Studio Staycation

I took this past week off work and had myself a staycation. I’ve really been enjoying getting my hands dirty at the pottery studio lately, so I figured this would be a great time to take a week and really get my hands dirty. Every day.

I was recently reflecting on my time in university. Wake up, go to school (make art all day), eat, make more art, talk about art, go home, sleep, and do it all again the next day. What a good life. This week reminded me of that. I neglected my homework a little and put all my effort in to making lots and lots of work.

Lots of mugs, cups and a couple of little planters are starting to come to life.

so-many-potsglazingwolf-mugs2mugs-before-bisque

A few things even came out of the kiln this week. Take a peek.

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An untitled doe

Why is naming paintings so difficult? I love writing, I love painting, but when it comes to combining the two, it’s just not a thing I’m interested in. I’m one of those people who ends up writing “untitled” on everything. Some people have a knack for naming paintings. I am just not one of those people.

So, I sat down last night and worked on another submission for the Anonymous Art Show, and here you have it. An untitled doe.

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8″ x 8″ acrylic on panel

I’ll have to come up with something, though – naming the painting is a requirement of submission. Can I just call it “An untitled doe”? Ha!

Life Drawing

I’ll never forget how awkward I felt when I was 18 and suddenly there was a person without any clothes on right in front of me and I had to pretend it felt normal and remind myself not to giggle as I settled in for three hours of drawing. After the first half hour and a little growing up, the giggles subsided and I was hooked on life drawing classes. (I hope that made you laugh, because it makes me shake my head to think about, haha.) You really had to learn to roll with the punches – sometimes you’d be so committed to something but the models would only be instructed to hold the pose for 5 or 10 minutes and you’d have to accept what you had. Other times you’d spend an hour on something and feel like you over did it. It was all so temporary.

I’ve been working on updating the portfolio part of this site and had some real nostalgia rush through me as I looked through old photos. Every piece has its purpose, but it also has a memory attached to it. The image below is one of my most favourite drawings I’ve done to date. While I was in England, our life drawing class was a bit different than the ones I was used to. Our model was always the same, and the poses were much longer. He was much more social and would often walk around and see what we were doing in the middle of his pose. I asked him how he got into being an art model, and he said he did it because he wanted to be immortalized. That always stuck with me.

Your Mundane Life is Killing Me (headless man and skeleton) 23.4%22X33%22 acrylic paint, paper, collage, charcoal, wallpaper paste and graphite on paper
Your Mundane Life is Killing Me – Charcoal, paint and newsprint on paper

I was on Main St. recently and saw there are daily life drawing sessions at Basic Inquiry Gallery. So, you’ll find me there soon. If you know of any other life drawing sessions in Vancouver please let me know!

 

Autumn Ceramics

When I was in university, I worked primarily (well, let’s be honest – solely) in 2D materials. I took one ceramics class as an elective to give it a shot but compared to my comfort level with painting, ceramics was a real challenge. Things didn’t go where I wanted them to, the wheel hypnotized my eyes and it just wasn’t a painting (duh, Chelsea.) Regardless, it was fun to get my hands dirty.

A year or two after university, I found myself feeling a little uninspired. I wanted a challenge. I found a pottery class at my local community centre a couple years ago and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to try it out. Learning from the ground up (turns out I forgot everything I learned in ceramics at university) was a great experience. It was really a lesson in putting yourself in situations you aren’t always comfortable in, and that something really beautiful can come from a little anxiety. There is always something more to learn.

Last year I was really excited with what I ended up with having practiced a bit more, and am really excited for what’s to come this Autumn. I’m thinking wood-wick candles, rustic cheese plates, unique mugs, and lots of little drawings on everything.

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A little pot that came out of the kiln last night

Artist Call: Anonymous Art Show 2015

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My piece (middle) at last year’s Anonymous Art Show. “Technicolour Dream Wolf” 8″ x 8″ acrylic on canvas

I can’t believe it’s already that time again! The Anonymous Art Show at the North Vancouver Community Arts Council’s
CityScape Community Art Space is always a fun (packed!) time. It brings together established and emerging local artists in a floor to ceiling exhibition that gives people a fantastic opportunity to do some holiday shopping while supporting local artists. You can always tell when this exhibition is nearing as it seems the art supply stores stack their shelves getting ready for the influx of people purchasing the same sized canvas. Read on and this will make sense.

The AAS is a great way to get your art on a gallery wall and be a part of a great annual event. People line up outside the door long before the show opens – because once a piece is gone, it’s gone! Literally, they take it off the wall.

There is 10 days until the deadline for the exhibition. Haven’t started? Don’t worry, you still have time. You can submit between one to three 8″ x 8″ x 1.5″ 2D pieces to the show, and they need to be physically at the gallery by the 31st of October.

