Creating with Joy

 

One way of creating that has helped me deal with the challenges of a demanding teaching profession is spinning. It is highly process oriented and basic in its reduction of form through texture and colour. It is a linear (no pun intended) way of working through thoughts and can be fit in a few minutes here and there without feeling I’ve lost track of what I was doing (as happens when composing a drawing).

Today I thought I would pay tribute to the beautiful wheel my parents bought for me almost 20 years ago: An Ashford ‘Joy.’ Sometimes the things we need to help us settle into ourselves are right there waiting for us to pick them up again. I digitally processed the photographs in black and white to draw the eye to the elegant, minimalist curves and natural wood grain.

Joy 5Joy 3Joy 2Joy 4

Joy 1
All images, Canon T3i. B. Wanhill 2017

 

 

Grounded

Two years ago, I started drawing skies and almost as soon as I posted them, I stopped. A critical mind is important until it impacts productivity.

I’ve truly enjoyed making this drawing the last few days. The challenge of adding architecture which I never draw was fun and I learned that I could improve the drawing through photographing it and seeing where shading needed to be fixed. It’s not perfect but it’s finished.

This drawing was made from a photo taken on the first day of winter. The Prairies often have beautiful sunrises and sunsets and this day was no exception. I have spent years trying to build a garden to block this view of our back alley, but that day there was a realization that even the suburbs and man-made structures have their charm.

Best wishes in 2017.

back-alley-first-day-winter-1
Drawing. Lyra & Polychromos pencil crayon on Bristol. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016.

Baker’s dozen of flora

In 2016 I took a lot of photographs… on my phone. Here are 12 photos from my garden and one from a local park we discovered this year. All photos taken with an iPhone 5 using ProCamera app and Photoshop Express.

winter-aconite
Winter aconite emerged early. March 5, 2016.
thalia-2016
Narcissus ‘Thalia’ – new to the garden. April 17, 2016.
townsendia-parryi
Remarkably, Townsendia parryi survived the hail storm of June 30, 2016.
cherry-brandy
We had a lot of rain. Rudbeckia ‘Cherry Brandy’ gift from my Mom. July 2016.
carmine-jewel-cherries
Early spring and lots of moisture brought a bounty of ‘Carmine Jewel’ cherries. July 2016.
dragon-tongue-beans
And ‘Dragon Tongue’ beans. Grown in containers which saved them from slugs. July 2016.
oak-fern
An Oak fern was planted to remember family in Terrace, BC. July 30, 2016.
veronicastrum-b-w
Also from Rundlewood garden, a 2nd year Veronicastrum shot up like fireworks. August 21, 2016.
cream-calendula-open
A new calendula also bloomed in our garden. Thanks to seed shared from my Mom. August 2016.
calendula-closed
The beauty of this annual was its state before unfurling. August 2016.
garden-2016
Despite frequent hail and rain, our small garden flourished. August 2016.
school-boy-fall-jasmine
Alpine Rock Jasmine was the inspiration for Christmas cards. School boy was inspired by Christopher Boffoli. October 22, 2016.
ralph-klein-park
There is nothing like nature to truly inspire. Ralph Klein park. July 31, 2016.

Christmas 2016

This year I succeeded in going back to hand printed cards and it feels like a small victory in the department of personal creativity. Nevertheless, I didn’t start until the beginning of November and ran into some ink problems as I was finishing up hand colouring. Ink was still offsetting 3 weeks after printing! New Year’s resolution: start cards in July! Below, some documentation of the process. Merry Christmas and best wishes in the New Year to you and your family!

christmas-16
The finished design: hand painted linocut with hand lettering. B. Wanhill. December 2016.
christmas-sketchbook-2
Idea: sketch of my alpine rock jasmine. (dark photo: it’s near winter here.)
christmas-sketchbook-1
Rough design included a snowflake I quickly drew in the app: Amaziograph.
img_6091
I started carving on November 8 and finished November 19.
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On November 25, I printed 28 cards and on December 3rd I hand painted them.
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There was hope I would send out 50 cards, so I played with the original print in Prisma app. to increase card count.
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Finished design omitted snowflake and included hand lettering learned from a workshop with Christopher Rouleau.

Switching gears

An unexpected family event this summer brought us together and a chance conversation with a cousin whose been good about keeping in touch brought up the topic of spinning.

Her enthusiasm and gorgeous spinning skill have convinced me to take up something I haven’t touched in over a decade. It has been the perfect antidote for working through thoughts and calming a worried mind.

I’m currently handspinning half a pound of Northern Lights ‘Mulled Wine.’

spindle .jpg
Canon T3i. B. Wanhill 2016

 

 

 

Work in progress

Someone once told me that I can’t do everything, that I have to choose. And that is my problem. I still do not. I want to be a skillful artist, excellent teacher, adept gardener, household contributor, caring partner and family member, healthy, spiritual, intellectual, calm personality. I try for all of it, but do none of it well.

Try again… and again.

This linocut is the beginning of a reduction print. The ink is new to me: Akua intaglio. There are some things to be worked out.

In the mean time, an homage to my favourite spring flower:

3galanthuslinoblue
Linocut. Akua intaglio ink. Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016

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Update, December 20, 2016: I did eventually get the second colour on this print and it took months and months to dry. In fact I took a print out to scan today and it is still smudging. I will be on the look out for a more reliable permanent ink for 2017 printing adventures.

snowdrops-2-colour
Linocut. Aqua Intaglio Ink. Strathmore print paper. 10 x 10 cm. B. Wanhill 2016