Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Coloured Pencil Society of Canada, coloured pencil resources

I am delighted to present to you: the Coloured Pencil Society of Canada. Did you even know there was one? I am happy to tell you that there is! The society is under a year old so if you haven't heard of it, that isn't too surprising. Actually the society was loosely formed many years ago but it never got off the ground, at least not on a national level.I actually talked about the society to the founder and current President Gordon Webster back in the spring of 2007. It has taken quite a while for the organization to get fully launched.But fully launched this group is. There is a website you can visit: and the latest big announcement is that details for the first annual national exhibition, scheduled for the summer of 2012 have now been released. You can read all about it on the website. The juror shall be none other than Canadian artist Bernard Poulin, author of The Complete Colored Pencil Book (as well as other books). Mr. Poulin is VP Emeritus of the Coloured Pencil Society of America and this year he was the juror, awards judge and guest artist for the United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society.

I am very fortunate that the exhibition shall start off here in Ottawa. I shall be lucky enough to go see it in person. There are plans for the exhibition to travel to Toronto and Montreal and if that actually occurs, that would be incredible. As for entering, you bet I shall, I feel the pressure already! Bernard shall be a formidable judge to go before, but then so he should be. 

I encourage you to visit the websites of these various cp organizations (click on my highlighted text to use the links). These sites are chalk full of info, art and links to artists. While you are at it, check out the Australian Coloured Pencils Network, the Coloured Pencil Society of Denmark, and the Japan Colored Pencil Society. All of these organizations are very young and they have accomplished a lot in a very short time period. The oldest organization is the Colored Pencil Society of America founded 21 years ago and this year the UK group celebrates their 10th anniversary.

Resources such as those pictured above can be purchased from the Colored Pencil Society of America. The Signature Showcase book features art from all of the members who had earned signature status prior to the book's publication. I earned CPSA signature status the year the book came out (last year) so I shall have to wait for the next volume. :-)  DVDs of the work that is juried into the CPSA exhibitions can be purchased as well. If you become a member you will receive a copy of the CPSA magazine To the Point. Back issues can be ordered on line as well.

The medium of coloured pencil is thriving and growing in popularity and awareness. How wonderful is that? My congratulations go out to all of the hardworking folks at the Coloured Pencil Society of Canada. Your volunteer efforts are shining for all of us to see.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

new website, new date for open studio workshop

Cellophane Symphony, 14" x 23.5"
Coloured Pencil on Colourfix Paper
Copyright Teresa Mallen
At long last, my new website has been uploaded and is ready for viewing, click here to check it out. I am delighted to finally have a site with up to date information and images. My website has been needing such a complete overhaul that I decided to create a new one. I had stopped adding new material to the old site while the new one was in progress and as a result many pieces from 2010 and 2011 have not been available for viewing. For example, my work entitled Cellophane Symphony (shown on left) would only have been seen by someone reading my blog.

I confess I am not 100% happy. I have viewed my site on laptop screens and it looks fine but on my husband's desktop, the colours are not what I had planned. Also, Google Chrome is adding an underline to the text that accompanies my gallery images. So the site may get an adjustment or two over time, but the way it is shall suffice for now. I have checked all of the hyperlinks and PayPal buttons but if you find a link that doesn't work, please let me know. Thanks!

Now for the fun news: I am offering an Open Studio Workshop on Saturday September 24, 2011. That is just a week and a half away, so if you are in the Ottawa area and interested, please visit my brand spanking new website to check out all of the details. Click here to get to the classes page. Workshop enrolment is very limited. I want to make sure every one gets the assistance they would like. Therefore to avoid disappointment don't delay in registering.

The workshop shall be in the afternoon, from 1:00 - 5:00 and our coloured pencil fun shall include yummy goodies and booze, I mean refreshments, hehe...okay just a wee bit of wine, honestly... :-) If you have never attended an Open Studio Workshop before, here is what you can expect. You can arrive late and leave early if you need to. The atmosphere is relaxed and spa like (soothing music, candles lit and those refreshments I mentioned). You bring something to work on and/or perhaps something that is finished that you want critiqued. You can be at the analysing a photo reference stage, the sketching stage, or the final tweaking stage. You can work on exploring different techniques that you have learned from me or elsewhere. I am here to assist and guide you. I shall answer your questions and offer tips. Basically, no matter where you are in your journey as a coloured pencil artist you are welcome to bring your issues and troubles and together we shall get you sorted out and back on track.

I like these open studio workshops because I really enjoy helping people who need to simply get some fresh insights, a bit of help and perhaps some encouragement. It always amazes me what just a bit of advice and assistance can do for someone. It is very gratifying to see people leave motivated and excited about continuing with their art.

Here is an interesting find on this morning's walk...

This interesting leaf has an unusual growth. The dark sac thing is surprisingly soft (no it isn't a nut). I have never seen anything like it before. Also, found on the walk today was some fresh bear scat (fancy work for poop). It was on the forest trail right behind the house. My dog tracked the new scent around to where the bear's favourite apple tree is. The apples are gone so the bear was out of luck. I have seen three bears in my many years of hiking and trail walking and each experience was a positive one, i.e. the bear had no interest in eating me. Black bears are a lot smaller than you might think. Most people conjure up images of the grizzlies they see in movies. Anyway, I shall keep on my alert so I can give the bear a respectful wide berth should we happen upon it and I shall leave the bird feeders empty for a while.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

a date with Caravaggio

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario

Time was running out, Caravaggio was leaving town, well at least his paintings were. The exhibition was ending on the 11th so last Friday, on the 9th, I hightailed it off downtown for Teresa Day (regular readers might recall a recent Jonah Day, same idea only now it was my turn).

