Friday, December 12, 2014

Reading Pablo

In prep for my upcoming Spain trip I've been reading Patrick O'Brian's biography of Picasso. It's so well written, and they actually knew each other well which provides for some good perspective. I'm reading on my kobo, so no pics, which I think will make it feel like even more of a discovery when I get there and see his work and legacy in the 'for reals'. 

And... look at this big chunk o' linoleum he's playing with!  My kind of guy. 

Art Opening at The Cultch

We had such a great evening at The Cultch on Wednesday night; what a crowd!  All my party favorites were there, and lots of great new people I'm so happy to have met.  Thanks to all who came out, to artists Atty and John who are showing there with me, to Jenn at the Cultch, and a special big thanks to those of you who are taking home a new piece of artwork.  Show is up until January 8th. 1895 Venables in Vancouver. 
Here are a few snaps:  

And here's me recuperating the next morning with the chocolate bar Trent brought me as a present. Thanks Trent. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spanish Art Residency - Pre Game Plan

A huge part of the fun of any adventure is the anticipation that fills the gap between deciding to go and getting on the plane.  Well, I’m happy to announce that I’ve entered that phase.  My art residency in Spain is booked!  I’ll be leaving on February 16th, spending 2 weeks sketching and traveling with my favourite trip buddy/husband, then spending all of March at Estudio Nomada on the outskirts of Barcelona exploring different methods and creating a new body of work.  I've confirmed with Estudio Nomada who offered the residency through, we booked an adorable flat in Madrid through, and traded our house with a couple who live in the heart of Barcelona through  How did we do these things before the magical interweb?!

So here’s how the pre-game goes for me: First  I do up a reading list.  It’ll cover some history, geography, culture, travelogues and the like.  This time it includes lots of Hemingway and Michener, and books on Dali, Velasquez and Picasso.   I started chipping my way through it  when I first got the invite from the residency, so I’ve already hit some big stuff like Don Quixote (it may be heralded as the first modern novel, but it’s still a bit of a slog in spots).

Then I make a language study plan.  In this case it’s easier than past trips, since Spanish is my strongest ‘non-english’ language.  I’ve been reading my fave Spanish books (el Alquemista, Cuentos de Eva Luna) and listening to audio books in Spanish like ‘El Monje Que Vendio Su Ferrari’.  I’m also using audio podcasts and worksheets from Marina Diaz and Ben Curtis.  They’re an adorable Spanish/British couple who make great learning tools at all levels.  They discuss really interesting topics, anything from environmental concerns to the Heroes TV Show.  She corrects him when his Spanish isn’t perfect, and  together they explain any unusual terms or idioms.  Super effective.  I’m watching my way through every Spanish movie Netflix has to offer.   There is a January session at  right around the corner from my house that I'll be attending, and has Spanish meet-up sessions at the bar a few blocks in the other direction.  Que conveniente!  I know when I get there there’ll be lots of people who speak English everywhere, but it’s far more fun to torture them in their own language J

Now I get to plan the art part: what supplies to take and what tech-y tools I’ll need.  I'm envisioning tucking into the streetscape, capturing wild Gaudi structures, old Moorish buildings and contemporary marvels all jumbled together.  I'm so excited about this destination!

Then comes the promo stuff.  This time I’ll be using something like Indiegogo to raise funds to cover the trip.  I’ll do up a video sharing my dream, showing my methods and what people will get if they invest in my adventure. 

So, I hope you’ll follow along.  Empazamos! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Vancouver Linocuts

Another awesome day in the print studio (is there any other kind?) and now I'm almost ready for my upcoming show.  It'll be at The Cultch in East Van, opening reception December 10th 6-8 pm.  More details to come.  In the meantime I'm printing, organizing and painting away.  My part of the show is called 'Cityscapes Here And There' and it'll feature these new linocut works of Vancouver  along with the series from my residency in Italy.  There are two other artists who's work will be on display:  John Steil is showing a really cool series of woodcuts all based on Wallace Stevens' poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird", and Atty Gell will have a series of works there all based on Trout Lake Park.  It's a show I would recommend and attend even if I wasn't in it.

