Sunday, March 30, 2014

More Snow, More Lambs, and a Video!

If my calculations are correct, today is our 124th day of winter and we are enjoying yet another snowstorm. This must be pretty close to a record, I would think.




I made the mistake of walking out to our back pasture this morning to get a shot of the farm. I should have gone on skis because the snow was over my boots. As you can see, even my dog wasn't sticking around.

Normally by this time of year the ground is bare and my crocuses are poking their heads out to catch the first rays of warm spring sun. Never mind crocuses, we haven't seen the ground since late November, so I broke down and bought a pot of daffodils. Spring has almost arrived in my studio. 


The lambs keep coming, too. So far we have four sets of twins and a single with a couple of ewes left to go.
Here are some of the babies cuddled up together in the lamb creep. A creep is a small place for little lambs to go where they get introduced to eating grain and hay without being disturbed by the big sheep. They also like to hang out in there and I frequently find them all sleeping together in a warm, wooly little pile.


And now for the exciting art related news:

 Last spring my photographer friend Tracy Martin came for a visit and shot a couple of hours of video footage of the farm and of me working in my studio. Now I am happy to be able to share with you the results here!  






Thursday, March 20, 2014

In Like a Lion and Out Like a...?

March arrived roaring in our little corner of La Belle Province and it shows little sign of quieting down. Here we are, the first official day of Spring, and it is snowing. Again. Apparently Mother Nature wanted to celebrate the Vernal Equinox this way:



More snow is announced for Saturday. I hope wherever you are there are daffodils. 

The only place on our farm where you can catch a glimpse of spring is out in the barn. Yes, we have lambs!



Now if that doesn't cheer you up, I don't know what will.  Cheers me up. There aren't too many things more fun to watch than a baby animal experiencing the world for the first time. This little girl is getting acquainted with her Auntie Violaine. 

Tempted as I am to spend the day watching lambs frolic, I do actually get some real work done. Even when it looks like this outside my studio.


It's always bright and comfortable inside. With some music on and a collage on my work table, I can forget about our lousy weather.

I finished a new collage just this afternoon. "Carriage Parade"  is slated for Mackinac's Little Gallery for the seasonal re-opening in May. A big thank you goes out to Bree's Mackinac Island Blog for the reference photo.

"Carriage Parade" 8X10 painted paper collage on panel.

I really like the green collage paper in this one. Sigh. I remember green.


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Child's Play

It was March Break this past week which meant I also had a week off from my regular classroom gig. I have been teaching art classes for children for over a decade now. More than ten years! How did that happen? Some of the kids from the very first elementary school art programme I was ever involved with are now married and are having children of their own. It makes me feel like an art grandma.  Perhaps in a few years I will be teaching those children, too.

One of the joys of teaching children is witnessing the surprise and pleasure they get out of exploring a new technique. I like to introduce to them things they might not otherwise get to try, things like found object sculpture, print making, and, of course, painted paper collage. I also like to push the kids a little.

Our projects in February were all about drawing and learning to "see". We worked on grid drawings - what artists call "squaring up" - in order to help the kids understand that they can observe the parts of an object in isolation and just draw what they see bit by bit instead of trying to make sense of the entire object all at once. Often seeing the "whole", especially of a complicated object  like a human face, can be very intimidating, so these grid drawing projects are real confidence boosters.


As February is Black History month, I had the kids work on an iconic drawing of Nelson Mandela. They made an 100% enlargement of the original drawing (above) to go from an 8 x 10 to a 16 x 20. It took a couple of classes to accomplish this. I was stunned by the level of patience shown by a class of 9 - 12 year olds. You could have heard a pin drop in the art room, these kids were so focused!





Once the drawings were completed, we then moved on to making a black and white poster out of the drawing. I supplied the class with four values of paint from black to light grey. The kids were responsible for figuring out which value went where.




Pretty impressive results! It will be fun to see all these posters displayed together.




I will be back to school this coming Wednesday. With Spring just around the corner (I hope) it seems appropriate that we begin to discuss the theory and uses of colour.