Kim Stewart

Canadian Métis Artist

art

Who doesn't love a birthday!

my opinionsKim StewartComment

It is my nephew's birthday today! He is a gregarious 6 year old guy with playful eyes and a head full of ideas.  He has an equally awesome older brother. It would appear that they put as much work into their creativity as they do into wrestling with each other. Good to see that they are not too wrapped up in popular media to see the world around them and represent it in their art. There is something so wholesome about kid art. matt

Birthday boy, Matthew's drawing of a warbler

cam

Older brother, Cameron's representation of a flower

matt n cam

Digitization of fish pattern

my art, workKim StewartComment

fish pattern 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.

Traveling to Van in a van...

my opinions, workKim StewartComment

Yes, it is true. Tomorrow the CNC Fine Art's class of 2011 and three faculty will be boarding a 15 passenger van headed for Vancouver on our annual field trip. We usually fly, but this year a fellow faculty member offered to drive us. Immediate benefits come to mind when I think of 'shopping'. We usually walk everywhere we go and shopping is limited to a couple of art books, basically whatever you can carry for hours on end. I was thrilled when I opened my email yesterday and saw that Opus Framing is having their garage sale this weekend, and, hey... we will have a van in Van! I could actually buy some frames and store them in the van. I am also thrilled that we can visit the Museum of Anthropology. I remember going there as an art student to sketch. Their collection includes over 36,000 ethnographic objects and 500,000+ archeological objects including full-sized west coast feast bowls and totem poles. The entire place is an aesthetic feast for the eyes! All I have to do is survive the trip down. Back to the van; I am hoping that 13 happy people traveling in a small space will not create an 8 hour din and just in case I am bringing a set of ear plugs. Now, before you decide that I am a party-pooper I should tell you that I have 'very' sensitive hearing. Those earplugs could mean the difference between a happy field-tripper and one with a migraine. Maybe I should bring my travel pillow and an eyeshade incase I really want to pass out. Just poke me when we get there!

Finding Foundation

Artists, artists worth noting, my opinionsKim StewartComment

We are listening as artist Toni Onley sweeps his arm along the horizon. "Now this is worth painting!" he declares. My eyes follow his arm out past his fingertips and I fight back a feeling of vertigo as I see the land below. An afternoon wind has begun to blow up the side of the cliff towards us. It combines with the heat from the sun making the space between me and the land below almost tangible. If I had wings, I could spread them at this moment and I would be airborne.  The mountains continue back as far as I can see, each range becoming a faint version of the one before it. The view is so large that it overwhelms me. Toni has plunked himself down in the grass. He's unrolling his brushes and talking to all the grey heads, "I hate teaching these community workshops, but it is the only way they would let me have this Yukon residency. Your landscape is amazing...Who paints regularly with watercolors?" My hand goes up, but mine is the only one. It would seem that I am the only one aware of who Toni is. His eyes quickly dismiss me as he replies, "Well okay then, let's just have fun. Paint what you see."

I look back at the landscape but it is too magnanimous for me. I don't even know where to start. I look over at Toni; he is talking about boats and the coast as he wets his page. Pale greens and grays swirl around his brush effortlessly. He has captured the summer haze from forest fires and the space inside the valley.

Space? How can anyone paint space?

Toni's view of the mountains

It is not what he has said with his brush that stands out, it is what he didn't say. The same restraint shown in his painting technique shows up in his teaching.  He sets his work down and says, "Now it's your turn", expertly steering the conversation to unrelated matters. Unable to to duplicate what I just saw, I looked towards the ground. There are some pine cones and needles in front of me so I focus there. Others are happily painting caricatured trees in dark green blotches, their little branches pointing upwards. Toni doesn't seem to mind. He keeps on chatting and moves over to see what I am doing. As his shadow falls on my work and his sentence trails off, I feel myself begin to sweat.

What will he say? Does he object to me painting the miniscule instead of the magnanimous?

Pine cone on the ground

I hold my breath and wait for his wisdom but he merely grunts and returns to his chatter. For a moment I feel as insignificant as the ground cover I am painting.  I can hear him continuing his chit-chat with the others. I feel disappointed.

Looking back on this experience I see it what I missed so long ago...Toni painted the isolation, the love of a moment share between a man and nature. He painted his relationship to the things that brought beauty and meaning into his life. He spoke with his brush and I must do the same.

New commercial gallery in Prince George!

Artists, artists worth noting, my art, my opinionsKim Stewart1 Comment

I am so excited that my friend Melanie Desjardines is opening Groop Gallery! It has been a while since there was such a place and I know that the artists in this town have work just piling up at home with no where to display it. The grand opening is tomorrow night and I am sure the crowd will be large. I have a gorgeous piece in the show, but I you will not see it here. If you want to see it you need to show up tomorrow night on 3rd avenue across from the court house, right next door to the new farmer's market at 7pm. I hope to see you there!

