I have 2 events happening in Burlington this Sat. So it’s going to be a busy day. First I’ll be setting up an art installation at Burlington Central Library on New Street, then I’ll be heading to Be Yoga and Wellness at Fairview & Walkers.
There I will be setting up a table with small paintings (some never been shown before) & greeting cards, and fellow artist Heather Horton will be painting live. Both of us have art on display on the walls of Be Yoga as part of an on-going display (we switch out the paintings now and then).
Then at 1pm I’ll pack up and head back to the library. I hope to be there from 1:30-4pm for the rest of the Lost in Books event. Then it’ll be time to pack up.
I hope you will get a chance to see my installation, called Night Garden … you’ll have to use a flashlight, to see my paintings on the stage. It’s quite an interesting effect, best experienced in person.
Summer is over, but there are still a few water lilies lingering in ponds here and there. “Pink water lily” is a shot of colour, a bit of cheer as we head into what promises to be a long winter. And since it has been a while since I blogged, I thought I would write about some alternative spaces to hang original art.
Originally I had this painting in mind for someone specific, I thought they wanted a close up of a water lily, but it turned out it was too bold, too bright to go with my other paintings in their collection. So, now it is available for someone new.
And this got me thinking about the places where people hang original art.
Alternate places to hang original art
Where do you hang your original art? In your office, your cottage, your home? In the front foyer, at the top of the stairs, above the bed, the dining room table and the inevitable couch?
How about in the eat-in kitchen, or the she-shed?
This summer I had the nice surprise of discovering one of my small paintings in the powder room of a collector and friend. Of course, I am not recommending anyone hang original, valuable art in their washroom. The steam from the shower could ruin it over time.
However, I think few of us think of using the powder room as a mini-gallery.
My friend Bridie is an artist, and like many artists, over the years she has collected a few small paintings that she has fallen in love with. Some she acquired in a show of support for a fellow artist, others she may have received as gifts.
However, as an artist herself, wall space is a premium. Home is the one place you are always guaranteed a solo exhibition!
Powder room exhibition
Recently, I popped in for a cup of tea and a chat, and as I went to use the powder room before leaving, I discovered Bridie’s solution.
She hangs a few of the small paintings on the walls of the powder room, rotating and refreshing her selection every now and then.
I already knew that she hung art in there, I always enjoyed stopping in to look at the little treasures, but it was only when one of my own popped up that I realized she changed up the art. And I wondered how many other artists had been in there and discovered their art on display? How many other people looked forward to a trip to her powder room when they came for a visit?
Just think of it. What a great opportunity to curate your own mini-exhibition for your friends and family!
Can you think of any other unusual places or alternate spaces where you could hang original art?
I am not sure if to call this an orange or peach ixora, but next to red, it is probably the most popular colour of ixora flowers I’ve seen in St. Lucia. The colour (in combination with the inevitable greens and blues) just seems to convey a sunny, bright, happy mood.
There is also a yellow version, and pink – but that is a simplification, the range is even wider, with shades of each hue. There are a number of varieties available in the Tropics, it is quite common, often used in hedges.
If you live in the Caribbean, you probably have them growing somewhere in your garden, and if you’ve ever vacationed in the Caribbean, you’ve probably got a cluster of these tiny flowers somewhere in your photos (maybe in your pool-side selfie!).
I’ve only painted this subject once before, and in fact I love the painting (Red Ixora) so much, I’ve kept it as my profile photo on my Facebook page for …. more than 2 years (Whaaat?)!
Anyway, I posted a WIP detail of this small painting on Instagram some time back, but this is the first time I’m sharing the whole thing. It would make a lovely Mother’s Day gift for someone.
Mother’s Day celebrations
I am also finishing up another floral painting, for a Spring exhibition at Gallery2Art in Burlington Canada. I will deliver it tomorrow, and it will be up for their Mother’s Day Tea on May 7th.
And in St. Lucia, I have several paintings in the Arts Village May 2-4 which is part of the 25th annual St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival.
Wherever you are, I hope you will have a Happy (art-filled) Mother’s Day!
Valentine’s day is on its way, and again this year I’ve painted a whimsical heart-themed painting … or two. It is fun to add to my collection of images with hearts each year, eventually I will have enough for a nice collage.
I had the idea of using two peacock feathers to create the heart, but the first painting I did came out looking less like a heart and more like a whimsical owl!
So, I painted another one … adjusting the angle a little, and got more of a heart shape this time.
I have been working on several small peacock feather inspired abstracts, and as much as I am excited to share them with you, I think I am going to wait until I have a whole batch done before I reveal.
That way I can work on several paintings at one time, and come back later to tweak if necessary.
