Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season's Greetings!

Best wishes to you and yours for a joy filled Christmas… or any other holiday you might be celebrating. And if you are not celebrating,well, WHY NOT? This is as good a time as any, isn’t it?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Winter Is Coming

It's surprising how much work is involved in getting ready for winter. Well, I suppose I should say, it's surprising how much work is involved in getting ready for winter IF YOU ARE A CANADIAN.
My husband tells me we now have enough wood to heat the house for two years!

We have been blessed with a long, mild fall this year. But the snow and cold will come eventually.  My chickens recently have been moved to their winter coop inside the sheep barn. And this year we have all new birds, including these beauties who were given to me by a friend.

The hen at the front left is a Belgian Golden Campine. On the right is a Phoenix rooster. At the back are assorted bantam hens. They are bound to make an appearance in my collages sometime soon.

As for my most recent collages, they show a variety of subjects.

Blue Marina - 8x10 (sold)

Broken Footbridge - 32x36 ($2 900)

And then there is this happy little guy just perfect for the holidays.

Nutcracker- 7x5 $230

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lost and Found

I accidentally broke my website last week. And by 'broke' I  mean I basically destroyed it. "How?" I hear you wondering. Oh, you know, by doing something stupid.

So for the past week I have been picking away at the site, trying (with some help) to get the thing functional again, and this morning...EUREKA! I invite you to take a look here. There have been some renovations done, and some more still to do, but I think it is looking pretty spiffy. And if things are working the way they should be, this blog post will actually APPEAR in the site itself. *crosses fingers*

While we are on the subject of my stupidity, the other dumb art-related thing I did recently was to send in a meticulously presented grant application with the wrong number of CDs included. In my defense, it was a French form and I am a native English speaker. And who knew that when they said FIVE copies, they really did mean FIVE! Fortunately, the nice people at the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Qu├ębec let me know of my error, and I was able to correct the situation without being penalized or having my file dumped in the trash. Whew! Now to wait for the jury's decision. *crosses other fingers*

So what else have I done lately that wasn't stupid? Well, I made this:

Turcot Bridge 32x36 collage on panel

Monday, September 14, 2015

Black Orpie

Our old Orpington rooster is getting on in years, so it seemed to me that his portrait was overdue. Kepler is a handsome dude - and he knows it! His feathers gleam iridescent blue-green in the sun, and he has a fine voice. What more could a hen ask for?

Black Orpington Rooster- 14x12, painted paper collage on panel.

Friday, August 7, 2015


For the first time in a long time I have painted a landscape. And yes you read that correctly, PAINTED, not collaged. That makes two oil paintings in a row! No, this is the start of a major change of artistic direction. I had a couple of overdue commissions to execute and figured I had better get them done.

This painting is pretty big: 36 X 24, oil on linen. 'Waterfall' was inspired by a photo my daughter took in Mount Royal Park in Montreal a couple of years ago.

Waterfall 36 X 24 oil on linen © 2015 Alyson Champ

Mount Royal Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted who also designed New York's Central Park. As you can imagine, Mount Royal is a gem! It is a green oasis atop the summit of a small mountain, right smack in the heart of North America's most beautiful city.... Not that I'm biased or anything.

View of Montreal from Mount Royal
© 2012 Anna Kiraly

Okay, well maybe just a little.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Oil Painting

Since switching over to collage full time eight years ago, it's like a mini vacation for my brain whenever I get a commission to do an oil painting.

I recently had the pleasure of immortalizing a Canadian stallion (yes, Canadian IS a breed of horse) who belongs to a friend of mine. He is a beauty and a true gentleman, so the job was a pleasure.

First I gridded up a drawing from a photo that my friend and I selected as our best portrait reference option.

To avoid unnecessary labour, the drawing was transferred to the panel via tracing paper and then drawn over with thinned oil paint to preserve the lines.

Then comes the  blocking in the major colour and value areas. The finishing of a painting is - for me at least- a process of gradual refinement.

I always marvel at artists who can work on isolated areas of a painting at a time. I need to bring the whole picture along simultaneously so I can see how all the parts relate to each other. I was taught to do this, and as I work, I can still hear one of my old painting instructors shouting to the class, "Start everything at the same time; finish everything at the same time." I guess that advice stuck!

Here is a detail of the portrait near completion, and the finished product below.

