Archive for February, 2010

Paint the town red 2

February 6, 2010

We went to the opening of the Fort Gallery show tonight.  Each artist was tasked with bringing food for the opening. We had talked about bringing finger-food with red on or in it. I wasn’t successful in doing this. Instead I cooked up some pecan-meringue cookies, which I took along with a bottle of red wine,  crackers and some Boursin cheese.

Mrs. Stepford had a great idea of sandwiching beet slices with cream cheese – like beet Oreos.  I bet it would taste wonderful, especially if it were herb flavored cream cheese, but I couldn’t bring myself to make them. I thought about accidently getting a drip of beet juice on my clothing (or someone else doing it) and that ended that idea.  I thought about my marashino baking powder biscuits, but they are only good warm – straight from the oven. I didn’t think I could deliver them piping hot, so that was out. And smoked salmon as a biscuit topper? Maybe, but the salmon runs have been poor in this part of the country, so that the cost of decent Sockeye cold-smoked salmon is prohibitive.

Unfortunately, someone brought sushi and I liked it so much I went back several times. I’d already had dinner!

I invited some friends to come with me – Mrs. Stepford, next door; Carol,  Beverly and Dorothy. Just as we were leaving my house, Dorothy noticed that I had a flat tire developing. Not a good thing! I could imagine us breaking down with a flat, miles away from anywhere on a country lane in the pitch black with three of us shivering until the BCAA came to help us out. We went in Dorothy’s car instead.

We arrived without mishap exactly at seven p.m., but the lights were all out in the gallery. “Oh no!” I muttered to myself. I haven’t got the wrong date again, or the wrong time. ”  I was sure this time, but it’s perfectly awful when I do that.

We sat in the car for five minutes, then we saw a  car park beside the gallery and their lights go out. Inside the gallery,  a light switched on. A slender figure silhouetted in black moved forward in the gallery and then lights switched on.  We followed in quickly.

It was already past the witching hour, and there was work to be done – table cloths to be set out, a food table to be set up, and a bar with glasses  on the gallery manager’s desk. I was asked to uncork the wine and pour some. By seven twenty the other artists had arrived.

It took another twenty minutes for the noise level to rise and the conversations to flow, aided by the libations.

It was a light crowd.  Maybe forty people turned up, max. I brought four people with me and two more of my guests more showed up later. There are sixteen artists, I think, so that only leaves another seventeen visitors. So if the number of invitees was disappointing, the evening was not.
It gave me a good opportunity to chat with a some of the other artists whom I don’t know too well yet.  I think that is going to be the big bonus of having joined the collective. And I got explore the  Open Studio area in the adjoining store front, where classes or private tutoring happens.

I was rather surprised to find it was only ten o’clock when we got back to my house. Mrs. Stepford was eager to get out of her Friday-go-to-openings clothes, and Dorothy had had a long week, working. Both disappeared into the night and here I am home-alone again. The other two had come in a separate car as they live in a different community ten miles from here. The evening was over.

During the evening, one of the artists mentioned post-partum exhibition syndrome. It’s true. There is a let down once The Opening is done. In the days that come, I hope that some of our artists’ group make some sales. It’s not the only reason why we paint, but when something sells, there is  a thrill of validation that comes. An adrenaline feeling. Someone has felt deeply enough about one’s work that they have been willing to actually pay for it.

Now I’m ready to turn in. I’ll be glad, myself, to get out of my exhibition-duds. Tomorrow I”m going to have to look after that tire that is losing air.

Now this latter? That’s a real let-down!


Paint the Town Red

February 2, 2010

The storefront window of the Fort Gallery, Judy Jones glass work at the fore.

Olympic fever is upon us. To stir up the nationalistic pride, communities are celebrating with Canadian-flag red events. To quote the current publicity campaign, “the new black is red”.

I’m not sure quite how to interpret that. Perhaps it is to say that businesses are usually good when they are ” in the black” where as “in the red” means that you are not making any money; but in the new regime,  the Olympic fever and the tourism that is therefore generated, business should be making money, and it’s Canadian red that is doing it for us.
The slogan is convoluted. Nonetheless, it’s driving community events, and close to my heart, in Fort Langley, it has driven the name for Fort Langley’s publicity campaign that is in conjunction with the Olympic flame being brought through the local community’s streets.

