When life gives you lemons, draw them, 11 x 14 inches dry pastels, graphite on paper

"When life gives you lemons, draw them". (Nikki)

"Trust your intuition, it's just like goin' fishin'; you cast your line 'til you get a bite." (Paul Simon)

B.C.

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Stellar’s Jays

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Stellar's Jays, work in progress - almost finished, 18 x 24 inches watercolors on 140 lb. cold press

Stellar’s Jays at Nimkish Lake, Vancouver Island BC, 18 x 24 inches watercolors, still in progress but setting aside for study before mucking it up too much. Perfecting the eyes, beaks and feet, plus grounding the birds more firmly in place are best left for a fresh perspective, until I haven’t seen it for a while. Detail images:

 Stellars Jays, upper left detail Stellars Jays, upper right detail

Stellars Jays, lower left detail Stellars Jays, lower right detail

Stellar’s Jays

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Stellar's Jays, phase 03 work in progress, 18 x 24 inches watercolors on 140 lb. cold press

Work in progress, Stellar’s Jays at Nimkish Lake, Vancouver Island BC, 18 x 24 inches watercolors on 140 lb. cold press. For years I’ve been visualizing a painting that portrays the Stellar’s Jay in various poses, representing general character. My Dad pointed out that Stellar’s Jays don’t usually group this way, which is an accurate view of the broader behaviour that didn’t even occur to me. Interesting! Phase 02 below and detail image – the yellow is masking medium:

Stellar's Jays, work in progress, 18 x 24 inches watercolors on 140 lb. cold press Stellar's Jays, work in progress detail

Normally I don’t outline anything when starting a painting, which works fine with acrylics because it’s easy to change things throughout the process, but watercolors don’t allow for much room for error, especially if you don’t have much practice with them. Wingin’ it usually works for me because I don’t mind failure in exchange for experience, but mapping out the shapes and arrangement lightly in pencil really helps, and confidence is fundamental to painting well.

North Saanich Poppies

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

North Saanich Poppies, 16 x 20 inches W/C on 140 lb. cold pressed premium

North Saanich Poppies, BC Canada – 16 x 20 inches W/C on 140 lb. cold pressed premium.

Bigleaf Maple watercolors

Sunday, November 4th, 2012


 

Big Leaf Maple 12H x 16W inches watercolors on 140 lb 100% cotton paper

 Big Leaf Maple near Port Renfrew, Vancouver Island, BC Canada, 12H x 16W inches watercolors on 140 lb 100% cotton paper


 

$250.00 mat             Buy Now Using PayPal

$550.00 framed        Buy Now Using PayPal


Framing on Northern Delights 02 update

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010


 

Northern Delights 02, acrylics painting 24 x 36 inches with 36 x 48 inches canvas frame

Northern Delights 02, 24H x 36W inches acrylics on canvas, adhered to a 36H x 48W x 1D inches canvas. Mask/resist medium was used to maintain white spaces and pure colors in both sections.

The central painting was started in 2006, with the framing resolved today – a perfect example where some paintings just need to hang around for a while before they are well and truly finished. The scene of the central painting is extended onto the larger canvas, initially intended to have the same style, but stopping for a coffee break, then coming back with fresh eyes, decided  I actually like the clash of styles. I always say that art is the best place to exhibit any rebellious tendencies! Besides, formal frames can sometimes cut off the energy of a composition too abruptly. Every painting does not need a frame, but finishing the edges should always be considered.


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What Bigleaf Maples Do At Night

Monday, May 25th, 2009


 

 What Big-Leaf Maples Do At Night - Day look -20 x 57 x 4 inches Muslin, white glue, acrylics on canvas, 30 LED lights system   What Big-Leaf Maples Do At Night - Night -20 x 57 x 4 inches Muslin, white glue, acrylics on canvas, 30 LED lights system

What Bigleaf Maples Do At Night, 57H x 20W x 4D inches muslin, glue, acrylics on  canvas  wrapped over custom-built stretcher frame. LED light system in back.

