Sunday, November 17, 2013

Working full time as a preschool teacher and painting when I can leaves little time for posting anything on my blog. So why post now?

I'm excited to be a part of a group show with the Alberta Oil Painters at Scotia Place in downtown Edmonton starting November 18th, 2013.

As I have watched "my" kids in the preschool do art, I've been inspired to just play! So I've worked with (played with) encaustic painting and collage. Both of these mediums have helped me to change the way I approach a subject both in technique and process. I used to have a goal in mind: what the painting should look like when it was finished; now I allow my paintings to evolve.  Where once I was interested only in expressing my idea in oils, now I want to include diverse items, to "hide" things in the work for others to discover.

In the painting I've done for this show I began with the idea of a tree with a tire swing that had been moved from one side of the tree to another, a "re-tired" tree. I planned to use collage and then paint.

I began the collage process with the tree trunk.  I found a book in a second hand store called "That Was Then, This is Now". I liked the yellowed pages for the color of the tree trunk and thought the print would add texture. Then I began to read the sentences as I tore them out.  I decided that those bits and pieces of sentences, of dialogue between teenagers would represent youth and the promise of the future.

As I worked with the sentence strips, the story of the painting changed! It came to me that my life is very different from what I had envisioned for my future when I was young. The painting became about the nostalgia people have for a future that did not happen the way they thought it would.

I wonder how many people can relate to this feeling.

I enjoyed making this painting. Maybe someone will enjoy looking at it, too.

That Was Then, This Is Now
30"x 36 "
Collage and oil on canvas

PS. Since this photo was taken and posted,the chameleon on the branch to the left has changed color to match the background.
So bizarre, right?

Monday, February 20, 2012

A "New" Life!

It has been about a year and a half since my last post. I have restarted a career that I left for ten years: that of Preschool Teacher! I was hired as Atelierista for the center and am working toward a full understanding and development of that role. ( I just read that Atelier is French for workshop...I was sure it meant which case my job is "workshop leader".)

My job description, as I see it, includes the observation, understanding and furthering the artistic abilities of our young children in order to make art an essential part of their learning process. Their art has included making plans and maps for their projects; designing crowns for their castle play, making collage fire trucks and modern art like the Kandinsky prints we looked up on the computer.

I am learning so much!

In a previous blog I mentioned the importance of play to my work as an artist. Perhaps there's a chicken and egg situation here...what came first the play or the art? For children it's all the same...their play is their work and within it they are constantly trying new things just for the sake of the learn. Observing the children has given me a fresh perspective.

For children art is about exploration, it's based on the senses and absorbs their attention completely for whatever length of time they invest. Some children dabble while others immerse themselves totally in the process. Preschool children are like sponges and they love to learn and practise "techniques" over and over. One little fellow made a shape that looked like a leaf. "Look! I made a leaf!" He was so excited that he had made a recognizable, name-able shape that he made about twenty more of the same shape in many different colours.

To apply that to my own process: I need to explore more, be fully aware, involve more of my senses and go deep! I realize it's ok to sometimes dabble and ok to sometimes get thoroughly involved as long as I'm mindful. I ask myself, " what is really important to know about this piece right now?" and I remind myself to practise, practise, practise! Or maybe that should read play! play! play!

What a privilege and wonderful responsibility to observe and guide children as they learn to express themselves through art.
What a joy to be involved with their exploration of art, their experimentation with materials and in their increased awareness of their senses, abilities and imaginations.

I am truly blessed on this journey.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Peonies 8x10
Oil on Board $195.00

It is wonderful when the weather co-operates on "Paint with Your Friends Day" and we can paint outside!

Alberta's weather, good or bad, usually includes the wind blasting across the prairie. It's not cold wind this time of year but often strong enough to blow away the best intentions to paint au plein air (is that French or Susanian?).

Last Wednesday I was blessed to paint at my friend Tracey Mardon's home and not only because she is a wonderful artist and a great support, she has that most desired commodity..... a sheltered yard!

Tracey, our friend Michelle and I spent a few hours in the morning capturing the fruit of Tracey's (gardening) labors..this beautiful peony that was absolutely bursting with blooms. In fact, there were so many, they didn't all fit on my board! And what fun painting all the lively lines and variety of deep greens in the peony and the Blue Spruce behind it.

Painting outside in the sunshine with good friends.....ahhhh, what a great day to be alive!
I hope you enjoy your summer moments, too. Soak them up.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Playing with Color

Play is the wood on the fire, the fuel that sparks creativity. Play is the pure fun of making art, it's trying something new or just cutting loose!

I am currently working on a commissioned portrait and have little time for play.

This week I decided to try to add more color to my portraits; I tend to be afraid to use "unnatural" color, as if there were such a thing! Preconceived ideas are tough to shake. And my ideas are often that skin is pink or brown or peach or tan. When things are getting boring, clearly it's time to play!

Have you seen the purple and green shadows, the orange transitions
or the blue highlights on a face? I was determined to find and use them.
The two 8x10 paintings above are the results.

I uploaded the photo images from flickr (thank you Mosippy and Spectacle Photo) and away I went. Drawing accurately was sacrificed for
color-play...and worth it; I discovered a rainbow of color.
I went back to my commission with enthusiasm and courage...
and color on my brush!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Finished Portrait


11x14 Oil on canvas

This painting of Lloyd has been a challenge...

I love a challenge!

The original photograph I was given as a reference is
old and yellowed with some scratches on the surface.

The original also included more of Lloyd and he had
his head resting on his left hand.

I used Photoshop to correct the colour and my paintbrush to eliminate the left hand and invent the left side of his suit.
My husband was helpful at that stage; he put on a similar suit and struck the same pose so I could get the shoulder and collar right.

I'm happy with the results and, more importantly,
so is Lloyd.

Lloyd's wife still hasn't seen the painting;
I think the crucial test will be to gain her approval!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Finally....I'm back

These three Dog Portraits are commissioned portraits.
Casey, the German Shepherd, is a memorial painting; she died of a heart condition about a year ago. Her master lives in Germany and this portrait is travelling further afield than any of my pet portraits thus far. I am looking forward to commissions coming my way from all over the world and hearing the love stories from the pets' owners.
Kailey the Golden Retriever and Riley (whose pedigree is unknown to me) are cousins by adoption. Their owners are sisters and their Uncle Mike is giving the paintings to "Gramma". The photo of Kailey was taken in the winter and that of Riley was taken in the summer...I invented a lake for them to romp around. I hope they enjoy it!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The 50 x 50 Challenge How it went...

Slices III, II, I
Oil on canvas (framed in black)
$95.00 Cdn each

In the middle of reno's and full day classes, I decided I needed to paint 50 paintings in 50 days. Challenge equals fun in my dictionary!

Between classes, assignments, running to the Home Depot for the renovator, preparing the venue and confined to my kitchen, I managed to paint 49 paintings in 49 days!
On the 50th day I showed my 49 paintings at an unusual venue: the empty office space of a former paint factory. It was a fun space, full of natural light, and was generously loaned to me by the people at Cloverdale Paints.
The day of the show was the worst blizzard in 54 years and yet many people braved the elements to be there. I felt can I describe it...honoured, humbled and blessed almost covers it..when so many folks showed up!
At the request of those who absolutely couldn't dig themselves out, we held the show over a week later. Edmonton was the coldest place on the planet that weekend! I promise: no more art shows for awhile!

I have posted above three of the paintings that didn't find a forever home. They are Slices I, II, and III. (they are shown in reverse know how my blogspot and I get along...I post the pictures and Blogspot puts them where it wants! Nice work, Blogsplot...I mean Blogspot)