Sunday, May 23, 2010

Getting To Grips With Oils

Working with oil paints after so many years has been quite an experience. Firstly remembering the different rates that colours dry- particularly challenging in that I have a mottled red background in the nude painting I am working on which I should have finished a couple of weeks ago to allow it to dry properly. However the flesh tones that I mixed with a white alkyd dry overnight and can be worked over the next day. Then there is having to plan where the painting can safely sit while wet so that it's not smooched or sat upon by various hairy individuals in the household. Tonight it's perched on top of the vacuum cleaner in the bottom of the hot water cylinder cupboard.

This is the second of two tea pot collages I did a couple of weeks ago. I painted several sheets of paper different colours then cut them and stuck them down in this crazy patchwork. Took hours. One of those projects where you spend so much time on it you feel as if your life is slipping away.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Historic City of Montreal

For one hundred and fifty years the historic city of Montreal was the industrial and financial centre of Canada. Now composed of nineteen large boroughs that are subdivided into smaller neighborhoods including the Plateau which is considered Canada’s most creative neighbourhood. Ville-Marie is the borough with the most neighborhoods including the city’s downtown, Cité Multimédia, Chinatown and the Latin Quarter.

Old Montreal is a historic area with restored architecture and cobbled streets featuring horse-drawn caléches transporting tourists around the city. The Old Port is a riverside area maintained by Parks Canada and is rich with historic buildings including mills, warehouses, factories and refineries. Old Montreal is accessible via the Underground City, a collection of interconnected complexes above and below the ground in downtown Montreal.

Besides its historic architecture Montreal is a capital of culture. In 2006 the city was named one of three UNESCO Cities of Design (the two others being Buenos Aires and Berlin). Cheap flights to Montreal ensure visitors can attend such events as the Just For Laughs comedy festival, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, Nuit d’Afrique and the Montreal World Film Festival. The city is also centre for French language TV, theatre, radio and film productions .

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Toronto: City Of Culture

Cheap flights to Toronto can transport arts aficionados to a major international city for culture. Featuring more than fifty ballet and dance companies including the National Ballet of Canada, six opera companies and two symphony orchestras Toronto also has many world class performance venues including the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres and the Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Each summer the Canadian Stage Company presents an outdoor Shakespeare production in Toronto’s High Park. Other annual events include the “Caribana Festival” held mid July to early August. Based on the Trinidad and Tobago carnival this event attracts one million people to Toronto’s Lake Shore Boulevard and generates $300 million in revenue.

Ontario Place hosts the world’s first permanent IMX movie theatre as well as the Molson Amphitheatre, an open air venue for large concerts. “Distillery District” is a pedestrian village where tourists can visit artists’ studios, restaurants, boutiques and small breweries including the Mill Street Brewery.

Toronto is also base for the production of domestic and foreign films and television. Pinewood Toronto Studios is Canada’s largest television and film production complex with five sound stages and the Toronto International Film Festival is an important annual event for the international film industry.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Life Models

A couple of our regular life models have moved away which has left us in the tough position of trying to find a replacement. This is not easy as Central Hawkes Bay is a fairly conservative area when it comes to "that sort of thing". Even an advertisement in the CHB mail didn't even garner one single reply, not even a cheeky one. However this week we were lucky to find a woman from Napier who doesn't mind travelling down to Otane every three weeks to work with us. Not only that but she is amazingly fit having been a ballet dancer and now a yoga practitioner so she was able to hold difficult poses without even twitching. AND she knew how to pose so did her own thing without needing any input from us. For one of the longer stints I tried out my new artists' pastels and have to say I am still not a fan of pastel. Even working on proper paper with a good tooth I still managed to collect a good layer of dust over my easel. Obviously still doing something wrong.

As the Friday Portrait Group are the guest artists for our Queen's birthday Weekend exhibition there was some discussion over what to submit. We have decided to display some of our better drawings to show the public what we do on a Friday as there is quite a lot of sniggering and misapprehension as to what goes on in our sessions. I don't know why- there's nothing wrong with the naked body as long as it isn't yours!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Getting Stuck On Collage

It is so easy to get stuck on a painting. Not stuck in a good way but completely paralyzed and unable to finish. With myself I find I am so scared that I am going to make a mistake that each brush stroke feels like it could potentially wreck hours and hours of work. That is the perfectionist in me and is why I had to give watercolour away for so many years. Acrylics were a revelation- you could paint over your whoopsies.

Now I have found the solution to the procrastination. Have more than one project on the go. That way when you feel yourself making excuses for not working (or stressing when you are) you can just move onto something else. At the moment I have an oil painting of a nude, a pen and ink logo and several cat brooches on the go. During the day I will switch from one to the other when I feel myself becoming stale and starting to sigh more than usual.

Another way to freshen your outlook is to try something completely different. Maybe a new media, a new technique, a subject you've never tried before. Recently for me it has been collage. I always associated this art form with bad school projects but now I see it as having a wealth of possibilities. In this exercise I drew one of my teapots in charcoal before photocopying it twice and using these templates as bases for collages. In this one I have ripped up some of that boring old junk mail we get every week as it had the nice glossy surface I wanted. The original teapot was royal blue but in this picture I have changed it to a comfortable brown but still retained its shadows and highlights. The only disadvantage with collage is that it takes ages to do as each piece of paper has to be fitted to the next like a jigsaw. But as a fun project with no expectations it's a great way to kick start your creative juices. And that's what art should definitely be about- having fun.