Tuesday, July 27, 2010

***UPDATE*** Sooke Fine Arts Show 2010

What a thrill it was to go to the Artist's Reception evening at the Sooke Fine Arts Show.  Great jazz, tasty tidbits and smooth wine!  It was a packed house and I am betting there were close to 500 people there.  Each artist gets two tickets and there are comps given out to sponsors, dignitaries and so on who want to attend.  It's a fun evening all around as you bump into other artist friends or folks you know.

The judges did an exceptionally fine job of selecting the art for this year's show!  The show is terrific. There is some gorgeous art to be seen and anyone living on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, in Vancouver,  or Port Angeles, Port Townsend, the San Juans or Seattle in the U.S.  who loves art and can make it to the show should not miss it.  You won't be disappointed.  It is definitely the premier annual art show on Vancouver Island and in British Columbia.

An Interesting Side Note  

One of the announcements made during the award ceremonies was that there were over 1400 pieces submitted for adjudication and 358 actually made the show...more than they had originally planned for but the art was so good this year that they made room for some more pieces.  WOW what an honour it is to be among those that had a piece accepted.

Mission Accomplished

When hubby and I arrived at the show, the first person we saw as we walked through the door was a storytelling friend (and artist) of ours who volunteers at the show each year.  This year, Mary was on the "set up" committee... helping to place all the art. 

We stopped to chat for a moment. "I think you are going to be very pleased to see where "If Pigs Could Fly" is placed.  It's a premier spot for some premier art." she said with a big smile. "Everyone on the set up committee think your piece is just wonderful.  Everytime they passed it as we were setting up and hanging up the art, they would either laugh or get a big smile on their face looking at it.  There is just so much to see and discover in that piece.  It is certainly a hit with us."

Hmmm...imagine how it made me feel to hear that what I wanted to have happen (bring a smile to folk's faces or give them a good laugh) happen!  Mission accomplished. I was pumped.  I'm sure I had a big FAT, silly grin plastered from one ear to the other on my face.


Following the award ceremony,  off we went to admire all the art.  Hubby and I were wandering around like two little kids in a candy store.  Hard to know where to look first... it is all so deliciously tempting!  We took our time as we wandered through but in the background of our minds there was this niggling "wonder" of when we would discover my piece!

When I have a piece in an art show, I love to discover where it is placed by chance! Don't look it up in the Art Show guide. Don't tell me where it is. Let me find it on my own. It just adds to the excitement and pleasure of the event for me.

I rounded a corner.  There he was, sitting ever so sweetly on a podium in an alcove just like I had imagined it in my mind.  Mary was right... it was great placement!  When I saw him, I chuckled... it was perfect!  Above him, on the wall, was a wonderful acrylic painting of a pig and chicken in a barnyard.

Then I saw it...


the red dot that signifies that the piece is SOLD.  I blinked and looked again.  Sure enough, it was STILL THERE. My heart took a leap and burst into joy... such a special moment. 

I turned around and tugged at hubby's sleeve.  "Look there's the pig."  He turned to look and within seconds saw the red dot.  "Oh sweetheart, it's been sold.  Good for you.  I am so proud of you.  Wow! High 5 honeybun" (Whatcha think?  Is he one of my most ardent supporters or what?  Grin)  We both broke into a (subtle but fun) happy dance on the spot.

A Special Moment

What made this moment even more special is that we quickly realized it had been sold on the Purchasers Preview Night... the Thursday evening before the show officially opens.  This is the evening that gallery owners, many sponsors of the show, special guests and art collectors who want first shot at purchasing the art in the show attend.  WOW!  I was bouncing with joy juice for the rest of the evening.  What a high...

Before we left, we took a quick look at the gift store... such pretty jewelry, small paintings, glicees and cards... I could have spent a fortune in there.  I was pleased to see how my jewelry that I have for sale there was displayed... nice placement again.

As we headed for the door, hubby drew my attention to the large sale board. 

"I just counted how many sales they've had already", he said. "It's over 100 and the show hasn't opened to the general public yet." he added. "That's pretty impressive.  A lot of the pieces in the show are competitively priced but they are certainly a long way from "bargains". It says something about the quality of the art and the so called recession. People are buying. What recession???"  It's an interesting point to ponder!
I don't know who purchased "If Pigs Could Fly" yet but it is usual practice for the show coordinator to let you know at the end of the show who bought your art.  I like that because I think every artist should be able to send the purchaser a personal thank you note if they choose to.  I generally do and, as often is the case with my art, I also include the "background story" or what inspired me to create this particular piece of art in the form of artist notes. 

The "Artist Notes"
I recently read an article that said people who buy art often like to be able to say to their friends or customers, "Well, the artist of this piece told me..or... the story behind this piece is...." and relate any informational tidbits from the artist that is behind the piece.  So I guess I am on the right track when someone purchases one of my art pieces.  Interested in reading the Artist Notes I wrote?  Just click here.

