Tuesday, June 22, 2010

White Admiral and the fist of God


Mixed skies, and a passing storm produced this arresting image last Sunday from my verandah. Can’t help but see some religious overtones in this one, and not one of baby faced angels, more like Revelations and the wrath of God. Do you see the four horsemen riding in?


And on a completely different note, this butterfly kindly took a few moments out of its busy schedule to pose for a picture. It is a White Admiral and it was busy flitting through the Hollidge Tract, York Regional Forest.

And photo’s is all you get this week. Busy, busy, and my WIP of something green is, well, not allowed out right now…as in, I am NOT happy with its progress, and I am NOT willing to share. It’s been to long since I’ve done coloured pencils and it feels like starting over. I may try solvents on it.

PS. Blogger added Pages. I've created two. Art for sale, and About this blog. Are the buttons noticeable enough? I am not much of a marketer, so any help appreciated. And while a blog post is ephemeral enough I don't care too much about typo's, if you find some on those Pages, please let me know. Thanks.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Star Factory


I’m never sure, when it comes to abstraction, who, if any, will “get it”. And while I hate having to explain my art, I am absurdly fond of this one. I love as astronomy in a most amateur way; while I don’t own a telescope, and can only name about 4 constellations (you probably can name the same ones), I love the idea of billions and billions of stars being out there, and while our planet is small and finite, beyond it’s confines there is space, lots of it, filled with fascinating things like dark matter and black holes, exploding stars and nebulae, gas giant planets and their earth sized satellites, oh I could go on and on…and not just billions of stars, but get beyond that, you get galaxies, and if you can follow the theory, whole universes. But never mind, I have no affinity for science beyond a layman’s love.

Above is a gelatin print. The red smoosh, is what artists like to call a ‘happy accident’. Actually experiment… the result sat in my pile for some time waiting for step two. I followed up with blue patterns from glassware & little star linocuts. The smoosh, right from the beginning brought to mind those fabulous photos of nebula, the birth place of stars. For the final touch I just painted in some nebulous blue shapes and added sparkle. Art does not need to be literal, and there is more than one way to interpret the universe.

And because I can’t participate myself (I’m on dial-up—too slow), try out the Galaxy Zoo, where you can learn how to categorize galaxies, and should you pass the online test, you can help catalogue the universe as an online volunteer.

PS. I’ve just been asked to exhibit in Nature’s Creations, at the Fall Forest Festival, in York Regional Forest. I am HUGELY exited! Imagine the opportunity to exhibit art in the very forest one has depicted to people who have walked, or will walk those very same pathways. The thought is somewhat surreal. I have an unknown “Forester” to thank. There are people in this world who are being exceedingly kind to me.

PPS. working on ‘something green’ in coloured pencil. More on that later.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Growing History-My Big Pink Peony


Growing History—My Big Pink Peony & Itsy Bitsy Little Roses

Here is history encoded in the genetics of heirloom plants; my big pink peony and an explosion of spice scented old roses growing wild in Glen Major Tract/Uxbridge.

As to the peony, the big blowsy flowers may have gone out of fashion since their extravagant blossoms first graced the country gardens, but their ancestors forge on; they can still be found thriving alone and unloved in remnants of gardens, overgrown by fallow field.  While they compete successfully with the surrounding weeds and tall grasses, they never commit the crime of becoming invasive foreigners. They merely hold their own, looking gorgeous, until the next land-owner falls in love and tends them.

These particular plant is among a list that ‘came with the house’.  My home is a renovated cottage, first built in 1964 when Musselman’s Lake was still but a weekend getaway.  It has had a succession of owners, but one of them at least must have been an avid gardener.  They left behind many plants that I still treasure; the scented red daylilies, the weird egyptian/walking onion, ornamental catmint, lilac and narcissus.  When I look at them, I wonder at who planted them, and would they get satisfaction knowing they still thrive?


Now to the roses growing feral in Glen Major Tract.  Their pedigree has long since been lost to history, but it’s genetic code passes on through generations. Once their was a house, a farmstead, and a lover of roses; abandoned or bereaved, these roses forged on, growing to towering heights (some are 20 foot mounds) and propagate in the clearings.  Unlike their modern counterparts, these roses need no fussing, mulching, dusting or sprays. Summer through winter, they thrive, their dense growth providing both food and shelter to the local wildlife that now inhabits the land.

Its fragrance is as exquisite as its blossoms; a beautiful survivor of a bygone era.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Real Alchemy-Issue IV, Itty Bitty Books


How to discuss the latest Itty Bitty Book without major spoilers?

Present the artwork that didn’t make it into the book. I choose pieces from my collection that tell the story or enhance the theme, so some of my favourites remain undisclosed. Here are two that didn’t make it in. I’m still trying to decide on my next ‘larger’ work; something green, maybe one of these.

Below; the blurb from the back of the book, Issue IV, Real Alchemy.

Real Alchemy began with an exploration of the colour green. While in winter I feel free to extrapolate a million colours from the landscape, spring in summer serves up a single dominant colour; green. Everything's green, vibrant green; blaring, blatant, glowing. Green became a recurring them in my 365 Art Card project; a veritable obsession of greens.

