Chiarina Loggia

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

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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Photo Fridays – The End is the Beginning


My First Studio

My First Studio

Endings are just beginnings for something new. This is the thought I hold fast to as I contemplate leaving my art studio.

About seven years ago I opened the School House Studio, forming an artist co-op with three other artists. It was in the Metchosin Elementary School, the old portion of which had been converted into The Metchosin Arts and Cultural Center. The image above is of me standing outside the door to my studio, early on, when we were the only renters and before the building got a facelift.

Since that time an art gallery and other studios have opened, and some have closed, and my studio mates have changed numerous times. Below is an image of an early incarnation of the studio.

School House Studio

School House Studio

In addition to being a place to create my own art, the studio has served as a place for me to teach printmaking and drawing classes, host art events and shows, film video clips, have photo shoots and of course, share a cup of tea with many who have visited. It has often felt like a second home and has been a refuge from the world when I needed one. More images of the studio in use below.

The etching press

The etching press

Inking a plate

Inking a plate

Printmaking class

Printmaking class

It is with very mixed feelings that I say goodbye to this studio which has been a huge part of my life for a long time. Just like with a home, I must put aside any dreams for a future there as I move away. But unlike a home I will take with me the community of artists and art lovers that I have become a part of through the studio into my new work space. In the end, it is this community that forms the foundation for my future more than any place.

I will be leaving the studio at the end of April. If you are in the neighborhood do stop in for a cup of tea before then.
I will also be having a huge closing studio sale on April 12 from 1-5pm. There will be tons of artwork, and other art related stuff like frames and tables, for sale. Yes, I am very prolific! There will also be an online sale on Friday, the 11th. More details to follow.

Wishing everyone a wonderful, creative weekend!

 

 


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Tuesday Tales – In Her Dreams


In Her Dreams

In Her Dreams

Today’s piece is one that began several years ago but was completed just recently. It is the last one I have of a series of three, each with its own variation of inking and chin colle, as seen below. The piece includes a drypoint plate, with a smaller photo etching plate laid on top. The chin colle is thin paper glued on the surface while running the plates through the press, creating  the lightly shaded and irregularly shaped passage around the etching.

In Her Dreams They Are Not yet Grown

In Her Dreams They Are Not Yet Grown

In Her Dreams They Are Not yet Grown

In Her Dreams They Are Not Yet Grown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The title of the piece above is shortened for it is collaged onto a small wooden block with added imagery on the sides, so it is  a newly designed piece.  Yet it refers back to the other two for the essential subject is the same, a reflection on the passing of time and our perceptions through it.

The smaller image in the piece is a photo etching of my children on the beach when they were younger. The larger more abstract line work in the drypoint loosely resembles a face with closed eyes and long flowing hair. The chin colle portion represents memory and the vagaries of dreams. The images combined refer to how in my dreams my children are always young, sometimes babies, even though they are fully grown. This is something many parents experience, as I’ve learned by sharing this piece. I guess those early years, when our lives are so intensely intertwined, leave their indelible mark on our psyche, our hearts, and our dreams. And I know, as my children prepare for adventures away from here, they will continue to remain young and close by in my dreams.

Below are two side views of the piece.

In Her Dreams, a 6″x 8″x 1.5″ monoprint, is offered this week at $80.
Contact me at chiarina@chiarina.com to purchase or for more info.

In Her Dreams

In Her Dreams

In Her Dreams

In Her Dreams

 


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Tuesday Tales – Ten Thousand Hours


Sake

Sake

I am posting a day late today because of a surprise CBC radio interview which not only preempted my plans for the day but derailed the post I had planned to write. The interview was in connection with a show I am participating in that opens this Saturday, July 13, at the MAG. The show’s title is Ten Thousand Hours, which refers to the idea that it takes roughly that amount of time, about ten years, to become expert or proficient in your field. The group I am exhibiting with is the Stinking Fish Artists. It is an eclectic group, working in a variety of mediums, most of whom I am sure have spent that amount of time and more on developing their art and craft. And it shows. I have only had a little peak at the show but what I saw blew me away! What a privilege it is to be showing with this talented group once again.

What I realized yesterday was that it has been exactly ten years since I not only took my first printmaking course but also since I first joined this group, about a month later. And here we are 10 years later putting on a show called Ten Thousand Hours (and it wasn’t my idea!). What serendipity!

Of course time and practise alone do not make you an expert in your field. But it certainly makes you better at what you do! People often think an artist is born with a talent for art. I think the talent lies in a certain ability to process experiences and insights and the willingness to share those insights with the world. The skill to do this well is what takes time and practise. And it is passion and heart that makes an artist spend the time on his craft. I invite you all to come out to see the works of these passionate artists. Show runs July 11 – August 4, Thursday -Sunday, 12-5pm.

Sake, the photo etching above is one I did a few weeks ago as a demo for the class I was teaching. It is an evocative still life of objects dear to me for their connection with times and places in my life, in particular with Japan, where I was introduced to the art of printmaking.
For comparison, the print below, untitled, is an alumigraph print I did in my first printmaking class ten years ago.

untitled

untitled

This print is long gone but Sake, a 3.5″x5″ photopolymer gravure etching, is offered this week at $70, unframed or $90, framed.

What are your thoughts on the idea of ten thousand hours? Or about what makes a great artist?


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Tuesday Tales – The Art That Binds


Lombok Glow

Lombok Glow

Pottery is an art form that, for me, evokes a sense of history and permanence. It is a tangible reflection of a culture, often the last to remain after all other elements are lost. It also has a physicalilty in its weight, shape and texture that engages all your senses and somehow instills a feeling of connection and tranquility when perusing its beauty. That is why I love to include images of pottery so often in my work.

