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A printmaker's progress


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One Tree – Two Artworks


Wind And Maple, side b

I am thrilled to be participating in the oneTree Exhibition 2019 from November 16, 2019 to February 29, 2020. The Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature in Victoria, BC will be hosting this third in a series of exhibitions which features artworks by numerous artists and artisans created by the wood from a single tree. In this exhibition, over 70 artists will create pieces that celebrate the life and value of a single maple tree.

I will have two separate but thematically related pieces in the exhibition that explore our changing and profound relationship to nature. In this post I will present the first of those pieces, entitled Wind And Maple.

The piece is an accordian artist book that explores the ebb and flow and convergence of people and places, the illusion of permanence and the divergent appeal of rootedness versus wanderlust. Viewed and read from either side, it forms an unending circle of discourse.

Wind And Maple, side a

Photopolymer gravure prints of maple imagery contrast with swirling abstracted imagery of wind, peeking from behind and below in the centre of the maple platter. Two halves of a poem are read on either side of the book. The two live-edge maple bookends add their beauty and solidity.

The maple represents constancy, the shelter of home and the appreciation and comfort that comes with experiencing places and people over a long period of time. The wind contrasts this with its mobility, carrying adventure, strangeness and new experience. Barely visible and requiring the viewer to look deep within the book, it alludes to the courage needed to embark on an unknown path, and also the rich experience that it may reward you with.

Viewed together, one realizes that all experience is of value. Just as the tree has died and been transformed, all things must change and there is beauty to be found in every moment and place.

Below are some detailed images of the artwork.


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Paper Dreams


Paper Dreams

Paper Dreams

I am thrilled to finally unveil my latest large piece, Paper Dreams, which was completed in 2015. Paper Dreams is probably the most complex and considered artwork I have created to date. Below is the artist statement I prepared for the work.

“Paper Dreams is a complex paper and wood sculpture created as a meditation on the impermanence and fragility of our dreams. Designed to loosely resemble paper strips going through a shredder, it consists of multiple photopolymer gravure prints with poetry, and reflects a significant period in my artistic life. By cutting and discarding portions of these prints, I surrendered the life I had created for them. In doing so I was able to create something new and beautiful, demonstrating how destruction and creation often go hand in hand, as do fragility and resilience.”

The idea for Paper Dreams began with a desire to create a complex paper construct made up of multiple hand-pulled prints, which would provide glimpses of figures in various moments and moods. This would be achieved through a combination of layering, folding and cutting of the prints. I had, over the years, created a large number of figurative works on paper, and in a decisive moment of clarity I realized what I truly wished to achieve. I wanted to create an artwork that represented who I was as an artist at this moment in time. Gathering all these images together in one piece would be one way to do that. At the same time, by tearing and discarding portions of these prints I was letting go of the life and dreams I had created for them individually. This was not an easy thing to do. I chose prints that I had deep connection to for their meaning and quality, as well as the treasured experience of creating them. They were an integral part of my life as an artist and a woman. Many of them were self portraits. By shredding them I was letting go of my own dreams. And in the letting go I found that I was able to create something new and beautiful with its own new life and meaning.

Below is a photo of the initial stages of layering and ordering the images. Some of the prints had to be cut and collaged onto new stips of paper to fit well. Here you see them before any collaging was done.

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Paper Dreams in progress

Several new prints were created for the piece as well, and new and old poems were added throughout the work, all with dream motifs.  While choosing the images for the piece I realized that the word “dream” had been used in a good many of the individual artwork titles. Where I could, I left these visible. Below is a detail showing some of the poetry.

Paper Dreams, detail

Paper Dreams, detail

The photo above also shows how the layering affords mere glimpses at times of the images behind the front layers. I decided early on that this piece would be unframed and the poetry would be written in pencil, as this was an essential part of the theme of fragility. It was also necessary in order to lift layers to see those behind.

