Saturday, June 22, 2019, was the official launch of the Rare Beasts exhibition at the lovely Fairbairn House Heritage Centre in the town of Wakefield, Quebec. The Beasts will be on display in the main building until October 2019. Fairbairn House is open daily until August 18th from 9 am – 5 pm, and then weekends only until October 13th. More information is available here.
Fairbairn House, 45 Chemin Wakefield Heights, Wakefield QC. Photo by the artist.
Photo by Pam Heath of Heritage Livestock Canada
Beasts on display. Photo by Pam Heath of Heritage Livestock Canada
Wakefield, Quebec, is a little town tucked into a valley on the Gatineau River. Although I have been to Ottawa plenty of times, I had never been up north to the Outaouais Hills before. I was surprised by the rugged, picturesque landscape of deep-green forested hills, rushing rivers, and granite cliffs. I was only able to stay for a short time, but I hope to go back to explore some more as there was no shortage of inspiration.
Covered Bridge, Wakefield, QC. Photo by the artist.
And while we are on the topic of Rare Beasts, I have recently been getting into linocut printmaking and thought a good project would be to produce a small series of Rare Beast-related original, hand-made prints. The first one is the Clydesdale Horse, a limited, signed and numbered edition of 15 prints on white Printmaster paper. The image size is 8 inches by 5 inches. $15 each print plus shipping. Let me know if you want one!
If you missed the Rare Beasts project exhibitions last year, now is your chance to see it!
My twenty panel series of collages depicting rare and endangered breeds of farm animals is currently being exhibited at MUSO: Musée de société des Deux- Rives at 21 rue Dufferin, Valleyfield, Québec. The exhibition opened Thursday, April 4 and runs until Sunday, May 5, 2019. The museum’s hours are from Thursday to Sunday, 12:00 – 5:00 pm. I will be at the show, working on a collage, on Saturday, May 4, 2019, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. Stop in and say hello if you find yourself in the neighborhood.
Two years ago I got a grant from the Quebec government that enabled me to finally realize an art project I had been thinking about for years. “Rare Beasts: A bestiary of rare and endangered farm animals” is the result of two years of research, writing, and collage making. The first “Rare Beasts” exhibition takes place from April 8th – 29, 2018, at Salle Alfred-Langevin in Huntingdon, Quebec. In the next couple of years, the exhibition will move to Granby, Valleyfield, and Vaudreuil Quebec – and possibly some other places as well.
The exhibition’s opening party is Sunday afternoon on April 8th at 2:00 pm, but you can stop by any weekend and have a look. Or call to make an appointment to view the exhibition during the week. You will find all the details on the poster below. If you would like to learn more about this project, click here
As many of you no doubt know, I am busy at work on an extended art project called Rare Beasts. This project is a series of collages centred around the theme of rare and endangered farm animals. Click here to read more about the project.
In course of working on such an extended series, I have made a lot of unexpected connections with people who are actively involved in the preservation of rare breeds.
This is George the Newfoundland Pony. Newfoundland Ponies are critically endangered ponies native to the province of Newfoundland, Canada. George’s owner, Nathalie, kindly got in touch with me about my
my project and gave me a fine selection of reference photos to work from when making the collage. As I was working on the collage, I found out that George was ill with severe laminitis (an inflammatory condition) in all four feet and would need to be relocated to a Newfoundland Pony refuge in New Hampshire. You can read about the refuge, Villi Poni Farm, here.
Because George’s owner was so nice and George is SO VERY CUTE, and because the Villi Poni Farm does such good and important work in preserving these critically endangered ponies, I wanted to help George and the refuge in some way.
Tomorrow, October 1st, Villi Poni is holding an online auction on their Facebook page to raise funds for the refuge. I donated this charcoal drawing of George for the auction.
The portrait of George is 12 x 9 inches, unframed, charcoal and white chalk on blue paper. I hope you will consider helping out the sanctuary – and George! – by making a bid!
Organization is not the strong suit of artists, or so I have been told. A cluttered work space is, allegedly, indicative of a highly creative mind. If this is true, I should be an artistic genius.
This is what my studio normally looks like:
This is what my studio looks like when a journalist is coming over to interview me.
To counteract my natural tendency towards chaos, I am a compulsive maker of lists. I make a list each week of all the things I need to get done, although I admit certain items do seem to carry over for weeks on end. Those are the things I really don’t WANT to do, but which also aren’t urgent. At a certain point the annoyance of having to transcribe these items from list to list becomes more annoying than actually doing the things. That is when I actually do them.
Also, it is worth noting, if something isn’t on the list, it doesn’t officially exist. This is a scientific fact.
Still Life of To Do Lists with Highlighter and Coffee Stains
So if you are thinking that Write a Blog Post was on this week’s list – YOU’RE RIGHT!
Another thing on my list was to make an animation of my collage process. I often photograph my work at various stages of its development, so I have a collection of Work in Progress photos. I have put together some of these images in chronological order to give you a sense of how I work and how the work develops. This is an animation of the creation of Duck Day Afternoon, a 24 x 30 inch painted paper collage on panel. It begins, as all my large works do, with a drawing, and proceeds from there. Let me know what you think.
This winter several of my collages on display at Main and Station’s lovely gallery space in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. Main and Station is a gallery/depARTment store, a café, and an art residency/workshop space all rolled into one fabulous old renovated building. Owner Judith Bauer sent me some photos of my work on the walls of her gallery. My Black Orpington Rooster collage is hanging out with some of the gallery’s other paintings and sculptures.
