Homework homework homework, but also a show!

Since I arrived back to school in January, things have been extremely hectic! I’ve had a ton more homework to sift through than I did last semester, and hardly any time to catch a break in between projects.

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that on top of school work, shortly after I submitted those pieces to the Pre-Shrunk show, I was asked to submit a work for an upcoming art show in February about cats. How could I say no to that?! I spent some time researching my subjects beforehand since I don’t draw or paint a lot of wildlife. Thankfully, I have two little fur balls I was able to use for reference (and there are now a copious number of cat pictures on my new phone, oh no!). After several quick preliminary sketches, I got to work immediately. I took roughly three weeks to complete the painting in between school work, and got to show it off at the opening for Cat Person last night.

Mocha & Java: A Modern Portrait by Jess Lingley

Mocha & Java: A Modern Portrait by Jess Lingley, 16″ x 20″ acrylics on gesso’d cradleboard

I’m quite happy with it! Painting the fur was quite challenging, but I looked at a book from the local library for help. It’s a great book for painting wildlife in acrylics and gives great tips on palette set up and acrylic techniques. Silvers’ paintings are stunning. I’m so thankful for another opportuniy to show work at Argyle Fine Art, especially beside so much other beautiful work from the Cat Person show: check it out on their Flickr site!

It was very challenging to balance everything, but I’ve made it through to winter break in one piece. Though all of my classes are pretty intensive, Design has been the most challenging so far with multiple assignments due each week.

Design homework with Gouache on Mylar.

Design homework with Gouache on Mylar.

I’ve enjoyed the graphic design element of it the most, though I don’t think I’ll be studying it in degree form. Fine Art gives me a lot more expressive room than I would ever get with design. Besides graphic design, I got to dabble a bit in product design with a group project. I’ve never done anything like that before and it was an eye-opening experience. It’s very rewarding to take a project from a simple sketch to a full three dimensional working model.

Product design group project results.

Product design group project results.

The most rewarding class (aside from my favourite: Drawing II) has been metal shop. I went from not knowing the first thing about steel to cutting, bending, twisting, forging and manipulating it to make a final project.

Fun in metal shop.

Fun in metal shop.

It's all coming together...

It’s all coming together…

The shot directly above is blurry because my hands were shaking when I took it. Shop has been pretty physically exhausting, but coming home after working hard all day is a great feeling. I’m working on something practical for the apartment; given the shapes above, can you guess what it is? I think my favourite part of shop is welding. It’s really similar to soldering, but the filler is part of the welding torch so you can hold onto what you’re doing instead of trying to criss-cross materials with both hands. It’s a great feeling to weld stuff together! Just don’t weld it to the table you’re working on… :: cough cough ::

And then there’s Drawing II. Aaaah drawing, let me count the ways that I love thee.

Cavernous pepper by Jess Lingley.

Cavernous pepper by Jess Lingley, 22″ x 30″ graphite on mayfair.

This study ended up being a really relaxing one, despite the amount of detail I put into it. It was really rewarding to be able to chip away at it an hour or so at a time, and have a really interesting finished product. I chose this pepper to draw in a macro fashion, because it you look closely enough at it, it becomes abstracted and looks like something else. I thought of alien eggs in some kind of cavern.

Ink wash landscape by Jess Lingley.

Ink wash landscape by Jess Lingley, ~11″ x 15″ inkwash on stonehenge.

This class introduced me to ink as a way of drawing. At first, I found it pretty unforgiving, but if you work in washes it becomes beautiful. For this assignment we studied atmospheric perspective (how things get lighter as they get further away). I wish I’d had more time with this, because I found myself having a ton of fun with it. When separating a landscape into soft layers (and working with a decent sketch of course), it becomes a lot less daunting. Starting with light washes and slowly going darker, the drawing really comes to life.

Skeleton Study of Adam & Eve by Albrecht Durer.

Skeleton Study of Adam & Eve by Albrecht Durer, 22″ x 30″ charcoal and ink wash on stonehenge.

Having just finished the Cat Person painting, I wanted to put a little extra effort into my drawing homework, since I’d not been able to do my best for the past few weeks. Drawing is a class I really want to bring my A Game to, because I’m going to go on studying it and painting at a higher level. I love drawing dearly and want to do my best with it! For this assignment, we had to use a master drawing as a study. I cheated a bit and chose an etching by the amazing Albrecht Durer, entitled Adam & Eve (NSFW nudity). I was absolutely taken with the etching when I saw it, and couldn’t find another drawing that compared.

