that I did years ago and used in a variety of ways including a series of greeting cards. I've always enjoyed these little ladies so I decided to make them a photo album. No good reason.

Then, because I was on a roll, I decided to reduce the pick up prints I'd done earlier in the week to wee size so I could make them into one of those clever little fold up books.

I'm looking forward to being further inspired by seeing what the other participants in this week's challenge have done. See Norma's blog for a list and links to the rest -

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Again with the Wabi Sabi

I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED - Chalk paint and wax on canvas

As often happens when I get overly excited about exploring new techniques I go off in six different directions and paralyze myself with the overwhelming wealth of possibilities. Time to step back and ponder recent work to decide where I'm at and where I'm going.
"I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED" was the last piece I finished in the series I call "Ode to the Ladies".
This series was inspired by absolute awe for the positive, life affirming attitude of the ladies of Gees Bend Alabama (see earlier post) who proved it possible to make silk purses from sows ears. Metaphorically at least. 
As positive as that sounds I have to admit that it was equally motivated by a severe case of retail guilt - that horrible sense of responsibility for abetting the crime of corporate junk offloading and encouraging people to both buy and to "buy in" to the myth that more stuff is going to transform their lives and energize their creative spirit. 
In response to those factors I challenged myself to create a series of work using a large percentage of reused and repurposed materials. I wish I could lay claim to the setting of a trend but in fact I was both influenced and encouraged by a current movement, particularly in European decor, that promotes "undecorating". It is about down-scaling, simplifying, reusing, re-purposing and, most importantly, appreciating the objects we choose to live with. Hand crafted objects are an significant factor in this with value placed on the minor imperfections or human-ness of them as much as for their beauty or practicality. Trendy yes but new? Hardly. It is no more than a western revision of the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi, which encourages the acceptance and even celebration of imperfection. I came to appreciate this concept as a potter years ago and find it interesting that it translates directly into the kind of artwork I am drawn to now. 
I don't know how to wrap up all that pondering in a word so I'll use someone else's. Carlos, a metaphysical maniac I used to know once said, "Why strive for perfection? Perfection is subjective and therefor unattainable. Strive instead for excellence in all aspects of life and let your work reflect joy in that endeavor."

Saturday, 4 August 2012


The theme of this week's drawing challenge (hosted by my lovely friend Carole once again) is "crows" and because they, of all birds, make the loveliest silhouettes I thought it might be the perfect time to try out a new printing technique. Gel prints a la Linda Germain I watched her video carefully and then proceeded to do everything wrong, having lots of fun at the same time. If you want to try it yourself I can give you one important tip.  She is not kidding when she says it is a bit of a trick to get the right amount of ink on the stencil but I also discovered that cutting the stencil from a non porous paper like terraskin or yupo works better than regular paper or plastic. Here are a few variations from the same stencil. 
See Carole's blog at for a list of participants in this week's challenge.

Oops, out of register

Oops, too much ink on the stencil

Oops, not enough ink on the stencil

Getting closer

Almost there