Archive Your Work!

As I sort and toss, a practice that seems to be going on forever, I am getting to the end (I THINK) and I might have some valuable advice to give to young artists.  I may not have a hope in Hades of ever really getting my art on a roll, but for you young sprouts, now that you live in a digitized world, please try to keep a record of your progress.  Second to that, take quality photographs.

An artist who really inspires me with his practice is Mark Dicey, on Instagram. @paddlecoffin If you don’t follow his work, he is absolutely breathtakingly amazing.

Part of this revisit, just last week, included digitizing my grade nine-eleven sketchbook from 52 years ago!  Cough! Sputter! It’s never too late, right?

Today, I came upon a white envelope filled with some very poor quality glossy photos of some flower paintings I did for a Tribute Show for my parents.  The subjects were all based on their country gardens in Frankford, Ontario.  It was an exhibit dating back a lot of years, hosted by the West End Galleries in their Edmonton location. (I have that date in my art archives somewhere.)  I remember, at the time, hearing other artists poo poo painting flowers, as a subject.  One person gave me permission and that was Ed Bader.  Thank you, Ed.  At the time, I was painting my own series of poppies as a response to losing two former students to a tragic car accident.  Ed pulled together a series of books featuring a number of very significant paintings created by important historical artists, dealing with the subject of flowers.  He was covering for another teacher at ACAD back in 1997.

This morning, I took photographs with my phone of some of the these teeny photographs.  Now, I can toss them as I’ve got a bit of a record.  As more flower paintings/sketches surface, I will post them here.  If you paint flowers, I give you permission.  There are a myriad of subjects for art and through any subject, you can address the ideas that are floating around in your head.  It’s all valid, representational or not.  Make art…and keep a record of it.

These images are all fuzzy/unfocused, cropped badly to replace their original wonky formats…likely bad colour…but, they are illusions of the originals and they make me happy.  I learned a lot painting these…and they are a mere sampling of the many works present in that show.  I wonder where they are now.

Springtimes at Many Springs

Time passes and the rituals of our lives bond us with friends and family members and our communal narrative becomes something timeless and very very special.

Yesterday saw us on our flower walk, this time, missing Carla, Val and the boys.  Our most courageous friend, Wendy, has had some struggles with health this past year and so this spring, her funny and talented husband, Darren, also accompanied us on the trail.  Wendy is witty enough, but get these two together and it’s such a fun time.  Many Springs is always a blessing-time.

I wrote about this ritual in 2011.

I wrote about this ritual in 2012.

I wrote about this ritual in 2014.

In 2011, the water levels were like this.

IMG_8818This year…they were like this.

Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 073Past springs have seen the water levels change and so the scenery changes.

Copy of On EarthThis year…

Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 062Our group shots have seen Cameron as an infant and brought us up through his childhood.

And ME!Happiness!At the Bridge

Many Springs 2008 043Westhills Starbucks…our meeting place for car-pooling. Many Springs 2008 012

Cathy’s photo at our bridge…2015.

Many Springs 2015  2RotatedDarren promises me his photos from yesterday, but I DID manage to get a few.  Lilies were the predominate flower…more than we’ve seen on any other hike.  We found only one lady slipper on the entire circle and very few orchids.  The wild columbine was already done.  There were some beautiful wild violets on the far side of the route, but everyone was so focused on managing the chair up and around the incline and the tree roots, that we enjoyed them on the fly.

Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 069Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 005 Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 016 Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 037 Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 040 Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 046 Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 051Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 058 Kath's Canon June 28, 2015 Flower Walk 063

O frabjous day!  Callooh! Callay!

How does your garden grow?

I haven’t planted this year yet…but, these are the beauties that have shown up after a very harsh winter.  The Columbine didn’t do so well…although it looks like I’ve quite a bit of re-seeding that’s occurred, so there is Columbine where I didn’t expect it.  I also lost a couple of Oriental Poppies.  Lupines have come up in several new areas and I’m going to let them go.  They are so showy and last so long.

On their first visit to this particular home in the late 1990s, Mom and Dad fashioned my front yard flower bed.  They traveled all the way from Ontario with iris plants from Mom’s garden.  They are still blooming all of these years later.

P1160992Forget-Me-Nots, while sparse, did appear yet again.  I remember painting a diptych while sitting in Mom and Dad’s Frankford garden…an acrylic piece titled “Forget-Me-Not”.

P1160993

Forget Me Nots, with Coral Bells coming up behind…surrounded with Iris

The rhubarb is ready to be yanked out… strawberries yet to be photographed, but they are in bloom.  I see rhubarb and strawberries on my toast very very soon!

P1170019

Pansies 2014

Pansies 2014

I’m going with a complementary colour scheme in the garden…yellow and purple…have been moving things about and thinking about this for years.  It’s such a joy to be creative in the garden.

P1160988These succulents really really like the northwest tip of my flower bed…it’s the dry sandy soil that happens there.  I’ve begun to add other succulents for variety.  Good to learn where things thrive.

P1170013These are so easy…and so successful!  Get some!

Lupines begin...I've got the coral and the purple.

Lupines begin…I’ve got the coral and the purple.

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Poppies…oriental and other perennial mix.

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Very showy shrub thingy…but, I forget what it’s called. Early bloomer.

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Filling in under my Catoni Aster with Lily of the Valley…these came from Pat’s garden years ago.

 

 

Grade Ones Meet Pablo Picasso

You haven’t heard from me lately.  I wish that you had more insight into what I’ve been up to.  It’s as though I’ve dropped off of the map.

