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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Touch of the Orient - "Sonchou" - V. Turner Collage

Their is a silent connection between Scandinavia and Oriental cultures. Both love simple lines and uncluttered detail. They also appreciate wood, especially teak. When it comes to art, however, that's a different story. Check out Hokusai and Edvard Munch!

I've always loved the fact that it doesn't take much to suggest either culture - rice paper, bamboo, cranes for the one or fjords, mist, boats for the other.

I find that trying to capture an oriental feeling in art is a peaceful process. Maybe that says a lot for it's appeal for me.

With great respect:
Sonchou - V. Turner

Monday, August 24, 2015

Whatever Happened to the Woman in 34? V.Turner Collage

How does the creative process flow? One piece catches your eye and the rest fall into place.

I start with a background piece then add on top of it.You could also start with a painted background, but at the moment I'm enjoying going through all my treasured paper.

Pieces are then selected and immediately placed on the "base" (I don't lay things out on the canvas or wood panel that will be the final support. Instead, I lay out on a piece of printmaking paper cut the same size as the support. This makes it easy to lay a mat, cut to the same size, on top of the papers to see how it will look without rough or overhanging edges. This way I can lay papers down without tearing or cutting them up until I make the decision of whether or not to use that particular piece.)
Placing things quickly lets the right brain play in a process that could so easily be dominated by the left. I still retain the option of moving pieces around, but a general relationship between pieces gets put down.
Initial layout: colour is off because this was photographed in fluorescent light on my worktable
If I run into difficulty deciding on the choice or placement of the final pieces I start to glue down what I have and wait til these are in place before choosing the final papers. If I don't do that, I have a tendency to start changing everything around! You know how it is - change one stroke or colour and you have to change other things because the relationships have changed. With collage, I make the last changes work with what is already established. I know I can move on to the next collage and arrange things the way I would have re-arranged the prior piece and segue into a series! Cool!

finished piece
A little too much glare on this shot. I'm still not sure about the placement of the three red pieces. I feel the should perhaps be about 3" to the left. 
What do you think?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"You Can Go - I'm Staying" collage by V. Turner

Collage can allow you to get very personal. It seems to be a natural progression from photo album to scrapbooking to collage. It also lets you choose to get nostalgic and who doesn't love to walk down memory lane from time to time! 

We emigrated from Norway to Canada in the '50's. I was 7. I did not want to go! The thought of leaving everything I knew, especially my grandparents and aunts, uncles, cousins, even boyfriend (yes, that's you Leif-Magne Dalheim!), Torget (the harbour marketplace in Stavanger) and the brown bags full of freshly steamed small shrimp that you ate like peanuts on the bus home, the cobblestone streets, the farm in Klepp, all the little newborn piglets, playing in the fields and getting hungry and reaching down to pull up whatever was growing, dusting it off and eating it right then, 17th of May, the midnight sun, ice cream cake with krokan on my birthday, making marsipan for gift-giving, making heart-shaped baskets to put it in, the ferry ride in Stavanger fjord to get to my grandparents' cottage on Finnoy, going out with my grandfather at 5 am to bring in the fishnets..........

The result: "You Can Go - I'm Staying"

Here is the process:
Pulling together papers, including photocopies of my mother (in the middle) and her family and my grandmother's house, my first report card after we arrived in Canada, a letter and envelope from my grandmother and some other pieces.
I don't alter papers ahead of time, although I do make a lot of painted and stained, stamped, silkscreened papers and fabrics. So several pieces had to be "aged" and patinaed. I also auditioned some other papers:

re-arranging and decision-making
The final decision. So many potential arrangements. Photos of the process can help remind me of more possibilities and can lead to a good series.

You Can Go - I'm staying  by V. Turner
Nostalgia appeals to many today. We all long for simpler, more peaceful times. This one sold the day after I made it!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Collage - A Challenging Artform

I'm back. Life does take some difficult turns and the past two years have been tough. I'm enjoying creating again, but with constraints. Collage. You work within the limits of the materials you choose, especially with regard to texture, colour, line and shape. It's wonderful, and wonderfully frustrating. For an anal retentive/obsessive compulsive person like myself, this forces me to make decisions quickly and to do what is needed to make something work. So far I have 5, and one in collaboration with another artist, S. Pakosh. I find these tremendously gratifying and seriously addictive. When I get settled, I'll take and post pictures of the processes of future pieces as well.

The start:

The finished piece:

Collage is experiencing an incredible surge in popularity; it resonates with the viewer on so many levels, regardless of the approach, perhaps for several reasons.

