Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Two New Paintings Underway

There are two new oil and cold wax paintings on my new painting walls in my tiny painting studio. I recently reorganized and threw out a lot of junk to make some space so I could fling my arms about. The oil paint does have a lingering odour as it dries, so now that winter is here and the windows are closed, I notice the smell more when I work in part of the living room (we have a very small house), making it not too healthy. So I moved most of my stuff into our daughter's former bedroom, cleared a path and made some space around the painting wall area, and I'm having a lot of fun. I can also open the window a crack, flip the heating vent closed, and close the door when I finish for the day. It is amazing how getting reorganized and making space (no matter how small) can motivate and get the creative juices going.

There's a lot more work to be done on these two pieces. Many more layers of thin colour and wax, and of course lines and texturing to bring it all together. I'm looking forward to Thurs. and Fri. when I will be able to work on them again. Tomorrow, Wed., I'm on duty at both of my galleries, one in the am, the other in the pm. Although I won't be able to paint all day, I'll be "seeing" possibilities in my mind throughout the day, and will file them away in my brain for another time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Switching Media

Just for a change from cradled wood panels and canvas, it's fun to work on paper again. Heavy watercolour paper is perfect for a mixed media treatment. I like to start out with some thumbnail sketches to work out an idea, then it's open territory on the surface of the paper. Starting with loose watercolour washes, they flow and blend on the paper. After drying, I dig in with various papers to add texture, acrylics and printing techniques until my inner muse says, "Whoa, girl". I like the 'lighter' feel of these pieces. And of course, crows and ravens are favourite creatures that visit us all year long.

Crowsong#1 Mixed Media on Paper
16" X 12"

Ravenspeak, Mixed Media on Paper
16" X 12"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Recent Painting

Space in my 'studio' (daughter's former bedroom, spilling over to what was once the living room) is limited, so the largest work I have attempted is on 40" X 30" gallery wrapped canvas. I think I would enjoy letting loose on 4, 5, or 6 foot panels or canvas, but that will have to wait til I have more space. In the meantime, I can do somewhat larger pieces made up of multiple panels, and use up all my smaller canvases. Cradled wood panels are a joy to work on with the oil/wax techniques that I learned from Rebecca Crowell . They are more expensive, but well worth it.

This recent painting is called "Oasis", oil with cold wax (and galkyd added to the mixture to give the paint some flexibility on the canvas). Happily, it has a new home with a collector in the Ottawa area.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Painting, New Friend

At Coloris sur la baie, a premier art show in Clarence-Rockland just outside Ottawa, I was visited by a young artist. Jordan was eager to share his sketchbook and one of his small oil paintings with many of the exhibiting artists at the show. A grade 8 student, Jordan was comfortable sharing his work, discussing the artwork around him with many of the artists, and listening attentively to other's comments. He was amazingly articulate when talking about his art and his goals. The more Jordans we have in this world, a better place it will be. Thank you Jordan, it was a delight meeting you.

Dreamers 30" X 40"
Oil/Cold Wax on 2" gallery wrapped canvas,
ready to hang.

This work is a new oil and cold wax painting, presently at Gallery 121 in Belleville. I remember turning the canvas upside down and around many times during the painting process. Suddenly, when I walked by it during a break, three figures appeared under the translucent layers, and I decided they were meant to stay.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bancroft - Most Talented Town in Ontario

A few years ago, TV Ontario voted Bancroft the "Most Talented Town in Ontario" and it continues to retain the qualities of a talented town. This past weekend was the Bancroft Art and Craft Show and Sale, held at the beautiful Millenium Park. Beautiful art and a variety of quality handmade items were available for shoppers. Our friend, Jim Eadie, was there to entertain everyone with his folksongs.

We exhibit our pottery and my artwork. We have always felt the local folks and the summer residents appreciate our work - and they show it in tangible ways. Thank you everyone for your encouragement and support. Enjoy your treasured pieces that are now finding their way to new homes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Here are a few photos from the opening reception of the annual juried show, "Portals" at the Belleville Library. The artworks, juried by Michael Amar and Stephen Snider, were beautifully hung and displayed by curator Susan Holland. For a small town, Belleville is developing a vibrant artscene.