The East Side Culture Crawl was this past weekend.   Some 300 plus studios on Vancouver's East Side throw their doors open for 4 days.  The biggest wow for me this year was 1000 Parker Street.  There are well over 100 artists all showing under one roof.  The work is varied and fantastic.  There were a few printmakers, and everything else from the most serious of oil painters to a guy who'll make you a classic replica camper scaled down for your dog to call home.  I could have stayed there and wandered the building for days.  In fact, stay tuned and see if I don't happen to find a studio sublet in there at some point this year.  Could be fun :)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Chalkboard Art at Pandosy Vet

Oh, I had sooo much fun doing these chalkboards. Two spent days up a ladder, listening to my favourite 'music to make art by' playlist (those of you who've had an art adventure with me may be familiar with these playlists), and just noodling.  Heaven.  I climbed the ladder each day without a plan.  I just played, incorporating suggestions from Arnica, the shop owner, elements from the store, and of course images of Yogi and some of my other fave hounds. I did 5 boards in the two days.  My plan was to use chalk ink, but my good old chalk pastels were calling me. They blend so nicely, and these boards were really well prepped and nice to draw on.  And they're up andsafely out of reach of curious hands. 

Their dog treat bar is filled with wonders, many of them herbal.  It's like an organic canine candy counter.  I decided to reference that on their 'specials' board. 

These guys are above the kids play area 


And of course Yogi (who's watching me write this post) 

These cuties populate the board above the pet feed, primarily because they are (or are related to) the animals found inside the cans and bags. The irony of a person who doesn't eat animals who were factory raised drawing cute animals because they will be eaten by cuter animals is not lost on me, but honestly I loved doing this board. And, if anyone cares, my dog is a carnivore. I never put much thought into that. I'd make a terrible activist/politician. 

Here's Molly-Moo, Yog, Laughlin of Pandosy Vet fame, Lulu and Bones. 

You might recognize one of these guys. If not, there's this new thing called the internet you might want to look into. I hear it's really catching on. 

"What r you lookin' at"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Sketchiness Continues - A Prelude to Diner en Blanc

Another night playing with the iPad sketch app at Dr Sketchy.  Our model was Evilyn 13, another sassy beauty.  Hot Art Wet City does a great job of hosting these events.  It's always a great vibe in there.   And it was a fun break from sitting on the porch carving lino.
Today will be spent doing some paperwork (not my forte) and getting all my gear and food ready for Diner en Blanc, Vancouver's big beautiful flashmob dinner party where everyone dresses in head to toe white and converges on a public place (kept secret until the last minute) for an elegant picnic.  Our model here, gorgeous as she is, would be turned away in her black get up.  This year should be fun, with our group growing. We are a party of 8 with more joining us for the disco party afterwards.  We would be more but it's a feat getting a ticket to this event.  We've been lucky enough to be on the list right from the start (thanks Trent) but now there's a waiting list of many many thousands of people.  Crazy.  We were lucky to get 8 in.  There will be no sketching tomorrow night.  I'll be busy eating, clicking glasses in toasts to the beautiful summer we're having, and sharing food with friends.  And then dancing.  Who can sketch when they're boogying with 2,000 white-clad partygoers?!  I'll try to take some pics instead.

Monday, August 18, 2014

New Prints Underway!

I'm happily sitting on the front porch surrounded by shreds of linoleum. Four new images are underway. These ones are bigger; twice the size of my previous works. It feels good to be carving again. Printmaking goes in such stages; selecting subjects, drawing, transferring, carving, printing, adding colour, numbering/titling and recording, and... the step I've been working on this past month... selling!  As each one arrives I think, as I do with the seasons, "Oh yay!  This one's my favourite!"  Then, as I get close  to the end I'm ready for the next one to begin. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Moon Over Harmony Arts Festival

And so concludes our first Harmony Arts Festival experience.  We drove home tired and happy last night, gorged on delivery food by candlelight on the front deck at about midnight, and reflected on what a fun and successful show this was.  I met so many interesting people, new and former purchasers, fellow exhibitors and lots of people interested in the printmaking process.  It's cool how many people light up when they see a piece of carved linoleum and want to share their experiences in grade school or at art college exploring printmaking.  My booth mate for the second weekend was Marilyn Green of Cygnet Jewelry, a former occupational therapist who makes these amazing silver pieces out of repurposed finger splints.  I of course had to have one.  I also really loved the jewelry of our booth neighbour Emilie of ELK Jewelry from Montreal.  She uses a japanese technique called mokume to make beautiful delicately patterned pieces.  They'd make great wedding rings if anyone is looking. 
Thank you again to those of you who purchased artworks.  I really enjoyed talking with you, hearing why you chose the ones you did, and all the encouragement and support you gave me.  For those of you who requested pieces from the upcoming series I'll keep you posted as I go.  
I've got a start on the following pieces:
Dayton Boot
The Waldorf
The East Van Sign
The Stanley Theatre
There's a few more in the hopper. Stay tuned.  In the meantime I'm back to training for my Eastside 10k Run in September, spending time with family and friends, drawing, carving, planning, and looking forward to my next big print run with the new series.   

