Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 23, 2013

Late again. It had something to do with my dog, Max, and getting him out for some good exercise.  We lost track of time…this, after an afternoon raking leaves, cutting back the perennials and mixing new soil into the flower beds.  I emptied and hosed down the shed and took some photos of items that need to go on Kijiji.  It was a very physical and productive afternoon.

As a result of my conversation with the little lady at the cash at Home Depot last Wednesday, the bins were well-stalked with 1/4″ plywood, so I bought two panels.  Whoot! And off I went.  Upon arrival, I set up my easel, but then went about visiting with my artist-friends.  It was nice to see Rich after his trip to LA.  He was spilling over about the Getty Foundation and started in about a spontaneous drive with vans and trucks loaded with Gorilla House artists.  His enthusiasm, as always, made me smile inside.

I pulled a big wash of black paint over the board…mostly transparent so that the beautiful grain would show through and inform the piece.  I then walked away from the board so that it would dry and I might be able to work into it with a piece of white conte.

Thank you to the beautiful lady who makes popcorn every week.  I munched on popcorn and watched audience members approach the board and talk about it.  I listened to their analysis and predictions and marveled at what ‘viewing the process’ does for people.  With some, I had fun little conversations…with others I just observed.  Magic!

The new show in ‘the house’ features Jeff Watt’s work and it is a powerful collection!  I hope that if you have a love for colour and pattern, you will find your way down to the Gorilla House.

P1130753 P1130754 P1130757The three motivating concepts…and I chose, “Make art. Share love.”

P1130719 P1130720 P1130724Our auctioneer, Bassano del Grappa (an alter-ego), does a fantastic work for the Gorilla House…with his monologues/perceptions of life and art,  his entertaining and perceptive visits with artists and audience alike and his constantly-developing skill at auction, our experience is funtastic!  I knew he had to be featured in this one!

BassanoAnd…what else?  A gorilla!  I began by applying the ‘Bassano del Grappa’ collage bits and progressed with layering of paint…from dark to light…creating depth and texture until the giant beast emerged.  Thank you to Matt for purchasing this piece at auction.

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Love Art in Calgary: Levis Auctions

Funny…most of my experience around auctions has not been very positive. :0)  I remember watching a couple standing outside of the West End Galleries in Edmonton, visiting a large painting of mine titled Off the Wall: Gardens on the West End.  They had made the purchase and while everyone else was mingling inside on a cold winter’s eve, they were outside in the quiet. They looked so in love and so ‘forever’.  But things happen.  Some years later, I found that piece up for auction.  Was the piece victim to a divorce, a death, a loss of some sort?  There are many reasons why art works end up at auction.

Presently, I’m reading a book, Objects of Our Affection by Lisa Tracy…a book that is influencing my ‘letting go’ of objects and also the complete embrace of what those objects might represent. Filled with a rich story of history, I recommend the above mentioned book for those of you interested in the sorting of your art and objects of great affection. This process is directly linked to the real time experience of auctions and the separation that likely occurs in that process.

I was shocked when I came upon a piece by my dear friend, Bill Webb, at the Levis Auction, the third stop on Wendy Lee’s Love Art in Calgary tour.  This is an early piece, one that now shows some obvious neglect.  One never knows what happens to a piece of art once it is purchased by a client.  It sort of takes on a life of its own. This piece illustrates a very early exploration of some of the things that Bill has tackled over many years as a visual artist. Bill’s work is magical and he is more magical!  Our friendship will endure all art, I am glad to say.

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Thanks to Doug Levis for a comprehensive description of the auction process.  This, after a beautiful lunch, great conversation and a martini at Brava Bistro.  Glad to say that our fearless leader, Wendy Lees, is now the proud owner of a piece by Man Woman through this auction.




Gorilla House LIVE ART: September 5, 2012

Oh my gosh…this painting was a struggle! This is one where I would like to see time lapsed photography of the process because it evolved so much over a two hour period.  The concepts were flunkies (or some such thing) from night school, bikes and seven hearts.  I decided to focus on a single theme, the seven hearts.  The midnight riders of last week had frustrated me a tad, so I knew that I really didn’t want to tackle that one.  Night was also a concept that I didn’t want to take on.

So…first of all I related with the number concept of ‘seven’.  I think that I’ve always seen that as my ‘lucky number’.  Hmmm…what is that?  I’ve never won anything because of the number seven.  It has not played any pertinent role in my life!  Why would I even perceive it as ‘lucky’.  Ooogie boogie…really!

Anyway, embedded in the piece is a portion of chapter seven from each book in the Old Testament…they read from Genesis, right to left…and then on into the Gospels…ending though, in Luke.  This was a bit of a time USER, so, do I regret it?  No.