Some of the very young took the opportunity to 'dress up', complete with feather and sparkly shawl.

The Belleville Art Association members were well represented, with 31 artists represented out of a total of 56 artists. All 4 awards went to BAA members also. Congratulations! This organization of 117 members is growing in numbers and in the quality of work produced.

Prince Edward County metalworker, Bruce Milan is showing his metal sculptures, some with mixed media, in gallery 1.

The show will hang from June 4 to July 16, 2009.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Painting

"Passages", acrylic on gallery canvas, 40" X 30".

Comparing acrylic and oil paints is like comparing your children - you love them both for their unique qualities.

Having recently gotten back to working with oil paint, using cold wax on cradled panels, I thought I would use similar techniques using acrylic paint and gel medium on a large canvas. The biggest difference I found was that the acrylic was more 'slippery' than the oil and wax. Also, I was a little more gentle working on the canvas than I would have on a cradled panel. All in all, though, I was fairly pleased with the result.

This piece will be showing in the 7th annual juried exhibition "Portals" at the John M Parrott Art Gallery in Belleville from June 4 to July 16. Opening Reception is June 4, 6 - 7:30.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Opening Show

Here are a few photos from the opening of the new show at Gallery 121 in Belleville:

Maureen Swann and Ann Fales in the gallery welcoming visitors.

Maureen's very clever and balanced "Swan Totem".

Some of Ann Fales' beautiful fabric works of art.

Visitors admiring guest artist Molly McClung's sculptures.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Gallery 121

Last month I was invited to be a member of Gallery 121, a co-operative gallery in the city of Belleville. May is the first opportunity for me to show in this space. Don Pinder and his show design team have done a fine job of hanging the diverse artwork of 20 members. Each month the exhibition changes, with a new featured artist, drawn from the membership, and a guest artist. This month's featured gallery artist is Ann Fales, a fibre artist from Thomasburg. The guest artist is sculptor Molly McClung.

Above are two of my new oil works, along with three smoke-fired sculptures from my "Soundscape" series. Tonight is a Belleville "Gallery Hop", so we are looking forward to visitors coming to see the show. The official opening reception is on Sun., May 10 from 2 to 4 pm.

Also on tonight is the opening for the Quinte Arts Council's juried show Expressions 2009 at the John Parrot Gallery in the Belleville Public Library, from 6 to 7:30. I have another of the new oils showing. It will be interesting to get feedback on my new work.

The Belleville Art Association Gallery and Gallery ArtPlus are also open tonight for the Gallery Hop, so it will be a busy night for art lovers, and many opportunities to see stimulating artwork. I will post photos later of all the events.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Slay the Children (paintings, that is)

At last the panels are finished that I started at Rebecca Crowell's workshop. In addition to developing the original panels, several additional smaller panels were worked on once I returned home, and now everything is drying. The next step is to experiment in putting the panels together. Unlike Rebecca's deep cradles, mine are only 1" deep, and they have a slight curve on the inside where they join the panel. This makes bolting tricky, so I'm looking at other ideas, or how I can adapt. It's all about being flexible, right? A trip to my nearby building centre for some advice may help. I keep saying to myself, "Don't be afraid to slay the children", but at this point, it's a little nerve-wracking. I will post photos when done.

These are the last of the photos from the workshop. How I wish I had taken more; I guess I needed an extra pair of hands.

In this photo, Rebecca is applying solvent to a panel and carefully wiping back layers of paint.

Here, she has just drawn an image with a paint stick, ( a new material for me, and they are so interesting to work with), and she will further embed and manipulate the marks into her image.
I am fascinated with the intuitiveness of the oil/cold wax methods that Rebecca uses, without ever sacrificing the intellectual side of the process.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Three Artists from Rochester Area

Still working on finishing some mixed media collage works on old 78 vinyl records for an exhibit at APW Gallery in NYC - myself and about 400 other artists. The idea is to hang 2000 vinyl records in their gallery. I've seen photos of a previous show, but it would be quite a sight to see in person. Hope to get mine finished and sent out on time.

Back to the Oil/Wax Workshop in Rochester:

This is Jim M. creating beautiful floating layers on his panels.

Wendy M. combines human figures and animal forms in her fantastical, whimsical figurative and landscape work.