To anchor the pieces of paper I chose two strips of maple cut from one piece sliced in half and which had a  gorgeous live edge on the top. I found it rummaging through Detlef Grundmann’s woodworking shop and commissioned him to cut and sand it to size for me. I then finished it with GAC on the inside for a protective barrier where the paper would adhere to and with a finishing wax everywhere else. The pieces of paper were then glued on in four layers, two to the back piece and two to the front piece of wood. Finally the two pieces of wood were joined together as shown below. The back piece was wired like a regular frame for hanging

IMG_8357 a

Clamping the wood pieces together.

Below is a side view of the artwork showing its three dimensionality.

paper Dreams, side view

Paper dreams, side view

The title, Paper Dreams, works on several levels. It refers to the nature of the materials used in the artwork, wood and paper being the same material in different stages of creation. Primarily it denotes the fragile and transitory nature of life, attachments and desires and the deeply personal perspectives from which we view our world and ourselves.

Paper Dreams will have it’s unveiling at the 2016 Sooke Fine Art Show this July 22 – August 1 at the SEAPARK Complex in Sooke, BC. There will be a Purchaser’s Preview evening on Thursday, July 21, 7-10pm and an Artists’ Celebration on July 23, 7-10pm. If you are in the area please do visit the show and enjoy the many fabulous artworks on display.

To whet your appetite here is a final detail of the artwork.

Paper Dreams, detail

Paper Dreams, detail 2

Paper Dreams, photopolymer gravure on paper on wood, 34″x33″

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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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Tuesday Tales – Morning Tea


Ocha No Asa, center

Ocha No Asa, center

                                                                                  Fuji cools the sky
                                                                          Reflected in the rice fields
                                                                                            I sip my o-cha

Ocha No Asa (Morning Tea) is an artist book I made a few years back. It is quite a complex piece which depicts one of my favorite subjects, tea, in one of my favorite places, Japan. The tea cups above and below are shaped after some I bought in Japan. These above are placed on a backdrop of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest and most famous mountain. Its peak was visible from my first apartment in Tokyo, rising gloriously over the cityscape in the most amazing sunsets.

The calligraphy panels on either side are reminiscent of waka, classical Japanese poetry that is visually evocative and often difficult to decifer for the artistic rendering of the words.

Ocha No Asa, center

Ocha No Asa, center

The front panels of the book, see below, echoes the noren, or divided hangings, found at the entrance of restaurants. The circle is a common symbol found on noren. These panels are meant to open and invite you in for a cup of tea.

Ocha No Asa, front

Ocha No Asa, front

The back of the book features two more cups, collaged handmade papers and the title of the book in both Romaji and Japanese hiragana.

Ocha No Asa, back view

Ocha No Asa, back view

Ocha No Asa, back

Ocha No Asa, back

Ocha No Asa, an 8″x7″ artist book, is offered this week for $150. You can contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com for further info or to purchase.


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Winter Solstice – Lighting the Way


Sandcut Sunset

Sandcut Sunset

              For the earth turns
While the dark night sings to the dawn

                          Too long December

Today is the winter solstice. It marks the day when the earth tilt begins to bring it closer to the sun, starting the lengthening of our daylight hours once again. As we move out of the darkness our spirits lift with the brighter days. For many this is a solemn moment in the year to be celebrated. It is no coincidence that Christmas falls around the winter solstice, for Jesus is worshipped for bringing light and hope to a troubled world. While I am not a religious person I do embrace spirituality, for I feel it is our path to an enlightened life. And I do believe that the light is there within us, wanting to be brought forth.

A few years ago I wrote a post around the winter solstice. It was a difficult piece to write, and when I reread it, it still brings tears to my eyes. Whenever the winter solstice comes around I am reminded of it, of how it resonated with so many, but also of the charge I laid on myself then to live life fully and true to myself. I think I am about waist deep in the sea now.


