Furry friends are going down on canvas!

From December - February 2018 I have been trying out a brand new form of artwork, painting pet portraits on commission. It's been a HUGE learning experience for me and also so incredibly beneficial for the soul. It gives me a higher purpose that I didn't quite have before. I love working so closely with clients to learn about their pet and hear their storie, before I get started. Plus I love ALL animals so seeing their faces come alive and the beauty, wisdom, and innocence in their eyes is heart warming and inspiring.

Here is one of the paintings I loved creating over the past 3 months... It's of a an old soul senior cat named Gibson, who sadly passed away recenlty.

 

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Life after the Culture Crawl...Pet Portraits

I found a new creative avenue after the Eastside Culture Crawl in Vancouver was over.

Pet Portraits!

Being on such a high from doing a 4 day show where 2000 people visit your studio can make a person get the post-show blues if they aren't careful. So Instead of wallowing in my studio and feeling lonely I decided to try out painting a dog portrait for my Mom.

My Mother Wendy lives in a tiny town in Alberta and for many years has had only a close furry companion to keep her company, her Doberman named Riley. Over a year ago Riley got quite ill and my Mom couldn't keep up with the vet bills and had to make the devastating decision to let her go. She never really got over Riley in the year she has mourned her loss, and was feeling a deep loneliness and longing for her furry soul mate companion again. My Mom had many dogs over the years since I was born, but never one quite as special as Riley. So since it wasn't financially feasible for her to get another dog I felt it was almost my duty to try and paint her a portrait of Riley to keep her company, as well as have am extra special memento to always remember her by.

Well, I'm an abstract expressionist painter folks, and I thought it was going to be nearly impossible to shift gears in to a much more regimented detail-oriented method of painting that I swore I couldn't pull off. Plus I thought I wouldn't enjoy it either. Working from a photograph and trying to paint a likeness is the opposite of my other paintings, and also very different from our illustrative digital art business for kids Pickle Punch. However, I reminded myself I was painting for my Mom and she would hopefully be forgiving of my mistakes, and would see the spirit of Riley come through somehow. I convinced myself that I would pull it off in time to surprise her for Christmas.

So I set off to find a picture on Facebook and started planning how to tackle my first pet portrait...

 

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I worked from home for this whole project and holed myself up in the room where I keep my inventory for our illustration business Pickle Punch. Using just liquid Golden Acrylics and brushes that were way too fat for the job, I pulled off this portrait. It wasn't easy by any means, but it felt great!  It felt amazing to be painting a her dog that meant so much to her! The pain of painting tiny details and fussing over a doberman's distinct anatomy soon became background music, as I became entranced in the spirit and story of 'Riley' my Mother's animal soulmate and best friend.

The rest is history now:)

I completed 5 more pet portraits for friends after this one, and have now started taking orders for more pet portraits. The details on how to commission me to make your beloved pet in to a portrait painting are on the main page. So if you have always wanted to have a painting of your pet or you know someone who would love one done, then please get in touch with me.

Racket - 2017

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Eastside Culture Crawl debut year!

Come and visit working artists in their studios at the Crawl this November 16th-19th, 2017. I will be one of them! It will be my first year not only as a participant in the Eastside Culture Crawl, but also this will be the first time I am inviting the public to see my work that I've kept private for so long apart from online. I will be selling original artwork that you see on my website here, as well as prints and cards from my illustration business Pickle Punch.

There will be almost 500 artists in East Van showing their work and opening up shop this Autumn, and it's a remarkable event , so please be sure to come by!

My Studio:

1000 Parker St - Loft Studio 351

Vancouver, BC

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The paths we choose as humans, and the trajectories of all creatures.

The often repetitive and sometimes sporadic paths that a living body transcribes in it's surroundings are invisible trajectories in space. This body can be human, creature, planet or comet, or any governed object given the purpose to move, like an airplane going from city to city, or a child bouncing a ball repetitively. The day to day as well as overall lifetime paths that the living choose to take are alluring to me, and I am beginning a mixed media painting project to embody my interests here, by adding color and form to what is usually transparent to the eye: human and creature trajectories.

As a human our lifetime trails are chosen for a combination of reasons, mainly survival and routine driven, but also for personal freedoms, be it laziness or sheer determination and all actions in between. For animals in the wild the path choices are mainly instinctual and for survival. Planets and comets aside this time, I'm interested in mapping out the variety of movement tracks that living creatures take over a given amount of time, a day, month or lifetime, but also the spaces that exist between the paths that are taken. Visually this would look like the negative space.  Recently I've discovered these spaces in between are GOLDEN celestial opportunities. They are individual gifts waiting to be unwrapped, often motion blurred by the hectic busy lives we all lead in order to survive, and like artist grants are often untapped. For humans, these spaces or moments that exist are for us to take when we choose, and are often where the most authentic connections and pleasures reside, and they are FREE!

