Monday, November 10, 2014

Winter Cyclist

The first snow touched down a few weeks ago and, although it didn't last long, I was inspired to celebrate the occasion with a new doll. The doll's been finished for the last week, but I've been too busy to show it off here. The brief snowfall this morning prompted me to sit down at the computer tonight and upload the pictures and the statement to go with the doll:

Winter Cyclist

A curious phenomenon occurs in the north every year during the cold spell. That two-wheeled creature, the urban cyclist, dons new, weather-worthy apparel and ventures onto the city streets in the cold, the ice and the snow. Even at thirty below zero, the winter cyclist is out and about, always with ear warmers and usually with studded tires. Hardy, yet blue-faced, it will battle bravely in the snow and sleet, dodging other vehicular traffic that may or may not be sympathetic to the fact that the bike lanes have been buried by the snow plows. Its diurnal wanderings may be somewhat curtailed from its normal summer pattern, as it opts for fewer hills and wider streets, but only on the coldest and bleakest of days will it consider an alternate form of transportation (or when transporting stringed instruments – they really don’t like the cold).







PS. For all you PG people out there, keep a lookout for the 6'4" real-life model on the road this winter. The puffy blue coat really does come out when it gets cold! His scarf is more of a brown plaid, though...

PPS. And for all those interested, be sure to attend the exhibition North: An exhibition for the 2015 Winter Games at Two Rivers Gallery between February 12 and April 26, 2015. Winter Cyclist will be there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Showing up, doing the work

I've taken a few classes and workshops from a local artist, Maureen Faulkner, and enjoyed every one. She usually starts her classes with a quote she keeps from Barbara Coloroso, I believe. While there are four points to her quote for being successful at what you choose to do, the first two quotes are the ones that resonate with me most (perhaps because that's the stage I'm at, usually): 1. Show up (on time) and 2. Do your work.

I find that,for me, artistically, it is the first step that offers up the greatest challenge. Once I've shown up, I usually have a good time working. However, lifeus interruptus is all too often the reason for not showing up. It takes a bit of effort to carve out time/make time/take time for artistic endeavours and it hit home last week, when I was teaching my adult drawing class, that I have not been able to do that for a while.

The question was "And what have you been drawing lately, Anna-Maria?". I hemmed and hawed, and referred people to the fact that painting kitchens and hallways takes time, not to mention all the other everyday things that pop up on a regular basis. I HAVE been making an effort to work on the "no fuss journal", and, while it does not happen every day, the gaps between sit-down times for it are small enough that I have been able to back-fill the entries and I am currenlty up-to-date.

Today, though, I managed a few hours in the studio, and, while I did not draw, I did artify and worked on some of my sewing projects. After binding 4 small quilts and mitering all the corners I think I'm getting more proficient at those skills. And it only took a few hours out of my day. That, however, is the key -- finding the hours, or the half hours, or the minutes, and deciding what can be done in the time available. Now that the garden is winterized, perhaps I will be able to find more Sunday afternoons to sit downstairs, turn on the tunes and create... once the house is cleaned, the laundry is done, the banking taken care of, etc. etc. etc.

Show up -- now that's a good goal!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The advantage of drawing multiples

I am currently teaching drawing classes for adults on Wednesday evenings. Last week, I asked my students (encouraged my students?) to make 8-10 contour drawings of an object on the same page, each one overlapping the next and rotating the object slightly for a different viewpoint each time. As I wandered around, I noticed that one person was drawing a beautifully fluted teacup. Her first rendition had straight sides, a hefty handle and looked more like a mug. I didn't say anything to her and continued to wander around, viewing the other students' progress. By the time the teacup student was on her 8th rendition, the teacup in her drawing had curved sides and a delicate looking appearance, just like the porcelain cup on the table. I pointed this out to her and she was quite surprised to see the progression from what she "knew" a teacup looked like to what she actually saw. If I'd been on the ball I would have snapped a picture of the paper she was drawing on, but it was not to be. She's taken it home and will keep it as a record of her progress.

That transition, of "knowing" to "seeing" was remarkable and the first time I have truly seen it occur in such a short span of time. Quite a special moment and reminder that drawing or creating multiples of an object/project is not necessarily a wasted effort. Working in a series provides opportunity for learning, tweaking and refining, until a person comes closer to producing what is envisioned.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

In Situ workshop

Today I attended an en plein air workshop facilitated by Maureen Faulkner, entitled In Situ. We were out at the Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum, and were extremely lucky with the weather. Despite waking up to pouring rain and (in my case), packing rainpants and raincoat, and carting along a fleece vest, we had glorious sunshine and mild temperatures.

It was a good afternoon to simply stretch my drawing muscles again, keeping an open mind and not worrying about results. I brought home one drawing I am relatively pleased with, as it incorporated some of the ideas I had as I walked around the site. Adding the required text response back in the room made the image look similar to a journal entry, albeit on paper that is quite a bit larger than a journal. The theme for the drawing was to find something to draw in detail, in a box, and then expand upon the picture outside of the box. Both the mushrooms and the train snow plow exuded strength and power, even if the former are really quite fragile, in the grand scheme of things. The hardpacked dirt did not stand a chance, when those fungi wanted to come up (probably as a result of the rain).



