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A printmaker's progress


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Hot Off the Press! I Walk Along The Shore


I walk along the shore

My first book of photography, newly published on Blurb!

I Walk Along The Shore

Feeling both bleary eyed and elated, my book is up for sale after a very tiring few days of finshing up the book and uploading and preparing it for sale. Slugging through thousands of photographs to arrive at the final few that made the cut was brutal. What began as a twenty page book ballooned to twice that size. Designing the book was the fun part, and even with Blurb’s book making software, it required many precise adjustments of spacing, color and ordering. The final product is one I am proud to call my own.

The book features my photographs of Vancouver Island (with a few from Gabriola Island snuck in) accompanied by a few poems here and there, including a long one of the same name as the title. The words in the front flap of the book describe it best: “In these pages you will find weathered paths that wind through majestic trees, leading to rugged shores and pounding surf that sing with exuberant spirit. You will also see places filled with serenity and redolent with memory as you journey along with the author through her photographs of her Vancouver Island home.”

Please have a look and let me know what you think!

You can purchase it here.

I will also be ordering some soft cover and hard cover with dust jacket editions, so if you would like an autographed copy mailed to you just email me. chiarina@chiarina.com

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Fall’s First Wet Kiss


 

Fog's wet kiss

Fog’s wet kiss

As the first wet day of fall rolls in I am tempted to look back on these glorious summer days when the fog rolled in but didn’t eclipse the sun (at least for too long). More pics here.

 

Walk along Whiffin Spit

Walk along Whiffin Spit


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Inspired by Emily


Touching the Wild Inside, detail

Touching the Wild Inside, detail

The piece above was originally made for my solo show, The Body Speaks. I tweaked the colors and shapes a little and painted its  frame to look like stone for its latest appearance in a show at Coast Collective Gallery entitled Inspired by Emily.

Emily Carr is one of Canada’s best known and beloved artists. Hailing from Victoria, BC, she travelled extensively around Vancouver Island, painting its landscape and people in bold, modernist paintings embued with spirit and sense of place. For this show, I didn’t want to emulate her style. Rather, I chose pieces that reflected her love of the natural world and her strong connection to it.

In the piece above and below, a woman’s body morphs into a tree while she places her hand on a stone wall. Unlike Daphne, she is not escaping the advances of an ardurous Apollo. Instead she is reaching out to become one with her natural surroundings, sharing spirit,  warmth and strength, and shedding the cloak of civilization to find her true authentic self. One of Emily’s great strengths as an artist was remaining true to herself as a woman and artist, finding her own path in this world. This is my homage to her spirit and my reminder to myself to follow my own unique path.

Touching the Wild Inside

Touching the Wild Inside

Touching The Wild Inside can be viewed at Coast Collective Gallery until September 7. 2014.

Two more of my pieces will also be in the show, Two In The Wood and The Language of Trees, 2

Opening reception for Inspired by Emily is Saturday, August 30, 2-4pm


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Tuesday Tales – The Ghost of Winter Past


Yesterday I attended a demonstration by Sara Robichaud, a wonderful abstract painter who creates large, lyrical works on canvas. She was introduced to us as a ‘process painter’, someone whose fascination with and exploration of her materials is an integral component of her work. I thought about this afterwards and realized that while we create vastly different work we do have this love of process in common. As a printmaker this is inevitable as there is so much technique and process that distinguishes this type of art making. The processes involved in transferring imagery from one surface to another are what create the unique character of prints. How a print is made is also the single most asked question regarding my work, for printmaking processes are singularly mysterious to the general viewing public.

One of the processes which I love to use is the incorporation of ghost imagery into a work. With every hand-pulled print, whether created as an edition or a monoprint, there is a careful inking or re-inking of the plate before it’s run through the press. However, there is always a bit of leftover ink that remains on the plate after the print has been pulled. Sometimes this leftover ink is interesting enough to pull a second ‘ghost’ print. Occasionally a beautiful ghost print can be made with minimal modifications as in the example below.

In Deep

In Deep

lagoon

Lagoon

Most often some additional inking and reworking is needed to create a new print with enough interest and depth of color. Having done many of these, and enjoying the creativity in inking that it sparks, I now will often purposefully do my first inking and print in order to create my ghost template for my intended print. The two prints below are an example of this. They are titled Winter Path, 1 and Winter Path, 2.

Winter Path, 1

Winter Path, 1

Winter Path, 1 shows a lovely winter setting inked in rich color with contrasting warm and cool elements that invite the viewer into the scene, up the path and through the textured arch into the light beyond. The crispness of the air and wetness of the snow is almost tangible.

Winter Path, 2

Winter Path, 2

In my reworking of the image for Winter Path, 2, I inked only the central portion of the plate, leaving the ghost imagery of the first printing to act as a form of vignetting to help focus the viewer’s attention more clearly on the arch, with its heavy load of snow and dark shadow below. The arch itself acts as a lens leading your eye to the colorful shrubs and light beyond. I included some linear elements over the ghost imagery to strengthen the lines of the arch and to add a more dynamic and painterly quality to the piece. However the quality that the ghost imagery brings to the piece which I value the most is the sense of distance in time, of memory and dreams that it imparts. This is no longer a lovely winter scene but a memory of that walk along a path in a winter past.

