Tuesday, June 21, 2011

ArtsPeak Studio Tour 2011

What an amazing weekend! I am still on cloud nine. I was asked awhile back by the Edge Gallery in Canmore, to be part of the Canmore ArtsPeak Art Festival, by being part of their leg of the studio tour. David and Kathy Foxcroft, who run Edge Gallery, have some of my Polaroid transfers in their gallery, and I was part of a group show there last summer. David creates amazing collages and I have had some good conversations with him about art. He and Kathy were introduced to me by my talented (and amazing) friend, Barb Fyvie, whom I met when I took part in an exquisite corpse art collaboration in 2009. You know those people who just make you smile when you think about them? Anyway, I jumped at the chance to be part of the studio tour, both because of the fun I was sure to have, and because my hubby was available for the weekend, and it would mean 6 solid hours, TWO DAYS IN A ROW, of child free art making. Now you all know how much I LOVE my kiddos, and making art with them, but sometimes, Mama needs her time alone...

Our studios were in Silver Creek in Canmore. They are units that are for sale, and they have both a living space, and a studio/retail space. Very cool, and if Andre and I were empty-nesters, I would jump at the chance to live in a home where I could also have a studio and gallery. The Edge Gallery is one of these units, as is the Virginia Ann Hemingson Art Gallery. The ones we were in were bare bones, large, light filled spaces with plenty of wall space for exhibiting our work. I must say that I am not the best display person, so I just hung all my work salon style and set up my table to work on. But, fellow artists, Larissa McLean, and Annie M. Froese, effortlessly TRANSFORMED their space into a garden of colour. I have no idea how they did it. They travelled all the way from High River to be there, and they opened the doors to their van and a garden came pouring out! I wish I would have taken pictures... hopefully they took some!

On Saturday, I had my space all to myself, which was heavenly. Not that I didn't want a neighbour, but I am just as happy to be alone as I am to social. Barb, who was participating in the weekend, as one of the en plein air painters at the gallery, greeted me and helped me to set up. I was super excited for the demos I would be giving. On 10:30 AM each day, I "formally" demonstrated Polaroid transfer, and at 2:30 PM, Polaroid emulsion lifts. That is what I was scheduled to do in the newspaper advertisement, but I worked all day in both processes, as people gathered around to watch. Many were very interested, maybe because of my enthusiasm. I am so passionate about making art, any kind of art, but Polaroid processes are my old friends. You know the ones who you don't have to see for a long time, but when you finally do you just fall back into step like no time has passed? I could make a Polaroid transfer in my sleep. And after years of teaching the process, it was fun to demonstrate it for an audience that was just there to listen and watch. I have never actually done that. And I printed several images that I have never tried before.

One Sunday, my studio mate joined me. I was excited all morning to meet her. Shannon Williamson, from Calgary, works in encaustic. I couldn't wait to pick her brain. She was so so lovely from the moment I met her, and her husband, Doug. Doug, went off to oil paint, en plein air, and Shannon gave an encaustic demonstration for most of the day. And patiently answered my questions. I learned a great deal, both about encaustic, and about pricing my work, since Shannon works at Wallace Galleries in Calgary. I have been an artist my whole life, but pricing is still such a sticky issue... I am grateful to Shannon for her generosity, both in teaching me, and in purchasing some of my work. I look forward to seeing her again.

I was really surprised by the turn out on Sunday as opposed to Saturday. And it was busiest at the end of the say on Sunday, which is not common in weekend shows I have done. I had more sales than I anticipated and I gave 20% of that to Mountain Arts for next year's festival. I was not look at this as a selling opportunity, mostly as time to work, to meet other artists, and to learn a thing or two.

And speaking of meeting other artists, I also briefly met Lucie Bause, of Canmore, whose Portal XII, just became Canmore's newest public art piece. And Karin Millson, of Calgary, whose demonstration, entitled "Sewing Machine Abuse" caught my eye the minute I saw it advertised in the newspaper. Unfortunately, I was so busy all weekend that I never did get to go and learn from her, but I plan to pay her a visit. And I also plan to visit Larissa and Annie in High River. I would like to photograph the beautiful Larissa in the wonderful Victorian hats and clothing that she owns, among her colourful gardens, and to see Annie's gallery. Maybe I will make the trip with the one person I met this weekend whom I have been waiting to meet. Sometimes, there is a person that EVERYONE I know seems to ask me if I know. And I don't know them. And it shocks everyone... well, that person walked right in to my studio at the end of the day. Her husband had seen my demos the day before, but since she was giving a workshop in bookmaking(the legal kind) she had not been with him. I recognized him from the day before. And the minute this woman started talking I KNEW who she was. I had been waiting to meet her. AND not 10 minutes before, I had been talking about her with my new friend, Adrienne Lawlor, whom I had exchanged emails with but whom I accidently met in person that day... the woman whom I am quite sure I will be making a lot of art with is Dea Fischer. Things happen when they do for a reason... and I always approach each art experience with an open mind, because I just never know what is going to happen... and that is my favourite part about every day.


Evelene S said...

It looks like you had a great time and how wonderful to meet that special person finally.

Anonymous said...

Cannot wait to play :-)

Alice said...

What wonderful words you've written about your ArtsPeak weekend and the lovely ladies I find so captivating as well ... Dea, Annie and Larissa!