Of course this is nothing new to many, but for myself for most of my life I thought working hard and long hours was the only path to success and happiness, and I was wrong. Once I was introduced to meditation and started to practice daily, and I changed my eating and consuming habits, I was able to slow down, step off the track for a while, and smell the roses for the first time in ages. Now my life trajectory looks much different.

I want to tap in to these daily oases by exploring how the work trajectories, and spaces (time) in between, can co-exist together to create harmony in our lives. Also how can we step out of our survival and routine trajectory that we have created for ourselves, and harness more of the human (and animal) connection and self love waiting for us to unearth? Let's step off the track so to speak, and discover what's been waiting for us our whole life. Through research of creature behavior, daily meditation, and painting my findings, I hope to share this captivating project with you.

I would also like to explore the relentless work ethic trajectories of select creatures that interest me, like the worker bee, wolves in the wild vs captivity, and the raccoon in the big city. This is going to be coolI I promise.

 

 

How do you like your art? Like the movies you choose to watch?

Studio Vibes on Friday. Taking photos of artwork helps me see/feel what needs to be changed, added or taken out. This week it will be about simplifying some of my current paintings so the eye has a place to rest on them. With too much going on in a piece I feel like I am creating anxiety for the viewer instead of my goal which is to create a sanctuary of solitude. I paint similarly to how I pick movies to watch.....

Movies have to either make me laugh, be inspiring, joyful, invoke deep thought on a subject, or teach me something. I skip violence in all forms. Period. Call me a big baby if you like, I can take it. I'm ultra sensitive to even pretend violence, and it affects my mood for days afterwards. My mind creates scenarios where acts of violence are happening to people I love, and the visuals are very real and haunting. That's no fun. Even academy award winning intense dramas are questionable whether I'll commit for 120 minutes Why? Because they cause temporary anxiety and stress. So does the news, and that's real stuff. So why would I want to choose movies, that are often watched in coveted spare time, that introduce more stress and anxiety in to my life, when I can read a news story about the real thing? I still need to stay informed, but movies for me should be relaxing,feel good time.

How this relates to what I choose to paint is based on this same idea. I want whoever ends up with my artwork, in their home or workspace, to feel elated, blissful and in a state of solitude when they look at their painting. I want them to feel AT HOME when they look at it, and create their own connection and individual story. My art needs to be a form of escapism, and sometimes even pure fantasy, if that's what floats your boat. 

 

 

I'm still figuring out how I can best serve and help mankind through my work, but I;m starting with just trying to make someone feel alive and blissful when they look at a painting I've created for them or one they purchased, after something resonated with them.

 

A closeup of the layered texturing of mixed media items that end up my painting.

A closeup of the layered texturing of mixed media items that end up my painting.

The Bone Omen

Studio spotlight: A basket of antlers and a small animal skull stir up stories and creative juices. These items don't belong to me. I share a studio with a sculptor who collects many fascinating things that may or may not be chosen for a 3D art form. Every place you look in here there is something that engages me, and that little voice persuades me to take a photo and make mental notes for future painting.

When I was a wee girl, bones really frightened me, especially animal bones. Once I went on a walk and wander from my grandma's country house where she was the cook for a hungry bunch of farm hands on a successful Bull ranch, in Alberta. The farm was huge and there were many places for a girl to explore. I ended up in a field of wheat with an old grey wooden barn in it's center. It was derelict and creepy, but I made it my end goal to reach it before turning around to head back. When I arrived at the entrance the door appeared torn off and it was pitch black inside with just the sound of birds and bats fluttering and flapping around invisibly. I decided it was too frightening to explore inside the barn so I would walk the perimeter instead. Well around the back of the building I nearly stepped right on top of a skeleton spread out on the ground. I let out a loud screech! There were still flies buzzing around it, but I didn't let them deter me from getting a better look. From what was left of it I thought to myself, "it's a coyote".....and the hairs on the back of my neck went up. I looked around hastily because suddenly it felt as if 100 more coyote faces were watching me from behind the tall wheat, and so I wasted no time bolting back to my grandmas home for safety.

The worry was that the old dead coyote would come back to life suddenly, and would chase and bite me on the ankles. I still go back to that childhood memory often, like we do, but not with fear. Now it just reminds me of the suffering and hardship of animal's lives....and in human life too but with less of an instinctual drive. The bones are like a light switch that turns on to remind me of the struggle. They hold so much energy in their history. It makes me laugh to think about that story now, but I think it was an omen for me, and is why bones hold so much signifigance.

 

Antlers and Skull from around the studio.

Antlers and Skull from around the studio.

"Don't Google Frottage!" he said.