I’ll admit that I was perhaps a little over-ambitious, but I’m really happy with the results! By this point I’d fallen in love with ink. I used it to simplify the background a bit and discovered that it blends really nicely with charcoal. I could have easily doubled the amount of time spent on this, but I’d already put way over the homework requirement  of time on it, and had other homework left to do. I will definitely be using ink wash and charcoal more in upcoming projects, but also look for more color work of mine during the second half of the semester.

I can’t believe I’m already halfway through this semester! It’s been quite a blur with the amount of work I’ve had to do, but I feel like I’ve already accomplished so much this year! I look forward to Modeled Forms and Wood Shop, coming up after the break. Until then though, I’ve got some final projects to get through and maybe even some personal ones. I’m going to a few figure drawing work shops that are offered next week as well, so I’ll have lots to keep me busy. We’ve been doing a lot of figure studies in Drawing which is awesome, since I’m trying to get as good as possible at drawing the figure from my imagination.

Cheers, all!

Exciting News!

In the spirit of kicking off 2013 with a bang, I’m very excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into Argyle Fine Art’s Pre-Shrunk show! This will be my very first time having work shown in a gallery! INTERNET HIGH FIVES!

Pre-Shrunk at Argyle Fine Art

Pre-Shrunk at Argyle Fine Art

Ahem. Last fall on one of my visits to the gallery, I spotted a call for artists for this show. Pre-Shrunk is a show of 4″x 5″ works both from new and established artists. The goal is to make affordable art available to everyone. The fact that it was open to all artists caught my eye immediately, and I figured, why not? I was especially intrigued by the small canvas size, which was ideal since I wouldn’t have to dedicated large blocks of time to it in between school work. Nothing to lose by trying, since every painting I do helps me grow.

This will be an incredible opportunity to have my work seen by the public, and to play meet ‘n greet with lots of other artists in the HRM. I’m beyond psyched to have gotten in and can’t wait to attend!

Eye Shadow by Jess Lingley

Eye Shadow by Jess Lingley

This is one of three paintings I submitted to the show. All three are acrylics on canvas board, 4″ x 5″. They were very fun to paint! It was a little restricting to paint that small, but at the same time it was very rewarding to finish a piece so quickly. When trying to come up with an idea for what to paint for this show, I was a bit stumped. Fortunately I received an early xmas gift of some colorful items that instantly inspired me! All three paintings feature elements that I really enjoying rendering, from shiny reflective surfaces, to bright colors, to pretty things.

Come on out from 7pm-9pm on Friday the 25th of January to Argyle Fine Art in downtown Halifax to see my work! I’ll be hanging around for a bit as well, taking in all the other amazing art that’s bound to be on display. See you there!

Local Pop Art

Before my recent road trip I learned of a pop art exhibit opening at our local art museum: Hot Pop Soup.  It’s on until June 10th and if you’re in the Fredericton NB area, I strongly recommend you check it out!

I’m starting to think that rainy days are some of the best days to visit galleries. When you enter the gallery from the grey skies and cold rain, the paintings seem even more alive and colorful than usual. On the day I went to see this exhibit I was in a poor mood and feeling down on myself. When I entered the gallery and saw the first painting, I was immediately uplifted and smiling.

Beaverbook doesn’t allow photography as a rule, but I can show you a few pieces from some of the artists in the exhibit that I’ve scoured from around the internet. These photos a) aren’t my own and are sourced as such, and b) are not the exact paintings you will find in the gallery. You’ll have to visit in person for those. That being said, here are a few of the featured artists in this exhibit:

LITTLE DANCING SUPERHEROES  by Alexandrya Eaton acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 in. unframed (via Gallery 78)

LITTLE DANCING SUPERHEROES by Alexandrya Eaton acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 in. unframed (via Gallery 78)

WOMAN ON THE EDGE by Alexandrya Eaton, acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 in. framed dimension: 38 x 38 in. (via Gallery 78)

WOMAN ON THE EDGE by Alexandrya Eaton, acrylic on canvas 36 x 36 in. framed dimension: 38 x 38 in. (via Gallery 78)

I really enjoyed Alexandrya Eaton‘s paintings because of the repetition of the subject, something I’m sure was inspired by Andy Warhol. Having a subject repeated using different palettes forces the viewer to see the subject in a different light, in a different way. Having some of the repetitions overlap creates a sort of optical-illusion effect. Seeing pop art like this brings a few questions to mind: how did she choose which figures overlapped? How did she choose colors, and how to color them, and even what kind of texture?

