I love my art studio. If you’ve ever been here — or seen photos — you’ll know I am very blessed to be in such an inspiring place.
One of the things I like to do in my studio is surround myself with artwork created by others: artists, hobbyists, crafters and even children. I have a huge wall of cinder block along one side of my studio that is very hard to drive a nail into, so the workable solution for where to put all this art is my inspiration wire.
I update my wire about twice a year … taking some things down, putting others up … as I come across pieces I love. The most recent update was done in May of 2012, and showcased some inspiring art I had just added.
Well, the pile has once again grown, and being January — when I do a lot of planning, cleaning and organizing — it was time once again to add to my inspiration wire.
Here is a trip through some of my recent acquisitions from various locations and artists. I love looking at these pieces every day, and hope you will find inspiration in them, too. Where I have links to the artists websites, I’ve included those, too. Enjoy!
This adorable card was given to me by a friend, Joan Gregory, who made this card from a photo taken of her mother at the Calgary (Alberta) Zoo in the 1930s. I love the serious look on her face, and the very snappy outfit.
This card made to look like a postcard was also done by Joan from a photo taken near Banff, Alberta (that’s the Banff Springs Hotel in the background). The photo itself was taken about 1932, but the whole piece was beautifully collaged together into this lovely greeting card. Look how sweet her mom (the child in the foreground) looks in this photo — posing for the camera with her legs crossed in a stylish pose. It makes me smile! (Joan doesn’t have an art website, but if she ever does, I will pass it along!)
Susan Fae is an art teacher and owner of the The Art Tree, an art framing and consulting business in Calgary, Alberta. I also follow Susan’s blog where she gives great advice on framing works of art, but also reviews favorite children’s books and showcases some of her own art. I saw this lino cut on a blog post about her works being show at a library in Calgary from a series she created on dog walkers. I love the pose on this woman .. you can just feel the cold blustery wind of an open dog park in the winter.
Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time with my 21-year-old son in the beautiful city of Vancouver. Of course, we went to Granville Island, and to one of my favorite printshops there: Dundarave Print Workshop and Gallery. We spent a lucious hour poking through their collection of large and small prints: etching, relief prints, monotypes, woodcuts. We found some new favorite artists to follow (thankfully, my son loves printmaking, too!) and I came away with this beautiful print “Froggy and Flies” by Heather Aston. I couldn’t resist his smug looks and the beautiful depth to this tiny (4″ x 6″) print.
My treat for last year’s birthday was a trip to New York City with my husband last May (just the two of us!). Before I left, I looked up some eclectic art stores (they have a ton) and found this great looking store called Greenwich Letterpress in the West Village (a neighborhood where you could spend the entire day, incidentally).
Inside I found a charming little store packed full of gorgeous cards and stationery items. It’s owned by two sisters, and after being away from New York and taking degrees in graphic design and painting, these third-generation printmakers returned to the Big Apple. Their website says they came home to create “a shop where Amy could design custom letterpress invitations and Beth could curate a retail space of their favorite products”. I came home with these lovely rabbit cards. They reminded me so much of the work of one of my favorite illustrators, John Tenniel, who illustrated the original Alice in Wonderland (using wood engraving!). I could say so much more about this wonderful shop, but visit the link to their website if you want to know more.
This card was given to me by my studio partner, Barb Fyvie. It’s a block print made by an artist I was unfamiliar with: William Percy Weston. Though famous for his paintings, the card was created in the 1930s for his own Christmas cards. I love the graphic nature of the card, and the depth he gets of the forest in winter. And, the fact that by getting this card, I found a new Canadian artist.
Although my wire holds most of the artwork, occasionally I come across a 3-D piece that just talks to me. I had a booth next to Susanah Windrum of Copper Lizard Studio last November, and not only was she so much fun to be beside, her charming artwork made me laugh. Meet “Mr Jones” made from found objects (his name came from the candy tin on his body). I loved his quirky nature and funky stance. Susanah also makes wearable sculptures and larger pieces you can hang on a wall.
I heard someone asking Susanah how she flattens all her metal. She said, “With a hammer mostly, but sometimes I find a piece on the road that a car has driven over, and bonus! Less work for me!”
My inspiration wire would not be complete without some children’s artwork. Of course, it was made by my kids. This butterfly was created by my son several years ago at school. He has the benefit of having a very creative group of teachers who explore lots of different mediums to create: like watercolor and pastel resists, plasticine, sculpture, dance, photography and more. Something about the simple lines and colorful painting that reminds me to be loose about my own art.
This painting was done by my other son (seven-years-old), and when it came home from school, I instantly claimed it for my studio. I love lighthouses, and have been to Prince Edward Island, and love the colorful and bold representation of this eastern Canadian scene.
This card is a nice way to end this blog, I think. Good advice for all, but made special to me by the fact that my 10-year-old wrapped this card he chose at a local store for me into his Christmas present. I was, actually, so surprised that he would select this kind of card, but then he knows me well. I guess all that talk about following your intuition, and honoring things that connect with your heart really have sunk in!
And, that is precisely what my inspiration wire provides: a heart-connect to many other artists. What’s more inspiring than that?