Thursday, April 14, 2016

Troubling Waters


I stuck QRs on both my Troubling Waters collages and the QRs work.  If you have a QR app on your smart phone - they're free - just focus on the QR above the signature on the painting. Click "Open now." Choose your browser. Go to  Top Sites and choose www.pennygrantpaintings.ca. To get to the information on "one use plastic water bottles," go to the Abstracts page and click on the title of the water bottle paintings. They are linked to these websites:


It's a bit to complicated to get to the bottled water information but easy to get to my website.

I had thought about calling the collages Troubled Waters but decided it was too close to the song and to the name of a movie made about water problems in Nanaimo. After seeing what good work the Council of Canadians are doing - I decided to join. One thing always leads to another.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Troubling Waters and QR

I finally finished my first two bottled water collages. I think they are both really colourful and I like the designs. They took quite  a long to complete - but now they are done. I always based my changes on the design - not the message. Once  I had the plastic bottle theme going, it was pretty easy.  It took awhile to think of a good name. Finally "Troubled waters" (Simon and Garfunkels song) popped into my head. I modified it to "Troubling Waters" because plastic bottles of water are very troubling.

Not only are they a waste of money for most Canadians but, more importantly, they a terrible source of unnecessary pollution in landfills and in the oceans and Great Lakes. They disintegrate into tiny bits of plastic which people are now calling "mermaids tears." Fish eat these tiny bits, other fist eat the first fish and so on and so on until eventually we eat them. They likely cause cancer and allergies and asthma and real human tears. But think of all the trouble they cause every organism that eats them - not just humans. Because they are plastic they just float in the water looking so pretty and innocent. It is very sad that plastic bottled water has become completely respectable and yuppie. Plastic bottles that contain pop and iced tea are just as bad - but you can at least understand why people are buying them - pop does not come out of the tap like clean safe water does in most Canadian households.

Here they are:

 Troubling Waters #1 (formerly "Kands and Bottles")

Troubling Waters #2 (formerly "Time Line")

I've gone on at length in a previous blog about the Pure Life pixel people falling into the water. Since then, I have made a few other changes. The formerly white lines are now a lovely veridian green,  the grey rectangle in the middle is pink and things are warmed up overall. I also collaged in several shiny blue circles which are images of the bottom of bottles. I really like this painting now - though it is a little "loopey canoopey"! 

The other thing I am trying is a QR Code above my signature. Here it is:
If you open the QR app on your smart phone the QR will take you to  www.pennygrantpaintings.ca - my painting website. My idea is that this will then take you to at least one website on the plastic water bottle problem - but I haven't totally figured that out yet. I guess I will start by linking the title of the first painting to a good website.

My next painting will either be something on mermaids tears or the flashing migraine image which popped up last week and gave me a nagging migraine for a week.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The water bottle people

This painting is now a collage with a story. It's hard to see on a phone so let me explain. First you probably still see the London underground map. But  look again - there are water bottles - 7 of them. Now i'm sure you can't see the people on the label . There are 3 - a tall blue person on the right. A not quite so tall green person on the left. A short yellow person in the middle. They all have their arms raised presumably for the joy of drink fresh clean water in a plastic bottle. You can see them in some of dark pink  rectangles - half way down on the far right and at the bottom in the middle. At first glance they look pretty joyful but now look to left. There's only the tall blue person at the top. My goodness! The green and yellow people are down below - having either dived or fallen into the depths.  Maybe the other groups - in their stragely pixilated forms - are actually waving for help.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Kands and bottles - done


Here is the finished collage. It is 30x36 with 4 main levels of collaging.

The first level is invisible. It was a mistake because I had never done collage before and didn't know what I was doing. I just ripped up some water colour paper and stuck it on in patches. I didn't like it  but it wouldn't come off - so I created the second level - nice round discs which I stuck on top of  the ragged bits to make them disappear. I painted them different colours.

The next level of collaging was the black twirly bits - actually the trimmings from the circles. I stuck them on while they were still unpainted and they were tricky to paint neatly. I thought they would look better with white sides to make them look sort of three dimensional. But that was almost impossible to do neatly and there got to be way too much white which I had to paint out.

There my picture sat for about 5 weeks because I was pretty sick - first with a "nasty" bacteria which required super nasty antibiotics and then with an uber cold (rhinovirus) which rapidly turned into a super bad asthma exacerbation. The asthma required a prednisone burst (50 mg for 7 days) which made me shake so much I could barely do anything let alone try to paint. I kept looking at my picture and not liking it. It sort of tormented me but I couldn't do anything about it.

After the prednisone  - a few days of post-prednisone misery  mainly consisting of nausea and loss of connection between brain and body. I hate that part - but it was a prelude to getting grumpy and wanting to take action against or in favour of something. My progressive spirit woke up and said - "make a statement about something in your painting."  "Plastic bottles." I thought. "They are a curse on the earth. When people who have perfectly good tap water get convinced to buy water in bottles (it looks so clean and shiny) they more often than not don't bother to recycle and the bottles end up everywhere." Even worse - they eventually they turn into micro-plastic bits and poison creatures who mistakenly eat them. Truly a curse on the earth despite the fact that there are some people who have to buy clean water in bottles because their water has become polluted - another disturbing story.

That's when I came up with an idea for the fourth level. Cut-outs of plastic water bottles floating on the surface of my Kandisnky inspired web of discs, checkerboards and twirls. They are mostly Nestle's products since I only had one cut-out of a Dasani bottle (by Coca Cola) which I had been keeping for years hoping to put it into a painting but I could only find a good image for Nestle's "Pure Life" on the internet. So I made 16 prints of Pure Life, cut them out  and stuck them plus my Dasani. They float, in a backward S shape, on top of everything I had painted so carefully. 

Happily the prednisone worked and I mostly got over the post-prednisone part. Now I can walk up hills again, I'm not coughing, I can cut and paste, I can get interesting ideas and maybe even do some painting.

I should mention the sad fate of the 100 year old Jean Burns building in downtown Nanaimo which burned down last week. One of the small storefronts in the complex was the new Nanaimo Arts Council  space which features unjuried art shows. It burned down the night before the Spring Exhibit to which I was planning to submit "Time Line." Very sad for art in Nanaimo and all those who had works on display  at the time - not to mention all the other small businesses who lost everything. Nanaimo will never be the same again.

I now realize I will never display "Time Line" in its current form. It is not interesting and mostly looks like a map of the London Underground. Maybe it just needs some plastic bottles or other call to action to make more interesting. If I stuck bottles here and there - it could become the second of a series of call to action against wasteful plastic.  Then again - what about plastic bags? Tricky .. Hmmm... That will probably be my next project.