Thursday, 16 January 2014

Van Gogh and Me

Van Gogh and me go way back.  You see he was the one that got me started (sort of).
He is an inspiration to me; for my personal story includes him. Whenever I feel I can't paint I remember him and it helps me. If ever there was an archetypal struggle for an artist I think his would be it.  

When I was a little girl, I came home from school one day and my mother told me there was a letter from my Grandmother. My Grandmother was a proper little english lady who lived in Victoria, B.C. and  had come to visit us in Halifax a few times. Before she arrived, I have vivid memories of our  household going into a complete uproar as the house was cleaned and prepared for her visit.  She had a quiet and regal manner. Even at the young age of 7; I knew there was something different about her. She was from another time or era.  I was in awe of her. 

The Christmas before my mother had asked me to make a painting for her. Some yellow fields with dark green trees and a tumbling sky. My grandmother sent me back a letter and told me she really liked my artwork and that it reminded her of Van Gogh's Wheat fields.  In particular she said the brushwork was very good. She told me to keep painting and in later years she sent me a painting she had done, it was of the mountains at Banff. We had reproductions of Degas and Gauguin on our walls but none of Van Gogh  Who was this Van Gogh? 

 It was the early 1970's, we lived in a rough area of Halifax and it was not an easy time for me.  My parents had been divorced 3 years earlier and my days were spent scrapping and fighting in the inner city schools I attended.  I continued to draw and paint, I wanted to be an artist even at that young age. It was somewhat of an obsession with me and has been ever since. My Grandmother's encouraging words stayed with me, they meant a lot.

 I recently attended an instructional skills workshop in Whitehorse and did a presentation on "Me and Van Gogh".  I love his paintings and his story is poignant; even tragic but also very inspiring.  The video attached to this post says it really well. 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Embracing Change As An Artist

Original 4x6 Mixed Media 
(Watercolour, Pastel, Ink)
on Arches Watercolour Paper
"Memories of Summer, Fisheye Lake"

To Sell or Not to Sell ... Is that the question.
as long as it does not translate into to Paint or not to Paint!

The 21st century has been an epoch for artists.  There have never been this many artists in the history of the world!

Makes it pretty competitive to make a buck.

I have been a painter for some 25 years now and it has been a journey.  A process.  In regards to the sell or not sell statement: for many years I was happy to just paint a picture and sell it or paint 10 and sell them.  This worked fine for many years. But ... lo and behold... this formula does not work for me any more.  You may wonder  why on earth wouldn't it and I can tell you that I was quite mystified when it happened too. It's all about motivation... motive.  The why.   I need to know why I am painting now.  What does it mean, what or who is it for , me or them?  I need to be inspired now and it has to have personal meaning and hopefully make the world a better place. It has  been kind of a scary and messy process in the last year because I generally don't negotiate change well.  But that's  what it is. It's not perfect, it is new and it feels weird. When I paint something it's not just to "Sell"  Not to make myself seem shallow in the past but I did not have time to contemplate this.  I literally sold hundreds of paintings, I was prolific... it was amazing because I had three kids,  home schooled them, ran a house, worked and painted lots.  Now I have a lot of time, it's a new chapter.... no kids at home, solitude, unlimited time  and boom! ... I stare at the canvas... I am changing and It is good.  I love to create art but it has to be meaningful, I am finding my way. I must embrace change.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Value Studies In Landscape by Faro Seniors RPAY Art Walk Program

I am amazed at how well this group of seniors paint!  I have always told them; It is not my job to teach them how to paint, what I try to do is assist their creative process, I facilitate it.  It is such a joy for me to see how far they have come on their journeys since we first started last summer. 

 Burnt Umber or Payne's Grey and white on Canvas Board
Size 5x7.  Next Week's Class: 
We will do the same scene considering the values using colour.

Doris Unruh

Sharon Johnson

Sabine Heigl

Katy Peeling

Deb Edwards

Sharie Levesque

In the zone

Sharie you look so happy!

Monday, 6 January 2014

Abstract Art with Grades 6 to 8 at the Del Van Gorder School

The parameters for this project were quite wide so the students could design their own images. I usually do not do this but abstract art can be such an individual form of creative expression. I  thought this would be interesting to see what each student came up with.  I asked the teacher that they be given some class time before the project day to surf and  print out symbols, a quote or their names so we could decoupage these into their abstract pieces. Some chose to do this and some did not.  The medium used was acrylic on a 9x12 canvas board. Three hours (a school morning) was the time allotted for this work of art.

Below are the finished pieces produced:
  a highly creative and unique expression by each student!