Alain, my husband, signed his name on this also, because he spent the entire week designing, soldering and wiring a system of 30 LED lights for the back. He was not impressed with the eight inadequate push-lights I was initially going to use to create this Day- Night  Art. The electric source is a rechargeable 12 volt battery placed neatly in the back, with an easily accessible on-off switch in the lower left corner. He’s not thrilled to ever create another, so it looks like I’ll be learning a little about soldering and electronics, because there are plans to transform the other two canvases exactly the same size as this one. Originally l hoped it could hang in any of four orientations, but that was revised due the battery pack in the back. Thank you Alain for making this piece what it is!

 High intensity LED light system on the back by Alain Coulombe

______________________The original blog posts; process:___________________

Step 1: Unbleached muslin painted with glue. Step 2: The dried muslin becomes stiff and can be crumpled, pinched and maneuvered to create 3D textures

Nov. 17th, 2008: While finishing the final stages of Sun Shower #4, at this point more study than stroke, I’ve started on the next piece… a bit of mystery thrown into this one just for fun. Hint: Step 1 Unbleached muslin is painted with glue; place over top parchment paper and turn or lift frequently so it doesn’t stick. Nov. 18th: Step 2– When dry the muslin becomes stiff and can be crumpled, pinched and maneuvered to create 3D textures.

Large Leaf Maple, life-size - Mixed media 3D muslin on 36 x 12 x 3 inches wrapped canvas, work in progress Large Leaf Maple, life-size - Image 2 of 3, Mixed media 3D muslin on 36 x 12 x 3 inches wrapped canvas, work in progress Large Leaf Maple, life-size - Image 3 of 3, Mixed media 3D muslin on 36 x 12 x 3 inches wrapped canvas, work in progress

Nov 18th, aft. Step 3 – OK, enough guessing. I have three beautiful sturdy 36 x 12 x 3 inch canvases, hung vertically or horizontally. Each one will have a 3D design of life-sized leaves created with the stiff muslin. This one is of Large Leaf Maples seen on salt Spring Island, B.C. when we were there last summer. They are really this big – about 15 inches across! On these canvases, all dimensional surfaces will be considered; the front, the sides, and possibly some sticking out from the back. Everything will be primed before painting and I love Virginia’s idea to use glue as a resist for the leaf veins. In the above three images the design is still in planning stages.

Nov. 19th – A few thoughts before continuing work: this could be as simple as a sillhouette or painted realistically, still haven’t decided..maybe a compromise of the two, on the abstract side of things. Putting lights in the back could be interesting too, as in the recent Zen Garden #8 but would like to come up with something that does not have a distracting cord.

Large Leaf Maple - top detail, first color base coat - total size 36 x 12 x 3 inches, muslin sculpted leaves, work in progress Nov.21st – Seen here, the leaves have a splotchy base coat of Hansa Yellow Deep, a color chosen because when it is so vibrant when it peeks through built up layers of other colors. Now that the entire piece has color though, I think I prefer the sculptural purity of the unpainted sillhouettes better – something to remember for similar work in the future.

The weight  of tinted primer and each application of acrylics makes the fabric  limp from of the paint, meaning the creasing process needs to be done all over again once it dries, even on successive layers. Because of this I need to slow down and be more gentle with the painting process also. It’s funny how you can overlook things like that when you are ten steps ahead with anticipation for a new project; things always take much longer than you imagine. There is going to be a lot of stopping and starting with this one, which is exactly how overlapping projects occurs.

Also: looking forward to a day-long workshop tomorrow, learning about Encaustic painting with Deanna Wood. Encaustics is an ancient process of painting with beeswax and natural resins. Not usually a “workshop” kind of Artist because I’m too greedy with my work-time, but this is one of those things that’s best learned from an expert. Am bringing a fabric leaf to the class to see how it could be incorporated and if this entire. Large Leaf Maples piece could benefit.
______________________________
All posts and comments for this piece are now combined.

