Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life Drawing Tuesdays


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Here’s a new linocut. Actually, it’s a digitally coloured scan of a proof. GIMP is fun, digital effects can let you try on different things. In the real world, it is a ACEO sized softoleum carve, ink-pad stamped on scrap paper. I have yet to do a proper printer’s ink roll and print.  This digital version is growing on me. Hmmm… I thought it would go well with the life drawing theme, and so previewed it here.  I would love to scale this version up to t-shirt size but it seems that nowadays people get into complete conniptions about any kind of nudity out of sexual context. IE. to me, this looks sensual, but perfectly decent for all eyes, but times have changed, and heck, maybe the fig leaves have been tacked back on to all the Michelangelo's too.
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It’s that time of the year again. Once again, Life Drawing with the Latcham Gallery keeps me up way past my bedtime on Tuesday nights. The season begins with the infamous Greg, who ‘mostly’ behaved himself, and as usual did a superb job of modelling. He does really takes the job seriously, and is always concerned about originality and creativity.
We were all a bit rusty from the summer slump, and so opted for a lot of short poses. This one was twenty minutes.  Once I got this one down, I felt a huge sense of relief. If I can get one good drawing from the night, I’m quite happy, and my warm up sketches were pretty stiff.  This pose didn’t really catch my eye, but as soon as I started, the pencils seemed to find all the curves, and it was pure joy after, phew!  The remainder of the night was less than stellar, but that’s okay—I got my one good pic.
For those of you who like extreme close ups of pencil grain, I uploaded it onto FineArtAmerica too. Am I the only one who gets mesmerized by that sort of thing?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Nature’s Creations, Art Show in the Forest

Saturday September 24th, from 10am to 2pm, Hollidge Tract, York Regional Forest, HWY 48 and Cherry Street.
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There will be artists and artisans, from beekeepers (with live bees!) to painters to printmakers (that would be me). I will be doing a printmaking demo this year, from design to printing, I’ll have my linoleum, carving tools, pencils, brayer, ink and paper along so that I can show you how it’s done. Sometimes I feel printmaking is a lost art, as most people confuse printmaking with pushing a button and making a copy of something. It doesn’t help that giclee reproductions are marketed as ‘fine art prints’, leaving no way to distinguish with words alone the difference between an ink-jet printed reproduction and a hand-pressed original work of art.  So I thought it best put my apron on, get my hands dirty, and show you what it’s all about. I will carve, squeeze, roll, press and do my print-making thing right up in front of everybody.  For the in between times, I will have Edwin the guitalele in hand, and pluck some tunes to pass the time.
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For letterboxers, there are a few of mine to be found very nearby---shhhhh…it’s a secret.
For horse lovers, there will be free horse-drawn wagon rides through the woods all day long.
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For shoppers, you can peruse anything from fine art to hand-printed t-shirts, pickles to honey, garden sculpture to horticulture. If you are in the mood to buy, there will be art and wares starting in the under $20 gift category and up for yourself and those you love.
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For everybody, what a wonderful opportunity to view art in a natural setting while enjoying a fine September afternoon in a gorgeous woodland setting, including guided nature hikes during the day.
PS. My watercolour landscapes and mixed-media forest art will also be available for show and sale.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Gelatin Leaf Prints

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It’s a short art week, given that I was away up North for the long-weekend recharging mental batteries, but I’ve been busy with the gelatin plates. I’m really trying to get some under $50 items ready for September’s show, and these should fit the bill.
I’m loving working with the combination of pure abstraction in form and colour with imprints from natural objects. Not sure if I should confess the curving thin double line is an impression made from dental floss. Oh well, I just did.  The black ‘leaf’ as the top note is straight up linocut relief, everything else is pulled from the gelatin plate.