Avery, 14x18 oil on panel

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

And Another Thing

Keeping with the Mackinac Island in summer theme, here is another collage hot off the work table.

Wrought Iron Fence - 8x10 painted paper collage on panel.

I must confess I rather like this one and will be a little sad to see it leave for Mackinac's Little Gallery. I hope it finds a good home!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Summer is in full swing here on the farm. The vegetable garden is growing gangbusters- and so are the weeds! Weeding is what I do instead of a hobby. The results are worth it, though.

When not in the garden or the barn, you can find me in the studio. Here are a couple of new collages destined for Mackinac's Little Gallery in Michigan. 

The Windermere 6x8

Wicker Rocker 5x7

Both collages say 'summer' to me. How about you?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Work and Recent Work

It's a busy time of the year for work on the farm....oh, who am I kidding: it's always busy. Our lambs are growing;
Wool covered lawn mowers.

the garden is planted; we have ducks, broiler chicks, and new laying hens in the barn. And we have this little guy. Do you see him? One of these things is not like the other.

Chick, chick, chick....goose?

That little ball of fluff in the middle of all those chicks is a GOSLING! He (or possibly she) was hatched in an incubator I borrowed from a friend. I'm looking forward to having a goose around again since Henry the Watchdog doesn't bark. He just watches.

And in the new works department, these collages have recently arrived at Mackinac's Little Gallery on Mackinac Island, Michigan. The first one is already sold!

The Grand Hotel, Summer 10x6 (Sold)

The Iroquois Hotel 6x8

And I especially like how this one turned out. Wouldn't you like to stay there?

The Iroquois Patio 8x6

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Little April Foolery

When I'm not making collages, I write a humour column for a sheep farming magazine. Now how many people can claim that?

Just click the link below.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Couple of Cool Things

The good news about Katherine Tyrrell's book Drawing 365 has made it to The Huntingdon Gleaner. The Gleaner is weekly paper of the Chateauguay Valley area of Quebec.

Journalist Katie Martin came out to the studio last Monday to do an interview. She was also able to do an email interview with Katherine, which was kind of neat- all the way from the rural Chateauguay Valley of Quebec to London, England via the good old internet.

The other rather cool thing that happened recently was the video made for and about me by my old friend Tracy Martin made it onto a list of Eleven Artist Videos to Whet Your Appetite on the Art Biz Blog.

Art Biz is the brainchild of art coach Alyson Stanfield of Colorado, USA. She helps artists build and advance their careers through workshops, one-on-one coaching sessions, and a variety of writings. Her book, "I'd Rather Be in the Studio" is a personal favourite of mine. Alyson's blog postings, newsletters, and Twitter feed, are followed by THOUSANDS of artists worldwide. AND she spells her name the same way I do, which is kind of cool, too!

I have included Tracy's video again below. Cameo appearances by studio cats, sheep, and chickens.Enjoy!

Monday, January 26, 2015

New Book, New Work, New...Dog?

Good news! The last time I wrote a blog post I was awaiting the publication of Katherine Tyrrell's book, Drawing 365. The book has arrived and it is GREAT! I'm so glad I got to be part of this wonderful project.

Drawing 365 is absolutely full of useful tips and techniques. Just flipping through it is a terrific way to stimulate (or reawaken) your desire to draw; there are so many things to try! Here is the back cover.

Psst. My collage is on page 48.

And in other news, we have a new dog. After our old girl Nelly died in the fall, we knew we would need another largish dog to be a watch dog and all around companion on the farm. It took some time to find the right dog, but we eventually lucked out at Woof Rescue in Howick, Quebec. We met Henry shortly before Christmas, and I think we can safely say it was love at first sight for everybody. Well maybe not so much for the cats, but that situation is improving.
So here is Henry. As you can see, he is already making himself quite at home in my studio.

Of course there is new artwork in progress. The first collage of 2015 is going to be a large landscape. "Bog" will be 24x36- the biggest one yet, I think. I'm pretty excited to get going on this piece. I spent a day  working up a preliminary drawing to plot out my main shape areas as well as values. The drawing is done in sharpie and ink wash. Here it is below with the freshly prepped panel in my studio.

Because this is such a large project, I thought new collage papers were in order. 

Really this is just an excuse to have fun with paint and to make some new stamps. I think I will do some more of this 'work' tomorrow too, you know, just to be sure I have enough.