It is a joy to see public art all over the place: on buildings, billboards, under bridges and on utility boxes. I was fortunate to be chosen to create art for a condominium hoarding in mid-town Toronto. Altree Developments, in collaboration with the STEPS Initiative, commissioned me to design four panels of art that were enlarged to fit a construction site. Scaled to ninety feet wide and duplicated to double the width, the exhibit occupies an entire city block and is the largest assignment of my career! My aim was to reflect a tapestry of natural beauty, both wild and tame, amidst the humming rhythm of an urban community. It was a most enjoyable challenge and a pleasure to contribute to my local neighbourhood.
The Night is Deep and Wide is a board book by poet, Gillian Sze, for Orca Book Publishers. This beautiful bedtime story written in villanelle verse is launching March 16. How’s that for alliteration? It was fun to create black and white linocut illustrations with just a spot of color. Quite a departure for me!
I love making portraits and was so inspired by Kamala Harris, that I had to pick up my lino-cutting tools and make a print of her.
I was thrilled to be invited to join the Toronto Main Street Art Challenge by the Fairbank Village BIA and Steps Initiative. Fifty sidewalk decals are scattered about my neighbourhood inviting residents to return to local shops and businesses. My design incorporates the Fairbank Village BIA logo of a tree, representing growth and optimism during challenging times.
Years ago I picked up a piece of linoleum and started carving, developing an illustration style that is my trademark to this day. I still love the combination of hand-carved lino with digital colour but have an urge to try something different. A passion for portraiture was the impetus for taking on the 30faces30days Challenge by Sktchy. Although I have yet to complete all 30 portraits, it has been fun to mess around with traditional and digital media in search of a new voice. The ipad has become an indispensable tool as it is super convenient to work digitally at the end of the work day while relaxing away from my desk, and so versatile with brushes that convincingly mimic many traditional media. I use Procreate for drawing and Adobe Fresco for painting and love the Fresco live water brushes. This linocut portrait of Jules Verne was exhibited in a group show last year at The Framers Gallery, London, sponsored by The Little Chimp Society and HireAnIllustrator.com.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
“We live for books.” Umberto Eco
“Reading is the one essential food needed for writers. Without reading, our writing imaginations will starve.”
Charles F. French
Never Stop Reading Fairy tales! by Karen DeMers Dowdall
I thought it would be nice to re-post one of my favorite posts about fairy tales. Considering that I am really into fantasy, paranormal, fairytales, and witches, this new blog title suits me to a T…Once Upon a time…. It is far better than just my name (it is way too long). This new blog title really makes me happy. I love fantasy stories that begin with Once Upon a time…Madeleine L’Engles, A Wrinkle in time, however, does not begin Once upon a time…it begins with, “It was a dark and stormy night”…that works too.
I have collected volumes of fairy tale books, everything from all of Hans Christian Anderson to all of the Grimm’s Fairy tales, Scotland Folk Tales, Irish Myths and Folklore, among many other volumes of Fairy tales. Perhaps, one could say, I live in a fairytale world…
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Question Number 4:
Women have historically expressed their creativity through the domestic arts. Is there a feminist motivation to your use of textiles as a medium or does it connect you to our sisters from the past?
This thought provoking question is a delight to answer, I have so many women to thank for who I’ve become. My grandmothers; their mothers and children, have guided me to create with textiles, giving me the lessons and space to learn. The picture below is my mother’s mother, Marie, she made beautiful dolls during my life but did so much more before I was even born. The dolls in the photo are more than 40 years old, amazing the longevity of a precious handmade heirloom.
My friend Terri Illingworth has always provided me with the gift of inspiration. Terri is a designer, supporting the greater (global) textile community, she loves to collect and share her passion, a great teacher.
Through her quilts, and desire for colour there is no way of missing her love for the art, she has supported my ambitions for many years and I believe delights in the act of creating something people can use; quilts, tea towels, and aprons. https://timetobeinspired.ca/
I admire Anna Torma, someone I had only heard about through my “Contextural” group, then saw her work while I was in Ottawa years ago and last year had the privilege of taking a workshop with her. Her dedication to her art or “craft” is what I aspire to do for my own art, she uses the “domestic” craft; embroidery, sewing, upcycling, historical icons and many more skills in her artistic statement, she says so much with out saying a thing. Her story is through her hand; using thread and fabric. https://www.annatorma.com/
I love that you navigate between 2D and 3D art. How do you decide which approach will best express a particular creative vision?
My drawings are spontaneous ideas that sometimes grow into linocut carvings or into ideas for sculptures. If I am really taken with a bird’s personality I will start playing with the 3D form. Colour is a big thing for me when working with fabric sculptures.
My creative vision begins with a story, for instance while walking in nature I witness a flock of crows congregating, they seem to be keeping an eye on me (and my dog), I wonder, “what are they saying?” This inspiration may begin with drawings and a few phone photos. However, if I see black fabric in the studio later that day, I’m reminded of crow, then cut bird forms or feathers from the fabric.
Sometimes, the story ends with a bird drawing, or a handmade fabric sculpture, other times the story becomes a flock with chapters (or a collection).
I believe that my art is continually assisting one style with the other.
Thank you, Susan Fae, for sharing your unique style of art, both 2D and 3D. It was a pleasure to learn about your media, process, and influences, and I am very happy to be the owner of one of your lovely textile bird sculptures, Miss Fancy Feet.
Sue Todd Illustrator – Part IV of IV
Hey! Congratulations Sue Todd, you’ve been noticed as one of the
Q/SF It has been wonderful getting to know you Sue, you have many interests that show up in your art, illustrations. What’s up next for you? Now that you’ve been noticed as one of the exciting illustrators to follow in 2020, would you mind sharing what you have going on in your studio?
A/SF I’m working on writing and illustrating my own books and have four in various stages of development, from picture books to a graphic novel. It is a long journey and picture books are not easy to write. They look deceptively simple but it is that very simplicity which requires each word to be perfect. The kidlit community is welcoming and generous and…
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