Monday, January 30, 2017

Starry nights and mystical landscapes

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO for short) has an amazing exhibition called Mystical Landscapes.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that it was an astounding, inspirational experience. 

The exhibit features work by Gauguin, Edvard Munch, Georgia O'Keeffe, Emily Carr, Chagall and so many more. There are TWO Monet Waterlilies and, if you ask me, they weren't even close to the highlight of the exhibit.

As you near the very end of the exhibit you are greeted by the piece "Crystal Castle at Sea" by Wenzel Hablik. 

No pictures I could find of this piece do it justice. It catches your eye and pulls you to it. And as we drew near, we saw that the final room of the exhibit was dimmed, the work illuminated in the dark.

Immediately catching my attention, another Hablik (whom I'd never heard of before, but clearly it was love at first sight) "Sternenhimmel Versuch". A large piece, 2 square meters, looking at it illuminated in the dark was like looking up at the universe.

Then you turn around, and on the opposite wall, dancing in the dark, is Vincent van Gogh's, "Starry Night over the Rhône".

Life changing.

One review said "It looks as though it could have been painted last week." Truth! It's so vibrant and alive that the paint still looks wet. 

I left the gallery with a renewed energy and desire to make. This weekend I set to painting my own big space canvas in the spirit of Hablik. 

A large canvas that had been sitting in my studio, unfinished for two years, had received a celestial makeover. While it won't be to everyone's taste, it's one of my favourite pieces I've created and I like that it will be keeping me company in my studio.

But I don't think it's totally complete. I like the idea of maybe adding new stars and planets to mark good moments and positive happenings in my life. Hopefully that canvas will be covered in starlight in no time at all.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Magic Mirror on the Wall

This month's AlphaStamps kit is themed "Snow White". How could I talk about Snow White, and not talk about magic mirrors?!

You know the story, the Wicked Queen gazes into her magic mirror to ask "Who's the fairest of them all?"

The idea of a magic mirror isn't made up. They have a long history with documented usage as far back as 3000 B.C., and are found in both Western and Eastern cultures.

Mirror gazing is a method of 'scrying'. It can be used for fortune telling, inspiration, spiritual guidance and prophecy. The viewer gazes into a reflective surface (like water, crystal balls, mirrors) and with focused meditation/trance interprets the visions or symbols that appear to them.

While the mirrors appear dark, and there is some fear that surrounds them, it is worth noting that there is also a belief that they can be protective, reflecting/deflecting evil or negativity.

Black volcanic glass called 'obsidian', is a traditional material used for scrying mirrors... but we can fudge our way around that. I simply cut a piece of Clear Plastic slightly larger than the frame opening. Make sure that the plastic is free from dust and coat ONE SIDE with black paint. You want complete coverage so you may need a second coat. Then glue into place with the UNPAINTED SIDE facing outwards. You should have a nice glossy surface for divination!

Note: A piece of decorative paper on the back will protect the painted surface and look much neater.

For a bit of an extra magical punch, I've added some symbols on to the base of the
Gothic Mirror With Drawer. I've also included elemental symbols and those representing Venus (as mirrors are sacred to her). In that little drawer I'll place some stones and herbs to encourage 'sight' and for protection.

The piece is finished off with Tiny Mixed Size Flat-Back Pearls (painted copper) Raw Brass Fancy Fleur de Lys and Antique Gold Square Filigree elements.

And now to brew some tea and gaze into my magic mirror through the rising steam and ask...
"Who's the fairest of them all?"

Note: The answer is probably Kate Bush.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

It's a fact! I love you.

Things have been a bit quiet around here, but I have been making stuff. I'm in the middle of a few paintings, a coven of dolls, and a tin too. Phew! 

While all that puttering and painting has been going on, I was inspired to make some Valentines cards by the Badlands twitterer, and scientists who are taking up the cause to defend scientific research and fact. 

Repeatedly confirmed, 
holds up under evidence based peer review, 
and never refuted... 

It's a fact, I love you.

They're funny, not funny. I'm ok with that. A lot of things seem to be like that these days.

My desire burns like gasoline.

Dirty, with lingering effects.

If you're interested in the papers I used, they from various Graphic 45 collections. I just sort of pillaged my paper drawers for something Valentineish (I know, I'm totally helpful.)

