Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Going Ovine

I'm not exactly sure what it is about sheep that is so appealing, but I'm happy to know that I'm not the only artist to find myself visually hooked on them. I have recently come across a collection of drawings by British sculptor Henry Moore depicting the sheep he saw outside the window of his studio. He too was fascinated by their beauty, their solid shape, and their behavior. Several of the drawings show the interactions of lambs and ewes, which bring to mind some of Moore's maternally themed sculptures.
Photo © Alyson Champ
While we are on the subject of sheep and maternity, and with lambing nearly upon us, I can't help but think back to last year's experience with lambing. It was the first time we had bred our ewes, and as much as it was exciting, it was also nerve-racking and exhausting. Lambs, much like human babies, prefer to arrive in the middle of the night or the wee small hours of the morning. I spent a number of long nights out in the barn, waiting and watching and acting as midwife. The birth of our first lamb, however, I did not witness as she came as a total surprise. She was a few days early, and the ewe, a first time mother, didn't really show much sign of going into labour. I got quite a shock when I went out to the barn early one morning to feed the sheep and heard a little voice calling out, "Baaa". I looked around but could see nothing in the pen, just my sheep standing at the feeder waiting to be fed. I went into the pen with an armful of hay and again, "Baaaa". There at my feet, in the bottom of the hay rack, was a beautiful little white lamb, still wet, and shivering with cold. Her mother had given birth to her and then, not knowing what to do, abandoned her. The baby had crawled into the hay to keep warm. Ewe and lamb had to be forcibly reunited and the ewe needed to be restrained in order to allow the lamb to nurse. It took the better part of a day before mother and child actually bonded, but they did, and the ewe proved to be an excellent mother, if initially a reluctant one.
Photo © Alyson Champ

What's on the Easel
My collage exhibition is drawing to a close. The last day is April 4th. I'm delighted that my sheep collages have proved to be popular and I have sold several of them. I guess people just like sheep!

Celeste - 9x12, painted paper collage on panel ©2010 Alyson Champ

Julius the Magnificent- 12x12 painted paper collage on panel, ©2010 Alyson Champ
Fabulous Fionna- 9x12 painted paper collage on panel, ©2010 Alyson Champ

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Day After the Afternoon Before


My collage exhibition opened at Salle Alfred-Langevin yesterday. In spite of the rather wet and dreary weather, the turn out was good, the crowd was very enthusiastic, and sales were brisk (thank you!). One woman, a fellow artist, liked the collages so much that she went home to get her husband, came back with him and did the tour again!
So, I guess that my fear that people would look at the collages and say, "Well, these are ok, but where are all the horse paintings?" was completely unfounded. If anything, I was pleasantly surprised by just how open minded people were. Yes, I was asked if I had completely given up oil painting- I haven't, I'm just on oil painting hiatus- but by and large the audience was accepting and encouraging. Several pieces sold, including one of the large Iris collages. All in all, it was a very good day.

These are some of my collages on the walls at Salle Alfred-Langvin. I must mention the real stars of the photo which are the spectacular stained glass windows designed by Detlef Gotzens, a stained glass artist whose atelier is across the river from mine.
Here is a slightly different view. You can see what a large and beautiful space the hall is. Painter Suzanne Olivier, who is a member of the hall's management committee, did a terrific job of hanging the show. It's a good thing that that particular task wasn't left up to me! Merci Suzanne!
And last but by no means least, here is a photo of Luc and me. Luc De Tremmerie is the coordinator of cultural events at Salle Alfred-Langevin, which means that he's the one who really does all the work. Luc, je ne sais pas comment te remercier...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bearded Beauties


I like Irises and grow several varieties in my flower beds. They are a graceful, stately flower with elegant and sculptural blooms which make them interesting subjects for my collages. Last summer I made a point of photographing all of my irises when they were at the height of their beauty and these images have kept me going (art-wise) over the winter. So far, I have produced seven iris collages of varying sizes, all of which will be on display at my solo exhibition.

What's on the Easel
This second purple iris collage is close in colour range to my first Purple Iris collage, but the scale is just a little smaller. It's a 20X16, instead of a 20X24.
Purple Iris II, 20X16 painted paper collage on canvas ©2010 Alyson Champ

The next two collages are actually mirror images of the same photo, but were conceived with complementary colour palettes. Small Mauve Iris relies on the purples, blues and blue-greens.

Small Mauve Iris 8X6 painted paper collage on panel ©2010 Alyson Champ

High Key Iris is based on yellows, oranges, and yellow-greens. It's interesting how a shift in colour can totally alter the appearance of what is essentially the same image, isn't it?

High Key Iris 8X6 painted paper collage on panel ©2010 Alyson Champ

My collage exhibition, Paper, Paint, Scissors, and Glue, is up on the walls at Salle Alfred-Langevin, 10 rue King, Huntingdon, and the labels are going on as I type. The door opens at 1:00 pm on Sunday, March 14th, and the vernissage starts at 2:00 pm. Bring the family!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cut and Dried

My solo exhibition at Salle Alfred-Langevin opens in ten, yes count 'em, ten days. All the collages are finished, varnished and framed. Somehow I am ahead of schedule! Can I possibly be this organized, or have I forgotten something? I'm sure I'll find out soon enough. While I'm racking my brain, trying to remember whatever it is that I've forgotten, here is a preview of a few small pieces which will be included in the show.


Sometimes I like to work small; it forces me to simplify my ideas. I can't get too caught up in the details on a panel that is four inches wide and six inches long- the small scale just forbids it. Bold colour and strong design are what works best in the small collages. These two goldfish collages are companion pieces.

Goldfish #1, 4X6 painted paper collage on panel ©2010 Alyson Champ

Goldfish #2, 4x6 painted paper collage on panel © 2010 Alyson Champ

My tree frog obsession shows no signs of abating:

Tree Frog #3, 8X6 painted paper collage on panel ©2010 Alyson Champ

And last, but not least, something a little different:

White Park Steer, 5X7 painted paper collage on panel ©2010 Alyson Champ