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.
To celebrate the Lunar New Year, I created another mixed media illustration using my traditional hand-carved lino-cut technique and ProCreate. That little app is pretty versatile and compatible with Photoshop.
According to the Chinese zodiac, the rat is a symbol of fertility and abundance. The rat is intelligent, creative, charming and ambitious. On the downside, rats can be timid, stubborn, greedy, devious and terrible gossips. Rats are compatible with dragons, monkeys and oxen.
Wishing an abundance of happiness and success to one and all!
Part One of Four
Posing a series of questions to my new friend and comrade in art, Susan Fae, provides a glimpse into a fantasy world of 3-dimensional art. We connected through social media where I discovered her delightful bird sculptures formed from fabric, threads and objects, such as the cutlery you see as feet in the photo below. We have created a four-week blog exchange to share our favourite media and art techniques. Susan’s colourful birds are inspired by her love of nature but her passion for opera is also in evidence with these birds representative of The Three Tenors: Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and Jose Carreras.
Now for Question Number 1:
The lovely Miss Fancy Feet arrived on my doorstep with a linocut greeting card depicting a beautiful butterfly. Which discipline came first, material art or printmaking? What drew you to each technique and do they share any commonalities?
Miss Fancy Feet – through your enthusiasm and encouragement she was created, and has a home that appreciates colourful and unique art. Thank you.
My appreciation and knowledge of fabric came first; both my grandmothers were handy with needle and thread. Reflecting back; I worked in the fabric department in two different stores while going to University in the 80s.
But it was later in life I returned to University to extend my Art Degree (drawing & photography) to “art developmental” so that I could teach art. While in the process of creating art curriculums I had to teach my peers an art form, it was linocut carving. That experience of sharing a process of creating encouraged me to extend the fun into a regular linocut art practice.
It was during a summer Artist’s Residency with my “Contextural” group that I began to combine the two techniques. Surrounding myself with creatives is one way of pulling out something I never knew I had in me, and that was printmaking and thread.
The Contextural Cooperative motivated me to create more textiles, maybe not to what anyone expected (including me) but I began to build sculptures and adorning them with fabric feathers. Along the way, I discovered my resourcefulness in saving found objects on my dog walks with Charlie came in handy, the found cutlery became the support for my bird sculptures.
I haven’t mastered the printing on fabric, but have printmaking with thread. My fabric sculptures share the same theme throughout my art and that is BIRDS.
Check out Susan Fae’s Etsy shop for more beautiful birds.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our interview next week!
It was a great pleasure to illustrate the story, The Tiger Son, for the January 2019 issue of Cricket Magazine. Over the years I have created art depicting many folktales, myths and legends from around the world. This tale by Sue Cowing is the re-telling of a Chinese folktale about a tiger who accepts responsibility for an old woman whose son he has eaten. My art is hand-carved linocut with digital colour.
I was commissioned by Spin Master Games to create 41 faux tarot cards for the game, “Trust Me, I’m Psychic.” I had a great time being “weirdly symbolic” and was fortunate to have all the references I needed close at hand. I’m a huge fan of tarot art and have a collection of decks that provided inspiration for the game cards. The deadline was tight so I had to keep things moving. Once the roughs were approved, I carved each card at about 9″ x 12,” then printed, scanned and colored them in Photoshop. I couldn’t think of a more perfect assignment for me!