Sunday, May 15, 2011

For Cryin' Out Loud - I'm Not Dead Yet!!

See this? It's a 'painting' I did wa-a-a-a-y the hell-o back in the late 70's....I think; maybe even very early 80's. Anywhatthehellnextway, it's popped up FOR SALE on '' for - and get ready to gasp - $ 1000.00......seriously.
I'm not quite sure how to react to this.
Part of me is flattered in a 'wow, look, I'm worth something after all must mean I'm getting famous' way but there's the other side to this and that's a bit of W.T.F. ?!!
This was such an early painting - and let's clarify that because it's actually a colored pen and ink drawing - and the perspective is so off and I really did funny people but there you go. (I believe I did post about this some time ago...I'll have to find that post after I have my fit of pique here)
the part that's so WTF about this, is that here is 'the unknown' who bought this at Value Village (I kid you not) for $2.00. And now, because of the long and hard earned reputation I've made for myself, wants to cash in on it.
Good luck on that, by the way, as I'm having a hell of a time selling anything lately and am down to drinking my coffee black because I can't afford milk.
Ok...all the wha wha poor me aside, this is the kind of thing that makes Artists collectively sigh - or perhaps scream in the great irony of it all. It does keep you humble ....well, it should anyway. The vultures are circling.
The irony is right.
And that's the lousiest frame job ever!
I wonder if I'll ever find out what the outcome is.
Sincerely bemused.
P.S. the original post about this painting is " BLAST FROM THE PAST" 10/20/10. The ending about how 'they really love it' takes on a whole new meaning after this, hey?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Artist in Their Studio

I have been prepping for a new painting over the last couple of days and that means, for me anyworkitgirlway, that I scrounge around in my stretcher wood pieces - they are strips of wood usually around 1.5" to 2" width - that I cut down to the required lengths and from there assemble and repair if needed - knotholes and sanding corners etc - and paint to keep it clean. After that comes the stretching of the canvas. I buy my canvas in large rolls (60" X 80') so it has to be cut to fit the frame every time. If you've never seen canvas being stretched I'll try to 'talk' you through the process. You start by making sure the frame sits relatively square within your piece of canvas that hopefully you've cut with enough 'margin allowance' to fit around and over the frame. From there, you staple the canvas (with industrial size staples!) to the middle point of the first side of your frame. Then you flip it to the opposite side and repeat. and etc etc around the frame, going from opposite side to opposite side. The tool you use to accomplish the straight and taught canvas you require are called - oh so obviously - 'canvas pliers'. They look like wide mouth pliers so to enable grabbing the canvas strongly and pulling tightly as you go.
Following me still?
After the canvas is nicely stretched and it should be tight enough to sound rather 'drum like' when you tap it - you fold the corners in neatly and evenly. Not as simple as it sounds as you need to ensure you aren't creating a big lumpy mess. It took me a good while to get it down pat, I must say.
Next comes the 'Gesso'. Gesso is a special base coat of usually white but you can get it in different colors, paint. It is rather like a very chalky paint. The extra 'chalk' - and it actually is a kind of chalk - gives your canvas a base that will 'hold' the paint better causing  good adherence. You need around 2 to 3 coats laid down depending on how thick you make it. I used to struggle with putting on this coat as the Gesso is very thick and is a slow process for the first coat. Then I hit upon the idea of wetting down the whole canvas before putting on the first coat. ( as an aside - this process with me and my decidedly HUGE canvases is enormously entertaining to any viewers - to me it's a royal pain as I try to maneuver it under the shower head in the hovel's teensy tiny bathroom. There is a LOT of water everywhere when I finally am done. However, I have very clean bathroom floors from having to mop them after. A bright side to everything) This has made ALL the difference to putting on the first coat and as an added bonus really gives me a taught canvas after drying.
It takes about a day to dry completely and I have to admit I'm generally impatient to get my line drawing on so I'll stick the canvas by my heater or if it's a sunny day - outside. This wet and blazingly white canvas however, seems to attract every little black bug in a 3 mile radius.
All in all quite the process.
But as I go through it I'm thinking about how the thread of this 'prepping' stretches back throughout time to all the artist painters. It's a good feeling to know that even Frida Khalo and Georgia O'Keeffe did this too. We are all connected by this simple eternal act of art.
I feel part of something larger. Nice.
The pic is: "An Artist In His Studio" by John Singer Sargent. I like this for a couple of reasons. One because it's the whole theme of today's post but mostly because the guy has his canvas crammed into his unmade bed and is working in a little space.
And THAT really makes me feel connected!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


