This is where the fun begins… I like to be spontaneous, and sometimes do the unexpected. If everyone does things one way, I will typically find another way of doing it. It’s all about being creative and inventive; respectful of processes, and not letting anything go to waste. This includes not only materials, but ideas. Below you will find a few links to some of the fun things I do to share my creativity.
I love a challenge!! Most of the work below has been done for different charities which I’m happy to support. The work must be relevant to the charity, and if I have an opportunity to perform then I’m in. Please contact me if you want to add an Artistic Flair to your favorite fundraiser.
Painted Piano – Honen’s
Okay, seeing a trend here. When I heard Honen’s was looking for artists to paint a piano I figured I was a shoe-in for a job like that. And I was! I was one of five artists who were selected to paint five pianos. I had one month to paint this stand-up piano that would live at Art’s Commons to be played by the public. Terrified and excited I met my piano for the first time, and formulated what I would do. Of course I had a pretty good idea based on the other instruments I’d painted.
I knew right away what I had to do. I went and purchased all my supplies to start immediately. For this project I was painting along side three of the other pianos at ACAD. It is a little nerve-wracking to be diving into this project while seeing what your peers are doing at the same time. But after a week of painting, I was the only one started….and I just had to keep going.
I would spend two or three days a week on site painting the piano, mostly by myself. On occasion I would have visitors come in, curious as to what I was doing. I even had people come in and play my piano, or others in the room. As I painted, my daughter came up with the perfect name for the piano…’Clementine’, and it just stuck. All while I painted her I thought about her name, and it made sense because the base colour for the piano was a bright shocking orange.
My swirls, lines, and dots danced around the piano, and of course I was always listening to music. I painted not only the primary surfaces (all the ones you can see), but many of the secondary surfaces (like the back, under the keys, and inside the top hinged area). Someone asked me why I did that if many of the places won’t get seen, and my answer was “I like to have little surprises in my work…most people wouldn’t…so I will”.
My last day, as I was prepping Clementine with a couple of layers of clear varnish, I was listening to some quiet music, and thinking about her going and people enjoying playing her. One of the Security Guards came in to visit me while I was painting “Are you crying?” she asked. I smiled “Sometimes I get a bit emotional about the projects I do”.
On the day they revealed Clementine and the other pianos, I was thrilled that John Kumira Parker played a jazz piece on my piano. Have a look at my video showing the entire process while listening to John play.
Axe Guitar – Axe Music
I was so happy with painting a Cello, I thought why stop there. I approached Axe Music and mentioned what I had done, and wondered if they ever get broken guitars that they have to dispose of. Much to my surprise the Assistant Manager walked out with an acoustic guitar that was badly damaged. I was thrilled! He just gave it to me!
So over the next month I worked on the the guitar with one thing in mind. I was going to give it back to them for a charity they wanted to support. Perhaps we could have a good relationship where I take all their broken instruments and re-create them. I spray painted their name on the Guitar, and presented it back to them. They were thrilled! They gave me two broken electric guitars and another acoustic…which I am currently working on…
Nothing like a challenge to get my creativity flowing. I was approached by The Calgary Fiddlers to participate in their yearly fundraiser. Now I love helping out charities whenever I can…but I have one catch….it has to be something specific I can do, or something I can participate in like painting on site.
Calgary Fiddlers asked me if I would paint a damaged violin for them. I heartily agreed, and then they mentioned that they had a Cello. Well, if I can paint a horse, then I certainly can paint a Cello! Just imagine how excited I was to have an opportunity to do something fun like this! It wasn’t long before this beautiful (yet beat up) Cello arrived at my door.
I must say that it sat for a while. I struggled through my creative process thinking of what I wanted to portray in this piece. The only thing I worked on first was filling some of the holes and breaks on the body of this instrument. I can see that the journey this particular Cello was on went through the Calgary Board of Education. So I am guessing that it had seen many hands.
It is hard to look at something like a Cello, and try to imagine even touching the beauty that it already is. And I worried about this quite a bit. I wanted to show some of the beautiful wood in this piece, and I wanted to include a bit on music in it (of course what else do you do with something musical), but how do I do that without it being predictable and obvious.