Click here for more details about the gallery and for opening hours.
I also recently shipped several equine themed collages down to Solaris Art Gallery in Versailles, Kentucky. Among the pieces currently on the walls of Solaris are these two collages:
Le Cheval qui élève l’esprit 12 x 14 mixed media collage on panel.
Race Time, Saratoga – 8×10 collage on panel/collage sur panneau.
If you are in the Lexington, KY, area and would like to see the rest of the collage collection, you can find them here:
And now that I am finished talking about myself, I would like to introduce you to somebody else.
Facebook can be a huge waste of time for pretty much all of us. And if you are self-employed, social media is a time suck that is hard to avoid. One of the perks, though, is that every now and then you meet somebody you would not encounter if social media did not exist. Just recently I met sculptor Maggie MacLellan on Facebook….And I’m glad I did!
Maggie makes hilarious paper mâché sculptures, mostly of animals. As you can see, she is a girl after my own heart.
Flying pigs and a skateboarding French Bulldog. I’m still laughing!
As an artist, I am always on the lookout for new ways to connect with art lovers. And I think being artist also gives me a ‘try anything once’ mentality, because, hey, you never know right? So this month I have decided to try something new: ArtBomb.
I have known about ArtBomb for a while and have been a subscriber for a few years. Now I hear you asking, ‘What is an ARTBOMB?’ Well let me tell you….
ArtBomb is an online art auction for Canadian artists which provides a list of subscribers with a daily dose of Canadian art delivered to their email inboxes. If you like the art and want to own it, you can bid on it. Simple as that.
So why am I telling you this? Because I submitted a selection of images to the Montreal curator and was accepted! This little 12 x 12 Chickadee will be included in the auction for Sunday, December 18th.
Chickadee Three 12 X 12
And this little guy, also 12 x 12, comes up on December 19th (that’s Monday).
The opening bid will start well below the retail price. And it’s an auction, so you never know what is going to happen. You might come away with a bargain!
Howick Elementary After School Art Program Vernissage
For approximately the past fourteen years, I have been teaching after school art classes to children at the elementary level. Although I have taught at a few schools, Howick Elementary is special to me because a) I went to school there myself (in a time before Disco, when bell bottoms ruled the earth), and b) because it is a small country school with a fully stocked ART ROOM WITH A FUNCTIONING SINK. If you have ever tried to teach twenty kids a monochromatic painting exercise in a room WITHOUT a sink, you will understand why this matters.
Each year at Howick we (my awesome teacher co-pilot Chris Wallace and I) teach two sessions of Art Club. The first session is for Grades 1-3, so kids between the ages of six and nine. At the end of each session the school hosts a vernissage complete with juice and ‘hors d’oeuvres’ for the young artists and their families.
Here are some samples of the exhibition for Grades 1-3 held this past Wednesday, December 14th:
Matisse-inspired paper collages.
Vernissage for kids and their families.
Watercolour/mixed media projects and a snowman perspective exercise.
The kids are so proud (and rightly) of their work, and the parents are always genuinely delighted. The best part for me is turning kids on to the pleasure of making art and seeing how they can be surprised by their own abilities. I ran into a mother of one of my students yesterday and she asked my advice for types of paint to get because her daughter wanted art supplies for Christmas. And another artist is born.
Fellow collage artist Elizabeth St-Hilaire sent me the info for this exhibition/contest, which is pretty funny since the exhibition is in Canada, and Elizabeth lives in Florida. The Nonesuch Art on Paper Awards looked like an interesting opportunity, so I decided to send a submission. Lo and behold, my collage ‘Reflections’ was accepted.
The exhibition, which drew artists from around the globe, opened in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia in August and then traveled to Montréal, Québec, where it closes this Friday. Details below. Sorry to be so late getting this information out; things have been a bit crazy around here.
Check out this very cool loft space where the Montréal leg of the exhibition is being held. Yes, those are enormous wooden beams at 141 Ann Street in Griffintown.
141 Rue Anne, Montréal. (Photo source Main & Station)
And it gets better: The Nonesuch Art on Paper Awards got a very nice write up in Montréal’s very hip and prestigious Kolaj Magazine. Check out who gets a mention here .
This weekend, August 6-7, I will be among forty artists whose work will be on display at Parc Delpha-Sauvé in Valleyfield, QC, for the annual Festival des arts. Stop in and say hi if you are in the area! You will find me – and a selection of my collages – in the chalet.
The other day I watched a TED Talk video about procrastination. I felt pretty good about myself by the end of it because I realized I am not much of a procrastinator. My problem is organization. I have no trouble meeting deadlines without last minute panic providing I remembered to write the deadline date down on the calendar. Sometimes I forget to write the deadline down.
Likewise, when I am in deep working on a studio project, my work space gets chaotic. This is what my work table looks like right now:
Once my surroundings have reached this stage of disorder, I start to lose things in the clutter. I have made a handy-dandy info-graphic to explain the situation.
I wish I had the strength of character not to succumb constantly to this time wasting disorder. Perhaps there is a TED Talk for the chronically disorganized.
And yet, work does get completed. These four Chickadees from my Winter Birds series are ready for the varnish table and will soon be ready for new homes. Each collage is on a cradled 12 X 12 inch wooden panel. No frame is necessary. $505 each. I will offer a discount if you wish to purchase more than one. Free shipping within Canada.