Archives for posts with tag: Drawing

Small Works, the exhibition currently in Fleurbain, has had an effect on me. I spend a few hours each day in the presence of this collection of artworks. There are works by twelve artists (or artistic teams) to enjoy, and it is all food for thought. I like to compare and contrast the different approaches to art-making, media, and what I imagine the individual artist’s inspiration might be. I take all this in, and then process what the works have to say to me, the viewer.

I would like to share a little about each of the artists’ works with you here. Before I begin, I would like to thank each artist for submitting their work to be in this show. I had sent out a call-for-entry a while back, and was fortunate to receive some top-notch submissions. There are forty paintings, prints, photographs, and mixed-media pieces to explore by Montreal’s established and emerging artists.

Carole Arbic - Garden Party series

Carole Arbic‘s pieces in the show are a joy, a description of painting and layers. The colours are bright, but there is subtlety in the combination of them. Two of the Garden Party series feature little pieces of broken mirror, so that the viewer is reflected back to themselves within the piece. This reflects something about art in general; that the understanding of art is dependant upon context and who is looking, perhaps even more than who made it and what their intentions were. In looking at Arbic’s five pieces, it is difficult to not choose a “favorite”, based on colour or painterliness or any other number of influences.

Lorraine Miller Emmrys - "Apple (Falling Into Feminine)"

Lorraine Miller Emmrys has included three pieces in the exhibition. One of the pieces is “larger” but is composed of smaller pieces. Apple – (Falling Into Feminine) is a story. It describes a timeline of youth, change, decay, rebirth: the cycle of life. There is a glimpse into the artist’s ruminations about femininity, about life itself. How do we inhabit our apple, our body, our knowledge? How does that change with time?

Darlene St Georges - "Bee Palm"

Darlene St Georges has created intricate floral botanical paintings that speak of a zen-like observation. To paint in this manner is to leave one’s self and go to another place, and the experience for the viewer can be something of a similar experience. If you allow the painting talk to you, this will happen. Bee Palm is a striking and captivating piece; you want to stay with this flower, and live like a bee.

Natasha Henderson - Pigeon series

Natasha Henderson is me. Now, to talk about pigeons. The pigeon is an amazing, tough, and somewhat endearing little city-bird. I like them, so I opted to paint some. The Pigeon series is my recollection of pigeons, be they singular or seen within a group. In appearance, I love their differences in markings, their subtle colours. In personality, I like their work ethic and how they simultaneously have a sort of laissez-faire attitude.

Francoise Issaly - "Structure Cigale (Small I)"

Francoise Issaly‘s work is beautiful. Again, I feel transported by the zen-like practice and appreciation of painting. In Structure Cigale (Small I), I feel as though I am glimpsing into the heart of a jewel. It is something of a treasure, a feeling of a branch, of something poetic. I have many readings of this painting, and it is the sort of piece to have a good conversation over.

Thaneah Krohn - "Candy Lace"

Thaneah Krohn is sharing a selection of funky, familiar, and sometimes mysterious photographs of Montreal. All five pieces evoke the spirit here. During the vernissage I overheard: “That’s my Montreal!” I would have to agree. For those of us who love this place, we just can’t get enough. Candy Lace is a delicious photo of that gingerbread-styled woodworking you see decorating the old mansions and apartments around town. Often painted bright, happy and beautiful colours they are like candy and bring joy to the day-to-day life of Montrealers. This photo allows us to glance at this joy whenever we feel like…

David Merk - "Tim Lid Coprolithe"

David Merk is sharing some from his Coprolithe series. These marble pieces are fascinating, and thought-provoking. Detritus of contemporary street-stuff find their way into the permanence of marble. Like any archeological finding, the things from the street reveal a bit about our society. A Tim Horton’s lid, discarded work-gloves, and a Second Cup cup are all some of the things used during a typical work-day: objects used and discarded. Art can lift vision and ideas from daily existence, and art resembles and reassembles life. We are reminded of this in Merk’s works.

