Apparently, when most people are sleeping, I am up at 3 am. And like anyone else, I did what any other good little artist would do when sleep is evasive…I finished off another painting. Still playing around with different aboriginal influences, this one has a lot more details. Maybe lack of sleep. Maybe whole new direction. Still needs some finishing touch ups due to caffeine induced shaky hand lol. Will see what the moose ends up looking like after I get a nap or two in.
They are done. At least for now. A bit of this style, a bit of another, they seem to compliment the directions I have been taking as of late.
Once again, with the new year, comes new things. However, in order to make room for new things, new styles, new fun, i need to downsize some of the pieces currently taking up residence in my limited studio space.
All works not currently associated with a gallery are on sale up to 40% off. If there is a piece that you have been eyeing up, send me a message with the title, and I will send you details regarding prices. Please note that prices do not include shipping. Pieces can be shipped on the stretcher bars, or I have successfully shipped different pieces around the world by taking them off the stretcher frame, rolling and sending. That would mean, however, that you would have to get them re-stretched, or framed accordingly. Please also check for import fees depending on your country.
I blame it on the moose. No, really, I do. People sometimes have a hard time following where my art is going, where is the “natural progression” that shows “growth”. I suppose I can understand that if you are used to looking at an artist who paints series after series in the same style, you could consider them “developing” their “art” as opposed to someone like my who skips and hops back and forth from series, to style, then back again. The problem is, that is just the way my brain works creatively. I suppose I could, if someone pinned me down and forced me to, paint the same things over and over and over again, thereby definitively creating a box me in, write it up in a sentence statement “style”, but why, other than to facilitate those who feel the need to define me, would I want to if that isn’t who I am or how I work?
Anyhow, back to the moose…and I blame this latest diversion on it. I liked the moose even though it’s not complete, so I thought of playing with elements of that style, combined with my style just to see what direction it would take me. These are by no means done yet. With the holidays upon us, crazy kids, baking and all the rest, I will need time to finish them, but it will give you an indication of the latest direction my work is taking.
For those of you who either know me, or who have been following the artistic journey I have been on, you know that I am always into trying new things, whether as a professional artist, or as an educator. In the classroom, to facilitate all the students’ needs, I sometimes modify or play around with projects…I mean, isn’t that what art is all about?
One of my students enjoyed building a massive spider for the haunted house. So much so, that when I thought about a possible next project “Hey____, how would you like to build a moose?” slipped out of my mouth. A Moose?!? Reindeer given the time of year maybe. This was promptly followed up by the thought, “What WAS I thinking?!” Within 10 minutes, said student had taken a garbage bag, stuffed it with newspaper, wrapped tape around it, and had produced a very life-sized replica of a moose head. What to do, what to do…You can’t exactly make a life-sized free form paper mache moose, so I needed a substructure. Luckily enough, I am fortunate to have some great colleagues who help me out when I engage on these wanderings of madness. He built a sawhorse out of wood to give me a stable structure. Hence, when you see the pic, you can see we were somewhat limited by the shape of it when doing the legs (they are slightly splayed lol).
Bunches and bunches of recycled newspaper were used with masking tape to create the sculptural form. Then layers and layers of paper mache were added. A coat of gesso and voila, we were ready to paint. There were some discussion as to whether or not to make it a Christmas moose given the season, or a natural moose as one would see in the wild. After some thought, I remembered the famous Toronto moose where each one was turned into a work of art. I thought about possible art to work into the piece and decided on a mixture of Haida, Woodland School and Australian Aboriginal styles. It isn’t done yet as there is a lot of detail work I would like to add, but you get the idea…who knows where we will go next!
I have this tendency to do “interesting” er, ahem, things and perhaps things that regular folks don’t tend to do, like use doors and regular old rocks for mosaics, or driftwood for wall art. I truly believe that allowing the creative process to break free in unique ways is part of not only my spirit and soul as an artist, but also part of my duty as an educator. One of my students proved to enjoy making overly large paper mache items. When it came time for our winter themed creations, with visions of all things Canadiana and Christmas bouncing around in my brain, out of my mouth popped, “so___, how would you like to make a moose?” A MOOSE?!? sigh..silly me for within 15 minutes he had taken a rather large garbage bag, stuffed it, and had it shaped for the rather enormous, almost life-sized head of well, a MOOSE! What to do, what to do…and I mean really, what do you do with an almost life-sized head of a moose when working within the confines of a classroom space and a number of other students, other projects etc. When in doubt, get someone who knows how to build things. A colleague of mine fashioned a small pony sized wooden saw horse to use a substrate and the real work began, scaling down the head somewhat, adding paper, sculpting with more paper and tape, adding antlers and ears, then layer after layer of gooey wet paper to seal the thing together. A coat of gesso and it appears ready to go. Even if not the most anatomically correct, it is rather LARGE and rather cute, my little albino classroom companion. The next steps involved figuring out what to do with him. Should I/we paint him in a realistic manner? Should he be turned into an interpretation? If you have ever been lucky enough to see the moose in Toronto, those fabulous artistic creations, then you would know the dilemma. In the end, we decided to go with a First Nations art influence and celebrate our Canadian First Peoples. From Ontario, we are interpreting the Woodland School style and from the west most definitely some Haida. When it is complete, is should be a figure standing for both our environment and people…we shall see what unfolds as we progress. Note to self, never, ever make suggestions when the mind is occupied with things or the heavens know it we will be building giant elephants and rain forests.