Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brooklyn #5

Brooklyn #5

This 12" x 12" piece was made as a donation to the annual SAQA auction and is now on its way to Santa Fe.

I used a complementary colour scheme of yellow-green and violet hand-dyes with a few neutrals added to the mix.

You may notice the small figures in the lower right corner, which give a sense of scale to the imposing buildings.

Below is my original photo.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Where do you get your ideas?

I plan to make an art quilt to donate to SAQA's annual auction, and the deadline looms. The piece must measure 12" x 12".

To get started, I spent some time going through my images, stripping them of colour and cropping them from a rectangular shape to a square format. What a revelation that is! 

It amazes me how looking through the lens of a new format can make images look fresh and exciting. 

Maybe these images don't look like much to the casual viewer, but for me they present new possibilities for play with bold colour, value and composition.

With several shows coming up this year, I need to produce lots of new work. I'm thinking that some of these new pieces will be in a square format, probably 20" or 24".

So, where do ideas come from? Sometimes, they come from re-working familiar material, imposing new parameters on it.

Having a deadline can be helpful.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Timeraiser: what a great idea!

This uniquely Canadian enterprise can be described as part volunteer fair, part silent art auction, and part night-on-the town. It's a win-win-win-win, it happens in more than a dozen cities nation-wide, and here's how it works.

Large corporations write cheques to Timeraiser. These big companies are happy because it's a simple way for them to make a charitable donation to the local community.

Timeraiser puts out a call to emerging and mid-career artists to submit their art. The chosen works are purchased from the artists for an average price of $600. The artists are happy to make a sale and to have the exposure.

Timeraiser organizes a volunteer fair/gala evening, where large charitable organizations set up booths to promote their volunteer opportunities. On May 8, such a fair will be held in Montreal, in the exciting Old Port area. Potential volunteers tour the booths and decide which agency will be a good fit for their skills and interests. They commit to a certain number of hours of volunteer work. The agencies are happy because they get a commitment from a suitable volunteer, many of them young professionals.

The volunteers view the art on display at the evening gala and use their hours to bid on work they like. The art is displayed in the offices of the charities for one year (more exposure for the artist), after which time the volunteer, having completed their commitment of time, claims their chosen artwork. The volunteer is happy because not only have they had a fun evening and a worthwhile volunteer experience, but they get to take home some great art.

Dawn, by Helena Scheffer, 12" x12"
My friend Helena Scheffer is delighted to have had one of her works in fibre selected for purchase by the Montreal Timeraiser committee this year.

Since its beginning ten years ago, Timeraiser has bought over $800,000 worth of art from over 700 artists. Volunteer hours logged: 128,280. What a great idea!

For more information, visit their website.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Camden Town #2

Working with these colours was the blast of sunshine I needed, as winter persists here in Montreal. I usually like to inject a little complementary colour into my work, for drama and excitement, and in this case that would have meant a bit of blue-violet. But in the end I decided to stick with the analogous scheme of orange-red, orange, yellow-orange, yellow and yellow-green.

Camden Town #2
In this re-working of the image, I wanted to capture the syncopated rhythm of the windows, and I think I have been successful with that.

Below you can see my first Camden Town piece, for which I chose the central door as a focal point.

Camden Town
And below is the original photo, which I took this summer from a window in the Amy Winehouse Museum in Camden, just north of London. The shapes and lines appealed to me, and lend themselves to a variety of palettes.

original photo
Sometimes it's helpful to rotate the image, to see if the composition is successful. What do you think?

Camden Town #2, rotated

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Helena Scheffer at the Hudson Medi-Centre

So pleased to be able to help my friend Helena Scheffer hang five of her gorgeous "colour explosions" at the Hudson Medi-Centre today.

Helena, former owner of Galerie Ouest in Ste.-Anne-de-Bellevue, is an accomplished art quilter. She is a Juried Artist Member of SAQA and also belongs to the Lakeshore Artists, to Text'art and to 12 by the dozen. Her website is a treat for the eye.

Helena's work may be seen in the waiting room at 465 Main Road, Hudson, until May 10, during regular clinic hours.

Friday, March 14, 2014

And the winner is...

On February 26, I posted an item about the second anniversary celebration for my blog, which is two years old today. I'm happy to have published 221 posts and had more than 40,000 views. I've tracked my own work and observations, as well as art events in Hudson, Montreal and beyond. It's been fun for me and, I hope, useful for others.

