Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Art Auction aka Cheap Date Night

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words, "Canadian Art"? If you're Canadian, I'll wager a guess that the first thing you think of is the Group of Seven. If you're not Canadian, then I offer no guesses, based on having read an article some time ago that suggested nobody outside of Canada knows who the Group of Seven are. They were a bunch of fellas who painted the rugged Canadian wilderness mostly during the first half of the twentieth Century. The leading figure of the group was Tom Thomson. He died in a mysterious canoeing accident; a quintessentially Canadian way to kick the bucket if there ever was one. The paintings of the Group of Seven are lovely, but in some ways their work has overtaken the identity of Canadian Art.

If you would like to see a wide range of Canadian Art, I invite you to visit the Dundas Valley School of Art later this week. Every year, for the last 40 years, the school has a large art auction--some of it from living artists and some from artists of years past, and the majority of it from Canadians. A portion of all the sales goes towards the school. Going to the free auction preview dates is a great time (think cheap date night) and an opportunity to look at three floors full of mostly Canadian Art. If you're not in the market for any paintings, drawings, jewelery, or sculpture, it's still very worthwhile just to go and see so much art gathered into one building. With so many works being offered there's a wonderful variety to choose from and there are numerous price points at which the bidding starts. My own handsomely framed bunny rabbit original will be there with a starting bid of $125.00. The auction has both a silent component and a live auction that happens Saturday evening. For all the details on the when,where, and how, please follow this link:
Oh, and something especially great about this year's auction is that the school has just completed a major renovation and will be opening it's new door for the first time tomorrow.

Here's my piece that's in the auction. I promise that I cleaned Clarence's finger prints off of the glass. Not sure what art commentary Clarence is communicating through his facial expression.

The other thing I wanted to mention is that I now have my Etsy shop, Speaking Pictures open for business.
And the other other thing is that I am very curious to hear from others (esp. non-Canadians) what they think of when they hear the words "Canadian Art."  Please feel free to leave a comment --I'd love to know.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Banner's Up

Not too long after I wrote about my PC careening off a cliff, my internet connection took a little holiday. Because the internet was down, our digital phone line was also out. While I was waiting for the repairman to come sometime between 8am and 5pm on Tuesday, I couldn't really leave the house. The only natural course of action was to make a double batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. We have a tiny oven, so it's not often that I decide I'll be on hand to take a cookie sheet in and out of the oven a zillion times.

But now both my computer and internet are back and they're on speaking terms with each other. Tonight I've been working on getting my Etsy shop up and running so that I can sell prints of my watercolour paintings to the far corners of the world. I'd tell you how long it took me to make a digital banner for the shop, but I purposefully didn't keep track. It's a little embarrassing. Nothing is for sale yet, but I do have a banner made. Admittedly I'd love to end the day with a greater sense of accomplishment, but end this day must. Or so says Yoda.

Here's what the banner looks like so far. Every once in a while I try to meet up with my inner graphic designer, but she keeps irregular hours. As you can see, I'm using the same name for my Etsy shop as for this blog.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Scrapping My Plans

shout out to J.M.W. Turner

Funny how things go. A few days ago I resolved to open a shop on Etsy (something I've been meaning to do for sometime) and so I've been working on getting that set up, and then, wham-O, today my PC crashed. Tumbled right off a big cliff into a dark chasm of nothingness. I'm writing this from my laptop but all the photos of my work and the descriptions I had written up and ready to go are on my desk top computer. A hill of beans in the grand scheme of things, but still, I say, "booooh." Hopefully the fix won't be all that difficult and I'll be able to have prints of my work for sale on Etsy next week. I'm especially keen to get the bunny giclee hopping, it being somewhat seasonally appropriate. In the meantime if you're interested in something, drop me an email.

Since my Etsy shop making ambition has been stalled, what else could I do but spend some time playing around with Pinterest. If you've never heard of it, Pinterest is a website that acts as a virtual pinboard. It lets you collect images under a general heading and 'pin' them onto a board. I'm just getting into it and finding that using Pinterest is a great way to create a virtual scrapbook of art that I love. Looking at pictures of art that I really enjoy is, well, enjoyable! But it's also a good exercise in understanding myself as an artist. Alright, that sounds mighty hokey and pretentious, but realizing what qualities and principles I admire in the work of others gives me a greater awareness of what I want to accomplish in my own work. Looking at the collection of images I've assembled so far, they're all very different from the type of work I'm currently doing, but not so far afield from some of the work I've done in the past. At the moment, I'm pretty honed in on a particular style of watercolour painting, so I find looking at a variety of other styles and getting into a different visual head-space is very refreshing. It's by no means an extensive collection, but I'd love to share with you some art that I think is delicious: click here for a taste.

Friday, April 8, 2011

To Market, to Market

If anyone in the Hamilton area is wondering what to do the morning of Saturday, April 9, come check out the Timothy Vendors Market. The Market is from 9AM - 12PM at Timothy Christian School, which is located at 430 East 25th St E, Hamilton. I'll have a table where you can peruse my prints, and talk to me about a drawing or painting that you've been thinking of commissioning...or come talk to me about anything. The Market is a fundraiser for the elementary school. You can feel extra good about any purchases you make as everyone will be donating a percentage of their sales to Timothy.

p.s. There's also a bake sale. I'm hoping there will be some lemon involved.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Creativity and Convention

I love music (as most humans do) and I can say when I love a piece of music but I'd be hard pressed to explain to anyone why I think a piece of music is great. Ask me about why I love a painting and I can use my knowledge and understanding of Art to explain why I think a painting rocks. I've attended plenty of concerts and happily enjoyed the music despite not having a musical vocabulary or a knowledge of music history. However, this past Saturday, I heard the Toronto Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and also heard an explanation of why the music is so great. Which I guess is what you can count on when you go to a concert entitled What Makes it Great?: Beethoven Symphony 1.  The conductor, Rob Kapilow, spent the first hour of the concert describing the musical conventions Beethoven was working from and how he structured his music in a way that acknowledged those conventions while simultaneously moving beyond them. Okay, that might sound dull, but Rob Kapilow is an amazing teacher. He delivered some meaty content in a light and humorous way; it was like biting into a flaky pastry stuffed with juicy morsels of steak.

After Kapilow's talk, he conducted the orchestra's performance of Beethoven's 1st and it was unbelievable-- I could hear the patterns and structures in the music and understood (to a degree, or course) their significance and meaning in the context of the time period Beethoven was writing in. One of the themes Kapilow kept returning to in his talk was a quote from the music teacher, Nadia Boulanger, that genius cannot help but be original. Even though Beethoven borrowed some of the techniques and devices of Hayden and Mozart, his genius altered and expanded the boundaries set out by those predecessors. Something that I especially appreciated was Kapilow's observation of how the contemporary take on creativity overemphasizes individualism; an artist is supposed to delve deep inside themselves and, operating outside of time and cultural context, produce an original creation. It was really great to be reminded that creativity isn't some mythical process of making something out of nothing. Nobody operates in a vacuum. Certainly a genius such as Beethoven is unique, but hey, even the work of geniuses is informed and influenced by convention--the genius is that the work is nonetheless original.

I've been taking photographs with my new camera and I can tell you that they are not especially original. And while I know I'm not a photographic genius, I'm comforted by the thought that using conventions doesn't mean you can't also be creative.