Monthly Archives: August 2015

Exploring Edmonton Galleries

Two schedule-free days in Edmonton – gallery tour time!  My first stop was the Galleries on 124th.  Imagine, 9 galleries within two blocks of each other!
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Here are a few of the highlights of my day:

Luke Airut - Bearclaw GalleryIn the Bearclaw Gallery there was this amazing whalebone carving by Luke Airut – and this is the back!  You can see the front on the Bearclaw Gallery website.

Tanya Kirouac - Bugera Matheson GalleryThis is an encaustic painting by Tanya Kirouac that was in the Bugera Matheson Art Gallery.  It was so energetic and alive!  I am very curious about the three clock faces embedded in the painting.

Ernestine Tahedl - Bugera Matheson
Also in the Bugera Matheson Art Gallery was this amazing pond by Ernestine Tahedl. I got lost in the painting just like I do sitting by a real pond.  Beautiful!

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This isn’t the best picture but I enjoyed this wood carving by Crystal Driedger in the Daffodil Gallery.

Spray Pool at Edmonton City Hall
It was a beautiful day so I walked down to the Art Gallery of Alberta which is right across the street from this refreshing pool!

I really enjoyed the display called Charrette Roulette: Language which looks at “publication as an art practise”.  The video installation presented an interesting perspective into books and compares the old art to the new art of publications.

Other displays included The Double Bind: Conversations Between Modernism and Postmodernism, an interactive display on perspective, and a display of Italian Baroque Art which brought back memories of our trip to Italy last fall.

Being in tourist mode I had to take a reflection selfie on the upper deck before leaving!
Selfie at AGA

Thanks for sharing my Edmonton gallery tour!  I highly recommend it!

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Exploring Wabi-sabi and Boro – Part 2/2

This is the second part of  my exploration of the concepts of wabi-sabi and boro.  This exploration was inspired by Donna Watson‘s article “The Zen of Discovery” in the August 2015 issue of Watercolor Artist.

For the first part of my story click here.

In Part 1 I explained how I had created the ‘scraps’ I would need to create my finished piece.  Now I was ready to put them together.

The Patching Process

I wanted to bring the concepts of wabi-sabi and boro together with the thought that water and warmth are needed to sustain life. Working within this framework it was important to me to limit my materials to the pieces I had created, treat each ‘scrap’ as precious and ensure that I wasn’t wasting anything.

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As I laid them out it became apparent that this was going to be a 18 x 24” ‘quilt’. None of this was planned out in advance so placing the patches was a process of trial and error. As the composition came together I pinned the pieces in place and began hand stitching it together.

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The Finished Quilt

I offer this piece as reminder to us all to bring the concepts of wabi-sabi and boro into our everyday lives. Wabi-sabi to help us accept and celebrate the imperfections in our lives – both in the things we own and the people we love. Boro to remember that the smallest everyday things are the most precious.

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©Paige Mortensen Sustaining 18×24″ Mixed Media

How will you explore wabi-sabi and boro in your life?

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Exploring wabi-sabi and boro – Part 1/2

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Summer is a time for breaking out of habits and trying something new.  My inspiration came from Donna Watson‘s article, “The Zen of Discovery” in the August 2015 issue of Watercolour Artist. The article featured her work inspired by two Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi and boro and I knew I had to go exploring.

First some Background

The concept of wabi-sabi has been on my mind for a number of years. Donna describes it as “the Zen appreciation of things incomplete, imperfect and impermanent” and “an appreciation of things humble, modest, simple and minimal”. For me it has been about embracing imperfections – in my art and my life.

Boro was a new concept for me. Donna describes it as “patched and mended rags” created out of necessity by north-eastern Japanese farmers in the 19th and 20th centuries. Small scraps of cloth, generally died with Indigo became very precious as the necessities of mending created quilt-like clothing and blankets.

Washi is another Japanese term; ‘wa’ is Japanese, ‘shi’ is paper. Ginwashi paper is a very thin, strong paper with long fibres and I regularly use it for my watercolours. I also had some scraps of other Japanese papers, which I used to bring different textures into the finished piece.

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My favourite way of working involves layers of wax and watercolour. The watercolour layers are applied from light to dark with wax applied between layers to preserve the colour and value at that particular point. Once the wax is ironed off the finished piece has a textile quality that seems to be asking to be quilted or stitched. This was something I had only thought about doing and now was the perfect opportunity to do some experimentation.

Creating the Boro ‘Scraps’

PaigeMortensen_WaterJug_Torn copy.jpgMy first step was to recreate the concept of scraps. Recognizing that the peasants were only allowed to wear blue brown, black and gray limited my palette.

I had recently completed a not so successful piece with a beaten up water jug in it so I tore the jug out of it and there was the focus piece for mypaper ‘quilt’. Yes, the jug has some purple in it. Could that have been the result of aging? Or maybe I just took some artistic license here.

Out came the Indigo tube of Qor watercolour paint and I got to work creating textures. The first step was simply to paint all of the pieces with diluted Indigo watercolour paint. Once these dried it was time to add some wax with various sponges and stamps to preserve this shade and value of Indigo and create texture.

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These are the tools I used and the pieces with the wax applied. In order to create a worn and stained look I added Qor Burnt Sienna, Quinacridon Gold and Paynes Gray to my palette. Once I was satisfied with the scraps I coated the pieces completely with wax to give them an even translucency and seal the pigment into the paper. The last step was to iron these between layers of newsprint to remove the wax.

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Next week I will tell you about how these ‘scraps’ came together to express my interactions with the terms wabi-wabi and boro.

In the meantime I invite you to consider how you too can explore wabi-sabi and boro in your lives.

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Summer Fun – Water & Watercolour

There are so many wonderful things about summer – and this summer water is one of them! While watercolour is my favourite art medium, I have been taking some time out to just enjoy water in many forms.

It is pouring out today but we went so long with no rain this year that it is wonderful to hear and see.  We have a skylight in the living room and the sound as I sit here reminds me of camping and the sound of rain on the tent trailer roof. Wonderful, if wet, memories!
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These beautiful swirls of colour in the swimming pool fascinated me.  Combined with the sounds of my grandchildren’s swimming lessons they created another wonderful memory!
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And then there was a wonderful early morning walk by the water in southern Saskatchewan.
So calm and peaceful!
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Saskatchewan Craft Council Members’ Show & Sale

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Stories Inside XIX 12×18″ $350

This week I am excited about the reception for the Saskatchewan Craft Council’s 40th Anniversary Members’ Show & Sale.  I am one of about 60 artists with pieces in the show.  There is no water in these ones but they are watercolours!

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Stories Inside XVII 24×36″ $1,100

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to see you there!

 

 

 

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I hope you too can take a moment to enjoy water this summer!
Thanks for reading,

 

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