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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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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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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 – 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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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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Let’s Get Physical!


rolling it on

rolling it on

A recent German study found that recent retirees who engaged in active creative activity showed improved brain function and psychological resilience compared to those who attended art appreciation courses. The physical act of creating art seemed to be the key to this improvement for it strenghtened brain connections and enhanced memory processing.

So get your paintbrushes, pencils, or what have you and get physical!

Great weekend to all!


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Photo Fridays – Perched Village in Provence


Gorgeous Gordes

Gorgeous Gordes

Gordes, one of France’s beautiful perched villages in Provence. Breathtaking as you approach, so lovely to walk through, oh so hard to leave. Wonderful memories.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend making memories!