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Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Art Abandonment

What does the title of this blog suggest to you?

When I first heard about this a few years ago, I was intrigued. I was surprised that many artists all over the world are engaged in this. They abandon their art in various places for others to find and keep. Essentially it is free art for someone to find. Art Abandonment is a type of "pay it forward" activity to make someone's day a little happier.

This movement was started by artists but you don't have to be an artist to create something and leave it behind somewhere. Up until now, I've mostly made art for people I know. Sometimes I send little watercolour postcards through the mail without an envelope. I often wonder what the people in the post office think when one of these postcards goes through. Or I will decorate the outside of an envelope or package before mailing it. But the idea of making some art for a stranger to pick up is just really neat. We don't know how it will affect that person but we do know that if we were to find a piece of art, it would make our day! I think that with all the horrible stuff going on in the world, this activity is just what we need.

Some artists will plant a small garden somewhere, or decorate a bus shelter with party favours, or do a chalk painting on a sidewalk somewhere, or hang folded paper cranes in a tree. Some artists use natural items such as sticks, rocks, moss, arranged on the ground to make a picture.

Last year, a group of people from our church got together to make small canvas paintings to abandon in our neighbourhood with invitations to our church services. I think all the art works were picked up by people who may eventually answer our invitation.

This Art Abandonment movement is so big, it has a Facebook group. Artists can post photos of their abandoned art and those who find the art can send a message via the Facebook group. The idea is to keep your identity a secret. Often we will not know who picked up our art and that's OK too.

These are two little pieces of  collage art that I abandoned a few weeks ago with a tag attached to them explaining that this was their lucky day and they just found a piece of art they could keep or give away or just leave for someone else. If they kept it or gave it away, they were asked to post a note on the Facebook page.

Here is where I abandoned them.

Abandoned at the Hairdresser
Abandoned at the Dentist
The piece below was made from the small painting I did in the Netherlands. I cut it up in strips and mixed the strips up gluing them down to a black background. I haven't abandoned this one yet. Still thinking on a location.

 Here below is another post card I made from two paintings I did on scraps of watercolour paper (I never throw good watercolour paper out). I glued them to a piece of thin cardboard added a piece of ribbon and some glitter. Instead of leaving this artwork somewhere, I'm going to mail it in one of the many postage paid envelopes I got in the mail that I never use and send it to the address on the outside of the envelope. Imagine how surprised the Data Entry person will be to receive this special gift!

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sketchbook Skool 2

My second lesson in Sketchbook Skool challenged us to draw outdoors in public. Well, I did sketch outdoors when the weather was a bit warmer but it was in my side yard. I'm taking baby steps. I'm very self-conscious when I draw in public. I have done it several times in the past but I have to do it more in order to get over my fear. I have no problem drawing in public while I'm on vacation and I think that's because I know I'll never meet any of the people there ever again so I don't care what they think. But here at home where I know lots of people, I'm terrified that I won't deliver a fantastic drawing. I put way too much pressure on myself. Since the weather has become colder again, I have remained inside but I hope to get out there and be vulnerable. Here's my drawing of the side of my house.

The second thing we were taught was to draw with coloured pencils. I used to use coloured pencils a lot when I was younger and so I thought I could handle this one. I didn't do too bad. However, sometimes I think the subject matter has a lot to do with the outcome of the drawing. If I'm working on something I enjoy, the drawing will be better. Below is my sketch.

We had some really nice Spring days and then snow. So I sketched the flowers in my house and a snow laden tree that I could see from my kitchen window.

Our third lesson introduced watercolour and challenged us to use watercolour washes on our drawings. I took a walk on a nice day this week and sketched by the Humber River near my home(there was no one around). Then I took it home and painted it.

Below is my attempt to draw in public again but I cheated and sat in my car in the parking lot. Like I said, small steps. :)

Thursday, 17 April 2014


Graffito- an inscription or drawing made on a public surface (as a wall) --The Merriam Webster Dictionary

Graffiti is writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place.[1] Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings, and it has existed since ancient times, with examples dating back to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and the Roman Empire.[2] -- Wikipedia

Graffiti is controversial. Many people have a negative attitude toward graffiti due to the illegal nature of defacing public or private spaces. Graffiti gives the feeling that the area it is in, is a poor area of a city. Gangs use graffiti to mark territory or to serve to indicate some gang related activity. Some graffiti are simply "tags" which are the most common type of graffiti. It is basically the artist's signature. Some graffiti is vulgar, some is ugly, but some is very creative and beautiful. Today graffiti is a rapidly developing art form.
I don't condone vandalism or gangs but graffiti interests me as an art form. There are many talented graffiti artists around the world. I have tried to draw letters in a graffiti style and I find it difficult. I really like the colours that are used and the shapes. Graffiti has a lot of energy and pizzazz! You can't miss it when you see it.

Above are a couple of examples of "Tags" that I photographed on a walk along the Humber River. These were done on the underside of the bridges.

This is graffiti on Plexi-glass highway barriers in The Netherlands.

This is graffiti found in different areas of Toronto. There are places in Toronto where graffiti has been commissioned and allowed. If you have ever watched Rick Mercer, he does his rant while walking through back allies plastered with graffiti.

What is your opinion of graffiti? Post your comment.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sketchbook Skool

I had my first Sketchbook Skool klass last Friday. We were challenged to do sketches without using a pencil and eraser--just a pen or marker or dip pen. Well, I knew it wasn't going to go well. I always use a pencil first to sketch and then I go in with a felt tipped pen. We were encouraged not to worry about what it looked like; whether it was good or bad, in perspective, or not. Just draw what you see, we were told and love what you draw, mistakes and all.

In my first sketch I used the wrong pens. They weren't waterproof so when I added watercolour paint later, the ink ran. However, I don't mind the look of runny ink. The objects in the sketch are a bit wonky but that too gives it a bit of character. Since it was my first sketch, I didn't worry too much about it. I hope to improve as I go.

My second sketch was done just with a micron pen and line. There is basically no shading, although I did do some cross hatching to give some depth.

The third sketch was done with a dip pen which is a pen nib placed in a holder and dipped into permanent ink. I really liked using the dip pen because I could get very thin lines and also thick lines with it.

Second lesson tomorrow, check back next week for new sketches.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, my small art quilt, Algonquin, was not chosen for the Parks Challenge. Disappointment again. Oh, well, I will keep doing what I love despite the rejection.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Online Inspiration

I've blogged before about Danny Gregory and Every Day Matters and some of the books he's put out about journaling and sketching. Well, now he has collaborated with a Dutch sketcher named Koosje Koene to develop an online sketching course. The first semester is a 6 week course taught by 6 different artists and will give us 6 different perspectives on sketching. We will learn how they sketch, where they sketch, what materials they use and we'll get assignments to do and be able to post our assignments online to receive critiques on them by teachers and students alike. They just started a Facebook page and its amazing to see how many people are interested in sketching and they are from all over the world! It is a great way to get in touch with others who like to sketch and exchange experiences and notes on sketching.

The course starts on Friday, April 4,14 and I joined with the hopes of connecting with other artists but also to help me become more relaxed about sketching in public and also building up my sketching skills. The fact that I will be getting feedback on my work is also a draw (no pun intended). It is open to everyone so if you are interested check out I'll be posting some of my sketches here in my blog so check back in a week.

I've also submitted my entry to Quilting Arts Magazine for another of their challenges. The theme is Art in the Park and as you might remember, I made an 8``X 8`` quilt about an Algonquin Canoe Trip. I will know on April 9th if it was accepted.