Submitted on 2008/11/18 at 11:48am
If you don’t want to see the seed bits in the muslin, you can get unbleached muslin without the seeds. (New viewer comment: Lynda’s website)
_______________________________
Submitted on 2008/11/18 at 1:03pm
OK Lynda, thanks for offering this valuable tip. With regard to what’s in mind for this project, the rawness of the fabric will provide texture, but others may want to know that finer quality muslin is available.
Nikki
_______________________________
Submitted on 2008/11/18 at 1:53pm
Hmmm…looks like a resist process to me. Is it a mask? You are a very adventurous soul!
Virginia Wieringa
_______________________________
Submitted on 2008/11/18 at 2:06pm
Nope, not a mask or resist…at least the glue wasn’t initially going to be used as a resist, but once again I owe thanks for the tip via a viewer’s comment – thanks Virginia! It’s true, glue can be used on anything as a paint resist, usually on wood it works similar to crackle glaze (ask me how if anyone is interested). I haven’t tried that technique on raw fabric yet though and for what I have in mind, painting extra glue in strategic places could produce some interesting effects. Let’s see…
Nikki
_______________________________
Submitted on 2008/11/19 at 1:16am
This is great Nikki. I’ll be back tomorrow to see how this project is coming along.
Jim Drury
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Submitted on 2008/11/19 at 4:12pm
Hi Nikki
This is getting really interesting, can’t wait to see the finish project
Elizabeth
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Submitted on 2008/11/19 at 7:07pm
Thanks for staying tuned Dad and Elizabeth, I also can’t wait to see the finished project – it’s always a mystery even if I think I know what I’m doing.
Nikki
_______________________________

Large Leaf Maple - can hang horizontally or vertically, top/left detail of 36 x 12 x 3 inches muslin, glue, acrylics on wrapped canvas, work in progress Large Leaf Maple - can hang horizontally or vertically, central detail of 36 x 12 x 3 inches muslin, glue, acrylics on wrapped canvas, work in progress Large Leaf Maple - can hang horizontally or vertically, right/bottom detail of 36 x 12 x 3 inches muslin, glue, acrylics on wrapped canvas, work in progress

Nov.27: What Large Leaf Maples Do At Night, detail images of 12 x 36 x 3 inches Muslin, glue, acrylics on wrapped canvas. As seen here I imagined the leaves glowing in the moonlight, which took me to the idea of turning it into a piece that can be viewed differently in a dark corner or at night so the sculptural sillhouette shows best.

Since Saturday’s Encaustics workshop I’d like to try another sculptural piece doing the whole thing with Encaustics test on muslin leaf shape painted with glue for stiffness, oil pastels Encaustics tecniques, see right sample. Beeswax doesn’t adhere to acrylics though, so another will need to be planned with that medium in mind right from the start.

New chair started: Salish Wooden Whorl

Sunday, December 14th, 2008


 

1960's plastic lawn chair, woven canvas strips, glue, plaster

Salish Spindle Whorl replica started, layers of woven canvas and plaster, dried and cured, then 1st graphite design outline

This functional replica of a Salish Carved Wood Whorl re-utilizes a 1960’s plastic lawn chair, 29H x 29W x 29D inches that was considered Art in its own day. The refurbished chair has woven canvas strips and white glue applied paper-mache style over the entire plastic top and bottom. Multiple layers of wall plaster are sanded in between coats. The design is sketched with graphite then painted with acrylics, and drawing is continually adjusted as layering of materials continues.This is the second chair of four in the historic Art-themed series. The other two chairs are in the earlier stages of progress.

First coats of Acrylics paint and texturizing with varnish Layering more plaster then redrawing and adjusting the design

Going for the magic every hour

Friday, August 15th, 2008


 

Magic Hour 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas, sturdy home-built core stretcher frame, wrapped sides painted

Magic Hour  finished, 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas, sturdy home-built core stretcher frame, wrapped sides painted.