What speaks to you more, the scene or the memory?

Both prints are offered this week at $80 each, unframed, or $100 framed.


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Tuesday Tales – A Question of Time


Time races forward

Streaming tendrils of the past

Gossamer weavings

A few years past I took part in a show with the theme of Interleaving.  Interleaving is a term traditionally used to describe translucent, protective papers between the pages of an often illustrated  book.

Thinking about the nature of the interleaf, of how it protects precious text and illustrations and of how its translucent fabric gives the smallest glimpse of what lies below, I began to see how time works in the same fashion. For time is the ultimate interleaf, acting as a shifting veil between past, present and future.

The passage of time is something I think about often. I view my life in distinct blocks of time, defined mostly by the places I have lived, which have been numerous. I see these as the building blocks from the past that determine who I am in the present. Yet I notice how time fades memory, eroding these blocks into weathered ruins that I revisit and treasure. My creative outpourings then become my interleavings, stemming the tide of time, forming a protective barrier to the inevitable loss of memory that it brings.

Sometimes my musings about time find their way into my artwork in unintended ways. The monotype illustrated here is an example of that. Done as a demo for a monotype class, it illustrates the projective power of abstract imagery. Working quickly and instinctively, my mind inevitably chose to follow a well worn path.

Ruins

Ruins

Beginning with the ‘ghost’ imagery of a previous monotype, most evident in the top left quarter with the faded leaf and crumbling pot, the reference to memory and left over objects in far away spaces is apparent. The roll of rich, dark, broken color across the bottom half takes on the shape of an ancient bridge or aqueduct, alluding to past worlds and cultures. The pale strip of land beyond and the veils of color on the right speak of distance and time and its obscuring effect. The addition of delicate leaves and thin blades of grass growing at the base of the ‘aqueduct’ bring us to the present, from which we ponder over our fragile connections to the past. The piece is titled Ruins.

Ruins, a monotype, measures 5″x7″ on 10″x11″ paper, and is offered this week only at $60, unframed.


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Tuesday Tales – January Brings The Snow


Winter Warmth

Winter Warmth

Every year when January rolls around I am reminded of The Months by Sara Coleridge which begins with “January brings the snow, makes our feet and fingers glow”.  I used to read a beautifully illustrated book of this poem for my son and daughter when they were little. Each month showed a brother and sister duo engaged in seasonal play and in the right hand bottom corner was a flap you could lift up to see a mouse family doing their own seasonal activities, often with tiny discarded bits of stuff ‘borrowed’ from the chidren’s home. The first line of the poem has stuck with me and it always brings back fond memories of those delightful times spent together reading and enjoying the illustrations.

January often brings the first of few snowfalls here in Victoria, though we have yet to be graced with its white blanket this year. When we are visited with an often short-lived snowfall I usually race outside with my camera to capture its fleeting beauty, as I did here.  That same January I spent some time in Prince George, where the snow was plentiful and my feet and fingers certainly had their fair share of glowing in the biting cold. I braved the bitter cold to shoot some of that city’s stark scenery and iconic sites, such as the CNR bridge, but my favorite images from that day were two that were more evocative of the season than of place. I made the prints illustrated here from those images. The one above is titled Winter Warmth and the one below, Winter Walk. I have inked the plates for these prints in various ways and colors but I find the warm sepia tones of these prints to be most effective in capturing a sense of time and memory. When I look at them I am certainly filled with fond memories of that visit, and they bring a smile to my face.

Winter Walk

Winter Walk

Winter Warmth and Winter Walk are both 3 1/2″ x 5″ photopolymer gravure  etchings and are offered this week as a pair for $100 unframed or $130 framed.


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Tuesday Tales – When Benches Beckon


PE-Whiffin Spit

Sunset Spit

I love the outdoors. Few things are more enjoyable to me than a long walk or run on one of the trails or beaches of this beautiful island I call home. And when a bench is perfectly perched along the way to provide a captivating view and a moment’s respite I am always happy to pause and immerse myself in that singular space.

Benches have held a fascination for me for a long time. I rarely pass one without photographing it and the particular surroundings it lives in. I say ‘lives’ for I find benches to be alive with the memories of those who have sat in them and the desires and intentions of those who have placed them in their outdoor homes. Benches speak of time, the long years they sit there watching the seasons change and the fleeting moments they share with a multitude of passers-by. They speak of love, of those who have passed but are not forgotten and those who sit together and create new memories. They speak of action, of runners’ stretches and lunches eaten. But most of all they speak of dreams and reveries and contemplations of life. They call out to our human souls and bid us to sit quietly and listen.

The print above, Sunset Spit, was created from a photograph taken while on a walk along Whiffin Spit in Sooke. The Spit, a long stretch of narrow land jutting out into the Sooke Basin, is a walker’s delight with a winding path and water all around. There are numerous benches placed along it and I photographed several, but the light and view from this one was especially magical. The shadows were long and the wind was blowing but it was tucked away in a bit of shruberry facing the setting sun, providing a quiet haven of seclusion and repose in which to reflect on a lovely day spent with a good friend.

This print, measuring 31/2″ by 5″ on 8″x10″ paper, is offered at a reduced price this week only (January 15-21, 2013) of $50 unframed or $70 framed, plus shipping costs. Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com if you would like to purchase it.