Tuesday, May 14, 2019

My April - May Update in Photographs

April and May have been incredibly busy and there has been little time for posting on my blogs so here is a brief summary using just photos of some of my art activities and adventures.
Sketching on May 11th at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (photo courtesy of Diane Duford)

Schmincke and Holbein 
Watercolour Demonstrations
It was great meeting Anke Heintz yesterday (all the way from Germany) in Ottawa at DeSerres to talk about Schmincke watercolours.  
I attended the Holbein artist demo at Wallack's with North American rep Jamie-Lou
I purchased a primary-colour set of Holbein Acryla Gouache to experiment with.
Platinum Carbon Ink

Testing Platinum Carbon Ink on some of my watercolour papers

More testing Platinum Carbon Ink on more of my watercolour papers
  Life Drawing at the Rooster 
I attended Life Drawing at the Atomic Rooster ... 2, 3, 5, 10 and 20 minute poses from three different models. I love experimenting and playing with different papers & materials : pencils, watercolours, gouache and fountain pen.

Travel Sketching

Galway sketch in my Molskine Watercolour Journal
Postcards Arrived

My postcard order came in from VistaPrint

Mark Patton's Art Show

It was great to help my artist friend Mark Patton with his first art show and it was an amazing success! I can't wait to see what is next for this amazing artist!

Urban Sketching

Our April sketching event was at the National Art Centre

Our May sketching event was at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Monday, April 1, 2019

Ottawa Urban Sketchers Featured “Drawing Attention”

I am delighted  to report that the Ottawa Urban Sketchers are featured in the
April 2019 issue of “Drawing Attention”

Drawing Attention April 2019 https://issuu.com/urbansketchers7/docs/drawing_attention_april_2019/
Drawing Attention, the official monthly zine of the Urban Sketchers organization, 
communicates and promotes official USk workshops, symposiums, sketchcrawls, news and events; shares news about USk chapters ...

Drawing Attention April 2019 https://issuu.com/urbansketchers7/docs/drawing_attention_april_2019/
Congratulations to the Ottawa Sketchers who had their artwork included in this issue and thanks to Susan Rogers (Salt Spring Island, BC Urban Sketcher) for writing and organizing the piece.

Read the April 2019 issue of "Drawing Attention"

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Testing New Papers

I am in between sketchbooks at present and I have had trouble choosing a new one so instead I have been trying out various "new-to-me" papers.
  1. Bee Creative Watercolour paper
  2. Fabriano Watercolour Paper
Bee Creative Watercolour Paper 

This watercolor paper was quite inexpensive ($21.99). The paper is acid free, natural white, cold pressed, 140 lb. (300 gsm) watercolor paper. European milled. 100% cotton paper for watercolor.

Hong Kong, Ink and watercolour Bee Creative watercolor paper.

The sketch above was inspired by a photograph on Facebook posted by my friend Mike Skinner when he was over in Hong Kong. It was actually the very first sketch that I did on the new paper and I was immediately satisfied.

I did several other quick sketches on the paper. The most recent one was of the two blue spruce trees at Gilmour an O'Connor.

These beautiful, old spruce trees were planted in 1922 (?) and appeared on the school report cards in 1950 ‬!! https://urbsite.blogspot.com/…/more-favourite-limbs-two-blu…

Every time my Labrador retriever Lexie and I walk by these two incredible trees we notice how much the snow is melting away more and more each day.

Last year these poor old trees were smothered in  salt, grit and snow which was worrisome - but not this year thankfully http://www.centretownbuzz.com/…/hoping-for-april-showers-r…/

Two blue spruce trees on Gilmour at O'Connor
I'm really happy with the paper and how it handles my pencils, inks and watercolours and the only complaint is the double wire binding. I'm not a fan of coil binding for my sketch books but these coils do create a flat surface and the pages are also micro-perforated to true size for easy sheet removal.