The Crimson Canoess by Peter Manchester

The Crimson Canoess by Peter Manchester

The smile on my face continued as I browsed Peter Manchester‘s paintings. He combines soft realism in seemingly calm backdrops with completely absurd situations and subjects, aliens and sci-fi being quite popular. His images have the campy fun vibe of old sci-fi movie posters and describe amazing stories about their subjects. His works are extremely enjoyable as you try to piece together what’s happening, and what’s real versus what’s not.

by Jean Rooney (via Artists Wanted)

by Jean Rooney (via Artists Wanted)

Jean Rooney‘s piece in the gallery is absolutely huge! I love seeing works that span multiple canvases, wall to wall. The image above is only a fraction of the entire painting. Upon seeing it, I was hit by a wall of nostalgia. Growing up in the 90’s means the neon colors and cassette tapes resonate with me; they brought me back to simpler days, walking to school with the tape-of-the-moment in my walkman (Weird Al’s Allapalooza and Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill, if I remember correctly.) Her works as a whole are extremely bright and demand to be noticed, whether they’re funky portraits or rolling landscapes. Shapes and patterns pop out at you, weaving different parts of the painting together in a surreal way. Work of this nature begs a closer look to take in the wonderful hues and imagery. Some of her other works are available online.

Novella   oil on canvas   24"x30" (by Cliff Turner)

Novella oil on canvas 24″x30″ (by Cliff Turner)

by Cliff Turner

by Cliff Turner

My readers may have seen me mention Cliff Turner before and will know that I’m already a fan, so seeing his name on the list of artists for this exhibit really sealed the deal. His pop art paintings (some from Technicolor) evoke different feelings in different people. Some of us get nostalgic about certain kinds of food, some of us with color palettes, some of us with cartoons. Because his paintings involve so much different subject matter, there is something for everyone to focus on. It sort of feels like what you’d get flipping through a magazine in the 70’s, all captured on a single canvas. His stunning realism continues to impress and looks especially good on the larger canvases in the exhibit.

Seriously, go check out this exhibit if you can! There is so much more there than I could describe in my tiny pokey ol’ blog here.

Though I don’t have a progress post today, there will likely be one next week. After seeing this exhibit I finally decided to start a pop-art piece of my own, an idea I’d been toying with for awhile. This will give me something to work on in between layers of the large oil painting I’m working on.

Have a great weekend guys, HAPPY JUNE!

Liudmila Kondakova

Alongside the dreamlike paintings of Felix Mas, while I was in Martin Lawrence Galleries, I was greeted by bright, stunning super-detailed landscape & city by paintings Liudmila Kondakova. Normally, landscapes don’t float my boat, but her paintings are quite extraordinary.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA,Cote d'Azur, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA,Cote d’Azur, acrylic on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Miel aux Fleaurs de Lavande, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Miel aux Fleaurs de Lavande, acrylic on canvas, 24 x 36 inches.

Photos of her work are difficult to find in decent resolution online; fortunately the Martin Lawrence gallery website has a slideshow of her work with larger images. This is important since in the smaller versions, some of the meticulous details in her works are overlooked and lost. She paints every single detail, from the peeling away of the walls to each bloom on a rose bush. It’s truly astounding to see in person.

It’s one thing to paint a street-scape with shops and windows, but completely another endeavour to paint the shop’s details inside the windows! Her observation and attention to tiny detail leaves me speechless. These paintings are absolutely captivating for that reason. I especially like the signage on each building and the bouquets of flowers pouring out of the brightly-shuttered windows.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Full Moon in Cassis, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Full Moon in Cassis, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Paris Panorama of Ten Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Paris Panorama of Ten Bridges, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

She paints a lot of inner city landscapes but also does a few “greener” paintings as well, the detail in every one immaculate. Moreover, she does this with gouache and acrylic paint. With oils, since they stay wet for so long, they’re generally preferable for blending and small details. Achieving the same effect with acrylic is very impressive. Her canvases appear very smooth as well, something difficult to achieve with acrylics since they dry so fast. For example, the surface of the tables I painted a few months ago clearly showed the brush strokes I used.

