Thursday 24 September 2020

A guest post by Ruth Bieber... your treat for this week.  You've watched and questioned as the process evolves, and I thought you'd enjoy hearing more directly from Ruth herself.


By Ruth Bieber

As a child, and before I lost my sight, apparently I was quite the good little artist.  I guess that fact stuck with me, because years later I continued to secretively harbour the desire to create with form, image and colour - oh, especially with colour!  And then it happened.  I found myself on sabbatical in New York City; the goal at the time was to write a book about my theatre arts experience, and hopefully produce one or more of the plays I’d written.  And so, it was.  But there was more, so much more. Magically NYC houses an organization called Art Beyond Sight, and the rest is history.

The truth is there are numerous blind artists worldwide who create visual arts in a variety of interesting ways depending on residual vision, art education and predisposition.  

The way I create art continues to evolve, but fundamentally my goal is to create art that is interesting to both the sense of sight and touch.  I’m less interested in representational creations, although I have my moments.

Yes, this is my foot, and you can see and feel it (or will when the painting is finished).  Mostly I am interested in activating line, texture and vibrant colour.  And, I am not so interested in proving to the world, that ‘I did it all by myself’.  I am a true creature of collaboration; enter artist, neighbour and friend Win Dinn. 

When Win and I first began creating together, we naturally both had to feel our way into the wonderful rhythm we now enjoy.  Win’s creativity is surpassed only by her courageous willingness to dive into the unknown and the unseen.  My first suggestion to her was to attempt creating a piece of art with eyes closed.  In no time she finished a piece that I find very prickly to the touch, but I’ll bet is beautiful to the eye. 

Win here, laughing hysterically over the latter thought!  😂

I’m sure we also talked about process together but the best thing about art is simply the doing.  Initially, we tried to work with implements such as paintbrushes and pallet knives.  Go figure, right?  I did try, but before long Win understood that I am, literally, a hands-on kind of painter.  That’s right - blob of paint in a foam dish, glove on hand.  There is only one glove, as I use the other hand to orient my way around the painting.  Win is a master at mixing paints, and I get such a vicarious hit from listening to her exclaim in delight at the magic of the blending and movement of colour.  

 A portion of our time together requires discussion in way of problem solving.  I get an inspiration, Win adds some of her artistry, and together we come up with a plan.  Much of my inspiration comes from my internal world.  I am often struck by the fragmented nature of being blind, as well as the richness of my imagination.

 I am deeply spiritual, and love playing cards!   Hope that made you smile. 

And, the thing I love the most about working with Win is her patient detail to layering, and more layering.  The process adds so much energy and texture to each piece, which I find both powerful and delightful.  Oh, and the alcohol inks!  I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention the dancing magic of the alcohol inks!  The alchemy of the inks is only surpassed by the happy dance – that’s Win when she is accenting an art piece with these bits of liquid magic.  Turns out alcohol inks and deep texture are a match made in heaven.   

We have explored other strategies such as stamps and stencils, to which I feel I have had some moderate success.  The thing is, Win knows I aspire to include some hard edges in my art, and we are always trying new ways to manage.  Win is full of ideas, and together we make a creative and fun-loving pair, creating ‘Beyond the Horizon’.

 Speaking of the entire exhibition, two other artists (Marnie Temple and Lisa Benschop) have entered my artistic fold.  Separately, each will bring their own collaborative influence to the ‘Beyond the Horizon’ project.  More about that in next blog post.   I look forward to catching you up with my process in a month or three.











Thursday 17 September 2020

If I could express...

 ...the level of frustration/angst/distress/distaste that technology gives me, you'd wonder that my head has not blown off.  Couple that with the year that 2020 has been, and you'll see why this hot mess evolved.

2020: In the Rough

It started out quite innocuously on a discarded white 12 x 12" board to which I added a host of  'stuff' - broken and discarded bits of things.

I threw it in the glue cave, wet it thoroughly with a spray bottle of water and splashed some fluid acrylic colour on with great abandon.  I liked this so much I could happily have stopped here, but the intent was to express my sheer delight with the year 2020 (sarcasm intended).

The paint spread and found some grunge along the way.

Still lacking the intended feeling, I added the Covid-19 virus and paper scrambles.

Attractive, isn't it?😜

I've got masses of close-ups now that my computer has started to behave itself again (see paragraph one 😵), so here goes.  The heavy texture is astounding.

This painting is just another 'delight' (since you know I'm no fan of grunge) to add to the many that have graced us this year all around the globe - from Covid-19 to fires, floods, hornets, mosquitoes, home schooling, quarantines, political disasters, murders, and goodness knows what else.  2020 has been rough, and we're just 3/4 of the way through.

It's interesting to me that as I've compiled this post, taken the photos, and truly looked at the close-ups, I am finding unexpected beauty in a painting that was intended to show nothing but.  I rather suspect that the whole year has been like that as well - lovely little bits of beauty and grace amidst the darkness.  My family has been such a gift, from a hugely supportive husband (thanks John), a new granddaughter born (welcome Chloe), and a grandson due to make his appearance soon.  My friends have been a support and delight, and being outdoors so much has been like walking in heaven (apart from the heavy smoke this past week).

Please tell me in your comments about the grace you're finding this year - I'd love to hear it.

Thursday 10 September 2020

It's one of those weeks...

...when I find myself with a host of projects - all at that ugly stage.

Because I'm in a heavy experimental mode, I've nothing finished and had to stop for a gel printing session, just 'cause it's one thing I know how to do.

 The rest of the tables are covered with odd, messy and unlikely-looking craziness.

All of the above will have layer upon layer added to them as I explore the textural aspects of mediums and gels.  Who knows where they will end up?

Upstairs, I'm still working on my black and white journal (sorry, no photos) and the fabric spiral piece.

I quite like the upper right spiral on the one end, and may just cut that bit out and eat it.  😀

Now, catch me up - what have you been up to this past week?  I'd love to hear all about it!  

Thursday 3 September 2020

Did you know...

 ...that masterboards are a thing?  I first heard the word from my friend Angela , who has, over the years, created and blogged about them to my great delight.  She turns them into huge variety of wonderful objets d'art. 

Now, I need more paper like I need more fattening cookies, pies, cakes, chocolates in the time of Covid-19...  well, you get the drift.  However, I'd found myself with a stamped, stenciled, blah and boring very large sheet of brown 'stuff' that needed some work.  Plus, I'd a small drawer full of mop-up painted paper towels.  You know what happened, right?

The paper towels got spray-glued to a 22" x 34" sheet of white paper and the colours just have me drooling a bit.

Here are some closeups for you.

The blah and boring brown thing 

got hit with some paint (quinacridone burnt sienna from Daniel Smith, now unavailable, and Golden iridescent bronze, raw umber, quinacridone nickel aso gold and turquoise).   It's looking a wee bit different now.

It's safe to say that I'm drooling a lot over these bits!

Now there's more fun in the offing - these will eventually be turned into cards, tags, bookmarks, mini books and more.  Is there anyone in the world who has more delicious fun than artists?  I don't think so!

How about you - what kind of deliciousness have you been getting into this week?  I'd love to hear in the comments below...

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