One last art show to finish off 2021! This is my first solo show in a very, very long time. I forgot how much work it is to put on a show, and I am so glad that I did it–even though I nearly backed out many times (as I did with an opportunity I had in the summer for a show). But I did it and it will be up from now through the end of November at the Central Library in downtown Calgary. And it looks really good! I was worried that the works would be too small or not bright enough. And after putting the show up, I was asked if the watercolours would fade in the direct sunlight–which started me off on a whole new thing to worry about. After doing much double checking and reading and generally going down the rabbit hole of lightfastness and painting, I think they will be fine. I use M.Graham watercolours with the highest lightfastness rating available (Level I). I also discovered that there is a debate about whether watercolours are actually more susceptible to deterioration from UV light than other mediums–in reality all paintings are susceptible to deterioration from light over time. How much light and how much time? Maybe it all comes down to the quality of paints you use? I guess time will tell, but for now I am using good quality paints, and I won’t hang these in a spot light this permanently.
I also made postcards for the show! It was a last minute thing and I printed them at Staples but I am super pleased with them. I now need to make a list of all the things that I will need to remember for my next show, and then I can get back to painting.
September is always a crazy month for me with family birthdays and back to school, but this year there was a little bit of extra fun (and stress!) with art…that I completely missed blogging about. I did do a couple of posts on Instagram, but Instagram posts feel incomplete to me–like they are just the bookmark to something bigger.
The first thing I should mention is that I have a painting in the juried art show “In The Open Air” at the Leighton Art Centre which runs from September 11th to October 24th. And alongside the show, my four window paintings (that I painted during the lockdown) are available in the Leighton Art Centre gift shop as part of their Members Collection right now. I had all five paintings (the four windows and the landscape for the show) professionally framed as I sadly lack the technical skills for framing. I did learn how to do some framing at University, but I have never been very good at it. Framing is always a dilemma for me. The paintings look so good framed up, but I am always wary of framing them because there is so much personal taste involved with frames. It is almost better to leave them for people to frame themselves, but that does not show off the painting very well. I guess if people really don’t like a frame they can reframe it though it is still a balancing act of doing a frame that suits the painting but also appeals to a wide variety of tastes. I was really happy with the frames for the four window paintings–I chose each one separately, but they still look really good together. I only had them at home for one day before delivering them to the Leighton, but I got to hang them up in the living room to photograph them and see them all together. I really like them as a set.
And here is the Landscape from the show all framed up. I am glad I photographed it in the frame as this photo turned out to be a really good photo of the painting, and when I went to see the painting in the Leighton Centre’s online shop today I saw that it had sold! A very nice surprise!
And lastly, this year I signed up to be a part of their Plein Air paint out that was held on the Saturday of the opening weekend for the show. They did a paint out for last year’s Plein Air show as well, and though I was in last year’s art show, I did not sign up for the paint out last year. This year it was a weird weather day with rain and fog–not a day I would normally be inspired to paint outside on, but it was a good challenge for me. I did two small paintings of the same view: one that I started before the fog rolled in and a second that was basically just a patch of grass with fog. I went back into the first painting after the fog lifted in the afternoon, but I regretted it afterwards; I liked it better as a quick study. The colours that day were also odd. Since everything was wet and just starting to turn colours, I picked up on more of the yellows in the field, but they were also hazy yellows from all the mist and fog. It was really interesting to see all the other plein air paintings from that day, as it looked like I had been painting at a completely different location than everyone else, though really I was just at the side of the Leighton Centre looking at that field rather than the front with the grand vista. Although I guess technically that is a completely different location then. Here is the first painting, the second painting, the first painting finished, and the view that I was working from. I am really glad I did it even if no masterpiece was made–it put me out of my comfort zone and also let me work alongside other artists which I never get to do anymore. All in all, this September was a great, albeit stressful, month!
