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.