Kimberley Mok

Kimberley Mok has included terrific illustration-style prints of her drawings. The three pieces depict aspects of this city by a quirky, observant mind. Again, people are drawn to these pieces and ask each other “which is your favourite? And why?” I have my personal one… though all three pieces are appealing. The simultaneity of ideas found in Carpet Moebiusis what I keep coming back to… Carpets, prints, butterflies and Escher… neighbourhoods and rejuvenation. Rebirth and recycling. Very smart.

Michel Pedneault - "Alpe"

Michel Pedneault has paintings that just keep saying new things to me. Interesting in the best of painterly-ways, they are done in an expressionistic manner. I feel a sense of empathy for the subjects of the works, be they human or landscape-based. Alpe is loose, with lively yet soft colours and brushwork. A solid and seemingly effortless composition is practically perfect in a classical sense. As with all painting, this (and Pedneault’s other pieces) are so much better to experience in real life…

Sarina Rahman - "Untitled 1"

Sarina Rahman has included two mixed-media pieces that utilise fabric remnants. The shapes created by the fabric evoke ideas about foliage and natural forms. They are abstract, however, so that the viewer can respond with their own story to the remnants and indications presented by Rahman. There is an examination of the tactility of materials here, and it is difficult to Not Touch The Artworks…

Patrycja Walton - "Falling Petals I"

Patrycja Walton has shared some very lovely abstract paintings with us. The Falling Petals series uses unusual yet harmonious colours in a mix of a sort of white background/base. The petals that fall are chunks of colours, the background is the white. However… like so much in painting, the background isn’t really a background. The negative space is on a level with the “objects”. There is paint, there is an idea of depiction… and again, if you allow yourself, you can be transported to another place.

Julie Webb and Meredith Hayes "Montreal: Une Belle Perspective"

Julie Webb + Meredith Hayes have shared two pieces, and both are captivating as portraits of place. One is Montreal, the other is New Zealand. As Webb is a native of New Zealand, now living in Montreal, this makes sense. Both places feel like “Home”, and this love of both places comes through in the work. The format of presentation is appealing both as a structure (the photographs are cleverly mounted on varying layers of reclaimed MDF board) and as a composition of units. Viewers of the Montreal piece have commented to me about the familiarity of the individual shots, and yet the formal composition speaks of something larger. The greenery of the New Zealand piece is very calming, yet full of life. As I spend more time with these works, new aspects keep coming forward to me.

I am in a place of privilege, allowed to see this exhibition on a daily basis. You can come and see it any of the following times:

Tuesday December 20 to Friday January 6, 3pm-6pm each day. Closed Mondays and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Finissage January 7th, 12pm to 6pm

Another option is to check out the online gallery. It isn’t as good as the live-version of the gallery… but you can visit (and re-visit) any time you like.

See us at 460 St Catherine West, Unit #917. Located to the left of Future Shop on St Catherine Street close to both McGill and Place des Arts metros.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

This might only appeal to some of our readers, and mostly those in Canada only. Apologies. Other cartoons are on their way…

what type of politician would put such limits on the press?

This Chicken’s party slogan?

“Be Afraid”.

We are in the midst of political election campaigns in Canada. In between the multitudes of issues on the plate, one thing that really struck me as different from the “Good Old Days”, is that the press is being so very controlled by the current Prime Minister. I saw a news clip about his practice of allowing the journalists only four questions each per day, and only on different subjects. So… no follow-up questions? Only first-point questions?

Doesn’t come across as Mr Open-And-Honest, now, does he?

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

so fascinated with light... he'd certainly paint if he could...

Artists who paint are often fascinated with light. Light allows us to see; light forms the subject matter that is painted. When we paint, we are painting light both as it hits objects, and as it filters through atmosphere. However… sometimes we might like to paint actual light sources. Here is a short example on how to paint a “Christmas Light”.

