Thursday 28 June 2012

It takes so little... entertain me.  This week, among other things, I've been experimenting again with distressing photos , to see what other fun techniques I can invent.
Opal-cat, spritzed with water, and scraped with hard  plastic knobbly scraper
I had fun using different implements-the above photo of our Opal reminds me of Van Gogh's self-portrait with its frenetic energy.  That's definitely suitable as Opal in her 'teen years was a whirlwind.
99% alcohol dropped on photo, sanded
 I found that alcohol gives a diffused effect compared to water.  The slightly blurry feel reminds me of my brain on wine.
Epson Salts in warm water, sanded
Incubating Summer  Mixed Media by Win Dinn
Note the water-distressed photo compared to the Epson Salts distress above.

There was no discernible difference using the Epson salts in water, so I'm assuming there is no chemical reaction at all.  I also tried bleach rather than water, and could see no change there either - didn't make the photo cleaner at all!

Do you have any suggestions for further experimentation?  All comments and suggestions gratefully accepted.

Sunday 24 June 2012

The Alice Box

I have to admit it - we've finally gone around the bend - completely.

Yesterday, an email arrived in my inbox from my dear friend Alice Saltiel-Marshall.  In it were two queries - had I received the Facebook email copied below (no, I hadn't, but since FB had been having some issues, not surprising), and had I received the parcel she sent in the second week of June?  NO, I had not, and we both went into panic mode - Alice because she was aware of what was in the parcel, and I because...well just because I hate missing out on things.

Alice checked the tracking number, and Canada Post insisted it was delivered June 15th.  I knew we didn't have it, so planned to spend today canvassing the neighbours to see whether it had been mistakenly delivered there, and Monday morning harassing the post office.  On our way out to dinner with family last night, John realized he'd not checked the mail all week (his job, not mine - I bear no responsibility for ANY of this!).  It occurred to us that perhaps it may not be AWOL at all.  We checked the mailbox on the way home from dinner, and lo and behold, there was the 'missing' parcel.

And what a parcel it was!

The Alice Parcel
Isn't that the most beautiful mail art parcel imagineable?  Red really is the best!

The Alice Box
The box inside was just as stunning, and when I opened THAT,
there was more,

and yet more delights for the eye.  From a hand-crafted card to a CD of bookplate designs (thanks, Bill!) to stamps and ink and charms and screens, I'll be playing with this wonderful gift for a very long time (assuming that I find my way back from around the bend).  I just love how the whole thing was completed around a red/green/brown colour scheme - you'd think Alice was an artist!
Alice Box contents
So here's a salute to a wonderful artist friend and a marvellous gift...many thanks Alice!  I can feel a painting or two coming on.

Thursday 21 June 2012

From the past

Some years ago I did a pastel series entitled 'Vanished from the Pattern' which pictured extinct-at-the-hand-of-man species depicted against their environment or their own beautiful patterns.

Rodriguez Island Gecko  Pastel  by Win Dinn
I had always intended to start another series 'Fading from the Pattern' which addresses the species that we have endangered through our amazingly nefarious methods, and the following photos show the first in this series.
First layers of base and cheesecloth additions
 I started with five separate layers of cheesecloth, applied over a layer of glazed quinacridone yellow.

Photo and distressed copy
I found a wonderful series of large cat photos in the National Geographic magazine, and chose the kingly lion for this first piece.

Hung Out to Dry   12 x 9    Mixed Media by Win Dinn
After applying the photo and integrating it into the start, I overlaid a paw print (thanks for the suggestion, Alice!) to finish the piece.

 I  find there are subjects and/or issues that will just not leave me alone, and I suspect the destruction of our environment will continue as a theme throughout my artistic life.

Monday 18 June 2012

Company's coming...

and going, going, gone.  So it's back to 'work' today, after a spate of visitors over the past week or so.

One of the most difficult things about mothering is watching an offspring in pain.  One guest this week was daughter Rochelle, who was (and is still) recuperating from having three wisdom teeth surgically removed.  Due to complications, she is still experiencing pain and the frustration of slow healing.  She had hoped that a few days here would result in some studio play time, but the pain kept her from that except for a couple of hours where she spent some time culling through supplies for the perfect pieces to add to a start.

