One: Blank

Distractions for blank pages and blank minds
Alternative therapy

Blank pages do not inspire. Blank minds do not help. I suspect the emptiness is a direct consequence of fatigue. Driving is tiring. Funerals also take their toll.

Avoiding blank canvases

Sometimes blank canvases occasion the same effect. In order to avoid this situation, I have begun to prepare at least six surfaces at once so that the degree of preparation is scattered and varied. At the moment four bear the imprints of texture within their coat of molding paste. Four others already carry the first six layers of paint including the drips and drops. Two more are in development, the images beginning to form.

Gazing at blank paper

Waiting for the artist to take the plunge and paint the blank.
Not quite blank anymore

Blank paper has entranced me of late as well. Another project due on Thursday this week. Rather than hurry the process I have taken the time to gaze. Amidst my gazing I find solutions and possible directions. Glancing at the clock, I decided to postpone the exercise as watercolours demand more uninterrupted attention than acrylics.

Distractions

Probably the same strategy could apply to blank pages. Instead of insisting on a preconceived timetable, I began to prepare some salad for this evening and went to church. Having had lunch, I watered the newly planted Saskatoon bushes, the Japanese maple tree and the rhubarb, the stolen one from my neighbour. In addition, I cut a five-gallon pail of rhubarb stalks, again from another neighbour for the juice I need for punch next weekend. My neighbours are quite happy to see the plants used.

Awakening

With all this enjoyable activity, I realized my mind may have awakened so I came back to my blank page. While my rhubarb bubbles quietly on the stove, I will finish this blog and tackle my very much behind bookwork. Life is so good.

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One: Shipping

shipping, mixed media, semi-abstract,
Ready to pack

T’is the season to ship to Vancouver. The Federation of Canadian Artists offer an array of different competitions in which its members are invited to participate. I have taken a bit of a hiatus from this smorgasbord recently because of the intense local activity requiring no shipping.

Something different

What has stumped me on this latest shipment, however, is the unusual piece I am shipping. Works on paper are for the most part watercolour or drawings, not mixed media. I wanted something different. I had decided on a thin panel of wood until I looked up the acceptable parameters for the show. Oops. I still did not want to put it behind glass.

Glass and shipping do not mix well

Glass is always problematic in the shipping process. Whatever precautions one takes, it may or may not arrive in one piece. Although in the past I have successfully used a method wherein one tapes the surface with wide masking tape in a design to ensure the possible shards will not damage the painting, I was looking for something more like a shadow box. The distance between the glass and the painting would give it too much room to move.

Mistakes

Naturally, when one attempts something new, one makes mistakes. My first attempt to frame the painting resulted in some ugly accidents. I had decided to place the piece centered on core board cut to fit the frame. Eyeballing the centre I used double sided tape to hold the work in place. Mistake number one. The tape refused to stick to the watercolour paper. So, I used gel.

Glass is dispensable

Cutting more thin slices of core board I prepared a ridge around the edge of the backing to fit under the frame lip and thereby install a deeper distance from the frame edge to the work. Slipping it into the frame ended up being impossible with the glass. Cutting thinner spacers did not work either. Somehow little unacceptable specks installed themselves under the glass, impossible to remove. I took out the glass.

Assumptions as not as accurate

shipping, mixed media, paper, semi-abstract
Rulers are just the right thickness for lifting.

Assuming rather than measuring the size required in a twelve-by-twelve-inch frame was my third mistake. The second one was not measuring, again, to centre the painting on the core board. Evidently the painting had to be detached and placed on a larger piece of core board. This proved more of a challenge since gel is a wonderful glue.

Measuring is best

This time I measured. Quite satisfied with the result and the bonus of reduced weight, I proceeded to create the necessary tools for shipping. First the 6mm plastic sheath with the name of the painting on it. Wrapped in half-inch bubble wrap I put a layer of corrugated cardboard around the bundle. Wrapping this again in one-inch bubble wrap the bundle had grown to about sixteen inches square. I made the exterior box to fit and it is now ready to ship.

The next show

I am tempted to apply to the next show in Vancouver. Now that would be a real challenge to ship since it is almost three dimensional mixed media on paper as well. It would require some kind of styrofoam box to protect the surface and prevent movement within the shipping box… Mmmm. I have until Wednesday to decide.

Now showing

Happy New Year by the way. The All Member Winter Show at VASA is still on. Do drop in. Have a great week.

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Different Strokes: Stained Glass

stained glass, paper, design, commission

A couple of weeks ago a young lady from our church asked me about an art project for the first communion children. To begin with, she wanted something dramatic that could stay in a window for a long period of time and look magnificent. The theme is “Let the Sunshine in”. Stained glass came to mind.

stained glass, design, paper, commission
Making progress

Limited time

Life does not always unfold as planned however. I did some preliminary sketches before leaving for Montréal. Having semi-completed the rough draft I dropped in at her place because I was in the neighbourhood and she was not home. A little more planning was required…

Limited efficiency

So communicating by email, we rendezvoused on Monday, the day I got back. She approved the sketch and the excitement mounted. I then dropped in at the art supply store to purchase four six ply Bristol boards and discovered I had left my wallet at home. Thankfully I found enough change in the car to cover the cost. Jet lag had begun to shut me down.

Making progress

In my studio the next day, I looked at the very old newsprint I had used to design the stained glass and wondered what I might use to transfer the image onto the Bristol board without damaging the paper. Metal palette knives have more than one use! The indentation complete I redrew the lines in pencil using some rulers to straighten the lines.

stained glass, paper, design, commission
Putting things together

Stained glass ready

Wednesday morning, I was feeling pretty rough. During the next few days I managed to cut out the design and the individual pieces. Numbering each one  I separated them into colour groups. I thought I was finished. The limited time we had to put it all together nagged at me. Saturday, I installed the double-sided tape. It took most of the morning. By this time, I knew I would not be going to church the next day.

stained glass, paper, design, commission
Lining things up

Replacements

I needed someone competent who could do this for me. Phoning one of my daughters, I invited her over so I could explain how it all went together. My children are wonderful. I let the organiser know and requested help for the colouring part. Of course, it all depends on how many show up for the celebrations and how many are willing to help with the project.

stained glass, paper, design, commission
All stuck up

Feeling blessed

So here I sit, wrapped in a poncho, booties on my feet and a cup of hot water by my side. I wonder how the stained glass is coming, how my husband is doing at the other event I was to attend and feeling blessed. Life is good.

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