Sunday, April 06, 2014

The Painting "Heaven's Vault" in Progress

Susanne Clark - Heaven's Vault
Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Canvas - $1985.00
I always get the urge to paint big works but don't actually have the space to easily work on them or put them when they are finished, however, the urge got the better of me!  I had the canvas hanging in the studio ready to work on and with the exhibition coming up at Arta Gallery I decided to get started.

I usually love to try out lots of different types of work but this year I am trying to be more disciplined and focus on one form of painting. I find working intuitively on non representational work very interesting and challenging so this is my 2014 focus.

Working intuitively I don't have any pre-planned idea of how the finished painting will look. I try to choose the predominant colour and then just go from there.  It's a scary process but I find it quite mysterious and exciting too.  The work always seems to develop out of many layers and has lots of changes as I try to bring the painting together.

At the Opening of the exhibition several people asked me how I go about creating a work like this.  While doing this painting I actually remembered to take some "in process" photos.  This is pretty amazing as I usually get so caught up in the process myself that I forget all about taking photos.

Here is the first photo, just a lot of black and grey on the white canvas.  You can see where I have scratched into the paint in some areas.

Here you can see I have started to add some colour.

More creams, golds and some calligraphic line work.

Stronger colour and gold line work.

These two are close ups that show the details of the texture and line work.  Unfortunately the gold leaf in the painting doesn't show well in the photos.

This piece is 30 inches high by 54 inches wide.  It's painted in acrylic and mixed media and is on canvas. The mixed media consists of gold leaf and gold pen, Finally here is a photo showing it "In Situ" to give you an idea of the size.  I balanced it on my fireplace mantle to take the photo before taking it to the Gallery so it's not hung a few inches above the mantle as it should be.  

Susanne Clark - Heavens Vault
Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Canvas - 30 x 53 in
Your comments and questions are always welcomed.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I Know It's Quite Surprising!

Susanne Clark 2013 - Perception's Journey
Acrylic and Gold Leaf on Panel - 30 x 30 in

I just looked at the date of my last post and it's even surprising to me that it was so long ago.  Sometimes life just gets in the way.  I know that sounds like a pretty weak excuse but it's true in many ways.

I won't try and give you an update of the past year but just let you know that I have been painting and doing quite a lot of printmaking.  I have also taught some painting and printmaking workshops and really enjoyed doing them.  The best thing about teaching is that I meet really nice people.

Yesterday my work was hung as part of a group exhibition at Arta Gallery in the Distillery District here in Toronto. The focus of my recent work has been on intuitive non realistic works and I have four large pieces on show there.  The photo above is one of them.  I am finding this approach very challenging and in many ways much harder than working from something realistic.

Opening night is Thurs. April 3, 6 - 8 pm.  Regular Gallery hours and the address are in the link above. It would be great if you are able to make it.

Summer means outdoor art festivals and hopefully some nice weather.  I will be exhibiting at several around Ontario and will list them in my next posting.  I will be showing printmaking at most of these events.

The photo below is a piece I did for the Year Of The Horse print exhibition that was held at the Proof Gallery also in the Distillery District.  You can see most of the work here.  To see all the work on their site you can click on the right side of the page or go to previous posts at the bottom.  They were not able to fit them all on one post so did several.

Susanne Clark 2013 - Sky Prancer
Collagraph on Watercolour Paper - Image 8 x 10 in
As always I love to get your feedback.   Until next time ........

Monday, April 15, 2013

Collagraph Printmaking Workshop

©Susanne Clark
 Blue Totem

I recently gave a Collagraph Printmaking workshop for the Don Valley Art Club here in Toronto. There were ten participants in the group and everyone worked very enthusiastically and really seemed to enjoy it.

At the end of any workshop I give I ask the participants to fill out a short evaluation form covering all the usual things, including whether they got good value for the money spent, and I also ask for comments on how I could improve the workshop.  Because I want people to be genuine and able to critique and not feel that they just have to say something nice, they have the option to fill it in and be anonymous or they can give their name.