Rochelle looks much better in my paint shirt, even on the floor!
Another pair of guests were Sue and Graham Woolgar.  Sue is an artist friend from Red Deer, AB and we spent a couple of sunlit days checking out the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area (photos below by John), Skimmerhorn Winery, Baillie Grohman and the local markets, including the Creston Farmers' Market.

It's at times like these that I envy my realistic artist painterly friends, who can so beautifully capture the elegance and organic spendour that is our natural habitat.  I look forward to seeing what Sue will do with the myriads of photos she took of the Creston area.

Do let me know what's happening in your painting life!  In the meantime, it's back into the studio for me, to play with more mixed media.  

Monday 11 June 2012


...comes from everywhere for artists, not the least from our children.  Our daughter, Rochelle, is an avid environmentalist and keenly interested in all biology, including that of marine life.  Her enthusiasm has led me often to wonder whether it is too late to save our oceans.

Mending the Ocean  mixed media by Win Dinn
As we age, I believe we spend more time considering what is important in our lives, and what actually rings true for us.  These mind meanderings led me to combine some  elements reminiscent of nature with those that are man-made.
Worship       mixed media by Win Dinn
The start of this painting was a multi-layered mat board from the Alice & Win frenzy a couple of weeks ago, combined with a found and altered aluminium top, stamps and an image from an old Kodak advertisement that I find especially evocative..

Weight of the Soul    mixed media by Win Dinn
What's your inspiration?  From where do your ideas come?  What gets your juices flowing?  As always, your comments are welcome.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Fragments, remnants and memories

Sometime in the early part of this century (I love how ancient and wise that phrase makes me sound) I did a floral collage piece that was really large:
Wildflowers  40 x 32 x 6 mixed media collage by Win Dinn
The piece was such a size that I needed to beg my brother, an extremely talented construction guru, to create a frame for it, and the very thick mat had to be custom ordered.

The mat cutting was an adventure in itself, and I womanhandled the cutout leftover chunk into a variety of mats into which I could paint.  As I was going through my art supplies while prepping for the garage sale, the mats came to light, and  became accents for a series of 'colour fragment' mixed media pieces.

Joy Rising II 3.25 x 1.25 mixed media by Win Dinn
There are about 20 odd-sized mats, so I can see this is going to be a fun project.
From the Depths  3.5 x 3.5 mixed media by Win Dinn
I'll be able to add some more pieces to the shrink-wrap 'travels well' collection for galleries, and utilize ready-cut mat supplies.  What could be better in a studio that lives by the three R's?

Sunday 3 June 2012

We had sunshine!

After a few days of rain, we had sunshine today - an opportunity to get into the beautiful Creston Valley, shop for the last of the bedding plants, and finish the last two planter boxes.  Aren't we blessed?

I've been sneaking into the studio as well, playing away at some of the starts from the beginning of May, and ones started last week when Alice and I played demolition derby in the studio.

Incubating Summer  6 x 6 mixed media by Win Dinn
 I spent some time attacking photos done by John some years ago - I distressed the one above by spritzing water around the edges, sanding with three weights of sandpaper, and tearing to create a 'nest'.  I love how the underlying yellow comes through in the distressed areas, as the actual background on the photo is the dark brown shown immediately around the flower.
Creativity Map  6 x 9 mixed media by Win Dinn
 This map came about when Alice and I were testing a couple of different crackle stamps.  With the addition of outlines around faded areas, a palette transfer, some distressing, negative stamping and a key to the map (or should it have been an 'X marks the spot'?), I think it says a lot about my journey.
In process
The coppery piece above started out as a totally different colour, and that was so long ago I cannot even remember what that colour could have been!  Our experiments were so thick and fast that layer after layer of  'just testing' went on this one.  At one point I decided it needed some copper brads, and I didn't have any.  Being the patient soul that I am, I stuck copper nails through the mat board, cut off the tips, sealed them in place with extra heavy gel medium, and then placed the tips of the nails on the top.  This may not be done yet, but so far it's been a real adventure.

I hope your days have been as fun-filled as mine have been this week, and that you, too, are enjoying sunshine in your life.

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