The symbol of love, the rose is also the symbol of struggle and suffering; of being brave and facing the dark. Look how it is used as a motif in fairy tales- the rose that precipitates the dark tale of the Beauty and the Beast; the prince who wakes the Sleeping Beauty has to find his painful way through a wall of briar roses, the young price who wishes to rescue Rupunzel falls on a rose bush and is blinded; the roses that bloom red and one white at the very end of suffering in the story of the Wild Swans. In my reading about those who faced the fascist regime in Germany it also became a symbol of resistance.
With more than a little help from my friends, my first solo show was installed and my art brought into the world.
I will be at the the Fifty Fifty gallery ( at 2516 Douglas Street, Victoria BC Canada) from 1 – 4 pm tomorrow ( Sunday 12) , next weekend Saturday 18 and Sunday 19, and Saturday 25.
Appointments can be made too for individuals or a group as I have the keys!
There are other hours during the week but I am not sure of them yet. it depends on volunteer availability.
I am thankful to be emerging as an artist amongst others. I was invited to participate in snapshot- an opening installation for arc.hive, a new artist run centre in Victoria, BC ( Canada. ) The show featured visual, writing and musical notebook pages. What a rich show it was. I loved looking at every single page. Such original ideas and imaginative ways of making them come alive. Gorgeous and quirky and interesting. The artists’ studios were open as well with wonderful work on view.
(the pics feature the sections of the installation in which the pages of my sketch book were included.)
New work in progress, 6 of 8 . 30″ by 22″ conte and charcoal.
I had prepped Stonehenge paper for more ruins work and felt the impulse to do large portraits. I work on each enough to feel it has come alive and then move on to the next. I am determined to do 8 and then review them to decide whether to adapt them further.
As I work on these portraits I think of sculptures of saints on old cathedrals, I think of the churches blackened by fire and think about the story of Christmas in which the light of the world came into the dark as a child- and the dark did not overcome it.
At the end of July, I took a weekend workshop on abstract painting at the Vancouver Island School of Art. Our instructor was the kind and fascinating John Luna. We were taught 3 approaches for developing ideas for abstract work.
Being more comfortable with drawing materials, I often felt frustrated, though I found myself intrigued and decided that my summer goal would be 8 more paintings based on what I had learnt in the workshop. Here is a glimpse of what I accomplished. I am pleased I persisted despite being out of my comfort zone (working with colour, on canvas, with paint.) Some of these pieces feel resolved, some are not, but all of them are inspiration for more paintings.
I spent an afternoon doing a study from one of my own photos. I started off with watercolour and soon found a new respect for watercolour florals! Thankfully white gesso rescued the picture and I am not unhappy with the result. A bit more needs to be done, but that’s enough of experimenting for today!
Looking for inspiration I found this wonderful picture by Fantin -Latour:
I had gone to bed worried about 2 things :
1) Is my work large or dramatic enough to say anything about war? Many drawings are small, in size and in subject: mothers and children who were close to home and did not have the ability or luxury to think in terms of the big picture.
2) Why am I putting out work about war and not work that is more obviously what people might want to buy, or about the beauty of the world or work that is easier to look at, I love abstract and sketching from life, why am I not leading with that?
In the morning I read an article about June Leaf. Learning about her work seemed like a reply to my worries. Her work is small, it was close to home, yet it contains the whole drama of life. Both June Leaf’s work and this quote from the article reassured my doubts about my work:
“When you ask an artist why they make work, they might respond with: “because I have no choice”. For people outside the art world this doesn’t always make sense. Artists are referring to an inner drive that compels them to make work. This explains why artists might make art despite no evidence of exhibition or sales. People start off making art for all kinds of reasons: pleasure, amusement, approval, fame and money to name a few; however, what keeps them making work over an extended period of time is usually an inexplicable need to create.” ~ Wendy Welch