Birches

If you were to find yourself out in our back pasture in January, this would be the view. I’m sure that months into our long, cold, Canadian winter I won’t be so fond of the sight of snow, but looking at these nice cool blues was a treat in the hot days at the end of summer.
Birches – 12×16 Painted paper (acrylic) and found paper on panel © 2012 Alyson Champ

This collage is my first serious attempt at incorporating found papers into an artwork. “Birches” is made of papers hand painted with acrylic, painted wrapping paper, and printed magazine stock. I’m pretty happy with the result and will probably try it again. It could be a handy way to do some recycling!

Getting Back to Normal

Wherever that is. 

I’ve got a teenager who has gone away to college and a husband who is no longer in a wheelchair- although he is still on crutches- so it is getting easier to put in some daily consecutive hours in the studio. And what am I working on?

It is August, so it must be…

Snow!

“Birches in Snow” a collage in progress

I am working with my usual acrylic painted papers with the addition of some found papers mixed in. The plan is to create the birch trees using magazine stock, having the print stand in for the grey of the trees. I’m curious to see the end result. 

When I’m not in the studio or in the barn, you can usually find me in the garden. It has been a dry summer here in St. Crazy, but the only thing in the garden that seems to be suffering is the zucchini- a mixed blessing, really. I usually end up foisting them on people. Not so this year, though.

But check out the cabbage! I grew them under floating row covers this year and they are slug-free perfection.

Photo copyright the artist.

I know you’re jealous.

Winter Wonderland

A couple of weeks ago it looked like winter was gone from Southwest Quebec. The snow had melted, the days were warm, the sap was running in the maple trees, I started letting the chickens outside: all the harbingers of spring.

Then….BOOM….winter came back with a vengeance.

Hmmm…is spring coming? (Photo by Anna Kiraly)

Two snow storms in less than a week has left the landscape looking more like mid-January than early March. But, hey, I’m not complaining! I actually like the snow! For me it means more cross country skiing, and (as I have just discovered) more opportunities for sleigh rides courtesy of our neighbour and his horses.

Ti-Gars hitched, Yvon, and friend. (Photo by the artist)

Pine cone (Photo by Anna Kiraly)

If you have never had the opportunity to travel by horse power along forest trails dappled in sunlight and violet shadows, I urge you to add it to your bucket list. Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh!

And oh what fun it is to make sleigh ride collages!

Ti-Gars – 5×7 painted paper collage on panel, © 2012 Alyson Champ

Sleigh Ride – 8×10 painted paper collage on panel, © 2012 Alyson Champ

Vive le vent d’hiver!

Alright I confess. I love winter. I suppose this puts me firmly in the minority among my fellow countrymen and women, but there you have it. You might think that in a country where we have winter for at least four and a half months of the year people would get used to the weather and learn to enjoy it. Sadly this is not the case. To confess to loving winter is a bit like saying you love paying taxes: people generally look at you like you’re out of your mind. These are things to be endured, not enjoyed and, whenever possible, to be avoided completely. And yet, strangely enough, when you ask Canadians what makes them Canadian as opposed to American (or something else) the answer is almost always: a) our insanely cold, snowy weather, b) a love of hockey, and c) our social programs. There you have it folks: Winter, a winter sport played on ice, and taxes. Welcome to Canada!

I think it’s a Norwegian saying that goes: There is no bad weather, only bad clothing. I’m in full agreement. If you’re properly dressed, you don’t feel the cold. My sheep don’t seem to mind the cold one bit and will go out in almost any weather. Nature has kindly equipped them with water resistant wool coats to keep them warm and dry. I have been busy knitting their wool into useful woolen hats, socks and mittens for us to use. Bye-bye cold ears, toes, and fingers!
What’s on the Easel

During the holidays I find it almost impossible to get any serious artwork done. Most of my creative energy goes into baking. For the past couple of weeks my mornings, evenings and afternoons have been measured out not in coffee spoons, but in cookie and bread dough. If I’m not producing any artistic masterpieces, at least we are well fed.

Here is a winter landscape from last year. This one is entitled “Bush Road”, 24X20 oil on canvas.

© 2008 Alyson Champ

Happy New Year!