June 30, 2008

A little bit of Fanfare please?

How time does fly when you're having fun (or not).

Here I am, sitting in the garden, surrounded by a palette of blooms and greenery, basking in the warmth of the first real summer weekend this year, listening to the trickle of the water in the fountain, and giving serious thought to having a tall glass of something cool and alcoholic. And in the middle of a Monday no less. I've got that vacation feeling for sure though it's not vacation time yet, but only a really extended weekend thanks to Canada Day tomorrow and a "why even bother going to work for one day" rationale.

And I'm in a celebratory mood: today marks the completion of my revamped website. Finally, after almost two months of every free minute gone over to tweaking code, changing styles, and editing images, the beast is live. For now. There are still things I plan to change and add but those can be handled at a leisurely pace. I have a binder-full of printed articles and a great book, Creating Web Sites, that I hope will keep me from forgetting all the stuff I learned. Now, I'm itching to get back to carving. I feel as if I've been away from the world of printmaking for years.

My next print will a black and white one, based on this drawing I did a couple of years ago:

I used Gimp (and it's amazing how proficient I got with using Gimp over the last couple of months) to change the drawing into a line format,

and then transferred it to my block.

The transfer is a bit smudgy but it'll be ok since I'm only carving the one colour. Time to go sharpen my chisels.

June 11, 2008

Brackendale Art Gallery

So I was looking through my photos today and came across a whole bunch of pictures we took on our visit to the Brackendale Art Gallery last summer. I'd meant to post them and give the place a bit of a plug and then forgot. A true shame and a bad oversight. Nevermind, the gallery is still there and, if I know Thor, the curator, probably boasting several new things since last year.

And, since summer is almost here, at least in spirit if not in weather, and some folks may be doing a bit of traveling through this supernatural province of ours, I figure it's a good time even now to tell about this place.

R and I first came across the gallery 20 years ago, newly moved to Squamish. We'd just returned to BC following a couple of years of vagabonding around Arizona and California and we got the impulse to go looking for some art culture one sunny Sunday. Our hunt led us to Brackendale, just north of Squamish, and to Thor and his gallery where, two hours and a couple of kickass espressos later, we'd been conscripted to provide some free labour. Thor was in the middle of getting several of his huge (roughly 6 foot round) highway signs painted and he needed man-power.

He said something along the lines of: "You're living in a dinky Squamish apartment; come and breathe some fresh Brackendale air for a couple of weeks", gave us the keys to his kingdom, took his wife Dorte away for a two-week vacation, and left us with 5 signs, a shed-full of paint, and more than enough food and coffee to last us the duration of the work. He also left his precocious dog, Bracky, and an orange tomcat named Dale, who was so old he drooled acid, for company.

That was the beginning. Over the following couple of years R and I put in some more time and labour and learned a lot of life lessons from Thor and Dorte. Years have passed; we've been away from Squamish for 18 years. New recruits have painted new signs I'm sure. But Thor, Dorte, and the gallery, are going as strong as ever and they are definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The espresso is still as good as ever, the ambiance is warm, and Thor is a character straight out of fiction.

Here's a picture of the trip up, along the Sea to Sky highway:

The entrance to the gallery and Thor and Dorte, the curators:

This is a picture of the chapel, added only a couple of years ago. The chapel is non-denominational; icons representing different world religions live happily side by side.

And these are the latest additions: a recovery station for wounded bald eagles and a Tolkienesque eagle observation tower. Each year, Brackendale is host to hundreds of bald eagles who come there to nest.

Finally, here's a picture of a piece of the "casting wall", where people who have contributed to the gallery in some way over the years are represented.

Valdy, David Suzuki, Paul Horn, Robert Watson, and several west coast artists are captured in stone. Some non-famous people are there too of course, including, top row center, R and me:

June 08, 2008

Bumping Room Only at the BIMPE 09

The opening reception for the BIMPE V, the 5th Biennial International Miniature Print Exhibition, was held on Granville Island on Friday night and R and I headed over there to take it in. A number of WetCanvasers are taking part in the show and I wanted to see their work live as life as opposed to on my computer screen.

This is a picture of the Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery which is staging the show:

And was it ever packed. We each took a deep breath and dove into the mob but soon realized that trying to start at one end of the room and move around to the other end was going to be impossible. In fact, there was such an insane amount of people that, at times, any movement at all was impossible.

However, there was also a marvelous collection of prints on display and so, since I have to go back next week to drop off my own prints for the Malaspina summer show, R and I decided we would wait until then to really see the BIMPE V exhibit and do it proper justice.

Here's a couple more pictures taken from the doorway:

Next stop, the Malaspina call for submissions:

The Malaspina show will mark the first time I take part in a "real" exhibit. I spent the day framing the three prints I'm planning to submit:

Now they're all leaning up against the wall in the living room, white-matted and black-framed, looking very serious and grown up, waiting until submission day.

I also added some colour to an edition of one of my very early prints; these are card-sized ones I plan to take just in plastic sleeves:

Now the next step is to try and figure out what to set my prices to. Not a real strong point for me.