Wednesday, February 25


This is the culmination of several weeks of work in my graphic communication class. We had to choose an animal and turn it into a graphic form using the confines of a grid. I choose the resplendant quetzal, a beautiful iridescent bird with incredibly long tail feathers. Next we had to take the first letter in the animals name, and morph it into our logo form in a minimum of sixteen steps.

And finally, we had to compose a poster with these sixteen pieces... a poster which communicates some aspect(s) of our animal. I choose to represent the quetzal in its environment, which is high altitude cloud forests. The paper I used for the background has a swirly cloud like pattern and the large surrounding shapes are intended to evoke an airy forest. I also wanted to express the quetzals fragility by choosing the most delicate shapes to make up its body. In terms of the colours, I choose green for the background because it's a natural and organic colour that is dominant in forests. I choose to use black for my images because I knew it would stand out better than any other colour. Since the quetzal is such a magnificent bird, I wanted it to really pop off the page. I used gouache to paint it, cause black gouache is my hero.

Wednesday, February 18

Bread and Roses

Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis have organized an annual juried art exhibition to celebrate International Women's Day. They posted a call for entries from comtemporary women artists, and I figured I may as well answer that call. The show will be titled "Bread and Roses" after James Oppenheim's poem of the same name. The poem refers to the Lawrence textile strike which took place in 1912. This strike for better wages and working conditions was led to a great extent by women.

I entered this piece and now I get to wait in agonizing anticipation for the jury's verdict. The exhibition is looking for art that celebrates women and highlights then need for continued action to secure and maintain women's rights. I thought this piece would fit the theme of the show because there's a certain violence present, as well as sadness, acceptance and transformation. I get the sense that the girl in the picture is somehow assaulted, yet very wise. But I say too much. I love to interpret and explicate my own art, but then I remembe that I hate interpreting and explicating my own art.

The show will be hosted by the Alma Gallery from March 3-11. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 17

Grouper: Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill

I owe a few good discoveries to Pitchfork, but Grouper has got to be in the top five. When I began checking out their list of the best albums of 1998, (many of which were a let down for me), I tried out Grouper, who ranks at number 37. Here is what they had to say about her album:

"Grouper is Portland, Oregon's Liz Harris, drenched in so much reverb that she sounds almost intangible-- like a voice calling up from the bottom of the ocean. On Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, Harris' third full record as Grouper, a few meager shafts of light are finally allowed to penetrate the mix: A gently strumming acoustic guitar reappears regularly, and Harris' words are, for the first time, occasionally discernible. These tiny hints of accessibility are just enough to deepen the music's essential mysteriousness, to make us feel tantalizingly close to Harris before she's gone again, the echoes of her breathy coo humming in our ear." --Jayson Greene

I couldn't put it better myself. She's a new favourite for me. You can listen to one of her songs here, or read more about her on her label's site, Type.

Fun With Fabrics

I've started mucking about with fabrics now. I went to a thrift store and picked out a selection of colours and I'm pretty pleased with what I found. Especially the fluorescent pink, which is from a kid's sleeping bag. I'll be using that colour in moderation though. Once I had my fabrics, I was ready to try my paint and string designs in a new medium... transferable dye.

I just recreated the effect of the paint and string on paper, but used the dye instead of the paint, like so.

Then you place the paper face down on your fabric, and iron on the design. I tried the transferable dye on scraps of all my fabrics. You can see that the dye is more vibrant on some pieces. This is because the transferable dyes are intended for synthetic fabrics only. Thus the more cottony fabrics, such as the gray and light pink, create a softer effect. I have to say, I'm happy for the variations. They range from a stark x-ray look to a ghostly imprint. It will create a more interesting pallette for my quilt.

Here's an example of how much of a difference the temperature of the iron makes. The darker image was pressed at a higher temperature. This can get dangerous though, because some fabrics melt or shrivel at high heats.

I also tried out a little applique. I heard about this great product called "Steam A Seam" from some quilting experts I know. It allows you to fuse applique shapes directly onto your work without any sewing! Wow, right? Well, I tried it out, as you can see, and it was very simple to use and I give it four stars. My only problem with it is evident from my above photo: this stuff is supposed to prevent fraying at the edges, but that fabric is clearly fraying.

Here is my applique with the flourescent pink fabric. There was less fraying with this one, but as you can see, I need to keep my iron temperature low when dealing with nylon, or it'll melt!

Sunday, February 15

Drink and Draw

I have now attended two artist get togethers in Guelph, fondly known as drink and draws. They were organized by illustrator Michael Byers, whose excellent work can be perused here. These gatherings have been a great way for me to meet some working artists who all have a lot of wisdom and experience between them. It's also bee a great way to relax between all the school projects, and I ususally feel refreshed after a night of drawing just for kicks. Mike has set up a blog to exhibit some of the group's creations which you can check out here.

Here are some of the drawings we've come up with.

Thursday, February 12

Here are a few recent sketchbook pages. It's not too often these days that I get to draw whatever I want!
A haunting model with decorative carnivorous plants in her hair.

A cool mod chick.

I enjoy the nestled squigleys in this one.

And some canteloupes!

Monday, February 9

Mr. BeeSean

I came across this amazing artist today and almost creamed in my pants. You can check out more of his art here.

Sunday, February 8

The Branches of Completion

Well, it's been five months in the making, thanks to the intense work load at OCAD, but I've finally finished this painting, which was my first commissioned work. My customer is picking it up on Monday and I'm horrendously nervous about how she'll react to it. Nevertheless, it feels great to be finished!

This piece is mixed media. I used a variety of delicate and textured papers along with acylic paint.

Friday, February 6


One of my current project involves expanding and developing a technique we loved as a child. I used to make these as a kid with paint, string, and folded paper. I'm happy to say it's just as fun now as it was then! The quilt(s) I'm going to to be creating are the result of expanding this technique to fabric.

Thursday, February 5

Judith Content

I'm about to embark on creating some small art quilts. I was inspired to do so almost solely because of the work of this artist, Judith Content. Most art quilts I find hideously tacky and overdone, but hers are perfect, zen, and beautiful, and I can scarcely tear my eyes away from them. See for yourself!