My connection to the 2010 Olympics

artists worth noting, my art, My Art Online, my opinionsKim Stewart5 Comments

As a leap year baby, the winter Olympics often happened each year I had my real birthday. I used to dream about participating in some way, perhaps as a figure skater. My athletic abilities never reached the world class level as I had to quit my skating lessons at 14 due to 'weak ankles', as my doctor would have said. Thankfully I don't need strong ankles to make art and making art has taken me to places beyond any dream I have ever had. In May of 2009 I was one of 15 Canadian Aboriginal artists commissioned to create an art bottle from Coke's Iconic shape. I began working on the 6 foot fiberglass base in October '09 and finished installing the solar-powered light in December. My husband was a huge help with the wiring and installation of the light and solar panel, but the graphics featuring ravens and flowers in the style of Metis floral beadwork are all my work. There were a lot of problems to solve along the way, like applying a flat graphic to a curved surface, and making sure the paint coverage would still allow light to shine through, but overall the project went smoothly. My bottle was unveiled along with 3 others in Vancouver, British Columbia to a room filled with media from all over the world. The sight filled me with excitement and nervous energy. These bottles will be auctioned off during the 2010 Olympics with the proceeds going to a legacy fund for Aboriginal children in Canada and I can't say enough about the opportunity to showcase contemporary Metis artwork to the world and to have contributed to the future of Canadian Aboriginal youth. I am touched to have made my own contribution to the Olympics. Thank you to everyone who has supported me in my art career, your support has encouraged me to continue on this path. Art is the window to the soul. It is able to communicate beyond borders and cultural boundaries reflecting the world we live in and motivating us toward a better future. If you know an artist, please encourage them by purchasing their work, or appreciating what they do. If you are interested in participating in the Coke Aboriginal art bottle auction, it starts February 15, 2010.

Detail of Coke bottle design by Kim Stewart

Detail coke bottle design by Kim Stewart

Kim Stewart with 6 foot Coke bottle

New Drawings

my artKim Stewart1 Comment

I spent yesterday at a local ranch working on some new drawings. Our local art gallery asks artists to come out and work in a variety of gardens and properties and the community come out to tour them. I worked behind one of the cabins on the ground. It felt so good to be connect to the earth. I had prepared several frames with stretched hides, 2 moose and one deer hide. I want to explore these as a new drawing surface. The moose hide was only partially tanned but was already taking on a soft appearance, whereas the deer hide is still in the rawhide state. I use a chalk pastel that comes in a cake, applying it with sponges. It's like a combination of drawing and painting and I really enjoy the marks I can make. I plan to do more work in this area, conceptually using the circle as a starting point. These drawings were inspired by barbed wire and hair that I had set in a circle on the ground. With the moose hide, interupted circle I also used heat and metal to insize the hide.

My Dreams, Your Dreams...a reality.

creative motivation, Learning, my opinionsKim Stewart1 Comment

I came across a post on a blog called Mira's List called "Finding Money for your Dreams" and I was immediately drawn in. This article is about asking for money in the form of Grants for creative writing or artistic work. Mira lets the reader in on her own story, then launches into grant myth-breaking. She says that although you don't have to be famous or know someone, you do have to have talent. Mediocracy doesn't cut it. So how do you know if you are any good at what you do? As a "slush pile" worker for a granting agency, Mira tells us that applications that credit Grandma as their biggest fan, or state that the jury will like their art because "everyone does" go directly in the 'no' pile. So who's opinion counts? Your peers, the curator of the local public gallery, people who buy your art, juries for group art shows, art instructors to name a few. The point is to get your work out there. Don't hide it under your couch like my grandmother did. She was an accomplished hand potter who dug her own clay from the banks of the river, taught community classes in pottery and hid her best work under her furniture. She didn't believe that her work was valid. As creative people, our work is always valid. It is a way of communicating opinions, thoughts, ideas, and observations. It can be a record of cultural influences, personal history, struggles, joys and sorrows. Those of us who are compelled to create have an important place in society and those who offer grants believe in what we do. They 'want' to see us succeed. If you are a creative person, do yourself a favour, go to Mira's list and read her post, then 'ask' for what you need in the form of a grant. I know I will!

Sold 3 pieces

my opinionsKim Stewart3 Comments

I was thrilled to sell 3 pieces of my work last week, Entanglement II, Bundles I and a little pastel sketch called Flowers all to the same family. I have been thinking about renting a space in town as a studio so that I can continue to work diligently on my art. I am torn though as it is so convenient to come into my basement and work any time without having to travel anywhere. Then again, it is easy to be distracted and interrupted and the studio space is in the basement. It is adequate, but not beautiful and studio visits by potential buyers are a bit awkward. Kevin has suggested we renovate the space and give it a 'door'. I would really love that! The dogs are constantly coming in and shedding around the place and I would love to lock them out. It would also block me off from the general noise around the house, like music and movies playing. You see, if I hear a movie playing in the rec room, well I often just wander out to see what it is... and then I stay...sigh. What to do?

My Art at Two Rivers Gallery

creative motivation, my art, My Art OnlineKim Stewart4 Comments

I was pleased to have 3 pieces chosen for the Two Rivers Gallery 'Flux' show which is on here in Prince George until May. You can see one of my pieces on their website, Flux In my artist statement I talk about the work being my reaction to comparing the Christian iconography I knew as a child in the Catholic Church with Cree Medicine bundles of my aboriginal ancestors. Specifically exploring the idea that these visual 'objects' were thought to have incredible positive influence on the lives of those who had them, but as we move forward, not only are notions about these things changing, but the objects themselves are being represented digitally and through art. Do these 2D representations hold the same power and mystery as the originals?

Back to Babel

my art, My Art OnlineKim Stewart1 Comment

You may remember my art installation. I had installed a 2100 block tower in the Two Rivers Gallery last year (2008), and more recently had it installed in the College of New Caledonia where I work. When the time came to remove the installation, the kids and I knocked it down first. What a blast hearing all those blocks come down. The dad-guy recorded the event with the only device on him, his cell phone. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5ytWAOFqtY&hl=en&fs=1]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfpFaLeyr3M&hl=en&fs=1]

a real nice guy

Artists, remember when---Kim Stewart3 Comments

The dad-guy has a history of helping me out with art projects and today I found a photo from a project long ago. Yes, those are grapes he is holding up to his ear. I needed a model, my concept was 'heard it through the grapevine' and he was the closest human being , so I grabbed him. guy with grapes up to his ear