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A printmaker's progress


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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

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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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Landscape of a Woman Series


Landscape of a Woman, 2

Landscape of a Woman, 2

Last night I decided to play with some old pics taken with my previous camera. These were smaller sized photos, with quite a few slightly blurred, hand-held selfies. I wanted to challenge myself to see whether I could resurrect some life into them.

I cropped this one and layered it with a landscape I shot recently. I then did the same with the photo below.

Landscape of a Woman, 3

Landscape of a Woman, 3

I had done the same with a previous image here.

What do you think? Do I have the beginnings of a series?


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My New House Guests


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After a long stint at INDEXG Gallery in Toronto my first art brownies have come home, and I like them here keeping me company in my kitchen. I think I will ask them to stay.

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Him and Her

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Have you had artwork returned to you only to discover that you are really glad they came home to stay?


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Tuesday Tales – The Art of The Selfie – Part Three


unbound a

Unbound

Unbound is a print fron an early selfie that I shot with a timer. I was just experimenting with the camera but when I saw this shot I knew I wanted to make a photo etching from it. It had an air of quiet strength and determination that I responded to immediately. I liked the saucy pose and sassy tilt of the body, the confident hands holding the string, and the anonymity of the person represented. This was every woman’s stand for freedom and self governance, with boldness and assurance.

This piece has resonated with others quite strongly and positively, and I’m happy to say it has been mostly women. The image above was the first print I made and it sold almost immediately. It also garnered a Juror’s Choice Award at the Sidney Fine Art Show in  2009. I have since sold two more prints, a mini version of it, and the multi-layered piece titled Fire And Rain seen below.

Fire And Rain

Fire And Rain

I have three versions remaining that are still available. They are shown below.

Unbound 5

Unbound 5

Unbound 6

Unbound 6

Unbound 6

Unbound 6

Unbound 6 has the poem “Playing hide and seek

In dreams and deeds defining” on the sides.

The final piece this image shows up in is below. It is called Coming Loose, and you can see that I have combined it with several images, including one featured in last week’s post.

Coming Loose

Coming Loose

Unbound 5, an 8″x8″ monoprint on 15″x20″ paper, is offered this week at $250 unframed
Unbound 6, an 8″x8″x1.5″ mixed-media monoprint on board, is offered this week at $120.
Coming Loose, a 14″x15″ mixed-media monoprint, is offered this week at $450 unframed, or $600 framed.

This ends the selfie series of posts (for the time being, as I undoubtedly will showcase more in the future).

No questions today though as always I welcome your thoughts and feedback.


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Tuesday Tales – The Art of The Selfie, Part Two


Fore And Aft, side a

Fore And Aft, side a

Fore And Aft, side b

Fore And Aft, side b

This artist book includes two selfies that I shot myself using a timer. The images are repeated several times in different color schemes, and the book is folded in such a way that when it lies flat three of the images are seen together as one, as shown below.

Fore And Aft

Fore And Aft

Fore And Aft

Fore And Aft

The concept for the piece began with the idea of a folded book that would allow partial views of the images when closed or seen from certain angles. I then thought it might be interesting to have the images repeat, with variations in mood and presentation. This is something I like to do with my prints, to explore many possible presentations and interpretations of one image. To do so in one piece would be an interesting challenge.

When I came upon the design I realized the book would have complementary fronts and backs and it was an obvious next step to show front and back profiles of a person. I chose these quite suggestive images as a presentation and affirmation of female sensuality and empowerment. I considered adding some poetry to the piece but I decided the blank spaces gave the imagery some breathing room and I preferred to allow the viewer to experience the images without the distraction of words. The title itself, is both obvious and subtly multilayered.

Of course I didn’t stop there. I created a new piece with the ghost imagery from the “fore” image, and added some imagery around it to create the piece below. This is probably the most daring selfie I have turned into artwork. It was a challenge, both to create and exhibit, and the artwork itself symbolizes that challenge to norms and acceptability that artists do and must put out to the world.

The Gauntlet

The Gauntlet

Fore And Aft, an 8″  by 22″  artist book on a 24″ juniper base by Detlef Grundmann, is offered this week at $550.
The Guantlet, an 8″x10″ monoprint on 15″x22′ paper, is offered this week at $200.

What challenges do you face most frequently in creating your art? And how do you work through them?

Do you think an investment of self is necessary in creating art that resonates?