  1. Our recycle/upcycle generation loves the idea of items that would ordinarily be discarded finding purpose again.
  2. There is a bit of grittiness due to the fact that edges are torn and some are cut and the piece is glued down. Paper doesn't glue down seamlessly, usually. Bubbles, creases, frayed edges, all attain interest beyond their surface appeal.
  3. Gluing, cutting, tearing all evoke memories of childhood, a time when societal constraints did not dictate our perceptions of our talents; a time when we were brilliant in our own estimations.
  4. Some materials used harken back to a simpler time, with memories of a world that was less stressful.
  5. For all of the above reasons, the mark of the artist is always present, along with, often, a hint of a fingerprint! Collage is not made solely with a brush! It is a tactile process and the viewer is given a front row seat to the hands-on efforts of the artist.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Calm Before the Storm - Collaged Abstract Painting

I'm under a lot of stress (who isn't these days?) and flying by the seat of my pants the way I do when I paint gets very tiring when you have no idea of where you'll start or what you'll use as far as material, paint, substrate, colour is concerned. I need to work in series, but to do that I need to be in my chair regularly. Right now that's not possible, so I'm going to do up 10 starts, ONLY STARTS, so I have a sense of continuity when I get into the studio.

I can see that I need more discipline. By the time I remembered to take a photo, here is what had happened to my first start - and, no, there are no more starts, but I do have a nice little collage, framed. Aaargh!!!

Next studio day I will do 10 starts..... yup!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Untitled Abstract Process Painting

Unfinished and Untitled
I'm back in the studio, painting, starting to find myself again and it feels wonderful. I don't want to knuckle down to hard work (read "making real serious art") yet so start playing experimenting. This time I've decided to go whole hog: I pull out a sheet of Arches cold press 140 lb! How's that for wanton disregard for cost?!!!

I decide to do a monoprint, starting with black india ink, new drawing sticks I found at Omer Deserres (they're from china - make really nice, intensely black marks when first dipped in water), my trusty Woody, graphite (water-soluble), water, splash around with a lovely cat's tongue brush, throw in some powdered yellow ochre pigment (also a bit of ultramarine in the lower left but it quickly dissipates). This is all put on a taped-down white garbage bag. Everything is beading up - I'm brushing with one hand, paper at the ready in the other hand - flip the paper over and pull the print. I quickly pull the ghost on a sheet of Stonehenge 90 pound. I'll save the ghost for another time.

I'm into a blue phase and working with a lot of chaos, so minimizing my colour palette seems a very wise choice (yeah, I know, I'm lazy) Now it's the fun stuff, mark-making, stamping, drawing, more collage, letting my right brain have free rein in deciding what to keep, what to veil, what to obliterate. Dance with my brush a bit (we needed to get reacquainted). There are a lot of things in here that are becoming precious but I decide I don't have to prove anything by destroying them, so I leave them for now. I can always alter/remove them later if I feel the need to. The powder ocher has left some wonderfully textured areas. They'll be a nice reward to the viewer who moves in for a closer look.
Creating focal areas with nice golden shapes and more agitated line-work, brightening, calming the chaos in inappropriate areas, the number "5" became really important and I like it there. Hmmmm, need to live with it for a while and see what else it needs. I'm feeling the whiter area bottom centre may be a bit distracting, but I really like it (lots of the original monoprinted ink wash still shows there). Maybe I'll move some more light over to the left a bit - hmmmm.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Painting Abstract Art With Intent

Living on the Edge
It's a challenge to enter the studio and act like you know what you're doing when you haven't pushed paint around for a while. Being a post-war baby means I have a real problem "wasting" material. I decide I'll work on a piece that was an experiment to start with (Sydney and I threw all kinds of acrylics on paper to experiment with their properties. Sydney's into magenta and phthalo green - I'm into muted, greyed down, black, grey). Pulling something out of a piece that two different personalities have worked on is difficult, so I wimped out and decided to experiment further by using this as the basis for overpainting with the intent of altering the existing "stuff", not obliterating it.
I first unified the painting by using gesso veils and washes, leaving some brilliant gems untouched. Then randomly glazing over with warm yellows (transparent yellow and red oxides, quin gold) then picking out some structure using black gesso, brushing, stamping, and collage.

I must have then made the right brain shift because the next thing I remember is looking at the above and thinking, "Oops! I forgot to take photos along the way!" Sorry about that. I'll try to explain. Click on the image and you'll get a better look. I basically started to respond to each decision, letting what was happening guide me to say, "Hey, what if...." so I veiled out the lower part gradually, scraping back, blotting, scratching out, writing into, to make an interesting surface. Then added more collage (upper left, center black), a bit more black gesso painted, black mark-making with Woody, prismacolor, then veiled the top with cerulean blue knocked back with black, greyed out, over-painted darker, blotted, scratched out.

Final touches after walking around with it for a couple of days: warmed up the yellow areas in spots, brought a bit of greyed lavander into the lower white middle to pick up some of the still bright magenta/violet peeking through the mid right and the veiled middle square, brightened the white squares in the black "building" in the middle to make it look painterly rather than just collaged and changed the lower right "window" to eliminate the symmetry in the piece. This work has such a cityscape feel that I added the three little abstract birds in the blue to the left of the black middle.

It has a good feel to it - gritty, decaying, precarious - just the way I like it!