Show: Sept 24th, 2011, 10am to 2pm, Hollidge Tract, York Regional Forest

And below, a WIP. A 2"x3" carve, printed with stamping ink. These will be for the under $10 pile. I made them smaller than previous atc's (by 1/2 inch on both size) so the will be easily framed in a standard mini photo frame.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Home Again

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Pancake Bay Provincial Park, Lake Superior,2010
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Musselman’s Lake, Ninth Line, Whitchurch-Stouffville, 2010
This one just to show you that beautiful sunsets can be viewed everywhere.
Hope I didn’t bore you with so many pics. There are many many more, but I just don’t have the time. I should be home again by now (remember, these were post-dated by me), but it may take a few more days to get online again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wish You Were Here: the final instalment

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Lake Superior Provincial Park: Gargantua Harbour, 2010
Shortly after our hotdog dinner plans were ruined by the rain, I managed to snap this last parting shot. It’s still raining. Lake Superior is like that, changing by the minute.
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Lake Superior Provincial Park, Gargantua Harbour, 2010
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Nature’s Bonsai, coastal trail.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wish You Were Here, continued

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Best Friends: Lake Superior Provincial Park, 2010
Here are the mysterious ‘friends’ who live in the woods that I talk about, Rike on the left, and Gus in the middle. We initially met them in Lake Superior Provincial Park, while walking on the coastal trail, heading to Rhyolite Cove.  It seemed like fate, because from the moment we met them, we couldn’t stop talking, and running into one another both accidentally and on purpose in a VERY LARGE park.  When we camp, we share the dates and locations, and they usually come for a visit, both in Lake Superior, and Killarney Provincial Park.  This year they won’t be making it to Superior (a scheduling problem) but we still have a date for Killarney.  Superior, by the way, is about 900 kilometres away from my home.
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Coastal Trail, Lake Superior Provincial Park, heading south to Rhyolite Cove, 2010.
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This is the view from our 2010 campsite, from under the tarp. While the weather gifted us with a fantastic sunset, it also threw some heavy rain at us, drowning out our ‘hotdog’ fire, and ruining our dinner plans. I took this photo while it was raining.  The sunset photo from the previous post was shortly after.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Wish You Were Here

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Lighthouse Island: Gargantua Harbour, Lake Superior Provincial Park, 2010
It’s that time of year again! Yearly I migrate to the coast. Unlike the geese, I head North in the autumn, for pleasant days, and crisp cool nights. Sometimes it even snows!  The water is always more or less cold, but if you grit your teeth and jump in, it’s usual great for swimming.  Cold, clear, clean, we drink it too. Not that we have a choice. This harbour is about 40 kilometres away from the nearest tap.
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This is my husband being very chivalrous, fetching water first thing in the morning when the sun hasn’t had a chance to warm up the shoreline. When the waves kick up the sand, it takes a good long jaunt out to get the good stuff—not that sand is a big deal, but I’d rather not have grit in my coffee.
I’ll be off-line for a bit, enjoying sea, surf and sand (hopefully), so please don’t get worried if I don’t comment or visit your blogs for a bit (and if you haven’t already guessed, I’m using the post-date feature).
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Gargantua Harbour: Lake Superior Provincial Park, 2010. Also, a typical photographers self-portrait. Looks like I’m wearing a toque…probably am, but I don’t remember being that cold.

Friday, September 2, 2011

And the Worms too shall have Their Say

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In this case, the worms are tiny green caterpillars (unknown species). These leaves are from my worm-ridden hops vine, usually an unstoppable perrenial, but this year it is decimated into an early state of lace. And so, the artful work of the worms have been preserved for posterity on a gelatin print.
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It is hard not to think of death and decay when working with gelatin. It is a product made from the bones of swine (hope I didn’t ruin your day with that), and it is prone to decay. Every gelatin plate has a limited life span with an unknown due date, just like us. As long as I have one cooling in the fridge, it adds a background buzz of anxiety—not much, but it is there. I wonder, will I get the most of the plate? Will the art honour the use of a food product made from animals?  Will I pull enough enough prints from it before time renders it unusable? And what wonders, or disasters will appear when it arrives at it’s final stages, mould-ridden, pocked, gelatinous with edges so soft that they slough off with every use?
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Mouldy gelatin: about 3 weeks old. This is it’s last day.
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Initial test prints from the mouldy gelatin, just to see what innate textures it will have.
There is an artificial and permanent substitute for gelatin. These gel printing plates would be essential to vegetarians, but I too am thinking of getting some.  I would love it for the in-between times, when I don’t want to deal with time-limited realities, and for demo’s, when the real thing is just too fragile. 
However, I must admit that dealing with gelatin’s fragility and decay is essential to the point of the matter. Nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever.  As artists and collectors, we try to by-pass this thought, using archival this, and archival that, hoping that through art we will achieve some measure of permanence, but once in awhile, it is good to stare into the face of mortality and know we need to grasp every moment as it comes; life is dynamic and short (however long it may be, it will always be short); don’t waste a minute.

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