SEVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

Original Book Reviews, Recommendations and Discussions


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Making do with what you’ve got – Painting of “Mount Robson”.

Title: Mount Robson, Canadian Rockies – Acrylic painting on metal panel, width: 37 cm, depth: 2 cm, height: 78 cm/Width: 14 ½ “, depth: ¾ “, height: 30 ¾ “.

Making do with what you’ve got

This is painted on a “Spontan” magnetic board from IKEA which I had spare! Painting with acrylic on metal is fiendishly difficult. Using oils or mixing acrylics with slow-drying medium just doesn’t work – the paint peels right off and doesn’t stay in layers – it just turns to mud/murk and drips off. So quick-drying acrylic, applied with a dry brush almost straight from the tube, is the only option. And you have to work really fast. Afterwards, it cannot be varnished because the paint just peels off. If you use a pouring medium over it, to achieve a high-gloss effect, the entire painting comes off like a multi-hued plastic skin. (Quite interesting really! I tried painting ripples on water on another “Spontan” panel and it was oddly effective.) I wanted to use a palette knife on the mountains, but since I didn’t have one I used a plastic cake server which had more or less the right shape. The metal surface allowed me to cut into the paint to create lines to let the silvery background shine through – like glittering ice and snow – when you view the painting from an angle.

Painted this one while listening to Gorillaz’s album “Plastic Beach” from 2010, on repeat. I love “On Melancholy Hill”.

 

 


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New painting – Old Revelstoke school in the snow

Title: Disused Mountain View School, Revelstoke, BC, Canada, 10 X 10 inches, acrylic

Title: Disused Mountain View School, Revelstoke, BC, Canada, 10 x 10 inches, acrylic


This one was OK’ed for the 10” x 10”, or “Ten Squared” show of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) gallery on Granville Island, running now – November 22 – 27, 2016. Every painting on show is $150 and it’s an FCA fundraiser. I thought I might as well help the organization that has helped me by contributing a painting.  In the process I thought I made a rather good job of the building itself which is striking in red brick and contrasts strongly with the grey sky. Revelstoke is a pretty town with lots of attractive buildings and in winter they are especially picturesque. (It’s also on my website on direct2artist.)


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The struggle to make this does not show…

The Shipyards in the Evening, Lonsdale Quay, 15 X 20 inches, watercolor & mixed media

Title: The Shipyards in the Evening, Lonsdale Quay, 15 X 20 inches, Watercolor & mixed media


In the meantime, back at the ranch, this large mixed media work, The Shipyards in the Evening, Lonsdale Quay, was chosen for the 2017 North Vancouver Community Arts Council (NVCAC) calendar for 2017. Apparently, it’s for the month of November. I am actually mystified that this one got in, because I totally suck at painting building structures, something to do with my difficulty with numbers and geometry I think. So measuring out the building and the windows on the canvas consisted of numerous failed attempts. I had to haul out my ruler and basically draw in the lines of the building and the crane behind it onto the watercolor paper with a Sharpie. The iconic building has, of course, trees and people in front of it, and buildings to the right of it and across the street. But after the struggle with the damn windows and the appallingly complicated roof and that flipping sign on top of it, I just about gave up. The sky was the only easy bit. I eventually stuck some no-name-brand trees on the right-hand side of the building, rather than try to add more buildings, because the paper was disintegrating! The NVCAC wanted “North Vancouver” images, and they got it, but yow, what a pain that was to do. But the NVCAC loved it?! Ehhmm – really?! Even my patient framer, the good Dylan from Colours in Port Coquitlam, looked at it and murmured that it had been “somewhat over-worked“. Yeah, right. But in any case, it will be prettily framed for the exhibition to bring out the red highlights, and only you, dearest readers, will be any the wiser about the struggle that went into making it.

Framed painting, ready for transport to the gallery

Shipyard framed 1 Shipyard framed 2

 

 


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And while we’re on the subject of art exhibitions…Here’s another one

LOW LIGHT AT BASE, FERNIE SKI RESORT, CANADA, 24 X 18 inches, acrylic on canvas

Title: Low Light at Base, Fernie Ski Resort, Canada, 24 X 18 inches, acrylic on canvas


I am also happy to announce that this painting, Low Light at Base, Fernie Ski Resort, has been chosen for the juried exhibition, Scenes from Western Canada, of the Federation of Canadian Artists, that will be held from 6 to 18 September at the Gallery of the Federation of Canadian Artists at 1241 Cartwright Street, Granville Island, Vancouver. Again, I’m surprised and flattered, considering I just joined the Federation a few months ago and will be in the company of my “elders and betters”. This painting was a royal b**ch to paint. The light was just impossible, since the photo I was working from was mainly sun flares combined with very dark, threatening clouds. Yes, it was rotten ski weather and it rained and the lower slopes was the stickiest mud ever, combined with ice patches. That’s what the red warning banners were for. I left out the skiers, far left, struggling out of their skis. For more of my stuff go to my portfolio page on direct2artist.

