I took a mono printing workshop earlier this month, and the inks I ordered following the workshop arrived yesterday.
Mono printing is a great way to get started in printmaking, and, coincidentally, so is rubber stamping! Printmaking in its most basic form is simply adding colour medium to a surface, and then “printing” that on paper. With the Gelli Plate I purchased at the workshop, a rubber brayer and the four slow drying Akua Kolor inks that I ordered, I’m all set up to start creating my own prints at home.
I made a dozen prints last night, and this morning the kids and I couldn’t finish schoolwork fast enough when I told them I’d let them try making some prints of their own.
They choose their inks and rolled them evenly on the Gelli Plate.
Then they chose items to press into the inked plate, lifting off to leave an impression of that object in the ink. We used bubble wrap, feathers, lace and rubber stamps.
I have a variety of stamps that fit in a roller handle and these were especially fun to roll across the inked surface of the plate. The inks dry very slowly, and so there’s lots of time to consider and add different textures. I also like that since these are watercolour inks, they clean up easily, though my hands are stained a sickly shade of blue.
A finished print. The kids found the technique so addicting, and they loved that from one inked plate they could get 2-4 images, growing progressively lighter. (They loved also that the term for this is “ghost print.”)
Now we are all a team on the hunt for interesting objects to add texture to our prints!
I would never say that art is on the back burner. My studio is too full of in-progress projects for that! But life interrupts art sometimes, and so lately I’ve been busy training for my annual triathlon, teaching a six year old to read (he’s doing so well!),
planting flowers and veggies in our little garden, and enjoying having my husband home as he just finished having two weeks off work.
I’ve been thinking a lot about painting to please myself, and what I want to get out of my paintings. I love texture, and splashes of bright colour, like this:
That brilliant colour is Daniel Smith’s Green Gold, and the sparkly texture in the flower is made by sprinkling salt into a wet wash of colour. This is a small piece of a painting of crocuses that I’m working on. I have so many paintings “in progress” right now. Often “in progress” is another word for stalled out, or given up, but I don’t believe in painting pointlessly. I have learned to stop when I’m not sure what I’m doing, or when it doesn’t feel inspired anymore. My painting style doesn’t allow for drudge work.
I have two sessions left with my current watercolour class, and we are working on a painting of saskatoon berries. They all left last week all fired up with enthusiasm for the subject and how fun it is to paint. My demo piece is above, and the texture you see in the background is made by pressing cling wrap to a wet wash of colour and allowing it to dry. It’s not a technique I use a lot, but it can be really cool if it’s not overused. This painting will need to have some background layers to help the texture blend in before I call it finished. And as a demo piece, it may not progress any further out of class. I don’t have many paintings turned out that first started as a result of a class demonstration, since I usually have to paint my demos tilted at an odd angle, or completely upside down. I’ll get a photo taken and show you sometime.
Speaking of unfinished projects, my printmaking paints arrived yesterday and I’m excited about making time to take the seals off the bottles and give mono printing another go. There’s a reason my studio gets so messy, so fast!
Recently the kids and I took part in a visit to Dawson Creek’s Pioneer Village. It hadn’t opened yet for the season, but the homeschool group was given a personal tour and we enjoyed poking around the heritage buildings on the site and hearing about their histories.
The gentleman who opened the fire hall had actually been a firefighter in Dawson Creek in the 60′s and had a lot to say about how things have changed over the years, and his personal fight to save the two fire trucks that are on display at the Village.
I love antiques and would have loved to take home some of those old pieces of furniture. My plan for my new studio is to decorate it in the style of an old-timey general store, and so a trip like this is always good for ideas.
The kids enjoyed trying out the desks in the two one-room schoolhouses on the site, and my son was the perfect model for the dunce cap! He’s a clown.
This is just a quick post – it’s a beautiful Saturday and I’m going to dash outside and help my girls fill some hanging baskets with annuals to decorate our home. How we are loving the spring, now that it is finally here!
Standing at the magazine racks in the grocery store, I am always tempted to move any magazines that include my artwork front and centre. And possibly to announce to random strangers, “Guess what? I have a project (or two or four) in this magazine!” I’m learning self control.
Last week I received my copy of Paper Crafts magazine’s 350 Cards & Gifts issue and it’s quite wonderful. Lots of great inspiration and I especially love the gift ideas since I love making gifts, altered items and paper crafted pretties. My journal and bookmark project was accepted and looks great in print!
Pick up your copy of 350 Cards & Gifts at news stands this spring or order it online here!
Forgive my lack of an internet presence lately. I’ve booked myself busy with a host of classes in May, and it’s been delightful. I’m painting with a very pleasant class of ladies on Thursday nights. Below is a shot of their completed landscape paintings – they all did a wonderful job and it’s so fun to see their different styles emerge in each painting.
