The Love that Surrounds Me 1 & 2. Diptych 36" x 36" ea

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Elemental Links

I can't remember exactly what day it was, but I know it was a Sunday because that's when my neighbor, Helen, has a day off. I ran into her downstairs at the front door of our building as I was leaving to enjoy a walk around Mill Lake in the early autumn afternoon sun .

We did our regular "chit chat" kind of thing, told her where I was going, what I was planning on doing... then headed out on foot with sketch book and pencil in backpack - looking forward to purchasing a double, non-fat latte to accompany me on my journey...

After my coffee and I joined forces, we walked a short a short distance and arrived at Mill Lake, found an empty picnic table to settle down on, and began to share the moment. I started to create some sketches of a few nearby scenes - I am now recalling the typical autumn smells of that day and can even sense the fresh, cool tip of my nose. As I am sipping and sketching, I hear the familiar voice of Helen... apparently she also decided to take advantage of this glorious day to explore her artistic interest: photography. I am always impressed with her compositions and creativity.

Helen doesn't have a website [yet!], but I am confident that she can and will do well with her photography - she definitely has enough dynamic images to compile a magnificent body of work to share with her adoring public!

With permission, this blog is filled with her photos...

I am continually intrigued with the integration of the elements of the arts (music, poetry, photography, painting, etc): composition, dynamics, texture, tone color, dynamics, primary triads (3) and primary colours (3), the musician's crescendo resembling the photographer's grey scale, rhythm, movement, contrast, unity, variety... the list and discovery of their harmony continues... I love it!

These united fundamentals (I believe they are apparent in all humans in some form) surface in one way or another to ignite our senses in a describable yet also at times, in an INdescribable way... probably it's just because we innately know what we like or don't like - what works or doesn't work for us without necessarily putting anything into words.

Thanks for sharing that autumn moment with me Helen!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Anthropomorphization and Mennonite-ism

I enjoy titling my paintings to anthropomorphize the subject of my work.
Recently I've become quite interested in the history, enjoyment, ethnicity and necessity of dance. Maybe because my Mennonite heritage doesn't allow such "sinful behaviour" of natural human movement and expression. Maybe because anthropomorphizing an object could be misconstrued as a multi-god worshipping kind of cult. But none-the-less, I am enjoying my exploration of this natural human liberation/release.
Some time ago I saw the movie, The Tango Lesson. I can't say that the movie was particularly compelling to me, but I was engrossed in the protagonist's desire to learn the tango. Then there's the movie, "Frida"... who can forget Salma Hayek's sensual tango with Ashley Judd?

I suppose the trees in the following two paintings were subconsiously born from my desire to learn and feel the dance... perhaps the dance of life.

It was only after the creation of the paintings starring these so-called "inanimate objects" that the titles came to me... perceiving the entwined Arbutus limbs as a somewhat seductive display of affection and closeness

Two to Tango 18"x36"

and the suggestive curves of this Arbutus as it yearns to wrap around the trunk of the Fir.

Shall We Dance 36"x12" [Lions Bay Art Gallery]

Funny, I met someone very recently who mentioned his desire to Tango. I'll have to remember to continue this conversation next time we talk.


[I've recently had my website professionally remade by The Graphic Garden, but I haven't added titles or sizes to the site yet... these can be found on websites of the galleries that represent me (see side bar)].

Monday, November 17, 2008

Autumn's Ocean View

I'm sipping on a glass of red wine while writing this, remembering when I was in White Rock a couple of days ago. I was dropping off a few new works at Jenkins Showler Gallery on Johnston Street.

The evening sky was full of dynamic, expressive clouds waving across the ocean to their new destination somewhere else in the world.

An artist had spent several hours, I'm sure, on balancing these rocks - they were the audience for the setting sun.

I always find it so lovely on a quiet Autumn day when the air chills your nose and its smell is of dried leaves and saltiness...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Forest for the Trees


Been real busy these last few days, so ... just a quick blog to show off a few more new pieces! All are available at Lions Bay Art Gallery...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Artist's Space...Mine

Yes, you have been cordially invited to have a short tour of my live/work studio space... at least that's what I call it now since I moved my studio home. It was a challenge paring down the spralling 900+ square feet of studio space, into my 150-ish square foot den at home. BUT, it works and I am loving it.

I have a great view and the light is fantastic all day - no it's not north facing (the artists' preferred light), but to me the west is best! I get a beautiful sunset in the evening and a nice breeze too.

