Marianne Morris | Artist

Living Life in Full Colour

Month: February 2017

I need a Hero…

Ink drawing of Mastiff dog

Our “loaner” dog, Hero. He stayed with us for a week, booked through the dog-sitting service DogVacay. He was a very agreeable subject. He let me take photos, and sat still enough I could draw from life. Sometimes.

So, for those of you who have been reading a while, you will know that I lost my dog in December. And the year before that, my other dog passed away. We went from being a 2 dog family to a no dog family, and it was difficult. As I am a dog person… and I mean really a dog person… people were predicting a couple of months before we got another dog, no matter how much I insisted we were not going down that road again.

My husband and I are still dogless. We want to travel. Together. It’s a challenge when you have 4 legged beasties to take care of. But we needed our doggie fix. So after a bit of investigation, we discovered the dog-sitting service DogVacay. It’s like the Air b&b of dog-sitting. Dog owners can search for a caregiver by location and availability. Hosts can choose what works for them, in terms of dog size and care requirements.  We immediately signed up to be hosts. Essentially, we get to have a dog now and then without having to commit to being full-time “parents”. How perfect.

Our first “loaner”, as I’ve taken to calling them, was Hero. He is an adorable 2-year-old Bull Mastiff pup, and he stayed with us for a week while his family were off on vacation. It’s amazing how quickly we got attached. It was a bit sad to see him go home, but it was nice at the same time. We got to do the walks and play with him for a short time, which was fun. But it isn’t something that’s required daily for the next 10 years, and I can appreciate that. And it was wonderful that he was calm enough that I had a great subject to draw while he was here.

And I’ve had that old Bonnie Tyler song stuck in my head for the entire time…

Guest Post: Collage artist Linda VanWyk

Collage painting by Linda VanWyck.

Collage painting “Collaboration in Nature”,  by artist Linda VanWyk.

I’ve decided to start something new here. I have so many wonderfully talented friends making some fabulous art, that I wanted to share with my readers. So in 2017, every now and again I’m going to have a guest artist here on my blog.

I met Linda VanWyk a few years ago, when we both exhibited at the Arts on the Credit art fair. I had the pleasure of having the booth beside hers, so when we had lulls in traffic we could chat and brows through each other’s work. I LOVED her collages. Both her representational and abstract work blew me away. Anyway… I’ll let her tell you herself about what she does.

Written by Guest artist, Linda VanWyk:

I am thrilled that Marianne has asked me to be a guest blogger this month. My name is Linda VanWyk and I am a collage artist. You can see my work at http://www.lindavanwyk.com

In my post today, I am going to talk about making and using your own collage paper. Often I find making collage paper to be the most creative thing I do. It’s a way for me to express my joy of color, pattern and mark making with no restrictions, rules or limitations. The collage paper is made with no end product in sight.

While many artists use ‘found ‘ papers in their collage works, I only use papers that I have painted myself. Even though this is important to me, it is by no means the only option available to you.

If you look at my acrylic / collage paintings, you will see hundreds of different pieces of painted paper that are combined to create my compositions. Each piece might have a different texture, color combination and pattern.

You can apply collage paper with acrylic fluid and/or gel medium to various supports including w/c paper, stone paper, Mylar, stretched canvas and panels.

I have recently started combining my collage paper with oil paint and cold wax on oil paper and panels. While the first layer can be applied with acrylic mediums, once you start using oil paint subsequent collage pieces need to be applied with cold wax.

Here are some tips for painting your own collage paper:

  • Have fun! This is just an exercise.
  • Paper – large sheets of bond paper, Japanese papers, deli paper and acid free tissue paper
  • Paint – acrylic paints (fluid and tube), acrylic inks, plan to mix various color combinations – while you are waiting for one piece to dry, start another
  • Other mark making tools – charcoal sticks, oil pastels, coloured pencils, watercolour pencils
  • Patterns – draw directly on to the painted paper, use various stencils while painting, stamp the paper with homemade or purchased stamps, make marks into wet paint using various tools (paint brushes, spatulas, other household objects)

All of your collage painted paper has a way of accumulating. If you are thinking of using them on a regular basis, you might want to think about how you can store them so that you can easily retrieve the perfect colour and/or pattern when you need it.

 Here are a couple of options for storage:

Small and large pieces can be stored in drawers but I often find that I don’t readily see all of the pieces. If I am using storage drawers I tend to set up each drawer by color.

Alternatively I hang paper via hangers and clips. I can easily and quickly look at each piece and choose what I need.

Photo of studio of artist Linda VanWyck

One way to sort your collage papers to make them easily accessible.

Happy Painting!

You can reach me at  linda@lindavanwyk.com

Upcoming Events:

A pen and a sketchbook is all I need…

Ink sketch done on the beach in Albufeira, Portugal

I loved the rocks and trees by the beach. I tried to capture it a few times.

