I grew up artistically at Kenderdine Campus and still miss it. I’ve been trying to find ways, forcing myself actually, to paint indoors during the winter but to no avail. Relief printing may satisfy that need to create in the studio during the cold season. I’m only really happy when I paint outside. Painting involves so much more than just looking at the scene and reproducing it. There is the emotional reaction to the scene. Then, there is the wind on your skin, the sun on your face, the smells around you and the sounds of nature interrupting your thoughts. It involves all your senses and creates an experience like no other. I continue to teach which I enjoy immensely. Being able to be part of the process of others’ finding joy in creating is an energy producing experience. It enriches all our lives.
I do not restrict myself to any one subject, colour palette or painting technique. Abstract, realist, mixed media, urban settings, northern lake scenery, prairie grasslands and still life all interest me. I like to switch back and forth as inspiration comes. When I see a subject that inspires me like the quietness of landscapes or the charm of character homes, I want to paint them and recreate the colour, space and light that I see.
The manner in which I perceive the world around me has developed through the various stages of my life. Endless hours spent playing in the small wooded areas near my childhood home, summers spent on a farm, and presently exploring the lakes and boreal forest in northern Saskatchewan have all impacted how I see the world today and in turn how I approach my art. I am convinced that everything I see, even the everyday ordinary things, can be transformed with paint to be extra ordinary.
Growing up, music was the art form in our house. My Dad had a musical background and a wide ranging taste in music. The only art was a book on Van Gogh that I remember on the shelves. For myself, I learned piano, drew and coloured like most kids, and read endlessly.
The first inkling I had about ‘art’ was when I was in my early teens and my aunt married a man who was an artist. I was fascinated by his little studio whenever we visited. My uncle would talk about his work, about colour and light and other artists. This was a totally different world to what I’d ever encountered. In Junior High School we had our first real art class and teacher, so I began tentatively to learn then. At university, the sciences drew me to study. I took art appreciation as an elective and being in a big city, I began to visit galleries.
It wasn’t until many years later that I finally decided to take some art classes. My visits and talks with my uncle continued all that time and he encouraged me, telling me that doing it for the pure enjoyment it gave me was all I needed to do. So I continued, learned, explored, found wonderful teachers, and then was invited to join art groups, which expanded my knowledge and experience to a new level through the learning and sharing we do.
A very meandering stream brought me to where I now paint for the love of it and for what it brings into my life. So I encourage you to dip your toe into that stream too. You never know where it will take you.
“How long does it take you to do one like this?” The technical answer varies. Some works flow and others challenge you to spend more time. People are genuinely curious, and their inquiry sincere, so I hesitate to answer “all my life” for fear of it sounding like a canned, flippant answer. But there is authenticity in the “all my life” response. Making art, trying various media and methods, has always been in my life.
After years of painting with colour I’ve started to make art with graphite. On a cradled panel, the drawings have a rustic modern feel, my favourite style of decor. I’m visually drawn to contrasty black and white images. And inside all of that, I’ve come to a point in my life where I’m intrigued by the concepts of paradox and conundrum, polarity and choice. Is it possible that these contrasty thoughts running in the background influence what goes onto the panels?
The Winsor Newton Watercolour Field Kit
I love to travel, and I love to sketch. So I always take my watercolour paints and a sketchbook with me when I am on the move.
Although I have several different travel palettes, one of my favorites is the Field Kit sold by Winsor Newton.
I love how compact it is; and for something so small, it sure packs in a lot of features. When unfolded, you end up with three mixing surfaces, and a water reservoir attached to one end of the kit. The finger loop on the back allows you to securely rest the entire paint box in the palm of your hand.
The Field Kit also contains a small flask for carrying water, and a small paint brush nestled in the box. I personally find that paint brush too small for my purposes, and I often carry extra water in another bottle. However, for small sketches and quick adventures, the flask and brush will get you going.
The kit comes pre-loaded with pans of Winsor Newton pigments. However, I usually pop those out, and refill the pans with colour from my own tube paints. That way, I can be assured that I am carrying the colours I most like to use. Once set, the tube colours travel well, and are readily reactivated with a spritz of water.
Artists’ Workshop will be participating in Art Trek 2015 along with 8 other Saskatoon artists’ studios.
The dates this year are ~
Friday June 12, 5 pm – 10 pm and Saturday June 13, 10 am – 5 pm
See the Art Trek Facebook page, or below for a map to all the locations. A map will also be published in the May 28th edition of Planet S.
Two of our group members are having shows in the next couple of weeks. We hope you can come out to these events!
Kathleen Slavin is having a show of her work, entitled “Nature’s Performance” at Hues Art Supply, 818 Lorne Avenue (corner of Lorne & Taylor) in Saskatoon.
The show will be up for the month of December 2014. There will be an opening reception on Saturday December 6 at 2:00 at Hues.