So once again, may I say a warm thank you to all of you who left such wonderful comments or sent me encouraging emails expressing your best wishes for the piece in the show!  It was just so lovely to receive them and it made me feel very special coming from you... my loyal blog visitors and followers.  Thank you so much!!!

Hope you all have a terrific weekend... and "Happy Heritage Days" to my fellow Canadians this coming Monday.... (a "bank holiday" in Canada on the first Monday in August to celebrate each province's heritage).

See you next week...


P.S.  I was going to wait until the end of the week to tell you all this... but I decided not to wait.  Terrific news needs to be shared!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

"If Pigs Could Fly" - Sooke Fine Arts Show

As promised in a post a couple of weeks ago, here are some photos of my ceramic/polymer entry, "If Pigs Could Fly" that has been accepted in the Sooke Fine Arts Show, that begins today and runs through August 2, 2010. 

With so many entries and so few pieces of art accepted, I am deeply honoured that my special piece found a place in the hearts of the jury judges and a "podium" to sit on and amuse visitors to the show.

A few "creative process" notes on "If Pigs Could Fly"

Standing approximately 14 inches high and made out of ceramic glass, a base "undercoat" of clay was applied to the ceramic and a second layer, the clay "overcoat",  was added to the first layer of clay using a random method similar to putting a fabric "crazy quilt" together.  Each section has a different, but compatible pattern to the next section, impressed in the black clay. 

The rivets,  screws, nails and aviator glass rings are made from polymer clay as well as some of the elements... the keys, old coins, "belt" separators, the keyhole with a photo transfer on clay behind it, etc...

The tail, which moves when gently touched, is made from black covered wire. 

The wings were constructed from hand embossed copper metal, then distressed and antiqued.

The snout has a metal propeller that moves and spins.  The propeller was made on request for me by our family friend Ray who chuckled when he heard what I was creating... this time around!! 

Ray loves humourous pieces.  He absolutely adored the bare naked Santa ornaments I made last Christmas... he placed a large special order with me so he could give all of his curling buddies and friends ornaments I made with Santa holding a curling rock.  According to his wife Sylvia, he was absolutely thrilled when I asked him to make me a metal prototype of a propeller for my piece. 

"He could hardly wait to get into his workshop", she laughed, "and the promise of some of your buttertarts for his efforts got him going as soon as we got home."   Thank you again Ray!!

The aviator goggles are made from a piece of leather and multiple clay rings(with plastic lense inserts for the "glass") and the eyes are two pink "jewels", placed cross eyed on purpose!

When completed the piece was carefully dusted with various pearl ex powders, fired and a semi matte finish was applied.

It was a ton of fun making this piece which took me about a week to complete.  Instead of planning "how" to do it beforehand, I let the ideas evolve as I progressed... a much more "organic" way of working that is somewhat "riskier" but a "method" of creating that I truly enjoy.  I believe that the sheer amusement and joy I experienced during the process comes through in this piece. 

I hope it brings a smile, a chuckle or even a giggle to the people who see it at the show.  My wish is that someone who comes to the show, sees this fun, amusing creation that I fell in love with and falls completely in love with it too.  I know they will just want to purchase it for a special spot in their home to remind them, each time they see it,  of the important role that fun and humour plays in their life.

 "If Pigs Could Fly" ... indeed ,,, what do you think pigs could discover if they could fly?  I'd love to hear your answers!!

Thanks for stopping by today for a peek...



Saturday, July 17, 2010

Feeling Stuck? Bogged Down? Need some Inspiration? Read on...

The last couple of days I have been thinking about what I would post this week! Personally, it's been a rather stressful week with one thing and another and nothing was coming to me... it was as if I had put my thinking cap somewhere and I'd be darned if I could find it.

I think most of us experience this from time to time and it can be very frustrating to say the least. It doesn't seem to matter whether it's finding a subject for a blog post, solving a problem, writing a story or inspiration for a new art piece. The more I try to get unstuck, the more stuck I get!

Our Oh So Serious Lives

Ever notice how bogged down you can get in work, worry, home chores,routine, paperwork, and/or "other people's agendas"? Personal, family, employment and community stressors can influence our lives so much that our "SELVES" seem to get lost in the "card shuffle" of everyday life.

Life becomes "serious" and we "should" all over ourselves... "I should but...(fill in the blank)" becomes our mantra. One day feels like the next as we start going through the motions. Our senses dull. We start snapping at the dog or uttering uncharitable words at the drivers on the freeway!

So what can we do when we find ourselves stuck in this quagmire? How can we pull ourselves out of the "muck" and recapture the excitement, surprise, wonder and serendipity that brightens our days and feeds our soul?