With the colour still gnawing at my brain, I had no choice but to turn the colour green into the next Itty Bitty Book.

At the same time, I read a science article about how the chlorophyll was the architect of the most significant change for this planet, and how all life depends on it, if not directly, then indirectly (with some rare exceptions, look up deep sea vents for that).

It is that combination of science and art that became this book.



And PS. Thank you ‘anonymous donor’ for the wonderful block of Arches Cold-Pressed Paper. This is one of my favourites to use, great weight, colour and nubbly texture. Issue IV is coming to you soon.

This book is $3.00 postage included to all points on the planet, or an artists trade.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010



While I like to have fun with words and titles, I hesitated with this one. You should never run yourself down in public, and worse yet, it smacks of fishing for compliments (I’m not), but really, it’s only your first time once, and I prefer honesty over bombast.

Gosh, I was a bundle of nerves, and while we arrived early, we had the address wrong (a wee mix up) so by the time we got things right, set-up was a real scramble. I let my husband, the ‘support’ (and I think I’ll blog more on that aspect later) put things on the wall, because I had no clue; neither did he. He bravely sweated it out (most literally) because I left a lot riding on his shoulders.


It took me awhile to warm up to folks, so I started with the complimentary coffee and a huge moist chocolate muffin. That made me feel better, and then I forced myself to socialize.

Printmakers are really really NICE! Wonderful, friendly, welcoming people. By the end of the day, I was feeling downright chatty, and my husband declared the entire day a big ball of fun. He wants to go again, and so do I.

So, the sharing/useful google friendly part:

Things I remembered to bring:

  • nails & string (to hang art on the wall)
  • lots of business cards (and holders)
  • my art, some framed, lots in acid free plastic sleeves
  • my hand-printed t-shirts (even though I wasn’t sure they’d be welcome in a gallery setting—they were)
  • delicious hummous /chick pea dip for lunch

Things I forgot to bring:

  • pita bread for the hummous
  • a hammer, and level or plumb line (to hang art on the wall)
  • change/small bills to split $20.00’s and such

Things I learned:

  • a half dozen consistently framed (all same size/type/colour of frame) would look better than a mixed bag jumble
  • put unframed (sleeved) work in basket/upright hopper type thing. People like picking through these things, but are afraid to touch a horizontal arrangement.
  • through out the year, think & store art with ‘show’ in mind, as in sleeved in size categories, with a few ‘show stoppers’ framed. Leave a ‘show kit’, receipts, business cards, etc. in a box ready to go.
  • have under $10/ take away items, because a smattering of sales (even if it doesn’t cover fees, feels better than none).

So, how did it go? Sales, erm… sold a hand-printed t-shirt. Kiwi green Ugly Fish—good choice! Also, covered the VERY modest entry fee. From talking to other vendors, this is an accomplishment, not everyone sells. Items that did sell, were things like cards (see last list item) but not in great quantities.

Networking: well, I hope to do better next time, and what an ugly word. Really, I met wonderful people that I really really wish I could be friends with. Forget networking, it was an amazing social event for a nerdy girl like me. They also made my non-artsy husband feel extremely welcome, possibly because they also recognize the sacrifice and value of the artist’s ‘support’.

Experience: Priceless. Wow! I got to see my artwork on the wall in a gallery setting (albeit jumbled and crooked). I’ll find it easier to chit chat with other artists, and hopefully then the general public (I know I was scary, because the public skipped all the art close to me, but got right up close to my stuff displayed at the far end, yikes! Perhaps an “I’m Mostly Harmless” sign might help?). Finally, a decent event to put on my CV (except I don’t have a CV), but now I can think of working one out.

I wish there were more opportunities like this, I really don’t want to wait an entire year for a do over, but the next opportunity is an outdoor show (ie. 12’x12’ bit of trampled grass) for a whomping $135 (ouch, that’s 5 t-shirts I need to sell, or whole bunches of cards). Apparently, sales of fine art are rare at these shows so if you want a chance of getting your fees back, you need to come prepared with do-dads.

Quote of the day: If you can’t wear it, or eat it, you can’t sell it. This from a fellow printmaker & gallery owner regarding these shows. And ‘ha ha’, go figure, I sold a t-shirt. Next up, linocut cookies!!!

PS. Yes, I did get husbands permission to post his photo. It’s a nice photo too. I’m still big on privacy in a realm that makes it an endangered species.

PPS. CV for those of you who don’t already know, stands for Curriculum Vitae, a fancy term for artists resume. Definitely a place where bombast trumps honesty.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sometimes Size Does Matter


This one’s big, really big—bigger than my open hand, gosh darned down right huge!!! And I must admit, beauty that it is, the size alone is impressive.

This is the oriental poppy I’ve grown in my garden for years, right up front by the road where everyone can see it. And, trust me, passersby are duly impressed.

Overhead conversation between father and son.

Father: Look at that! (pointing to poppy)

Son (just a little guy): Oh! Wow! They’re BIG!

Father: Yes, they are.

See, guys enjoy pretty pink flowers too, as long as they are suitably BIG!

PS. 1 day left to the show, all the necessities are packed. Everything else is gravy.


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