Thursday, January 10, 2019

The real and the abstract

This past fall I took an art class at the Vancouver Island School of Art taught by a wonderful instructor named Barrie Szekely. We met for three hours on Thursday afternoons for 12 weeks and it pushed my painting in some very different directions by incorporating "the real" into abstract paintings.

Here's some of what came out of this class.

Text abstracted

These are a couple sections of a large painting using text in an abstract way.

Moving beyond the grid

This assignment was to incorporate a grid with something realistic. I chose an orange.

Incorporating something real into your painting.

I chose to use some rotted wood found on the forest floor and cut it into slices. I was trying for a stream in the forest effect.

For this one we had to create some kind of form on which to paint abstractly.  It just got weirder and weirder--but it was fun painting the sticks and manipulating them in 3D.

One of the assignments was to use dried paint to create a painting or an art piece. Some of the participants did sculptures from dried paint by I did this. It's a poor quality image of the painting I did using the wax paper I'd been using on my palette tray.

Our final assignment was to create a series incorporating the real and abstract.  I decided to try to incorporate figurative work into an abstract format. It took me in a totally different direction, never having painted figures before.  I enjoyed doing it but I'm not sure if I'd follow up on much that I explored--except maybe for the second assignment with the grid and the realistic objects.

What I really enjoyed was seeing examples of art by artists I had never heard of before and pushing my boundaries--as well as meeting a bunch of painters, both young and older (like me). It was an interesting experience.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2018 in pictures

2018 was a year of travel and adventure. We went on four trips in the spring.

In January we headed to Mexico to get some heat. And we sure got it. It was sultry in Zijuatanejo but the water was lovely and so were the sunsets

In February we left the Mexican coast and took a little trip up to the cities in the mountains of Southern Mexico. Urapan, Patzcuaro and Morelia were wonderful places to explore.

Courtyard in Urapan

Patzcuaro has the most lovely stone and adobe walls.

Back at home in March we just had time to get our house and garden in order before we headed off on a week-long circle tour of Desolation Sound, visiting our friend Sue on in Roberts Creek and driving to Powell River and taking the ferry back to Comox before heading home. A very different ocean from southern Mexico.

In April we headed off for a three-week home exchange in the south of France. This was done through home exchanges with two French families. Both of them had stayed in our home the previous year. We spent a week in Albi, a medieval city built from soft pink brick. We spent days driving to small villages around the area, each different and lovely.

The countryside was beautiful.

The next two weeks we spent in Narbonne and drove to seaside villages and abbeys among other places. Again we were blown away by the beauty and the friendliness of the people. I took literally thousands of photos. Here are a few.

Another very different aspect of the ocean. I'll end with this lovely dog looking out the window of his home in one of the villages. Isn't he sweet?

The rest of the year we stayed home and spent the summer and the fall enjoying the life on Vancouver Island. What a beautiful place we live in.

Saturna's East point above, and Todd Inlet to the left.. Below are hostas from my garden and floating leaves at Goldstream Park, and sun on an Arbutus tree taken with my new camera.

In Victoria the old Johnston Street bridge closed and the new one opened to great fanfare.

We enjoyed the back courtyard and shopped for vegetables at local markets.

Yukon Street continued to look lovely

And the Arbutus Unedo put on its display for Christmas. Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2018.

Friday, December 28, 2018

December synopsis

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted a blog entry. But December has flown by and I'm just now catching up.

On December 1st I held a little opening for my one-person art show and it was a big success. Lots of friends came by to celebrate with me and many of them were kind enough to actually purchase some of my paintings. And a woman I didn't even know purchased the two largest paintings as well as a couple more.

A couple of days after that I was felled by my first experience with crippling sciatic pain. For three days I couldn't sit or stand or walk. Finally on December 10 I went to the walk-in clinic and was given a prescription for a muscle relaxant and anti-spasm medication called apo-baclofen. What a relief to have the pain and pressure dissipate!

Since then I continued with my life while somewhat loopy on these drugs. I went to my weekly painting class, attended my book club Christmas potluck dinner, joined a big group for a celebratory dinner, met a friend from the Janion for a drink, visited a couple of art shows, joined the Mah Jongg party at the Union Club, had lunch with some friends, put on a dinner party and generally celebrated the season. A lot of it is a blur actually because I wasn't really all there!

During that time I was taking the medication but gradually trying to come off it to see if in fact the sciatica was going away. By Christmas eve I was ready to stop the drug completely and I'm doing quite a bit better.  I don't know if this pain came from something I did through the BackFit program I've been doing or if it's something else. Next week I'm seeing my doctor for results of an x-ray.
But now I'm feeling better and starting to get my life into some semblance of organization.

Christmas was a family time with son Jamie here and my sister Jan hosting us for Christmas eve and again for Christmas dinner at her beautiful home.  My brother and his family came over as well as Ben and Kande and his mother Heather and a couple of other friends.  There were 12 people for a fabulous turkey dinner. Plus the two little dogs Toby and Pippa, who love getting together and play until they drop.

Here are the cooks in the kitchen  (Rebecca, the master gravy maker on the left and my brother Charles doing the honours carving the bird. Jan, the hostess and chief cook is in both of these).

Here are some of the guests waiting for dinner (Ben and Jamie, Harry's two boys on the couch and Laine, my brother's wife and Ben's partner Kande by the piano).



                                                     And here are Toby and Pippa gearing up for another play session

Here's the festive table set for dinner...


And below are my niece Calla and her mom opening presents in the living room. Calla is wearing her new ski goggles, a gift from Jamie.

And speaking of gifts, I want to show you this lovely water colour painting done by talented Calla as a gift to me. She has captured the essence of our dear departed Maggie so perfectly.

It was a wonderful Christmas celebration and we're all looking forward to a peaceful and happy new year. I wish the same for all of you.