It’s easy for hyper-realistic paintings to fall flat, especially if they over-reference photographs. I mean, why render something realistically when you could just take a picture? To be successful, you must add something to the image that a photograph can’t reproduce. While a photograph captures a moment in time, a realistic painting can reflect movement and change, making the painting feel alive. (Not to say that photography isn’t an art, rather, I’m referring to the point-and-shoot/cell phone method of capturing a photo.)

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Daybreak on the Seine, hand-pulled serigraphs on gesso board, 16 x 12 inches, edition size: 325.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Daybreak on the Seine,
hand-pulled serigraphs on gesso board, 16 x 12 inches, edition size: 325.

I’m trying to fathom how she painted the spokes on that bike! Did she paint with a magnifying glass and a needle? She then had to repeat those strokes in the shadow of the bike… not to mention the tower on the horizon.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Le Vieux Chalet, hand-pulled serigraph printed on Coventry smooth white paper or Ebony black paper,  paper size: 23 x 29 inches, image size: 18 x 24 inches.  Signed in pencil and numbered. Also available in deluxe format on canvas.

LIUDMILA KONDAKOVA, Le Vieux Chalet,
hand-pulled serigraph printed on Coventry smooth white paper or Ebony black paper,
paper size: 23 x 29 inches, image size: 18 x 24 inches.

I wanted to spend hours examining every single one of her paintings. She was able to bring out the character of every scene she painted and render it in detail like I’ve never seen before. I can’t help but wonder how she was able to paint lines so thin or blend so well with quick-drying paints! She may have used a retarder medium to slow the drying times down. Whichever methods she used, they’ve worked beautifully.

I absolutely recommend visiting a gallery with some of her works or prints to view everything close-up. It’s nearly impossible to reflect on this blog how awe-inspiring these paintings are! If you can’t manage that, a flash-animated brochure of her works (with slightly larger images) can be viewed here, and an HTML slideshow with the larger images is available here.

Felix Mas

A lot of smaller galleries will put the most striking of their works, whether it’s sculptures, paintings or jewelry, in windows to try and encourage pedestrians to come in and explore. While I was walking down Newbury Street in Boston, sniffling in the rain, this is exactly what happened to me outside of Martin Laurence Gallery.

FELIX MAS, El Mar, serigraph on canvas, 25 × 32 inches.

FELIX MAS, El Mar, serigraph on canvas, 25 × 32 inches.

Felix Mas’s work is dreamlike and full of wonder. His subjects, mostly beautiful females, are rendered in a light and airy fashion, blending into more starkly colored backdrops. This is the opposite of what I’m used to seeing, which is artists who use bright bold colors to make their subjects stand out against a softer background.

FELIX MAS, La Dama, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches.

FELIX MAS, La Dama, oil on canvas, 32 x 26 inches.

Nature is a recurring theme in these paintings. Many of his subjects are adorned with shells, feathers, leaves, but others are dressed simply in flowing fabrics as to not take away from their rich surroundings. His colors are so rich and warm, perhaps because he actually mixes his own paint, using oils and pigments.

FELIX MAS, Memories (Recuerdos), serigraph on canvas, 23.5 x 36 inchess.

FELIX MAS, Memories (Recuerdos), serigraph on canvas, 23.5 x 36 inchess.

His paintings stood out to me more than usual because of the grey weather we were experiencing. Looking at them, I found time slipping by very quickly as I was drawn into them, exploring, learning. He takes a lot of time to ensure that every color is perfectly blended. I love how his subjects sometimes appear foggy; it makes me want to look at the painting harder to sort of… draw them out.

FELIX MAS, La Perla, oil on canvas, 16 x 36 inches.

FELIX MAS, La Perla, oil on canvas, 16 x 36 inches.

I especially like the luminescent qualities in his paintings involving water or sparkling fabrics. These kinds of techniques are taught in traditional painting schools and are something I really look forward to learning.

FELIX MAS, Transparencias, serigraph on canvas, 19.5 × 23.5 inches.

FELIX MAS, Transparencias, serigraph on canvas, 19.5 × 23.5 inches.

All of Mas’s subjects appear relaxed and serene in their settings, giving a peaceful feeling to all of his work. His use of exquisite, deep colors, female form, patterns and wildlife make for enticing paintings that beckon the viewer in.

