Collaborating with Nature. Talking about the Process.

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Homework Post #1

Talking about the process.

I have chosen this specific piece to talk about because it is one of my favourite examples of what I like doing best:

Working with Mother Nature. 

At the moment- this piece remains nameless, as it was hard to give a “label” to something that speaks of so many wonderful experiences and moments outdoors in my beautiful home town of Fort St. James, British Columbia. 

Starting with raw canvas stretched onto a wooden frame, I began simply just by staring at the blank canvas. Occasionally raising an eyebrow, I allow my ideas to float around like ice-cubes in a nice glass of Sun Tea. This is a very important part of the process- as I like to create art in a very meditative state. Also- I am sure I look like a complete weirdo- so this is why I prefer working solo, away from prying eyes. 

I then resort to squirrel like tendencies, and begin gathering resources that spark the idea I have spun in the back of my mind. 

In this case. 

Bones.

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I then, like a smart squirrel, document my findings. 

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A little bit about my model:

Well. He’s dead. 

Before kicking the can, this old guy was a good looking bull moose,

gallivanting through the boreal forests,

wooing all the moose ladies. (Cows)

One day, he decided to die of natural causes. 

I would like to think he simply just decided to hunker down for a nap and slipped into moose heaven. 

But I honestly don’t know. 

All I really know is that he was pretty old.

He probably looked like this:

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What a Studmuffin.

 

Soon- graphite, turning into layered fluid acrylic “sketches” are done. 

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Work in cramped bedroom.

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Soon, I move into my summer studio (Canvas Wall Tent)Image

 

Keep working. 

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Always coming back to study and examine the moose skull and antlers, skull books, trapper manuals, anything I can get my hands on. Now including books on Wild Flowers, Local Trees, etc. When representing nature in my works, I want to get it correct. If I am doing a local painting, then there better be native species included, am I right? EH?

I begin harvesting grasses, yarrow, dandelions, and other wild flowers and plants and begin experimenting with printmaking.

I am now going back and forth to working on driveway and in Studio. 

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Mother Nature decided to help by adding some summer rain to my freshly painted canvas. Giving a “washed” look.

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I keep going back and forth, inside and outside, choosing different times of day, weather, as well as how I apply the fluid acrylic paint to achieve a piece of work that I am happy with.

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Mother Nature keeps an eye on me with her trusty informers:

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Photo courtesy of Dexter Hodder. (Neighbour)

As you can see- I have plenty of live models to study and sketch from (both animal and plants/trees)

 

Once I am happy, I stand back and take a long look at the work. Usually making a touch up here, a touch up there, until I am satisfied. 

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This piece was part of a solo show hosted by a local cafe called Soup Wallah. 

The other paintings created alongside this one were all done with nature in mind. When I choose to create a piece of art that represents, interprets, or conveys nature- I pay attention to the details, and take knowledge from all my interests (biology, history, osteology, gardening, etc.) and incorporate it into my art-making. Working immersed in my outdoor surroundings had a very positive effect on the creation of this painting, as well as the other works that were also shown in the show. I often feel constricted within a “conventional” studio, and can’t wait to get outside and carry on working and learning from Mother Nature. Lots of research, meetings with the biologist down the street, and simple observation was done to achieve what I can now call a successful art show, and a very enjoyable summer. 

 

 

 

^ Nenachailya ^

Newest art project :

I grew up scribbling on paper, I’ve painted on fake wood wall paneling, I even painted a lady bug rock…But a piece of animal skin? That was new for me. Its rough in texture, uneven colour, and even somewhat fabric like in places and you know what? IT SMELLED RAUNCHY. But with all projects, you just got to sit down and start. The thing I like about native art  is  the style. It is somewhat symbolistic, you know it was a falcon, but it doesn’t scream it. It’s different then a photograph but still it tells a story. There was no blending, fussing around with colours, it was just white, blue, dark blue, green and black. It was a nice change from oil painting and pencil sketching. But it was hard for me to create accurate clean lines. I have always had trouble with that. So this was good practice at being patient and slowing down my brushstrokes. This was a gift for a principal who was a massive Canucks fan. Hence the blue, white, and green and “go Canucks go” on the sides.

I never got to see my principal’s reaction when he was given the drum, but I sure hope he liked it.

” Nenachailya ” Means thank you for the favor/ good deed done for us, you honor us in the local Carrier language.