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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.

IMG_8005a

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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What Makes A Show A Success?


Show set-up

Show set-up

The days after a big art event always fill me with a  multitude of feelings. From elation to disappointment and everything in between I am left thinking about how to improve or build on my success and, even more importanty, what makes an event a successful one.

This past weekend’s Stinking Fish Fall Show was no different. In many respects it was a resounding success. A large and steady stream of visitors braved the cold weather to come visit and buy from our eclectic group of artists. The atmosphere was festive and cheerful. I met with many friends and aquaintances and had some wonderful chats with new visitors. The artists were overwhelmed with the turnout and most were very pleased with their earnings for the weekend.

At the end, though, many of us  had an abundance of stock to take home, myself included. While my earnings were more than expected, I still only sold a handful of artworks out of many dozens on display. Happily, I did sell a large number of my new photography books.

So I was left thinking about what makes a successful show. Is it more important to sell a lot of product or to sell fewer, but to people with whom your work has resonated deeply? Are the connections made and exposure had of even greater importance? What about the pleasure the work has given to those who have seen and admired it, even sighing deeply while viewing it?

One dear and repeat visitor to the tour was overwhelmed to see all of these people whose work she so admires under one roof, and needed to take a break and revisit the next day. Many connected strongly with the images of Italy in my 2015 planner with the resultant conversations beling full of joy and recounted memories. Being close to Christmas many were holiday shopping and it was very touching to know that my pieces were chosen to be given to cherished friends and family as gifts, some being sent to faraway places.

The artists themselves got tremendous pleasure in sharing the event with each other, visiting with each other during the few quiet moments, buying or trading each other’s work, sharing laughter, food and stories. One later said it was the most fun she’d had in a long time. All agreed they wanted to do it again next year.

So in the end, I would have to say that, yes, it was a successful event, however much was sold, for it brought a community of artists together, in the process giving them this opportunity to share with a larger community their passion, creativity and joy. Hard to beat that!

Below is my set-up.

My space

Photos courtesy of Nicole Valentine-Rimmer.

Wishing you all a wonderful, creative week of sharing!

 


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Online Art Sale Today!


Tuscan Sunrise

Tuscan Sunrise

This weekend I will be taking part in the Stinking Fish Fall Show, a two day event that I have been madly preparing for. In gratitude to all my online supporters, I am having an online pre-show and sale through my Facebook page.

The first piece on offer is this little gem, Tuscan Sunrise. It is a 5×5 photo etching mounted on board, with sides painted and waxed all around. This was the view out my window in the little town of Pancole that greeted me early one morning last spring when I was travelling in Italy. The vineyards and distant hills were awash in mist with little glints of sunshine peeping through to light up the scene. I was staying at Cesani Agriturismo, a little azienda that made its own olive oil and saffron. Both were luscious and used up all too soon. Time to head back? Side view is below.

Tuscan Sunrise, side view

Tuscan Sunrise, side view

This little ray of sunshine is offered today only at $50. Post here or contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com if you would like to take it into your home.

Check out my Facebook Page for all further offers throughout the day.

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend full of sunshine!


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Sidney Fine Art Show – A Languid Dream of Rapture


Ok, it’s not my cleverest title for a blog post but as you will see a most appropriate one.

I am thrilled to report that I have had all three of my submissions accepted into the Sidney Fine Art Show this year. The pieces are described below.

Languid Light – This piece began with some ghost imagery from a previous print and was completed with collage and pencil work to create a multi-layered and textured piece infused with a cool light and warm undertones, invoking a languid, sultry mood. The frame, painted by me, is a cool blue with sides and underpainting of bright red.

Languid Light, framed

Languid Light, framed

December Dream – after pulling the fourth and final monoprint from this plate I decided to let the remaining ink dry on the plate and frame the plate itself as a work of art. With its coppery glow and hint of color I think it makes quite a striking, evocative piece.

December Dream, framed

December Dream, framed

The Rapture – The final piece is a diptych of two photopolymer gravure etchings of striking statues I photographed in Italy. The prints are collaged on board, with strips of abstract, complimentary imagery added to the sides. The image on the left is of a small statue in a Florentine cemetery. The one on the right is a portion of the famous Rape of Polyxena by Pio Fedi in Florence’s Loggia dei Lanzi adjacent to the Piazza della Signoria. Both images and statues center around themes of life, passion and death.

The Rapture, diptych, framed

The Rapture, diptych, framed

If you are in town please visit the Sidney Fine Art Show to view these and the nearly 400 fabulous works of art that will be on display.