I learned a little something extra through his work: the difference between lithographs and serigraphs (which I’d never heard of previously). Lithographs are high quality digital prints of paintings, while serigraphs are a much more complicated screen print. Different screens are made for each color, producing hundreds of screens which are then hand-pressed onto the material of choice (in this instance, canvases). This is the closest thing to an original painting that one could buy, much better quality than a lithograph but also much more expensive.

Holiday Harvest at UNB Art Centre

As the holidays draw closer, my brain prepares for winter hibernation. It’s getting harder to buckle down and get work done (re: writing this blog!) but on the plus side I’ve been doing a lot of baking! Over the past few weeks I’ve made gingerbread ninjas, chocolate-covered pretzels and sugar cookies (thought the latter didn’t turn out so well) and last night Tim & I made peanut brittle. In previous years I’ve felt very unprepared for the holidays but this year I’m totally ready: shopping done, decorating done and baking pretty much done as well. Bring on the good eats, movies and lazy days!

I had a chance to check out the Holiday Harvest exhibit at the UNB Art Centre this week. There are so many beautiful paintings for sale there, all prices and sizes! Here are a few of my favorites:

"Deep" by Lise Dumas Richard

"Deep" by Lise Dumas Richard

I did my abstract art class with Lise earlier in the summer. Her work is beautiful and she was great company! “Deep” is vibrant and mesmerizing and caught my eye almost as soon as I walked in the door. Love the transitions from the gold and green to the blues and purples… deep indeed! The colors drew me in for a closer look which revealed small intricate swirls to lead my eye throughout the work.

"Red" by Estelle Nadeau

"Red" by Estelle Nadeau

Bold bright colors always catch my eye so this piece was a no-brainer for me. I love the blend of abstract and reality, how the background slowly begins to blend into the flowers in the middle. It’s hard to see in this photograph but the piece has a lot of texture as well that helps distinguish the flowers from the background.

"Mother Goose" by Lynn Billings

"Mother Goose" by Lynn Billings

I feel like I could run my fingers through the water in “Mother Goose”. The blues and purples in the water allow the mother and her chicks to really pop. The detail in these birds is incredible as well; the feathers look so soft.

"Around the Bend" - Don Gould

"Around the Bend" - Don Gould

Pieces like this are great because they are almost two completely different works, depending on how you look at it. Up close you get a more abstract piece, bright splotches of color next to each other. From further away these colors blend together to create a beautiful fall scene. For a landscape such as this, I think the pointillism style used here is one of the best ways to represent all the colors that make up this beautiful autumn forest. The thick paint and texture give the illusion of crumpled leaves.

"McCallum Lake" - Joanne Violette

"McCallum Lake" - Joanne Violette

Normally landscapes and wildlife aren’t my thing, but this painting stopped me in my tracks. Again, this photo really doesn’t do the color palette justice. There is a lot going on color-wise and it requires a few minutes to take it all in. Not a single detail is left unpainted here from the reeds of grass to the shafts of light from the sun to the moose’s reflection in the lake. This piece radiates serenity, warmth and beauty. As I studied it more it became obvious how many hours it must’ve taken to paint each portion of this scene.

There is so much more to see in this gallery: oils, acrylics, wax and more. I love going to exhibits of local talent; it really makes me appreciate the art scene in Fredericton that seems to be very underground and quiet most of the time. If you can, go check out the exhibit at the UNB Art Centre (admission is free!) before it ends this Sunday the 18th.

Inspiration 17-11-11

My weekend may have been productive but my week sure hasn’t been. It feels like I’m in the midst of a great big artistic slump. I know the only way to get through it is to just push on, so here are some things that have caught my eye over the past little while that will hopefully get the wheels turning in my brain.

watercolor painting by Z.L. Feng

watercolor painting by Z.L. Feng (via The Luxury Spot)

This vivid watercolor landscape caught my eye immediately. The colors are striking and the detail is amazing for watercolor. Landscapes are a bit of a weak spot for me, so seeing beautiful works like this encourage me to keep at it. I love the combination of blending and splattering. The reflection in the water is especially well done.

Soey Milk does "Re-imagine Childhood"

Soey Milk does "Re-imagine Childhood" (via Booooooom)

This piece is from a show at Subtext Gallery in California called Home Room. The artists in the show take drawings done while they were children and recreate them in their current “style”. What a great way to see how far they’ve come! Even if you can’t make it there for the show (I certainly can’t, a bit far away for me) they’ve featured the artists and their works in a PDF available here! The work is amazing, take a look!

