April 30, 2011

New Projects

Boy it seems like every time that I post on here I have started working on something new.  Now, I wish that meant that I had finished everything before I started something else....but that isn't my style.  I am in the middle of a billion things right now, but that must be the way that I like it - because I do it all the time!
Today's work in progress belongs to a mural mosaic for Mount Royal University. 
You can find a link to the full centennial project here.
I signed up to "paint" two of the panels.  I am doing an image of the Kerby Memorial Building and a portrait of Jean Fraser (one of the previous board members.)  However, these panels were really awful and rough, so I was unable to do any sort of drawing on them.  I attempted, which you will see in one of them (ugh, its kind of embarassing how bad it is) but I switched myself over to some watercolour paper.  This meant that I had to recreate the colours and marks that were in the original acrylic panels to watercolour and wet media.  It was a challenge, and they are not perfect, but hey - it works.
This first panel is for the Kerby Memorial Building:
Before (don't judge the drawing, I know it sucks.)

After - Not a bad approximation, I had added the white gesso bits on the first panel, so they will come into this one again once I am ready to start drawing.

The second one was a bit challenging, as I had no black to work with (until I busted out some acrylic to help finish up the job.
Before - all those lovely slightly drippy bits almost killed me to copy.  I didn't nail them, but I think that will be okay in the long run.
After - So this one really doesn't look as nice as the original, but hey, I did my best.  I still have to put a portrait on top of this thing, so it will change a lot.

I will post more pictures as I continue working on the pieces, they are due really quickly so I will be making quick work of them (I hope!)  Did I mention that these things are also going to be published in a book....egads.  Makes me nervous!


April 24, 2011


Well, at long last, I have had a bit of time "off" to get caught up with a few things.  One was cleaning - and whoooo boy did the house ever need it.  The other was to assemble some lovely book cases that my mother-in-law picked up for us.  Ryan worked hard and got everything put together, I worked hard to organize everything.  It is amazing how just a few things on the wall or books in their shelves can really make a house feel like home. 

So this is the new feature in our bedroom, I will post pics of the living room when they are done as well.  I know that it is just a basic ikea bookshelf, but it feels so great to have some more of my things out of the boxes that were sitting on my landing and into their homes.

 I really think that it has helped to round out what was otherwise a glaringly huge empty wall with nothing but a dog kennel to occupy it.  I am really happy to have all my books out.  From the few times that we have moved, I have realized that the thing that I own the most of in this world is books.  That makes me feel pretty good.
Finally, a little closeup of some very lovely and important things!  The books are by Charles Van Sandwyk, who is an incredible illustrator.  I have been storing them until they could be put on display like this.  The white bird pieces were given to me by my sister-in-law, and the cameras were gifts from Ryan and my Father-in-Law, and one that I bought for myself.  Its a maroon Fed-5 and I swear, one of these days I will develop some of the many rolls of photos that I have taken on it.  The lovely crochet kitten is courtesy of Sheila and Greg (as is the blue kitty) and the little kitten mug is from my good pal Aaron.  I also have a little ornament which is of a little grey kitten bought for me by my sister Kim.  Egads!  That is quite the list of special things.  I am very blessed.
I also think that word might have gotten out that I like cats. 

That is all for today,
Back I go to silkscreening!

April 17, 2011

Wedding invites-a-plenty!

I have a friend, and his name is Kyle.  One day Kyle met a lovely girl named Melissa.  Somewhere along the way, they decided that they would get married.  They are going to have the cutest wedding I could ever dream of, and the two of them couldn't be better matched.  Did I mention that I get the honor of doing their wedding invites? 
They were looking for something rustic and creative, I wanted to give them something quirky and fun (just like them!)  They showed me a few things to take as inspiration and gave me one word to work with.  Tree. 
They had really enjoyed my tree journal that I printed - and so I wanted to give them something similar.  Every time that I put my pencil to paper though, I could not help but to sing "Kyle and Melissa sitting in a tree...."  This became the inspiration for the whole package that I am going to put together for them.  Their invites will have the beautiful tree on them, and everything else will be linked through something else that I was able to pull together.
In this scan, the marker lines seem rather blobby, but once they are screen printed, they are going to look great.  I decided that I wanted to draw everything, even the circles by hand to give a really rustic handmade look.  I think that the two of them are going to really love it. 

Did I mention that my amazing sister is going to be handwriting the whole thing for them?  SO GOOD!


April 10, 2011

Where do we go, from here....

Well, I took the sandpaper to most of the bird skull that I have been working on.  I just did not like the messy-charcoalish-ness of it at all.  To me, bones are delicate and textured and in the size that I am working - I just couldn't make that happen with charcoal.  So I hit the drawing board again, sanded things down, and reworked the whole piece.  I am really pleased with how the skull has turned out, but the composition is still really lacking something.  I have no idea what yet, but I am going to keep staring at it to try and figure it out.


April 6, 2011

Starting a new work and possibly a new series

I have been tossing around in my head the last while how I might make a subtle, slow transition into painting and mixed media work.  I have often been incredibly attracted to the work, but overwhelmed with the complexity.
Through my artistic career, I have often relied almost exclusively on drawing - not daring to venture into the mixy, mushy, lovely world of paint and other media.  Teaching has totally changed that for me.

I don't know what happened or why, but ever since I started teaching art and encouraging students to try new things - I have really started to think the same for myself.  Rather than staying simply with something that is "safe" - I am really looking to venture out.  After all, if I tell students that sometimes the most interesting things are the little mistakes or the accidents they make, why do I not give myself the freedom to explore in the same fashion?

So I am really hoping to get some new works going.  Some I am sure will be incredible failures, some will hopefully be amazing successes.  There is so much that I don't know about making art and I feel like it is really time for me to start exploring.

This piece may well be the start of a new series....but there are many things that I will need to resolve before it is a finished work.  It has mostly been an act of experimentation.  I was recently gifted some painting supplies from a wonderful friend who moved off to Europe to follow her dreams, and it turns out....I LOVE gesso!

I think it looks incredible on wood, and I really enjoy how it plays with drawing media.  I also spent a bunch of time experimenting with using gesso to make lace imprints on the canvas/board.  It took some fussing, but I am VERY pleased with the results.  Gesso also really reminds me of bone, something about its texture and tooth.  So from there I began thinking about skulls and bird bones.  They are SO delicate.  I chose to work with charcoal, and I do kind of wish that I would have stuck with graphite for the lightness....but I will keep on working with what I started.  Like I said - its all an experiment.  I might end up glossing the whole thing after....we will see!

Any comments or feedback would be wonderful, this is just the begining!  (Remember though, it is not done at all.)
That is all for now!

April 3, 2011

Working on the Weekend?

Sometimes my job takes me to strange places.  I had to make my way out to a small acreage to photograph a potential sculpture donation for Mount Royal.  While there, I couldn't help but to play in the snow with my pup.

Oh look at that sweet face.  The snow (as you can see) was up past my knees.  Abby had an amazing time tearing around and hopping through the snow (picture 1.)  I hate that its still snowing and its supposed to be spring, but I have to admit...that was really fun.
Loves and Kisses,