Framed painting, ready for transport to the gallery

Fernie at Base- framed


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Hello Bologna…


I’m considering going to Italy at the end of the year, since these little paintings of mine (above) of Storm Clouds over Torrington, Alberta, have been selected for the curated Little Treasures 2016 exhibition of Trevisan International Art in Bologna, Italy. I am, of course, flattered, but I would like to be able to move from being a “starving artist”, to being an artist whose work sells! To quote the very successful Canadian landscape artist Robert Genn:

“[To be a] ’starving artist’ is acceptable at age 20, suspect at age 40, and problematical at age 60.”

I’m 54 now, so this obsession with painting rather than finding a real job is highly suspect. How my Significant Other puts up with me,  I do not know.

The exhibition of little 8 X 8 inch paintings will take place from 26 November till 8 December 2016, at the Galleria De Marchi in Bologna. The Little Treasures exhibition has been held at this gallery since 2011, with hundreds of artists from all over the world exhibiting their work. I’ve been told that the price tag for one such painting ought to be in the region of $500.00. You gotta be kidding me. I would be so lucky. In Canada, the going rate is $100.00! I will have to add one more “clouds” painting to the series, since every artist exhibits four works. The exposure in the catalogue and the art magazines Rivierart, and being able to add this to my “artist’s biography”, would make all the schlepp worthwhile. I’m getting into the whole “fine arts industry”and frankly, it’s scary.


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Triptych: Original landscape paintings of Storm Clouds Outside Torrington, Alberta


The images on the sides of all three paintings are continuations of the main images - so they are painted front and sides.

The images on the sides of all three paintings are continuations of the main images – so they are painted front and sides.

These are my favourites of all the paintings I’ve done. I was listening to DJ Carl Cox’s 1996 (Yep – old!) album The End of the Cliché while I was painting and my head was full of Phoebus Apollo thumping away – so no brain at all. These storm clouds outside the town of Torrington, Alberta, looked exactly like this the afternoon we were driving through. Torrington is a tiny town, home to the famous and very odd Gopher Hole Museum, which we went out of our way to visit in July 2016. There were storm warnings on the news and we drove in and out of the rain and lightning on our way north from there, to Grand Cache. The sky was like a roiling sea, with massive waves of clouds and streaks of rain coming down and weird, ochre-coloured, feverish sunlight coming out and then disappearing again. The power and telephone lines by the roadside were just like that, swooping in and out of view as we drove past, occasionally glittering like silver thread in the sun. These paintings went perfectly, which I did not expect. Each one took no more than three hours and I had no reworking or fixing up to do, for a change! Not to be used as an altarpiece but nevertheless three landscapes meant to be viewed side by side.
See more of my paintings, here, on my portfolio page on direct2artist.


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Original landscape painting of Lillooet, Canada

Original landscape painting of a thunder storm over Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada

Original landscape painting of a thunder storm over Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada, called “Thunder storm in Lillooet”, 8 x 8 x 0.78 inches, 20.3 x 20.3 x 2.0 cm, acrylic on canvas, completed February 2014, Price: $100.00


 

   Lillooet

by Marthe Bijman

A tongue-twister of
lilies, lilts, largos, oohs,
exotic-sounding, an unlikely destination.
Perched on a bench above the river
like a call-girl all done up,
waiting on the porch,
calling out to passers-by.
Still flaunting her finery, her glory days,
fancy murals,
jade on plinths,
intricate porch brackets,
grandiose façades,
riotous flower gardens,
hippie post boxes,
A feisty little town,
a shabby haven,
welcoming us,
hoping we’ll see past its faded glamour.


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Original cityscape painting of Coquitlam Central Station on a foggy morning

Original cityscape painting of Coquitlam, Canada, on a snowy winter morning

Original cityscape painting of a foggy morning at Coquitlam Central Station, waiting for the West Coast express, called “Foggy Station”, 15.7 x 12.2 x 0.78 inches, 40 x 31 x 2.0 cm, acrylic on canvas, completed January 2015, Price: $160


At the Station

by Marthe Bijman

This morning, ghastly yellow,
the train howled past, into the fog,
another emerged from the depths
like a tree floating up from a bog.

Lights like gassy blobs in the murk,
People’s blurry silhouettes.
The ochre light of pre-dawn drifted
down in smoky pirouettes.