Each Sunday, artist Natasha Henderson will guide you through some simple “How To” tips for painting. Having been (honestly) inspired at a young age by the oft-spoofed televised artist Bob Ross, Natasha would like to offer some simple tips on How To Paint Stuff.

Just like last week, this time I started with a piece of paper that I’d smudged some white acrylic paint on. Again, it is not 100% necessary to add the acrylic. If I had thick paper, and I’d wanted to allow the paper’s texture and absorbancy affect the paint’s effect, I could have worked directly on the paper.

getting started

I made a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb.

a simple shape, similar to an Xmas light bulb

Then, I made the “cords”. Most Xmas lights have a casement for the glass bulb, and then cords leading away from this. I opted to imagine a simple cord going each way, although in reality there are usually two twisted cords, per side, that lead away in both directions. Sometimes it is more poetic to rely on memory than observation. Who wants a painting of electrical cords?

bulb with simple cords

Next, I smudged a little watery black down the middle of the bulb.

swiped watery-black paint in the bulb...

Then I wiped some of this paint away, quickly, with my finger. It smudged the paint, giving it a bit of a hazy effect, just like staring into a real light…

smudged!

The most important thing right now was to let this DRY. After it had dried, I painted some watered-down black around the bulb area. I left the imagined-light to “glow” in a circle around the bulb.

painting the world that is not so affected by the light

Next, I added more black, solidly, onto the outside area. The light isn’t reaching there at all…

suddenly, the light seems a lot more "light"

The final, final step was to put a dab of pure white into the middle of the bulb.

final bit... unless I decide to go in colour...

If I wanted to create this image in colour, then I would glaze some colour into the image. Next week, I will do just that!

Paint on! Paint on.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

An early show, after I'd recovered from school.

This morning I found myself reminiscing a little about things that art instructors have said to me that stuck in my memory. I was probably doing this for a few reasons:

- I taught a class last night in which a student (who is also a teacher) mentioned “you are a good teacher”.

- there was a lot of strong light pouring in through my closed blinds.

- I was thinking about character and strength of it.

I recall a drawing instructor who went over the idea of Chiaroscuro. This method of modelling, using dark and light to create form, was invented or at least defined as we know it during the Italian Renaissance. My instructor truly “went over it” in that we didn’t practice or learn anything about this technique. Well, he did make this (paraphrased) statement: “This was important for artists in Italy to learn, but it’s not important for us. We have different light. It’s not as harsh, it is a soft light.” Then we went back to drawing leaves and stuff.

At least he mentioned that Chiaroscuro existed, so that I could read about it later. One thing I gleaned from the thirty-second lesson on Chiaroscuro, is to pay attention to different kinds of light. I’d not really thought about it before, only simply accepted while observing. It was true that where I lived then had a hazy, blue light that meandered over objects and made them sort of softly glow from within. Beyond artificial light, there were normally no harsh shadows or light effects.

However, when learning the fundamental basics of drawing, one should learn all that one can. It is unrealistic to expect one’s college-aged students to stay in their small city for their entire lives, painting outdoor landscapes and nothing else. At least not all of them.

I got an A+ in that class.

Chiaroscuro actually works well in any type of lighting, in that you can form the object, and simultaneously (or after the fact) paint the shadows and light effects too. So, for example, say you have a sphere. It is round. The middle comes towards you, and the edges recede. By this theory, the edges are darker than the middle. However, if there is any sort of light source, that would have a highlight/shadow effect on the sphere. Ambient and atmospheric lighting play a part, as do reflections on the sphere. Try painting an egg. You’ll see what I mean. Actually, an egg will be one of the things we will paint in the “How To Paint: Stuff” series.

Painting is what I love to do best.

