Friday, September 28, 2007

illustration friday: the blues

8" x 8" x 1.5"
For the second week in a row the Illustration Friday topic has fit neatly into a small, just-completed painting. I guess 'the greens and the blues' might be a better title. Anyway, this one's all about flying things.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

eye candy

Art is considered a grownup's game and high-end galleries can be regarded as the holy temples of sophistication, yet what percentage of adults make art regularly compared to what perecentage of kids? I love both kids' and 'primitive' art because the artists' creative preconceptions are so much fewer and therefore the creative expression so much fresher and broader. I even try to incorporate some of these qualities in my own work but am regularly hemmed in by the sheer overcrowding of 'art stuff' in my brain.

So it's interesting to run across these so-called child prodigies who are succeeding at this game way beyond my own wildest imaginings. But wait! There are now children succeeding at the adult game on both sides of the cash register. I can now be two shades of green with envy! For more on children who collect art check out this Wall Street Journal article (link found on this blog).

But what I really want to know is: what are the archival properties of chocolate syrup?

Friday, September 21, 2007

illustration friday: juggle

earth angel

Does it look like the little birds are juggling the seeds above them? And for the spiritual part of our program, check out these temples and trees.

Monday, September 17, 2007

seeking direction

I've been playing around with ideas about direction since before we hung the show last week. While noodling about on Friday I painted this small panel (6" x 8"), scanned it and posted it on Flickr. Caroline, who used to blog but mostly just Flickrs now, and is a woman of rare wisdom, saw the painting and had the following exchange with me:

Caro's Lines says:
Feels full of hidden meanings - and I love the electric of the red and green.

didrooglie says:
Is the cypress symbolic of anything?

Caro's Lines says:
Depends which cypress you were working with. Greenman trees say this about their Lawson cypress energies: 38. Lawson Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsonia) - "the Path" helps identify correct action and one's true needs. Initiates change in the right direction. Increased communication between mind and body. Discipline to attain one's goals and spiritual direction. How's that for hidden meaning?

didrooglie says:
That's fantastic because it's so true! I did this little painting simply to put brush to canvas (panel in this case) while I research/ponder/consider my next direction. Thank you!

Then, while doing something as mundane as vacuuming this morning, everything fell into place. I have purpose again! I love this kind of synchronicity and it seems to be testament to the idea that working, even without direction, will pave the way for finding that direction. I love that.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I don't know much about art but

A year or so ago I heard of painting prodigy Akiane, and after seeing her work it was clear to me that she's technically gifted, but not exactly a visionary. Now there's Marla Olmstead and better yet, the movie. Check out this great trailer. It's being released next month and I am so going. It turns out her dad is a failed artist and I can hardly wait to see how they tackle the question of his involvement in her budding genius. There's some good background on the Marla phenomenon at Wikipedia.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

auction time

Like most people, I donate money or time or items to a variety of charities throughout the year. September, however, seems to be turning into art auction month.

Vancouver's Arts Club Theatre Company is a non-profit registered charity in which ticket sales account for only 53% of the operating budget. The Stanley Art Auction is one of their fundraising initiatives. Starting today, one of my larger (30" x 40") fish paintings is up for auction at the Stanley Theatre (I took this photo of the Stanley in January) until October 14th. Details about the art, artists and auction are here. The best part is that I got free tickets to their current production.

Last year I took part in the Federation of Canadian Artist's biggest annual fundraiser Paintings by Numbers and was invited to participate again this year, taking place next Friday (September 21st) on Granville Island. The lottery happens like this: 60 artists each donate a painting worth $550 or more. Then 60 numbered tickets are sold for $550 each. On the evening of the draw the ticket holders, artists and a guest each are invited to attend a wine and cheese party and the numbered tickets are drawn in turn by some local celeb. Everyone wants to be first, of course, both ticket holders and artists. There are many factors that come into play when it comes to choice: artist's reputation is right up there because you want good value for your money (and it is -- there probably aren't any paintings worth less than $800), but personal choice often takes precedence. For a peek at this year's paintings, go here.

I think both of these events are good causes since it can be really hard to run a good arts organization on the piddling drops in the bucket of right-leaning governments, so tell your friends and relations! (And get them to bid on my work. :) And next year I think we should encourage the well-heeled professional to donate something, too. What do you think of plastic surgeons donating facelifts and accountants donating tax services?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

must-see videos

Time for a quick break from the everyday. Rudy (who can be seen here ~ and I'm not telling you which one he is!) has been keeping my supply of great links topped up but I've been too distracted to imbibe -- until today, that is. As well as the above video, check out the following:
Filipino inmates do Thriller

Remember when I posted the
women in art video? This is the sequel.

Then there was this video, both the music and visuals completely addicting (it became huge on YouTube), that I posted at this time last year. Well, here they go again.

Once you've expanded the senses, the following two galleries do something to the mind, each bending the idea of art in a slightly different direction:

anatomy tattoo gallery
gallery desks in Chelsea

Sunday, September 09, 2007

and on sunday we rest

Just a few images from yesterday's casual afternoon opening. I took a few photos of the gallery before the reception but when people started arriving (after I'd gotten over the "no one's coming!" moment of panic) I completely forgot about the camera. Luckily Greg remembered during a bit of a lull but was soon called back to duty, so we only have three 'crowd shots.'

OK, I admit this photo was posed:

And this one proves that Greg does have a face:

I had a lot of fun and the time just flew by. Thanks to those who came and celebrated with us, like Kaya and Kevin, and to those who couldn't (something about it being 2200 km from Winnipeg to Vancouver...) but surprised me with a lovely gift of flowers. You guys are the best!