I got really nice reviews and amazingly everyone gave their name and permission to use it in any publicity about upcoming workshops.  There were also a couple of comments.  One was that they would have preferred that there were less participants in the group.  I understand that as there is a lot of information to cover and people like a lot of one on one help.  Also we only had one press and for a large group that meant that there were often people waiting to use it. When a workshop is done for an Art Club they need a good number of attendees to make it worthwhile financially.

The other suggestion was that perhaps I should have had a theme for people to work with.  I found this suggestion interesting and is the main reason for this blog post.  Because collagraph printmaking is based loosely on collage, (a printing plate is formed by attaching various papers and creating textures on a support that you use to print the image from) one of the first things to learn is how these textures actually print when inked up.  Do the materials print light or dark, is there too much ink on the plate, do the shapes and textures read well etc. For people who new to collagraph printmaking trying to create a successful image with a Theme before they know how the process works, seems to me, to be attempting too much.   I believe that it is better to work spontaneously without worrying about the end result and then see what you discover.

I would be interested to hear your comments.  Theme or no theme at the beginning of the learning process?

Cello Paintings

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unfocused Artist

©2012 Susanne Clark - Aggregation in Red
30 x 30 in - Acrylic on canvas
2012 has just about zipped by and I have been thinking about my artistic progress, or lack of it, this year.  I seem to want to do a bit of everything but then nothing ever gets done well.

As an artist, we are always told we should focus on one medium but look at what do I do.

I paint, but then I paint in a variety of different ways.

©2012 Susanne Clark - Euphoria
Oil on canvas
I  have an ongoing series of Musical works in acrylic.
I love to paint people and have recently been doing these in oils.
I have a real interest in non representational work in either oil or acrylic.
I did a number of loose florals this year too.

©2012 Susanne Clark - Lavender Posy
Acrylic on paper mounted on wood panel 12 x 12 in
Now to Printmaking.  This is a medium that I really enjoy however within this medium I also seem to have a variety of different styles of work.

©2012 Susanne Clark - The Ladies
Handpulled Collagraph on paper
I do some landscapes.
I have a series of 1920's women.
Some symbolic works
An ongoing Kimono series
and .... some hand painted blockprints.

©2012 Susanne Clark - Jester in Red
Handpulled blockprint with painted details - SOLD
All these mediums and styles of work and none of them have a similar look to them.  In other words they look like they were done by different artists.  I thought perhaps that being a Gemini may account for two kinds of different work but this is getting slightly ridiculous.  The big problem is that I enjoy all these facets of art.

It also follows through into my other doings though too.  I write a few blog posts and then I get diverted.  I play with facebook and then lose momentum.  I look into promoting my work and then ease off.

Life has so many choices.  We have too much of everything in this day and age.  I have started getting rid of books and a lot of my art that I have kept from years back.  It feels good to have less.  Our house is fairly uncluttered but it could be even less so.

I think I need to do the same thing with my art..  More focus is obviously needed.  Perhaps this could be my New Years resolution!

Anyone else out there with this problem!  I'd love to hear how you are dealing with it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Stolen Images on Chinese Websites

Golden Sax - Susanne Clark
Acrylic on canvas 24 x 24 inches
Yesterday I decided to search on Google to see if any of my paintings were illegally on the internet.  I know that there are whole towns in China, and other places, consisting of great numbers artists who work in factories that steal artist’s images and reproduce them for sale.  Copyright means nothing to them and someone told me, jokingly I hope, that the artists think copyright means that they actually have the right to copy the work!

Looking at my website stats I often see that visitors from China have been visiting it and also a couple of other sites that I use so I thought that there could be some sites that had my images on them. I indexed “Chinese Musical Paintings” into Google and within a few minutes found one web site with several of my images, painted in oil, available for sale.  I believe they copy the low grade digital file off the internet and then print it to size, you can order whatever size you want, and then they over paint it in oils and sell it as an original.  Watermarks don't help as they just paint them out.

The next thing I found was a bit of a shock.  I found nearly all the paintings from my “Musical Series”  and several life works listed complete with my bio, all stolen from my web site.  They had some listed as “Special new piece from Susanne Clark” which probably meant that it was the latest piece they had just lifted from my site!  There were a whole lot of others under a variation of my name, Suanne Clark.  Later I found a couple of paintings under my name that weren’t even my work.

