Insta Art Series – Painting 5

INST series 6aThis painting is packed with texture and fun details. I got some more photos printed, because I went on a couple of really foggy, misty hikes after I printed the first batch. The funny thing is that in that gap in time, Instagram released an update that allows for photos that are not squares. For those who don’t use the application, until this point your images had to be cropped into squares unless you downloaded a different app to make your rectangular picture fit into a square frame. To make a long story short, none of my new batch of photos are squares. So many of the foggy landscapes look great as rectangles. INST series 6bI posted the photo, below, on Instagram and a friend said she liked the use of both photos. I was trying to decide on one of them. It got me thinking about lots of ideas as I looked for things to include in the painting. This is my favourite part of mixed media paintings – sleuthing out little details that I find meaningful to include in the collage. I found an antique piece of sheet music with a song entitled “Woodland Echoes”. The concept of echo, and double exposure gave me the idea to include both images.

INST series 6c I did some mirroring or repetition in my composition. I repeated certain scraps of paper, marks, colours and nature items on both sides of the painting.

My friend in Montreal mailed me some “old junk” that I asked her to find for me – old newspapers and local things. I was flipping through this stuff and found the word “pareil” which also seemed fitting here. I used antique carbon paper to create some of the marks and distressing that you see in the final piece, below.

I love that the one picture there is my husband walking along a mountain bike trail near our home. He loves mountain biking, and this is one trail we often hike on as well. The two of us were able to go together one day when our two oldest kids were at school. It was during a busy time near our 15th anniversary in October, so it was a special time that we got to do this while most people were at work!
INST series 6d

Insta Art Series – Painting 4

Pleased with Painting 3, I tried to do a similar composition for this one. I also like how this turned out. I created a really scratchy texture in the browns, so this photo of my son walking into the forest worked perfectly. This photo means a lot to me because I have been hiking this trail for a few years. Now that I am on maternity leave, I’ve been hiking a few times per week. I find walking in the forest very life-giving. I love watching the changing seasons and noticing every bit of moss or mushroom or leaf or bird.

INST series 4a

The colour of green reminds me of moss and ferns, which grow profusely here on the west coast. It’s a very fresh, springy colour. One of the pieces of text on the left says “retour du printemps” which fits in nicely. Also in the collage is a piece of a hundred-year old negative, a scrap from a photo envelope from the early 1980s, and other interesting things.

INST series 4b

INST series 4c

Insta Art Series – Painting 3

I thoroughly enjoyed the process of working on this piece. The photo is one of my favourites. I loved the mist that day on the mountains near where I live in Abbotsford, BC. It reminds me of the first time I visited British Columbia in 1996 (19 years ago!!). I came out in a mini-van full of college-aged students, I myself was 19 years old (half my lifetime ago!!). I remember seeing the mist and clouds in the mountains and how the coniferous trees cut into the fog. Beautiful! It’s something I have painted with watercolour in the past. Maybe I’ll try painting these scenes when I’m done this series. On that trip, I stayed with a dear friend’s family in Port Moody. I remember walking nearby where human development trailed off, literally, into the forest. A street complete with functioning street lights led off into a tall forest, which, in the rain, created this magical misty look. Three years later I moved here.
INST series 5a

I like the way the collaged scraps came together, echoing a forested horizon. Again, a lot of the fine details are not visible here, so you’ll have to see my exhibit – I haven’t found a venue yet but I’m trying to focus on painting while I’m on a roll. I also hope to take proper photos when I’m finished so that I can sell petit prints, art cards, etc.INST series 5b

Insta Art Series – Painting 2

My second painting in the series is actually undergoing an overhaul. Out of the seven I’ve worked on, I just can’t like the second one. So I’ll have to share it later and show you the third one. I only have a couple of photos – one progress and one complete.
INST series 3 a

The photo I chose this time is of a blueberry field in Arnold, BC. I was driving along in the rain and I loved the way these fall fields are so brilliant and lovely despite the grey skies. I pulled over to get this photo. You can’t really see the mountain in the background but it is a subtle blue-grey. The details and textures in this painting show up better in real life. INST series 3 b

And here we have my studio-mate, my 9-month-old. I’ve discovered that I can actually paint a little bit with him crawling around. Nap times work better, but he hasn’t gotten into too much trouble yet. I’ve been enjoying this series so much that I work on it a few times a day.Asher in studio

Insta Art Series – Painting 1

For the first painting in the series, I felt like a pioneer in the sense that I had no idea what direction I would take. I had 9 blank panels in front of me (actually 11, because two were warped and Opus kindly mailed me replacements).

I wanted to replicate some of the colours in one of my favourite all-time paintings of mine, and I achieved that in the left column. Here are three images from the process, from early to final.
INST SERIES 1aThe photo I included was one that I took last winter when I was working in Fort Langley. I love driving home through the country roads and watching the changes in the landscape through the seasons. In late fall, around this time of year, it is dusk when I leave work. I like the way this barn looks with theĀ  blueberry fields in front of it.

