Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April Awakenings

A is for April.... It's been a strange month here in Canada. After an unusually warm winter we were hit with a cold, icy and snowy spring. But slowly the garden is awakening.
The buds are forming on the weeping pea tree and the pear and apple trees are springing to life.
Signs of spring are everywhere. Spring is my season. Every thing wakes up!
The doldrums of winter begin to receed as the birds come back to the yard and the days get longer. I love this season. Lots of new things on the horizon for me. I will be shifting some of my responsibilites very soon to make way for new studies and pursuits. The more I paint the natural world and combine that with my calligraphic art, the more I realize that is the path that I want to follow for this next phase of my life. The winter season always seems to dull my senses and things begin to come into perspective for me in the spring! My outdoor studio was ready and waiting for me when I returned from my teaching trip to Albuquerque. While I was busy with the Victorian Pen class, my husband was busy preparing my outdoor space.
Just the thought that it is ready for me to start working makes me so eager for new projects!! I just have to wait for the weather to warm up a little! Wherever you find that sacred space, I hope spring brings you new revelations and starts to awaken new projects within! Enjoy the sunshine, watch the birds, be grateful for the space and time that you have and begin to create!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April Surprises

April is starting out pretty chilly here in Ontario. Lots of snow on the ground, a brief ice storm and another blast of winter. But Spring will come! As I continue to navigate the time struggles I encounter each day, I am getting more balanced about time spent on the computer. I find it a necessary part of my daily routine as I respond to email, prepare for each new workshop with all of the necessary travel correspondence, work on new projects and updating handouts. It seems the artist gets delayed while the adminstrator does all of the necessary work. I am experimenting with a schedule change in my own routine, where the artist works first and then allows time for the adminstrator to take care of her tasks. I am reading through the book Daily Rituals by Mason Currey and it is encouraging to see the time struggles of so many others. Interesting reading, but bizarre in spots.
I am still trying to accomplish all of my necessary work, while giving the artist more free time. I will see how it works. One of the surprises I had waiting for me was Duralar Matte Film.
I had ordered it weeks ago and it sat patiently waiting for me to try it. It is full of surprises. For some strange reason, I bought it for watercolour work which it is not compatible with in the least. Although the packaging states it will work with paint, I can't see how as every technique I tried on the paper created small beads of unblended watercolour. So I pulled out my FaberCastell Polychromos pencils and gave it a try. I was encouraged at the results. My first experiment was a leaf drawing.
The polyester film will take several layers of a light application of the coloured pencils before a saturation point is reached. But then it seems to stop taking any colour. I did not realize when I was practicing on the leaf study, that I could turn the paper over and add details to the back. So I attempted a Hoefnagel inspired snail design just using neutral tones and slowly building up layers.
The Duralar is great for capturing details. It erases easily with kneaded eraser. It does dull the coloured pencils very quickly. Apparently it will take ink but I am skeptical about how well I can letter on this film. I look forward to more detailed experminents to see what I can do on this matte film. My suspicion is that Prismacolour pencils will be less successful because of their waxy nature. The quality of the Polychromos seems a good fit for this polyester film. I hope to learn more about the qualities of this medium as the artist continues to take time to question and study.