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A printmaker's progress


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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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Crabfest – Or How I Saved a Turkey This Thanksgiving


Gothic Victoria

Gothic Victoria

Yesterday I headed over to Port Angeles to their annual Crabfest, or how they marketed it to us Cannucks, Save A Turkey Fest this Canadian Thanksgiving. The day began with waiting in line to board the MV Coho ferry in a torrential downpour for half an hour and then having to sit outside on deck on the crowded, cold ferry for the one and a half hour journey over to Port Angeles. But the rain stopped long enough for me to take some awesome shots of Victoria’s inner harbour and Fisherman’s Wharf receding in the mist.

Victoria's Inner Harbour

Victoria’s Inner Harbour

Houseboats

Houseboats

Stormy Sky

Stormy Sky

On board, some hot tea and the warm company of my friends made me forget the cold, and a renewed storm afforded me some great shots of  slick seats, flapping flag and even a rainbow.

Friends at Sea

Friends at Sea

Storm at Sea

Storm at Sea

Rainbow at Sea

Rainbow at Sea

Of course we Canadians always follow directions, and proceeded to muster as shown while waiting to disembark.

Muster Station

Muster Station

Port Angeles is always a pretty site to see with its dramatic backdrop of the Olympic mountains. This day was misty but we lucked out with some gorgeous sunshine for a few hours.

Port Angeles

Port Angeles

Before heading to the crab dinner we checked out the vendors and locals and got some awesome clothing accessories!

Crabfest50

Crabfest60

Cutest Canine

Cutest Canine

Crabby Accessories

Crabby Accessories

Finally it was time to eat, and what a messy, delicious feast it was!

Crabfest73 Crabfest77

 

We sat out another storm before boarding the ferry home. For some it had been a long day, but we all agreed a super fun one, out with our best friends, good eats and fun times.

Crabfest81

More pics of our Crabfest outing here.

Wishing all my Canadian friends a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 


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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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Photo Fridays – Blooms in Blue


Gabriola Morning

Gabriola Morning

Last weekend I went up to Gabriola Island for a wedding. While having breakfast I couldn’t help but photograph these luscious hydrangea blooms that were spilling out onto the ground in a riot of blueness!

More pics of these blooms and our scrumptious breakfast here.

Pics of a gorgeous Gabriola sunset to follow.

Great weekend to all!


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My New House Guests


IMG_6505-2ab

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.

IMG_6502-2a

Him and Her

IMG_6495-2a

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 – Homecoming


Coming Home, 2

Coming Home, 2

Returning home after an extended holiday abroad always leaves me with a somewhat disconnected and discomfitted feeling. Apart from the jetlag and often the climate change, the readjustment to the quotidian can be difficult. While there is comfort in things old and familiar, there is no longer the excitement of new discoveries and experiences. More than that, there is no longer a strong sense of making the most of every day, of capturing memories and living in pursuit of pleasure. There is an invariable feeling of sadness and loss that accompanies that realization.

But there is an even larger shift. Meeting new people is replaced by the return to friends and family. And that is when the strongest readjustment happens. For I am no longer who I was before I went away. My experience has changed me in subtle ways I myself am slow to realize. My horizons have expanded while my sense of place has diminished, for I find myself filled with the discovery of distance realities while trying to reacquaint myself with the familiar. And the people at home have changed too, for they have adjusted to living without me for a time.

Strangest of all is the shift in my routine with my travelling partner. Our adventure together has ended and we are once again returning to the exigencies of our daily lives, together but settling back at our own pace into our own new rhythms.

Yet while I get on with the business of my days, and adjust to the change and unrest my experience abroad has brought into my life, I also appreciate the good fortune of being able to travel. And I acknowledge that change is a good thing, for I realize that it has enriched my life in ways I will be discovering for a long time.

I’ve just returned from Middle Earth (or New Zealand as some call it), so I will end with this quote from a little hobbit you may be familiar with. “It’s a dangerous business…going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R.Tolkien

Coming Home, 2 is a 5″x7″ photo etching on 10″x11″ paper. It is an image of a very lovely place I stayed in while travelling through France two years ago. I like how the sunlight appears to welcome the weary traveller, shining its light on the road that leads to home.

It is offered this week at $70, unframed. Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for further info.

What about you, dear reader? Do you have any homecoming experience or insight you would like to share?


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Tuesday Tales – Breathe


Breathe

Breathe

As I look back on 2013 (how did it end so soon?) I see that I have posted about 100 times, with 45 of these being Tuesday Tales. That’s quite a step up from the meager 5 posts from last year! I have really enjoyed sharing my thoughts and artwork with my growing WordPress community and I cherish the connections made here and all the new blogs I now follow and love. I would like to extend a huge thank you to all my followers for coming along on this journey. I will strive to make it a worthwhile one to share. And I would like to wish you all much joy, love, laughter, adventure and creative fun in 2014!

