Sunday, November 22, 2015

New project in the making

Hubby and I spent about nine weeks living in a small travel trailer this past summer into fall. I loved it, we experienced new to us places, spent a lovely time with family and I started an tiny arts project fitting for living in a tiny space. Of course this project also carries an environmental theme as my previous Nest project does. It also has the mandate of using recycled items as in yarn scraps and beads bought at thrift stores and garage sales rather than new.

Anyhow, lets go back to the beginning. I knew when we left on our travels that as I need to keep my hands busy to still an over active mind that it would be a good idea to bring along crochet hooks and some yarn I purchased for making hats. Well into the third or fourth day bored with hat making I began playing with small crochet and ended up with a sweet tiny vessel. I was intrigued to stitch up another, so by the time we reached Vancouver Island I had two tiny crocheted vessels. Then to add interest of nature I thought to fill the inside of these vessels with found items that consider tiny environments. Well my wonderful sisters were onboard with my ideas and donated small butterfly brooches and bug fabrics to add to the vessels. Then of course to fit the mandate of found materials we needed to peruse thrift stores for crochet threads, and yarns as well as some small found vessels as all are not going to be crocheted, yet all will have handiwork in or on them.

The idea incorporates traditional handiwork with nature. The past ideology of grooming young women into marriageable prospects whom learned needle work and placed it into a chest for future use, though before my time I might add. The thought that these chests hold hope for the prospects of the future, for they were called Hope Chests.

Hope for the future of Nature is my theme. Using needlework and found objects to recreate nature  placed within tiny vessels. In a sense Nature is being segregating from self, confined within a tiny vessel.
 So far I have been working on crocheting many varied vessels.
 Some will be decorated outside 
 and some will extend the limits of the vessel as growth erupting from within.
Combinations of random freeform crochet hopefully elicit a feeling of growth on some vessels.
This is but a beginning so these vessels may look far different when completed.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bear Bear Bear

This post was written awhile back but for some reason it never posted.

I'm  being inspired by bears we watched last spring in Waterton Lakes National Park. It was a wonderful chilly drizzly windy with periods of sunshine kinda week spent admiring the remote beauty as mountains drifted in and out of sight amongst rain clouds. I love Southern Alberta landscapes where the rolling hills blend up to the mountains. The exception being constant gusting wind everyday, the constant howl does tend to drive one a wee bit crazy after a while.

Though Grizzly were spotted at higher elevations we pretty much stayed to the lower levels aside from one bitter cold windy rainy afternoon at Cameron Lake. We partially hiked the lakeside trail looking for glacier lilies and thankfully found two of the yellow beauties not too far along the trail as we really were not prepared for the extreme wind chill so headed back to the boat rental place to warm up.

With the experience ingrained in my spirit and diverse reference photos to work from I composed a few more bear paintings after finishing "Watching the Hikers" Acrylic, on wrapped canvas, 16x24 inches

"Masked Cinnamon Bear in Wildflower Meadow" 
Acrylic on wrapped canvas, 16x16 inches

I love the face of cinnamon bear as it was dark like a mask. I may at some point do a closer up view of its face but for these paintings the bears are in natural habitat and I want to maintain the impression of being viewed in the wilds, not close up photo-realistic as I tend to do. When out viewing we see form and shape and how light hits that form with contrasted dark shadow. Sometimes the animal is close enough and the light is just right to see their eyes but mostly not. Its more an experience. Excitement increases the adrenaline while almost silent exclamations escape the lips as we breathe out, all the while breathing in the moment, the beauty, the Wow of creation that we are but a tiny part of.

"Rocky Mountain Black Bear"
Acrylic on wrapped canvas, 10 x14 inches
This bear had the most black glossy coat, so shinny and rich looking that I struggled to achieve the look I wanted to portray. Did I get it?

There is one more on the drawing board of a bear I called Saddle Blanket. We watched Saddle Blanket and his/her mom traverse across an open meadow grubbing for roots and bulbs one eve at dusk. The light was fast receding behind the mountain but we were able to watch them for about ten minutes through our camera lens before them ambled over the hilltop out of view. Yes I view distant wildlife through a 300 prime lens; sure wish I could afford a pair of quality binoculars but with limited funds I make do with what I have.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sayward sunlight

Been off and about for a few months gathering reference material for creative endeavours. Picked up a few cast off tools to try out random marking on metal to get my hand back into print-making seeing as I have some old plates to re-work, alter or complete. It will be a new learning curve working with soy-based inks rather than oil based. Going as non-toxic as possible. Hope to get started next month and will try remember to document the process for future reference.

A few photos gathered while living in a 16 ft trailer for 2. 5 months.

Last Light of the setting sun above.
Below photo is Sayward Morning light enjoyed by a Robin and photographer.
 I quite enjoyed the play of sunlight on the robin while the sun had not yet hit the fence. Below photo is also about how the light was striking the sails.

 Kitty Coleman light.

 Wee bird that I still have to look up its name, but too much to do presently.

 Beauty in closely observed bark.
do you see the Tree Creeper?

Bowser  Bay Bear

Aside from doing photography a new venture akin to the 3.5 year "Nest Project" has been started, though this one involves crocheting small vessels. Thats all I can say about it for now as I've only completed one though have more are in progress.  Have a great day wherever you are.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Posting to the Edmonton Nature blog

I have written a few articles for the Edmonton Nature Blog. the most recent on the Beauty and Benefits of a Snag and instead of re-posting here you may click the link to read the article

Nuthatches nested and raised young in a backyard snag.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Sun

Wow, its exciting to discover that the photo taken by Greg Southam of the Edmonton Journal of me wearing the Recycle Reuse skirt design that I created for the juried SkirtsAfire fashion show in Edmonton has also been covered by the Ottawa Citizen, The Province and Vancouver Sun. Amazing, not only was the SkirtsAfire HerArts Festival Fashion Show covered by CBC and CTV News Edmonton but my skirt design was covered further afield.
To see me shimmy a green and pink reuse tablecloths go to the link.