Years ago I lived in Jakarta, Indonesia. While there I got to experience firsthand the colorful melting pot of cultures and traditions throughout this nation of many islands, big and small. One of the islands I unfortunately didn’t get to visit was the island of Lombok, just east of Bali. Fortunately, its famous and beautiful Sasak pottery could be easily found in Jakarta.  This pottery is quite unique in both materials and design. It comes from three villages on Lombok, each having their own distinctive designs. The pots are made without kilns. Instead the clay is laboriously ground, then built up, shaped, designed and varnished with coconut oil and other clays before being allowed to dry  first in shade, then under the hot tropical sun. The results are lustrous, earthy pots ranging from deep siena tones to rich blacks. You can see some beautiful examples here.

I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful pottery and bought a wide range of it. The pot illustrated above is one of my favorite ones and is a rich mix of black and earthy red with bars and triangular patterns etched on its surface. I love its shape as much as its color and texture. It is pictured below.

Lombok pot

Lombok pot

I have used this pot as inspiration for a number of prints. You can see one example here. The pot is used here to invoke that sense of timelessness implicit in the piece.

The etching I created above  has just returned home after being part of a multi-province tour of a mini print exhibit based in Vancouver, called BIMPE. It is used here to represent history and culture, bathed in memory’s warm light.

Lombok Glow, a 4″x6″ monoprint, is offered this week at $100, unframed.


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Phot Fridays – That Was Then This Is Now


Firenze

Firenze

More than a dozen years ago I painted this watercolour of Florence from a photo taken on the steps leading up to Piazzale Michelangelo, a large piazza overlooking the city which affords spectacular views of the city. I preferred the view from the steps, which, together with the trees and foliage, framed the rooftops of the city in a pleasing way. My painting included the entire cupola of the Duomo but for some reason I cropped that edge out of the picture. You can see another cropping below that includes it.

Firenze, detail

Firenze, detail

Perhaps I didn’t like that second spindly tree trunk, or more likely, my skills at photography, and record keeping, were not as developed, but these two pictures are all I have left of the painting which has long ago been sold. What I do still have are the memories of that place  and time, and of creating the painting afterwards, working for weeks totally absorbed in the process, loving the movement of wet paint on paper and developing meticulous layers of luminous color.

When I revisited Florence earlier this month I naturally had to return to that spot and revisit my memory of being there. I remembered my children skipping up and sitting on those stairs. I remembered it being wintertime. I remembered the restaurant at the back of the piazza called La Loggia, but I couldn’t remember if we ate there or not. I remembered it being a happy time.

Of course I had to photograph the city from the same vantage point. One of those photos is below. The interesting spindly trees on the right of the wall were gone and in their place were several large cranes that marrred the view, but the most significant changes were the ones in my life. My children had grown. I was with a new partner. I observed the city with fresh eyes and I took away new memories. I noticed the steps were a pilgrimage of crosses. I helped a street musician take a snapshot of himself with the same backdrop for a cd cover he was planning. I reveled in the warm sunny day and giggled through more attempts at selfies of ourselves with both phone and SLR cameras. And I shot a photo of La Loggia, though I didn’t eat there. One thing that hadn’t changed was that it was a happy time.

Florence, 2013

Florence, 2013

La Loggia

La Loggia


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Photo Fridays – Remembering My Dad


Coming to Canada - March 19, 1964

Coming to Canada – March 19, 1964

Today is my dad’s birthday. He would have been 81, but he passed away in 2009. I wrote about his passing and the effect it had on me in an earlier post. I still get choked up when I read it, even after so much time. But I also smile when I realize where my own life has taken me since then, to new and unexpected love and adventures. It seems my life has always been a series of adventures, beginning with that eventful trip to Canada in 1964. That’s me on the right in the picture above, looking like a little waif.

Looking at this picture I can see character traits in each of our faces that still hold true to this day: a stubborn strength in my sister on the left, a gentle intelligence in the one on my dad’s knee, a kindness exhuding from my mother, and I note she is the only one smiling, and hesitant reservation in my father. (The stranger posing in the background and the huge jugs of wine on the tables still makes me laugh.) Absent are the sister who was left behind in her grave and another yet to be born. I see this picture and I wish my mother’s arm had been around my shoulder for I  look so lost and forlorn. I wasn’t used to change and, to this day, I remember the strange taste and texture of the bread on board the Saturna, though little else except having to go on deck with life jackets in a storm. My mother tells me we were all seasick for a good part of the eight day voyage but I seem to have blocked that memory. I remember nothing of our trip to Naples to board the ship, and only a few images of the countryside while travelling by train to Montreal from Halifax. Again, I do remember our first meal at my aunt’s house when we arrived. It was chicken soup with little bow pasta. It tasted strange as well, and I couldn’t eat much. I was a very picky eater as a child. I still am, though I don’t mind strangeness nearly as much. I have lived in far too many places to let newness bother me. In fact I rather look forward to new experiences and feel restless when life becomes too monotonous.

My father never really liked change or adventure. His penurious circumstance propelled him to a new country in the hopes of a better life for himself and his family. This he achieved quite well. His courage to bring his large family to a strange new world and start fresh with no education, no skills or even language leaves me in awe, and I am forever grateful for the opportunities this opened up for me and my sisters. But my dad never really enjoyed his life in Canada. He spent his years there wishing to go back to Italy to retire. This he never managed to do for he became ill shortly before retirement and was hospitalized for the last years of his life. He did manage numerous trips back and spent a few wonderful summers there. The picture below is from his youth, riding atop his mule, Giulia. I hope somewhere, somehow, that memory of a lost youth is still alive and bringing him joy. I know the thought of it makes me smile.

Copy of dad_and_giulia - Copy-2

Dad and Giulia

A few more pictures of my father can be seen here.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend! Hug your dad if he is close. Call him if he is far away.