wee glimpses

May 26, 2015

PAINTING OUTDOORS has a way of getting a person to make judgment calls quickly, and in our area it is quite simply the heat of the day.

KAMLOOPS, B.C., IS UNIQUE IN THAT its mountainous hillsides are grass-covered with considerable sagebrush but little tree growth to the 900m level, creating what is known as an inverted tree line.

IN MOST PLACES TREES WON’T GROW above a certain level due to the lack of precipitation, but in Kamloops, they won’t grow below a certain level due to the lack of precipitation.  We are known as The Sunshine Capitol of Canada, receiving over 2,000 hours of sun annually.

IOW, IT IS HOT.  And since sun and heat are our landscape’s signature features, painting a local watercolour outdoors demands sitting right the heck out there.

THAT IS WHY IT MAKES GREAT SENSE to me to choose to do this by way of painting miniatures.

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‘A Kamloops August’, watercolour, 6.35cm x 8.90cm (2.5″ x 3.5″), Arches Hot Press 140 lb. paper

MINIATURES demand quick thinking and choosing the elemental–the scene’s compositional essences–getting them down efficiently and thoughtfully, though, at the same time, quickly.

A GOOD MINIATURE can serve as the template for a much larger, studio piece.  And good miniatures stand up very well all by themselves.  This particular one has been accepted into two different juried Federation of Canadian Artists Shows, including the annual ‘Small, Smaller, Smallest’.  It was, in that show, the very smallest of the lot.  And that made me very happy!

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Cornelia

May 9, 2015

AT OUR RECENT FEDERATION OF CANADIAN ARTISTS ART SHOW, I kept coming back to look at a piece by the Vancouver painter Ali Sepahi.  (www.sepahigallery.com)

BECAUSE OF RECENT KINDNESSES SENT MY WAY by people requesting commissions, I had enough moola burning a hole in my pocket to be able look at his painting with acquisitional eyes.

BUYING ARTWORK is a wonderful delight that I don’t give in to unless someone is buying one/some of mine.  And I am not beyond bargaining.  If I only have X-number of dollars from a recent sale, that is all I have to spend (a necessary and self-imposed rule).

IF I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY from having sold something of mine–and the painter I’m negotiating with can’t meet my bottom line–I have to walk away.  And that is sometimes very very difficult to do.  Usually, however, an arrangement is able to be made–but has to be done once an art show or exhibit has closed, and–of course–the painting outlasted the event and went unsold.

THIS PAINTING WAS ENTITLED ‘Grandma’.  Not being greatly enamoured with that choice (after all, I don’t exactly enjoy being looked at by onlookers as ‘Grandpa’), I researched female names and after dithering a long time decided the work was to be re-christened ‘Cornelia’.  That’s because I don’t know any Cornelias.  [I was going to name her ‘Beatrice’, but I already know a Beatrice, and it wouldn’t do — insights into my slightly OCD brain.]

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Ali Sepahi, oil on canvas, 61cm x 46cm (24″ x 18″), painted using a colour shaper

THIS WORK IS ABSOLUTELY STUNNING in my book.  The brevity of line, sparse delineation, those slight indicators of head tilt, clutch of serviette, careful reach towards drinking glass–oh my, oh my, but this is GOOD.  And crowning it all is the floral panache of a hat chosen to show that underneath it is no ordinary person willing to be defined by age or the brittleness of what our ripening years dish out.

FOR TEN YEARS my profession was that of Clergy–Presbyterian–and prior to that, my experience of memorable people in the manner of this painting, was due to my having been born ‘a child of the Manse’.  The ‘Cornelias’ I have been privileged to know, and yes, love, from my childhood onward, have been many.  Observing each one, discreetly attending to her carefully chosen paper plate of chicken salad–sitting apart from the younger ones at wedding receptions–finding that place under a large oak at the Sunday School picnic–not wanting to be obvious, while wearing a hat which was anything but humdrum, I knew before long I would be making my way towards her.  And she was always gracious in welcoming me–whether I was 8, or whether, wearing full collar, I was approaching as her Cleric–ready to amuse me with wry observations, regale me with stories of memorable wedding disasters, charm me in a smilingly-hushed voice, all the while allowing her milky-blue eyes to convey her longing that I not yet go visit someone else, and leave her–once again–all alone.

IT MAKES MY OWN EYES WELL UP EVEN YET, how  the Cornelias of this world have unexpectedly nurtured my needy heart time and time again.  And it will be an honour and a privilege to find her–this Cornelia–a treasured place on the dining room wall, even as we observe yet another floral-hatted Mother’s Day Sunday.

THE FEDERATION OF CANADIAN ARTISTS had its beginnings in 1941, and had as its goal the unified representation of all Provinces through one organization.  Canada’s premier artists, The Group of Seven, were instrumental in organizing The FCA, with A. Y. Jackson as the Ontario head, and Lawren Harris in charge of the West Coast region.

TODAY THE FCA has become largely a Western Canadian organization with most of its activity within the Province of British Columbia.  The hub is Vancouver [www.artists.ca] with regional Chapters throughout B. C. and Southern  Alberta.  The Thompson Nicola Shuswap Chapter (which I am a member of) has been hosting two Annual Art Shows for many years, with the 2015 National Show being mounted this coming Wednesday, April 8th.

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THE NATIONAL SHOW is open to any qualifying FCA member, but submissions for jurying are limited to 3.  Digital images of a member’s work are submitted to Vancouver and juried by three Signature Artists who use a point system to arrive at which pieces will be accepted and which will be declined.  Of the 130+ digital entries, only 85 pieces are selected for inclusion into this National Show.

MY OWN SUBMISSIONS (two) have been juried, one being accepted–

‘Approaching Storm, Sechelt’, 25cm x 35.5cm (10.5″ x 14″), Watercolour on board

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It is considered an achievement simply to get into this Art Show, while Opening Night, Friday the 10th, will be the occasion when $2800.00 in Prizes are awarded by another set of Jurors for those paintings which stand out as the best of The Best.  Only once has a piece of mine ever been awarded a prize.

SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE FEDERATION have these paintings being considered for The SFCA Prize, with only one receiving top honours.

SFCA 13

 

SFCA 6

 

SFCA 3

 

SFCA 5

 

SFCA 4

 

NEARLY ALL THE WORK submitted by artists for these Shows is rendered in acrylics or oils, with some pastel, and a few watercolours, and fewer still graphite drawings. Watercolour, generally, is not the preferred medium of most painters. It is considered difficult and problematic because of its demands and limtations.

 

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