I am thrilled to report that my painting Summer Lessons has been accepted into the Annual International Representational Show, a global competition. The show will open at the Federation Gallery on Vancouver's Granville Island on Oct 4, continuing through Oct 23. Drop by and see the show when you are in the city!
Using the same process as my "beach bits" paintings, but a rectangular format, I recently completed two renditions of our youngest grandson, one with our son, and one with our daughter-in-law. It's always hard to do paintings of ones you know so well, but I was after a feeling rather than a portrait--and I think I caught the atmosphere I was after.
Earlier this year, I experimented with a very splashy abstract acrylic background with a pastel of my granddaughter painted more realistically on top. I was after the idea of rain, but wanted to suggest playfulness and joy rather than dreariness. It's a happy result.
I turned sixty this past May, and had been musing about trying to complete a series of sixty paintings on the same theme within this year. As I continued to paint my small "Beach Bits" paintings of kids on the beach, and as I observed how well they were received during my August show, the answer became obvious...do sixty paintings of kids on the beach!
So, I'm at 48 paintings so far...and still enjoying every one. I'm learning so much about handling challenging lighting situations (figures against glittering seas and glaring sands) and overcoming the limitations of photographs taken in these conditions (often too dark and with excess contrast), as well as further honing my understanding of anatomy and skin tones.
I've also decided to make a number of giclee prints on canvas (12 x 12 x 1) of these images for the upcoming Art Crawl--drop by and see! In the meantime, check the "Figures" category under the "Works" tab to see the growing collection.
I am very excited to be mounting an exhibition of new works at The Landing Gallery in Gibsons BC, for the month of August. This feature exhibition is a collaboration with my friend and fellow co-op member Nell Burns, a textile artist. We agreed to create works on the theme of "the ocean," given that Nell already does beautiful three-dimensional embroidered shadow box paintings of seafloor creatures, and I already do paintings of waves.
The show will be hung on Sunday July 31, with an opening reception on Saturday August 6th from 1-2:30 pm. During the reception, a representative of CPAWS (the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) will give a short talk on the endangered glass sea sponges, a rare phenomenon just off the Sunshine Coast (http://cpaws.org/news/rare-sea-creatures-in-danger-vancouver-sun).
In preparation for this show, however, and given my desire to provide some smaller works for it, I experimented with painting some vividly coloured pastels based on a series of photos of "kids on the beach" taken over the past two summers. I was thrilled with the results, and became obsessed with creating more and more of them. In the end I made 21 new images (see the "Figures" tab within the "Works" section for the entire set).
I liked the images so much, and got such good feedback from those who saw them, that I decided to try a new venture, and had high-quality prints made of six of the images. These "giclee" prints ( a term used to differentiate a fine-art ink reproduction from a colour photocopy) are available in the same size as the original painting (8" x 8") for $50 each, complete with mat, ready for framing. The prints will be sold through The Landing Gallery, but may also be ordered by email (payment via e-transfer only). The same six images are also available as cards in The Landing Gallery.
Hope you enjoy these happy new paintings as much as I enjoyed creating them!
What's that line from Dicken's A Tale of Two Cities? "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times..." My experience at last night's Rotary Art Auction reminded me of it...
Painting a 30" x 40" acrylic piece in front of an audience of 200+ people was, to say the least, nerve wracking. I've done many demos for my students and a few at art-related conferences...but this was my first time competing with a large, noisy crowd strolling by with glasses of rare vintages and plates of gourmet goodies while I worked hard to concentrate. It was rather fun to eavesdrop on the comments made by those watching me from behind--happily, all very positive, but sometimes amusing.
One thing I learned was that people are frequently very interested in knowing exactly where a resource photo was taken, and want to make a personal connection with the piece as a result ("Where was that photo taken? It looks like Hawaii. My wife and I were in Maui last winter and the surf looked just like that." Of course I jokingly assured him that it WAS Maui--in reality I have no memory of where I took that specific photo of the breaking waves--I have hundreds).
My "best of times" moment came when I noticed a tiny toddler of Asian heritage, perhaps 3 years old, solemnly watching me while clutching his father's leg. He was so fixated and so rapt that I invited him to come over, placed a paintbrush in his hand, dipped it into white paint from the palette, and invited him to help me paint my picture. With the same serious expression, he walked over to the easel and silently placed a single mark--in exactly the right spot, on the foamy edge of the breaking wave! I had been prepared to "fix" any inappropriate stroke once the child left, but there was no need. Still wordlessly, he handed the paintbrush back to me and retreated to his father's side. Dad, meanwhile, had eagerly recorded the moment on his iPhone. When the family went to move off, the child resisted, and I offered to mind him for a few more moments while his father refilled his wine glass. So he remained, wordless, unsmiling, but wholly engaged, until his father returned. A future artist, perhaps! Such a privilege to have been a tiny part of influencing that life-in-the-making.
The "worst of times" came about 30 minutes before the deadline for the work to be ready for its live auction debut. My composition had included a horizon and far-off headland, with the breaking waves in the foreground--an experimental departure from my usual close-up of just the wave pattern. It had seemed to be ok, though I had already changed the values several times by that point. But at this critical, down-to-the-wire moment, I had that unsettled, uncomfortable, back-of-the-neck sensation that it just wasn't working. Yikes!
I looked over at my husband, who had been faithfully guarding my space (and, not incidentally, feeding me delicious goodies from the appetizer tables--coconut shrimp, aged cheeses, strawberries!) and said "Decision time--this background's not working, is it..." With an anxious face and a nod, he confirmed my suspicions. I glanced at my watch, took a deep breath and a large brush in hand and slathered beautiful blues, greens, and turquoises all over the entire background section--about a third of the canvas. Away with the deep background, in with an abstracted pattern of waves/water...and, phew!, it worked! Gratefully, I turned my attention to the final "finessing" of edges and shapes so that, when the organizer came by soon after and said "Ready? Yours is up next" I felt ok to sign my initials with a flourish and pass off the work to the auctioneer.
Fifteen minutes later my painting was owned by one of my studio students who was the successful top bidder! I was so pleased that she had been motivated to purchase the piece and glad it would go to a home where I knew it would be enjoyed. As well, 70% of the purchase price will go towards good works by the Rotary Club. Everyone wins.
I had five other pieces in the silent auction portion of the evening, and all five sold (three to collectors I already know--thank you!!) and one to a new admirer. All in all, a success.