I decided to give away a small Cityscape to a reader who commented on the blog, to give me some feedback about what kind of posts they found to be the most interesting.

Congratulations to Maggi from the U.K., who was chosen at random from those who responded. Maggi, I will be in touch to get your mailing address so I can pop Water Tower #5 into the mail.

Thank you to all who took the time to enter, and thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Xanadu Gallery: on-line help

Recently, I stumbled onto the on-line showcase, Xanadu Gallery, based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Though I don't know anything about them in terms of their on-line sales, I was interested in three aspects of their website.

First, their blog has lots of information about marketing art, aimed at individual artists. Topics discussed include defining your success as an artist, the importance of productivity, and difficulties in finding local representation.

As well, their website features video downloads on helpful topics like shipping your work, creating a powerful portfolio, and making the most of your website. Thirdly, podcasts are available on topics like the benefits of blogging for artists and how to write a slammin' blog post.

Studies have shown that "successful" artists often spend half their working hours, or more, on business-related tasks. The information on this site may help you to optimize that effort. Consider subscribing to updates.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Art souterrain 2014

Montreal is known for its underground city, but less well known is the annual art festival staged throughout 7 kilometres of this labyrinthine passageway.

Art Souterrain runs March 1 - 16 , and its theme this year is Foundations, which explores the relation of the individual, community and territory. One hundred projects are on display.

Special events are scheduled throughout the festival, including guided tours and demonstrations. Information about the artists and events is available on the website. The website also offers a downloadable audio guide to the artists and their work, as well as a ready-to-print map.

If previous years are any indication, there is a heavy bias towards conceptual art, video and installation art.  Even if this is not something you typically seek out, Art Souterrain offers an easy and fun way to sample some of the new art trends and to explore the underground city at the same time.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FIFA 2014

One of the many reasons to love Montreal is its annual "Festival International du Film sur l'Art". In its 32nd year, FIFA presents 270 films from 34 countries, from March 20 - 30, in a number of downtown venues.
The Riviera, A History in Pictures: Painting Pictures
Its bilingual website allows you to search for films by subject, title and date. Films are offered in French and/or English, or are sub-titled in one of these languages. Tickets and passes may be purchased through the website.

Subjects of films include Canadian painter Alex Colville, Dutch weaver Claudy Jongstra, pop artist Andy Warhol, British painter Lucian Freud and Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.

Herb & Dorothy 50x50 tells the story of an American couple of modest means, who began to collect contemporary art in the 1960's. They amassed a collection of over 5000 works of art, which they have donated to museums all over the U.S.

Then there are films about musician Jimi Hendrix, poet Carl Sandburg, and dancer Rudolf Nureyev.

For me, a must-see are two films documenting the art scene on the French Riviera in the late 19th century and into the 20th. The Riviera, A History in Pictures: Painting Pictures and The Riviera, A History in Pictures: The Golden Era document a period in the lives and work of Cézanne, Monet, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Dufy, Léger and others. Two hours on the Côte d'Azur sounds about right as winter persists in Montreal.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Water Tower #4: Red Challenge

View from the High Line 

On February 28, my 12 by the dozen group unveiled the results of our latest Challenge. Each of the twelve members has produced a work in fibre measuring about 8.5 x 11 inches (or A4) and using a particular warm red.

The colour was chosen by member Linda Bilsborrow, and at right you can see the photo we took as our inspiration for the colour.

You may see the exciting and diverse results of the Challenge by visiting our blog, and you may see the products of previous colour challenges by viewing our archive.

As a starting point, I used a photo I took while walking the
High Line linear park in New York. As I chose these warm colours, I imagined the reflected glow on the buildings as the sun set over the Hudson River. I like the way the cylinders of the water towers contrast with the rectangles of the buildings. With only a line to delineate the towers,  the middle ground is linked to the background of the sky.

The piece was included in my solo show at the Kirkland Library in February. It was made within a few days of another piece very similar to it, though a little smaller, Water Tower #4, which has been donated to a SAQA traveling show.

What's next for 12 by the dozen? The deadline for the fifth challenge in this series is May 31. The colour was chosen by Michele Meredith: a rich golden yellow. You can see the inspiration photo at right. And wouldn't you know it?  I have a range of these colours already out on my cutting board.