18 December 2014


Time flies!

A lot has happened in the two months since my last blog post.  

I spent almost 3 weeks in Ontario after the Front Gallery opening; first a few days with my family and then 2 weeks at Artscape Gibraltar Point, in a residency facilitated by Ross Melanson.  

The residency was intense and also very much fun.  Besides our private rooms, we had two studios, one of which we used for media things like movies and presentations, and the other which was our art-making studio.  Included in our group were Lynn Kelly, Alexia Estrellado, Ross Melanson and myself.  Our little group was extremely well-balanced and coherent.  We communicated and worked together beautifully, exchanging thoughts and ideas in a relaxed and supportive way.  The dynamic among us was just wonderful.  

I've included just a few photos in this post; more can be found at Steel Sky Woman facebook page.

serious artists

In signing up for this residency, I really wanted time and space to explore avenues of creative thinking/doing other than what I am used to here in Calgary; this idea fought with my desire to have a full complement of art-making materials at hand!

After much packing and re-packing, I arrived at a streamlined kit which fit into a 5x6x16" tackle box:

* 2 sketchbooks
* a few pencils, sharpies and China markers
* 12 tiny tubes of gouache (new to me)
* 4 tiny sample bottles of fluid acrylic
* a small bottle of gel medium
* a few paintbrushes

Not in the tackle box:
* a bunch of watercolour paper cut and folded into cards (worst case scenario: I would be bored and have the cards to fall back on, handy for xmas)
* an old-school tape recorder and a few blank cassette tapes.
* a sewing machine!  $20.oo used, via kijiji in Ontario, how cool is that?

What I did not bring: 

* my plein air painting kit. (*sniff* *sob*)  That was a tough decision.

So the kit I brought was very minimal.  Without my usual resources I would have to find other ways of creating.

First, while visiting with my family:

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I made some drawings of my brother's favourite place along the river.  Not plein air painting, but drawing!  Why not, hehee.

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Some portraits of family members.  I broke open the guache for them.  Interesting stuff, gouache, pretty good colour and a nice matte finish when dry.

Then, during my stay at Artscape:

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I began by making a few stitched paper works, using the materials I had brought with me.  These were meant to be xmas cards... but then I got bored; I did not want to do my usual studio things.

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So off I went to the beach, where I piled up some rocks and bricks...

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... and noticed my shadow!

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I made drawings on the studio wall, using a fine hemp twine (thank you Ross) and push pins.  This is a detail photo.

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I made portraits of various people who were staying at Artscape - some from our group and some others too.  This one is of writer Helen Guri.

I also made a number of one-minute videos, which I will post either here or on youtube, sometime soon.  Soon = once I learn how.  :)

There were many interesting things that happened during the residency: conversations and ideas and experiences that will resonate with me for some time to come.  My mental/spiritual percolator is a slow thing, which is fine with me but which means I have not much to say in a any concrete way about the things we explored during our time at Gibraltat Point.  I think things will filter out in the studio, mostly, without my having to necessarily articulate everything in words.  Words can be so cumbersome anyway.

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laughing artists

The two photos of our group were taken on our last full day at the residency.  First we were serious, but very soon we were laughing.  I will treasure for many years my memories of those two weeks spent with some very special people at Artscape.

On returning to Calgary I was very eager to get back into my studio, and immediately spent many hours creating new work.  More about that in my next post.