Fabriano Watercolour Paper

I just purchased some hot press, 140lb (300 gsm), 25 % cotton watercolor paper and thought I would try it on a portrait I'm working on for a newsletter.

The Wallack website says that the Fabriano Watercolour paper is ideal for watercolour, tempera, gouache, acrylic, ink and drawing and is:
 "...made of a valuable mixture of lignin free (cotton 25%) and cellulose pulp. The absence of acid guarantees the inalterability over time of the paper. Produced with 100% of E.C.F. pulp (Elemental Chlorine Free), F.S.C. certified from forests responsibly managed respectful of environmental, social and economic standards. It is sized internally and externally, guaranteeing optimal absorbance. "
At $13 (12 sheets), I may continue to use this paper for my field sketches. I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Happy New Year and Happy New Directions!

There was insufficient time to post any news to my art blog in December 2018 for good reason.
Let me explain.

So happy that my painting " The Last Portage - Heading Home" sold with all proceeds going to support CPAWS-OV

I participated in three group exhibitions at the end of 2018:
Preparing my ink sketches for the "Seven Days in Inktober" Exhibition

I was invited to submit a proposal for an exciting teaching opportunity this summer (July 2019) and I worked to create some documents outlining the workshop learning goals, basic supply lists, etc.
Some pages from my 2019 workshop proposal
I also created my annual calendar that I send to my family for Christmas with some of my 2018 artwork.

My 2019 Art Calendar
New Year & Some New Directions

For 2019, I have a number of new and exciting plans already underway:
I also plan to blog more regularly and share links
to any new and exciting art inspiration that I read, hear, watch or see.
Here is my January 2019 installment of Inspiration Links

Art Inspiration that I have read
Playing with the FREE online background remover tool

Art Inspiration that I have heard
Art Inspiration that I have watched/seen
Mural on Bank Street (at Lewis)
Jerry Saltz's "How To Be An Artist - 33 Rules"

In 2019, I hope that your art takes you in new an exciting directions. Perhaps we could all give Jerry Saltz's 33 Rules (aka "Lessons") a try (and let me know what you think of them)

Checked off Jerry Saltz's Lesson 25: "Learn to Deal With Rejection"
I was surprised that my 8x8 "Frida Kahlo" did NOT sell at the Ottawa School of Art "8x8 Fundraiser"
Step One: You Are a Total Amateur
  • Lesson 1: Don’t Be Embarrassed
  • Lesson 2: “Tell your own story and you will be interesting.” — Louise Bourgeois
  • Lesson 3: Feel Free to Imitate
  • Lesson 4: Art Is Not About Understanding. Or Mastery.
  • Lesson 5: Work, Work, Work
Step Two: How to Actually Begin - An instruction manual for the studio
  • Lesson 6: Start With a Pencil
  • Lesson 7: Develop Forms of Practice
  • Lesson 8: Now, Redefine Skill
  • Lesson 9: “Embed thought in material.” — Roberta Smith
  • Lesson 10: Find Your Own Voice
  • Lesson 11: Listen to the Crazy Voices in Your Head
  • Lesson 12: Know What You Hate
  • Lesson 13: Scavenge
Step Three: Learn How to Think Like an Artist - This is the fun part.
  • Lesson 14: Compare Cats and Dogs
  • Lesson 15: Understand That Art Is Not Just for Looking At
  • Lesson 16: Learn the Difference Between Subject Matter and Content
  • Lesson 17: See As Much As You Can
  • Lesson 18: All Art Is Identity Art!
  • Lesson 19: All Art Was Once Contemporary Art
Step Four: Enter the Art World - A guide to the snake pit.
  • Lesson 20: Accept That You Will Likely Be Poor
  • Lesson 21: Define Success
  • Lesson 22: It Takes Only a Few People to Make a Career
  • Lesson 23: Learn to Write
Step Five: Survive the Art World - Psychic strategies for dealing with the ugliness (inside and out).
  • Lesson 24: Artists Must Be Vampires
  • Lesson 25: Learn to Deal With Rejection
  • Lesson 26: Make an Enemy of Envy
  • Lesson 27: Having a Family Is Fine
Step Six: Attain Galactic Brain
  • Lesson 28: What You Don’t Like Is As Important As What You Do Like
  • Lesson 29: Art Is a Form of Knowing Yourself
  • Lesson 30: “Artists do not own the meaning of their work.” — Roberta Smith
  • Lesson 31: All Art Is Subjective
  • Lesson 32: You Must Prize Vulnerability
  • Lesson 33: Be Delusional