Sidney Fine Art Show
Mary Winspear Center
Sidney, BC
October 17-19, 2014

 


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Tuesday Tales – Summer’s End


Summer's End

Summer’s End

As we cherish the last few days of summer, there is a crispness in the air that brings on feelings of nostalgia for times gone by.

This piece was created for my first solo show, In Her Eyes, and I talked about doing the photo shoot that produced this image in the lead-up to the show. As I look at it now, I am reminded of the tremendous fun and feelings of empowerment that the shoot engendered. More than that, I am reminded of a  friend that I cherish and, hopefully, honour with this piece. The title of the piece was inspired by this Foo Fighters song of the same name. It has that same feeling of nostalgia and remembrance.

That first solo show was over four years ago and it’s been over three years since my last one.  Perhaps it’s time to think about doing another.

Summer’s End, an 8″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching on 15″x20″ paper, is offered this week at $250.
Contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com for further info or if you’d like to purchase it.


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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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Chia Comics – My New Career?


I was recently invited to participate in an unusual art show, one that features comic covers.  In this show, every artist could exhibit up to three pieces and they had to be 8.5″x11″, unframed. Now comic covers are not something I ever do but I thought it would be a fun challenge.

So I began by thinking who my superhero would be and whether I could use the imagery from any of my previous artwork in this challenge. One thing I knew from the get go was that it had to relate to my life as an artist. The pieces had to say something about me and what drives me to create art.  I started to think about the prevalent themes and subjects in my work and the thing that stood out the most was my desire to communicate about relationships and perspectives and how I have often taken personal situations and presented them in a way that could resonate with many viewers. In doing so I have often been the subject of my artwork, so I decided that I had to be the superhero of my comics and my “power” would be to shine a light on people so that they could perceive themselves and their relationships with more clarity. And I knew exactly which pieces would work for this, three pieces from my Mirror, Mirror show, in which I delved into the theme of personal journey through exploration of self as viewed through the mirror of others’ perceptions.

The pieces I would choose to turn into comic covers would be some of those that included the red hand held mirror, the mirror being the means through which I would exercise my power of revelation. The mirror is of course a device that reflects what is shown in it. What is seen is affected as much by the clarity of that mirror as by the scope of what it reflects. These have been themes that I have explored at length in my work.

I wanted the word “mirror” to be incorporated into the name of my superhero and the name came to me in a flash of illumination. I am Italian and the word for mirror in Italian is “specchio” (the “cch” being pronounced as a “k”). Because the mirror being used was red this would be “specchio rosso”, but being female I changed it to Specchia Rossa. The coolest thing about this superhero name is that the first four letters of my name are “chia”! So the name relates on numerous levels. And it just sounds awesome! Of course I had to call my company Chia Comics!

The three covers had to tell a story and their tag lines had to relate to the original pieces.

So the first comic cover below, coming out this August, is based on my piece Here I Am, and its tagline is “For all the world to see!”. This first issue introduces Specchia Rossa and her power of illumination to the comic world, the tag line relating to both her power and her launch into the world.

For All the World To See

For All the World To See

The second cover, due out in September, is based on the piece, Will You Look In The Mirror? Its tagline, “Will you look in her mirror?”, challenges those who come into contact with Specchia Rossa to take an introspective and honest look at themselves if they dare. Was it not Socrates who said “An unexamined life is not worth living”?

Will You Look In Her Mirror?

Will You Look In Her Mirror?

The final cover, available in October and based on Who’s the Fairest?, is taglined “How will you fare?”. It is a little play on words that reminds us of the importance of courage and honesty in our relationships. Will you be presented with a “fair” image of yourself in Specchia Rossa’s mirror?

How Will You Fare?

How Will You Fare?

These three pieces will be printed onto heavyweight acid-free art paper and presented unframed for the Co-Mix Art Exhibition along with many other fabulous pieces by local artists. If you are in town, you are welcome to attend the opening at Martin Batchelor Gallery on Friday, August 15, 7-10:30 pm, and Saturday, August 16, 10am-5pm, and meet the many artists and wonderful comic covers on display. Show will continue to August 30.


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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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Studio Tour Sunday


Bookmarks F-J

Bookmarks F-J

Final day for the online sale today! Check Friday’s post for details. For those in town there are some great deals at the studio as well. Come by for a cup of hot apple cider or tea and a chat.

Big thanks to all those who have come by or purchased artworks already and great Sunday to all!