Thursday, 31 May 2012

Here and gone.

We've just had a whirlwind two and a half days here with Alice Saltiel-Marshall and husband Bill Marshall, who were visiting from Claresholm, Alberta on their way for a family campout at Invermere.

As they are long-time acquaintances from our previous lives in Canmore, it was pure delight to re-connect and spend time together on their first Creston stay.  We scored some stamps and ephemera at Gleaners, toured the town, and sipped a little Skimmerhorn wine.  While Bill and John fished in a nearby lake yesterday, Alice and I stormed the studio for most of the day (although we did step out for a delectable lunch at the Real Food Cafe).  By day's end, Alice and I were drooping with post-painting exhaustion, and a hugely tidied-up studio looked like this:

Collapsed and giddy
I am awed and amazed at the huge number of starts, well-on-their-way and finished pieces that Alice created in the shambles, including a third of an altered board book - she is a painting fiend!
I'd Like to be Under the Sea   mixed media  by Alice Saltiel   2012
The piece above started with a cheesecloth stencil, was overlaid with palette paper transfers, over-stamped and then embellished - isn't it a beauty?  Alice kindly gave this to me as a parting gift - makes me think she was very happy to get out of here!

This lovely romantic piece above by Alice incorporates stamps, stencils and embellishments - very ethereal.

We spent some time playing with spray mist as above, which was both fun and a challenge.  It is water-soluble, which was difficult to incorporate into mixed media work.  We finally determined it could be utilized if it was sprayed after it dried with a workable fixative.  Above, Alice was also testing her crackle stamp against mine, comparing the differences.

We each did several starts with both soft and extra-heavy gel medium on Tuesday night, playing with them again through yesterday.  With dark paints, washes and stamp pad brushings, they became richly saturated  with colour by day's end.

It was pure delight, and both John and I are looking forward to a return visit in the near future.  Fortified with paint, stamps, mediums and new play things, along with fish and sunshine, we could surely conquer the world.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Same chaos, different day.

You could ask what's happening in the studio, and I'd have to say - not much!  Getting ready for the 'garage sale to end all garage sales' means my studio tables are missing and it looks like this:
Tables missing, artwork spread on floors, walls, ceilings and easel
I did manage to get a second layer on one of my starts, although there is a story to that, of course.  I dropped one of my gold paint pens on the floor and it came apart.  I quickly threw a palette paper on it, dabbed like mad, and wound up with a transfer when dry.  I applied it to a background intended for something else and now I just need to let it tell me where to go from here.
Layer 2
I also made a lucky find in the garage sale items - a yellowed lace doily among things I'd packed up when my mom passed away.  I suspect this will make a lovely 'paint wash' transfer...
Lace find
The only intentional work I got done was a palette paper transfer onto canvas of one of the alcohol transfers created at the end of last week.  I think I can see a butterfly peeking from the ink.  Of course, I may be raving mad at this point and seeing butterflies where 'there be dragons'.
Glad this transfer worked.
There are some really interesting patterns created here, and I'm looking forward to working on this piece.  Actually, I'm looking forward to working on ANY piece, as long as it doesn't include the thought / word / deed GARAGE.

If you're looking for interesting, useful, or downright crazy things for your household, do stop by 2315 Erickson St., Creston tomorrow (Saturday) from 7 am to noon, and check out the sale - we'll be glad you did!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Experiment and Play

Play and experiment.  Like most kids, I love playing with new toys.  Recently, I picked up some alcohol inks to try out, and through YouTube, discovered that they are meant for non-porous items like glass and plastic, and that I should have picked up an applicator, felt pads, blending solution and non-stick craft sheet.  Necessity is a mother, tho', and I simply dropped some colour onto a pad of palette paper, spritzed some 99% alcohol on top, and used a plastic scraper to move the inks around.  Stage two will be to do a palette paper transfer onto a wood panel covered with gloss medium - I'll keep you posted on the results!

Alcohol inks play
 I've been finishing up a storm on the starts that I posted last week.  The studio's a mess, but I'm loving the chaos.
Forest Floor  6 x 6 mixed media by Win Dinn
 You can see how my subtle pink start got ramped up.  Between palette transfers, ribbons, bubble wrap and crystals it's definitely not a quiet love now.
It's Love  4 x 4 mixed media by Win Dinn
 My love of orange gets stronger over time, even when I think I'm getting past it.
Playing with Oranges II  8 x 8 mixed media by Win Dinn
I need to let you know that my students requested their own Facebook page (I think they're tired of seeing my work).  You can find some wonderful starts and finishes here.  Keep this bookmarked, because if there are this many posts in the four days since inception, there are bound to be more as we add members.