The National Gallery of Canada (here in Ottawa) had a summer long exhibition of Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome. The exhibition was an exploration of how one brilliant and temperamental artist changed the course of art history in a career that spanned less than two decades. Five years in the making, the exhibition brought together a dozen of Caravaggio’s masterpieces along with more than 40 paintings by other great artists of his time who looked to him for inspiration.

As for an actual date with Caravaggio -  well that would have been way too scary. I learned that he was successfully sued for libel, had a hot temper, he killed a man in a brawl, escaped from the authorities looking for him, later seriously wounded another man, was imprisoned for this but escaped a month later, went into exile at the home of an old friend and while there was able to further his art career by completing some prestigious and lucrative commissions! Upon leaving a tavern one night, Caravaggio was ambushed and violently attacked, an attack from which he never full recovered. Basically the sort of guy your mom warned you about!

Only some 70 works by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio still survive, and those are rarely sent on loan by their owners. Not one of his paintings is held in a public collection in Canada. I consider myself most fortunate to have seen this exhibition.

Well it was a grand day - I toured Caravaggio's work, watched a film of his bio, scooted through the galleries permanent collections and feasted my eyes on originals by Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Cezanne, the Group of Seven...etc. etc...On and on it went. Yum, yum... I get visually weary of seeing great art reduced to posters, other print media and the internet. It is quite refreshing to stand in front of originals - to soak in the true colours, the size, the brush strokes. I also enjoyed experiencing the progression of art history as I viewed Caravaggio's art from the 1600s right on up to the contemporary work of today. After I left the Gallery, I walked a short distance down Sussex Dr. and popped into a few private art galleries, more wonderful art.

And I bought a rock! Isn't this 'Ruby in Fushite' lovely? It is only three inches long but oh the patterns and colours...I bought it at a groovy wee shop on Sussex called Jade. They sell gem stones and jewelry. This particular rock 'spoke to me', I could see all sorts of abstract paintings in the patterns so I treated myself and brought it home to inspire me. 

Ruby Fushite

And I met a kindred spirit - the woman working in the store. When making my purchase, I shared that I could already see this rock inspiring a future series of abstracts. Her face lit up and she got quite excited. She started to enthusiastically talk about a Russian painter friend that lived with her and her family for a year. He apparently painted her a gorgeous watercolour abstract. Later, after being hired to work in this store, she found a stone that contained the exact colours and patterns of the painting. How cool is that? We had made a connection. We went on to spend many minutes looking over the rocks together and oohed and ahhed at their beauty. I told her how such patterns shocked me with their beauty, like the patterns found in wood. She looked at me and exclaimed, "Oh don't get me started on wood grain, I love wood grain patterns." And suddenly we were off on that topic for a while. Yup, a kindred spirit alright...had a great visit...

I should have asked her if she was into cloud watching! (would have never got out of the store, LOL). This sunset makes the sky look on fire.

So what else has been happening? Gee, we have had a bear visit a couple of times. He/she mangled and chewed an old apple tree located about 30 feet from our house. The bear was determined to get all of the apples. The tree has now been 'pruned' rather harshly but it should survive this. I do wonder if there might be a problem with all of the bark damage where the bear seriously chewed the surface. I hope not. The woods are full of fallen acorns for a bear to consume and it seems like he/she has moved on. Of course when walking in the woods these days, I am being more alert to any sounds of breaking twigs, anything that signals that the dog and I are not alone...Interesting notion though, the idea of having to consume lots of calories in the fall, like a bear does, in order to make it through winter. I think I would be up for the challenge... :-) Did I mention I baked an apple crisp this afternoon?...hehe...

I have had some time wasted dealing with the property where my parents lived. There has been some trespassing activity that needed attention, we had an pitiful offer come in (got to toss that one back, we didn't even try to negotiate, I have never done that before but it felt good) and I have spent hours emailing our agent (whose performance I am having to start to 'manage') as well as emailing/talking to my sister. Unfortunately it isn't all cloud watching and art around here.

And woo-hoo last night was opera night! Another trip downtown, this time to the National Arts Centre for an Opera Lyra production of Pagliacci (Anyone thinking of the Seinfeld 'Pagliacci' episode with Crazy Joe Davola as the clown? I forget all sorts of things but something like a TV sitcom episode stays stuck in my mind. Sheesh...) The opera was fabulous as usual and folks, Joanna G'froerer - principal flute player was in the house. Wee-hee! Every year we have front row, centre, season's tickets and from here I can lean over and look down into the orchestra pit. Being in the presence of Joanna, so renowned and so talented that she is, is a real treat. Okay, I am a flute player, not in her realm of course but gosh, to hear her play live, just feet from me, well I get goose bumps I tell you!

This has turned into a long post so my announcements and such shall have to wait. More tomorrow...