Saturday, May 31, 2014

Getting Dusty With Soft Pastels

I bought some Gioconda soft pastel pencils for the first time. Apparently, this brand is a popular product of the company KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH.
Art badge by Karen Margulis available at zazzle
Soft pastels are the most widely used form of the dry pastel media varieties. Soft pastels are so messy. I love to play with them but oh my! The mess! Then the issue of using fixative or not? Using it during the pastel painting process or at the end or not?

I do know that one of my favourite daily emails is from "Painting My World" . Karen Margulis began her blog in 2005 when she was just starting her journey with pastels. Karen loves to share her paintings and tips daily. If you have not signed up, you should consider it.

More links for pastel painting:
Thumbnail sketch in new Strathmore toned gray sketch paper
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
Photo reference and Gioconda soft pastel pencil sketch
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman
Soft pastel pencil sketch on Strathmore toned paper
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Artist Statements

"In every picture
There's a poem
In every poem
A picture."
~A Chinese proverb~

P.K. Page's Creative Space
I confess. I love reading artist's statements. 

When I discovered the artist statement of P.K. Page , I was delighted.

P.K. (Patricia Kathleen) Page is regarded as one of Canada’s most beloved creative voices. Both a poet and artist, Page crafted beautiful images through her words and art in her home office in Victoria, British Columbia (pictured above with thanks to LAC).

Here are some highlights from P.K. Page's artist statement:

"I began drawing in Brazil in the late 50's. Immersed in a language I could not understand and surrounded by a baroque world of great and tropical beauty, I was wordless. My writing, except for a journal which I didn't count, stopped. Then the pen that had written, miraculously began to draw. It drew everything around me-each blade of grass, each tree, each chair and table.

 It was not long before the 'gear and tackle and trim' of art began to intrigue me: the tooth of the paper I worked on, the colour of the ink, the thickness of the nib, the sound of the nib on the paper-one might even say, 'its song' -and then the different ways of applying colour: oil pastel, gouache, oil, egg tempera. Each required something new of me. I went to a teacher who told me to throw away the pen. But it would be an amputation! I moaned. Use colour, he advised........"

Flowers in a pot (1); Brazil (Rio); 1957-58

Brazillian Dolls; Brazil (Rio); 1958-59


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Artist "Selfies"

The mirror, above all, the mirror is our teacher. 
~Leonardo da Vinci ~

Anna Feldhusen self-portrait 1899
From the Art Gallery of Ontario:

"Since the invention of the glass mirror in the 1500s artists have been scrutinizing and recording their own reflections. In self-portraiture the artist is both maker and model, and the distinctions between observer and observed break down. Like an autobiography, which can range from the informative to the fabricated, a self-portrait provides clues that reveal the artist’s identity (or identities). Through pose, facial expression, setting, costume, and stylistic presentation the artist “signs” his or her work."

 Nearly every artist, in every medium from painters to sculptors has attempted this exploration of self. I decided to review my art journals and note my numerous self-portraits over the years:

Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Of course there are many many more. What clues do my self-portraits reveal about me?

I found such a variety in my self-portraits: with and without my glasses, happy, sad, confused, contemplative, alone, with my beloved, with my dog and in collages like the one for my 55th birthday (called "double nickels") or the timeline piece with the quote "You never know when you're making a memory" (from a Rickie Lee Jones song).

I love finding and reading about other artists self-portraits.

In the Guardian, the book review for James Hall's history of self-portraits offers this clarification between “selfies" (which the Oxford dictionary named word of the year for 2013) and artist’s self-portraits which he explains are “exercises in self-appraisal, not self-celebrations”.

I like that distinction.

Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Interesting links on the subject of self-portraits:

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Little Pumpkin

This 6 x 6 acrylic is based on a photograph of my daughter when she was four or five years old and we lived in Dowling, Ontario.

Acrylic (6x6) "Pumpkin"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Autumn is beautiful in the far north. My Hallowe'en memories from when I lived there include paper pumpkin lanterns lining our driveway, an oversized balloon bat stuck to the front of the house, a laughing welcome wreath that would shout "Happy Hallowe'en" whenever someone walked in front of it and so many more.

In this painting, I love the dark colours  and the orange of the large pumpkin, the pattern on my daughter's beautiful dress and how she is hugging the jack-o-lantern.

This was a joy to paint!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Strathmore Mixed Media Art Journal

I have used many art journals over the years. Various manufactures and various sizes, coiled and bound, hard and soft cover.