Kathryn produces subtle spring-like paintings that reflect her experience with encaustic.

And Rebecca's demos had all of us with our noses close to the surface, looking into the depths of her work.

Inspiring people - inspiring art.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More From Rochester Workshop

Progress is being made on the pieces that were begun at Rebecca Crowell's Oil/Wax workshop. Lots of ideas floating through my head, and several panels have been added. Hope to have them completed and photographed by the weekend.

Here are photos of some of the techniques that Rebecca demonstrated. Just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. She came well-prepared with many materials and boundless ideas, coupled with a strong ability to articulate her processes and her philosophical ideas of abstract art. I appreciated her teaching techniques, and her engaging human qualities as well. An excellent instructor, Rebecca inspired us to aim high. Even though we may not have achieved those goals immediately, we have the tools and inspiration to continue to grow and develop.

In this photo, Rebecca is applying pigment from a paint stick onto her brayer.

She carefully rolls the design onto her painting.

By applying solvent to a dried painting, she demonstrates how to carefully scrape back pigment to reveal layers of colour below.

These are a few of the techniques that Rebecca shared with us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What a Weekend.

I always feel fortunate when I've experience something extra-special. This past weekend ranks very high on my list of memorable events in my life, and I will often reflect on the abstract painting workshop with Rebecca Crowell at Rochester Art Supply/Cascade Art Centre in Rochester, NY.

People make the difference in one's life, and the folks I met in Rochester this past weekend were all remarkable. Thank you to all. There was such a spirit of giving, sharing, connecting and positive feedback throughout the weekend, that I believe we all went our separate ways a little reluctantly, albeit anxious to return to our studios to see how our work will change. And change it will, I'm sure.

More photos and text in future posts; there's lots to share. The photo above is Rebecca Crowell, our workshop facilitator, and Jim Mott, one of the participating artists: we deserved a great meal and art-talk time after a hard day's work on Sat. at the Cascade Art Centre.

Monday, April 13, 2009

An Incentive to Work on Sculpture

The United Way celebrated their 50th year Gala a while ago, and Belleville Arts Association members were asked to donate 50 pieces of artwork for their fundraising draw. It was quite a night, and although I was not able to attend (at another art show in Napanee), reports indicate that everyone had a great time, and significant funds were raised through the draw. My submission was a smoke-fired sculpture, the first this year. I really need to get more sculpture work done, as I am constantly asked for this kind of art. Hopefully the flooding in our basement studio will be cleared up this week and we can get back to our clay work. My partner in clay-crime is chomping at the bit, and sweeping out water, so we're almost ready to get back to production. Needless to say, our studio conditions for the pottery are, shall we say, primitive. Onward and upward...Spring is here.

The sculpture, "Sanctuary", is comprised of 2 figures that sit on a piece of granite that I got from my friend Steve Smith who is a sculptor for Campbell Monuments. He was kind enough to take me through their "rubble" yard and I scrounged a few good hunks.

I smoked the figures in my small bin, as there were only 2 parts - and the weather was still cold outside so I wasn't into digging the snow out of the meter and a half deep pit. Brr. I'm getting to be a real wimp.

Computer-wise, I've be fooling around with document size, etc. to see if I can get photos to load faster. We live rurally, and are on dialup, still. No end of technical frustration sometimes. I can see that I need to work on my computer skills. I have some computer workshops coming up in the near future, so I'm looking forward to some real improvement in my knowledge of things technical.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Long Time Away

Happy to have returned to blogging after a long absence. Life happens.
Working on a variety of projects: a sculpture piece for donation to the United Way 50th Gala in Belleville last week, and new work to get ready for exhibiting at Expressions '09, the BAA Gallery and Gallery 121. In addition, we've booked many art shows for the season within 200 km or so of home. It's been very busy, and will only get busier. That's good.

Next weekend I will be lucky enough to be attending an oil/wax workshop in Rochester, NY, led by Rebecca Crowell . It will mean getting back to oils, something I've been interested in doing for a while. The focus will be abstract work. So there's lots to prepare, and the topping up of oil supplies; then I'm off next Friday.

Had a fun time working on some 5" X 7" mixed media collages themed to Earth Hour in March, and the upcoming Earth Day in April.