It has been a long time since I have been in an art show. I have been painting the whole time, just not showing my paintings anywhere other than on social media. But there really is no substitute for a real live art show. Maybe it has taken the time we had in quarantine and all the restrictions and closures for that to really hit home. This pandemic has shown us all that we can accomplish virtually and online, but it has also highlighted what we are missing. Paintings always look better in real life. I can take photos and photos and photos, and even when I think it is a near perfect match to the colour of the real painting, it still just looks better in real life.
These four paintings, my newest plein air pieces that I painted over the last few weeks, have been accepted into a juried plein air art show at the Leighton Art Centre south of Calgary. We drove out there this morning to deliver the paintings, and I got to browse their gallery space. All the artists and paintings that I have been enjoying on social media as everything shifted online, now there in front of me; the pleasant surprises of seeing the scale and colour of the paintings in person, and names that I recognized from virtual shows, was a treat for my senses.
If you live near the Calgary area I highly recommend visiting the Leighton Art Centre, not only for the art, but the property also sits on a piece of land with amazing panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains and the foothills.
The show that I will be a part of is called In The Open Air and it will be running from September 12th through October 31st, 2020.
I am in two different shows for the month of June! That’s right, TWO! The first is at the downtown Calgary Public Library where myself and 8 fellow library staffers will have some of our art on display on the Art wall (main floor beside the computer area) until July 15th. This is part of celebrating the Calgary Public Library’s 100th birthday this year. The painting I have in that show is “The First Tulips” (shown at right).
And the second show is at the Kensington studio and gallery where I paint on Sundays (132 – 10 St. NW, Calgary). The studio is called Hughes on Tenth run by artist Nancy Lynn Hughes and every month she invites anyone who rents space at the studio or takes classes from her to submit artwork for themed monthly shows. For June the theme is People and Places and I submitted “Streetscene, September 28”, “Self-portrait with Green Drapes”, and “Living room with Tree, 3pm” (all shown below). This also means that I got to update the current shows section on my blog. Yay!
My tulips are finally up! I actually painted this to submit for a show at the library where I work; this year the Calgary Public Library is celebrating its 100th birthday and they have invited staff members to submit art for display at the central branch for the month of June. I was planning to do this still life set up anyway, but then since it is (hopefully) going to be for the library show, I decided to add the paperback and coffee cup.
It is also an invented scene since the reflections on the curtains behind the tulips didn’t actually exist in the still life. When I thought I was finished the painting, I took it in the living room to look at it; and a reflection from the venetian blinds in that room was cast onto the painting. I thought it looked phenomenal so I decided to paint it into the painting. This is something I have been playing with for a while–photographing reflections that land on my finished paintings and then painting them–but this is the first (what I call “reflection painting”) that has been this successful.
On Thursday we drove out to the Leighton Centre to drop off my framed painting for the Member’s show that starts next week. I picked up a few of the pretty postcards they have to advertise it as well (it says that it starts the 14th, but the deadline to drop off the art is the 14th so I think that’s a misprint).
It was a very overcast and gloomy morning with some strange clouds and by the afternoon I saw why—it’s an April snowstorm! Exciting, yes, for a day or two, but it can stop snowing anytime now…
At long last, I am going to be in a show! One of my paintings has been accepted for the Tenth Annual Juried Member’s show at the Leighton Centre, south of Calgary. I spent most of the day Thursday running around the house with excitement. It’s been four years since I was a part of a show so I am breathing a big sigh of relief to finally be back in the game. This is the first juried show that I have been in, so I am very, very pleased. There is also going to be catalogues printed for the show, which will have all the paintings from the show in them (I haven’t been in a catalogue since my University Graduation show back in 2003). I am just so excited!
The public opening reception is going to be on April 21st from 2 – 4 pm and the show will run until June 3rd.
Oh silly me, I should include a picture of the painting that will be in the show; it is the oil painting that I did on-site at the Leighton last month (see the blog post here).