Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Elizabeth Wyn Wood

Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Passing Rain, 1928, (source)

Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Linda, 1932, (source)
Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Munitions Worker, 1944 (source) also here

Elizabeth Wyn Wood (1903-1966) was a celebrated Canadian sculptor, she was married to Emmanuel Hahn- also a sculptor. Together they worked in the same medium- plaster casts- which they then painted- or cast into metal. Her works have such strength to them- and I really find that appealing- even the landscapes have a solemn feel to them. They are also very representative of the era in which they were made. I suppose there's always going to be that feel when you work from contemporary subjects- but I think that Linda, and Munitions Worker both really capture that strong female countenance which we associate with the Depression and the second world war respectively.

There was a time in my life when I sort of disliked - or maybe just 'didn't get' the strong female image of the 30's and 40's- muscled and thick limbed, serious set faces. I preferred the willowy framed women of Klimt- the seductive, twisty limbed girls of Schiele, with their small mouths, and long necks, and their stony expressions tempered by their daintiness and lady like mannerisms (or not so lady like- but certainly feminine- mannerisms in Scheile's case). But now that I'm older, now that I'm a mother maybe? I get these women- these serious strong women from some of the hardest times in recent history- thrusting forward into a new gender role- standing on their own two sturdy legs and feet- no dainty lace up boots here- and I love them.

Monday Inspiration 2014 is all about re-discovering Canadian Artists. After completing a bachelor of fine art from a Canadian University you would think that you'd be well versed in Canadian art- but actually -not so much. Ask me about renaissance, or abstract expressionism, and I'm well versed, but beyond the Group of Seven or Emily Carr I'm a bit lost when it comes to my own countrymen- (let alone country women!). If you can think of someone I should look up leave me a note in the comments, I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, April 18, 2014

This Moment

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.- Amanda Blake Soule

* This was the whole bounty of maple syrup from five gallons of sap, a one pint jar, but it sure is tasty! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Work In Progress Wednesday: Circus Circus

These are close-ups of a rectangular casserole I'm working on-it's in the very early stages here. It's Vintage Circus inspired- which is something I really love- all the big fancy embellishments, almost Baroque- but much more playful, also fun repeating patterns, bold stripes, and of course elephants. Who doesn't love elephants?

I'm slowly starting to make more pieces so I can fill my kiln and fire those tile samples. and then I can get started pumping out the tiles for the back splash. But also I'm thinking I should plan to do a few more sales- craft shows and the like next fall- The girls are now getting to the stage where I can work for a little bit- N will be in kindergarten next fall- so I'll have much more time I think, (though A will be two so we'll be heading towards that style of fun). Anyhow, at the rate I go for completing stuff, I should have a decent amount of stuff to offer come next fall, if I can stay on track that is (with Spring sewing time coming I'm not sure how on track I'll be- but I shall try...If you're trying to stay on track by avoiding the siren song of spring sewing do NOT look at this,or this,or this, or this- but seriously how awesome is that last one?)

My thinking is to make a lot more oven to table style dishes, oven safe- good for regular use, but highly decorative, and not out of place with the 'good china'. There is a LOT of the typical brown country style pottery around here- I think the younger folks could use something different, a little more colourful, not as traditional. I think really functional ware need not be plain- though it's true that more embellishes benefit from hand washing, but really any casserole dish benefits from hand washing, right? What do you think, any favorite types of dish that you'd like to see in pottery, but don't too often?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Just like that...

Just like that- the snow melted- and all week it was getting warmer and warmer, and drier too. Slowly things were getting uncovered- the garden shed was reachable, the grass was getting greener, the thyme in the garden looked to be growing even!

We were so happy- going outside twice a day- The yard suddenly opened up past the shoveled paths and lanes, the baby (must stop caller her that...she is no baby anymore!) so happy to be able to actually walk outside that she was running around with her hands over her head, crying when it was time to come in. N was gathering treasure from last year's dried out plants- making 'stew' in a big sloshy bucket of water. Stretching our winter softened bodies and minds to get ready for the long days of outdoor work ahead, and then, just like that...

WINTER!!! *sigh*

Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Inspiration: Caroline Farncomb

Caroline Farncomb, Mary Harris, 1906, (source)
Caroline Farncomb, Wild Duck, 1901, (source)
Caroline Farncomb (1859-1951), was a well exhibited London Ontario artist. That's pretty much the extent of info on her on line. No personal history seems to be out there- she studied art in London, New York and Paris, and then returned to Canada where she painted landscapes, portraits, and animals.

I love the feathers on this duck- so gracefully swept back, also it's little limp beak and feet, very evocative. I also really love the pose on the portrait of Mary Harris- I've spoken before about the potential awkwardness of painting portraits- people always want to be seen a certain way- and invariably say- "that doesn't look like me!" or "Do I look like that?!" in a horrified way if you actually capture their likeness honestly (though if you make them more attractive than they think they are- they're usually pretty quiet about it). I wonder what the reaction to this portrait was- where Mrs. Mary Harris looks so distracted, and not quite happily distracted either... it makes you wonder.

Monday Inspiration 2014 is all about Canadian artists. Each Monday I'll pick a new one to profile- If you can think of any that you think I ought to look up- please let me know in the comments- I'd love to hear from you. You can find a list of the artists I've done so far here. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Personal Photo Challenge: Close up/Macro

This is my first time joining in with The Personal Photo Challenge. It's a monthly challenge- which is just about perfect for the amount of time I have to work on something 'extra'- this month's prompt was closeup/macro- which I haven't done a lot of - on purpose anyways. I usually do get pretty close to small objects- but usually I just get close focus and shoot- and don't really think about the composition.

I think it makes a giant difference when there's something in the background- I took some photos of tiny rocks- and they were great- but they could have been boulders for all you'd see in the pictures. I use Irfanview (it's free and fairly easy to use, plus it's a download so it's more convenient that pic monkey I think- though it doesn't have as many trendy filters) for photo editing, but I'm usually pretty basic with it- I just cropped the first one, sharpened them and re-sized the images.

My camera is a Fuji Finepix S basically a glorified point and shoot-  I mostly use c (custom) setting so that I can control the shutter speed- I used an iso 100 on these to let in lots of natural light- because my camera was mostly blocking the light.  I also used the super macro button- no tripod- just me on my belly trying not to breathe at the wrong time!

I'm Linking up at A Personal Photo Challenge.

Friday, April 11, 2014

This moment: tapping maples

{this moment}
A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.- Amanda Blake Soule