Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I just returned from a lovely weekend in Montreal involving many of my favourite activities: eating, shopping, seeing art and socializing. One topic of discussion was why people, both men and women, are better dressed in Montreal. They wear artfully knotted scarves, trendy shoes, and this fall, lots of dark layers. My favourite fashion sighting was a punky young girl with skinny jeans, a jacket, black t-shirt and Doc Marten-styled boots; the kicker was that the boots were bright fushia and the t-shirt had a splash of the exactly the same pink.
I think all this good dressing has to do with "the gaze". In Montreal people look at you, sometimes flirtatiously, sometimes curiously, sometimes competitively, but they all look. If people are looking at you with interest, you hold yourself up a little straighter and try to look your best. You add that long scarf or dangly earring and pop on a brighter lipstick when you go out, because you know you will be seen.
I think that something similar goes on with art. Once you buy your first original artwork, you take it home and hang it and admire it. You start to look at art more, when visiting friends, at the doctor's office, or best of all in the museum. You have a heightened awareness of the visual, and a growing appreciation of what you like and don't like. You start to look around you, and notice little vignettes of beauty everywhere.
What lovely vignette did you see today?
Friday, September 18, 2009
Bye, bye studio!
Leaving my studio after four years is a bit sad. I had a lot of enjoyment and accomplishment here. In this little studio I developed the resin paintings I now love, which took lots of experimentation and many failures along the way. Here I also moved from representation to increasing pattern and abstraction. And I also met many great people during the past four Culture Crawls.
When I first took on the studio, it was supposed to be only for the summer. I had a show to prepare for, and I knew the only way I could get ready was if I worked with the distractions. At home was the siren song of the computer, the fridge and even an attention-seeking cat. So I finished classes at Emily Carr in April, got the studio in May and started painting like a madwoman for the show in June. Here's what my show in 2005 looked like:
After the show, I exhaled mightily and started coming to the studio only sporadically. I was subletting from Cheryl Fortier, and I noticed that she was always there on weekdays, painting or teaching classes. She treated her art practice as a profession, and I started to do the same with mine. I came to greatly admire Cheryl's professional attitude and work ethic. Despite our different painting styles, Cheryl and I got along tremendously well, and so I ended up staying four years instead of four months. We love art, but we also love bargains, and we spent more than a few lunch hours visiting the sample sales in our semi-industrial neighbourhood. We also ended up doing a show together at the Britannia Art Gallery, a celebration of the places around our studio.
Now Cheryl has gone to France to work as an artist and administrator, and I had a chance to move to a bigger space, a room of my own. My new studio is just upstairs from the old one, since I could not leave the wonderful Mergatroid Building. So far the new studio seems big and a bit alien, but I plan to christen it with hard work....and cute accessories.