The Road (not) Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both…Robert Frost

At times the road taken seems for awhile to be the right one, only to discover it was possibly only a sidetrack. I’ve truly loved my time doing Lushes with Brushes but I realize now it may have been a very pleasant sidetrack from my real goal.

This month my artwork, along with my friend, Cheryl’s is on exhibition at
Cumberland Exhibitonthe Cumberland Art Gallery in Regina. Next month the exhibition moves to Weyburn, then other galleries throughout the province for the next year.

How surreal to see and feel my raw thoughts and emotions displayed for all to see, Phoenixhowever respectfully.  Mostly, the feedback has been gentle and supportive. I know too, that on occasion, I’ve connected on a deeper level.  My heart melts when I catch someone deep in thought as they look at what I made. Because I know how I felt when I made it and somehow I know that while I don’t know or need to know the specifics, they feel that way too. Maybe my story resonates with them, and if it does it’s because they have their own story. When they see mine, they feel theirs.

And while I love the gratification and teacher’s pride of showing people their creative side through Lushes with Brushes, I love more the connection I know is there buried in the open secret of my/our painting. That’s what I want to share.

So, while I won’t close up shop on Lushes with Brushes I will no longer promote it like a 3rd world beach vendor. My focus has come back to pouring heart and soul onto canvas and paper and oil and pastel and …

It’s been nearly 10 years since I earned my fine art degree, but for my whole life I will be an emerging artist. I’ll take other missteps but the further I go on my journey the more I understand that what I love about art is the connection that happens sometimes when someone “reads” my art the way I “wrote” it.

Lushes with Brushes: The Morning After

Success! Titillating times at the very first “Lushes with Brushes” painting party:

Karen was an amazing hostess: Baked Brie with hot pepper raspberry jam, Gouda wrapped in pastry, sushi, ribs; yummy and oh-so-cute mini purse cakes by “Becky’s Cakes”; and several bottles of wine brought by guests. At my house it would have been a bag of chips dumped in a bowl served with a tub of dip. Karen is high class.

Lushes with their handiwork

At the end of the day 10 more women, some of whom said they couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler, each painted a masterpiece and discovered the zen of painting.      

And did I mention there was wine consumption?

Thank you Sharlene for manning the camera all evening, capturing the work and the fun in progress. And for being a stand in in the group photo.

Ladies, I’m giving serious thought to finding a venue for an exhibition of these paintings. Stay tuned for details.

Book a “Lushes with Brushes” party

Lushes with Brushes

I’m excited! I’ve been playing in my studio all week! Painting stiletto heels.

My daughter-in-law made a suggestion a couple of weeks ago, and I love it! She said, “Why don’t you have painting parties where guests drink wine and paint, and call them, ‘Lushes with Brushes’ ?”

…. Well, why not?

I love painting. LOVE IT! I’ve been looking for a way to share my excitement for art. And I know (KNOW) there are a lot of closet artists out there. It’s time to come out of the closet; oh, and drink a little wine while you do it.

Imagine 1/2 a dozen women relaxing with a glass of wine in one hand, socializing; a paint brush in the other, creating… LOL…lolling….lol…ing…

Lush Stiletto in RedThe stiletto heels? I made a rubber stamp of a single stiletto, the right size for an 11″ x 14″ canvas. A sort of home grown paint-by-number, if you will. But better… More wine… And more laughs…I’ve painted 7 versions this week! Giggling to myself the whole time. I never get tired of it.

Traditional home parties = reluctantly accept an invitation to a friend’s house, listen to a sales pitch, and look through a catalogue of things you don’t really want, trying to find the least expensive item, so your hostess friend can earn the hostess “gift” and you don’t break the bank.

“Lushes with Brushes” = home parties where guests are PARTY guests who don’t open their wallets once in the door. A “luscious” girls night out!

“Lushes”, otherwise known as guests, together with the hostess provide the space, beverage, and munchies. Potluck or otherwise. Oh, and the laughs. Put the party back into home party, so to speak.

“Brushes”, otherwise known as me, provides art supplies and instruction. Sorry, here is where opening the wallet comes in, but the cost is small, $25 per guest.

The Lushes take home their masterpiece and some fun memories. And maybe a newly (re-)ignited desire to paint. What woman doesn’t love a sexy stiletto? I can’t wear ’em, but I sure can paint ’em. Any Lush can!! LOL. From a simple heel in primary colours to one as elaborate as imagination limits.

Here is where the hostess gift comes in. For providing the space, and arranging for food and bevvys, the hostess does not pay for her art supplies. She will not earn a bigger and better gift by encouraging anyone to look through some product catalogue. Your purses can stay  safely stowed away once you start to party.

I love to paint, and I love the idea of bringing out closest artists who lost the joy of art somewhere back in grade 4, who now say to me, “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.” I say, “who cares”??