Another memorable moment during my time as an Art College Attendee was when a painting instructor (who I admired greatly) reduced me to tears when I dared to critique an exhibition of paintings. A famous artist was showing in a major gallery, and I was finally able to see her work in the flesh. My instructor and I talked briefly about it. Paraphrasing:

She: “Did you see the So-And-So exhibition?”

Moi: “Yes I did. I found her brushwork to be too careful. It looked un-natural and laboured over.”

She: “You and I have VERY DIFFERENT IDEAS about painting… “

Conversation stopped. Closed door.

What did I learn from this experience? Students will take what a teacher says seriously, and students sometimes don’t express themselves as clearly as they would like. If you are a teacher, and one of your students says something you disagree with, or even find offensive, ask them a question about it rather than making a statement and closing the door to communication. Also, sometimes people we look up to have bad days and say nasty things too. Don’t always take them to heart, if you can help it.

I managed to get a B+ in that class.

Cast Over, a painting from way back in '99.

An Art History instructor told me (in front of his equally well-known and somewhat famed friend) that I would “need to learn and memorize names and dates of paintings so that I would be impressive and knowledgable at parties”. Paraphrased. He nailed directly on the head one of my biggest combo-insecurities.

I am terrible with names and dates, and I don’t like looking dumb at parties. I learned from this that I should not care so much what others think.

I got a C- in that class. 

2157 Trees. In 1999 I painted an imagined tree pattern on the imagined drapery and then used a rough calculation to describe how many trees there would be here. I also counted the ones depicted "outside".

I’ll finish with a really good thing that my Book Arts instructor told me. Paraphrasing: “Be ready for success. Don’t get stuck and depressed. People will simultaneously want you to produce what you’re well-known for, and be disappointed that your work isn’t developing.” She thought I would be famous, knew some people who were famous, and famous famous famous.  Famous etc famous. Basically, I had to stay true and genuine to what I needed to make, to my forms of expression. My muse is a changing thing.

Should I stumble upon a super-successful trick, I shan’t remain a one-trick pony! Oh, and I got an A+ in that class.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

 Mary Blaze is a Vancouver area artist, whose works traverse from painting, to mixed media, to performance. You can see more of her works at http://artforcecollections.com/.

Artist In Her Studio With Ceramic Vase 18" x 12" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

 What to Do with an Old Water-Stained Piece of Building Paper?

             Creation begins coincident with my husband’s attempt to discard an old, water-stained roll of building paper.  In a spontaneous act, I retrieve it, lop off an eleven foot length onto my studio floor, and go to work.

            My stack of newspapers, used to protect studio surfaces from over-brushings and roll-outs, is at hand.  Therein are my first images for collage.  As I place them randomly on the substrate with acrylic medium, I begin to see window frame forms, across the horizontal length.

Artist In Her Studio With Candle and Candlestick 18"x12" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

            Onto the suggested squares and rectangles, I collage scanned and printed drawings from my sketch books, along with some recently completed drawings and prints.  From this point on, the work is directing me, as different from me imposing conscious determinations onto it.

Artist In Her Studio With Ink Bottle 18"x12" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

            I am in my studio, driven to using things at hand.  I look around me and my ink bottle comes into focus, so, with Aquarelle water soluble crayons, I draw it.  A friend had left a luscious looking, red skinned pear, and I draw it, too.  This work is becoming a very personal statement, but now a shift takes place.  As I add my Dad’s lantern and my Mom’s lamp into the spaces at each end of the paper, these two, coupled with my own central candle and candlestick, bring the work into the realm of heritage, and here it is: the cross-over of my two abiding passions, art and genealogy, having come unbidden into visual coexistence.

Artist In Her Studio With Wild Flower Bouquet and Lantern 18"x18.5" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

            I wonder if, during the elapsed year of this work, the undemanding nature of the remnant from our house building project, gives me the freedom to work at a sub-conscious level, to create “Artist in Her Studio with . . . ,” but whatever, it is something to do with an old piece of building paper.  

