A Couple of Cool Things

The good news about Katherine Tyrrell’s book Drawing 365 has made it to The Huntingdon Gleaner. The Gleaner is weekly paper of the Chateauguay Valley area of Quebec.

Journalist Katie Martin came out to the studio last Monday to do an interview. She was also able to do an email interview with Katherine, which was kind of neat- all the way from the rural Chateauguay Valley of Quebec to London, England via the good old internet.

The other rather cool thing that happened recently was the video made for and about me by my old friend Tracy Martin made it onto a list of Eleven Artist Videos to Whet Your Appetite on the Art Biz Blog.

Art Biz is the brainchild of art coach Alyson Stanfield of Colorado, USA. She helps artists build and advance their careers through workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and a variety of writings. Her book, “I’d Rather Be in the Studio” is a personal favourite of mine. Alyson’s blog postings, newsletters, and Twitter feed, are followed by THOUSANDS of artists worldwide. AND she spells her name the same way I do, which is kind of cool, too!

I have included Tracy’s video again below. Cameo appearances by studio cats, sheep, and chickens.Enjoy!

New Book, New Work, New…Dog?

Good news! The last time I wrote a blog post I was awaiting the publication of Katherine Tyrrell’s book, Drawing 365. The book has arrived and it is GREAT! I’m so glad I got to be part of this wonderful project.

Drawing 365 is absolutely full of useful tips and techniques. Just flipping through it is a terrific way to stimulate (or reawaken) your desire to draw; there are so many things to try! Here is the back cover.
Psst. My collage is on page 48.
And in other news, we have a new dog. After our old girl Nelly died in the fall, we knew we would need another largish dog to be a watch dog and all around companion on the farm. It took some time to find the right dog, but we eventually lucked out at Woof Rescue in Howick, Quebec. We met Henry shortly before Christmas, and I think we can safely say it was love at first sight for everybody. Well maybe not so much for the cats, but that situation is improving.
So here is Henry. As you can see, he is already making himself quite at home in my studio.
Of course there is new artwork in progress. The first collage of 2015 is going to be a large landscape. “Bog” will be 24×36- the biggest one yet, I think. I’m pretty excited to get going on this piece. I spent a day  working up a preliminary drawing to plot out my main shape areas as well as values. The drawing is done in sharpie and ink wash. Here it is below with the freshly prepped panel in my studio.
Because this is such a large project, I thought new collage papers were in order. 
Really this is just an excuse to have fun with paint and to make some new stamps. I think I will do some more of this ‘work’ tomorrow too, you know, just to be sure I have enough.

Some Exciting News and Some New Work

I was asked earlier in the year to submit some images of my work and brief descriptions of how I go about making my collages for possible inclusion in a book on drawing techniques. The book’s author is renowned UK  artist and art blogger Katherine Tyrrell. Obviously I was very flattered to be chosen, as I have been a huge fan of her blog for years, but I didn’t want to say anything about it just in case I didn’t make the final cut, so I put the whole thing out of my mind. 
Now I am very happy to announce that I did indeed make the cut and some of my work found on the pages of an internationally published book! The book, which is called Drawing 365 in the US and Sketching 365 in the UK, will be published on January 1st, 2015, and is now available for pre-order from Amazon and North Light Books. I haven’t seen it yet, so it’s all a bit of a mystery, but I’m hoping Santa will bring me a few copies for Christmas (hint, hint).
The other bit of good news is that The Brush Off Exhibition has been extended until December 12th, so you have extra time to get down to Avenue Art in Old Montreal to check out all the fabulous art in this gallery show. 
Duck Day Afternoon – 24×30 available at Avenue Art, 
731 de la Commune Ouest, Montreal, 514-867-3745
Dressage horses have taken over my work table just recently. Here are a couple of new ones:
Big Grey – 8×6 painted paper collage on cradled panel

Blue Ribbon – 10×8 painted paper collage on cradled panel
I wish all my American friends and readers a very happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Birds of a Feather

On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting Mohawk artist Natasha Smoke Santiago. She came to my studio as a guest of the MRC du Haut St. Laurent, which is the regional governing body in my area of southwestern Quebec. The visit was arranged by Luc de Tremmerie, who is the Coordinator of Cultural Development for this region. Natasha and Huntingdon artist John Ryan (shown below) are collaborating in the joint creation of murals in the MRC du Haut St. Laurent and in Akwesasne, the Mohawk Nation territory – which straddles Quebec, Ontario, and New York state – where Natasha Smoke Santiago lives and works. 
Natasha Smoke Santiago and John Ryan
Natasha is a potter, painter, and mixed media artist. The first thing I noticed about her work is her love of the female form, especially evident in her sculptures of heavily pregnant bellies. I love the rich brown colour of this one.
Burnt Pot by Natasha Smoke Santiago

Natasha describes her work as ” …heavily influenced by her Haudenosaunee heritage, history and teachings. She also draws upon the experiences of her life as inspiration for her works. Much of her work tells a tale, or has a story behind it…”.

