Tuesday, March 15, 2011

After the Reception

My Reception at the Nanaimo Arts Council Gallery was a wonderful day! My kids and their spouses, my three grandsons and my sister and brother-in-law all came over from the mainland on Saturday morning. We had a nice festive lunch at our house. Then some of us went to the Gallery to set up the coffee and tea, nanaimo bar, dates and grapes. A fellow Arts Council volunteer, Paul, took charge and set everything up. Vi and a student worker manned the counter. At two o'clock, people began to arrive. I had invited quite a few people but had no idea who would come.

The first to arrive was Robin Field my first art teacher from Cowichan Valley Days! I was so happy to see him! Soon after that many friends from ice-dancing, my dentist, my investment guy, Penny Maday my new art mentor, my neighbour, a friend from the Yacht Club, and a friend I worked with for many years arrived. Also some people I had just met at Everybody Sings, our morning singing "cluster." It was wonderful that so many people came. While I was working for VIRL, I was so busy working that I didn't have much time for friends. Since the library served the whole island (almost) I always felt I needed to be interested in all the communities on Vancouver Island - not just Nanaimo. It is so freeing to feel that I am actually becoming part of Nanaimo. That's why we live here! Plus - my families' support was the greatest!

By 4 o'clock everyone had gone home. I, Paul, Paul's sister, my son-in-law, and my my sister-in-law and brother-in-law sat in the folding chairs among the pottery - waiting for 4 o'clock to strike - while Paul's sister told us about events that had been happening at the nearby Subway store. She had been sent by Paul to buy him a couple of subs. It was the Subways grand opening and they had a two-for-one sale going on - so there was a long line-up. Apparently, while she was standing in line, a teen-age boy collapsed into her arms - having had much too wild a time the evening before and not enough food today. His low-slung jeans fell off - much to her embarrassment! 911 was called and the ambulance came. His father was not impressed! Neither was she!

Today I got back working on my painting of the trail to Ammonite Falls. I had been feeling at loss about what to to do about it. To me, it had turned to mud - well, maybe more like gray clay. I really could not figure out what colour I had painted the space between the the trees trunks. I had originally planned to make it mauve - but had put on so many different colours that it had become a very strange yellowish-blueish-mauvish-pinkish-greenish mix. The sky above had been pale blue, strong pink and was now muddy blue again. Because the trunks were all reaching skyward, the painting seemed way too long. I was seriously worried that I had lost it. I would never do another good painting.

However, wonderful Penny Maday pointed out that the problem was not so much the colours as the values. I needed stronger darks and lights. She recommended making the sky above the trees almost white and picking out bits of white light further down - plus making the shadows under the salal shrubbery and arbutus much darker. I have been working on that and I think it is much better. I also think that part of my problem is that, although I have excellent flourescent lighting in my art room, the walls are yellow walls and the reflected colour distorts the colour of the picture. Mike painted the room for me when I was working on my PhD and it was an excellent colour for thinking postmodern thoughts about public libraries - but I think I need white walls if I am going to keep on painting. It is a rather odd sensation not to be able to see the colours in a painting.

Here it is.

By the look of the photo, I think it may be almost done. Can you see the shiny leaves in the salal and arbutus? It may be a bit too neat - but maybe neatness is my style. Whippee! On to my big leaf maple in spring in Linley Valley. It will be a real challenge to get a good composition as there is no path to give it a focus.

On a dog note - we are working hard to teach our dog to be a willing partner with us. She is very loving and incredibly obedient in the house but she is really tough to take on a walk. She wants to be the leader and gets over-excited (reactive) when she sees other dogs. Last night we took her to her/our obedience class and she pulled and lunged trying to "attack" the other dogs instead of sitting nicely on her mat. We know we are the ones who have to learn how to communicate with her - but it is a challenge.

Boating friends from Chemainus came for lunch today - and to see my art show. What a great life!

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