Check out the artist call for more information. Happy creating & see you there!

Feeling uninspired? You just need some homework!

Yes, I said homework. No, I’m not crazy.

When I finished university I found myself feeling a little low after going from being in the same studio every day with the same people for final year, to being out in the big world holding on to my piece of paper (where is my BFA, anyway?) that represented the past six years of my life. I think a lot of us felt this way. Several months after graduation in 2012, I met up with some old classmates and we discussed how many of us felt a bit lost immediately after school. I went from feeling so fulfilled from the amount of work I was creating to suddenly working full time and not having the same art related community around me that I was used to.

My set up at the KPU 2012 grad show
My paintings installed at the KPU 2012 grad show

I moved into my first place of my own. It was a 2 bedroom basement suite in East Vancouver for $650, and it was all mine. I had a whole room (a small room, but still a room) to call a studio, and looking back I sure didn’t make the best use out of it I could. I did a sad thing and spent 8 months not putting much thought into art. Why, you ask? Because I had lost that drive to create that I had when I was working near other artists. I didn’t have any deadlines, I didn’t have a critique to attend the next week, I didn’t have any expectations set out for me. Now, it was up to me.

I thought about what it was that I was missing. Why did I go from being in an art show at least once a month, to having a studio that was grossly under utilized? I questioned the point of creating something that potentially gets put into the closet the day after finishing. I needed an assignment. I needed homework.

Previously, I was creating art 5 days a week. When I found art show opportunities online, I almost always had something already created that I could submit, very often pieces I completed for school. That was it! That was what I was missing. In school, you get an assignment. You get told to make a piece about something transient and ephemeral. You get told to make a piece about yourself. You get told to make a piece about the materials you choose to use. You have deadlines. You have critique. You’re engaged, committed and held accountable to your art. This was it.

Where could I find homework? Vancouver has several art galleries that post artist calls to the public with little or no cost to submit. I looked on websites of some of the galleries and organizations I knew had mandates of supporting local artists and immediately got my groove back. Just like that, you have a theme you are challenged to represent through your own work. Just like that, you have deadlines. Just like that, you have someone looking at your work.

I’ve been asked before where I find artist calls, so I want to share with you some of my faves. Comment and let me know where you find artist calls too!

Hot Art Wet City – a super chill art gallery on Main and 6th. Home to the famous Carded! and Hot One Inch Action shows, it’s always a fun time with wacky illustrations, cheap drinks and cool people. They also do comedy and life drawing events. There’s only one posting up as of today, but usually they have more.

North Vancouver Community Arts Council – Although that link has a few exhibition spaces, I really enjoy CityScape, a pretty space in North Van near the quay that is run by the NVAC. The gallery is well known for its popular annual Anonymous Art Show, an exhibition of 8″x8″ original pieces all sold for $100. Only lightly juried, this is a great opportunity to show a small piece and have it seen by more people than you can imagine being in one space in one night. They have several calls during the year for different themed shows for a low submission fee, and also have open calls for exhibition idea submissions.

Surrey Art Gallery – If you haven’t seen this gallery, please, go see it. If you’re in Vancouver, I promise it is worth the Skytrain ride. They host internationally acclaimed artists, interactive displays, fantastic artist talks and give informative and entertaining curator’s tours. The Surrey Arts Council puts on their annual ARTS show in the gallery and post their call for submissions in the link above.

Alliance for Arts and Culture – This website is an amazing resource for anyone in the arts. In addition to a classifieds section where galleries, theatres and other venues post calls for artists, there are also volunteer and paid work opportunities listed as well.

Those are just a few of the many galleries in the Lower Mainland that you can look to for inspiration. I particularly enjoy going to Hot Art Wet City’s page when I am feeling like I haven’t been the most productive, and choosing from their usually large selection of themes and just going with it. From David Suzuki to “Year of the Sheep” to a celebration of the F-word, there’s always something quirky going on, and hey – they all have deadlines!

Another idea is to try Googling local sketchbook challenges and projects. Often times there is something going on in real time that you can participate in with other artists from afar. Social media can play a big role in keeping you motivated through this. I’m feeling motivated just writing about this, and I think come May I am going to look for a 30 day challenge for myself. I’ll share it, of course, and maybe if I’m lucky one of you will join me in it.

Have fun, and let me know if you have any galleries or resources I could add to the list that will never end!

Pomeranians

Love it or hate it, people treat their animals as their children (I’m no exception, I want to squeeze my dogs every time I see them). What better gift for a “pet parent” than a portrait of their little gal/guy? Separate from my regular body of work, I’ve been doing these portraits for a couple years now and each one is as fun as the next. Here is one I finished this morning of two sickeningly cute pomeranians for a friend who is giving the painting to his girlfriend.

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In progress photos
pomeranians
20″ x 20″ Acrylic on canvas