Artist In Her Studio With Teacup and Lamp 18"x18.5" copyright Mary Blaze 2010

 If you would like to be next month’s featured artist, check out this link! Thank you, Mary, for sharing your art and artistic process with us.

Fleurbain is proud to announce that we will feature a different artist in our online space every month. Our first artist is one of the women behind Fleurbain, Natasha Henderson. Artists who are interested in being featured are welcome to email:

three to five jpegs of their work (no larger than 1200 pixels on their longest side, at least 300 pixels on their shortest side)

- short descriptions of each piece (Title, Medium, Size, Date)

- a link to their personal website

- and an artistic statement/short biography (about 200-500 words) to: fleurbain@gmail.com.

We can’t guarantee that everyone will be featured, but why not give it a shot!

The Jack Pine (1916–1917) by Tom Thomson, from...

not in either exhibition, however, is related to them

Until March 5, 2011 Eric Cardinal presents Histoires improbables and Jocelyn Philibert shows Dans la nuit at Galerie [sas] in the Belgo Building, at 372 St Catherine Street in Montreal.

I was initially lured into this exhibition by a pencil on paper drawing that bore an organic title and appearance. Fungus no. 2, upon further examination, proved to be composed of a repeated and overlapped Mickey Mouse motif. Eric Cardinal‘s work in Histoires improbables is a range of drawings and sculpture that uses “pop culture” and other findings that may (or may not) be disposable. In his artist statement, he only alludes to his drawings a tiny bit while talking about his sculpture. “… these manipulations seem to be able to initiate a second step in my production where shapes and textures rendered can then be expressed in other materials.” 

Whichever came first, the sculpture or the drawings; both speak of a longing for nature and its forms, twisted with a sense of humour. The drawings appeared to be of one of two types. Organic, morphing ones (like Fungus no.2, which initially drew me into the gallery) were my personal favorites. I’d truly not seen anything like them before, and they held my attention and imagination long after I’d realised what the elements in them all were. The other sort of drawing was something like a fractured, fragmented view of two (or more) simultaneous pictures, usually done in ink. The result of this was something like a jagged checker-board, or a woven paper effect. These were not as evocative or luring as the softer, more evolved, pencil drawings. I was left with the impression that they were part of the process, and that’s cool.

The sculpture was like pop-culture, plastic tree growths. Colourful, playful, beautiful, and somewhat tragic. They melded plain objects (pencils, household items) with repeated Donald Duck or other Disney characters, and finally colourful polyurethane to make these oddities. Note that when I say oddities, I mean original, cool, and tasty art-pieces. 

The Author of this post hides behind a rose

The paintings (oops sorry about that) photographs in Jocelyn Philibert‘s exhibition Dans la nuit are a stunning study of both trees and visual-planes. Philibert photographs trees, or scenes that include trees, at night. He illuminates the scenes from the front, boldly. The work bears a sense of metaphor and theatricality, owing much to the drama of the artificial lighting, as well as the often isolated subject (tree).

My initial reaction to this work was a sense of awe, a feeling of seeing drawings set in nature, drawings by Nature itself. It seemed more real than real.

The next thing I noticed was how the foreground plane comes forward; more so than with naturally lit subjects. I was reminded of layers of oil in an oil painting, layered plexiglass paintings, and even 3-D Cinema.

Philibert’s Lone Tree is elevated (as in much of Canadian art) to a heroic place; it becomes a Being, a reason for portraiture. Think of Tom Thomson’s The Jack Pine. Think of Rodney Graham. Think of Jocelyn Philibert.

Natasha Henderson, Montreal. The two exhibitions finish up on March 5th, so hurry down to see them. Galerie [sas] 372 St Catherine West, open Monday-Friday 9-5, Saturday 12-5.

Cluck and Lurt get some take-out. Copyright Natasha Henderson.

Natural Hoot: hallowed night

copyright Natasha Henderson

Persuasion

Copyright Natasha Henderson

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