When I started thinking about the use of shape in art, I thought of three dimensional sculpture. When I was studying at Emily Carr in 2005, I was assigned to make a cube out of plaster and then “wrap it.” I put a lot of thought into this project, which you can read about in an old post here. It’s hard to believe that was already nine years ago.
The other object I photographed was one of the antique kitchen implements I have hanging in the kitchen. This was an antique from the “old house” on our property that my parents had hanging around our fireplace in the den. I like the sculptural lines and shadows it casts.
Here are a couple of my paintings that demonstrate a degree of asymmetry. On the left is a pair of paintings that I display with a space of about an inch in between. While the horizon is aligned, the canvases are not. Read about the making of these paintings here.
On the right, the slope of the landscape gives an asymmetrical feel to the painting.
Day 18: I dug up some examples of depth in layering in a couple of my paintings.
Depth is defined as the distance from the top or surface of something to its bottom or complexity and profundity of thought. In my creative process, both of these definitions present themselves. Layers and layers of both thought and media go into my mixed media collage-style paintings.
I love nature and wanted to instill this into our kids as they walk up the stairs to their rooms, so I painted this waterfall scene to remind us of the hikes we love. As I often do, I collaged in some natural objects into the water and rocks at the foot of the waterfall (silver dollar leaves and seeds). You can’t see it from this perspective, but I painted the children into a treehouse on the right, and made a ladder out of broken twigs.
On the right, you can see the detail of a different painting that shows many layers of different papers, paint, a butterfly wing, pastels, etc. One of my favourite parts of creating a painting is near the end when I just add these finishing touches, which often create depth, colour and rich texture.
Most of my artwork does not feature a strong form; I tend to paint abstract landscapes with a horizon. This painting actually hangs in our laundry room. I liked it more in one of its previous stages, when it featured several smaller circles in a row. For some reason, this form happened. Is it a sea creature? A planet? I don’t know. So to the laundry room it was banished.
The same morning as I was scouting a form to photograph, I noticed that the sky had an incredible radiance. It’s interesting how the sunburst echoes the form in the photo of the painting.
I have to say, for a rainy cool winter, we’re having our share of beautiful skies. I’m thankful for this, and thankful to be able to pause my day to notice things like this.
For the past three weeks I haven’t touched my in-progress painting. But today I woke up with a three-day weekend and nowhere to go on a rainy stormy sort of day. Being Remembrance Day I thought perhaps I should take a stab at painting poppies. Don’t get too excited, because what I ended up with were two more paintings of soybean fields in the works. But I have a plan on one of them to get slightly more realistic than usual and to include actual structures in the field – the well house and ruins of a corn crib.
Soybean fields in progress
But to my dismay, I ran out of gesso. I haven’t had to worry about art supplies for quite awhile, having stockpiled acrylic media and canvases when I had a student discount at Opus and cycling proximity to Granville Island. I don’t find the prices at the local art store very good, so I might just have to plan a visit to Vancouver to restock some things.
Retro step stool chair
I also had time to dress up as a queen upon the demand of my four-year-old, and restore a vintage step stool I found discarded along the street near my workplace. It’s been in the garage for several months, and today my two children and I attacked it with disinfectant and the wondrous thing called steel wool. I think I knew steel wool had magical powers since I had a chrome-fendered bicycle as a child. But I could not believe the transformation to the legs of this stool. I am quite satisfied with the result so it is now in our kitchen – hopefully providing a safer roost for our two-year-old at the island. It is the same type of stool we had at my parents’ house that I was nostalgically online-shopping for, and luckily found for free.
I hosted my birthday party this weekend. A girls’ night. I wanted to polish the decor a little bit by setting out some of my “adult” things out that are normally out of the reach of little hands. Nothing too scandalous…candles, wine, and my two Andy Goldsworthy art books.
I was thrilled this afternoon when my two-year-old started leafing through “A collaboration with nature” and exclaimed “These are leaves! These things are all rocks!” Both kids snuggled up with me and looked at the whole book, interested in the captions of how the artwork was made. I loved that they could grasp this art and enjoy it. I would recommend it to any parents reading this as a great introduction to art and seeing the beauty in nature to your own kids.
Each installation is so incredible, made of simple leaves, thorns, ice, even holes. Here are a few examples to get you started. When I look at his work, I just want to move into the wilderness and do stuff like this every day.
Somewhat spontaneously, I pulled together my first artist submission last month to exhibit my work, and I just found out that I was selected. It is a small two-month show at a local museum, and will be the first line on my cv.
Really the first step on my artistic journey was pushing myself through the Artist’s Way twice. For those of you who haven’t read it, it’s 12-week creativity workshop. The first time, I went through most of the book but did not make any concrete moves.
I picked the book up a couple years later, and this time had my breakthrough – I established a concrete goal – to sign up for one art class at Emily Carr, since I lived in Vancouver within biking distance of the school.
After the first class, I loved it and managed to work through a certificate program in art and one in Marketing & Professional Writing (SFU) while working full time. By the time I finished the programs, I was having my first baby, then working full time in communications and having another baby.
Now that I sleep through the night again, most of the time, and have settled back into work (a year and a half full time), I am ready to move forward again on the art career. It’s exciting, and I’m curious to know what direction my path will take.
Duck Farm Barns, mixed media on panel, Nancy Duck Hildebrand 2011
I finally finished this painting that I started in 2007. I had started by painting the whole wooden panel yellow, and doing a photo transfer of the old barns that used to stand on our family farm. I also tried some different technique samples such as using a product that creates rust (bottom left) and doing some other photo transfers that turned out very dark (horse in centre bottom right). I collaged scraps of my great grandfather’s farm notebooks – lists of numbers and sums. But the overall painting was just too yellow.
I decided to just put a gesso wash over most of the piece and start again. I added a lot more colour and some feminine themes: a woman riding in a buggy, a brooch found on the farm, a home remedy for rheumatism (transfer in the sky), and some receipts from egg sales – because the women in my ancestry did a lot of egg-selling and butter-making. I also finally got to use the old fuse I’ve been saving for this type of occasion, and some fencing wire. Overall, I’m a lot happier with it than the old version. I feel it is complete.
I now have almost 5 mixed media paintings completed in this farm series. I’m thinking of doing a few more watercolours as well – I have one already of my grandfather. Between the mixed media paintings, watercolours, and photographs of the farm, I think it would be a great series for an exhibit.