Things have been a bit quiet. I had to take some time off in March and only just got back into the studio this past week. I’ve been busy preparing for a couple of group exhibitions in May in Vancouver. But first, I wanted to share some preliminary drawings I’ve been working on. These are only sketches that I will be using to create the final piece(s). It is a slow process. Oftentimes when we see artworks, we don’t realize all the work that goes into the preparation. All the sketches, set up, failed attempts and do overs. We only see the final product that the artist is allowing us to see.
Here is a sneak peek of some drawings. Works in progress…
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a recent influx of cat drawings pop up on my feed. I was working on a piece that will be printed in the upcoming Cat Issue of Sad Mag, a quarterly magazine that celebrates independent art and culture in Vancouver.
The issue won’t be out until end of December, at the earliest, but I’m also releasing the image as an open edition print. The idea for this work actually started along the same lines as my pretty boys kill me series, while I was at Ox-Bow. I came across some patterned fabric and made a mock up using a scan and some digitally overlaid text.
This file sat on my computer desktop in a Work in Progress folder, tentatively titled “Cat Scan”. And it sat there on the back burner for a few years until the perfect opportunity to have it in Sad Mag came up. And so I began working on my version, using my own drawings. The image is a digital collage made up of my original pencil crayon drawings. I had an open call for friend’s photos of past pet cats.
i still dream about you (cats) is like my pretty boys kill me patterned text drawings, in that it is also like a love letter and deals with love and obsession, but between a pet owner and his/her cat. Speaking from experience, for cat owners (and probably any pet owner), after a pet passes away, every so often, it will show up in your dreams and there is a hint of sadness when you wake up. Sometimes I think about getting another cat, but then I think about the heartache of losing a pet. Someday….
And for anyone who hasn’t owned a cat before, well, the image can propagate the idea of the “crazy cat lady”.
I’m taking orders for this print, which is a signed open edition archival digital print. It is an 8″x10″ image on 8.5″x11″ inch archival watercolour paper. The print is $50 (plus shipping) and for all orders until the end of the year, I will be donating $5 from each print to the BC SPCA.
To order, you can e-mail me or place your order on the Editions page of my website. Delivery will be around December 20th. Also, Sad Mag will be selling these prints at the upcoming Blim Markets: November 23 at the Heritage Hall and December 20 at Fox Cabaret.
My blog has been a little quiet lately as I was working on a project, which unfortunately (or fortunately for that matter) I am no longer a part of. Without going into too much detail, I was commissioned to do a large mural for a new store in downtown Vancouver. I was very excited about the prospect of working on such a large scale, as it would have been just under 30 x 30 feet of blank wall for me to play with.
I was initially under the impression that I had a bit of creative freedom in the process, but in the end it turned out that they wanted someone to hand paint a very specific visual (a wall full of their best-sellers). The mural had to be painted in a specific style completely foreign to my work, but I still had to do press and media events relating the work back to my practice in order to promote their company working with a local artist. I was very uncomfortable with this, as it had not been what I originally thought the project was, and after much back and forth attempts to compromise, it came time to walk away.
When I was first awarded the project, I was given a few themes to work with and to look at the artist Cézanne’s work. While my first sketch was rejected right off the bat, I wanted to share the sketch and some ideas behind it.
The day I found out I got the commission, I wase visiting the Seattle Art Museum. While in the Japanese section, I came across a Hokusai painting, Five Beautiful Women:
I was immediately drawn to the way that the kimono patterns were painted, the flat graphicness with the black lines, and the clashing yet complimentary array of patterns. With this image in mind, I began researching for the mural, studying Cezanne’s work. In the process, I found some mention of his influence by Japonisme, and his paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire in relation to Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.
With these ideas in mind, I went to work and created a sketch that both worked in the company’s visuals and themes and also stayed true to my work. I created an image inspired by the Three Graces:
I’ve had to change the sketch a bit so that I’m able to put it on my blog without revealing the company that had commissioned me. I’m hoping that I will be able to use this idea in another work in the future as I’m quite fond of the image and feel like it could exist on its own.
I’ve painted commissions in the past, and I have to say, after this experience, how grateful I am to have worked on those commissions, as my clients wanted me to create freely and use my creativity in interpreting their ideas. Working on this project has been an eye opener for me. Challenging and frustrating at times, it’s helped me understand how dedicated to my art practice I am. I’ve worked hard to get to where am I now, committing myself to my full time practice for the past 10 years. And never one to dwell too much on the negative, I now have time to dedicate to my own work in the studio and to preparing for my upcoming exhibition in Calgary next month.
I’m having to practice a lot of patience these days. I’m currently counting down to my solo exhibition, which I’m very excited about. Of Myth and Men is a series of paintings that has been in the works for almost 4 years now. It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on these paintings for so long already. I’ve slowly been working on them in between different projects, so it is both exciting and a little bit daunting to think that they will finally be exhibited in a gallery! These paintings really tested my patience, oftentimes becoming painstaking to create. The floral patterns are actually the most time consuming part of each painting, and every time I sit down to start a section of floral pattern, I take a deep breath because I know I’m going to be there for hours on end, doing very small, detailed brushwork.
For the final painting in this series, Medusa & Her Mortal Sisters, I decided I was going to go all out and create a showstopper that captured the essence of the entire project. While I was planning the piece, I remember thinking I was slightly crazy to try to paint this snake pattern all weaving in and out in a giant knot. But I had a clear vision of how it should be and wanted to create what I imagined, so I set about working slowly on this painting. I gave myself plenty of time to finish before the final preparations for the show began, and sure enough, this last painting took over two months to complete. But I’m very happy with how it turned out and I can’t wait to see it up on the wall at Initial Gallery. I like this painting so much I chose it for the postcard invitation.
The interesting thing about working on this series for 4 years is how much the work has changed over the years, and where these paintings have taken me. I actually created a couple of paintings in Banff during an artist residency there, and another one in Ox-Bow during another residency. I’ve also moved around and worked in 4 different studios during that time. And I think a lot of that change and movement in my life influenced these works.
The work also developed and moved from canvas to wood panel. Looking back at the ones created on canvas…there is a different feel to them, but I can’t really say I prefer one over the other. Painting on the wood was much smoother and allowed for greater detail, but the texture of the canvas also gives the painting another element.
These next couple of weeks will be mostly about trying to get the word out about this show. The paintings are finished, varnished, and just waiting to be hung. And so now I play the waiting game…