Tuesday 19 August 2014

This and that

Finally... I have some time to myself. I'm betwixt and between what just a few days ago seemed like an unending list of exhibition deadlines and summer art festival dates. Now, with a deadline-and-appointment-less day at my disposal, I thought I'd take a few minutes to write a brief re-cap.

The avalanche of activity got rolling when I hosted an Artist's Open House at my studio last month. It turned out to be a quiet-ish day, but I nonetheless welcomed a steady trickle of visitors to view a selection of artwork and enjoy refreshments on the lawn. Shockingly (to me, anyway) my coloured pencil drawing Wild Muscovy was among the artworks that found new homes that day. I was convinced he'd be with me forever - after all, this bird's face is one that takes some getting used to - but a visitor to my studio fell head over heels in love with him and soon he will be gracing the walls of her new home. (I wrote about this drawing in a previous blog post, Tale of an ugly duck.)

"Wild Muscovy" coloured pencil drawing

A few days later I attended the opening of Oil and Water, an exhibition of artwork from around the province, hosted by the South Delta Artist's Guild at their Gallery 1710 in Tsawwassen. I knew my silk painting, The Transients: Snow Geese, had received an award but I was honoured to learn it placed in the top three, earning the Envision Financial Master Artist's Award. Wow!

"The Transients: Snow Geese" silk painting

Bright and early the next morning I was at West Vancouver's Ambleside Park setting up my booth at the Harmony Arts Festival's Art Market. It was a lovely event that spanned two weekends in a gorgeous waterfront setting.

My tent and art display at the Harmony Arts Festival

The summer weather was almost too cooperative, at times reaching temperatures that challenged even heat lovers like myself, but it didn't deter festival-goers. Among the artworks that found new homes during the festival was one of my new silk paintings, Lone Plover, based on a sighting of a semi-palmated plover on Wikaninnish Beach near Tofino.

"Lone Plover" silk painting

During the festival I demonstrated my coloured pencil skills by working on a piece which I call The Nest Builders: Cedar Waxwings. It depicts a pair of birds I observed at the Reifel Bird Sanctuary last spring as they harvested bullrush fluff to use as nesting material.

The Nest Builders: Cedar Waxwings

At this time of year, time is at a premium and no sooner is one event over than another looms perilously close! My next objective was meeting the deadline for an exhibition called Cascadia: A Juried Exhibition of West Coast Flora and Fauna  (August 23-November 16, 2014) at the Surrey Art Gallery. This exhibition runs in conjunction with a travelling exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Canada entitled Flora and Fauna: 400 Years of Artists Inspired by Nature (September 20-December 14, 2014). The theme is right up my proverbial alley, and I'm pleased my new silk painting Where the Forest Meets the Shore: Northwestern Crows was selected by the jury.

"Where the Forest Meets the Shore: Northwestern Crows" silk painting

And then there was one last summer festival - a particular favourite of mine. It's the annual Arts Alive event in my home town of Langley. I've been a fixture at this event for years and my booth was, as usual, well attended with new visitors and familiar faces. On display at the festival were the Adirondack chairs that were painted by local artists and auctioned in support of Critter Care Wildlife Society. The auction has now closed and I'm pleased to report that my chair earned more than $2,000. That will feed a lot of mouths at the wildlife shelter and I'm grateful to the purchaser for their generosity. (Read about my chair in my previous post, A meadow of wild flowers.)

During all of this activity - the creation and preparation of artwork, the manufacture of art cards and other sundries, the packing, the transporting, the setting up and taking down of festival displays, the list goes on - I've been managing lively young kitten Hugo and even more active young puppy Lily. When not being completely distracting in their cute antics, they have needs to be met in terms of their care, as do the adult felines in the household (thankfully they are much more self-sufficient).

Lily and Hugo

Archie and little "brother" Hugo

Hugo and much older "brother" Rupert

At times it feels like living in the middle of a Bugs Bunny cartoon only with two versions of the Tasmanian Devil to contend with.

But for the moment and for the next couple of weeks... all's relatively peaceful. I can enjoy the balance of the summer at a reasonable pace and make the most of the fun to be had with a pair of baby animals around the house. I'll be trekking in the park, tidying up my garden, catching up with friends and, of course, working on a few more pieces of art in time for the events that will roll around next month, as well as preparing for the workshops I'll be teaching over the fall.

There may be no rest for a weary artist but there's a lot of satisfaction in the work and the life, and I wouldn't trade it for all the summer holidays I'm unable to take. Luckily, like the birds I so enjoy depicting in my work, I hope to be making a southerly migration in the winter months to come for some well earned rest, relaxation and re-invigorating sunshine.

But that's too far ahead to do much more than dream about. For now, I'll be enjoying these last days of summer and preparing for the next onslaught of activity that will arrive with the turning of the calendar page.

Note: You can keep abreast of my many art activities on an ongoing basis by visiting the News page of my website, signing up to receive my monthly e-newsletter, or connecting with me on Facebook.

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