You're like the global climate.

You get hotter every year.

Anyway my lovelies, stay sane and safe. I do love you.
Really! I love YOU to bits and pieces!


Also, if you are so inclined, there is Scientists March on Washington in the works.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Good mornings

I'm feeling rather excited. Inspired. Something good is pushing it's way up, working through the soil, and sitting just below the surface. There's a bundle of creative energy dancing inside me. I'm excited to see what it brings.

Being exciting and feeling inspired aren't enough. There's the "doing" too. 

I used to take photographs every morning, searching for one little bit of simple beauty. It was a lovely way to start the day. I'm doing that again, taking notice of those gifts.

Today, a quiet collection of stones that have somehow gathered on the deck.

I'm sure they're gently kissing.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Psyche's Helpers Painted Earrings

While reading about the surrealist artist Yves Tanguy, I came across these earrings he painted for Peggy Guggenheim.

Immediately I wanted a pair of my own painted earrings.

In my last post I mentioned the story of Cupid and Psyche, and wanting to explore that theme further. This seemed as good an opportunity as any.

In the story of Cupid and Psyche, Venus (Cupid's mom), gives Psyche seemingly impossible tasks. Psyche, in despair, keeps thinking that she should kill herself and be done with it, but at every turn she finds help. 

When told to sort a mound of seeds and grains, an army of ants come to Psyche's aid.

Sent to gather black waters from the underworld, Psyche considers jumping off the side of a ship and drowning herself, but Jupiter himself sends his eagle to assist her.


The earrings are made with furniture tacks, painted 1/2 Inch Brass Pendants, and elements recycled from old jewelry. 

I really like them and have already worn them twice.

Although I'm not actually a painter, I'm pretty sure I'll be making more painted jewelry. This was a challenging scale to work in, but I really enjoyed it. Same goes for my buddies Cupid and Psyche; I don't think I'm quite done with them yet.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Pins for Every Type of Valentine

The plan was to create an organization project. But I don't feel much like organizing.

I'd rather get romantic-like and look ahead to Valentine's Day.

So I came up with a slew of simply made pins for every Valentine.

I've used a variety of Punchelements from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts for the bases. (Only the round are currently listed on the site.) Not too long ago I scored a 1" round punch at the craft store so making these was super simple.

Paint the base, add sparkle, add image/sentiment, embellish and finish off with a pin back!

I've made them to suit just about every Valentine. There's pink and sparkly for the romantic.

And something glittery and red for the saucy types. There's a "Go Away" pin for those who would rather be left alone.

"I am crazy" for my buddy who says this is the reason she is single.

A number of the pins have images of Cupid and Psyche, a theme I think I might like to further explore some time.

A few of the pins are a little crass... but I like the way glitter and the indelicate work together.

Do you want to make your own? You can download a sheet of the saucy and silly, nice and naughty sentiments below. (Note: You may have to click for the full sized image.)

If you need a little more direction the video tutorial for creating these wee thing-a-ma-bobs can be found HERE.


Punchelements 1 inch Scalloped

Acrylic Paint
Pin Backs

Now, prepare some sparkly Valentine's for the peeps you love!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Bukowski ATC's

I'm not sure exactly when (or how) I discovered Charles Bukowski. He's the sort of famous that plenty of people would say "Never heard of him", while others would be horrified if you didn't recognise his name. He's gruff, vulgar, and honest, a vulnerable asshole.

I love his work. His poem "Bluebird" is one of my very favourite things in the whole world. It's sadness with a tinge of hope. 

Much of his work is like that, a recognition of the beauty in the overlooked.

He's also full of piss and vinegar, passion and determination.

I made this set of ATC's with some of my favourite Bukowski quotes...

... and his wonderfully life-lived face.

These have been sitting in my studio since the summer and I'm glad to have finished them. There's something extra satisfying about finishing a piece that has been sitting around for far too long.

Makes me feel sort Bukowski-ish. To say "See! I told you I wasn't done with you yet! TAKE THAT!"

And just in case you were wondering, the tray is from 7 Gypsies. The cards are made of all the things. Tape, wax, ink, paint, lace.... all shmooshed together!

Here's hoping we all walk well through 2017.