What’s behind my Artist in Residence

It’s been a while since I wrote a blogpost, and it’s been even longer since I’ve talked about the process behind my work. I love going to art shows and openings to have a chance to connect with artists about what’s the process behind their work and what is their work about to them? I love art because it can be so many different things to people and you may or may not ever have any sense of what the artist was thinking or feeling when they created the art.

As an artist I do enjoy making art with a concept and at times it’s nice to have people come look at your work and pump your ego up with sentances like ‘Wow your paintings are beautiful’, ‘I love your work’ and ‘The colours are gorgeous I wish I could make stuff like that’ and I have the option to say thank you and leave it at that. Yet what goes on when I make paintings is a huge world filled with experiences, ideas and emotions, and in this moment I have chosen to speak about the last series of paintings that I made so you can know a bit more about what was going on. It’s also perfect because most of my paintings are very conceptual and they are ideas I work on in my journal for sometimes years, yet this series was primarily an exploration period where I tried new techniques. So hear it goes…

First off –

Q: What is an artist in residence?

Artist in residences can come in many different forms. I believe the main goal of all of them in to have an artist work in a studio for a determined consecutive period of time making artwork in a public studio that is open to the public to come and visit and talk to the artists to learn more about their process as a tool to educate people about art.

I studied Photography and Surface Design at the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, and for the 4 years I was in school there was an artist run gallery/studio next to the school where they had artist in residence programs. I loved visiting the artists and watching them make art, and talk to them about what they went through when they were making art. Some of the artists came empty handed and they made art with all found materials. I was very inspired by them and always wanted to do artist in residences.

Over the past 18 years of my career as an artist I have done a few different artist in residences. Some of them have paid me, some of them offer me a place to stay and no funding and I have done one where I had to pay a small fee for the studio space and acomadations.

My goal with the next few blog posts is to talk about my process of creating the paintings I made on my recent artist in residence at Fibre Works Studio and Gallery located in Maidera Park.

Lots of times when I go to start paintings I have no idea what I will paint. I kinda go with whatever is happening in my heart at the moment and see what happens. This time I decided I wanted to have some focus. I brought a deck of inspirational cards and picked 3 of them as my initial inspiration.

Let’s start with this card –

The writing on this card said ‘Don’t Dim to fit in’

I thought about that message for a while. How do I dim myself to fit in with others. There are lots of ways I do that. What I loved and was most drawn to recreate from this image was the womans outfit and the fact that she was covering her eyes. I am in a time of life where I would like to cover my eyes, witnessing parts of what’s happening in the world right now sadden my heart and soul. I decided to take the covered eyes and play with it in my paintings.

Here is a photo of the process of making a painting using the inspiration from this card.

I work with a technique called Batik, it is a wax resist. You heat up beeswax mixed with parrafin and use tools to draw, paint and stamp the wax on fabric. The painting I’m working on here is on silk. Once you have your first layer over wax over the white, the wax protects the fabric from the next layers of dye that you add to the painting. I made all the colours of dye for this series of paintings with local plants by cooking them up in a small amount of water and then straining them out.

Elderberry
Plum Leaves
St. John’s Wort

Here is the painting finished with the wax taken out of it.

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