We had 20 minutes to do the drawing, and I must admit being surprised at what I produced in those 20 minutes. Exact, it is not, but I am usually so slow with my drawings that I would get less than half that much done in that amount of time. It was good to work with no expectations for a change -- made things possible that might not otherwise have happened.

Now, to reproduce those mental conditions on my own time, without needing a workshop to spur me on!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Art journal

Just as I've tried to keep up a blog with random success, so have I tried different forms of diaries, journals and art journals over the years. The latest incarnation is the most fun so far. I picked up the book "No Excuses Art Journaling" by Gina Rossi Armfield while on holiday at the beginning of September. She uses a regular weekly calendar/agenda and uses it to do a visual entry each day, recording the weather, her colour of the day, a word to describe the day or her mood and a design element on a daily basis. In addition, there are weekly and monthly art assignments -- sometimes drawing, sometimes writing, sometimes photographing.

I thought I'd try it out and have so far been enjoying the process. I can already see where I will be tweaking her ideas to suit my own interests (e.g. I'd rather write a couple of lines about my day or make to-do list rather than draw a daily design, and I am not too great at choosing a daily colour that has meaning, so will have to replace that with something else), but the basic premise is easy to follow and leaves lots of room for creative moments that don't take up oodles of time out of the day.

Here is a sample page of mine, so far (with only one of the three photos showing for that week):



... and here is a tape landscape I made with painted tape (courtesy of my parent and tot Picasso's from last week -- we were painting bird feeders and I wanted to keep the clear plastic un-painted, so covered it with tape... which was, of course, painted by the children):



Definitely not "high art", but fun, nevertheless and I think I shall continue into October with another month of random acts of art journalling!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beginning again, all over again.

We're heading into a new (school) year. Although I'm no longer in school, I still feel the excitement of the season and inspired to begin again with whatever seems to have lapsed in the past year. As a result, I am now enrolled in a French conversation class, have started learning how to make a fluid web page layout, and am committed to post bits and pieces a bit more frequently than I have done in the past (and how many times have I said that???).

Our most recent artistic foray at home has been to paint walls while we could still open the windows and air the place out. We have grown more daring, veering away from "contractor neutral" and adding stronger colours to our palette. Perhaps this is a sign of good things to come. I have to wonder, though, if our colour choice was influenced by the season:



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Website updates

Had some time last weekend in between painting walls of a bedroom, and poked around on my website a bit (www.amlawrie.com). It was fairly old and dusty looking, so I decided to start cleaning it up and adding to the inventory of photos and information. I am by no means a website guru, but do my best with what I know how to do. Fibre Art changed to Fabric Art, as my focus is really a specific type of fiber -- Fabric!! The newest banner pictures are posted (2 years after they went up in Whistler -- they're down now for good) and the quilt I made in 2011. I think I'm a little behind the times! Still to come will be the "newest" fabric pieces and my dolls. I'm still considering how to incorporate them into the website. Maybe they'll need to go on the Fabric Art landing page and people can then go to wall art or doll art. I need to think that one through. And then I need to work through the list of dolls I have yet to make... and the quilt pieces... and so on and so forth. Too much to do, to little time!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Back in the swing of things

Well, that was a really, really long break between posts. Last post last May??? Can I use the excuse of a busy life? Two graduations, one prom, sewing a prom dress and then a heritage costume for a summer job, holidays, work, children moving hither and yon and then Christmas. Maybe it is more of an explanation than an excuse, but it is all I have to offer at the moment.

That being said, I feel like I am back in the swing of things. After all the hectic activities of the latter half of the year, I was determined to get back on track with making and creating. I started over Christmas by sitting down at the quilting machine for a good long period of time and finished a quilt started by my husband's grandmother over 30 years ago. She had pieced it and tucked it away. We inherited it about 10 years ago and tucked it away. I have now sandwiched, quilted and bound it and it keeps us warm on these cold winter nights (-26C in the last week).

Following that, I decided to continue into the new year with the resolution to finish other unfinished projects. I've now finished two Christmas wall hangings that didn't see the light of day until 15 years after the purchase of the fabric. They are waiting for next Christmas, when they can hang on the wall (which wall, I'm not too sure of at the moment).

There are still some projects in my closet that I need to work through, but I took a break last month to work on something new. Another resolution I had made at the beginning of the year was to answer a few (3?) calls for submission this year, if I had the opportunity. I felt pretty pleased with myself to have actually finished the first project in time to answer the call for submissions at Two Rivers Gallery for the upcoming Earthly exhibition, which will open in April 2014. Now I just need to find another couple of calls to answer! In the meantime, here is the first finished project of the year that is a "new" project: GeSchichten (translation: stories and layers).



PS. I received notification yesterday that I have been accepted into the exhibition :-)