Friday, November 30, 2018

November 2018: A Month Honouring Great People

I was so excited to be heading to Toronto in the beginning of November to visit and sketch at the Royal Winter Fair, but when I showed up at Exhibition Place, I discovered that the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees IATSE Local 58 stage technicians were still being locked out and I refused to cross their picket line and I sketched them instead.

They really appreciated the support and my sketch was well received on social media. 

IATSE 58 Members on the picket line at Exhibition Place, Toronto

Better yet, on November 15th, IATSE Local 58 voted in favour of ratifying a proposed contract with Exhibition Place, bringing to a close their four-month lock out.

The IATSE 58 folks weren't the only heroes that I sketched in November.

When I heard that one of my social justice heroes John Clarke - a labour, anti-capitalist, anti-poverty activist (who I first met in the 1990s through the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty ) was “retiring” in May 2019 I sketched him as well! There's not a LOT of money in anti-poverty work so friends are contributing to his pension fund here: https://fundrazr.com/91QQl6?ref=ab_17hI70_ab_34fLkAoHnrn34fLkAoHnrn

And then I heard about the passing of Harry Leslie Smith who was a WWII veteran, writer, passionate critic of austerity and tireless refugee advocate. I had been following him for some time on social media and when he required hospitalization, I followed his son's tweets to the end. Harry is such an inspiration and I just had to do a sketch of him as well!

I also sketched Anne Innis Dagg whose time in the spotlight has finally arrived! Her movie the "Woman Who Loves Giraffes" was being promoted and I was surprised to learn of her story for the very first time! How is it that we have a woman who is the "Jane Goodall of giraffes" from Toronto and I have never heard of her?

Mary Riter Hamilton

Mary Riter Hamilton with her dog outside her shelter

I attended a symposium in November honouring the life of artist Mary Riter Hamilton. The event was hosted by War Amps Canada and Library and Archives Canada

Mary refused to sell any of the 300 paintings that she produced overseas under the harshest of conditions, choosing to donate them to the Canadian people instead.

Mary returned in broken health and lived out the rest of her days blind in one eye and impoverished.

Mary Riter Hamilton was buried (1954) in an unmarked grave beside her husband in Port Arthur, Ontario 

Thanks to the Ontario Genealogical Society (Thunder Bay branch) and the Royal Canadian Legion, a grave marker was added in 2008.

'Trenches on the Somme', Mary Riter Hamilton
Read Josie Holford's "nevertheless she persisted" summary of Mary Riter Hamilton's life's work here: http://www.josieholford.com/women-artists-of-ww1-mary-riter-hamilton/

Mary Riter Hamilton painted the temporary monuments and crosses that were built by soldiers during the war. 

Mary Riter Hamilton wanted her works to be preserved together in a national institution as a donation to Canada. In 1926, she donated over 200 of her paintings to Library and Archives Canada, some of which are displayed at the Canadian War Museum in a special exhibition until March 31, 2019.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Painting & Sketching In A World Where There Are Octobers

October is a favourite month of mine. The colours of the trees changing, birds migrating, sweaters needed and hats and mittens taken out of storage. Here is a brief summary of some of my October art encounters and activities.