I also took a printmaking workshop on May 5th. What a neat process, and so full of possibilities! We kept running ahead of our instructor, Mary Parslow, with our “what if’s” as each demonstration sparked ideas for monoprinting creativity. I came home with forty prints that are mostly “misses” but I’m all fired up to pursue monoprinting as another artistic option for me. And I know the kids will love to try it!
I’m on version five of an Arizona landscape – thinking it’s time to take a break. When repeated restarts aren’t helping work out a painting, time might be what it needs instead. There are parts of this painting I really love, but it’s not quite “cooked.”
Spring is here, and the sun is shining, and there is so much to enjoy this time of year. I’m prepping for summer shows in some local galleries, and looking forward to painting with the Peace Watercolour Society on local at the Peace River in June. Art journalling with the kids is on my to-do list, and of course teaching them monoprinting! Life is good.
I’ve been a little scarce on the blog lately. I planned a busy month and in May I’ll be teaching fifteen classes here in my home studio. That’s a record for me and I’m hoping it doesn’t mean I neglect my other jobs. My children still need educating and my husband’s books don’t balance themselves!
The Dawson Creek Art Gallery’s annual art auction takes place tomorrow night. I always try to donate a painting to this organization that has supported me as an artist in so many ways. The painting I donated this year is an older piece I’ve always loved, but I forgot to photograph it before it was framed, so I’ve never really shown it online. Titled “Spring’s Aristocrats,” it’s a lovely delicate portrait of irises. I love irises but I’ve never remembered to plant any in my yard.
You can view all the auction items here. Don’t forget that my Mother’s Day flower painting sale runs until May 15th. Details here.
Consider yourself invited to the Peace Without Borders show & sale, opening April 28th from 2-4pm at the Beaverlodge Cultural Centre. This show features selected works by members of the Peace River Chapter of the Federation of Canadian Artists, and I have two paintings on exhibit there in Beaverlodge, Alberta.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the opening, as my daughters are performing in their first piano recital on Sunday. They have worked very hard this year and are excited and nervous about their first public performance. We have a wonderful full life and the result is sometimes these kind of scheduling conflicts in a week jam-packed with art, music, sports and good friends.
Mother’s Day is right around the corner and in honour of the wonderful women who raised us, let’s shower them with flowers! I’ve put together a catalogue, ten pages of lovely floral paintings in a variety of sizes and styles, both framed and unframed, and all are discounted a little in honour of Mother’s Day.
View the catalogue PDF by clicking here and message me to arrange a studio visit or make a purchase.
Life has been so busy lately that I’ve made very little time to paint. Time instead to enjoy the art I have recently framed and plan for some exhibitions this spring, summer and fall.
I’ve also filled my plate by taking on two weekly watercolour classes. On Thursday nights my studio is dedicated to four very focused women, learning watercolour step by step. I love a small class size for the informal, comfortable atmosphere and the opportunity it gives me to provide very focused individual attention.
On Wednesday afternoons the same space hosts eight equally focused young ladies, between the ages of eight and thirteen. My two daughters are a part of this class, and since it’s the class length is just an hour, mothers enjoy tea downstairs in the kitchen, while my six-year-old son shares his Lego with any brothers who might have come along.
I consider myself very fortunate to have this large space in my home. The tables are always full of painting or crafting supplies, and being able to teach out of my home keeps my costs low so I can enjoy a smaller class size, and keep the cost of the classes at a fair price. And I always learn as much as my students, it seems, and their enthusiasm inspires me!
When I lived in Ontario, I loved the cedar forests. Such an amazing place for a child to play, carpeted with cedar needles and virtually no underbrush. We used to ride our bikes over the tangled roots, up and down along a lovely little lake.
Not so our forests in northeastern British Columbia. Tangled with underbrush, Devil’s Club and wild roses, you do not hike off the trail unless you are wearing thick pants to resist the thorns. Dark arching aspens and evergreens block out sunlight, and leaves rot under a maze of deadfall tree trunks.
But there are treasures in the forest if you know how to look. Stepping into a glade fawn-spotted with sunlight, one might see violet faces cupped by emerald leaves. The delicacy of forest blooms stands in contrast to the ruggedness of their habitat.
Twinflowers seem too fragile to pick. Pale pink, bell-shaped flowers, doubled on one stem (hence the name) they are best captured on film rather than trapped in a vase. And they are lovely to paint. I created these two paintings recently, and I would say I’m still in the “working out a painting” mode. You know my third painting is usually the one where everything comes together, so, two down, one to go!