Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Heart of Art

Most people, myself included, do not think of themselves as 'creative'. We are hesitant and intimidated by the process, afraid that the end results will not be 'up to the standard' of others.

In truth, there is no omnipotent 'art judge' who will condemn you to eternal misery if he/she does not like your work. Art is not only in the eye of the beholder but in the heart of the creator/artist.

Art is an expression of the unconscious mind, helps us to identify our thoughts and feelings. In short, it gives us an opportunity to get in touch with our inner core.

The act of creating also provides a mental refuge. It allows us to take a break from the outside world of obligations and expectations and to focus on the task at hand. It lets us explore a new dimension of ourselves and discover things that we did not imagine possible.

So, don't be afraid to try something different. Experiment with new techniques and unusual components. Put your logical mind aside and let the creative spirit flow through you. You may just surprise yourself, as I have many times.

I made the tag to the right this weekend at ScrapFest. This mini workshop has really inspired me to experiment a bit more. I would never have thought to use hot glue to leave blobs and lines, then use distress paint to make them stand out like this. It was an unexpected and interesting finishing touch. (I do need to learn to control the glue gun a bit better though.)

The heart of art is the freedom of expression it gives us and the therapeutic benefits we receive from it.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Autumn ATCs - Testing Out a New Technique

I saw a video tutorial online this week that really inspired me to give the technique a try. While I did run into some bumps in the road, I’m reasonably pleased with the end result. I’ve documented the process to share with you.

I started off with an 8.5” X 11” piece of kraft chipboard. I save them from the notepads we use at work. That is the base for all of my ATCs.

Orange paint was applied. The chipboard really absorbed the paint and when it was dry, there were a few spots not as well covered as others. I might use a coat of Gesso before the paint next time so that the paint is not absorbed so much. The chipboard curled up as it dried but a couple of hours under a heavy book flattened it enough to work with.

I used a paper doily, a small piece of sponge and black paint to create an interesting background.

Then I used red paint with a paper doily to add more colour.

Next came some strips of beige scrapbook paper, randomly cut and glued on. I used a glue stick, but I should have gone with regular craft glue.

Green painters’ tape was added after that. I was kind of using what I had available and did not really think about it much.

Another paper doily was pulled out and antique white paint was applied with a sponge on top of everything.

Then it was time to cut out 8 ATCs from the decorated chipboard. I ended up coating each card with Mod Podge to seal it and hold all the elements in place. I used my new corner rounder to finish off all the corners. A fine sand paper sponge smoothed out the rough edges.

Being unable to find die cut autumn leaves, I ended up using leaf stickers on heavy kraft paper for the focal point of the cards. I tore the paper roughly around the leaves and used my black stamp pad and a sponge to add definition to the edges.

Here is the end result...not great, not terrible...but a lot of fun to do. And I will definitely use the method again, incorporating some of the lessons that I learned during the process

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Landscape Paintings of Levine Flexhaug

I was listening to CBC Radio in the car on my way home from my mothers’ house and was introduced to a little known Canadian artist, Levine Flexhaug (1918-1974). I found the story quite intriguing and will share a bit of what I learned with you.

Flexie, as he was affectionately known, sold thousands of variations of basically the same landscape. He painted in national parks, resorts, department stores, restaurants and bars across Western Canada from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. Many of those paintings were purchased as soon as they were finished, before the paint even had a chance to dry.

Flexie was born in 1918 on the family farm just outside of the small town of Climax, Saskatchewan. He began painting landscapes in 1938 to help support his family, setting up in front of the local dry goods store each Saturday. His canvas was a beaver-board and his medium of choice was regular oil based house paint. The standard size for his paintings was 8” X 10”, but he did many that were larger, and even a few wall size murals.

He was a speed painter and had a specific formula that he followed every time. Often you would see him painting assembly line style, working on three canvases at the same time. Different seasons and time of day were represented but certain elements were always there...the mountains, the lake and the trees in the foreground. At times he would add a waterfall, a deer, a cabin, a bear, birds or a red canoe in the lake.


More than 40 years after his death, the paintings of Levine Flexhaug will be showcased in a travelling solo exhibition. I sure hope it comes to a gallery close to me this year. I’d love to go and look at the over 450 paintings the curators, Nancy Tousley and Peter White, have assembled, mostly from the collections of two other artists, Chris Cran and David Thauberger.