Les Petits Sacs

Three petits sacs

Three petits sacs

Tiny "sacs" made from intaglio prints

Tiny “sacs” made from intaglio prints

Last month before the TD Art Gallery Paint-In that was held on Saturday, July 20, here in Victoria, I decided to create some new work using old paintings on paper.  It was fun to reuse these student assignments that were taking up space in my home studio.  I will post several photos of the different pieces that I call “les petits sacs” as well as the artist statement to go along with them.  I sold quite a few at the Paint-In and I have about nine still available!  You can view them at Gallery 1580 located at 1580 Cook Street, Victoria.  You can also email or phone to make an appointment to view.

Artist Statement

The opportunity to sublet my friend’s art studio came up fairly suddenly and I decided to give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  It would allow me to see what it’s like to work away from my home studio and be in this space entirely devoted to art making.

As I gathered up my supplies to bring to the new space it seemed a good time to clear out items in my home studio.  I sifted through stacks of paintings on paper and board and recalled the suggestion by an art instructor to keep your student work for a while.  Good idea if you have a warehouse to store it in.  Some of my works on paper were okay at best but why was I keeping them.  That’s when I decided I could reuse them in another form.

Instead of making new wall pieces with my old paintings I liked the idea of something three dimensional.  After experimenting folding and rolling these pouches came together.  I call them, “les petit sacs” which are created from acrylic paintings and intaglio prints on various papers.  It appealed to me that these papers were covered in marks already.  The lines, brush strokes and collage gave them some history like a life that is painted and layered with experiences and memories.  Repetition in design and form is important in my work and the notion of making a lot of these “sacs” became my intention.

Including words in my work has been common practice for years and I scribed quotations that resonate with me inside and outside of the “sacs”.  Random line work has been created with machine stitching like a journey through life with loops and waves made from the old Singer sewing machine my parents gave me when I was 12.  The thread is from a basket of sewing materials our daughter left behind when she moved away from home.  The handles are made of garden twine from the back shed.  Some papers were too pretty and delicate for the twine so I chose fancy ribbon or shiny cord.  A few of the “sacs” called for a finishing touch such as resin button with a letter stamped into it.

Buttons were added to some of the "sacs"

Buttons were added to some of the “sacs”

Pretty yellow and blue "sacs"

Airbrushed with satin and crossgrain ribbons

Airbrushed with satin and crossgrain ribbons

More made from intaglio prints

More made from intaglio prints


Love these with painted flowers, silk ribbon and double-sided satin ribbon

Love these with painted flowers, silk ribbon and double-sided satin ribbon

You win some & you lose some!


Ribbons at the fair and big payout!

All in the same day I found out that I placed 2nd, two thirds, and a honourable mention in the Art Show at the 145th Annual Saanich Fall Fair, August 30 – September 3 and then received an email to say my piece was not accepted into the juried show for Visions of Metchosin, opening September 7, 7 – 9 pm at MAG in Metchosin west of Victoria.  (I entered a lovely, delicate monoprint with embossing and calligraphy – my own words too!)  I must point out there is quite a difference in these two shows/venues and I entered the same high quality of work in both.

“Metchosing Afternoon” Monoprint

So goes the ups and downs of working an artist.  The jurors have a job to do which is to choose great art/craft to make an engaging and cohesive show.  Entering these art shows can become quite expensive.  It begins with your art materials, the framing (whether it’s custom framing or do-it-yourself frames and the time to do the framing), then the time you spend mulling over the project, the time you spend doing roughs, making sketches, writing notes, taking photos, making a mess, starting over maybe several times, and finally the time you spend creating the work.  There are adjudication fees and hanging fees and sometimes you have to drive quite a distance (30 km X 4 for example) to drop the work off and pick it up if it’s not accepted or if it was accepted but not sold at the show return to pick it up.  Then you have to package the art and store it.  The venues take a commission on the sale if you happen to make one.  It can be as low as 20% and up to and including 50% if you are fortunate enough to be accepted as a commercial gallery artist and showing on a regular basis.   So I’m just saying …

But today is a new day … the woman that purchased my calligraphy piece which won a 3rd place ribbon at the Fair came to pick it up today and was very excited to see more of my work here in my home and in the studio.  So that has lifted my spirits and encourages me to keep on making art!