Speaking of Facebook, I encourage you to check out Trying God's Patience.  Sue, a fabulous writer, posts some of the most thought-provoking, beautiful and inspiring quotes/photos/artwork/considerations.  Plus she speaks to coffee on my level!

I've set myself a goal to finish twelve paintings this month, and as the month is nearly past, I can see I will undoubtedly fall short.  With a garage sale imminent this coming Saturday and six years of accumulation to deal with, it's unlikely I'll complete three paintings this week.  Now who was it that said necessity is a mother?  Hmmmmm - could I paint with one hand while I price with the other?  Maybe it's time to try garagesaleartdexterocity...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

OK, I'll admit it.

I am not a gardener, although it is a definite 'should' where I live.  I weed when I can no longer bear the guilt of John doing all the yard work on our 1/3 acre in the exceptionally lush Creston Valley in the incredibly fertile province of British Columbia, Canada.  In my armed conflict with procrastination around weeding, I'll even do housework in lieu, and that is second on my top ten list of the battle with the 'P' word.  Luckily (at least in my mind), one of my substitutes for weeding is painting, and I've been spending a good deal of time in the studio since I got home.

I showed you some starts in my last post, and I've finished a couple of those along with one that I'd started before I left for Alberta.

Ancient River  7 x 5 mixed media by Win Dinn
John and I have a deal - I do the painting and he does the hardware aspect.  Normally, I put the name of the piece on the top back of the canvas, with my name and date at the bottom. On this piece, however, the canvas staples were so numerous that I needed to put my name on the side.  Accordingly, John framed it horizontally, rather than vertically.  We decided we liked it both ways, so he added an extra hanger so it could be hung to the purchaser's taste. Which do you like better?
Ancient River,  Horizontally set  5 x 7 mixed media by Win Dinn
 I love the contrast of this Japanese Maple leaf against the 'Sludge' background start.
Autumn Promise 4 x 4 mixed media by Win Dinn
 I'm button crazy recently, and I've enjoyed playing with them (rather like playing with the marbles I've somehow lost) in this piece.  Those painted matboard starts are showing up in some interesting ways. Now if I could just get my camera/eye lined up, (sure, like that's going to happen) I might be able to take a photo that is actually aligned.
One of these...  8 x 8 mixed media by Win Dinn
Now that you know #1 & #2 on my top 10, let me add numbers three to ten - accounting, cold calling, tidying my studio, doing laundry, meal planning, prep work for a garage sale, grocery shopping & clothing shopping.  How about you?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Happy, happy, happy...

Have I told you recently how happy I am these days?  On Mother's Day, I think it's definitely appropriate to do so. Not only do I have the best children in the world (slight bias there), but my husband, extended family children, their spouses and baby girl are totally wonderful too.  Add to that a very sunny day, a lot of play time in the studio, and I'm....well, you guessed it....very happy.

On Friday and Saturday, after recovering from a hectic week, I got to play in the studio - missed the Farmers' Market (sorry, Jen), long walks and all the sun we had, but it was worth it to be back mucking around in our sunny basement, and I've got eight new painting starts on the go (along with three to finish from last month).
Plastic wrap base, packing tape transfer band, overlaid with palette paper transfer
This one looks very pale compared to my usual intense colour so I'm interested to see how it will develop.
Wax paper over wash , over-stamped
 I love the variations created by the plastic wrap technique - they are all so interesting, and each one is unique and uncontrollable (John would say that describes me perfectly!).
Plastic wrap smooshed into wash, dried & lifted
 This is another quiet looking start - want to bet I can ramp up the colour?
Plastic wrap smooshed into wash, partially dried & lifted
 Nothing subtle about this one - in fact, I may have to tone it down to make it usable.
Two layers of  paint washes, both with 99% alcohol dropped in
 This is also something unique for me.  Meg Nicks of Sunny Raven Gallery in Canmore gave me a bottle of  Sludge (not kidding) last weekend when she attended the mixed media workshop in Claresholm.  Sludge is the recycled residue in acrylic paint factories and is very neutral in colour because it's all colours mushed together.  This is a colour I would never use, since I am addicted to clear, vibrant tones.  I can see, though, that it will be working it's way into future paintings, too, as it is such a wonderful background.  Thank you, Meg!
Wax paper squished into heavy body paint and over-stamped
 In my workshops, one of the favourite techniques is the use of cheesecloth to mop up paint.  This start below is a variation of that trick, as the cheese cloth is 'painted' on to the support with a heavy wash of thinned paint, left to dry, and then removed.  The beautiful and 'holey' pattern remains to intrigue the viewer, and one can use the removed cheesecloth in other paintings.
Paper towel pressed base, overlaid by cheesecloth-wash which was dried & removed.
(The cheesecloth is now yummy too, and  can be used elsewhere)
 The two canvases below are waiting to have some colour added, and I can imagine how anxious they feel as they anticipate the application - everything is better with colour.
Doesn't look like much yet, but these two canvases have been painted
 with gloss gel and will be the start of two more techniques
 This past week, there's been an ongoing discussion amongst my artist friends about the tidiness (or not) of their studios as they work.  I thought I'd post a photo here of mine in the throes of all this activity.  If you'd like to share your studio space photo, please send one to me at before the end of May  - I'd be happy to post them all in a June blog post.
My studio this morning
You'll note the paint shirt in the right hand side of the painting.  After viewing some photos of yours truly taken by Alice Saltiel-Marshall  at the workshop, I was appalled to see how boring my paint shirt was looking.  This week, whenever I had leftover paint on my palette, it went on my paint shirt.  It's actually starting to look quite decent, and I look forward to 'finishing' THAT canvas.

