Monday, November 24, 2014

World Blog Hop

I want to thank Deb Ward for inviting me to participate in this  Blog Hop Around the World.

Deb, a watermedia artist, is a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. I could go on and on with this list of accomplishments. I feel so honored to be in such great company! Do visit her blog to view what she wrote last Monday in the context of this World Blog Hop.
For those who don’t know me, I am a Canadian painter living in Ottawa, Ontario. I fell in love with watercolors  a bit more than 10 years ago after having spent more than 20 years as a fiber artist. I now work more often in mixed media and acrylics, but watercolor remains my first love!
I have been asked to answer four questions regarding my art and my process.
1. What am I working on?
In the past few weeks, I have been getting ready…or at least trying to get ready…for several November shows. The main one, the Nepean Fine Arts League Show, will run Nov. 28th, 29th and 30th. It is always a fun show with great sales…unless we get freezing rain or a snow storm! With only a few days left, I have several paintings  that I would like to finish in time for the show. Here is part of one of these paintings: a 24” x 30” palette knife acrylic landscape. This is only my fourth palette knife painting ( and landscape, I should add) and I love the process…so there should lots more in my future.
WIP-Detail - Acrylic, palette knife, landscape
I am also working on a 24” x 24” hand embossed pewter and acrylic painting of an Etruscan horse designed from a tiny bronze statuette I purchased in Greece. This one will certainly be finished for Friday!
I have also been working on a series of acrylic paintings of leaves in negative painting technique. In the past two years, I have taken several workshops with well-known artist, Linda Kemp, who is often called the "Ambassador for Negative Painting"; I am not sure if Linda would totally approve of my negative paintings, but I really enjoy creating what I call mazes! Some of these paintings are on Ampersand Claybords and others on regular canvas.
"Forest Glow" - Acrylic - 16" x 20"

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Tough question! First, I think my work is a proof of multiple personalities:-)  I work in at least three different medium, I paint tight watercolours, I work with sheets of metal, I enjoy creating mixed media abstracts and now textured acrylic landscapes. 

However, my watercolor is perhaps where my work is most different at least in its source of subject. I love painting stone carvings and statues.  Below is a large painting of part of Neptune’s Fountain in Florence.
"Neptune's Sea Horses"- Watercolor -"15 x 31" ( before framing)
I have also painted a series of Venetian “Mascaroni”, carved stone heads found especially in Venice over palazzo archways. These are probably not the best “commercial” subjects I could choose, but I am really moved by these stone faces that have survived so many centuries and still look so noble!
"The Protector" - Watercolor - 21" x 24"
Closer to home, I have painted a series of commissions for an Ottawa company of master stone carvers and stone masons who are currently doing restauration work on the Canadian Parliament Buildings. The gothic façade of the Parliament Buildings are also a great source of inspiration for me!

3. Why do I create what I do?
I have always felt a need to express myself creatively and to keep my hands busy. I dream of colors …the transparency of watercolor, the flow of water and paint on paper really give me joy! I am often attracted to subjects showing great contrast of light and shadow that watercolor can convey so beautifully
 I also love textures ( after all, I was for a long time a fiber artist!) : this probably explains my attraction to palette knife painting,  pewter embossing and mixed media where I can play with all those incredible acrylic gels and mediums now available. My Midnight in the Enchanted Forest with its gel textures, hand painted paper, cheesecloth, copper, gold leaf etc…seems like the work of an artist gone crazy about texture, don’t you think?
"Midnight in the Enchanted Forest"
12" x 12"

4. How does my creative process work?
Once in a while, like in the case of my Mascaroni, a subject has called out to me so strongly that I could not wait to get home and start painting it. Most of the time though, it takes me a long time to decide on a painting subject: day after day, I look through all my thousands of photos, I think about colors and textures and can’t decide on what to paint.  Once I have finally decided on a subject, I will spend again lots of time deciding on size and on composition. For watercolors, I will prepare a very detailed drawing that I will then transfer to my paper, Fabriano 140 lb Soft Press. I don’t like large washes; I try to imagine that every square inch of the drawing is like a mini-painting and I focus on that small area, often until it is completed. I move through the painting in a systematic way, from the top left, working across and down.
After a large, complex watercolor painted this way, I feel a need to play, to experience the freedom of a mixed media or acrylic painting where I work entirely intuitively without any planning.

Upcoming World Blog Hop Participants:
  For next week’s post in this  Blog Hop Around the World, I have invited two artists that I have been following and admiring for years: Laura Leeder, a fellow Canadian from British Colombia and Mary Paquet, from California.
Laura is a wonderful watercolor painter who, like Deb Ward, paints beautiful lace! One of her other favorite subjects is delicate porcelain teacups. Her art always shows such mastery of the medium!  Laura is not only a great painter, she is a delightful person. I hope you will visit her blog soon and won’t miss her post next Monday!
Mary Paquet is a mixed media artist specializing in figurative, landscape, cityscape, and still life. Mary says that her inspiration comes from living life to the fullest. I believe her! I am always amazed by all the workshops she attends and how she then thoughtfully integrates the new skills and techniques in her own original art.
I hope that you will continue to follow this Blog Hop around the world and in the process discover new artists that will eventually become valued blogging friends!