The work was on a site where independent sellers from all around China and the world list their goods for sale.  I contacted the hosting company with a list of my works and the URLs and today I had an email saying they had removed my work from their site but to check back in 48 hours.  I’m sure the companies responsible re-list them a few days later or on another site so I will check back frequently.

This is a pretty common thing to happen but it still gives you a shock when you see all your work listed for sale there and know that people are illegally making money from it. 

I suppose I could choose to be flattered that they stole my work.   As a friend said to me  “They only choose the best” which was.nice of them.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Sausalito Art Festival, San Francisco

San Francisco Harbour enroute to Sausalito Art Festival
 I'm writing this in chilly San Francisco.  You can see how dull it has been from the photo above!   I'm here visiting my son and I planned the visit so I could take in the Sausalito Art Festival.   It's rated as one of the top art fairs in North America and so I was really excited to get there and be impressed and inspired by the high standard of work.  I'm not sure why, but I didn't find it as exciting as I expected.

We had a nice trip over the harbour on the Blue and Gold line which took us directly to the art show right on the edge of the water.  We were there around midday on the Saturday and the crowds were just starting to arrive.  They really get a great turnout and because you have to pay a good fee to get in, you know that the people who come are actually reasonably interested in art and not just our walking their dog.  It's a large show and as I was with other family members I couldn't take all day to go around but I did manage to do the circuit and see most, if not all, of the artists work.

My favorite was enamel work by Judy Stone.  Her work, which I first thought was porcelain, was beautiful!  I loved the wired parts of her bowls and the beautiful colors.  She has a great video on her site showing the process of creating the bowls which was very interesting.  I don't think the photos on her site do justice to the wonderful colors and presence her work has when you see the actual thing.

I also liked the abstract paintings of Paula Boas.  Alenjandro Martinez-Pena and Sue Cretarolo

The printmaker Fernado Reyes had some very interesting work and I particularly liked this image. .
Do check out his other work too. 

There was also a wonderful glass artist and a guy who made a really quirky series of ceramic cars with funny people in them.  His craftsmanship was great.  Unfortunately I don't have photos of his work and I couldn't find his link on the festival page.

The picture below shows one of the most expensive works we saw.  The image was made with silk thread and obviously took many many hours to make.  You can see the image in the left of the picture taken with two smiling family members.  I'm using a different computer and couldn't work out how to crop them out of the photo!

Another favorite was Robert Burridge

All in all it was a good day but I wasn't tingling from the experience.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Musical Art Used Around The World.

In my last post, written a while back before I got seduced by the lovely summer weather,  I wrote about how my work gets used for lots of different events around the world.

The most recent one is for the 7th Festival Sinfonico Pereira 2012 in Colombia, South America.  I think this poster looks really great!  I also promised to show you this years cover for the Peter Caelen series of concerts held in the beautiful castle in the Netherlands so here it is.

The two images make up the front and back of the brochure cover. I'm not sure how to tie them back to back to show the cover as it actually is but I am sure you will get the idea.

My work was also used on a CD cover this summer and for all the promotional materials for the Artists Series concert season at the Opperman Music Hall in Tallahassee, Florida.  Very exciting!

The Musical Series have been very successful for me and although the actual people interested in musical works is smaller than the demand for landscape art, there are musicians and music lovers out there who really love the work.

I recently had a very proud father email me to say that they have a budding pianist and that they had bought a reproduction of one of my paintings "Music is the Key" to help inspire him.  They made a video, posted it on youtube and sent me a link.  You can see it here and see my keyboard painting in the background.   It was really fun to receive this.

If you know any music lovers who may be interested in my musical works please help me by passing on the link to my web site.  There are also reproductions of some pieces available on the site.

It's not the New Year but I've made a resolution to post more often.  Now that the weather is cooling off it will be easier to stay inside and work both on my art and blog.  That is the one good thing about living in a place where it gets cold in the winter.  It makes for a natural rhythm of working and playing.  Summer for play and winter for working.  I'm already getting back into stride by creating some new plates for printmaking and looking forward to proof printing them.

Musical paintings

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