One word: PLAY

Excuses, Excuses

Now I am sure, like me, you could find a gazillion tried, true, familiar reasons why you might scoff at that idea. I don't need to write them down here for you. You know what they are! You might even be saying my favourite one to yourself right now "I don't have time. I've gotta get this (or that) done!"

Enough is enough!

When I sat down to write today (and nothing was coming to me), I knew that I was buying my own B.S. (basic storyline). No way I had time to play. Are you kidding? I had to get this done. No time for fooling around. BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! As I listened to myself conjure up every excuse in the book, I started to laugh. I was "wasting" time thinking up excuses. Now how silly is that? I heard my little self say to my big SELF: "Enough is enough." It was time to play.

I fired up my Internet browser. Scrolled down to the "Toybox" bookmark. A list of "web toys" appeared.

Blog Post Idea Generator - I just recently found this lovely little app by chance. I clicked on it and chuckled when I read: "Suggest ten free resources that your readers would benefit from". “Okay... that’s easy! “ I said to my SELF, “I’ll share my list of “break out” toys.” Try this one the next time you can't think of what to write about on your blog. It works!!!
Update:  This site is no longer there.  Try this site, Content Idea Generator instead.

One Word – One word writing prompts. This definitely can get you past writer’s block. One word with sixty seconds to write about it without thinking. A “just do it” app with a timer! You can even email what you wrote to yourself in those 60 seconds.

Imagination Prompt – Similar to the Blog Post Idea Generator, I really like this little app with it’s interesting prompts. “If your tears could speak to you, what would they say?” WHEW! I think I'll leave that one for some other time....

ShapeCollage - This is a fun toy! It takes photos or images on your computer and makes them into all sorts of different shapes. You will need to download it and install it on your computer. Only takes a few minutes to start having fun with your photos. 

Picture Prompt – This one can get me going when I need some “art” inspiration. Great for those of us who need visual stimulation to break through our “stuckness”. There’s a new one every day for you to have some fun with.

Scribbler Tool – Go doodle with this one or just mess around and see what comes up. You can use your mouse or a drawing tablet… and even upload something you are currently working on.

Colour Lovers – I love messing around on this site. I could spend hours here just playing with colour and patterns. It’s pretty simple. All you have to do is choose a colour, create a palette and design a new pattern. Try it! A word from the wise: Make sure you have a timer handy or an hour spent on this site might feel like it was only 10 minutes.

Kuler – from Adobe. If you like creating colour palettes, this is the site for you. Immerse yourself in colour and come up with some nifty combinations here to use in your next art drawing or digital collage.

Oblique Strategies – This is the web version of a deck of cards meant to inspire. The idea behind Oblique Strategies is that when we’re working hard or under stress, the pressure tends to push us away from the type of creative, productive thinking that we’re capable of when the pressure’s off.

Ideally you choose a card from the deck and as you read it, it breaks the deadlock to help your creative juices to start flowing again. Many of the strategies were designed with music in mind (it was developed by Brian Eno, a musician and his friend Peter Schmidt, a painter) so if the card prompt you draw doesn’t work for you, just choose another one.

I laughed to myself when I drew "Plug in your earphones!"

What a good idea... I picked up my IPod and listened to some of my favourite music for about 10 minutes. It picked my spirits up in no time!

Rum & Monkey – Lots of silly, fun “timewasters” (their words) to bring a smile to your face and get you unstuck and moving in a different direction. Little Tests to find out who you and some fun little toys to play with.
Update:  Unfortunately this site is no longer there but here's another one that you might enjoy: Brain Teasers

Well that’s ten but here’s another one, ‘cause I’m on a roll …LOL

Bomomo – A fun art generator. Hold down your left mouse button and try out all the different drawing buttons! Fun and colourful....

So there you have it! The next time you are feeling bogged down, need a break from monotony, want some inspiration or just want to play, you can reference this list. You'll be back on top of your game again in no time at all.

Have a fun and inspiring week…and remember to play!


P.S. WOW I am feeling energized and ready to roar now. I found my thinking cap again. WHEW! That's a relief (smile).

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Celebrating my 100th Post and some *WONDERFUL* news...

It's hard to believe that I have hit the 100th Post milestone!  When I started blogging, I wondered how long it would take me to get to 100.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like blogging and figured if I did hang in there, it would probably be years and years... shows you how much I know... LOL.

So how does one celebrate their 100th post? 

First, I am certainly going to give myself a pat on the back for getting to this milestone.  PAT! PAT! PAT!  I re-discovered just how much I like to write and share my "stuff" with others and can't imagine NOT blogging.

Second, I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to those of you who have hung in there with me and to those who have signed up as followers.  Thanks  also to those who left so many wonderful comments and sent many lovely emails during that time.  I love hearing from you and boy you sure haven't disappointed me!

