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Showing posts from May, 2011

Alberta Pharmacists' Association Centennial Commission - the process

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Completing the Circle
This weekend I drove the spectacular road to Jasper, past glaciers, mountain goats, mountain sheep and even a grizzly, to attend the unveiling of a painting that I did for the Alberta Pharmacists' Association. The association is celebrating its 100th year, and they had decided to commission a painting to mark the event.
Using the Alberta Foundation for the Arts as a advisers, the Pharmacists' Centennial committee had selected a group of painters whose work interested them, and invited them to apply. We submitted CV's and portfolios.
From there, the committee chose 5 artists to paint maquettes and send those along with a written explanation of the work.   I was one of the painters chosen, but, when I read the commission requirements, I was daunted.  The committee wanted to show both the history and the future of pharmacy in Alberta, as well as the collaboration of pharmacy and other professions such as nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, nutritionist…

An Homage to Degas

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Pondering Degas 30 x 40
A Woman Seated Beside a Vase of Flowers
Some paintings are special. I keep coming back to them, studying brushwork, colour harmony and composition to see what it is that makes them stand above the ordinary. If I'm lucky, these paintings have been done by me at some point in the past when I was immersed it that wonderful paint zone in which nothing goes wrong and each mark is confident. Usually, however, they have been done by others. Then they become the standard for me to aim for.
My favourite Degas painting is one of these magical ones: "A Woman Seated Beside a Vase of Flowers" which is in the Metropolitan Museum in NY, makes me overwhelmingly happy whenever I see it. I love the unorthodox composition which has a woman placed at the edge of the canvas and peering out of its frame. Both of these facts are no no's according to the many books which state compositional rules - and yet it works. Degas keeps the viewer's eye from followin…

Setting up a Still Life

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Sitll Life with Limes 36 x 24
Still life set ups can be tough to compose. I went to a second hand store and bought several bowls, plates, vases and cups to add to my meager collection of elements and, this new selection suddenly overwhelmed me. It's much easier to set up an arrangement when you only have 4 vases to choose from.
I wanted to use limes in a set up because their colour caught my eye at the supermarket, but I struggled with choosing objects to place with them. I decided that I would use warm colours to contrast with the green fruit. Because the fruit is rounded, I needed to echo their shape elsewhere, so I put a platter at the back.
Too much roundness is boring, so in went the upright glass vase and, for more variety, the short, dark vase.
The small blue flowers are a nice touch of small, irregularity in a composition which would otherwise be made up entirely of large, simple shapes.
The next choice was perspective. I chose an aerial view in order to achieve a…