Bringing in the new year with hope
Thank you for your continued interest in my art studio newsletter! It’s time for my seasonal issue for winter. With a rare blanket of snow on the ground, the west coast is in the deep midwinter once again. The holiday season was a mixture of small celebrations and some disappointments due to pandemic restrictions and changed plans, but overall it was a positive time. Now comes the quiet aftermath, my favourite part of winter.
I sent out 40 of these limited edition giclee prints to some of my family and friends as gifts. The “Night Vision” image is a reminder of nature’s astounding beauty. The south coast was treated to a rare aurora borealis light show this season, so this is my version of the northern lights dancing over the cedar forest, with a nocturnal owl silently gliding by. Wishing you a happy new year!
During the last two days of the year we had fresh snow fall in Victoria, so I took my camera out on my daily dog walks and captured some winter images. I decided to paint a watercolour of my favourite photo, some old cedars reflected in the mirror-like creek surface. I completed the painting on New Year’s Eve, and it was sold to my friend in England by New Year’s Day! Great way to end the old year and bring in the new. I will be offering prints of this painting for purchase later this year. They will be listed in my Etsy online store so keep an eye out for that! The painting is called “Creekside Cedars”.
Special Online Demo Event
Before I get into my Etsy store update I want to tell you about a special event coming up on January 20th. OPUS Art Supplies store has invited me to give a virtual online demo about linocut printmaking! Here is my description as published by the good people at OPUS:
Crisp cut lines and edges, the powerful juxtaposition of black and white, velvety inks and the beauty of art papers, the old world wheels and gears of a printing press, the handmade nature of how the image was cut – these are the qualities that make linocut prints so appealing. Learn about the basic tools to get started, including the brayer, the baren, ink, carving tools, linocut plates, and low tech substitutions for a printing press. Get tips and tricks for how to plan a simple successful image, transfer it to your block, carve and print your image with beautiful results. Learn what products to use for non-toxic printmaking techniques and clean up. Come away with enough knowledge to make a simple single colour print, signed in the traditional way. You will also gain some inspiration about the potential for more complex techniques in your printmaking future.
We will be using the Zoom platform to present this demo. It starts at 11:00 am and goes until 12:30 pm, Pacific Standard Time on January 20th. It’s free to register. There could be up to 500 people in attendance from across Canada and beyond! No art supplies necessary to attend, but you may wish to go shopping after you get inspired to try printmaking!
Naturally I am over the moon excited about doing this live presentation. OPUS is my favourite store so I couldn’t be more pleased to support their business, and grateful they are supporting me as well. Here is the link to register:
My Etsy Store Update
I launched my Etsy store in the fall last year. Since then I’ve had lots of traffic from people browsing my listings and some encouraging positive feedback from folks on social media. I also had my very first sales! Four sales so far, and a few people have favourited my shop and my listings which helps my art get noticed in the big world of Etsy. Thank you very much for all your support! It means a lot to me.
I have added quite a few new things to my Etsy shop. I designed a poster of Silken Windhounds sleeping on delicious donut beds, inspired by my silken windhound dog club and my friend’s pregnancy food cravings. I made two versions of this poster, one in full colour, and one for YOU to colour! The artwork is called “Baker’s Dozen” because there are two sneaky, snoozy tabby cats cuddled up in one donut hole, bringing the total of cuddly creatures to 13. Can you spot my cats? Can you tell which dog is Elska? I suddenly need to eat a Boston Cream donut…
The “Baker’s Dozen” art print and colouring poster are a prelude to a larger project that I’m working on – a silken windhound colouring book! While you’re waiting for that to come out I hope you will order a colouring poster or put my print up on your wall. A couple of people already have and I can’t wait to see how they colour their version! Please send me pictures!
My other new Etsy store listings are a handmade linocut print series called “Salish Seahounds – Elska and Louise”. This print is a celebration of the first birthday of my dog Elska, her sister Louise, and all their siblings from the Runway’s Autumn litter. Happy birthday, pups! The image features Elska and Louise running in the surf on our favourite beach. I printed two editions, one with black ink on a creamy white printmaking paper, and a second varied edition on paper that I first marbled by hand with acrylic paints. Each of those varied edition prints is one of a kind. Here’s a sample.
I also made a short video about my printmaking process as I was making the “Salish Seahounds” print edition. You can watch it for free on YouTube.
To see the rest of the varied print edition in all their glory or to purchase a black and white first edition print please visit my Etsy shop. There’s lots to see there as I have been gradually adding more inventory!
I had several satisfying art commissions in 2021. I’d like to share two of them with you. The first was commissioned by my school, the Saanich Adult Education Centre, as a retirement gift for our beloved Linda Gladstone. I painted a drum with a magnificent snowy owl. Here are two photos of the finished project. It was one of my favourite projects of the past few years. To see more pictures of the drum in progress click the link below to visit my Instagram post.
You can also view a full length time lapse video of the drum being painted. It’s a long video, so intended for relaxation and meditation. For those like me with a shorter attention span I am working on a short version to highlight the different stages of my painting process. That video will come out soon. You’d be surprised how much work it takes to create and edit a video! These video productions are art projects themselves, requiring much time and attention to detail. I hope you enjoy this soothing time lapse as much as I enjoyed the painting process!
The other commission project I want to share with you is something new and unusual for me. I was asked to draw a historical portrait and restore a tiny, very damaged photograph at the same time. My reference was a very small black and white photograph, less than 2 inches tall. This photo looked like it had spent time in someone’s pocket for a while because it was creased, torn, and parts of the image were rubbed off. The face of the woman I was drawing was less than an eighth of an inch square, or about 4mm for those who think in metric. So I utilized some technology and enlarged a high resolution scan of the image, printed that off at the same size as my project, and got to work!
My friend wanted this special portrait of her mother because she has so few photographs of her. This image shows her mother in Kamloops, BC, many years ago when she was a young woman. I decided to tint the drawing with colours that are similar to how black and white photos used to be tinted by hand. I love the range of blues, purples, pale pinks and yellow ochre. I started with watercolour then finished the rendering with coloured pencils. I found the project entirely fascinating and engaging. I’m very excited about the result. Portraits are challenging, but it appears that yes I can do a good quality portrait, even when the reference is very very tiny! Many thanks my friend – HISWKE! (the SENCOTEN language word for thank you) – for this wonderful opportunity to draw your mom!
I really enjoy doing commissions. My wait list for art commissions is only two projects long right now so if you’re thinking about that special art piece this would be a great time to get in touch. Let’s talk about your ideas!
I think this year holds much promise and potential. I am hopeful and excited to dig into my art projects. This month I’m working on a serenely spiritual wildlife painting on a wood panel, and a pet portrait of a pair of beautiful dogs. I have my colouring book project to continue, more watercolours I want to try, printmaking projects to carve, and an endless supply of great photo references that are calling to me with inspiration.
I am wishing you all the best for a fruitful, creative, connected year ahead. I know we have many challenges to overcome but I am optimistic that the future holds beautiful things for those who dare to hope and dream. Happy new year to you!
Caroline Stengl, Victoria, BC, Canada