Archives for posts with tag: life

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

Deer enjoy a little munch in Comox, BC, Canada. Photo by Natasha Henderson

It’s April, and vibrant life is appearing all around us again. Spring has certainly sprung (at least across North America!)

Everywhere there is an urban setting, there is nature too. That little weed pushing its way through the sidewalk crack, the gull resting on top of a lamp-post, sunlight reflecting off buildings… animals, plant-life, and the Elements all co-exist with our Urban presence.

Our photo theme for April is The Contrasts of Urban Nature. If you are a fan on our Facebook page, you can upload a photo to our wall. Or, if you prefer, email us at fleurbain@gmail.com with your photo that reflects this theme, your name, and a short description of the pic.

April… finally, oh finally!

Dust bunnies

dust bunnies, just in time for Easter

A Sweeping Epic: An Epic Sweeping.

In recent weeks I’ve been feeling a stirring, an urge… and it cannot be denied much longer. Obsession. Thoughts drifting off at highly inappropriate times. Should I do it? Am I ready? I break into a nervous sweat. Getting ready to… clean.

In pre-Spring-cleaning mode, I am thinking about my methods of attack. To tackle the more persistent dust bunnies before, or after dusting the shelves? Should I just sweep really well, or invest in having my vacuum fixed? The little details are something of a luxury for me, details that for a different type of person would be more of a necessity.

I am not a slob! I do not embrace a messy lifestyle, nor do I endorse living amongst personal rubble. However, it might appear that way. I call this: Being Busy. I also call this: Putting On The Necessary Blinkers. Sometimes we have to “put our blinkers on”, so that we don’t see things that we can’t deal with at the moment. I think everyone does this. Perhaps not everyone does it in regards to dust bunnies and heaps of miscellaneous papers, but I do.

I am inspired to use natural, home-mixed cleaning agents this year. Earlier, Tammy had written an article that gave the recipes for them, and it’s most certainly time for me to give it a whirl. Thus far I’ve been non-toxic, in that I really haven’t cleaned properly since moving into my place… a while… ago.

ah, my pretty floor. Soon you will be seen and gleaming again. The same goes for the other surfaces in my home, sweet home.

While cleaning, I am going to re-arrange my home. I like to increase functionality (and feng shui, if I can manage that too, well, bonus!) in my home whenever possible. There are so many inspirational magazines (paper and on-line) as well as home-decor books from the library! I could look at painting a wall, getting some more shelves… Wait. This smells faintly of procrastination. Right, I’ll just start with the cleaning and let the decoration happen later. Willpower, be mine!

Two things are made a lot easier by warmer weather: leaving windows open, and leaving “stuff” out on the street. A small sign: “A Donner, Free” and I’m happier and so is someone else.

A win-win situation, this de-cluttering. Hello, Spring! Bye-bye TV! Bye-bye VCR!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

creation during a previous workshop

The brains behind Fleurbain, Tammy Schmidt CHT and Natasha Henderson BFA, are pleased to announce an exciting new service: Customised Workshops.

Combine these two women’s talents for an inventive and innovative experience that is tailored to meet your needs. For groups, clubs, corporate teams, or just a gathering of friends, Tammy and Natasha will craft a unique workshop with the greatest of expertise and care.

Tammy is a Clinical Herbal Therapist with an extensive knowledge of herbal remedies. Outside of her clinical practice, she excels in creative Green ideas for the home, bath, and beauty. Let’s not forget that she is brilliant in herbal/cooking fusion! Tammy will encourage you to grow and create while you learn.

Natasha is a graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art in Vancouver, with experience in teaching painting, felt-making, crafting, and general creativity to groups of adults and children alike. Natasha is an empowering instructor who invites the potential in every student.

Fleurbain will come to your location for workshops, or we can meet in our central studio location. It’s up to you.

in the midst of cooking/herbal infusion

A very few ideas for your workshops: Herbal bath treatments and notebook making; Team-building mural painting with a herbal tea session; Puppet-making workshop for kids or adults; Painting with herbal pigments; Informative nature walk while drawing from nature; City-scape walks, seeking nature in an urban environment; Crafting workshops with groups. Check out the two-day experience we hosted recently, in which we steeped herbalism and crafting together to create a unique Spa Weekend.

creative learning through activity

The sky is not even the limit… Give us an email at fleurbain@gmail.com to see what we can do together. Please provide dates and location desired for the workshop, as well as a rough idea of number of participants, their ages, and the purpose or reason for the workshop (eg team-building, fun event, educational, etc).  We will put together a package customized for you and your group.

Please note that we are in the Montreal area.

March!  It is nearing the end of winter, and we are like animals in the forest; all we want to see, taste and smell… is a little green.
Beyond all the St.Paddy’s Day kitsch, green is plant-life, green is a beautiful colour, green means there is life.
Let’s see some green here, in your photo submissions!
If you have an image that reflects “craving green”, please submit this verdant image to our facebook fan page.

the cat grass after a little time with cats

Life: Things to be done.

copyright Natasha Henderson

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