Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Upcoming Show

My latest painting, Solitude will be part of the upcoming show at Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove, BC.  The Theme of this year's Discovery 2012 Emerging Artist show is "water", and the exhibition showcases work by emerging local artists from the Lower Mainland.

There will be an opening reception on January 10, 2012 from 7pm to 10 pm, and the show runs until February 4.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Ensemble" at the Maple Ridge ACT

I'll be heading out to Maple Ridge today to attend the opening of the "Ensemble" show at the ACT.  The show features work by local artists including myself and my friend Katherine Nielsen.  The works were selected as series or "ensembles" as they have some unifying feature.  Katherine's small works on cigarette foil feature images of her father and really should be seen in person.  Small works from my Resilience series and my Faro series are on display in the show until December 18.

Edited to add a photo of one of my series right next to my friend's!

Friday, November 18, 2011

White Rock Best of 2011

I went to the White Rock gallery to pick up my painting today as yesterday was the last day of the "Best of 2011" show... and to my utter shock and delight there was a First Prize ribbon hung next to my painting.  With my name on it.

Wave is 20 by 34 inches, encaustic (beeswax) with guitar strings embedded in it.  With regards to the title, think more than just water.  Think about the materials at work here.  As with other work in the "Resilience" series (in progress since last October), the piece speaks to human resiliency through the materials in the piece.  What holds us in place?  Where is our breaking point? How do our actions affect our environment?

The "Best Of" show showcased local artists who placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in any of the shows in White Rock throughout the past year and was by invitation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I've got the city surrounded!

It seems I'm busy all of a sudden.

As I was about to depart for my recent vacation, I was contacted by the Semiahmoo Arts Council and invited to show a new piece in their "Best of 2011" show which is on now until November 17 at the White Rock Community Centre. 

Wave is an encaustic piece that was so new i didn't have time to photograph it before running it down to White Rock the morning after i arrived home from my holiday.  It can be seen sitting sideways on the floor in this post.

I will also have work in 2 more upcoming shows:

Seymour Art Gallery, Deep Cove, BC.  "Discovery 2012", January 2012.  I will post the details closer to the show dates.

Maple Ridge ACT Gallery, Maple Ridge, B.C. "Ensemble", November 19 to December 19, 2011.
This show includes "ensembles" of work from various artists in the Lower Mainland.  Works from two of my recent series will be on display.
The "Resilience" series explores the qualities of beeswax encaustic medium and the objects i fuse into the wax, and the relationships formed by the fusion of the materials.

 Collapse, 2011, Encaustic, found objects, dirt, 14 x 14 inches

 Dis/Continuity, 2011, Encaustic, guitar strings, dirt, 14 x 14 inches

  Root, 2011, Encaustic, guitar strings, dirt, 14 x 14 inches

The "Faro" series explores, through a series of small paintings (over 30 were done in total), the destruction and transformation of a large expanse of land in the Yukon that served as the site of several different types of mine from 1969 to the late 1990s.  The series reflects the destruction of the natural area through unnatural colour, using the translucency and fragility of the encaustic wax medium to portray the strangeness of this area.

Clockwise from top left: Dehisce, Elemental, Perception, Fragment.  
All Encaustic, 2010, 3 x 4 inches.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Inspiration and Busy in The Studio.

Whew!  It's been a busy few months in and out of the studio, and I managed to throw in a late but inspiring "Summer Vacation" (yes, at the end of October!) to the Oregon Coast.  Around every corner I found myself utterly astounded by the ever-changing coastal landscapes.  I also have this thing that I do whenever I am near water - I HAVE to take off my shoes and go into the water, no matter how cold it is.  I have been swimming in Alaska in August!  You can imagine that this could slow the driving progress when there was a spectacular beach around every corner...

This drive was partially inspiration for a piece I submitted for the Seymour Art Gallery's "water" - themed Discover 2012 show, shown below in progress in the studio.

Solitude was basically me trying to process the feelings associated with being near the water, especially in an environment (i.e. the coastal highway) that changed so suddenly and completely.  I want my work to serve as witness for spaces that i have visited, however that can be a challenge when working non-representationally (or am I?).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A new space!

I have moved into a new space for, as I call it, "the making of creative stuffs". It's wonderful to be in a space that's away from my home, a special space for creating and refining art. I even got to make something for the space - I had to wire a fan and construct a fume hood to extract the wax vapours because of the high placement of the windows in the room. I love that i have this door in the space with the original text (from an old glove factory!), it adds character and just look at that beautiful natural light! It will be even better when the air conditioning is fixed... it's a little warm in there working with heat with a mask on, but I love, love, love it!