The following is an article I published to the Edmonton Nature Blog

In February, delighted to be chosen to design a skirt for SkirtsAfire herArts Festival that celebrates women playwrights, authors, actors, poets, musicians and visual artists I set to the task of creating in 1920 era Flapper style. The mandate that skirts be made of found or reuse items was the key inspiration. A brightly colorful skirt was created from plastic pink and lime green tablecloths and surveyors tape acquired from the Edmonton Reuse Centre. Flowing christmas tinsel, cassette tape ribbon, vegetable netting as well as metal strainer parts that musically jingle and clanked when the skirt was worn were the embellishments. 

Edmonton Reuse Centre is a wonderful place to send items that could be reused by parents, teachers and artists in creative projects. Now one may ask what has this got to do with a Nature Blog, well for one it diverts useable items from being landfill, and thats something every citizen can do to help protect nature. Its also a place for creative ideas to blossom, to look at items in a different way and encourage people to seek out new uses for items they generally discard.

The seven skirts chosen to be designed were showcased in the SkirtsAfire Fashion show broadcast by CBC, CTV News and the Edmonton Journal which kicked off the festival. A photo taken by Greg Southam of me dancing in the colorful plastic skirt was also featured by the Vancouver Sun, Province and the Ottawa Citizen, now thats wonderful coverage. The skirt and vest has since been donated to the Edmonton Reuse Centre and will be displayed in the board room so that others may enjoy it as well. The bonus, a bit of plastic has been diverted from the landfill and kept out of the natural environment.

Everyone can do their part to respect and protect Nature by reuse, recycle and upcycling items by thinking up new ways to use them rather than just tossing them out to the curb. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Was it not complete?

Was it complete? Well no. When I'm not satisfied with the overall look I can't help myself but to jump back in with paint on brush and make changes. At this point in a painting it can go two ways, worse or better. I am happy with all the hours, days that added up to a months worth of work that this painting improved with the extra days work.

this is the last image I posted which at this point I let the painting rest for a week then took another good look at it. Though it probably was good enough, I could see where it could be pushed further and strengthened by adding more darks into shadow areas and scumbling color into the foreground to integrate it into the rest of the painting.

This is the completed painting of "Watching the Hikers" it has since rested for over a week and I see no areas that leave me troubled. Done and ready to sign and get an isolation coat painted on to protect the image from dust.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

SkirtsAfire fashion show and media blitz

What a great morning. We walked into the hall and noticed I was the oldest participant, which of course made hubby chuckle and call me an ole boot, Matriarch I corrected him, both chuckling by now. Then someone questioned if I was there to support my daughter, I laughingly replied "no this ole boot is one of the designers who decide to expand her comfort level".  I can now say I participated as a designer and model in the SkirtsAfire fashion show media blitz and had a blast. I loved the energy and the coming together of creative women, it was wonderful, its how it should be. Creative women supporting and promoting creativity in women, what a wonderful thing to be a part of. SkirtsAfire is now in its third year and I am so looking towards taking in some of the events. 

The opening ceremony is thursday March 5th from 5-7pm at the Nina Haggerty Gallery 9225 118 Ave.
My art work is in the juried art exhibition at the gallery, so we will be in attendance. 
From 1-3 pm on saturday there will be artists talks and viewing at the Gallery, I will be talking about my work but don't know what time.

Ok I promised photos, so my loving husband set to the task of capturing the show to share.
 Getting ready.

 I was the lead out and as my dress is titled "Dance the Night Away" based on 1920 Flapper era I shimmied, shook and twirled, in essence had great fun.

 Skirt made from used plastic tablecloths, surveyors tape, kitchen strainers, christmas tinsel, cassette tape and mesh fruit bags. The judges are sitting to the right and you can see some of the camera crews that were recording the event.

Next up was a fantastic creation by three young students Madison Braget, Brooke Fersovitch and Kaylee Gaines titled "Midnight Truffle" which was made of tarp layers fringed with a duck tape waistband fastened with bottle cap buttons. I loved seeing their youthful creativity they did an excellent job, the bottle cap buttons were in my mind a stroke of genius. Sorry no close up, though hope to take some close up photos on the mannequins when the SkirtsAfire Festival opens.
"Mas Claro" by Joan McFarlane. Great geometric design by arranging tea towels and bubble wrap. (this one is a runner up)

 Can you believe its door screening as the base of this skirt that is covered with receipts and cigarette foils. "Not-your-ordinary Lace Skirt" by Paola Cantal.

 Ira Tuzlukova made "Paper Couture" skirt totally out of folded paper, amazing. Founded on the idea of Alexander McQueen couture lines.

 "Save Our Trees, No Flyers Please" by Tessa Stamp and Christie Hutchinson. Tree branches and flyers attached to a burlap base, I love the matching head piece that pulled the woodsy look together. (This is the the winning skirt)

And "Sleight of Hand" by Kia Day, a fitted Pencil style skirt made from playing cards with a hint of red lace at the leg.

As one can tell the designs are varied, creative, fun and best of all they are made of reuse and upcycle. During the festival all skirts will be on display in the SkirtsAfire Cabaret Space at the Alberta Community League 9210 118th Ave.
I can honestly say I am pleased to have been chosen to be a part of the SkirtsAfire skirt design competition. Well done Ladies.