Magic Hour, top detail of 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvasGreat moments in painting are addictive, when so completely immersed in the work that time becomes non-existent…the Zone! I’ve had a good week with this one, partly because of getting past the habit of trying to control the outcome. Things happen in every painting that are not planned, and the endless choices are part of the fun.

Magic Hour, bottom detail of 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvasAt this phase some solid strokes need softening again; finding a balance between the two. The lighting is the biggest challenge so far, plus making a subtle transition in style from top to bottom and foreground to back that will bring our attention back to the top half of the painting. Now, how do I go about doing that I wondered, I only have a hunch. After adding mid-tones a couple of days ago there were second thoughts about doing so, because the whole painting became dull and flat, entirely not what I wanted it to be. Briefly discouraged, I thought this painting would join the I-don’t-know-what to-do-next pile, but when unsure I look for answers in the very basics, like concentrating on what I do know for sure, rather than what I don’t.

Yesterday took a leap into the darkness with pure colors straight from the tube. There’s a huge sense of freedom trying something out – and ironically the more afraid you are the better it is. It’s the intermittent periods of doubt that spur determination to conquer issues and at the same time entice you to quit!

Painting is considered to be a two dimensional undertaking, but it’s so much more. While lost in the work process, all the dimensions of the subject are explored, including the deeper dimensions of ourselves. While painting we discover our convictions and the means to ask how far are we willing to go to stand up for them.  Work every day is about continually reevaluating decisions, taking responsibility for choices made, being honest about mistakes, shortcomings and limitations of media and self, and digging deep to find compromise between technical and intuitive solutions. It’s about control of all those elements, combined with easing up on trying to control too much. All this and more translates onto a flat surface as we hope to give the illusion of depth…if that isn’t magic I don’t know what is!

Post-dated Note: When choosing this totem pole that is erected in Thunderbird Park at the RBC Museum in Victoria I didn’t realize that it’s the same one that Emily Carr painted in 1928. More magic! Here is a link to more information about this totem, the Gitxsan Pole moved from Gitanyow (formerly Kitwankool) B.C.


 

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The work process

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008


 

Magic Hour, top detail, 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas. Phase 6, work in progress

Magic Hour, bottom detail, 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas. Phase 6, work in progress

Started July 17th, I’ve tried various ways to have our eyes sweep up to the top half of ‘Magic Hour’, like creating an abstract of wide brushstrokes of dark and light,representing background trees, plus scrubbing areas away that almost hide the bottom characters. It’s covered up now with more paint, but I may return to that idea when proportions are corrected.

A camera captures all the details, but when we look at something our eyes focus only on one area at a time. In a photo, with the bottom portion of the totem clear it makes sense, but not in the painting. Most of the detail here will be toward the top of the statue, but the bottom deserves as much attention, just have to resolve the illusion of detail without too much attention there. The colors are starting to come together in a way that will imply light from the sunset and moon glow coming from opposite directions.

A word here about artists’ appropriation of First nations or any other cultural/historic works: subjects are painted with due honor and respect, with purpose to study and draw interest to the importance of appreciating our multi-cultural world and the unique characteristics of each and every culture…this is what artists do. Our differences as cultures are reconnected, as there are many common traits and themes expressed through Art through all of time, everywhere.

Robert Genn and readers of The Painters’ Keys have some very interesting comments all around the board about this topic.

Magic Hour, progress

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008


 

Magic Hour, top detail, 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas. Phase 5, work in progress

Magic Hour detail image, top half of 60H x 40W x 3D inches acrylics on canvas, sturdy home-built core stretcher frame, wrapped sides painted, work in progress. I decided not to lighten the background after all — am leaving the background as-is with loose brushwork in contrast to the totem pole which will be much clearer. To achieve the weathered look I’m using a dish-washing scratch pad to remove some of the paint.

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