I am in a routine of studio work that I hope I can continue when I get home. There are so many more distractions at home - things of importance that I give in to and that seem to whittle away my most productive time. Of course one can whittle away time anywhere with as little as a scrap of fluff and imagination, but if a new habit can be formed then my body will crave the sense of organization and well being that results, not to mention the excitement of creating new work.
I worked more on my lacy rounds, but I also spent time working on this woven blanket. It is a digitally woven blanket from a .jpg file. The image is a combination of my paint strokes in the background and a vector drawing of the buffalo in the foreground. I am now applying beads to specific areas of the piece.
Banff Centre is entirely another world where each day is a savoured experience. For a time I am free to respond to my creative thoughts - to bring them to life. I have so many and although it is only day two of my residency in the Leighton Artist Colony, I am rushing through the work as though it is my last. Here is a peek at my studio and some of today's work:
I have finished drawing a large portion of the pattern in Illustrator. A portion of the pattern was used in a public art call that I just completed today. I want to use it again in a different context. I really love the interesting secondary shapes that can be discerned when you look at portions of the pattern. I think I will print it out and do some colouring! I have some velum that runs nicely through my printer and a brand new set of pencil crayons. Very relaxing - at least as good as Yoga.
I have been reading about tessellations (think art by M.C. Escher). They fascinate me! I found a book in the thrift store on designing tessellations and brought it home for the modest amount of $3. I am also fond of William Morris organic pattern designs. I imagined the meeting of these two and this was the result:
Perfectly suitable for creating a vector illustration! I have drawn this in Adobe Illustrator and am now in the process of finding a use for the variations I created. I will keep you posted.
A number 4 Africana sable brush from 1970's USA. The 'Africana' company once provided high quality glazes, stains and supplies for the booming '70's ceramic industry. My parents had distribution rights for the products in the Grande Prairie (AB) area when they owned their ceramic studio. I used this brush to paint many small ceramic objects - then in the 1980's it took me through art school. In amazing condition, it is still one of my favourite brushes and will come with me to the Banff Centre in February (2015) for a visual art residency. I received word today that I am accepted into the Leighton Artist Colony - Gerin-Lajoie Studio. While at the studio I will focus solely on my art - (yes, someone else will do the cooking and the cleaning for me!) As part of my planned Education Leave from work, I have until the end of April to concentrate on my art practice. I feel a deep gratitude for this opportunity and plan to make the most of it. I shall keep you updated.
It was -19c this morning as I was feeding the horses. A bit chilly for me, but Cassie doesn't seem to mind. She has a full coat of winter fur. I wake up, drag myself out there and promptly come to attention as the cold starts to sting my cheeks. I may be miserable when I start, but by the time I have finished the chore I am smiling.
Here is a photo of my artwork hanging in the UNBC Rotunda Gallery. It's a digitally woven blanket with beadwork applied on the letters and some of the shapes and forms. I used a photo of 'Mrs. Gullion' (Athabasca Archives) and placed her within my own drawings. The text running along side her on the left is from a scan of the original Metis land scrip document issued to George and Margareta Gullion for their son, Franklin Gullion (my great grandfather). It says, "was the woman half-breed, indian or other? ....Halfbreed." I could go on about the derogatory meaning that is now attached to the label 'halfbreed' but in 1900 that was how Metis people were referred to. There is an excellent essay on the subject at this link: http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/exhibit_scrip It describes the process by which using land scrip Metis people were stripped of their aboriginal title to a traditional land base.
I think the blanket looks amazing between the wooden lamps. Thank you to the group who put together the show for the Aboriginal Women's Honouring at UNBC.
I find chairs in the most interesting locations. This one is located outside the Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC.
in this natural setting. enjoy.
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to create. I can sit in my studio and look around with no game plan. For me it doesn't matter what medium or subject, it is simply important to begin. These are two drawings that came out of a session like that. I had scraps of deer hide left over from another piece so I began working on them. I love ravens and they occasionally show up in my art.
December is a heavy month for me. Not only does it hold beloved family traditions, it holds the memories of the passing of both my parents. Every year as the snow falls and neighbours hang their seasonal decor, a feeling comes over me. It is almost unnoticed at first, a gentle melancholy, then a yearning. Images from a season past enter my mind, a time when relatives had come out to the farm to celebrate, sliding their cars into deep snowy ditches on their way out. The house was warm, the oven pumping out delicious smells in waves of heat. Windows were steamy from too many people talking all at once and laughter tickled the ears. Today, my house is silent. Everyone has gone in their own direction and I am left with these thoughts. I never knew I could long to hear my father's voice so much. Just to hear him laugh again; see his face light up in humour. It has been 19 years.
This year, I think about my mom as well. She often put great effort into decorating our home. She would paint mirrors and windows, hang beautiful homemade decorations, and place candles around. Talking was her favourite holiday activity. As a child it bored me, but there was comfort in the drone of constant conversation. My last Christmas with her was several years ago. My husband, kids and I made the 5 hour drive through the Pine Pass. Even though she was in constant pain, her house looked lovely. There was a lot of conversation and laughter and I believe my kids were both bored and comforted by it. Mom passed away last year, within days of the anniversary of Dad's passing.
Today, my house is quiet. In my mind I hear the holidays of the past and as plan ahead, I am conscious of the importance that holidays remembered will hold for my kids in the future. (photo by me, Kim (Gullion) Stewart.)
My son, now 18 attends the same college that I work at. We carpool and today we will be here longer than expected; over the lunch hour. I sent him a text asking if he wanted some money for food, "Yes!!!" was his reply. After I paid for his burger and fries, a modest $9 CAD...I thought about a time when my Dad had treated me and my friends to a donut during school hours. In high school we had a great hangout. It was the local bakery. If you were planning to miss a class, at some point you'd end up there. That's what had happened the one and only day I ever skipped class. My parents who lived 25 kms out of town just happened to show up at the bakery for coffee. As they sat down my Dad's eyes met mine. I could feel my face flush...he was a scary guy when he got mad. He walked over and asked me what class I was supposed to be in, "Record keeping" I said. He asked me what my mark was, "an A" I said. He pulled out a $5 billed and said, "This is for you and your friends to pay for your donuts, don't ever do this again." I was surprised and greatful. The $5 paid for 3 donuts and 2 coffees, and I never did that again.