Friday, September 07, 2007

sneak peek

Downtown New Westminster is a place in limbo. In 1859 it was named British Columbia's first capital, so it's one of the oldest downtowns in the west. Columbia Street is one of those typical early twentieth century main streets: traces of neon, tall facades, lots of brickwork and bags of character, but it hasn't been restored completely so there is definitely a seedy element. I love the contrast: next to a high-end furniture shop and funky cafe is the old porn cinema. The Skytrain station and nearby casinos are magnets for petty crime. I noticed that there is a huge, brand new Sally Ann at the far end of the street that will need my inspection!

Gallery Fourteen exists in one of the old storefronts. There are high ceilings and lots of exposed brickwork in the upstairs boutique. Downstairs the gallery has a new cement floor and the brickwork has been freshly-painted white with rows of track lighting installed.

This is Greg, love of my life, father of my children, problem solver extraordinaire (of things both little and large) showing you just one more of his many fine assets while helping with the grunt work of hanging a show.
More photos soon.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

you're invited

If you will be in the Vancouver area on Saturday, Gallery Fourteen is in the old downtown part of New Westminster (614 Columbia Street). If not, the show continues until the end of September.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

my eye is bleeding

I had a dream last night. It was noteworthy, first of all, because it was the first time in ages I've had a dream where I wasn't at school in my pyjamas. Secondly, it was an almost-rational dream, very rare for me. In it I had reunited with the first person (I have a hard time calling him a man because we were so young at the time) with whom I ever had a significant relationship. But something in the dream wasn't right; there were no arguments and fireworks because we were both on our best behaviour, pussyfooting around anything contentious ... until the final scene. In this scene we were moving some paintings, which seemed to clutter every surface and lean against every wall, and he happened across this small abstract. I remember every word he said: "Jesus, Andrea, this is a million times better than all those pigs and shit you do." As he said it he slammed the lid on this beloved ceramic Stilton cheese jar I got from Harrod's many years ago and some dust flew up into my face, causing my eye to start bleeding. There was no injury to it, but the blood was pouring out and wouldn't stop. But still I wouldn't say anything about how his remark made me feel, maybe because I knew there was a grain of truth in it. (There was always a grain of truth in what he said, and his criticism of me created the highest levels of anxiety and therefore despair, inane chitty-chat and serious partying I've ever experienced.) I'm guessing 'pigs and shit' is a reference, in dream-ese, to everything I did that was not what he considered 'serious art.' Anyway, my eye kept bleeding and I woke up.

I couldn't go back to sleep after that because of all the layers of symbolism needing microscopic examination (who, me?). In the dream there was the clutter of paintings everywhere, the stuffing down of my feelings/opinion, the fact that it was my eye that was bleeding, plus the fact that I couldn't make it stop. Maybe if I'd voiced an opinion (which is something I don't usually have trouble with:) it would have stopped? I'm pretty sure that planting this almost-forgotten object of my affection as the mouthpiece of my dream was a cheap ploy to get me to pay attention to the message.

Eventually it occurred to me that attempting to forge a career in the arts means you are constantly facing obstacles of the artistic integrity variety. Earlier this week I had an email exchange with a respected local arts writer. I had gone to him seeking some advice and he had basically lambasted me for using who he considered to be an unethical dealer to try and sell my work. In a strange dichotomy of business strategy and moral high ground, that very same day his monthly editorial came flying through my mail slot. In this article he advises artists to create art for the consumer (i.e. 'sell out') in order to survive. He has a lot of good points, and I agree with much of what he says, but I found it fascinating to observe him giving with one hand and taking away with the other. On further reflection, it occurs to me that his opinions simply mirror the dilemma all artists, musicians, writers and other creatives face on a daily basis. I sure do, from choosing a colour (should I choose 'consumer-friendly' yellow or 'serious' brown?) to closing a deal (do I sell it at gallery prices or cut him a deal because he's a long-time friend?).

I have no answers and I'll keep asking, though I suspect I will always have a hard time knowing when to speak up and when to just let my eye keep bleeding.

stone lithograph from a long time ago -- sometime in the early '80s

Monday, September 03, 2007

primal landscapes

Here's a slide show preview of the upcoming show (more details later). The largest paintings in the series are 4' x 4' and the smallest are 16" x 16". They are painted in acrylic on 1.5" gallery-wrapped canvas with the image extending around all sides, and have been sealed with an isolation coat of acrylic medium followed by Golden UVLS (gloss) varnish. Individual details on this page.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


I've been neglecting blogs since I learned how to walk upright again (sorry, I'll visit some soon...). With a solo show and back-to-school looming, I have been trying to catch up with my life after being 'out' for four days last week. And besides, it's not the very last minute yet, so I have also had to catch up on some much-needed procrastinating, not to mention multiple viewings of Relocation, Relocation . OK, I've also been watching Rome, to prove I'm not a total waste of skin.

This is the last painting for my Primal Landscapes show, which I finished about an hour ago. It's a forest glade, hence the name, though I wish I'd come up with something that doesn't remind me of plug-in air freshener. Which reminds me, I have nothing but respect for the geniuses of marketing who have convinced people that products like 'air freshener', douche and fabric softener are essential ingredients for The Good Life. I'm just waiting for them to start bottling water and trying to sell that that, for God's sake.


It's been so long since I've been on Blogger that I didn't realize there was a direct video application now. My (rapidly aging) digicam doesn't have sound, but I do have this little video clip of #2 son up at Lillooet Lake with Zappa, when Zappa's girlfriend decides to come for a visit and is rudely ignored.