Third, it's been such great fun getting to know some of you better and becoming "pen pals".  That's really been a bonus I never expected... it reminds me of the many "pen pals" I had from literally all over the world when I was a kid. 

Did you ever have a pen pal?  If you did, what do you remember about that experience?  How long did you keep in touch with each other?

I certainly had a number of them.  Some lasted for just a couple of letters back and forth.  Others a little longer.  But I especially remember one of my pen pals that I corresponded with for nearly ten years... from the time I was about eight years old (my "Nancy Drew", mystery detective and writer era) until I was 18 ( head over heels in love with a young, dashing, "worldly" (or so I thought at the time) pilot... oh so terribly exciting and romantic). 

Roberta and I  never did meet during all the time we wrote back and forth.  She lived on one side of Canada and I lived on the other.  Flying across the country for a visit in those days just wasn't in the books.   Driving over 5,000 miles on a vacation didn't happen in most families (probably still doesn't).   An opportunity to meet just never presented itself.  However, over the years we became the best of buddies and shared everything! From our childhood secrets, complaints about our "horrible" siblings, our latest craft "creations" and "art" endeavours, our first crushes on boys in the next grade, our "wretched" parents who just "didn't understand" us at 14.  Oh and Elvis...and the Beatles... now my age is showing (tee hee)... just made our hearts go pitter patter!

We eventually lost touch with each other as our young lives started moving in different directions. Roberta was a year older than me, got married and had a baby. My romance came to an end abruptly and I was thoroughly heartbroken. These days, I have often wished I had saved all of our letters. Wouldn't it be interesting to read all those "missives" that passed between us during that time?  I am certain we would have more than a couple good chuckles along the way...

My *GREAT*  news...

I have some news that I am just dying to share with you!  One of my entries into the Sooke Fine Arts Festival made it into the show that will take place at the end of this month.  I was absolutely thrilled to bits... it's so hard to get into that juried show in the first place and it seems to get harder every year as they receive more and more entries vying for a spot in this premier Vancouver Island show.

The way it works is this:  You bring your art work out to the location in Sooke, B.C. (not far from Victoria) where the show will be held.  In the following week all of the entries are judged by three prominent B.C. artists.  The following weekend, you make the trek back out to Sooke to get your results (to either pay the hanging fee for your art if you have been accepted and/or pick up any art work that hasn't been accepted... you can submit up to three pieces).

I wasn't sure whether or not the pieces I submitted would make it or not.  Why?  Because they were in polymer clay AND in the "steampunk" genre.  The fact is there are many artists (and judges) who don't consider anything that is not a watercolour or a painting to be art let alone mixed media or polymer clay.  And "steampunk"?  Well it's hot among mixed media artists these days but what about art show judges?

As soon as I was handed the envelope (heck, it feels like it's the Academy Awards when they give it to you), I knew.  It was thick.  That's always the clue because they enclose tickets to the Artist's reception and other information about the gift store during the show. Now I was really excited and curious... which one got in (I had submitted two polymer clay steampunk pieces)?

Holding my breath, I opened the envelope.  With hubby leaning over my shoulder for a peek, I opened the sheet of paper with the "news" on it!  YES!  A Big Hug from hubby and high 5's as we yelped with pleasure... My polymer clay steampunk piece, "If Pigs Could Fly" had made the cut.  Hubby felt pretty smug... he'd been saying for weeks is was a shoe in and uh huh, like most guys, he likes to be right!

Now, unfortunately, I can't post a photo of it today but I can promise you,  you're gonna have a chuckle when you do get to see it once the show begins.  I'll post a photo the day the show begins.  For today, let's just say, I had an absolute blast making it and just as much fun thinking about it as it came together.  I'd like to think that it brought a smile to the judges faces.  I'd also like to think that someone who attends the show and discovers it, is going to fall madly in love with it and just have to have it.

So now I have to get busy getting *stuff* ready to put in the gift store... some art cards and some Inukshuk earrings and pendants.  It seems that every time I wear my earrings and pendant, someone stops me and wants to know where I got them.  When I tell them, they ask:  "Do you take orders?"  Well I am not going to say no to that now am I?  Here's a photo of the earrings and one of the pendant... aren't they cute??? 

I think what I like about them most is that none of the "little guys" are exactly the same... they all turn out differently and I never know what they will look like until they are done.  I love that kind of mystery!

One of our kids is visiting for a couple weeks so we are off sightseeing and to the beach this weekend... it's going to be HOT, HOT, HOT...a rather unusual occurrence for this temperate part of the world but I'll take it... it's been so cool in this part of the country that I never thought summer would arrive!  Did I mention that I am solar powered???
Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great weekend...


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day to all of my American Readers!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian readers! 
143 years old and still going strong...