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Original winter cityscape painting of Coquitlam, Canada

Framed cityscape painting of winter morning in Coquitlam, Canada, called “Cerulean Winter Morning"

Original cityscape painting of Coquitlam, Canada, on a snowy winter morning, called “Cerulean Winter Morning”, 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches, 30.4 x 30.4 X 2.0 cm, acrylic on canvas, framed, completed December 2014, Price: $150.00


 New Country

by Marthe Bijman

Under a big blue sky we were once
Now a small house boxed together
keeps us cramped and barricaded
against all the foreignness of this
land like a map we’d thought readable
but turned illegible and obscure
We belonged, we don’t fit now
The sky is crowded with trees and hills
the horizon stops too close, just there
Will we ever belong, will we be long
in belonging, in finding the spot
marked home, our belonging
on this new unfamiliar map,
will we drive up the mountain
to where the sky is as big blue and far as the
familiar wide-open limitless horizon
and our home, once.
The ties to earth bind us
Yet loose us to come back to it.


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Original seascape painting of seagull on Quileute Beach, Washington, USA

Original seascape painting of gull on washed up tree stump at Quileute Beach, Washington State, USA

Original seascape painting of a gull on a washed-up tree stump at Quileute Beach, Washington State, USA, called “Pensive Gull”, 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches, 30.4 x 30.4 X 2.0 cm, acrylic on canvas, framed, completed December 2014, Price: $150.00


You, Me and the Bird (roundel)

by Marthe Bijman

The seagull sits and looks
far out over the sea
I look back, turn to find
your footprints following me
The seagull sits and looks
at what there is to see
Blue, white, sea and clouds
And you, following me
Waves break, the seagull looks
And waits for what I cannot see
But still your footprints carve the sand
And still you follow me

 


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Original landscape painting of winter in Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada

Landscape painting of sunset over Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada

Original landscape painting of sunset over the snowy footpath along the Columbia Sunset, Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada, called “Sunset over Revelstoke III”, 16 x 16 x 0.78 inches, 40.6 x 40.6 x 2.0 cm, acrylic on canvas, completed May 2015, Price: $150.00


This is the last in my series of three paintings of Revelstoke, BC, at sunset, in winter. It is tricky to paint a snow scene at night, because basically light and dark are reversed. The sky is dark, the snow-covered ground is light, and the problem is to put sufficient visible objects in the scene to create perspective and interest. (For more on this series and Canadian landscapes, go here.)

 


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Landscape painting of sunset over Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada

Landscape painting of sunset over Columbia River at Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada, in winter

Original landscape painting of sunset over the Columbia River at Revelstoke, British Columbia, Canada, in winter, called “Sunset over Revelstoke I”, 12 x 12 x 1.5 inches, 30.4 x 30.4 X 2.0 cm, acrylic on canvas, completed April 2015, Price: $150.00


THINGS GET BETTER (tanka)

by Marthe Bijman

Like that black river
I felt, and to graven wood
lay my future, but
I know now the sunset glow
is the promise of the dawn


 

Shelfie with paint stuffFor more on these landscapes, go here.

Shelfie with paint stuff


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Original landscape painting of waterfall, British Columbia, Canada

Painting of landscape, waterfall in forest, British Columbia, Canada

Original landscape painting of a waterfall in a forest, British Columbia, Canada, called “Waterfall in the forest”, 16 x 16 x 0.78 inches, 40.6 x 40.6 x 2.0 cm, completed October 2014, Price: $300.00.


  Home

by Marthe Bijman

Where we come from there are
raindrops that instantly evaporate on hot tar
like a field of tiny smoking fires,
low-running, brownish rivers
filled with rusty sludge and simmering rocks,
muddy dams with chalky banks
and wormy, warmish, silty bottoms.
heat that hits you in the chest
and wipes its oven mitt paw over your face,
white skies, or palest blue
or yellow and boiling, like curry, from the dust.

We are born creatures of arid habits: –
the subconscious searching of the sky
for rain clouds,
the inborn waiting for the rain,
the constant sniffing for the ozone after thunder,
the habitual drawing towards water,
always looking for some dampness
in the cracked, jigsaw-puzzle earth.

Where we live now there are
snow,
that goes away
but not far,
and always comes back,
water,
that burbles and rushes
always somewhere close,
glistening underneath jungly things,
green things,
the tree-green, frog-green, grass-green,
bird-green, moss-green of our replete dreams,
the green, wet, snowy, tree-y place
we call home.


For more about the creative process and this painting, go here.

Framed landscape painting, waterfall in forest, British Columbia, Canada

Framed landscape painting, waterfall in forest, British Columbia, Canada

 


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Original spring blossoms landscape painting, Hagley Park, Christchurch, New Zealand

Spring blossoms and river, Hagley Park, Christchurch, New Zealand

Original landscape painting of Christchurch, New Zealand, called “Springtime walk in Hagley Park, Christchurch”, acrylic on canvas, 16 x 16 x 0.78 inches, 40.6 x 40.6 x 2.0 cm, completed April 17, 2015, Price: $200.00


Spring Snow (tanka)

by Marthe Bijman

Springtime petals drift
down into blushing flurries
Passersby raise their
faces to the rosy breeze
of snowflakes that don’t dissolve


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