Then as the deadline was looming ahead of me I knew I finally needed to roll up my sleeves and get started. Now putting that first stroke on a nice clean canvas can be a challenge for any painter — but has never been a problem for me…..this was completely different.
At first when I started adding colour and working toward my vision I got frustrated because I hated what was happening. Feeling worried that I’d messed up this beautiful piece I pushed on. Adding more layers, more lines, and of course more dots until it started to come to life. I thought about my horse and wanted to depict the possible life this Cello had before it came to me. It wasn’t long before things just started falling into place and the design of the Cello was complete.
Using the swirls of colour, and white lines I thought of different paths that the instrument might have taken. The composition on the back starts to look almost map-like. I was able to reveal bits of the original wood while giving the Cello a whole new feel. ‘Final Journey’ was sold before the fundraiser to a client that just had to have it!
AARCS Fundraising Night
A fun event night with great music and Art. Several Artists painting through the evening. All completed paintings were auctioned off at the end of the night to raise funds for the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society. I finished three paintings, plus a collaborative piece with a couple of other Artists.
Shortly after the fundraiser I completed the adoption of a feral cat into my family. Missy (aka Monica) was not used to being around people, but has adjusted our loving home.
My Painted Horse – Calgary Health Trust
I am so pleased to have the Calgary Health Trust group give me the opportunity to paint a horse….I really mean paint a horse! A life-size fiberglass horse was delivered to my house on Tuesday, and is now standing in my dining room!
It took me about a month to continually paint him. Sometimes he would startle me as I rounded a corner and realized there was a full size horse in my house. I was able to work on him daily, sometimes several times a day. I loved the progression of the paint as I moved towards my artistic goal.
Painting this horse for the Renfrew Recovery Centre was an important aspect of the design, even down to the each colour I added to show emotion and turmoil. There are areas on the horse that express grief and pain, while others are full of movement or turbulence. Pathways reach up out of the darker colours grasping towards the light. I tried to show the journey that someone might have out of addiction and substance abuse, or depression.
I decided to name him Freedom’s Journey. Not only did it depict the emotion that I set out to achieve, but also I felt that the name might be a good horse name. I was a little emotional when they loaded him into the truck to take him back to Spruce Meadows….there was a part of me that wanted to keep him, my own emotional journey, but knew that he needed to be shared.
Enjoy the links to videos we put together of the process…or journey…
Leigton Art Centre Community Participation Painting
Many guests who came by the Centre on a beautiful sunny Saturday got to lend a hand to this Abstract Triptych. Lead by Karen Biko and pulled together by her also, this piece is owned by the Leighton Art Centre and is on display in their offices.
Calgary Health Trust – Community Painting Project
I was so honored to be selected as the artist to lead a community involved painting. I came up with a vision, and then just let people play…after I told them what to do. It was great the diversity of people who stopped and helped out. Some took much more coaxing than others, but was well worth it. Some people said they were not creative at all, but easily added dots to the piece. I could hear people walking by later and saying “I painted that swoosh!”. It was so much fun!
The piece will be on display in the lobby of the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre (right off of 4th Ave). I was so pleased also to see so many familiar faces of friends and family who gathered to take part in this public art. And of course my on-going appreciation of Bill who stood by me the entire time, and put together this fun video.
Twelve artists compete to finish a themed painting in half an hour in front of a live audience. Charity funds go to the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society. It was quite a bit of fun to compete with other artists….I could have painted all night though….
Building a Painting
I Love to listen to music while I work….or watch movies! So here is a bit of fun creating a piece to one of my favorites…Tom Jones (only select places will work for this video because of copyright laws). Perhaps someday I will actually get to meet him and personally ask his permission….or forgiveness.
Enjoy the attached video that I filmed over several painting sessions, and see how “Below the Surface” came to be.
White hats were distributed to artists to be painted. All the hats were to be auctioned off and the funds distributed to the charity…. Unfortunately because of the flooding in Calgary, the auction was postponed.