I’m teaching grade one…but, you knew that.  What you maybe don’t know is how a grade one world surrounds you and gobbles you up.  And when you arrive at your front door at the end of each day, it seems there is a buzz in your ears and everything outside of the classroom where you’ve submersed (and yes, I meant to type submersed and not immersed) yourself all day, seems to be going slow motion…and you are still going way too fast; in the grocery store, in your kitchen, in a coffee shop.

Today we talked about Pablo Picasso.

picasso-flowers

Alright…it really isn’t that simple.

The agenda message first thing this morning was something about practicing reading at home and finding groups of things at home…counting by twos…counting by fives.  And don’t forget to return the yellow form to the school by Wednesday!  While the children were hard at this, I played Pete Seeger’s later-in-life version of “Where Have All the Flower’s Gone?”  The children, by second verse, were singing along.  (Apparently, and I just learned this, the grade ones had done a version for the Remembrance Day observance this past year.)  I told them that I had flowers on my mind.

The day continued with library book deliveries, observations of lima beans tucked carefully in wet paper towel and sealed in Zip Lock bags on the window sills. (Thank goodness for Zip Lock bags!)

“There are roots!  Look at my roots!  Awe…I didn’t get roots!  Mine are cracked!  Come over here and look at these.  I have three roots!”

Note your observations… a drawing…don’t forget the date.  I see_______________.  What?  Now, let’s wrap them in another paper towel and we’ll see them on Day 8.  You are the scientists!  Make sure that you’ve sealed your Zip Lock bags!

We had better check the eaglets…”OH, LOOK!  Another turtle shell!  They’re growing big!  They are walking so tall now and they are getting black like their Mom and Dad!”

Spring in grade one is overflowing with butterflies, eaglets, seeds and talk of weather.  Having already completed a reflection on Picasso and his elegant drawing of a bouquet of flowers, these students created a depiction.  (I will include photographs of these on a later date.)  We did the drawings early last week and talked about hands that go over things and hands that go under things.  I explained, after the obvious suggestion, that no, we wouldn’t be tracing our hands.  I thought that it was possible to draw the hands, without tracing. (Secretly, I wondered if this was possible.)

So today, out came the chalk, the permanent markers and left over paints from previous painting projects of weeks ago, today, seeming months ago.

Ideas like… lines that are smooth-like-butter…lines that are choppy…shapes around stems and placing a paper towel under a painted edge and moving it along…stems that squeeze in to a middle point where hands will be circling…and then the stems releasing out again.  It went on and on, really.  Art always does…go on and on.  We will be colouring our bouquets tomorrow…more photos will follow.

Teaching grade one is like that place where magic and crazy converge.  When a light goes on for a grade one child, it is like the most amazing thing because you know that  what has just been made sense of is a very basic concept that will be at the base of absolutely everything for the rest of that child’s life.  As I think about this tonight, I’m in awe.

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Grade Ones Never Fail to Impress

These little gaffers made a real impression!  The white stuff was falling outdoors, but nothing could keep us from thinking about colour, light and flowers in grade one last week.  I spoke to the children for a bit about sitting in Monet’s gardens, perched on one bridge and looking across the water to another.  We talked about flowers.  Aren’t Smart boards wonderful?  Isn’t it a tremendous thing to be able to pull up images of waterlilies to look at on a wintry spring day?  Or to visit Paris in a moment? Or to be able to walk the halls of the Louvre?  Technology is wonderful.

I also enjoy the fact that children as young as this will take on depiction…looking at references and transferring what they see onto a surface.  It’s a brilliant thing watching the mind, eye, arm, hand co-ordinate to do such an amazing thing!

In the end, they decided that the Impressionists liked making ‘smudges’.  So, they proceeded to ‘smudge’, like little worker-ants.  It was a morning of beauty and light.

Thank you to Jon, who cleaned up all the white paint trays.  I am so grateful!

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Grade 1 2014 Monet 8 Grade 1 2014 Monet 7 Grade 1 2014 Monet 6 Grade 1 2014 Monet 5

My Tangled Garden

Similar to The Tangled Garden by J.E.H MacDonald, my garden has become crowded with late blooms and the weight of weather and intense sunshine.  It has been a marvelous thing, this July, to be able to watch the changes in my gardens as time passes.  I can’t help but see some similarities between the artist’s garden and my own at this time.  I anticipate the blooming of the sunflowers later on in the summer and consider adding some sort of support as they are already providing an easel for the sparrows to roost.

This Week in the Garden

I count the days of summer by what is blooming in the garden.  The lupines and peonies are dwindling now, but the lilies are just beginning.  Awesome…the changing of textures and colour!  I sat in the van one afternoon in the winter…I was making a stop for groceries, but couldn’t be interrupted while listening to one of the segments of The Power Of Colour on CBC Radio.

Power of Colour 1
Power of Colour 2
Power of Colour 3

The Oriental Poppies burst open with the heat of the weekend! Glorious!

Leslie’s Lilies…for yet another season!

Poppy

Petal Detail

Ready to Burst

Strawberries

This Morning In the Garden

Early Morning Rain on Poppy Petals

Columbine

Open, flower.
You are.
In the garden,
Stand tall, radiantly hued
against the wind and
the rain.

A subject of photographs,
at the same time, a cliche.
The artist
affirms you.
She is repeating,
again-and-again,
an aspect of what you are.
In the garden,
you are noticed,
singularly.