Friday 23 December 2011

Christmas Baking

It's down to the wire now, and we're just a couple of days away from the big day.

I've had a month of creating, baking, wrapping and preparation for Christmas, and getting studio time has been a challenge. 

As well as some paintings, we're still working on our horse for the Art Trot.  I added a couple of layers of paper mache strips to the armature to create a base.

First coats of paper mache strips
The next step in the process was to create some paper mache clay (recipe here) .  This may have had something to do with my mixer meltdown two days later....

Paper mache clay-making
From here, John and I both had a go at filling in the blanks, with John, of course, having much more success.  Although not complete, we did reach a point where we needed to dry the sculpture in the oven to ensure that no mold occurred, and I started this process yesterday early in the morning.

I had a private student as well, and invited her upstairs for tea after class.  As I was making it, I apologized for the smell in the dining room, explaining I was baking a horse. 

Baking a horse
The look on her face was hilarious, and it took several rounds of laughter before I could explain in detail!

Wishing you and yours all that is best over this holiday season - love, peace, friendship, laughter, beauty, plenty and pure joy. 

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Just horsing around...

I feel somewhat like a split personality these days, with so many projects on the go.  I've got four pieces 'on the easel' and another one in the sink! 

There is definitely an explanation required for that last phrase, of course.  For some unknown, and completely idiotic reason, I got it into my brain that doing a paper mache horse for the Art Trot 2012 Therapeutic Riding Program Silent Auction which is coming up in February.   To the best of my recollection, I've not done paper mache since the children were small, and remember it being messy, messy, messy!

I am also extremely spacially challenged and mechanically declined, which means I needed to get down on bended knee and beg John to create an  armature for me.  John, naturally, has done an amazing job of this...

Horse armature  13" x 16" x 3.5"
I put the first layer of paper on yesterday, and did such a fabulous job of it that John has had to remove the legs, re-wrap the wire, and throw it back at me.  It's a good thing he (mostly) likes me!

I'll keep you posted on developments.  Incidently, do NOT expect the final product to be a standard palomino - that's definitely not my style! 

Sunday 11 December 2011

A quest...

The more I look closely at nature, the more I realize it is a strong metaphor for the human condition, and I incorporate it into my paintings as much as possible.

The painting below started with an asparagus fern gone wild, seeking light in the middle of winter.  A frond hit the ceiling in its quest, and over a period of many days circled around and around in desperation and confusion as it followed what little light it could discern.  When I took pity on its jumbled state (see detail photo) and cut it off, I was astounded at the complexity of the journey it took without leaving home.  I pressed the resultant stalk for some months to dry it thoroughly.

Quest for Light  20 x 16
I daubed a canvas thoroughly with Titan Buff, and over-daubed several layers of Cobalt Green Deep to create a variety of values .  Adhering those coats with an additional two coats of acrylic medium, I then carefully covered the stalk with two layers of medium, adhered it to the canvas with heavy-duty acrylic gel,  and sprayed it all with several coats of varnish.

Quest for Light - Detail
While a painstaking and time-consuming process, it is a great reminder to me of the multifaceted natural world, and possibly our own life.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Mandala Mania...

I keep coming back to them - those compelling mandalas that take me into another dimension.

Rochelle Mandala
Over the years I've painted, drawn, coloured, shown and dreamed them to the point where I published a colouring book of mandalas designed specifically for adults.

Color Me Up! Adult Colouring Book

I'm fascinated by the way dozens of people can take the same image, and colour it in a way that is totally unique to the individual.  You'll see Laura Leeder's ( ) gorgeous watercolour version of my star mandala on this page, below right. 

They so fascinate me that I've done many intuitive mandalas for people, and created a workshop to introduce others to this fascinating subject (see the workshop sidebar on the right for an upcoming class).

You can learn how to start your own mandala journey by joining us this March 31;  in the meantime, you'll find Color Me Up! at the Cherrybrook Farms Artisan Market each Friday afternoon until  December 23/11.  See you there....

Garden Mandala

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Playing in the river....

This may not be the right time of the year for cool river water, but this painting has been fun to finish.

River Study  16 x 20

It had been sitting in my (recently revamped) studio, waiting for the 'right' embellishments, and a recent trip to the Spokane area found me twiddling my thumbs in Cabelas, a hunting and fishing store, while I waited for John to find some bits to complete his fly tie kit.

Looking around, I could see that I'd hit collage fodder Nirvana - a host of feathers, beads, threads and more had me entranced.   Who would have thought that a hunting/fishing environment would have just the perfect shade of holographic green threads for the river? 

Life is a mystery, and sometimes an amazing gift!

Sunday 27 November 2011

Another autumn...

painting done.  This one

Autumn Gift
uses the same cool burgundy tones as Autumn Herstory below, but the silver inking and darker range of leaves cools it even more to push it further towards the wintry spectrum.  I'm starting to shiver already (or maybe it was that morning walk at -2 degrees Celcius!).

Thursday 10 November 2011

Almost Gone...

Fall is nearly over, and I can feel the edge of winter even here in this mild and lovely Creston valley.  I'm doing everything possible to hang onto the colour and feeling.

Autumn Herstory

I'm presently working on four different pieces around the autumn theme, utilizing those pressed leaves that are so addicting.  Incidently, does anyone out there have a sure-fire method of using pressed leaves in their work?  I'm presently working on experimental method number 3,459...

