Wednesday 26 May 2021

unexpected archive

A few weeks ago I was sorting and culling from several large boxes of correspondence and found a number of things that didn't actually belong with correspondence, rather they could be more appropriately part of my personal art archive. I already blogged about an envelope filled with torn pages from a number of notebooks here. But I found a number of other things in the boxes. This sketch was one I did on my second art school class trip to New York City in 1981. I had been with my friends at The Lizard Lounge that night and for some reason left on my own. I remember running across Times Square to The Picadilly Hotel, where we were staying. At the front desk I asked for the key to the lads' room by mistake and didn't realise it until I got into the room and noticed that the bathtub was full of cans of beer. Rather than return the key to the lobby, I decided to wait for everyone to come back. I found some hotel stationary, a pen, and did this drawing. 

In 1983, in an attempt to extricate myself from an abusive relationship, I began dating someone else. However, I was followed everywhere I went and decided to make a series of artworks from the experience. I planned to call the series "Evidence" but did not get much further in the project than making this small stencilled card.

I made this postcard in 1986 or 1987 specifically so that it would be returned to me. It was sent to one of my former university professors, along with a letter, asking for a reference. The images are based on The Tidal Series of paintings and drawings that I was doing at the time and I made response as easy as possible by providing a series of boxes to be ticked on the postage paid card. My sense of humour showed by my inclusion of the box "I don't remember who you are" - just in case! The card, however, was happily returned to me with a positive response and phone number.

I was talking to one of my cousins about my recent organising and culling, and she reminded me of a piece of work I had given her when she visited Toronto in 1981. It was delightful when she sent me some photos of the piece, the colours as fresh as the day they were painted.

At the time I had been greatly inspired by an exhibition I had seen in New York of Eileen Gray's work. I had painted my own chest of drawers so this was the second piece of "furniture" that I decided to paint. Many years later I painted a full set furniture for my child's room. I blogged about that furniture and the piece that started it all here.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

painting update!

The work on my big painting, Knockeen, is going on at a steady but slow pace. I posted about the beginnings of this painting here, and some thoughts about how it was developing in March, here. As I mentioned before, it is slow and steady work. By the end of March I had all colours blocked in and started re-working particular areas.

The night sky got some further work to make the stars and the comet (Hyakutake as a matter of fact!) more apparent. I am planning further painting in this area, but I wanted to get some of the main elements in before I moved on to another area.

I worked on getting some colour into the whole sky. Although I like the specific blue of the daylight sky, I see it eventually taking on a lighter shade.

While I abhor browns, I want the outbuildings to have a darker, more defined presence. A mix of purples and reds has a rich bronzey effect that I am happy with. I paint thinly in glazes so the under drawing and previous washes of colour are always visible. I love showing the painting's history and development.

The green fields and island in the background started to develop with deeper colours.

I also want some of foliage in the foreground to be more intense. You can see here how I painted a brighter green on the montbretia leaves.

Wednesday 12 May 2021

old notebook pages

While I was recently sorting through several large correspondence boxes (organising/ culling/ amalgamating) I came across an envelope full of pages from small (only about 5 inches x 3 inches) notebooks I kept in 1981, after I finished art school. I had obviously already culled them at some previous date, only keeping pages that I thought were interesting. I know that these pages came from several different notebooks as there were two back pages in the envelope. One of the back pages, along with doodles, has an advert for a storefront for rent. I never lived in or rented a shop but I must have been thinking of it as an option in my early Toronto days. One of the doodles represents an image of an egg and its shadows that I had previously created as a large silkscreen print in my 2nd year of art school, so obviously the image stayed with me.

I would have had the notebooks in my handbag or pocket with me at all times, and used them constantly, especially if my normal sketchbook was too big to carry around. These are some idea sketches for paintings; my work with flowers was very abstracted at the time.

I actually remember being fascinated by the red ash berries in front of the white brick walls at one section of Ontario Hydro where I was working at the time. I know I did some larger works on paper, based on this image, but they probably were binned at the time of my first great purge in 1988.

I was often doodling this insecure selfie image, which first made an appearance in a sketch I made in NYC on my second visit there, on an art school trip in the spring of 1981.

I also did sketches where ever I was. This is whatever was on the table while waiting to be served in a greasy spoon restaurant.

I imagine I was waiting for someone to get out of the loo, so I just doodled a selfie in a restaurant.

Again the abstract flower motif and a little bit of writing that didn't get obliterated in the initial cull of this notebook.

Thinking of the brick wall and ash motif. The rest of that writing starts on the previous page and refers to a series of nightmares the night before, most especially that there was something wrong with my hands and I was afraid I'd never paint again.

Again, here are some idea sketches for future abstract flower paintings. I remember doing one similar to the top sketch but in a vertical format. Two red "tulips" on a primarily turquoise background, with a pale blue underpainting. 

This is  a series of doodles on top of "requirements" for something -- of what I have no idea! The phrase "2 or 3 essays" is identifiable. I did start York University the following year, but essays were not part of the admittance requirement for the BFA course...

Wednesday 5 May 2021

writing & publishing

Along with numerous writers world wide, I spent the month of April partipating in Na/GloPoWriMo (National/Global Poetry Writing Month) as I have done for the past five years. The premise is to write a poem daily based on a specific (optinal) prompt. In addition, there are links to both live and pre-recorded poetry readings, which are amazing to follow; not all live events work with the differences in time zones, but some do. These are great introductions to the work of other poets that may have been previously unknown to you, or even reminders to listen to known poets. Following the prompts has led to writing unexpected poems and learning about other poem forms. Some of the poems written during NaPoWriMo I have continued to work on, revising and tweaking, and eventually publishing. Although I began taking part in 2017, during several non-April months, I have looked back at the archive and worked on prompts for several previous years (working backwards I have one more year, 2013, to finish, which I plan to complete by the end of this year).

Last week an email interview that I undertook with Elizabeth Challinor of Orbit Magazine was published. I thought it was very appropriate to the month that was in it, as the focus of the interview was the founding of Precariat Press last year, which I blogged about here. The full interview can be read here.