Next, I applied a prism of tissue as my ground, from top of composition to bottom, beginning with violet.  This was a decision that, in the end, haunted me because I struggled with colour scheme throughout the exercise.  I had seven roses in my mind as an actual depiction, but when I used my red…it was just too warm when placed on top of its violet and cool blue surroundings.  In retrospect, I would have sketched in my space for the roses and built the texture up to and around the foreground, developing the roses from the very beginnings.

This is where the push and pull began to occur.  I placed the primary rose too low in the composition and too central.  After applying generous paint, I then had to remove it and altar the placement.  Colours began to muddy and I thought that I was in trouble.

I ended up pulling a wash of gold over most of the piece to create unity and then worked pthalo blue into the bottom third to push back the remaining tissue story (yellow,orange and red), leaving just enough of an underpinning to resonate with the red in the roses.  I changed the placement of the primary rose left of center and built gestures of six others to pull the eye through the composition.  Sigh…

It was during the final five minutes that I resolved the composition and that in itself, was a relief.  I find it very interesting that a single decision in colour or the placement of an element may steer your piece into a direction that doesn’t work and then you have to pull the entire composition BACK or remove the element.  It’s a push and pull thing throughout the experience.  The entire process left me wasted.  I’m smiling as I type this because the truth is, nothing can be more wonderful than being given a challenge and then seeing it right through to the end.

Thanks to Paul and Emma for purchasing the piece at auction.  As the result of the challenges I faced, the piece ended up with a sense of multiple layers and a rich textured surface.  Let us not even speak of the colour!

Thanks for the photo, Belinda!!

I can only hope that someone at the event caught some images of the process.  I would really enjoy seeing how I progressed through the piece.  It’s one thing to tell the story, but it would be quite another to see it.  This is the benefit for the people who attend the Gorilla House!  They are able to observe the process as nearly 30 people create amazing work.


Talking about life…art…wood…dreams.

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living. Anais Nin

Gorilla House LIVE ART: August 29, 2012

Victoria, pure awesomeness in this video!  Thanks for capturing the Magic! A terrific article about the Gorilla House LIVE BATTLES featured in  BEATROUTE this week!

My write-up about the creation of this collage can be found here.

Gorilla House LIVE ART: August 29, 2012

Last night a large contingent of artists waged LIVE ART battles in front of a generous and enthusiastic audience!  I found the three energizing concepts a tad challenging, but then again, I enjoy the complete surprise of these each and every week.  One topic was definitely going to be helpful to me…’transparent layers as achieved with tissue paper’.  Wowsers!  This was the first night I thought to pack a bit of tissue in my back pack!  So…PERFECT!

One of the other topics…red knife (hmmm). I decided to interpret the red knife as a person’s bloodline…where culture and family take us.  This was going to work well with the concept of layering and finally, I incorporated all sizes of bike wheels, in order to somehow capture the third topic, “midnight bike riders”.  I thought of the wheel as representing travel, growth, mobility and change…going places.

Small details included the incorporation of a small bit of collage that exemplified a gorilla in a house…a gang of bikers, riding…and a discarded poster of a beautiful woman that I had picked up, water damaged, at a Women In Need shop.  I used the image of the heart…something that artists and audience members wear as a FOIP release each evening at the Gorilla House.  In my piece, I included three of these hearts within the composition.  Finally, I included the moon and a pocket watch, both capturing a sense of time passing.  The time, in Roman numerals, reads midnight.

I went about using red to create concentric and parallel lines over the contours of the woman’s body…beginning with the water mark that has its origin in the bottom third.  I wanted to surround her in her ‘bloodline’.  To create a dynamic, I then used my pthalo blue in various tints and shades to create the circular wheel structures.  It is always a fun thing to explore balance and composition while incorporating paint and collage.

Thanks to Janice Beaton Fine Cheese for providing an assortment of treats again.  That is a welcome treat after two hours of focused painting!

This week, my piece was purchased at auction, by Vilimiria.  Thank you!  Photo Credit goes to friend-artist and blogger, Belinda Fireman.  I’m grateful to have met you!

Other folks…I really treasure each of you for the fun we are having, creating together!  I regret that I didn’t capture a photo of each and every piece…it was so fantastic.

Last week, we enjoyed the inclusion of dancers during our LIVE ART battles.  This week, we had a visit from musician and blogger, Ethan Collister. I enjoyed the privilege of propping up his lyrics (LOL) as he sang an original piece of music titled Midnight Riders for performance AND auction.  Excellent writing and a truly beautiful performance!  Thank you, Ethan!

Photo Credit for this image is once again, Belinda Fireman, with her awesome i phone.

There is creative reading as well as creative writing. Ralph Waldo Emerson