This is definitely something that I want to try. I’ve done similar works in the past but only re-drew something from a few years back. Going back to kindergarten or grade one would be really interesting. Back around grade three I created a super heroine and shortly after met some friends who created their own with me. Following this, we all began drawing and writing stories together, which went on for years. I have such fond memories of those days. I think I have a box of these old drawings in my closet and will look through them soon.

by Arturo Elena

by Arturo Elena

Some crazy, surreal COPIC marker work by Arturo Elena, found on the COPIC marker blog. I can’t even fathom how he was able to render that hair on the dogs! When used properly, COPICs can produce some really impressive realism. I’m not quite there yet and anticipate it will take me years. There’s a very fine balance needed to blend colors seamlessly without completely saturating the page in ink, ruining it. Seeing work of this calibre done with markers is extremely encouraging and inspiring. The COPIC blog shows a lot of other great talent as well and posts tutorials from time to time. If you’re trying to learn the ropes of COPICs, or any other art markers for that matter, these tutorials are very helpful.

by Ana Elisa Egreja

by Ana Elisa Egreja (via Trendland)

Colorful realist paintings: they always seem to catch my eye. Maybe because I appreciate the rendering, maybe because I’m curious how one would come up with concepts like these. Maybe it’s not worth explaining and just about enjoying. These paintings of animals in human settings are fun and wonderful to look upon, my favorite being the one above.

I have no work to report on of my own right now and just spent this week’s watercolor class trying to put more detail in my autumn-themed-tattoo-gypsy-thing. I’d really like to have another piece to work on for next class and may actually, ~gasp~, take a photo in to work off of. One of the other things I’d like to do this weekend is go through my sketchbooks and upload some rough drawings and in-progress works. Once I’ve uploaded them I will of course post about them here!

Here’s hoping everyone has a good autumn weekend. I think it’s going to start getting really cold from here on out…

Autumn Watercolors and Art Spotting Down-town

I’ve been really busy this week between supporting an event down-town during the day and attending several get-togethers in the evenings. One of the reasons I like taking evening classes is that it forces me to do art at some point in the week, even if I’m feeling lazy or I’m busy with other things. It’s a commitment and since I pay to go I take it seriously. This week I continued working on a watercolor I started a few weeks ago.

Autumn Watercolors Progress

Autumn Watercolors Progress

It doesn’t feel done quite yet. I think I’d like to bring some more darks into it. I love how easily watercolors blend together and how vibrant the colors are when you layer them over top each other! As long as you keep your layers light, you can use as many colors as you want to mix additional rich unique colors. I’m really enjoying the skin tones on the girl. I think I also need to bring more definition to her headdress but I’m not sure how to imitate fur with this medium… I was asked to bring in some specific works and questions for next week’s class, so I’ll add that question to the list.

While at the new convention centre down-town I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of large art works over all of their walls. While I didn’t get a chance to look at all of them, a few in particular caught my eye.

Untitled V by Anna Cameron

Untitled V by Anna Cameron (via Gallery78 website)

It’s a little difficult to appreciate this on-screen as opposed to in front of you, but with lots of natural light coming in from huge windows, this is quite striking. By themselves, the colors may appear quite dull, but beside each other like this they really come alive. Most of the time I find myself drawn to art with bright colors but the way these colors are arranged is quite effective. The drips from one stripe to the next really help pull the palette together. It’s more relaxing and inviting, something I could see hanging in my living room or in a room with lots of light, somewhere you’d entertain people. There were several of her other works there as well, all abstract and geometrical without being sterile or boring.

Ancient Landscape by Don Pentz

Ancient Landscape by Don Pentz (via Gallery78 website)

When you come up the main stairs or escalator to the second floor of the convention centre, you’re greeted with this wonderful piece. It reminds me a bit of dirt and earth, different layers and textures interacting with each other. The brushwork and palette knife work in this is very strong and adds to the earth motif. When sunlight hits the top of the painting it lights up like fire. In some parts of the painting, the weave of the canvas shows through and in other parts it’s completely covered by thick layers of acrylic paint. Having creams and warm tones over top the purples, blues and greens creates a sort of glowing effect. With a painting of this magnitude I really needed to step back to take it in. (I may have gotten separated from my tour group at this point as well… worth it!)

