Saturday, August 19, 2006


“Does the sun ask itself, “Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?” No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, “What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?” No it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, “Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?” No, it burns, it shines.”

–- Andrea Dworkin, 'From Our Blood'

So often I let life pass me by in blocks so that I never see the small details. It has been awhile since I spent any amount of time looking carefully at what usually passes me by in a blur.

A clump of weeds at the side of the road takes on a new meaning when looked at close up. It becomes a landscape in its own right, filled with shade and light and mystery. It's Mike Sibley's class that pushed me to explore the world at my feet more thoroughly. I tried the method of Negative Drawing using Kit as an example, but it didn't work out as I wanted.

The drawing of the horse is ok, but the background is too nebulous to be effective and my patience in trying to create it has dwindled. So I chose a new image to try the technique. Its a fairly slow process of building up the tones and letting background recede and the foreground catch the viewer's eye, making it all believable.

The berries of the mountain ash trees in the garden are starting to change colour, a signal that summer is closing in. This year, the good weather at flowering time has ensured that the tree is covered in berries which the birds feed on all winter. In Newfoundland these trees are called 'dogberry trees'.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

Visual Aids

Visual AIDS strives to increase public awareness of AIDS through the visual arts, creating programs of exhibitions, events and publications, and working in partnership with artists, galleries, museums and AIDS organizations.

By mobilizing the visual arts communities, Visual AIDS raises money to provide direct services to artists living with HIV/AIDS.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

Artist's statement

To have work accepted into galleries or shows or to offer commissions, the public wants to know about you. Who you are, why you create, what drives you, etc., etc. This information is contained in an artist's statement. It becomes a marketing piece for you and for your work. And it is something that artist's dread more than a blank white canvas with no ideas. But there are lots of ideas and guides to help you through the process. Its rather like writing a resume in an abbreviated form. It will evolve and change over time to suit your purposes.

I have created my own recently and found that the process made me think carefully about what I do, what medium I enjoy and where my strengths are. I know it will change again, just as I will, but that's fine. Its meant to be. To read it, click on the image.

It is a one page document with a self portrait which allows potential customers to see my background and view my work and me at the same time. Any of your art can be displayed on this document or it can be left plain. I like the idea of adding my work to it; it becomes an effective marketing tool, but it may not be suitable for all situations.

Here are a few guides that I found to help you through the process of creating your own artist's statement:

How to write and use and artist's statement


Writing an Effective Artist's Statement

By Tacey A. Rosolowski

The Dreaded Artist's Statement -

Artists Foundation

I've tried another drawing using the Negative Drawing method. This is of Kit, my horse. The reference image for this was taken last week and is here. I like the way this is going, but it is quite small and started as a test drawing in my sketchbook. Also the background is so busy in this image, however I can change that and put her anywhere I guess. I'll play a little more and see where it leads.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Embden geese

The Embden geese showed rapt attention (well,for the most part) as their pool was refilled. They are large geese, weighing up to 30 pounds but tend to be fairly laid back - for geese. They hiss at me but rarely do a mock charge unlike the Chinese Browns who seem to think aggression is the order of the day, every day.

The other goose has taken a broody spell and is sitting on an egg under a tree near the greenhouse for the last week or more. Goose eggs take about 30 days to hatch so she has a while to go yet. Her mate has given up mooning around and has squeezed himself into the pen with 17 other geese, destined for Christmas tables to find company and a new friend. Just as well he's more identifiable with his larger knob on his head or he may head there too.

This is a sketch done for the scavenger hunt - the word was sleeve but my hand came along with it.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I was up early this morning and wandered into a drawing thread at WetCanvas and an eye was the reference to draw. I love drawing eyes. Eyes of anything and anyone fascinate me. I love being able to shape the sphere of the eye and capture the moisture and sheen and texture. It doesn't always turn out as I want, but I always enjoy the process.

I've finalized a place to hold the drawing classes, now I just need people to sign up. I'll be busy posting and emailing flyers over the next few days then wait and see what happens. So for people living in Flatrock, Torbay, Pouch Cove or St. John's or surrounding areas, here is an opportunity to learn the basics in drawing. It will be held in the Town Hall in Flatrock starting on September 14th and run for 8 weeks. Email me for details.

Here's my large buddy, Kit. She's such a big dog, even if she is a horse. Unfortunately she still is up for sale. She's young just 4 years old, and needs training. She's wonderful on the lead and knows her basic commands. The guy I bought her from said she was ridden, but she's pretty frisky and I haven't chanced it with her. I'm just too old to bounce well anymore. So in the meantime, she's my big cuddly dog.

She enjoys a good scratch against the fence. Unfortunately, she has a habit of leaning against the fence too much and knocking over sections. Then she stands there looking surprised and all innocent.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Negative drawing

"Negative drawing is a conscious method of working that isolates and protects areas of your paper. These areas can be entire elements that are often completed later, smaller areas wher eht intention is to leave them as virgin highlights or white shapes against a darker background; or minute ares that, for example, form whit ehairs between their cast shadows. Negative Drawing does not involve any form of erasing."
Mike Sibley

I've started a test drawing for a class with Mike Sibley, who's a wonderful artist and so adept at this method of realistic drawing. I never cease to learn and explore techniques in drawing and each time I fall in love with the medium of graphite all over again. 'Simple pencil' people say with a little disdain and never seem to give this medium the respect that it deserves.

Simple pencil is the basis for all art. It puts an idea on a notepad, a napkin in a restaurant or provices the outline for a detailed drawing. In its own right as a medium, graphite in its many forms can be as detailed or as loose as you with to make it. It just depends on the technique that you use.

I prefer realism and tend to be a traditionalist so the medium and the 'fiddlyness' of the art of realism appeals greatly as does the finished product. With Mike's blessing that I'm headed in the right direction, I will tackle this project on a laarger scale and now that I know the process, I can ensure that I take my time and follow the plan.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006


Fourteen ducklings hatched last week. They were a mix of purebreed Pekins and mixed Pekins. The colour variation is striking when they are tiny and the dark ones look so appealing with their 'masks'. They are all in the barn now, in a nursery stall where they will stay as they grow. We will keep the dark ones as the purebred Pekins are destined for central Newfoundland as a starter flock.

In the field I found that the herbs have taken off and the elecampane is starting to flower. The plants this year are taller than I am. Obviously they like being on the edge of the horse manure pile!

I have played around with Squidoo in an effort to be seen further afield in terms of art and commissions. My lens provides a little information, but I'm not sure yet if it is more than a simple marker in a new trend of toys. Time will tell.

I haven't had a lot of time for drawing this weekend, except for some sketching for the scavenger hunt. In keeping with the 'growing' theme, there are some of the jalapenos growing in the greenhouse. After harvest, they are destined for drying and for making stuffed jalapeno poppers, yummy.

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