Prints in progress for “Visions of Victoria 150 Project”


Prints in progress on Historic Rock Bay Industrial Site

Last week I was working on prints for the “Visions of Victoria 150 Project” I’m participating in with members of the Ground Zero Printmakers Society.  (see blog post “Printmaking Project:  Visions of Victoria” May 22, 2012)  Above are some of the prints that focus on the Historic Rock Bay Indusrial Site.  These prints incorporate stencil, chine colle and a plant print.   Back in May I spent an afternoon with some of our members on the shores of Rock Bay on Bay Street between Ludgate and Bridge where we gathered reference material for our prints. 

Rock Bay Industrial Site print

The stencil I used in this print represents an old bridge structure that I could see across the bay during our plein air outting. My stencil is a simplified image that I drew and cut onsite.  That day we were sitting among the grasses along the shore working on our sketches or transfer prints.  I felt the piece of grass added a nice line quality and works well with the stencil shape and the chine colle close-up photo of a wheel cog.  I had taken the photo on another outting to the area and printed it onto ivory “Kozo” paper from my home laser printer.   Another print design of the Historic Rock Bay Industrial Site is below:

Another version of Rock Bay Industrial Site - stencil, chine colle & plant print


25th Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In


Demonstrating lino cut prints

Yesterday I participated in the 25th Annual TD Art Gallery Paint-In, or as the locals know it as, the Moss Street Paint-In.  I was one of the palette stations which meant that I was to have an art activity available for the public to try.  I decided to keep it simple and used a lino cut design I created a few years ago of apples and a jug that the visitors printed onto a shipping tag using Acqua Wash Sepia Ink.

Lino cut prints on shipping tags

I inked up a brayer and allowed the visitors to roll up the lino plate, lay the tag down, burnish it with a barren, and pull their own print!  Many were very thrilled with their results.  I was surprised at how many adults wanted to try it.  It’s usually just the kids and the adults shy away.  Several of the adults commented that they had done this in their high school art class … a little trip down memory lane maybe?

It was a great day to meet new people and see old friends and neighbours – even our former neighbours Adrienne, Mike and their little girls all the way from Calgary stopped by to make a print!  The Paint-In gives the artists an opportunity to bring our studios out to the public and show them our materials, talk about how we create our work, and offer opportunities to learn more about our art.  Thank you to Mary-ellen Threadkell and her crew at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria!

3D collage grid

3D collage grid

Last Tuesday was my last class of Watermedia Drawing with Tracey Nelson.  Our final assignment was to do a work using a grid format.  I decided to create some 3D collages from my own painted papers and some fun polka dot papers I bought at Michael’s.  I intuitively put together several collages then chose 9 collages which I had mounted on 5″ X5″ black Canson.  I cut a variety of shapes, cut out windows, tore papers, punched holes, and used double-sided adhesive foam to raise some of the pieces off the surface.  I arranged the collage squares along with a few solid black ones,  then mounted them onto a full size sheet of foam core.  See below for a close-up.

This piece along with several other works of mine will be on display this weekend at the Vancouver Island School of Art Open House on Saturday, April 14, 12 – 4 pm.  The work will be up until April 30 if you can’t make the open house.   There is some really great art being shown at the school these days so I suggest you grab a few friends and make a point of checking it out!

close-up 3d collage grid

Building up layers

I’m writing this from my cozy little home studio preparing to begin working on more pieces using the wood cradle, collage and acrylic technique that I used for the above piece, True Strength is Delicate (detail)This is one of the mixed media pieces in my current show, Unforeseen Circumstances still on here in Victoria at the Collective Works Gallery through October 12th.

During the opening of this show several people were asking what my method was to create this piece.  I began with a 16” X 16” wood cradle that I sanded on the top surface and sides to smooth out the sharp edges.  I coated the entire cradle with a liquid matte medium three times then I started gluing down torn pieces of artist quality white tissue paper and other “rice” papers such as Unryu, Ginwashi and Thai lace using the same medium.  The colour palette I worked with included Stevenson Naples Yellow Light, Liquitex Parchment, Golden Graphite Gray, Raw Umber, and both Golden Titanium White and Zinc white.  Then I started to paint, wiping with a cloth sometimes, painting more, letting it dry, painting again.  I created stencils of leaf shapes that I began to incorporate.  Oh I forgot to say that I used my electric sander again every once in a while.  Sanding at this stage seems to bring up more of the hidden textures created by the layers of paint and paper.  After many layers and the decision to stop, I coated the entire top surface of the cradle with several coats of Krylon Matte Finish.

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