My complete disappointment with my last art journal resulted in abandonment. I really do not like abandoning art journals because they are (for me) a type of diary. Looking back over old art journals has the same effect as watching old home movies. I experience a great deal of nostalgic joy

Suffice to say that art journals are important to me. That is why I am incredibly happy to have found the Strathmore Mixed Media 500 series:

Dorothy Parker inspired the sketch on the page above: "Inscription For The Ceiling Of A Bedroom"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

This particular journal is hard to find both in store and online. I know. I have tried. Therefore I was happy to find a few on the shelves at Wallack's this past weekend.

Wil Freeborn has been testing out some new Stillman and Birn sketchbooks. I look forward to his reviews.

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Sketch: 6x6 Acrylic on Canvas Paper
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Feeling Blessed on Mother's Day

The family said to me: "Do whatever you want to do today! It's Mother's Day!" So I decided to paint outdoors and I chose my favourite picture of my two beautiful children. I am truly blessed!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Die Malweiber

 Die Malweiber, 1900. Women in Germany with artistic ambitions, mostly middle class, were denied admission to the painting schools so they formed their own groups. ‘Malweiber’ was a derogatory term applied to these fearless women.

"In the ultra-conservative German Empire it was considered indecent if women developed artistic ambition."

The images that follow depict women artists behaving indecently! 

Louise Catherine Breslau

Thursday, May 8, 2014

How I Love the The Golden Hour

Thanks to Artists Network for emailing this wonderful quote:

"In my own work, I like to paint during these hours of high drama at the end of the day or sometime early in the morning. During these times of day, the raking light of the sun brings out the forms, chromo, and heightening essential aspects of the landscape. The quality of light gives us a good boost of juice to seize the moment and express what we see on our canvases. Whether we're looking directly toward a sunset, at the effects of late afternoon sunlight (observing the play of light as it courses over and around forms), or watching the cast shadows that reveal the topography, we avail ourselves of the inherent drama of atmosphere at its most sublime and dramatic. When skyscapes and clouds enter into our consideration they add another entire element to our expressive possibilities. " Brian Keeler

Cayuga Moon, Sheldrake Point, NY (oil on linen, 30×36) by Brian Keeler

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Ottawa art shows, festivals and events

I am going to track art and craft shows, festivals and other various artist events around Ottawa. This page will be updated regularly.

Tweeted by @MACFAIRCrafts

Encaustic: "Instructions For Living a Life"

Encaustic (6x6) "Pay Attention"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

Encaustic is so delightful. The smell of the bees wax heating, layer after layer and the endless possibilities for "additions" and "subtractions".

This piece measures 6 x 6 on encaustic board. It is mixed media with words from Mary Oliver. Mary Oliver's poetry inspires me. My artwork frequently starts directly from a place of having been moved deeply by her words. Sometimes the entire poem. Sometimes a single line.
Mixed Media "Orange"
Artist: Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

 "Something about the colour orange is so uplifting and makes me so happy. Orange invokes energy and cheerfulness within me. I created this mixed media piece on a small piece of watercolour paper inserted into my art journal but I find every time I revisit the page in my journal it rejuvenates my spirits. That is why I am sharing it here. In the hopes that it will have the same effect on others."

A limited edition photographic print (10 copies only) is available at my Etsy shop "Moynahan Studio"

The original mixed media (done in pencil, watercolour and pastels) is called "Oranges".

"Oranges" is printed on quality Kodak paper. The image itself measures 6"x8” and there is an additional white margin. The print is numbered and signed. (Sealed in a protective clear art sleeve with sturdy backing for shipping.)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Artist Retreats

I have been researching artist retreats in Ontario.

The first one I found is called Bridgewater Retreat  and it is located in Tweed Ontario.

Hidden among the trees, alongside the beautiful Skootamata River are over 6 acres of nature at it's best. 1850's Riverfront Log Home, 1820's Log Lodge, 2 studios, 16 cedar cabins and over 1,000 feet of River front provide the perfect setting for a art-filled relaxing getaway.

It was formerly known as Schneider School of Fine Arts (established in 1963). Canadian artists, many hailing from Toronto, Montreal, and other urban centres, spent their art holidays here.

While researching the origins of this wonderful retreat I learned a great deal about Mary Schneider.

Highly involved in the Ontario arts scene, Mary Schneider also served as director of the Madoc Art Centre, taught at the Artists' Workshop, was a member of the Ontario Society of Artists and the Colour and Form Society, and founded the Mary Schneider Art Club. For the Canadian centennial celebration, Schneider was commissioned to create a series of prints of famous Canadian scenes. In recognition of her accomplishments, the artist was awarded the Polish Golden Cross of Merit in 1969. Students of the Ontario College of Art and Design continue to benefit from the scholarships she established upon her death, including the Mary Schneider Juried Art and Design Award, and the Roman and Mary Schneider Foundation Scholarship.

Bridgewater Retreat  is definitely on my list of places to visit this summer!