Tuesday, February 27, 2007

beauty and the beast

I live about 30 minutes' drive south of Vancouver, on the south bank of the Fraser River, across from one of its most industrial areas. This is not the downtown Vancouver of the postcards, featuring Howe Sound, the beaches and False Creek.
Heading out this morning I was struck by what an amazingly clear day it was so had to hurry home and get my camera. I took these shots hanging over the fences of the homes of private citizens, butt pointing towards River Road in all its 'semi' glory (it's a truck route). The highrises are in suburban Burnaby and New Westminster -- getting less suburban all the time. With the North Shore mountains as a backdrop it was a classic illustration of Beauty and the Beast.

Thursday, February 22, 2007



I'm giving up agnosticism for Lent.

Last month I was intrigued by the challenge of imposing my style on a religious-themed painting when I heard about this call to entry (*note* deadline March 12). I ruminated for awhile (stopping short of actually chewing my cud) and then did a little research on each of the 15 stations of the cross, which is the theme of this exhibition. (Meantime, I was also fretting over the ethics of a non-Christian tackling a Christian theme, but got over it with the help of a friend.) I was not satisfied with the illustrative approach I was using so decided to try a more general 'symbolism through motifs' (same old-same old) that I'm better at. This is what I came up with.

The canvas is divided - loosely - into a cross with - loosely - four quadrants:

Upper right: The dove is the most important symbol in the painting, surrounded by the light of the holy spirit, because it represents the release of the soul in death. I chose to include the olive branch as it also alludes to Noah's harbinger of hope.
Upper left: The pear represents the Incarnate Christ in allusion to his love for mankind. (I lifted that phrase; can you tell?)
Lower right: Since the fish is one of the most important Christian symbols and one of my favourite motifs, I painted 15 little swimmies to represent each of the 15 stations of the cross. The ghostly white fish skeletons represent the Holy Trinity ... or maybe the three steps of the hill at Calvary.
Lower left: There are five loaves of bread (the body of Christ) to signify each of the five wounds. The water in the background is to represent cleansing and purity.

In addition, there are seven crosses along the left-hand arm of the cross, representing each of the seven sacraments, and twelve goblets of wine (the blood of Christ) along the right-hand arm of the cross, representing the apostles.

It was an interesting experience translating my limited knowledge of Christian symbolism into my own visual vocabulary, meantime sifting through the shadows of two years of Anglican churchgoing with a friend when I was a child while being raised in a non-spiritual household. Needless to say, all sorts of things surfaced.

Now all I have to do is remember to actually submit this painting for jurying...

stations right stations left

aaron paquette

If you are in Edmonton, Alberta between March 3rd and March 15th and want to see some amazing artwork, drop in to the Bearclaw Gallery for Aaron Paquette's solo show Trickster. Aaron will be there between 2:00 and 4:00 on the opening day.

Also, check out the following clip about Etsy from WCBS-TV news.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

more february

I'm still trying to avoid distraction but these art-making videos are worth falling off the wagon for: Maggot Art and The Daily Monster. It seems to me that maggots and monsters are perfect subject matter for artists in February.

And to reinforce the fact that it's still February, in all its gloomy glory, I give you this:

Monday, February 12, 2007


It's a jungle out there, Jane.
~ someone, but not Tarzan

February has never been my favourite month, so clearly I'm overcompensating for my mood with this 24" x 24" addition to my Primal Landscapes series. To be fair, though, a painting that I thought was going to be a piece of cake turned out to be an almighty struggle. Thank God there are only 28 days in February. Even my attempt to break out of my depressive little shell and escape to the island to see a concert this weekend went tits up (excuse my French) so I should probably just accept, dig in, and see the rest of winter through like a good groundhog.

There's no question that I'm extremely vulnerable to distraction when I'm feeling low, so the following quote, sent to me by Angela, really hit home. It made me realize that I was medicating through blogging (does it get any more 21st century psychobabble than that?) and my work was suffering, so a break was (still is) in order.

"Our creative lives are filled with opportunities and distractions. It's important that we learn to discern which is which. As creatives, our curiosity is our lifeblood and also our death noose. We can become so distracted that we chase rabbits down holes and lose sight of our original intent." ~ Todd Henry, Accidental Creative

I have not been making the blog rounds -- nor any rounds except the 'medium' lane at the pool and some restless pacing around my studio -- but I hope to surface again soon and see what others are doing out there. If I haven't appeared again by March 1st, send in a search party.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

dreams of flying

Check out the work of photographer Jan von Holleben.

Friday, February 02, 2007

zulu ~ warrior princess in action

We came home yesterday afternoon to discover that a female Varied Thrush had committed hari-kari against our back windows and was lying on the deck. Here’s Zulu, feline hunter extraordinaire’s, interpretation of the situation. Good thing we saw this; I'll remember never to mess with her again.

(And in case you're wondering, yes, I realize that I have now hit rock bottom by posting a terrible-quality video -- without an audio track even -- of my cat on my blog. But look at it this way: it can only get better.)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

two zebras


Because Reluctant Nomad is convinced I have a little African in me (though I assured him I wasn't pregnant) I decided to follow up on an idea I had for masks and zebras. The zebra mask on the right is actually based on one from Thailand, but it's freakishly similar to the African one on the left. I've been drawing like a madwoman the past couple of days. Last Saturday I bought a spot on Etsy Showcase and it appeared to have helped increase my profile, so I'm hoping I'll be as lucky this time (Friday).