Sunday, July 27, 2014


Continuing on with my theme of quietness from last week, here are a couple more completed experiments. They are small... only 8x8". Working small has it's advantages. It's fairly quick to get something completed, and if it goes horribly awry it isn't a big deal. Just add another layer of paint and keep going....

"Stillness",   8x8" Acrylic on Canvas

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I've got a 30x40" canvas on my easel that is a great big mess and I just can't seem to get it to work. Sigh. I'm pretty sure I'm just over-thinking it... I do tend to do that, particularly with the abstract work. With representational stuff I'm pretty confident in my methods, but not so much with this type of piece. I see that as a good thing... stretching and learning and all that... but it can on occasion be pretty frustrating. I'm thinking I'll just set it aside for a few weeks and move on with my Jazz Legends series. 

"Rooted", 8x8" Acrylic on Canvas.
I had been working on this the other way around, with my "roots" being trees. I think it looks much better this way. 

I have a 5 day workshop scheduled in August with Steve Rose... I am SO looking forward to it. I'm sure I will come away from that with a load of new ideas. I haven't done an intensive workshop since Artfest in 2012, and that one forever changed the way I work. This is a much smaller group, and much closer to home. It will be different, but I'm sure it will be wonderful. I'll make sure to take lots of pictures.  :D

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Inspired by Nature

"Fable"  Acrylic on Canvas

Recently, I spent a few hours on a long hike in the woods. It's one of those things that's really good for your soul. Living in a large city and not having much contact with nature can be draining... the world is not just concrete and hustle, and we all need some quiet time to filter out the noise. I'm trying to make this a much more regular thing. Always, the next day I wake up feeling so much better, so lately when I've gone into my studio, instead of turning on the music and going straight to my ongoing project, I let the quiet in and start working on a few small experimental canvases inspired by how I was feeling.

The texture in the background was done by scratching into the wet paint with a BBQ skewer. The first time I used this as a tool was in my mail art project  from a couple weeks back. I think this is a valuable reminder about the value of playtime.... to make progress you have to try new things and take some chances. Right? Something not that easy to do if you are totally focused on production.

I've got a few more canvases the same size (oh how i love a good sale at an art supply store... I've got a stockpile...) so I've started a few more in the same colour/style. I'll see how they turn out. So far I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Toronto Outdoor Art Show - 2014 Edition

The fountain at Nathan Phillips Square surrounded by artist booths. This gets turned into an outdoor skating rink in the winter.
I love the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit. As a visitor anyway... I'm not terribly fond of being in outdoor shows, as somehow if I'm participating there is bound to be some kind of extreme weather. I've had extreme heat, torrential rain, hurricane force winds... it's been many years since I've been brave enough to try again. But as a visitor? This show rocks.

First off, it's huge. I tend to be a bit chatty, so if the art strikes me I will stop to ask questions and talk to the artist for a bit. This year it took me the entire afternoon to get around and see everything. And the space was packed, which was wonderful to see. I'm hoping the market is starting to pick up a bit... this is the second show I've been to this year where I've seen people walking around with packages under their arms and artists telling me sales have been good. Makes me hopeful. 

The highlights for me this year were for the most part non-objective painters. There was one landscape painter that did these gorgeous pieces with metallic underpainting... they glowed. But taking a photo that showed their beauty was next to impossible for me, and she doesn't have a website, so I can't really share her work, as much as I loved it. Here are a few of the others I came across...

This is Lori Mirabelli. Her work felt very organic to me... very light and airy, and she uses a lot of my favourite colour combinations. Very friendly as well... we had a great chat about abstract art in general. And that huge piece on the right? Sold. How awesome for her.

This is Nancy Farrell (in the hat... she doesn't like to have her photo taken. I let her believe I was just shooting the painting). Lots of bold, bright colours here that really grabbed me. We had a long talk about process... she works much the same way I do, with very little planning in advance. She just goes with what is happening, and makes it work. Beautiful. I'd really like to own one of these one day. And I'd like my own abstract work to be even half that good.

This is Thelia Sanders Shelton. Thelia works at my neighbourhood art supply store, so we knew each other already. I'm in there about once a week, after all. But I had never seen her paintings before, so I was excited to come across her here. Her work is bright and bold, much like her personality. She had a good show too, with decent sales. We mostly talked about how hot is was in the spot she had... apparently when you apply you can ask to go in a specific spot (not guaranteed, but they will consider it). From my own observation the best places would be around the water, preferably on the south side where there is more shade. She was right smack in the middle.

So theres my short run-down. Once again, I'm considering applying for next year. I never do... first there is my weather issue, but also my husband is away this week every year to visit his family, so I'd be on my own. I'm not sure I can manage a tent on my own. I think I just have to bite the bullet and apply, and worry about the hows if I get in. I'm sure I could recruit a couple friends to help out. But applications are a long way off, and a lot can happen between now and then.....

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Explorations: An Art Journal

I've only had a bit of time this week to focus on art... I've had prints to figure out how to ship, work has been crazy, my husband has been away... it's been pretty busy. Trying to stay with my commitment to expand the sources of my inspiration, I took a couple hours to go for a hike with my camera. This resulted in some nice photos and a feeling of calm that's lasted for a few days. When I sat down to try a bit of journaling, the result was obviously influenced by time spent in nature. I like the colour combinations... I think I may work with that a bit on future pieces. 

I have a thing about art journals. I know they are supposed to be much like written journals, where you put all your feelings out there on the page, but I've never really been able to do that. Maybe it comes from being the youngest of four kids, and never feeling like i had any privacy. Or maybe because I'm just not much of a writer... my thing has always just been pictures. Anyway, I did the journaling part, then covered up most of the writing with paint. Doesn't really matter what I wrote, nobody can read it now anyway. Maybe that's the secret to this whole thing... I might have to do a bit more to figure it out. I have a couple books around to guide me through it. 

In the meantime, my working photos for my next Jazz Legend portrait have started to post on Global Vernissage. This month I'm working on Ella Fitzgerald. Follow along and leave your comments... we're giving away 3 signed, limited edition prints to the most active commenters. Good luck!

My art journal, focusing on my time out in the park. The writing is just stream of consciousness about my hike and how it made me feel. Then I worked over it in paint. I don't think this page will ever fully close now... there's a few layers of paint on there.

A photo from my hike. I've always had a problem getting a shot of dragonflies... they move so fast it's hard to catch them. I was surprised this came out so well. It seemed to sit still for me... like it wanted it's picture taken. 

This turtle was hard to see until it came up to the surface.  They can really camouflage themselves.