" Running With The Wolf " - Mixed Media > acrylic with hand painted collage - 42 X 46"

 For some time now I've posted my paintings on Facebook as I find it gets great feedback for me. I put this one one @ 5:30 p.m. today. By 8:00 I had 15 respones - and all pretty great too - the most any painting has garnered in such short time.
Well.....just color me gobsmacked.
Now if it sells that will be icing on the cake indeed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Goodnight Dear Kiddies Wherever You Are

Ah, Mother's Day.....the day that makes me cringingly writhe internally with feelings of disgust and longing. Disgust for the fact that it has become an almost obligatory celebration proscribed with some kind of feasting and floral tribute, and longing for the same from my children. A certifiable 'crazy making' state indeed.
For many whose mothers have passed on, it's a bittersweet day. For those whose mothers are not really 'acceptable', it can be tainted with "if only". For those whose mothers are 'difficult', it is filled with guilt and anger.
Ah, such things are fodder for the analyst's couch.
Not everyone gets the 'Norman Rockwell' version.
I've made no bones about the rather tortured relationship my own mother and I shared here, all that is visually documented in the paintings I create. And as for me as a mother....well, I left my own children at a young age and then I fell headlong into 'the rabbit hole' of drugs and debauchery until I changed my life with art.
Enough said.
Today I want to remember my Mom for the 'good times' and, yes there were those amongst the crippling awful. In all things there seems to be bad with good - perhaps this is why we get so confused. Nothing is completely black and white, but various shades of grey.
The title of today's ditty comes from a bedtime song Mom would sing to my brother and me. We refused to go to sleep until she sat on the stairs and sang that song....I'm pretty sure it was made up and she sung it to the old tune of  'Goodnight Young Lovers' and, boy oh boyo, if that doesn't date me, nothing will! She had a goofy sense of humour too. Honestly I do recall laughing until I wet my pants with her over the oddest things she'd do. Once when we were in a dept. store shopping, she spied some dress that was in the display case beside the escalator we were riding on. As we passed by it, she leaned over the railing and picked up the dress's hem to look for a price tag. Of course the escalator was continuing it's decent and consequently the manikin toppled over as my mom pulled it along with her. She also would make these incredibly weird faces that sent my brother and me into paroxysms of giggles.
And she made awesome soup.
So today let's celebrate the person that made it possible to live this life no matter what or how or why. She too was all too human and had her history that we may never understand.
For all you gave me, thanks mom.
The photo is of me and my sons in 1982 and my favourite photo of us together. And in case you are wondering, that's face paint on my eldest son's face - not some strange tribal tattoo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oh Canada! The true north strong and free!

In case any of my readers reside in an alternate universe (and can I visit?) Canada had a major Federal Election yesterday. Now just in case you are now wildly screaming or perhaps your jaw is immediately embarked upon the act of yawning, may I reassure you all I am not going to blither on about politics. I shall, instead, be blithering on about the whole thing of voting from my side of the voting table, being that I have been involved in facilitating the voting process for the last 9 elections, both provincial and federal.
It's a huge commitment to put yourself forward to do this. I'm not saying that to garner any back-patting murmurs of congratulation but to point out it's not a job for slackers. This is a serious undertaking you are engaging in. And the hours are abysmal - 3 eleven hr days for the advanced polls and 16 hrs for the Election itself, where you must also be responsible for the counting of the votes cast after the long and often dreary or - certainly in yesterday's case - extremely busy day.
But I believe strongly in the process which I think many take for granted in our free land. How privileged we are.
The thing that struck me the most about yesterday was that it was so busy. It makes me hopeful that our good citizens are actually engaging in the responsibility in the governance of our country. However, the fact that so few young people do not vote and blow it off as not worth the effort saddens me. If only they realized the power they have to change our world. We certainly would have a government more committed to environmental concerns. And, may I hopefully dream, the Arts.
 This is the other side of living in a Democratic society, you are free to exercise the right to vote or not.
So for those of you who DID exercise this right, thank you. And despite the outcome, that you are happy about or hugely disappointed in, may I hope you will still be true to your beliefs, encourage the positive and be mindful of the environment we all share.

The painting: " Esoteric Dreams " by Eugene Ivanov. I chose this because it made me think of how the media can color our voting choice. Often we float along and have no stronger idea of what is happening politically except for those 5 min sound bytes from all these odd folks who have something to do with running our land.