Edit: I’m no longer promoting these parties regularly, but you might be able to twist my arm. See the following blog entry.

Still have a question, please leave me a comment.

Brain Skitters

My brain skitters around like drops of water on a hot griddle when I’m experimenting in the studio.

Try this… Okay, that worked. Nope. Modify… Hmmm. What if I try that? … Oooops… Now what? …Oh, maybe that… Chug-a-chug-a-chug-a cool down and clean up… Write some of this stuff down before I forget it…

No wonder I’m exhausted at the end of a productive art day.

Sometimes I frighten myself with the way my brain disengages from my active thoughts. Split brain, if you will. I don’t know if this happens to everyone. Probably. It happened this morning, as I was journaling. Writing is much slower than thinking and I was writing about a workshop I’m preparing, when my brain flashed to the the open sketchbook on my desk with a drawing that might help to instruct the workshop.

I’m preparing some printmaking workshops, but next up is molding paper sculptures for my next exhibit. So part of my brainpower kept the words I wanted to write lined up ready to jump into my hand, pen and then paper. But held enough in reserve to plot the logical steps from the sketch to modeling clay to making a mold to casting the paper sculpture.

I have actually really frightened myself by stepping back from a piece of artwork and thinking, “Wow, I don’t even remember doing that.” I actually videotaped myself drawing, “Universal Witness”. Still, somehow as strange as it sounds, it felt like channeling… See, scary stuff…Sometimes when I draw I succumb to the process and have a semi conscious thought to relinquish control to my right brain intuition, or the Universe, or whatever the power of the piece comes from.

Like many artists when I pull out of that altered state I am absolutely drained. So much of my being and absolute energy went into the piece that I have little left for myself.
So while Diana Hume takes the credit, I’m not completely sure that I haven’t been the tool, not unlike the pencil or paintbrush in my hand. The more I succumb to an unconscious direction the better it often is. Though it’s not a switch I can turn off and on. It requires investing some time in the technical skills, and also sitting back and discussing between right and left brain what the impact of the piece is and where it might be made stronger and more appealing to the left brainers.

Universal Witness copyright 2010 Diana Hume

"Universal Witness"; Diana Hume, 2010, 22" x 28", Graphite on Paper

Whatever it is, it’s an awesome journey!!

Happy Stampers

Rubber stamps

Recently, I was asked by a nearby art gallery* to teach a printmaking workshop, since my BFA major is printmaking.

Mostly folks don’t really know what printmaking is. I didn’t until I took my first class. In a nutshell, printmaking is making a  “plate” that can be used many times to print an image over and over. The simplest “plate” is a rubber stamp. In this workshop I showed participants how to carve an image into a rubber block, ink it, and print it. The stamps in the picture on the right were made by Grade 4 students. Stamps were printed several times each, including Artist Trading Cards, and a large poster of everyone’s stamp.

“A” printmaking workshop turned out to be 3 days of workshops. Students ranged in age from grade 1 to grade 12. Time varied from 1 – 2 hours, as well as an adult class that was all day. Time between classes was sometimes non-existent. Ahhhhhhh.  The hardest thing for me, was preparing materials because it changed for each group, especially because the youngest group didn’t use sharp carving tools. To say the least it took considerable effort to prepare for!

The highlights of the workshops were seeing sparks of inspiration. It made the hard work worth it. I fanned those sparks into flames as often and as hard as I could. Mostly, I loved being asked repeatedly where to buy these materials, and I loved that they wanted to keep working even when it was time for them to go.

I thought I’d prepared for every possible scenario though, until I set out to teach my daughter’s grade 4 class. As I was leaving home, my daughter phoned to say she wouldn’t be meeting me at the school after all, since she was going into labour!

It made for a very interesting couple of classes! Her students were darlings who clamoured to know about their teacher and the baby that was coming soon.

My daughter made her own stamp on the world with a big beautiful baby boy who was healthy and perfect. And her students felt like they somehow shared the experience because their teacher’s mom was with them while she had the baby. Their excitement was fantastic!!

Besides the excitement of a new baby, and making stamps, our workshops were sponsored by PV Disposal who also gave each of the kids an apron to keep the ink off their good clothes. They were almost as happy with the aprons as they were with their new rubber stamps.

Even though we used brayers and printer’s ink in the workshop, at home they can use their stamps over and over again using a simple stamp pad. I’m pretty sure more than a few will go out and get supplies to make more stamps at home. My job here is done!

In my next blog entry I will describe how to make a rubber stamp in 6 easy steps.


* Allie Griffin Art Gallery , Weyburn, exhibited a Printmaking retrospective of Saskatchewan artist, McGregor Hone in Feb. and Mar. 2011