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Tuesday Tales – Into the Sun


Girasole

Girasole

                                          For the earth tilts
                   While the dark night sings to the dawn
                                               Too long December

Sunflower – the ultimate sun worshipper! This bouquet of sunflowers was given to me to brighten up  a gloomy day, and today I am returning the favor by brightening up my viewers’ day with this richly colored print. I photographed the sunflowers when they were expiring their last breaths. I had kept them well past their best, for they became glorious in their decay. I placed them in the sun to bask one final time while I captured their beauty for posterity.

dying sunflowers

dying sunflowers

Girasole is the Italian name for sunflower. I like this word for it means to turn towards the sun. As we approach our shortest day of the year, we too wait impatiently for the earth to turn and bring back the sun.

Girasole, a 5″x7″ photopolymer gravure etching on 10″x11″ paper, is offered until Friday midnight this week for $100 unframed.
Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further info.

I will also be having an online sale starting on Friday of this week to coincide with the Stinking Fish Studio Tour open house  this weekend at my studio. There will be lots of new and older works for purchase at special prices. I will post more details about this later in the week both here and on my Facebook page so stay tuned!

                                         


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Tuesday Tales – The Beauty of Bamboo


Glimmering

Glimmering

                                                    The forest turns pale
                                           As November drops its veil
                                                              Cool gossamer days

Bamboo is one of my favorite subjects to paint. I talked about how it is a symbol for resilience here.
Apart from the symbolism, I love its beauty and strength, both as a single trunk with its ridged sections and as a grove, forming an elegant swath of green reaching for the sky and swaying together in the wind. Anyone who has seen the fight in bamboo forest scene in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon will agree it’s a special tree.

I first learned to paint it while studying sumie in Japan. Back then I painted it with brush and ink, learning to move my hand and brush just so to get the lines of trunk and leaves right. These days I use a different approach, with brayers of varying size, to portray the grove in all its glory. I like the way the brayer gives the trunks a rounded look while keeping the vertical lines and segmentations. I also like the use of color, not so easy with sumi ink.

Glimmering, above, is actually a cropped ghost of the piece below. The pale colors give a shimmering effect, as though seeing the bamboo grove through a mist. It alludes to the mystery and etherealness of life. Together We Stand, below, emphasizes the tight grouping of the trees, showing how together they form a strong and beautiful whole, bonding against adversity.

Together We Stand

Together We Stand

                                             For the bamboo grove
                                       Bending in the wind as one
                                                      Finds the strength to bear

Glimmering, a 10″x12″ monotype, is offered this week at $150, unframed
Together We Stand, a 12″x16″ monotype, is offered this week at $200 unframed.

Contact me at chiarina@chiarna.com to purchase or for further info.


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From a Poet’s Heart – for the late bloomers


for the late bloomers.

A beautiful poem by Sirena Tales  that couldn’t have arrived on a more serendipitous day for this late blooming November child!

Thank you, Chloe, for the continued magic of your poetry.


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Serendipity


Yesterday I happened to read this beautiful poem just as the  song below began to play and somehow the two together meshed into something much more powerful and soul stirring. I’ve always loved the REM song but somehow hearing it sung operatically in Italian brought it to another level and because the words were not imediately recognizable I could read the poem instead while listening and this made the poem that much more poignant and beautiful. I encourage you to do the same and also to follow this lovely blog by a sensitive and beautiful soul.

And just for reference, here is the original REM song with its extraordinary video which also coincidently has added words that raise the poignancy of the song.


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Tuesday Tales – September Fields


September Fields

September Fields

                      Racing through the fields
         Leaving memories behind
                                September sojourn

As September returns this week I am reminded of last year’s autumn adventures in France that began with this lovely bed and breakfast, Le Four A Sel, in the Dordogne region, land of foie gras, chateaux perched on river banks and fields of ripening corn. The view to our b&b from across these fields was so lovely it begged an etching. The memories of time spent in them, as well as eating at La Table d’Aubas,  the towns of Montignac and beautiful, medieval Sarlat, kayaking on the Dordogne River and visiting the numerous chateaux, will remain with us forever.

Pics from Dordogne, France can be seen here.

September Fields, a 5’x 8′ photopolymer gravure etching is offered this week at $75 unframed, or $100 framedin an 8″x10″ frame.