on display

June 22, 2015

THE OLD COURTHOUSE GALLERY CO-OP and Gift Shop got its start in 2007.  The Courthouse itself is a Kamloops, B. C., landmark, built in 1909.

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photo: Okanagan Art Review.com

A superb and intact example of the Edwardian Baroque style, its interior demonstrates an Arts and Crafts sensibility.

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Mainly symmetrical, the building features an elaborate central entry, prominent parapet gables and a corner square-domed tower. It was constructed primarily of local brick, British Columbia stone such as granite, limestone and slate, and wood from local lumber mills. The choice of materials symbolized a commitment to the use of quality British Columbia products, a source of pride in this provincial building. An exceptional level of design and craftsmanship is evident throughout the building. It is one of the most accomplished designs of prominent architects Dalton & Eveleigh, and the stained glass came from the studio of Charles Bloomfield. (source: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=12791)

Our Artists’ Co-op now consists of sixteen local artists, whose work is on display within one of the rooms of the original Courthouse.  We are a group made up of several potters, glassmakers, jewelry makers, painters, two photographers, one dollmaker, and one weaver.  I am currently the President.

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Every month we schedule one or two of us to be the Featured Artists who occupy a special area just inside the entrance.

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We are open five days a week, all year round, and our biggest event is called Christmas At The Courthouse where we invite and jury in arts and fine crafts vendors to sell their wares throughout the entire building . . .

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conveying mood

May 14, 2015

THE HERITAGE HOMES in our city of Kamloops were built at the turn of the 20th Century and are really rather distinctive, reflecting a very decided Victorian panache.  Here are a couple which have been perfectly maintained….

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PAINTING-WISE, the more interesting homes are, for me, the ones which have been given up for rooming houses, and therefore rather neglected….

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‘Columbia Street Noel’, 7″x12″, watercolour, (sold)

THE OBJECTIVE is to successfully convey a particular mood to the viewer–in this case, a certain melancholy–a fragile attempt at dressing-up a once-proud home in the midst of frigid temperatures and icy snow.

The buyer of this painting saw it in the Gallery and exclaimed that her parents had had this house built, and immediately claimed it for her own.  It suddenly made me wish I hadn’t been quite so accurate about painting in the worn and shabby details.

eggs as canvas ….

May 5, 2015

DUCK EGGS ARE THE BEST for receiving watercolour pigment.  They have a satiny shell surface.  Chicken eggs are better if one is using the ancient Ukrainian Orthodox, bees wax, kitska stylus, and dye method.

Chicken eggs have a kind of chalky, calcium-like surface which, yes, can be painted, but feels like the cheaper version of a duck egg.  [Oh my, that probably tops your abstruse observation quota for today]  Ahem….plowing-on into the arcane . . .  a duck egg is more forgiving a surface because removing mistakes is easily accomplished using a Q-tip.

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(above) Chicken Egg Christmas ornament using bees wax, Ukrainian kistka stylus and traditional dyes

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Watercolour Painted Eggs, (four duck eggs, one goose egg)

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Hand-painted Christmas Egg Ornaments, watercolour, with multiple, clear fixative layers applied for protection.

The impetus for exploring eggs as a painting surface came from my having seen, as a child, hand-painted blown eggs with Spring flowers on them, gathered and hung by streams of ribbon for an Easter breakfast within our German church.  Their beauty gave me new eyes and I viewed my grade school wax crayon attempts with a certain childish contempt.  And it perplexes me still, that such a long ago vision remained an artistic impulse to do for myself what I saw modelled back then.

What has put my egg art enjoyment on (permanent?) hold is my having received two Peacock eggs that I delayed blowing-out….only to have them explode all over the walls and ceiling just as I was finally drifting off to sleep one night, months after they were given to me.

You seriously do not want to know the level of grossness — the vile, rank, and utter foulness — of having to clean up an entire living room punctuated, peppered, with rotten Peacock egg at one o’clock in the morning.

My childhood vision of hand-painted Easter eggs has been forever cataracted by the Peacock eggs from hell.

Great Nephew II

January 17, 2012

About the scariest thing in my younger days was our basement, which featured a gigantic coal-fed furnace complete with horrifying facial qualities.  The grill was its mouth, and I went down there only to fling my soggy snowsuit over one of its tentacle arms in order to then put on a freshly-dried suit.  Once done, I’d try not to peek at the flames licking at the hideous mouth as I raced back out into the snowball fight du jour.

Tied for second in the scary department was the black-and-white-filmed 1951 classic “A Christmas Carol” starring Alistair Sim, (whose facial qualities were probably borrowed by the designer of the furnace grill).  It was back then a relatively new movie and always gave me recurring nightmares.

I happened to be taking a few snapshots when the older of my two Great Nephews was watching that very same 1951 “A Christmas Carol’ in 2006.  Up till then he wasn’t allowed to see it (which restriction I wish my own parents had imposed on me), so this was his very first glimpse at Jacob Marley screaming his way through Scrooge’s bed chamber walls.

'Marley's Ghost Makes an Appearance'

His Aunt and Uncle are obviously ‘Christmas Carol’ vets, regarding the shrieking spirit as ‘just an undigested bit of beef’.

This painting was juried into one of The Federation of Canadian Artists’ Open Shows a couple of years ago.  The words ‘Open Show’ indicates that the show is open to all qualifying artists across Canada.

Winter

January 8, 2012

It has been quietly thrilling to once again become reaquainted with the four seasons.  Vancouver–my city for over twelve years–effectively enjoys a very prolonged Spring and a very prolonged Autumn.  Indeed, on rare occasions there are days of snow, and days of oppressive heat, but they remain rare.

Moving to the Interior–specifically to Kamloops–in December of 2007,  was a sudden re-introduction into what Winter truly is all about.  The day of our move turned into the biggest blizzard I’ve ever experienced, then or since.  Driving up the Coquihalla Highway was treacherously risky, its two lanes effectively reduced to a cow path.  And from that moment on, I have learned to love all over again the unique characteristics of each of the Four Seasons, for Kamloops is surrounded by a wonderful and distinctly different landscape which has captivated my artistic spirit!

Above all, it is Winter which I’ve come to revel in the most. . . .

watercolour, Arches Cold Press Paper, 7" x 11", private collection

"Columbia Street Noel"

Egg Art

January 4, 2012

I first experimented with painting eggs in the late ’70’s by using the Ukrainian method of alternating vegetable dyes with finely applied bees wax.  Not a great fan of geometric patterns, my goal was to take the same technique and compose actual scenes.  I produced a series of Christmas tree egg ornaments of villages in the snow and moonlit landscapes until I discovered how well eggs received watercolour.  Since then I have confined my efforts to the use of watercolours on blown eggs.

By far the best eggs for watercolour are duck eggs.  The surface is creamy white and satiny, and the eggs themselves can be very large indeed.  Goose eggs are even larger,  but not quite as lovely to paint on.  My least favourite surface is a chicken egg due to its chalky white quality.

Here are some examples of egg watercolour art:

Hand-painted egg display

This egg was painted as a Christmas Tree ornament, depicting one of the Twelve Days of Christmas:

Christmas Tree Ornament Egg

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