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Caution: Wet Paint

I'm having some fun studio time right now, finishing more works for the Fresh Street Arts Market at Harmony Arts Festival on Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver.  Sales were brisk this past weekend and I want to make sure I have a good selection for this Friday through Sunday.  When I do an edition of 10 prints I don't sit down and paint them all at once.  Instead I'll paint one or two each of the whole range of images.  It keeps it fun, and I make palette discoveries on one image that I'll play with on the next.  It also means I get to rethink things after living with a piece for a bit.  Spending four days in the sunshine this past weekend looking at and talking about my work with people was a great way to see things with fresh eyes and get an appreciation for how people feel and what they respond to.  Art is such an emotional purchase.  I don't usually get to be there when people select their piece; that happens in a gallery or online.  It was really fun (and educational) to watch them ponder between three versions of an image and make their selection.  Everyone had a different take on things, which made me happy, since I like to switch things up.  I'm down to the last two images of the Orpheum, and a couple other pieces are almost sold through.  It's like watching your kids go off to college.  It's a little bittersweet to see the last one go, but just like the empty nesters who shed a few tears then start happily planning their new den, it makes room for the next print series.  Stay tuned for that ;-) 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Harmony Arts Festival

Amazing weekend at Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver.  I got to share a booth in the Art Market with my favourite painter buddy Danyne Johnston (or Bud-deen as she is known in my house).  A big thanks to everyone who stopped by, and to those of you who took home a new piece of art.  I heard so many great stories about the locations in my works, met some very cool artists and saw lots of inspiring works.  Can't wait for next weekend when we do it all again!
Stop by if you can.  We're at Ambleside Beach Friday through Sunday til 9 each night.  Great music, jewelry, art, food,concerts on the beach, what more could you ask for on a sunny summer weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hello New a Toy ( or the day I fell in love with paper53)

I was out for dinner last night and someone (thank you Tanja Gardner) mentioned paper53; an app you sketch with on your iPad. I was intrigued, mostly because I get so messy using chalk pastel, and I'm always wrestling with big sketch pads and trying to reach my materials without crashing in to the person seated beside me at Dr Sketchy. I downloaded it when I got home and the fun began. First I sketched my feet (like I always tell the people in my workshops to do when they want a simple subject). That was fun. Then on to the hound. Then, ready or not, I headed off to a night of burlesque sketching at Hot Art Wet City.  The model was Georsha Gal, and she was fabulous. Great performance, super playful, and fun costumes for sketching.  I like my new toy.  And look Ma, no mess!  Closed my iPad at the end and walked out clean.   

Oh, and here's the sketch of my feet, for anyone who made it this deep into the post :-)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bound for Carnaval del Sol Arts Market!

Been busily painting in the studio all day getting ready for the upcoming Carnaval del Sol!  It's the city's annual Latin bash, with food, music, dancing and a big arts market.   A little salsa, a little cerveza, and a chance to display my artwork and meet some other like-minded art folk; sounds like a perfect weekend to me. The art booths will set up along Granville Street between Dunsmuir and Nelson.  Come down and visit if you're in the area.  The festival draws 100,000 plus people and should be a total blast! 

It's funny, I had no plan to be part of this event.  It came the same way we always seem to get parking spots.  When we get close to where we're going, especially someplace busy, we ask the Parking Fairy out loud to provide and a spot just seems to magically appear.  It amuses us every time, but we're always careful to say thank you out loud so we don't jinx it for the next time. We were doing a visualization exercise on Monday aft before heading to my friend Trent's birthday party, and I wrote down three things I wanted to draw into my life in the next 30 days.  The first one was to find more places to show and sell my artwork.  In the middle of the party a few hours later I checked my phone.  Lo and behold there was an email out of the blue inviting me to participate in this festival.  Insert Twilight Zone soundtrack here.  I think those 'Secret - Law of Attraction' people might be on to something ;-).  So, thank you Life Fairy.  Will let you all know when the other two things I wrote down appear.  

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Prints from Italy - both traditional and painted

Below are the 10 images from my recent residency in Italy, in both linocut and linocut with watercolour.  Each image is printed on 15x22" Stonehenge paper. 

Rooftops of Montmartre 

Hanging Out In Trastevere

Roman Glass

Umbrella Sellers

River Gods

Petit Prince of Lyon 

Grande Blu 
Rooftops of Perugia

Perugian Slivers II

Perugian Slivers I