Saturday, July 8, 2017

Balconville

My posts are few but my art projects are moving along slowly. Busy spring puts a halt to my creativity but I am patient. Taking photos helps my creative mind stay active but I still can't dedicate myself to a sketchbook yet. However, I was able to squeeze in this little postcard design I submitted to Uppercase Magazine for Issue 34.





Montreal is my hometown and is often referred to as balconville in the summertime by many Montrealers who spend their summer vacations at home, often on their balconies, relaxing with friends or cultivating their tiny flower gardens. I adore the vintage balconies in the Plateau area and I included in my design, the Montreal echinacea which was unveiled as Montreal's official flower last year, a hybrid created by a Quebec breeder to attract bees. These flowers will be planted all over the city for Montreal's 375th anniversary celebrations.

I found out early spring that there was an open call for a "Greetings From" or "Wish You Were Here" postcard design for Uppercase Magazine's summer issue and I thought what better way to commemorate my beautiful home town on it's 375th birthday than with a illustration celebrating vintage architecture and the Montreal echinacea flower. This image will be available as a print in my new ETSY shop coming soon in August. Follow me for more news on this blog or on Instagram.

Reading on the Balcony
My Dad on the left 1959 - balcony of one of his first apartments in Plateau area
Me and my cousin on the right -1966, balcony of our apartment on Bloomfield ave. in Park Extension

I have very fond memories of spending time on balconies. As a child, windows and balconies were fascinating to me because I could observe (for hours) the changing sky, squirrels and birds, the rustling leaves or snow covered trees and neighbourhood life through the seasons. My favourite activity on my balcony was of course reading and it still is. We've lived in a few different homes and they all had balconies. Later on as an adult, my husband and I bought our first home in the west end of the city without any balconies. Although it was spacious, it just didn't feel right without a balcony. We sold it and moved back closer to the city and bought another house with a balcony front and back surrounded by giant trees. We've lived there ever since. Balconies are essential for our home especially to a native Montrealer like me!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Uppercase 33

Have I told you that my favourite art magazine is Uppercase? Well now you know! I discovered this gem in 2012 from an article in another art magazine, which I was never able to find again or remember what it was called. Probably threw it out?  But Uppercase is worth keeping and rereading again and again because the articles are timeless and always interesting. The artists and makers featured in these pages are not all well-known gallery artists but mostly self-employed and thriving creatives from all over the world and from many different disciplines & cultures. There is a historical and anthropological context to many of the stories which always illuminates the process of how things come into existence and that is what I find the most interesting of all. No ads, only peeps which are mini ads that creatives who are also subscribers can place on a dedicated page in each issue. There is a lot to discover with Uppercase and to contribute. Issue 33 is the latest issue, available soon and you can see more here



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

BAnQ Celebrates Montreal

Last night, Le Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec in Montreal (BAnQ) in collaboration with Le Centre québécois de ressources en littérature pour la jeunesse (CQRLJ) hosted an evening to introduce two wonderful initiatives to help the city's youth celebrate Montreal's 375th Anniversary. It was a free event and some well known Quebec authors and illustrators were present.



The first initiative, in collaboration with Les Editions de l'Isatis is a collection of poetry called Montréal j'ai quelque chose à te dire, by a selected group of Montreal authors from different backgrounds and faculties accompanied by magnificent illustrations by Philippe Beha, to be released in March 2017. We were treated to an expo of Philippe Beha's original paintings and a recital by some of the contributing authors.

Gilles Tibo reciting Trois enfants



The other initiative is colourful installation being exhibited at the library: De A à Z, 26 Clin D'oeil sur ta ville. Little cubicles lined up in the Espace Jeunes area, display different interactive perspectives of the city of Montreal from past to present in a joyful and modern abecedary with lyrical prose by Jeanne Painchaud. A guided tour of the installation was offered to all participants at the presentation.

For more information about the exhibition and other events at the library, please visit the BAnQ here and about the poetry book you can visit Les Editions de l'Isatis here





Monday, January 23, 2017

Winterlude

While nature sleeps I am still observing and taking photos when I go outside but mostly, I watch the changing landscape from indoors. It doesn't matter if the weather is stormy or sunny, I always appreciate the beauty of every season. Even when rough Canadian winters have interfered with my daily routines throughout the years, I have always stopped to notice little things like the quietness, the softness of the snow-covered branches of trees merging with the muted sky in the distance or their grey-blue shadows on the snow illuminated by the sun.

In that quietness, I relax and know, that nature endures despite the harshness of winter and remains beautiful while it patiently waits for the next season to arrive in its eternal cycle of of life, always changing always being renewed. As I continue on my creative journey cultivating the ideas which have been sleeping for a while, I am developing the first sketches of my leaf studies and I appreciate and acknowledge that every step in the creative process is important, like the changing seasons. Winter's quietness, especially after the holidays is always the most introspective time of year for me when I can really clear my thoughts and focus on new ideas.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Award

The book I illustrated a few years ago, The Apple in the Orchard written by Sonia Di Maulo has been awarded the 2017 Award of Excellence for Outstanding Human Performance Communication by The International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). The award will be officially announced at the conference which will be held in Montreal in April 2017. You can now get an e-Version of the book until December 16, 2016 for free here !




Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Little Leaf

In October 2015, I submitted a little leaf drawing to be printed in a colouring calendar that was later included in the winter issue of Uppercase Magazine. I simply drew the outline of the leaf design in my blog header which I had created in coloured pencil when I first launched my blog. It was a big thrill for me to participate in an Uppercase publication because this magazine brings me so much joy and comfort when I am not able to make personal art due to other responsibilities. It was even more special because my drawing was placed on my mother's birthday in the calendar layout. Sometimes little things made with love become even more meaningful when they are shared. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this lovely little calendar project with all these other wonderful artists and Uppercase subscribers around the world.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I Found my Dreidel - A Children's Book

I am very pleased to announce that the children's book I illustrated, I Found my Dreidel,
written and self-published by Joel Abelson is now available on amazon.ca and amazon.com
It is a story about Josh and Sarah who are getting ready to celebrate Hannukah and includes illustrations that show step by step instructions for learning how to play the dreidel game.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ephemeral Art Experiments

Creating custom illustration work for technical and educational publishing has been both challenging and rewarding and my career as an illustrator/graphic designer has spanned from a pre-computer era of working with mechanical pens and pencils on a drawing table to the cloud technology software of today. Like many creative people today who are overwhelmed with working long hours in front of the computer screen, I miss my pencils and my paints and working on paper. I long to create personal artwork with hand-made techniques and have more freedom for self-expression. I have felt the need, for a long time, to explore and create this finer kind of art which can be exhibited, gifted, displayed, donated and sold for others to enjoy as well. My inspiration for this work came about when I started drawing the leaves for the trees in The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia Di Maulo. As my experience (and motivation) grew with new skills and techniques, and discovering the resources which are now available to exhibit and sell art prints in todays online markets, I began dreaming of the possibilities. Gradually I began to pay closer attention to the natural world around me and was reminded of the infinite and diverse specimens it provides as reference and inspiration and so I began planning my ideas for a new direction of personal work, botanical art. This is the meaningful work I have wanted to do and I am now finally ready to start.


















To add to the motivation, I recently discovered through Uppercase Magazine and Instagram, several ephemeral artists who create somewhat abstract compositions with found specimens in nature: leaves, stones, twigs, seed pods, shells and one artist creates work from man made found objects as well.  When assembled, these artists take photographs of their work and/or glue them to surfaces and exhibit their creations. I was truly intrigued by the beauty and simplicity of this medium and I decided to give it a try. With my smartphone camera in hand, I started at first just taking photos of various trees, plants and flowers as I tried to discover what my preferences were and then I started my own Instagram account to share my joy. Eventually during our recent visit to Greece, I created my first ephemeral compositions from natural flowers, leaves and olives. This experience has been a lot of fun and it has opened up a whole new perspective on how to approach creating botanical art. It is a meditative activity which forces you to focus on spontaneous playful creativity. It is very different from traditional observation drawing and painting which focuses on botanical forms as they exist in nature. Ephemeral art gives you the freedom to make your own unique arrangements much like zen botanists who create Ikebana and I believe it will be very useful for developing my own botanical illustration art. There is much to learn and much to do!
Please visit me on Instagram in the meantime or follow my blog for more news 

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Children's Book

I have completed the illustrations for a children's educational book which I've been working on for some time, written by self-published author, Joel Abelson in the United States. This book will be released later this year and I will post more news about it here soon. It's a story about two children, Josh and Sarah and a special holiday they are celebrating. This is the first children's book I have illustrated.

This project was an opportunity for me to grow as an artist like never before and I am truly grateful to the writer for his trust and encouragement along this journey which was so demanding for me. I look forward to seeing it in print and sharing more news about it with you!


Friday, March 27, 2015

Meaningful Work


Aristotle said, "you learn by doing", I think that you also learn a lot about yourself in the process of  doing, especially doing art. What I have been doing since last year is working on illustrations for a children's educational book for a self-published author. It has been quite a journey of self-discovery as an artist/illustrator and has required a lot of time and dedication to achieve the results I wanted. This will be my first children's book and will be released later this year.

My process for developing illustrations is always evolving but now I am much more comfortable with the way I work. It's a blessing to have so much freedom when illustrating books rather than the other types of illustration assignments I did before working freelance. However too much freedom can be overwhelming and that's when decisions have to be made for focusing on the essentials: balancing the visual information needed to convey and enhance the story and the personal style and self-expression of the illustrator. That was my greatest challenge.

What helped me was to focus on keeping things simple and creating work that is meaningful. When I am in that state of mind, I work more naturally and confidently making choices of what is important to keep or not in the images I create. Focusing on simplicity and meaningfulness has also helped me think about the future. Although I look forward to more projects in children's literature and educational publications, I have also been working on ideas for personal work. I have revisited my favourite past art experiences as a child and as an art student. I loved working in black and white, collage, printmaking, and typography and recently, I have also become very interested in botanical illustration. I hope to share some thoughts and experiences about my work here as I move along this new creative journey of personal work.