Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Birds of a Feather

On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting Mohawk artist Natasha Smoke Santiago. She came to my studio as a guest of the MRC du Haut St. Laurent, which is the regional governing body in my area of southwestern Quebec. The visit was arranged by Luc de Tremmerie, who is the Coordinator of Cultural Development for this region. Natasha and Huntingdon artist John Ryan (shown below) are collaborating in the joint creation of murals in the MRC du Haut St. Laurent and in Akwesasne, the Mohawk Nation territory - which straddles Quebec, Ontario, and New York state - where Natasha Smoke Santiago lives and works. 


Natasha Smoke Santiago and John Ryan

Natasha is a potter, painter, and mixed media artist. The first thing I noticed about her work is her love of the female form, especially evident in her sculptures of heavily pregnant bellies. I love the rich brown colour of this one.



Burnt Pot by Natasha Smoke Santiago


Natasha describes her work as " ...heavily influenced by her Haudenosaunee heritage, history and teachings. She also draws upon the experiences of her life as inspiration for her works. Much of her work tells a tale, or has a story behind it...".



Mother Fracker by Natasha Smoke Santiago


We talked shop for a while, comparing methods and materials as artists are wont to do whenever they get together. Our visit was also filmed by a videographer as part of a documentary. I hope to have more information about that soon.

Natasha and I also discovered in the course of our conversation that we have a mutual fascination with corvids, i.e. crows and ravens. (Go figure!) I especially like this painting by Natasha of a crow with a stolen kernel of corn in its beak. Typical crow!


Blue Corn Crow  by Natasha Smoke Santiago

If you would like to see more of Natasha's wonderful work, I encourage you to visit her website The Storytellers House.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Finally, FINALLY getting back into a regular studio routine.

Today I started a little 6x6 Rolex inspired collage. It feels so good to get back into my regular work schedule. No more interruptions for a while I hope!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Getting the Brush Off...for a Good Cause

I'm happy to announce that three of my collages:

"Reflections" 



"Duck Day Afternoon"



"Race Time, Saratoga"





were all recently selected to be part of The Brush Off painting competition at Galerie Avenue Art in Montreal. Avenue Art is a gorgeous art gallery located in leVieux Montreal - which as its name would suggest is the oldest part of the city - right on the Old Port.

(Photo source: montrealvenue.com)


(Photo source: montrealvenue.com)

The Brush Off is a competition, exhibition, and fundraising event, with a percentage of the sales going towards Art Based Projects for people living with Alzheimer's.

The opening night event is October 16th, 6:30 - 9:00 pm. Tickets are $25 at the door. The exhibition continues until November 14th. Galerie Avenue Art is located at 731 de la Commune West, on the second floor.

I'm curious to see the other artwork and to meet the other nine artists!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Culture Days: The 2014 Edition


Culture Days - or les Journées de la culture as we call them here in la belle province - are happening again across the country. Events begin today and run through to Sunday, September 28th.

My studio will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. The address is 138 Rang Ste. Anne in St. Chrysostome, just an hour's drive from Montreal.

Come and visit! You can check out my recent artwork, have a coffee, meet the chickens, and pet a studio cat.


I even tidied up...sort of.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Have We Any Wool?

Yes, lots more than three bags full- probably more like twenty!

The lambs were shorn yesterday, and I got twelve pretty fleeces off them. Including the ones from when the ewes were shorn back in the spring, we have a lot of fleeces to clean and send off to be milled into roving.

The lambs all look pretty silly with their new haircuts, and the really funny thing is that they no longer recognize each other, so ever since the shearer left there has been a lot of baa-ing.

A couple of the lambs have figured out that minus their wool coats they can now squeeze through the space between the gate and the gatepost.   I found this guy on the lawn outside my studio.


Here is a selection of the raw fleece colours. I think they are lovely, and the raw wool is incredibly soft to the touch.


Black Border-Leicester- Blue Faced Leicester cross

Blue Faced Leicester - Jacob (and unknown) cross

Blue Faced Leicester

Hand spinning wool is the closet thing I have to a hobby. I like to work at my wheel in the winter when labour on the farm slows down a bit and it's too cold to do much outdoors. At least, I liked to spin wool until a certain cat chewed up the drive band on my spinning wheel. Yes, I'm talking about you, Kevin. Oh, and by the way, Kevin is a girl...which is kind of a long story. I must remember to get that drive band replaced before winter!



Doesn't she look pleased with herself?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Water, Reflections

"Reflections" - 24 x 24 painted paper collage on cradled plywood panel

I completed this collage last month and submitted it for consideration for an exhibition at White Flag Gallery in Brockville, Ontario. The collage was accepted AND....



"Reflections" is being featured on the gallery's promotional material, which is pretty sweet.

  White Flag Gallery is located at 9 Sheridan Mews, Brockville, ON (613) 342 5548.



 The exhibition based on the theme of Water runs from July 11 - August 16. The vernissage is Thursday, July 10, from 6-9 pm. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Three Little Lambs

Spring is really and truly here at last. Everyday the landscape around us gets a little greener. The trees are getting their leaves; our pear trees are blooming.



My sheep are out on pasture now, which makes them very happy. Our fences aren't completely repaired yet, which makes me a little less happy since I have a hard time keeping the sheep where I want them.


I guess for now I just have to go with the flow. One way to keep those sheep exactly where I want them is to turn them into art. Collaged lambs don't sneak under fences!



Freckles 7x5 painted paper collage on panel.


Ewe and Lamb 4.5x7 painted paper collage on panel.




Spring Green 6x7 painted paper collage on panel.

These collages and some sheep themed greeting cards are travelling to Eastern Ontario next weekend for the St. Distaff Day Fibre Festival at St. Mary's Community Centre, 19659 County Road 19, Williamstown Ontario. If you are a knitter or spinner, I am told this is the place to be! Some of my small work will be on display and available for purchase at Pinehill Farm's booth. And check out Pine Hill's (aka my good friend Anna-Maria Nicolov) beautiful yarn and roving.