Do you think an artist’s role is to challenge societal norms and ideas?  If so, how do you do it in your artistic practises?


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Tuesday Tales – The Art of The Selfie


Chia, 1

Chia, 1

Selfie has been named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2013. It seems the rest of the world has caught on to a practise used by artists for centuries. However while the modern selfie is often a quick snapshot done to document or share a moment or event with others, often online, the traditional artist self portrait usually carries greater meaning and symbolism.

I have created numerous self portraits throughout the years, mostly as photopolymer gravure etchings based on photographs. Some of these photographs were taken by others, while others I shot myself. For the next few weeks I will be sharing some of these “selfies” with the idea and hope of starting a dialogue about the intent, meaning and value of self portraits.

The piece above is an early self portrait. I shot the picture myself while sitting around in my studio during a studio tour. I had brought my camera that day to shoot the artwork in the studio, and during a quite moment I decided to shoot some selfies. I particularly liked this one for the fact that it doesn’t appear to be a selfie. The pose is relaxed, I am looking away from the camera and it is cropped enough so that you can’t tell I am holding up a camera. As a self portrait it exudes a certain confidence and gravitas that I decided would be fitting as my gravatar for the numerous websites I post on (including this one). I have also used it for my business cards. Being an image of an artwork, it is a true gravatar, for it describes the work I do as a printmaker.

I included the piece above in my first solo show, In Her Eyes. Later I  reworked it into a multilayered piece, which I called Gravatar. This piece won an Honorable Mention at the Sooke fine Art Show in 2010. I reworked the piece again, calling it Gravatar 2, for my show Mirror, Mirror. The image is repeated several times in this piece to allude to its multiple use online, and snippets of online communications from my Facebook page, blog and twitter accounts are included to further illustrate the use of this gravatar.

Gravatar, 2

Gravatar, 2

I used the same image a third time for a show in July 2012 at IndexG in Toronto. The piece, shown below, and the concept for its use in that show is described here. This time I called it simply Her.

Her, sideview B

Her, sideview B

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Her, side view a

Her, side view a

While creating this print I made a second one using embelishments on the ghost imagery of the first print. That print is below, titled Chia 2. It is my favorite though probably not my last of this series.

Chia, 2

Chia, 2

Chia, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 15″x 20″ paper, is offered this week at $200, unframed.
Gravatar 2, a mixed media monoprint on 22″x30″ paper, is offered this week at $400, unframed.
Her, a photopolymer gravure etching measuring 2″x4″x1.5″ on board, is offered this week at $100.
Chia 2, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 10″x 11″ paper, is offered this week at $200, unframed.
To purchase or for further info please email me at chiarina@chiarina.com.

It can be said that any work of art is a self portrait for the artist invests a great deal of himself in his work. Would you agree?

If you have ever created a self portrait would you like to share it here and describe what it means to you?

What famous artist self portraits do you most admire?


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Tuesday Tales – Waiting For The Butterfly


Fragile

Fragile

This weekend I ran a half marathon. It was my sixth. The course was relatively easy and, despite the cold and rain, I had hoped to run a personal best. Sadly it turned out to be my personal worst, not time wise but in terms of disappointed expectations. I had struggled with diminished energy and achy muscles throughout the race and when I saw the clock at the finish line I was completely demoralized. Overcome with fatigue and a sudden urge to cry I found myself struggling to breathe. Fortunately oxygen from the paramedics on hand and the care of my close buddies recharged me and restored my equilibrium in short order.

This event did leave me wondering why I push myself so hard to achieve, whether it’s with running or, more commonly, with my art. Why do I give myself difficult challenges and why am I so hard on myself? How could a difference of five minutes in a two-hour race matter so much? Why do I continually place my work under the scrutiny and opinions of jurors? I think the hard truth is that I believe I have the capacity and possibility for great things and shouldn’t waste these. I’m not the type to think I could do better but never try. I have the confidence to try and risk failing. Yet at the core I also have a fragility and timidity that I battle, even though I know it is a part of me I must accept. I think we all have this duality of strength and fragility at the core of our beings. It is a balancing act we all play out. Sometimes we chase our dreams most fiercely and that it good. And sometimes it feels right to simply sit and let the butterfly land on us. I think I may try that for a while.

Fragile, an 8″x10″ monoprint, is offered this week at $250.