Also, I often photograph small work myself, outdoors, but it is tricky this time of year. Don’t ask.
So, I am going to concentrate on producing new art for the Spring market.
And I am filling out applications … so far I can confirm that I will be back at Art in the Park Oakville at the beginning of August, and I will have 2 paintings in the next show at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton.
I was hoping to get through a handful of applications this week, but I’ll be lucky if I get through two.
I pretty much have two bodies of work right now … on one extreme I have realistic tropical florals, and on the other I have the peacock-feather inspired abstracts, but somewhere in the middle they overlap … the “sky-holes” became “dashes”. The difficulty lies in finding ways to group them together, depending on the show I am applying to – sometimes the available pieces blend well, and sometimes they don’t.
If it will only be a few pieces, I select within one theme. I find myself however re-writing my artist statement to suit. And of course I’ve had to update my biography, and my CV … all while keeping within certain parameters. Each application has a different set of rules; you write a 200 word Bio for one, and for the next you need to cut it down to 100 words, or one sentence (for the brochure).
Image resolution, and size can vary a lot too … another time suck. And all the images and accompanying paperwork have to fit into a 2 MB e-mail. No wait, this one wants it on a CD. That means it has to be done in time to stick it in the mail or else I’ll be driving up ten minutes before the midnight deadline, through a snow-storm, to drop in their mailbox … again.
The process has gotten easier over the years, with practice … though I still need to improve my “systems”. Some artists just seem to whip these applications off. I probably take everything a little too seriously, trying to follow all the rules.
A juror once told me that an artist we knew had submitted a 20 page CV, but she still got in because they didn’t look at the CV’s anyway. Meanwhile, I always try to cut it down to 2 or 3 pages, which means finding new ways to summarize every year, hopefully replacing minor show listings with more impressive ones.
Ok, I apologize to those of you who may have clicked on this link to look at paintings about love, maybe read some mushy words about love. Somehow this post turned out to be nothing like that. That’s how I roll. I post a new painting, I start typing, and whatever is on my mind ends up on the screen. Sometimes I can keep writing until I make a full circle back to the painting, and connect a thread that runs through it all. This isn’t one of those times.
Time to take my son to gymnastics. Life of an artist/mom.
This little croton beauty was my last painting of 2015. I was considering doing the 30 paintings in 30 days challenge for January, but this painting helped me to decide against it.
Doing a painting every day means you have to work fast – which is a good exercise for so many reasons – but at this time I just couldn’t get myself to jump on that hamster wheel.
For 2016, I want to take better care of myself. That means getting more sleep, eating better, exercising more etc. It means not stressing myself out unnecessarily. Having more time to spend with my family, and friends.
This painting holds a special meaning for me – similar to the adage “stop and smell the roses”. It reminds me of a larger croton painting I did a few years ago, “Exuberance”. I spent almost 2 months on that painting – the longest I have ever spent on one image. The longer I painted, the closer I looked at my reference photos, and the more details I added to the painting.
Then one day I realized something. I realized that in the midst of all of the colourful leaves, there was the occasional stem covered in tiny white flowers, like little starbursts. I had seen the stems with the buds before, but for some reason I never noticed the flowers.
Growing up in the Caribbean, there were croton bushes of all sorts surrounding us. Striking, and yet common place. But it was only when I slowed down, I could really see what was in front of me the whole time.
That is what I want for 2016. To be able to slow down, and appreciate the beauty already in my life.
How about you, what are your hopes for the new year?
I painted this peacock fantasy triptych earlier in December, but only got around to photographing it today. It has been a strange month. I have to admit that I was caught up in the mural project and did not plan far enough ahead for the Christmas season.
I did have more Art Cards printed, and I shipped some of those and some original paintings out this month.
I also ordered a tote bag and cushion covers from with my images from Pixels as samples. They are in St. Lucia right now, you can view/purchase at Island Mix if you’re fast!
I have a few images uploaded on that site, you can order prints and greeting cards as well as a few home decor items, and they will be shipped directly to you, wherever you are.
The small peacock abstracts were popular this year – I only had one left, so I thought I would create a pair for it. I started with the same colour palette, but then I decided to add some light blue and little by little a whole new triptych emerged.
The individual canvases do not have to be installed quite so close together, each can be displayed on its own. I just like to paint in series, especially if I hit on a combination of colours etc. that I like.
There is an air of fantasy about this series, and so maybe it is appropriate to release it on New Year’s Eve. It reminds me of feather boas, champagne & fireworks. Celebration.
this weekend, and I’m happy to be included in the line-up of local artists and artisans.
I’ve selected a number of my smaller paintings that go with the Spring theme, as you can see in the collage above (individual images not shown correct to scale).