It feels great saving the extra rent money each month that the studio was costing me, and I'm also enjoying the quick moments when I can add a few brush strokes to a painting between piano students. I can keep up with emails, have tools on hand, watch movies, etc. - multi-tasking in a fun and efficient way.

I generally use the wall as my easel and there is very limited wall space in this room - one wall is windows (which is gorgeous), one wall is sliding french doors into my living room (which makes the room feel open), another wall is mirrored closet doors (which reflects that gorgeous light and sunset and makes the room feel even larger) and another wall (as seen above) is a door (now closed off) and glass brick.

This photo makes the room look abominable, but it's just a reflection of the room (yikes, eh?) Can you see me waving in the back? (lol) Those are the mirrored closet doors I was mentioning. I keep a couple of paint/paint brush carts in the middle of the room - kind of like a kitchen island. Oh yeah, I like cooking too, and the studio is also close to my kitchen!

Just in case you were dying to see inside my closets, I thought I'd save you the curiousity and just show you. Above is "panel one" moved aside. Below, the "middle panel".

Here's the last "panel". It is actually quite organized, I must say. There is a place for everything and everthing is in it's place. I even have a fire extinguisher ...

This room is on the other side of the glass brick wall - my music studio where I teach piano. It's also nice having the piano close by too - more multi-tasking activities!

Paintings are stored everywhere! These are beside the piano, outside the studio.

These (blank, waiting to be painted on) are outside the sliding french doors of my studio, leaning against my sofa.

And alas, I have some stacked & squished in the electrical room (shhhh) in the building hallway on my floor:

I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tour of my space. If you would like to help me make more room for myself, simply buy a painting or two!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Work, New Show

Art Show Invitation Open to All
Lions Bay Art Gallery Exhibition in Downtown Vancouver

Where: Terasen Centre
Address: 1111 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC
Date: October 15-31
Time: 9am - 6pm Mondays thru Fridays

I am SO-O-o-o-o excited to have finished a new tree series:

the crooked, forever shedding
Arbutus tree - no two look the same.

The inspiration comes from vacationing on Vancouver Island for years and also living in Nanoose Bay (on the Island) for 4 years. This tree has been winding it's way through my creative grey matter and meander-doodling around my sketch book for some time, but it has now finally appeared as a series of paintings.

Because they are curvey and bear little red berries, I envision them as females, whereas the Garry Oak (also particular to the Island) conjurs up the male species for me. This impression came to me when I saw an Arbutus wrapped so lusciously around a Garry Oak on one of my forest walks. The looked like lovers.

The Arbutus is a messy tree. They don't shed leaves in season with other trees... just when you finish raking up the fallen autumn leaves, nature decides that the Arbutus needs to rebel to the expected cycle and cast its left overs on the ground! The deep red bark peels like fine paper, leaving a constant mess everywhere, but creating an incredibly smooth and hard under greenish bare type of bark.

"Unobstructed Ocean View" 30"x6" (above) SOLD

"Good Ol' Boys" 24"x20" SOLD

As soon as I finished the first two paintings seen here above, Alice had already sold them!

"Reach Out and Touch Someone" 20"x24"

The last few days here in BC have produced a balmy autumn with the warm red, orange and yellow leaves still hanging on to trees limbs. Soon a gusty wind will race in, and whoosh them on their first and last flight through the air, then float them gracefully to the ground, leaving the boney sticks of naked trees exposed.

Today was rainy and a little foggy as I was hiking around Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver and Whitecliff Park in Horseshoe Bay. The painting below reminds me of many days that I've stood by the ocean and watched the sky darken as it approached me...

"Storm Watcher" 12"x36"

... kind of my favourite days - fresh salty air, the sound of waves on the sand and not many people on the beach. Love it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lions Bay Art Gallery - Art Show Sept. 26, 2008

The evening of September 26 at Lions Bay Art Gallery was a fun mix of people celebrating 20 years of Michael and Alice Tickner being in Lions Bay, and me, the new artist in their gallery.

Alice displayed my large tree painting "The Friendly Giants [Look up... Way up]" at the entry.
The town is not large, but Alice knows how to draw a crowd! I'm disappointed that I don't have a photo of Tony, Val's husband (photo of Val below), who filled everyone's glass with wine whenever they were empty.

My paintings can be seen on the wall in the window above the bench.