Caught up under the umbrella of these celebrations, the Fort Gallery’s new exhibition is called “Paint the town red”. Every painting has a theme of red running through it. Every artist in the collective is submitting three to four pieces. There are some beauties.

We hung the show today and as I am now a member of the artists’ collective, I was there while we were deciding whose pieces should go where.

I was challenged to get good photographs. There was a lot of glare on the glass-framed artworks. I reflect in the glass with my camera glued to my nose. The lighting sometimes put a strong spot of light on a single part of a canvas work. Nevertheless, the paintings below will give you an idea of what is to be shown. There are about 60 pieces, so I had to do some selection; and besides, you need to come and see the show, if you are in the vicinity.

In theory, I should have been helping to hang, but it was my first time and I spent some considerable time just figuring out the dynamics of eleven or so ladies as they made suggestions, consulted, hung and de-hung, moved things from one place to another. It was all done in less than three hours. Miracle!

When it was almost done, I helped one of my new colleagues by drawing a little red line on the wall where the top of the painting should be.  I actually did it twice. I hope they aren’t concerned about my lack of participation.
It will come. It will come.

So here are some of the images that are in store for you if you should wish to see these paintings in the flesh, so as to speak.

Here’s my key entry for the show. Unfortunately, I’ve not got a good photograph of it, just this glarey one:

Poppies, late afternoon, Kristin Krimmel ,watercolor, 22×30 on Arches paper.

Terry Nurmi provided these two images:

Terry Nurmi, acrylic on canvas


Terry Nurmi, mixed media

Maggie Woycenko brought this vibrant woman and parrot that for all it’s dynamic color has an incredible stillness to it and a very thoughtful ellipsis – you have to guess at where the body ends and the background starts. I rather like these visual challenges that make an observer work to understand the image.

Woman and yellow parrot, Maggie Woycenko, oil on canvas

This woodcut, below, is all hand-rubbed rather than put through a press. One woodcut block has been used in alternate color and alternate position, repetitively in a grid to form a larger image. Woodgrain rubbings separate the variations. It’s a marvelous example how one can work with small resources (the 4 x 4 inch wood cut block and no press) and still come up with a good sized image.  I’ve shown this work complete with framing because it marries so well.

The overall image has an oriental feel to it, like Japanese fabrics, and yet

Jo-Ann Sheen, wood cut on rice paper

Claire Moore’s poster of a female ski-jumper is a protest against the Olympic committee that deemed women ski-jumpers ineligible for the games.

Denied – 2010, Claire Moore, acrylic on paper

The skiing figure is dynamic. It vaults into the picture plane, suspended, just like the skiers seem to be, compact and motionless as they fall towards the ski-run. Symbolic of anger and passion, the red signifies the sentiment the women feel over being banned from the games. There’s a great balance between large flat shapes and the textural portion at the base; and between the action of the dynamic figure and the implacable, immovable mountain. Dare I say it is a symbol of the Olympic committee on this issue?

For this show, Suzanne Northcott has brought this large painting, Woman with red stockings, a pensive, mysterious figure.

Woman with red stockings, Suzanne Northcott, oil on canvas

Betty Laughy offers this child in a white dress, seen from above:

Baby Ballerina, Betty Laughy, acrylic on board, 32 x 24 inches.

Susan Falk brings this red toned horse:

Horse on Parade, Susan Falk, oil on canvas, 30 x 48 inches

Dorthe Eisenhardt contributes her signature abstract images.

Passages 7, Dorthe Eisenhardt, acrylic on canvas 30 x 30 inches

Red figure, Kristin Krimmel, oil on board

A few artists did not turn up during the hanging process but they are expected to bring something before opening day, so there is lots to see.

The opening is on Friday, February 5th at 9048 Glover Road in Fort Langley at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. These are usually lively affairs with a good crowd of artists and nibbles and a bit of the liquid form of the fruit of the vine.

Why don’t you come, wearing red, and join the festivities?