With the threat of snow more often than not I’m afraid I won’t be able to varnish my tables on our deck. Nevertheless, I’m going to finish off the second one as soon as possible and then trek down to the father in law’s or my own father’s house for a bigger sheltered space to varnish in. To be honest, my studio will feel very empty without these tables in it! Ever since I moved into the new studio, they’ve been there. I think in the new year, once yard-sale season starts up again, I may look at buying a piece or two of furniture at a time and painting it for resale. Think there’d be a market for it?

Art-Spotting w/Paula Keppie, Alex & Nancy Schofield

Last Friday instead of the usual post-work-week-drinks at the campus pub, I headed over to the UNB Art Centre (also known as Memorial Hall) for an exhibit opening featuring Paula Keppie. I’d seen posters around campus advertising the opening but hadn’t intended on going at first, since I like to explore art in my own time and take a long time to absorb paintings. A colleague convinced me to go and I’m really glad I did.

Paula’s work is very rich and organic. She uses nature a lot in her paintings and fabrics, both as a subject and as a media. There was even a piece of the exhibit dedicated to her materials, a box with bones, feathers, branches and rocks she used to paint with.

Unfortunately I can’t find much of her work online, so I’ll post a few photos from the catalogue I picked up at her gallery opening.

Paula Keppie Catalogue

Paula Keppie Catalogue

Paula Keppie "I Will Speak To You In Stone Language"

Paula Keppie "I Will Speak To You In Stone Language"

During her artist talk she discussed some of the methods used to create these pieces. The one above, “I Will Speak To You In Stone” is a digital print on fabric. To get the design for the print, she used different combinations of paint on fabric and staining fabric with rust from a metal bucket. This piece was hung near the middle of the room and radiated so much warmth. I’m sure it would look lovely in the sun. Rust, while being so destructive can provide so much beauty.

Paula Keppie "Answer With a Syllabus of Wind"

Paula Keppie "Answer With a Syllabus of Wind"

These are more fabric-printed pieces but these also have stitching. The stitching is hard to see here but while it is straight, the lines are uneven and not spaced uniformly. Based on the patterns that staining and painting have given the fabric, I think uniform stitching would seem out of place.

Paula Keppie "Letters Home (detail)"

Paula Keppie "Letters Home (detail)"

This one is a painting done on a black canvas, using some of the natural materials I mentioned earlier. I love her use of repeating patterns and symmetry. The textures created through many many layers of paint and use of interesting brushes are lush and blend her warm palette beautifully.

Listening to her speak about her work was one of the highlights of the opening. It became immediately obvious that she feels a deep connection to her work and has much love for it. She talked about the people involved in her work and those who inspired it, read some poetry that she’d written about it and her words filled the room with her inspiration and depth. I got to talk to her briefly and she was extremely friendly and not shy at all talking about her methods of working. I really appreciate this from artists.

If you’re near UNBF campus any time soon you should check out this exhibit. I may give it a second visit, myself. Paula Keppie’s Code Exhibit runs until Nov.29th.

Earlier last week I had some time to kill before my first figure drawing studio so I stopped by Ingrid Mueller. They were getting ready to open up “Royals Rhymes and Ruminations”, a collection of works by Nancy and Alex Schofield. The works in this exhibit are similiar, in a way, to Paula Keppie’s work in that they’re both comprised of many layers. The difference with this exhibit, though, is the inclusion of surreal and life-like objects.

Elizabeth by Nancy King Schofield

Elizabeth by Nancy King Schofield (via PeterBucklandGallery.ca)

Again, I was unable to find much of Alex’s work online but I did stumble across some of Nancy’s. Her pieces in this exhibit lean more towards the “Royal” side of things. Images of queens, nature scenes and beautiful fonts dance throughout her work. She uses a lot of print-making to achieve her layers through carving into wood, using chemicals w/zinc plates and mixing it with with other various media. Her works are colorful and reminiscent of fairy tales, complex pieces with intricate layers that demand more than a second glance.

Ewe Shearing I by Nancy King Schofield

Ewe Shearing I by Nancy King Schofield (via PeterBucklandGallery.ca)

I can’t find any of Alex’s art but I encourage you to visit Ingrid Mueller to check it out in person! The exhibit runs until November 15th. His works are very similar to Nancy’s, leading me to believe they worked together, or were at least inspired by each other. They’re a bit more surreal and less life-like. Washes of colors bring together seemingly unrelated subjects. I enjoyed his pieces quite a bit, as there are snippets of old children’s books peaking out in corners of various paintings.

I enjoyed this exhibit most because there is more to it than what’s on the surface. The colors, subjects and symbolism are beautiful to look at but entice you to look longer, to figure out what brings them together.