Mother Fracker by Natasha Smoke Santiago
We talked shop for a while, comparing methods and materials as artists are wont to do whenever they get together. Our visit was also filmed by a videographer as part of a documentary. I hope to have more information about that soon.
Natasha and I also discovered in the course of our conversation that we have a mutual fascination with corvids, i.e. crows and ravens. (Go figure!) I especially like this painting by Natasha of a crow with a stolen kernel of corn in its beak. Typical crow!
Blue Corn Crow  by Natasha Smoke Santiago
If you would like to see more of Natasha’s wonderful work, I encourage you to visit her website The Storytellers House.

Getting the Brush Off…for a Good Cause

I’m happy to announce that three of my collages:

“Duck Day Afternoon”
“Race Time, Saratoga”

were all recently selected to be part of The Brush Off painting competition at Galerie Avenue Art in Montreal. Avenue Art is a gorgeous art gallery located in leVieux Montreal – which as its name would suggest is the oldest part of the city – right on the Old Port.

(Photo source: montrealvenue.com)

(Photo source: montrealvenue.com)
The Brush Off is a competition, exhibition, and fundraising event, with a percentage of the sales going towards Art Based Projects for people living with Alzheimer’s.
The opening night event is October 16th, 6:30 – 9:00 pm. Tickets are $25 at the door. The exhibition continues until November 14th. Galerie Avenue Art is located at 731 de la Commune West, on the second floor.
I’m curious to see the other artwork and to meet the other nine artists!

Culture Days: The 2014 Edition

Culture Days – or les Journées de la culture as we call them here in la belle province – are happening again across the country. Events begin today and run through to Sunday, September 28th.

My studio will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. The address is 138 Rang Ste. Anne in St. Chrysostome, just an hour’s drive from Montreal.

Come and visit! You can check out my recent artwork, have a coffee, meet the chickens, and pet a studio cat.

I even tidied up…sort of.

Have We Any Wool?

Yes, lots more than three bags full- probably more like twenty!

The lambs were shorn yesterday, and I got twelve pretty fleeces off them. Including the ones from when the ewes were shorn back in the spring, we have a lot of fleeces to clean and send off to be milled into roving.

The lambs all look pretty silly with their new haircuts, and the really funny thing is that they no longer recognize each other, so ever since the shearer left there has been a lot of baa-ing.

A couple of the lambs have figured out that minus their wool coats they can now squeeze through the space between the gate and the gatepost.   I found this guy on the lawn outside my studio.

Here is a selection of the raw fleece colours. I think they are lovely, and the raw wool is incredibly soft to the touch.

Black Border-Leicester- Blue Faced Leicester cross

Blue Faced Leicester – Jacob (and unknown) cross

Blue Faced Leicester
Hand spinning wool is the closet thing I have to a hobby. I like to work at my wheel in the winter when labour on the farm slows down a bit and it’s too cold to do much outdoors. At least, I liked to spin wool until a certain cat chewed up the drive band on my spinning wheel. Yes, I’m talking about you, Kevin. Oh, and by the way, Kevin is a girl…which is kind of a long story. I must remember to get that drive band replaced before winter!
Doesn’t she look pleased with herself?

Water, Reflections

“Reflections” – 24 x 24 painted paper collage on cradled plywood panel
I completed this collage last month and submitted it for consideration for an exhibition at White Flag Gallery in Brockville, Ontario. The collage was accepted AND….
“Reflections” is being featured on the gallery’s promotional material, which is pretty sweet.
  White Flag Gallery is located at 9 Sheridan Mews, Brockville, ON (613) 342 5548.

 The exhibition based on the theme of Water runs from July 11 – August 16. The vernissage is Thursday, July 10, from 6-9 pm. 

Three Little Lambs

Spring is really and truly here at last. Everyday the landscape around us gets a little greener. The trees are getting their leaves; our pear trees are blooming.

My sheep are out on pasture now, which makes them very happy. Our fences aren’t completely repaired yet, which makes me a little less happy since I have a hard time keeping the sheep where I want them.

I guess for now I just have to go with the flow. One way to keep those sheep exactly where I want them is to turn them into art. Collaged lambs don’t sneak under fences!
Freckles 7×5 painted paper collage on panel.
Ewe and Lamb 4.5×7 painted paper collage on panel.
Spring Green 6×7 painted paper collage on panel.
These collages and some sheep themed greeting cards are travelling to Eastern Ontario next weekend for the St. Distaff Day Fibre Festival at St. Mary’s Community Centre, 19659 County Road 19, Williamstown Ontario. If you are a knitter or spinner, I am told this is the place to be! Some of my small work will be on display and available for purchase at Pinehill Farm’s booth. And check out Pine Hill’s (aka my good friend Anna-Maria Nicolov) beautiful yarn and roving.