Oh, it’s good to be home. I had a great time, and I am so incredibly inspired… but hell, it’s wonderful to sleep in my own bed. I missed my home, I missed my boys, and I missed grocery shopping in English.

I am so fortunate that I was able to paint during my visit. It’s not a luxury I would have had if I stayed in a hotel. I will be eternally grateful to my host for the opportunity. But as an artist looking for inspiration, I know that all I need is a sketchbook and a pen. The rest is a bonus.

My drawings started off a bit rough… after the first time out I was actually beginning to think I had forgotten how to draw. It has been a long time, after all. But persistence is one of those things that usually pay off. After a few days working consistently I started to feel more comfortable. My drawings improved. Then I discovered my new fountain pen has water-soluble ink… what an awesome discovery!  I also got out my watercolours and did a few coloured sketches. By three weeks in I was doing a couple drawings a day along with whatever else I was working on. It’s like I found myself again.

Now if only I can manage to hang onto this feeling now that I’m back at work. Easer said than done, I fear.

The Leftovers: Lisbon and the Algarve

Lisboa view

View of the city of Lisbon

I’m home. It took a while, but I made it. The trip was long… it actually took 2 days. Started out normally enough, a bit late boarding the plane but not unusually so. But then we sat out on the tarmac. And sat. And sat. Finally, we went back into the terminal to sit there until they figured out if they could fix the problem with the plane. And then they bussed the lot of us to a hotel for the night. Sounds like an ordeal but it was actually kinda fun… the hotel was on the other side of the city, so we got a bus tour of an area I hadn’t managed to get to. I got to drive right under the aqueduct, which I was sure I was going to miss altogether. The hotel was quite nice, and we were provided with a lovely buffet dinner. I spent a few hours talking to my fellow passengers over food and wine… people I would never really had the opportunity to talk to if we had just got on the plane and gone. I made a couple new friends. And when we did finally get going, it was almost like being at a social event. People were wandering the aisles chatting, instead of just sitting there watching the inflight entertainment. Not too bad at all.

I’ve noticed a few things about the Portuguese. They run on their own version of time… and nobody seems to get irritated at delays. People just go with the flow, and things work out. Every place seems to shut down for a few hours in the afternoon. I was told they go home and have lunch with their families. Maybe have a nap. I think North Americans should take note… they seem to be much happier than the average person here.

People in Europe seem to have normal shaped bodies. I saw very few insanely thin women, bulked up men, or obese people. I also noticed that by comparison, at 5’7″, I am tall (here I am on the short side of average). I noticed this while on a crowded metro in Lisbon. I was one of the tallest people in the car. I wonder if this is because of all the additives we have in our food…. because the food in Portugal seems much fresher and less processed. The bread is stale in two days, the egg yolks are almost orange instead of pale yellow, and the majority of the supermarket is fresh produce, meat, cheese, fish. Not nearly as much in packages. And of course there is always lots of wine. It is local, inexpensive, and very good. And a part of life. Here, if you drink wine with every meal people would think you have a problem.

The cities there do not seem to be built for the car. There are areas that are pedestrian only, and lots of people on foot. While I might see lots of pedestrians in downtown Toronto, outside of that it’s not as common. Women in Portugal do not wear heels as a matter of course. It’s not practical at all given the cobblestone streets and the hills… you’d be likely to break an ankle if you tried to navigate the roads in stiletto heels.  Almost everyone in Portugal speaks more than one language. Chatting with the woman who runs the art supply store in Albufeira, I asked how many languages she spoke. Five. Finding someone with both our official languages here is unusual. And while I speak bits and pieces of a few different languages, I am only able to have an actual conversation in English. I really should work on that.

Europeans seem to see a value in old things that we in North America don’t. There is history everywhere. Yes, I understand we are a much younger country, but I returned to a flap about a heritage building in Toronto being unexpectedly demolished.  Even in my own neighbourhood we have a grand, old building presently being “rebuilt”… oh they saved the facade, but the rest of the building had to go. Why not just renovate and restore? From what I understand it was structurally sound… but I digress…

I’ve just started going through my hundreds of photos from the trip. I had some interesting ones that I haven’t posted yet, along with my shots from the couple of days in Lisbon. If you’ve been following along, it might be of interest to check them out. I loved Lisbon…. and kinda wish I had more time. I got to see the Castelo de Sao Jorge, the Santa Justa lift and the Carmo Church ruins, but missed the Jerónimos Monastery  and the Belem tower. I guess I’ll get to those next time. And there will be a next time.

Oh, and if you happen to be interested in visiting the area I was in, the villa I stayed in is rented out when not otherwise in use. You can check it out on the website allgoalgarve.com.

And some bits and pieces leftover from my Algarve photos (click on a pic to go through the slide show)…