EDIT: Ingrid Mueller has starting posting some of Nancy & Alex’s work online!

Alex Schofield - What Am I 1

Alex Schofield - What Am I 1, via Ingrid Mueller

Alex Schofield - What Am I 2

Alex Schofield - What Am I 2 via Ingrid Mueller

Nancy King Schofield - Anne with Pears

Nancy King Schofield - Anne with Pears via Ingrid Mueller

Technicolor by Cliff Turner

Despite suffering a nasty sinus infection this weekend, I pushed myself to go out and see Cliff Turner’s exhibit at Gallery 78 before it closed. I’d never been to Gallery 78 before, so seeing my old high school art teacher’s work was as good an excuse as any to finally check out this gallery hidden in downtown Fredericton. I have happy memories of class with him. I was a shy introverted artist in high school and after meeting him for the first time I became known as “cat”, since when I first tried to say hi he asked me to speak up, saying I looked like a cat meowing through a screen door. He was animated and always kept us on our toes with various fun art projects.

Gallery 78 is a lovely house that was built in 1976. The rich wooden window sills and doors and colorful stained glass provide a beautiful home for the art inside. I browsed through the other exhibitions that were on display and found many beautiful works of art. What I’m going to focus on in this entry, though, is Cliff Turner’s work.

SATURDAY MORNING 1980

Saturday Morning 1980, Cliff Turner, 36"x36" oils on canvas (via Gallery 78 website)

The “Technicolor” collection is composed of two parts; a collage of hyper-realistic still life and popular imagery from the 60s onwards. He describes the nostalgic works as having a dream-like quality, memories represented as slivers in the paintings. They’re watching your favorite saturday morning shows over breakfast when I was little, eating my favorite candy and playing video games. Crisp bright colors suggest pleasant memories, how everything was new and exciting. My favorite piece from the memories/popular art portion of the exhibit is this one:

SONIC LOVE HEARTS by Cliff Turner

Sonic Love Hearts by Cliff Turner, 36" x 24" oil on canvas (via Gallery 78 website)

Sonic Love Hearts detail

Sonic Love Hearts detail, Cliff Turner (via Gallery 78 website)

This piece was the one that convinced me to go to his showing. I’m completely blown away by the realism and attention to detail: the distortion on the lid of the jar, the crumpled candy wrapper, the plastic-wrapped lollipop. Everything is in such bright vivid delicious color! It brings to pleasant memories from my childhood, playing videogames with my bro & friends, eating sugary candy before I was worried about calories and chemicals. Sonic in particular has a special place in my heart since the Sega Genesis was a beloved christmas present to my younger brother and I from Mom & Dad that completely surprised us. Many, many hours were spent with it cheering and yelling and fighting and laughing. This piece caters to my love of bright colors, happy nostalgia and exquisite detail. I absolutely love every aspect of this painting.

The other “half” of this exhibit is comprised of still lifes. In this article where he discusses his exhibit, he says that the focus isn’t so much on the subject as it is the narrative these objects create. The stunning detail in the fruit on the painting below is captivating. All of the fruit and bread looks delicious but the birds aren’t eating it.

LOOKING FOR ZEUXIS by Cliff Turner

Looking for Zeuxis by Cliff Turner, 40" x 60" oil on canvas (via Gallery 78 website)

The painting below positively glows in person. Many times it’s difficult to fully capture with a camera the colors in a painting with contrasting colors, like the one below. The bright sky and feathers on the birds really bring this image to life. Perhaps there is something to bird watching after all…

YOU'RE NOT WELCOME by Cliff Turner

You're Not Welcome by Cliff Turner, 36" x 36" oil on canvas (via Gallery 78 website)

Seeing these works up close was a truly inspirational experience. Digital images tend to flatten colors a little bit and can make the works look more like photographs than paintings. Examining them in the gallery revealed the beautiful gradients and brush strokes in the background to make such a smooth transition in the bird still lives, for example. This work isn’t on exhibit at Gallery 78 any more but since he’s a Saint John resident, you may be able to find it with his other works at Handworks Gallery.

My love of painting stems from a fairly simple pleasure of putting color on a blank white canvas. I’ve been painting a lot of still lives over the past few months and was starting to feel it getting a bit stale. Cliff Turner’s work is an example of how it can be exciting and amazing to look upon. Time for me to splash down some colors and get cracking!