Today I'm wishing you happy days, and a life filled with colour.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Wasn't that a party?!

Well, if you ever want to laugh until you drop, you just need to go play with the Claresholm Art Club.  They have more fun than is strictly legal, learn at an amazing pace, and keep each other at the top of the game.

The mixed media workshop this past weekend was marvellous.  We covered 21+ techniques, four drying tables (constantly changing), conversational topics that ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime, and the Seniors' Centre from one end to the other with wonderful ephemera, luscious paints, found objects and laughter.

We played with dried leaves and flowers
Dried leaves and flowers to be added to the sandwiches
plastic wrap and paint dropping
'Sandwiches', plastic wraps, gesso paper and medallions
 gel mediums

Washes over gel medium 
and gesso, among other things.
Gesso (or 'brayer' or 'leather') paper
We dripped and splashed and smooshed (and I'm pretty sure someone was throwing paint, because I'm much more colourful than when the weekend started).
Dominique plays with smooshes and drips
 We were intent,
Jeanne painted like a fiend all weekend as she and Meg chatted
and addicted.
Meg may have gotten slightly addicted to the clear tar gel medallion technique

We added metallics to starts and pastes,
Don't these starts/layers make your mouth water?
layered and stamped and played,
Kerry's lovely finish
and some of us actually finished a piece or two.
This may have been Kerry's too (or Shannon's?) - comment below to correct me!
There were more variations on each theme than I considered possible!
Gesso paper samples
Magazine transfers were each uniquely fun.
Magazine photo transfer

 The drying tables were a constantly changing montage of painted/transferred/gelled/wet mat boards.
One of the four tables that were constantly covered with starts, techniques and drying pieces
 Each technique had its own stars...
A lovely diffused plastic wrap technique
 and turned up in a myriad of ways.

Layer upon layer of wonderful experimentation
 As always, workshops energize me, give me tons of ideas, and I learn much more than I could teach.  Thank you to all the participants who so willingly stepped out of the box and into the far reaches of the mixed media universe.  You ladies ROCK!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Something old...

and something new today, although as for the rest of the saying, I've got nothing.

At the Dinn household, we're cleaning out cracks and crannies in preparation for a garage sale later this month, and I stumbled across one the of the first mixed media pieces I did, at a time when I knew absolutely nothing about mixed media.  It was fun to unearth this one, and even now I l like the feel of it.
Reach for the Soul  14 x 11 Mixed Media  by Win Dinn (ca. ?)
It's interesting to compare it to a piece I recently finished - still using papers, strong colours and with a hand-made stamp (cut from a halved cork) added to the mix.
Roadside Crosses  12 x 12 Mixed Media by Win Dinn
 I'll be taking a break from this blog for about a week as I organize myself for a demo at Fisher Peak Gallery in Cranbrook, BC, this Friday at 11 am.  From there, I'm travelling to Claresholm, AB, where we'll rock the town with a mixed media workshop. It's been organized on the Claresholm end by my good friend, Alice Saltiel-Marshall, and I'm so looking forward to visiting with her amidst the chaos of the workshop.

Along with a fun weekend, I have some other good news to share this week - I'm delighted to say that on Facebook, Sue Fitzmaurice of Trying God's Patience has added some of my paintings to her wonderful works.  Sue is the accomplished author of Angels in the Architecture, as well as having the best page I've yet found on FB (TGP).    

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