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.

A Wander Into Desere Pressey’s Studio

I met Desere Pressey when she had a space underneath the stairs at the Gorilla House.

Desere Gorilla House

I was instantly drawn to her; her youth, her wisdom, her willingness to enter the gyre!  I think she reminds me of a younger version of myself.  It’s interesting how, in life, we meet up with mirrors of our own souls.  Desere is one of those mirrors.

Kath with FidoDesere

As serendipity would have it, we ended up at the same starting-event last evening, Enriquito’s Selfismo and from there, along with her lovely friend, Heather, ended up tumbling through the evening, ending up in her creative space at Slate Studios.  There was a chill in the air, but the warmth of the objects surrounding us and the paintings on the walls chased the cold away.  I think that art that is born from a person’s soul is miraculous; something comes of nothing at all, a spark, a memory, a narrative, colour…It is absolutely thrilling to create and it is as beautiful to watch others create.  Such a journey of celebration!

I was blessed to have met Desere and it will be exciting to watch her through this process of immersion, emerging and growth.  Her work contains powerful elements of humanity and the mystical.  It is provocative and painterly.  I treasured the time spent in her sacred space and wish her many blessings on her journey as artist, friend, wife, daughter and mother of three beautiful children.  You can explore Desere’s portfolio here.

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In Desere’s Words…

About

Canadian artist, Desere Pressey. Harnessing and distributing our collective energy through art.
 

Desere Pressey is an entrepreneur and co-founder of three successful businesses over the last decade. Throughout her career she has always felt a strong pull towards her true passion for the arts, and made the decision to cease resisting her true calling. In the embrace of art, Desere now dedicates a large portion of her time to painting, which she feels aids in sustaining a connection with the creative intelligence that unites us all.

“I love the experience of being around other artists, and all the various art forms. Just being in proximity to creative flow, charges and enlivens me. Shaping energy into form comes from a place beyond what we can fully understand…intuitive artwork .. unbound..can teach us a little more of this place. I think”

“During the experience of painting, self-judgment ebbs away for creation to flow over a landscape where right doing and wrongdoing cease to exist” -Desere

Desere’s response…written here because I need to hold on to it in my archive…

We all have needs that reach far beyond our worldly desires.. and these needs are rooted from deep within our creative nature. We get our hands dirty, stir and mix, collaborate, put down words and we get up and dance! Our soul self is like a joyful child:) Perhaps you see your soul self in me.. and I you. For you still glow with the youthfulness of a child my sweet friend. You made me do a little happy dance in my studio when I read this entry of yours. I am deeply touched:) I treasure you.

 

It was good to meet you, Chris Flodberg!

I have admired the work of Chris Flodberg for years.  From the time I used up my father’s leftover pots of oil colour (He was a real fan in the late 50s/early 60s of paint-by-numbers.), I’ve enjoyed the smell of linseed oil.  The memory of the years and years of painting with oils when most artists were using acrylics, makes me smile.  Such a yummy medium!  It is also a rich experience to work with the paint over a longer period of time than what polymers will allow.  It is his sensitive use of this medium, that causes me to really, really enjoy Chris Flodberg’s work

On the day when I believed it to be unfortunate to be a day early for On Common Ground: Conversations About Our City featuring A Matter of Trust, hosted by the Public Library, I ended up being very-much blessed by the Encounters exhibit at the Glenbow Museum.  Second to that, I was exiting the second floor by the stairs,  just as the artist, Chris Flodberg, and a friend were heading up those same stairs.  Initially, we shared observations about the way that his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) was mounted in the stairwell.

It was a surprising and pleasant conversation because Chris then examined the context of the painting, its symbolism and explained how he staged his environment for the work.  It was such an awesome and serendipitous event!  I  recently wrote Chris, asking his permission to post the image of this interior here, so that I might more explicitly share some of those elements, so stay posted.

Uh huh!  Chris has given me his kind permission to post an image of his painting, Love and War in the World of Men (2004) here.  A grander description to follow…but now, on to the off-leash!  Thanks, Chris.

"Love and War in the World of Men" 6'x4.5' 2004 Chris Flodberg

Chris pointed out some of the connections between Jan van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait and his own painting, Love and War in the World of Men.   If you look at the details; the orange perched on the window sill and the pair of shoes in the lower third of both compositions.  These elements create whimsy, along with an interesting continuity of what it means to be ‘a guy’ in a very intimate space.  I challenge my readers to find other such similarities in the content.

Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck

 

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. Benjamin Disraeli

Some Flowers Return Home: Paintings

 

Spring Bouquet

 

It’s a nice feeling when I have paintings return to the studio.  These two have been gone for a while and have just come back. I had lent these out for a while because I was short on storage. The subject was a spring bouquet I had received several years ago and I painted four large pieces at the time.

Blue Background 2

Being in the Studio

I’ve just come in from the studio, my Chapel, where I’ve spent most of the evening playing with my new ideas.  I’ve almost completed two of the studies and began sorting canvas triangles onto a new canvas that has beautiful proportions for this sort of thing…about twelve inches tall by sixty inches wide.  I painted a ground of yellow ochre wash onto the canvas and then proceeded to arrange light blue sky triangles onto the surface.  The sense I get from these pieces is almost like the experience of looking through a kaleidoscope up through the trees and at the sky.
 
They ARE about memory. 
 
When I began painting the landscape, it was my intention to capture some sense of ‘place’ so that my children would have an inheritance.  I hoped that by painting images of ‘magical’ landscapes that I have treasured, particularly the river, there would be an imprint that would survive the loss of the land and river as we know it.  Now, the work becomes more and more suggestive of that memory.  As it is minimized it becomes more successful. 
 
This evening’s work is most reminiscent of the vast golden fields of southern Alberta and the wide open skies that were once shared with my grandfather on Sunday drives.  It is appropriate that the work should be interpreted through the device of a quilt-like motif.
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