My final offering for the year is this small piece titled Breathe. It is an image of my daughter taken at a time of change and crossroads for both of us. I know a new year is something we all approach with mixed emotions. Thoughts of the past year, with all its ups and downs, mingle with hopes and determinations for the new one. In all this frenzy of thought and emotion I encourage everyone to take a moment and breathe. Rest in this moment and feel all the beauty of this life you are living. Namaste!

Breathe, right side

Breathe, right side

Breathe, left side

Breathe, left side

                                                                                                                     Breathe, a 6″x8″x1.5″ photopolymer gravure etching on paper collaged onto board, is offered this week at $60. Please contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase of for further information.


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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!


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Tuesday Tales – I Sit Beside The Fire


Island Heat

Island Heat

My dear friend, Sven, passed away yesterday, just as the sun was setting. He was holding his wife’s hand and he is now out of pain, two very good things. His hearty laugh will no longer be heard and his big bear hugs will no longer be felt, two very sad things. I could go on and on about what a wonderful person he was but my heart is not in it right now. I am too full of grief and sorrow, especially for his wife who now has to carry on without him.

When looking for an artwork that could be a suitable tribute to him I came across the piece above, called Island Heat. The image of two empty chairs looking out onto the sea with the fire behind them seemed fitting, and it reminded me of my favorite poem from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings. It is a sad, wistful poem that the old hobbit, Bilbo, recites to his younger nephew, Frodo, before he sets off on his harrowing adventure. The poem is titled I Sit Beside The Fire And Think. The second to last verse always chokes me up, more today than usual, as I sit and think of Sven. I hope he is off on an adventure!

I Sit Beside The Fire And Think

I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall ever see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Island Heat, a 5″x10″ photopolymer gravure etching is offered this week at $100, unframed, $120 framed.


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The Body Speaks – while I’ve been silent


It’s been a long time since my last post, the better part of a year. In that time I have sold a house, gone on my first cruise ever and put together another solo show. I could write long posts on each one of these things but I’ll keep to the art news here.

Body Of Work 1 & 2

As my post title indicates, my new show is titled The Body Speaks, and it is one in which I continue my fascination with the human figure and how we relate and respond to its myriad expressions. What began as a study of human relationships soon expanded into a look at out how our bodies have a language all of their own and how readily and instinctually we read and respond to each other’s gestures and postures. Below is a discussion of the works in the show.

The titles of two of the pieces in the show, Body of Work 1 – In Her Eyes and Body Of Work 2 – Mirror, Mirror, depict a collage of a body of work from two previous shows, ones in which I used images of the human body to communicate with my audience. The images moreover are laid out in a linear, foreshortened manner to allude to the way artworks are placed and viewed along a wall in a gallery. These two works, along with a third, entitled Puppet Master, which contains a multitude of prints hanging on strings from a bamboo crossbeam, illustrate the role of the artist as facilitator, with his ability to direct the viewer’s attention, influence his emotional response and generate a dialogue between people.

Several of the works in the show highlight the intensity and eloquence of the eyes and hands, our most expressive features.  A pair of faces contrasts the promise of youth with the sageness of maturity, yet expresses a fiery spirit and strength of character that defies age. Hands caressing a lover’s body speak of passion and tenderness. A woman grabs her hair enigmatically, a man’s heart is seen in his bruised face, and another’s reclining on a bed.

Close-ups of other body parts give us enigmatic glimpses into the human condition. Bare feet amongst rubble and broken glass express a forlorn vulnerability. A bared back morphing into a tree trunk while an outstretched arm touches a stone wall evokes a sense of connectedness, strength and inner harmony.

Images of people together, whether touching or apart, reflect the bonds and boundaries of their relationships. The closeness of friends, embrace of expectant parents, the mirrored movements of mother and child, a lover’s gaze – all speak volumes without words.

A number of works illustrate the dichotomy of the more impersonal, yet strangely intimate, world of social media and smart phones, wherein our connections have taken on an ephemeral and intangible quality that is redefining human interaction. Photographs and video are superseding direct interaction while taking on key roles in the development of our online personas and avatars. The works in this show, by their own nature as photopolymer gravure etchings based on photographic imagery, illustrate this vividly.

All in all, the works express a wide range of human emotion and experience that I hope resonates with and engages the viewer.  Whatever else the images may express, the connections made between model, photographer and viewer remain an underlining current in every work.

More images of the works in the show can be found here: (Click on slideshow for a larger view)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiarina606/sets/72157626686287718/

A video of the show by Exhibit-V can be seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yshEkRpRQY

If you are in town please drop by and check out the artwork.

The show runs until June 9 at Collective Works Gallery, Victoria, BC, open Tues to Sun, 12-6pm

http://www.collectiveworks.ca/