INST series 1 bMy goal with this series is to celebrate some of my favourite photos that I have taken and shared on instagram. I want to pin them down and make them concrete by printing them and working them into fine art paintings that I can look at on a day-to-day basis. The land of internet photo sharing is so fleeting and, well, instant.

Each painting has some leaves and other natural materials collaged into them, as well as old papers and other details related to photography (for example, old negatives, photo corners, antique album paper, etc.)

INST series 1 c

Photography painting series – the story behind the artwork

square photographs printed

Some of my favourite landscape photos I’ve taken with my phone and posted on instagram this year.

It’s been about three weeks since I thought of a concept for an abstract mixed-media art series, and now that I’m making some progress, I wanted to describe my concept in a bit more depth here. I expect that this is the beginnings of my artist statement, but not boiled down.

I love taking photos. I wouldn’t call myself a “photographer” in the way that my husband is: a professional. He knows all the technical side of the craft. I am definitely a point-and-shoot person, with an eye for composition.

When I was growing up, it was film only. I remember how much I treasured those rolls of film, which cost about $16 just to print a roll of 24 images. I’ll never forget the weekend camp when I was going into Grade 9 when I got to bring a camera along to northern Ontario. This old camera had one malfunction: the little window that showed you which picture you were progressing to on the film did not work. I snapped tons of amazing pictures. Too many pictures: photos of the moon reflecting on the lake, my friends, the trees, the buildings that I loved so much. It should have dawned on me that I had taken way more photos than 24, or even 36. But alas, the film had not been advancing this whole weekend and I ended up with no photos.

I printed more photos in various sizes than I can possibly use for this project.

I printed more photos in various sizes than I can possibly use for this project.

All this to say that when I finally got a modern phone and could start using instagram (this is only two years ago!), I embraced this new tool. The creative side of me has been waiting forever for this chance to process the world around me the way I see it, or the way I interpret it. This fall, I have really enjoyed capturing the scenes on my regular hikes with the baby. It’s a time when he is usually asleep in the baby carrier, all 24 pounds of him, and I can just be out there enjoying nature.

But the downside of this digital photography (other than my images aren’t very high quality compared to using a real camera), is that the enjoyment of these images is so fleeting. People glance at photos that one time, and never again. I love looking back over my images, but it’s not the same as having them printed.

That is why I decided to do this painting series. I wanted to capture the beauty of my favourite landscape photos by printing them out and working them into something permanent. Somewhere that no one can click “like” and walk on by. Where peoples’ liking or not liking the images doesn’t matter or isn’t visible.

I chose to do a series of 9 square paintings on wooden panels. These could be exhibited in a square or a row. The square shape plays on the traditionally square shape of instagram photos. I chose to work on wood because my images have a nature theme. I’m also working in a leaf or nature item on each painting. Some will feature old photo album pages that speak into the theme. I hope to exhibit these locally and then sell them later.

So this is what I am working on. A lot of the work takes place in my mind while I’m hiking, because with three kids to care for, I am quite lucky to get 10-30 minutes in a day to work on my art. When I am in the woods, I take a lot of photos (one hike this week I took well over 100). I get so much joy out of this ritual, smelling the roses, so to speak.

My birthday is next week and I think a lot of who I am is coming together – the artist, the nature-lover, the believer in God the Creator, the loving mother/wife/friend. I think I can do 38.


Camping at Chilliwack Lake: nature therapy

Chilliwack Lake, BC

Chilliwack Lake, BC

This is another ode to the summer that was, the epic, endless summer of 2014 in British Columbia where the teachers’ strike added an extra 5 weeks to summer. Now that is all over but I haven’t quite caught up here on sharing my summer highlights. We went camping for a few days at Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park. We camped there over 10 years ago, and have hiked there a few times, but it’s been ages. It’s quite a drive past Chilliwack, and well beyond cell phone service. But it was a wonderful experience for the kids, who biked that campground every daylit moment like only a gang of 5-to-7 year olds can. They found castles and kingdoms of rock.


The lines and contrast of driftwood

A highlight for me, other than the quietness of the campground, the complete lack of mosquitoes and insects at this time of year, and the company of friends, was the hike to Lindeman Lake. It’s a beautiful turquoise lake that took about 45 minutes for us to hike up to. It’s fairly steep but I made it, despite being barely into my second trimester of pregnancy. The kids were champions. Of course it always helps when they have friends to play with and they motivate each other onward.

Hiking and camping pals

Hiking and camping pals

I love finding patterns and art that naturally occurs in nature. Check out the pattern on this drifting log:

bug paths on log

The beautiful pattern was drawn by some kind of bug, creeping around under this tree’s bark.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll mention it again: there is nothing more relaxing and fulfilling to me than time spent in nature. These pictures from another day’s hike sums it up. The icy clear water rushing over my feet just washes away the stress or difficulties of the week. And finding all those colourful rocks – honestly they aren’t that colourful when they are scattered all over the riverbed. But with a goal of making a rainbow of rocks, it’s amazing how the colours stand out.

river stones

Cold river water and brilliant river stones

So while summer is officially over, I will try to revel in it a little longer! We try to hike as much as we can, and I’m thankful that is possible almost year round here in British Columbia.