Stay tuned for (hopefully) more frequent updates and some photos of what I'm working on in this lovely new studio!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Good News!

A new encaustic piece entitled Lurk was selected to be displayed in the "Marine" show at the White Rock Community Centre from March 12 to April 11.

I finally got around to editing this post to add the photo, as well as the even better news that the painting placed 2nd in the show!
Lurk is encaustic with found objects and a new charcoal transfer process that i developed through trial and error, and inspired by my frequent visits to the Vancouver Aquarium.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Away from my post...

Well, i'm on vacation in the yukon this week, but I thought I'd check in, in the spirit of trying to keep updated on here... Despite having a lot of fun I've been thinking a lot about jellies (jellyfish) and snow... and will be happy to get creating again when i get home.

I'm working on some jellyfish drawing, and a short film with an original score, starring, you guessed it, jellies! I've also been developing a couple of new techniques with the encaustic, experimenting with manipulating blobs of colour with heat, and charcoal drawing transfers. We shall see what transpires.

That's all for now, I have to go play in the snow!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Collage -Friendly kids!

One of the many hats I'm wearing these days is that of an Art Instructor. I run after-school programs for elementary school kids in East Vancouver. We've been doing painting and drawing, and at one school, all of the kids in the beginner program from last fall signed up for an advanced program from January to March Break.

I love working with these kids, and I feel especially lucky to have a group for a second time around, because we know each other a bit better. Today we made collages, and i taught them how to decoupage paper by gluing the paper down and then also glazing over the paper. Some of them even added some paint and 3-D effects. I've got some amazing artists in this group, and some who, although they may not render objects perfectly (i say who wants to???), have an amazing sense of colour and composition that they are not even aware of. I've enjoyed pushing some of them out of their comfort zones, like today's collages, or a few weeks ago painting to different music styles with a live musician in the room and using toothbrushes, nail brushes, sponges, scouring pads and bubble wrap as experimental "paintbrushes". I've seen these kids come up with ideas that even I never thought of!

Today, i nearly died when they just magically started cleaning up 20 minutes before the end of the program. Normally i have to get their attention and give lots of warnings and repeatedly ask them to stop painting. Today, they just kind of floated into cleanup mode and the only thing I had to facilitate was the cleanup of the scraps of paper that were all over the floor, which is unusual since we normally paint.

So, i guess what I'm trying to say is that i feel grateful to be given the opportunity to work with and learn from these wonderful little artists, and I guess it would be kind of nice if they learned something from me, too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Video - Meditation 1.

I've started to make cheap little films to do something creative when I'm not painting. They are mostly incomplete thoughts, a small sensory indulgence, just part of the overall creative process.

This first video was done after spending a day at the Aquarium. THis is what happens when you spend the morning with your face pasted to the side of a giant fish tank, listening to Philip Glass. A little something to lower your heart and breathing rates.

Meditation 1.

Untitled from Jenn Skillen on Vimeo.

Monday, February 14, 2011

New (ish) works from the tiny studio (apartment)

Thought you might want to see what i've been working on through the fall and winter.

I don't know if this is finished or not. It's a new size i started working with this winter, small, just 14 inches square. I decided to post it and see what people thought (including myself). In the beginning of my work with encaustic, i was a little insulted when someone said, "well, it smells like honey, so it must be about bees". Um, i don't think Jasper Johns was talking about bees, so why does it have to be about bees? Since then i have come to understand a little better the medium that i'm working with, and have realized that, on some level, it actually IS about bees. I recently encountered a beeswax shortage which led me to research Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the disppearance of thousands of honeybees in North America in the past few years. If the bees aren't working, i'm not working. It affects me. And i am a drop in the bucket compared to what this means in the grand scheme of things. I know this. So i decided to make a piece that was actually ABOUT bees. And yes, it smells like bees, so it MUST be about bees.

This piece is finished but untitled, another piece about the strangeness of the Faro mine area in the Yukon. This was my first attempt to integrate found objects into a colour encaustic piece, and i'm still unsure of how successful this was.

Resilience , the finished piece that was shown in progress in a previous entry. I worked on this through the end of the summer into the fall, and it was sold in Toronto in October. Encaustic with guitar strings, found objects and soil on panel.

What's in my pocket?

The contents of my right coat pocket as of today, collected between approx Dec 2010 and now. This is where the magic happens.