I love how the leaves look so different when the colour of the background is changed - it's all about location, location, location!

Autumn Pinned

Autumn Herstory has a cool, wintry feeling because of that chilly undertone in the background, and the heat in Autumn Pinned is palpable with the quinacridone gold background.  So I'm sticking with that, and ignoring winter! 

Sunday 6 November 2011

I'm a sucker...

...for colour (see 90% of my previous posts!), and the Cherrybrook Farms Artisan Market was a feast.

I have to admit that since it's some years since I did an art market, my enthusiasm was at an all-time low.  As usual, I was wrong to pre-judge.  It was fun, it was entertaining, and it was a pleasure to see so many gallery friends, both artists and customers.

Don't tell John, but I also scored a mouthwatering silk scarf from one of the other vendors, Linda Bullock - I drooled over her table for so long she asked me to move away!

What took me so long was not just the array of colour, it was that so many of them matched the sweater I was wearing.

I had great fun doing a demo of the painted paper process (a luscious blue and white piece) and I understand that Wendy Roth will be doing the next demo on November 11 at 2 pm - she does beautiful Norwegian egg decoration, and I'm looking forward to that!

Since we're at the market for the next seven Friday afternoons, I recommend you check it out - you'll be glad you did.  And since I spent all my sales cash at other vendors, I need you to spread the word, too!

Wednesday 2 November 2011

'Tis the season

With just eight weeks left until Christmas, the art elves have been busy.  This Friday afternoon marks the first of eight Cherrybrook Farms Artisan Markets at 2931 Highway 3 here in Creston. 

Caroline at Cherrybrook has assembled an eclectic mix of artists, crafters and even a baker (I hear those doughnuts are going to be amazing!);  it will run each Friday afternoon (1 to 5 pm) from November 4 to December 23.  The artisans have each donated an article to a gift basket as well, so any attendee has a chance to finish their Christmas list at no cost!  Make sure you attend the draw on December 23 at 3 pm.

Another incentive to visit (bring your out of town guests) is a daily afternoon demonstration about 2 pm.  You'll could watch a watercolour demo, Norwegian egg decorating, pin cushion creation, rock-painting and more.  Each Friday will be different, so you'll be smart to make this part of your entertainment rounds for the next two months.

This is a sure way to 'Shop Locally' and support your local talent;  hope to see you there.

Monday 31 October 2011

Further confessions...

...of an addict - I collect leaves, leaves and more leaves.  I press them,

dry them, store them,

create with them, and then do the same thing the following year.  I have a collection of fall leaves that would likely rival the number of Carter's peanuts, and yet I can't seem to stop. 

At the front of the house where our two glorious maples reign (see previous post), the ground is covered with such a vast array of vivid reds, oranges, golds and green that my mouth waters in anticipation.  Now if I could just stop picking, pressing and drying, I might actually do some creating with them.  More to come....

Saturday 22 October 2011

It's the colour...

Fall is all about the colour, isn't it?  There are incandescent golds against a background of deep forest green,

and the flaming reds that make a heart leap.

In our front yard we have a very large pair of maple trees, and at this time of the year they nearly dance with riotous joy.  If humans displayed themselves in this manner, we'd likely be jailed for exhibitionism!

I love the fall colours, the opportunity to walk for miles without expiring in the heat, and the crisp feel of the air.  And nature's palette  inspires me in the studio, so I think I'll go paint some paper, and use some of those dried and pressed leaves from last autumn, and maybe layer some translucent film strips and do some outlining in gold....

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Confessions of an addict...

I am a paper addict, and have been for years.  For as long as I can remember, I've  folded it and cut it,

painted it, torn it and  incorporated it into artwork,

read it, altered it and marvelled at the thousands of creative ways it can be utilized. 

If I were marooned on a desert island, a container of paper would be my most likely choice of companion (sorry, John...).

Friday 14 October 2011


...comes in many forms for an artist.  Drawing portraits and figures is at the top of my list, and I avoid doing so at every opportunity (and there are plenty!).  I am in awe of artists who make their living doing portraits, am amazed at every artist who incorporates the human figure into a painting, and appreciate anyone who is willing to work beyond the 'stick man' form.

My skill ranges from the appallingly disfigured,

to the thoroughly out-of-shape,

to the acceptable, (if I squint really hard),

dependent upon whether I've been exercising my muscles regularly. 

I'm here to tell you that I've not done any portrait/figure drawing for over four years, so you can guess where I'm currently at in the spectrum. 

Tomorrow, I'm joining a group of fellow artists at the home of Karen Arrowsmith in Boswell in a life-drawing class.  I'm not sure whether we'll have a male or female model, but I AM sure that my rusty life drawing skills will get a supreme workout.  Please, wish me luck and at least one acceptable sketch!

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Back in town, back to Blogspot, back re-creating a life...

It's been four months since my last posting on Blogger with the Painted Turtle Gallery.  In that time, the gallery has been closed and mostly wound down (I love bookkeeping so much that it may take a while - until tax time at least - to finish that aspect), the house whipped back into shape, minimal gardening completed, a studio created in the basement, and some heavy-duty welcoming of a new grand-niece (born at 8 lb. 13 oz. on September 2/11 to niece Shaina and her husband Lonny).

Maevie Clare Hand

What's driving me now is the scheduling of workshops over the winter, so keep your eye on this space to find out what's happening in this studio and elsewhere.

NW corner of studio
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