There will also be a variety of greeting cards – reproductions of my original acrylic paintings.
“Our curated contemporary pop-up art market features work from exciting artists, and makers within a 50KM radius of Burlington. A portion of proceeds go towards funding a large FREE public art event in downtown Burlington on September 18th called Supernova
We are only here for one weekend so you don’t want to miss us:
Friday April 17th: 6PM-9PM
Saturday April 18th: 10AM-6PM
Sunday April 19th: 12PM-5PM”
In 2009 I started painting a series simply called Hibiscus & Banana, and it all started with a close-up of a red hibiscus flower.
The image came to mind immediately when I tried to select a flower that represented St. Lucia to me personally.
Technically, and culturally, the rose and the marguerite are the National flowers of St. Lucia. However, they were not as abundant, and did not have as much of a visual impact on me.
In fact, the association may persist for me because my family has always grown hibiscus bushes in the garden, so I saw them every day as a child. However, they also grew profusely around the island in those days.
Here is my artist statement from an exhibition a few years ago …
Hibiscus, Bananas ‘n More
Summer 2009, I went home to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia in search of reference material for my latest series of acrylic paintings. I wanted to focus on what I felt were two of the most iconic images of St. Lucian plant-life … the banana tree and the hibiscus flower. As a child, the banana industry drove the local economy, and although tourism has upstaged it, the island is still covered in banana trees – farmed, wild and decorative. Islanders take pride in being able to eat off of the land, and most properties boast a variety of fruit trees. On the other hand, the hibiscus flowers were harder to find. In recent years many plants, including the one at the end of my parents’ porch, were lost to the pink mealybug, and drought. The best specimens I found were on the grounds of hotels and restaurants. In 2010, I travelled to both St. Lucia and Trinidad, and have since expanded the series to include croton and flamboyant images.
I paint living plants interacting with their environment, sun shining through the leaves, wind blowing the petals, other plants in the background adding contrast. I try to express the atmosphere, a specific moment in time, and my feelings about the place. Although my paintings are representational, my actual focus is on the abstract rhythms of Nature. I play with the organic shapes and vibrant colours to create uplifting and engaging images. I paint because I love the creative process, however it is my hope that the finished paintings bring joy and beauty into our everyday lives.
Although I have gone on to paint other imagery, every now and then I find myself returning to this motif. I just took a look at my records and out of the last 100 paintings I’ve done (not including small daily paintings), about 1/5th of them feature hibiscus flowers!
The interesting thing about hibiscus flowers is that I encounter them here in Canada all the time too … they can be found year-round in green-houses, or as potted house-plants, and in the warmer weather they are available as large flowering plants from anywhere that sell plants (even grocery stores!). And that’s just the traditional hibiscus, not counting the hardier varieties that are now available in colder climates.
I think the allure of the hibiscus flower is partly due to the bright colour … certainly that cheerful red is why I have been painting hibiscuses lately, as a weapon to combat the winter blues!
Subconsciously, I think we are also drawn to hibiscus flowers, like so many birds and insects, because of the erotic design. The generous petals open wide like out-flung limbs promising an embrace, but really are just there to draw attention to the pistil, to play their part in the survival of the species.
For all their glorious beauty, hibiscus blooms only last a day or two, and are delicate, which is why they do not show up as often in tropical bouquets.
In fact, hibiscus flowers are a common choice for tattoos, especially in women, symbolizing delicate beauty, fragility, as well as love, passion, and a laid back life-style.
I mentioned in my statement earlier, finding hibiscus flowers growing mostly at hotels and restaurants. That is because even during the dry season when the general public will hold off on watering their flowering plants, these businesses have to try to keep them alive. They help create “atmosphere”, and it is not just that they are decorative and make the place more attractive to patrons.
It also has to do with the connotation of rest and relaxation, “fun in the sun”, and everything else positive the world thinks of when they think of a tropical vacation.
Images of pretty girls with hibiscus flowers in their hair (which is only ever done when posing for a photograph), or as part of a pool-side scene with umbrella-drinks and lounge chairs.
I have painted hibiscuses in a range of colours – pinks, yellows, oranges, reds, and white, and I think of them as portraits. I try to paint the individual flower, or grouping of flowers, with its unique environment, rather than a generic, formulaic version.
While there may be stylistic similarities tying all my hibiscus paintings together, there are so many different kinds of hibiscus plants, and so many ways to present them – varying the positions, backgrounds, lighting, stage in cycle of life, painting techniques and media etc. – that I am sure I will return to this motif time and time again, and I will find something new to explore each time.
You can find some more of my hibiscus paintings here.