Here we are: Val (Gallery Assistant), Alice, Michael and me, enjoying the evening in the gallery that resides up the hill with an incredible view of Howe Sound.

Michael and Alice Tickner surrounded by Michael's vibrant work.
He is currently working on a painting of "The Squamish Chief" which was on display as a "work in progress"that evening. It's always so interesting to see how another artist works and the method he uses.

My painting below, "Autumn Sway" 18"x24"), is a new type of tree scene for me which I hope to pursue. It was bought the next morning by a man who saw it the night before and couldn't get it out of his mind! Alice did her "magic" and sold over 10 of my paintings, along with Michael's as well.

Below is a picture of Alice and I close to the end of the evening... my feet were just KILLING me, so I had to take of my boots and walk around in comfort!

Michael and I with his paintings.

Just a couple of crowd shots... Richard Tickner (their son on far right) is also an artist and was there with his fiance, Kate, as well... lots of fun to meet them as well.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

Well... as the saying goes, "When it rains, it pours". Such as it is for me at this time - probably for most people in the arts. The pay cheque isn't steady, but when it's happening, you've just gotta move.

Right now everything is happening at once. The owner of the gallery that is representing me, Alice Tickner of the Lions Bay Art Gallery, is keeping me super busy! The tree paintings shown in this blog have all been sold within this month, and in two weeks I'm having an opening show in Lions Bay AND she's hosting a show in downtown Vancouver for October 15 and another one on November 27 (I'll keep you posted)...

Meanwhile... my gallery in Naniamo, Gallery 223, is having a show for me for this week of Sept 17-24. The cruise ship season is beginning this week, so BAM! I need to have more small paintings ready.
On TOP of this, I'm moving my studio from one location to another. YIKES!
It's all good... just a little overwhelming sometimes. If you're in the same boat, drop your oar (email me) and let's paddle together!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

San Francisco art installation: Thom Ross' "Buffalo Bill Cody on the Beach"

Many of you may be wondering what in the world I was doing in San Francisco for another artist's art installation. Others may wonder "What's up with Buffalo Bill on the Beach?"

The best way to describe it is to direct you to the article by the San Francisco Examiner as it has the best explanation and some great photos as well.

The artist, Thom Ross, is a rabid fan of Wild West American history - alas his devotion (and huge financial expense) to the creation of this project that was 2 years in the making.

What he has done with this project, is recreate the original 1902 photo taken of Buffalo Bill Cody and his travelling Indian Show that was taken on this very site: Ocean Beach, San Francisco. I learned a tremendous amount about this time in history... about how Buffalo Bill Cody took the Troupe (including Annie Oakley and Sitting Bull) all over the United States and to Europe. Queen Victoria even saw them! Thom has an interesting historical photograph of Cody and some of the Indian Chiefs (in full 'traditional' clothing) travelling in the gondolas of Venice, Italy... DEFINITELY something I never knew or have seen before!

Thom invited a group of his friends and artists to help him set up this installation - some flew in from New York, Montana, Southern California, Seattle... and me from Canada, who drove down with the caravan. There must have been about 30 of us bustling about setting up this display starting at 5:00am on Sept. 5.

We started in Seattle where Thom (below) is based. He rented 2 Penske trucks full of his creations, hardware, ladders, Indian spears, tools, tents, etc.

Here's a photo of our caravan group driving from Seattle to San Francisco:

After we had all arrived and assembled from our various destinations, we went out to San Francisco's garlic-crazed The Stinking Rose for dinner - whew! At least we ALL stunk the next day!

As we were setting up, we had some great press from the San Francisco Chronicle that got the buzz humming! It was quite humorous to watch people everywhere on their cell phones telling their friends to "Get down to Ocean Beach! You've gotta check this out!"

Here's a link to a photo of me helping to set up one of Thom's masterpieces. ALSO...please visit the official photographer, Patrick Bennett's website for more awesome photos - from sunrise to sunset and everything in between... including photos that Patrick will still be adding, as the exhibition runs until September 15.

I had a very inspiring learning experience and given the chance, I would do it again!

Thanks Thom!

(I thought this little guy was cute)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mission Accomplished

I just wanted to share with you all that I have finally finished the
giant painting (4' x 8') I have been labouring over for months!
Here is the grand "unveiling":

"Rhythm of the Night" 48" x 96"
Lions Bay Art Gallery