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!

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!

More new prints

At the beach with Sandy

 Like the print in my last post, this print was also created with stencils, embossing and chine colle.  This time though I decided to “let the pieces fall where they may”.  The embossed areas were created using cut pieces of styrene.  I just dropped them onto the plate then placed the photo on an angle and then decided where the inked stencils would fit.   I decided not to use water or beach colours but colours that would be more youthful and fun.  I must stress that the colours are not showing up very well on the screen – they look great in real life!  I’m still using the “kraft” coloured Stonehenge which also is not showing up well in the photos.  I like the effect of the ink colours against the brown. 

At the beach (without chine colle photo)

After some comments made by my studio mates, I decided to try some prints without the photos.  I also cut some new stencils in more organic shapes and cut more pieces of styrene.  Again I dropped the styrene pieces then decided where the inked stencils should be placed.  This was also printed on the “kraft” Stonehenge.  I am hoping these will be part of Imperfect Memory, a show I am doing with Lorraine Douglas and Susan Underwood May 22 – June 2, at Gallery 1580 in Victoria BC.

At the beach #2

“At the beach #2” was made with the same elements and I added more styrene pieces.  I think maybe I’m getting somewhere with this idea!

Watermedia play

Surface Study #2

A few weeks ago I started a class at the Vancouver Island School of Art called Watermedia Drawing with the inspiring instructor, Tracey Nelson (http://www.trace.nelson.com)  The first day we had to tape off a section of the classroom tables (you know those 6′ plastic ones that get covered in paint, etc. from overuse)  then create a painting.  The first one I did, Surface Study #1, appears on my Home page for the month of February and on the Painting Page.  I took a photo of the table so I could continue working on it at home.  Keep in mind that the table was just a reference and I took it a lot further.  The painting above, Surface Study #2,  done on BFK Rives paper with ink and fluid acrylics, was done in a similar way, using a photograph I had taken of a concrete floor in a building on Salt Spring Island.  This is a great method to get started on a painting and or a background for a calligraphy piece. 

Today I will be heading over to Cecelia Press (printmaking studio of Lorraine Douglas and Susan Underwood) to begin working on new prints!  I have lots of ideas whirling around in my mind and can’t wait to get them down on paper.  Lorraine, Susan and I are booked to do a show of new work at Gallery 1580 here in Victoria May 22 – June 1.

Fun with monoprinting

This Wednesday I’ll be participating in a small office art show and the theme for framed work is “umbrellas”!  I had fun creating this print above titled “Rain, rain …”.  I scanned a photo of our son, Read, printed it from my laser printer on white bond then cut around him to removed the background.  I rescanned the image and printed  it out onto a very lightweight green paper with embedded fibres that I bought at Opus.  I made a mask to cover him and also some narrow strips.  I rolled red oil-based ink over top of the masks then I rolled up a styrofoam food tray (the kind with the little bumps) and “stamped” onto the paper.  I used some scraps of paper that I had rolled blue ink onto and cut strips.  I “chined” the blue strips and the green paper onto BFK support paper using the etching press.  Then I added the words with a mechanical pencil and used pencil crayon to colour the top of the umbrella and his t-shirt!






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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