Artist Talk

I love exploring new art techniques and learning about and meeting other artists. One "artist encounter" that I enjoyed in the month of October was an artist talk given by Brian Turner  at the general meeting of ArtEast in Orleans. Brian works in watercolour and he also teaches an 8 week watercolor class through the Kanata Art Club website for details (www.artforall.ca)

Brian Turner gave an artist talk on composition at the ArtEast General Meeting
Brian had actually put away his paintbrushes for 37 years and he had a work colleague who painted every night. When Brian asked him why he did that, his colleague responded by saying, "I'd hate to reach 85 years of age and discover that I could have been good."

Brian's style of speaking was interactive and he used a PowerPoint to demonstrate all the various elements of good composition. Some of the items that I jotted down in my notes:
  • Brian is a fan of Ikea Verserum frames (11 x 15, 14.5 x 22.5; and 17.75 x 28.5) because they come with acid-free matts and they are solid wood frames that you can wire. He suggests that you "paint to the frame" when you work.
  • Brian likes to have his prints made by with Dave Andrews of Germotte print
  • There was mention as well of Artworld oNe (at Ogilvie and Montreal Rd.) 
  • I loved that Brian uses some interesting tools in his watercolour painting like transparent packing tape (for masking); a magic eraser (for removing objects) and Saran Wrap for atmospheric effects on wet watercolour

Inktober is a monthly activity created by Jake Parker . Every October, artists all over the world take on the Inktober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. There are themes for those that prefer to have prompts but I chose to sketch whatever was on my mind that day.

Sometimes, my Inktober inspiration came from research I was doing, current events or things that I spotted on my daily dog walk with Lexie.

"British Home Children" (calligraphy ink on Bristol)
"Being Watched"(India ink on Bristol) (added to my "Pets In Windows" collection)

Nobel Prize Winner Donnna Strickland (ink on cartridge paper)
"Dunn's Diner is Done" (Black and red ink on Bristol)

October Life Drawing

I love drawing and painting people. Ottawa has a wide variety of opportunities to practice. (See my 2017 blog post that's in need of an update)

Aretha Franklin (watercolour in my Strathmore Series 500 sketchbook)

I was grateful to make my way back to Atelier Denu and DATR (Drawing at the Rooster) this month and it was great!
Drawing at the Rooster (October 2018)
October Musings

I have been completely obsessed with a twitter list I have called "Farm Life". I spend a good deal of time following quite a few farmers in Wales, North England, Scotland, Ireland and Ontario.

These farmers and shepherdesses post a lot of photographs and videos and I often capture the images and sketch or paint them for the pure joy of it .

Here are a couple from October in watercolour and acrylic.

"Mom's Protection" (watercolour)

"Sheep Dogs" (acrylic)
"Regal One" (watercolour)

October Plein Air Painting

My October Plein Air recap was going to basically report that its clearly getting too cold to be spending long hours outdoors. Recent excursions to Bates Island and the Mackenzie King Estate required mittens and hand warmers and both trips were quite wonderful despite the wind (and snow).

Me painting the sun setting from Bates Island in Ottawa

Two hours of progress on the Mackenzie King Estate in Gatineau, Quebec

Toque and hand warmers needed at the Mackenzie King Estate

I don't remember reporting on our plein air trip to Upper Canada Village that took place in September. I absolutely LOVED this trip and would LOVE to do it again next year!

Upper Canada Village has so many beautiful views. This one started on the veranda of the kitchen area and finished at home
I was drawn to the "Z" composition lines of the fence and houses and the beautiful pear tree. This one was also finished at home

October Urban Sketching 

I organized the October Urban Sketching event on October 20th and you can read about the event and see my photographs on my Ottawa Urban Sketching blog.

 Looking Forward to November

The month of November will begin with another event that I organized for our  Urban Sketchers at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and then the following weekend I will be traveling to Toronto to visit with my family and daughter and also attend the the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The last time I sketched at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair was in 2015 and I blogged about it here: https://moynahanstudio.blogspot.com/2015/11/sketching-at-royal-winter-fair-rwf.html

Then Lexie and I will retreat back into our tiny, cramped studio space and see if we can fill it ALL up with some beautiful art work.