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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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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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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?