Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Greetings of the Season

From my family to yours Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays! Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weihnachten, Natale Allegro, Feliz Navidad and Nollaig Shona Daoibh.

I wish you all the blessings of this season. May you enjoy much love, laughter, peace and good health as you gather with your family and friends.

To all of you who take the time to read my blog posts - thank you for the gift of your presence! I do so appreciate your readership. I have met such wonderful people while blogging. For those of you who are new here and for those of you who have recently become followers - welcome! Please do leave a comment whenever you can. I would love to meet you. I know when 'lurking', it can sometimes seem like the folks who comment all know each other quite well. Please don't let that put you off from joining in. Please note that we were all strangers at one point. You are more than welcome to share your thoughts here. I look forward to hearing from you.

As a wee gift to you all, I shall include a link to Frank Kelly's Christmas Countdown. Of all the versions of what it would be like to be given the gifts of the Twelve Days of Christmas, Mr. Kelly's is my favourite. There is only audio and it takes approximately five minutes of your time. Enjoy!

And for those of you who were reading my blog a year ago and who have great memories, you will have observed my lack of originality this year. I posted Frank Kelly's Christmas Countdown last year (and I warn you, it will probably surface in 2010). AND yes the photo is last year's too! Gasp...But in my defence I must state that we have not aged a bit in the last year, honestly, (ha ha) and getting a dog to pose while the camera timer goes beep beep isn't easy. For those who think this business of posting last year's Christmas photo is a bit of a cheat, I offer a never before seen blooper from that photo session. I am laughing like a crazy lady while the dog sits on me, practically blocking me from view and the dog has his tongue out. Enjoy and again, Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

peas in a pod finished plus lots of pics

Peas in a Pod, Coloured Pencil on Stonehenge paper, 6 1/2" x 20 1/2"
Copyright Teresa Mallen

Finally, here is a finished image of the Peas in a Pod! Please note that the background is white. I left it the white of the paper. It is not the ghoulish grey in the photo above. To get a sense of the scale of the work and the white of the paper, please see the photo below. This picture was taken during the studio tour and the peas weren't quite finished yet.

The frame has been made for the peas. I just need to see if I have the right colour of mat in stock. I don't think I do, so I expect I shall have to visit the shop where I buy my framing materials. The peas certainly got a lot of positive attention during the tour. I think people found it interesting to see the photo from which I was working and then see how I was interpreting this image in my art. One woman was dumbfounded to see an actual pea pod. She hadn't known that peas grew that way!

The studio tour was a fabulous time. It took a while afterwards for my head to shrink back to normal size, what with all the lovely comments and all. The tour is a wonderful time to get feedback on my art. When your art is in a gallery, you don't have the opportunity to hear what people think of your work. Also, when your work is in a gallery, they usually keep 50% of the sale price (sometimes more, sometimes a bit less) - not so when the gallery is your own studio! :-)

A lot of people assume that cp artists work small. I do sometimes but some of my work is rather big. Here are a few photos showing my artwork matted and framed. I hope this gives you a better idea of the scale...

Please note that the colours are photographing a bit yellow due to the lights.

Unframed, Neptune's leaves is 21 1/2" x 16 1/2". Here it is in the frame, sorry for the reflections.

Other than adding a few layers of cp pigment to the Peas in a Pod, I haven't been colouring much lately. But I have been painting! Abstracts at that!! Now that my teaching gigs are behind me as well as the tour, I guess I needed to cut loose a bit...

What I really wanted to do is to play with texture. Below is a wip shot of a canvas that has acrylic paint, gel medium and barley or millet or cornmeal mixed in. I can't remember which painting has what. Of course some restraint would have been best - i.e. restricting the texture to certain areas of the canvas, but I couldn't resist. Oh well, my goal with these is to just have fun.

I put it aside to dry and then went onto something else. At this point I am not sure what I shall be doing next with it.

When not playing with gel mediums and grains, I have been sorting through more of my parents' things. As some of you know, I spent several weeks this year sorting through my Mom and Dad's house and their belongings. Some of the items that I couldn't part with came home with me and were stashed away in a spare bedroom until I had some time to deal with this stuff. I didn't want to go into the new year with this task hanging over my head so I knuckled down and started sorting. I am very pleased to report that this is now done.

One of the items that I unearthed this past summer was an old electric paint stripper that had belonged to my mother. My mother went through a phase where she was keen to strip the paint off just about any painted wood item that they owned. I never understood why after all that work she would then apply an odd dark coloured stain to everything. Okay, it was the 70s after all, maybe that explains it. Anyway, the electric paint stripper went into the yard sale pile - that is until I started exploring encaustic painting.

Now I am a cp gal through and through but every now and again I do wander off to play with other media. Shortly after discovering this paint stripper I was doing some research on-line concerning all the different methods people use to melt the wax when using encaustics. Well if I didn't come across someone recommending this old fashioned electric paint stripper! Suddenly it was not going to the yard sale!

Now while I haven't bought encaustic paints yet, I did find the stripper came in handy in colouring some copper for one of my mixed media paintings.

Here is a picture of the stripper and the copper. Oh and let me just say that that this stripper gadget is wicked - it is frighteningly hot so if you wish to try this be warned!

Below is a picture of the heat oxidized copper, with some of the original copper beside it.

Here is another abstract painting and it obviously is also a work in progress. The copper pieces have been placed in the gel medium/acrylic paint/grains goop. It kind of looks like a wedding cake gone bad but that is because the gel medium hadn't dried clear yet. I'm not sure how I am going to finish this one either. I won't get back to these abstract paintings until at least January. I am itching to get at some new work with my cps. I have been looking through photos and pondering my next piece. I have also been out shopping for some still life objects. More on that in the days to come.

While sorting through the items that belonged to my parents I discovered some of my old school books which my mother had kept. I was delighted to see some of my artwork and I have included a few gems below. Note that even at the age of 8, I was into coloured pencil florals and abstracts! :-) And hey, I even wrote and illustrated a wee book - The Story of Tod Tooth!!

Life on the is our log barn.

It is going to be a white Christmas here in Ottawa. November was a very mild month. The snowshoe hares were already sporting their white winter coats and they had the exact opposite of camouflage going on for themselves. Now that we have snow, everything is good. Speaking of snowshoes, those are mine leaning against the barn. I have been out snowshoeing several times already. There is nothing quite like being out on a frosty day snowshoeing in the woods and then coming home to some warm cider or some hot chocolate and a spell by the fire. Having to walk the dog each day is not a chore around here!

The deer have moved into their winter habits and they are wandering around here everyday. I don't mind them in the garden at this time of year. :-) My dog and I came upon three deer this afternoon feeding in the trees on the edge of the meadow. And no I do not let my dog chase them.

As of last weekend, the house and tree were finally decorated, the gifts bought and wrapped and now the Christmas cards have been mailed. All that remains is the baking of some goodies, okay lots of goodies. Saturday I shall light a fire in the woodstove (which is in my kitchen/family room), I shall put on some Christmas music and then I shall be up to my elbows in sugar, butter, vanilla, coconut, chocolate, etc. etc. Yum, yum. And as the cook, I have a responsibility to do some taste testing!

For even more bliss around here - if a new seed catalogue hasn't just arrived in the mail. While it seems like the canning and freezing frenzy has just ended, it would seem now is an appropriate time to start planning next year's garden. Well, I do have to get those seedlings started (indoors of course) in just a couple of months. So tonight my plan is to sit by the fire with my tea, my catalogues and enter the world of tender shoots and dreams of a harvest...I hope that in this busy time of year you will take a moment to pause and do something restorative too.