If you do, you'll be in for a French rubbing surprise of sorts....erm....but the assignment is about rubbing one thing on top of another though, so how do I find out more about it without getting bombarded with naughty things? Type in FROTTAGE for ART....Oh. Ok. I'll save the other meaning for a rainy day ;)

So remember when you would take a piece of paper and place it on top of a textured surface, like tree bark or coins perhaps, and you'd use the side of a pencil and rub over top of the paper to slowly reveal the image beneath? There is a place at Animal Kingdom in Orlando Flordia where we did this as well, but had no idea it had such an elegant name. It was called Frottage all along, and this week's assignment in the Mixed Media course I'm taking at Emily Carr University is: Frottage, Grattage, and Décalcomanie. It's not all new to me, but knowing the proper names for art methods makes what I've been doing all along in my paintings sound extraordinarily FANCY.

Usually I like to work fairly large on canvas or wood panels, but for this assignment I chose 5 mini canvases that have been kicking around in boxes for many years. I'll confess it was just so that I can get on the bus comfortably without bumping in to every single person with a giant plastic bag full of larger canvases. I don't drive...yet...(I know, I know I am in my 40's and it's embarrassing) and so I must live with the fact I have to go across town to get to school on overcrowded public transportation with a huge pack on my back, and supply bags in both hands, add a coffee to go, a few things picked up for dinner from Granville Island Public Market before class, a bottle of wine balanced on my head for post class painting,  and you have a vision of my ensemble for Tuesday nights.

Wee canvases should be easier and faster to finish than one giant one, but I've found out that's a lie I told myself. It was the Gollum in my whispering, "but the bus will be easier, you can buy more wine and art supplies my precious, take the mini-canvases". Simmer down goblin voice! I've started the project though so now you can witness the struggle with many small surfaces.

Step 1:

(By the way I only have a vague idea of what I am doing with this project and the steps are experimental)

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspired by my true home: The Alberta countryside.  'Landscape' is the theme. I started 5 canvases that I'd like to turn in to prairie pieces, using a combination of the methods mentioned.


I've had this old Casper comic from 1965 kicking about for many years (no I'm not that old yet, but I had a box of old things from relatives passed on, and garage sales) and it made its second debut cut to bits and gelled down as a base layer for 6 canvases. I love the old adverts in comics that promise all sorts of riduculous things to kids. Today's kids would see right through them. There are also other sepia toned scrap materials and metal bits and bobs on there. I'm hoping this will become useful in the Grattage method, when I scratch back to this layer later after paint application. Fun! Fun!

Step 2:

Applying the frottage samples (Rubbings, I made in colored conte, from around the studio). Painting the skies a mint green that's the color of the moment for me. Experimenting with decalcomanie in areas. (pressing various objects in to tacky or slightly wet paint). In this stage I am building layers to be able to sand and scratch through, as well as working loosely with the compositions in the old photos I am using for inspiration.

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

Step 3:

Starting to try the Grattage (Scratching or sanding back the top layer to reveal a layer underneath)

This photo of an elderly woman holding a bird cage with no bird in it is from the 1920's. It had a story in it that I find interesting, and also the foliage around her is so dense and prickly that it seemed like the perfect setting to try out some of the methods we are exploring in class. I think I will add her, and also have her setting a bird free from the cage. An action that is heartbreaking for the woman but also an act of utter selflessness because the bird has been a close companion but she knows in her mind that it's cruel to keep the bird caged. It's an act of love.

 

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

Step 4:

The old lady painting was rubbish in the end I almost lost sleep over the fact that I had hastily posted it, so I painted over her in one giant satisfying stoke of yellow, and created a Bird of Paradise in her place. Now I actually like this little piece.

 

Afterwards I struggled over a more representational piece that I worked from an old photo I had of a man on a tractor in Alberta. It was such a challenge working small like this, and I found my little brushes kept disappointing me because of the spay and stray hairs that would create a mark that I didn't want. I'm not used to trying to copy light and shadow anymore, and so looking from photo to canvas over and over gave me a headache, and I was longing to get back to creating spontaneously and abstract. I did find this whole project I set for myself highly challenging and somewhat satisfying in the end. Here is another piece from the 5 I started:

 

Pegasus! Back from the 1980s?

If you were lucky enough to be growing up in the 1980s then you probably remember the unicorn and Pegasus craze right? There was an abundance of merchandise available with Mystical horse like beasts for tweens, much of which contained feathers, sparkly jeweled eyes, tassels, florescent paint, and beads. I remember doodling many Pegasi (Haha, because I science like that) and Unicorn on binders and jackets. I enjoyed that "year" of 80's Mythical trendy indulgence with my teeny bopper friends, but once it was over I honestly thought I would never dream of, draw, or wear another Pegasus as long as I lived. Not true.

Recently, at my night class in Mixed Media at Emily Carr University, we were all asked to pick a mythical creature from a hat. I got Pegasus! We were to create a painting based on what creature we picked, and I have to admit I was a little excited to revisit the 80's shiny artwork circling on Google, and to make a painting that reflected this glitz and kitsch that I loved as young girl. After searching and almost overdosing on hundreds of 1980's Pegusi artworks, I changed over to reading up on the various meanings of Pegasus as both a symbol from the Bible, and more famously as Zeus' loyal stead in Greek Mythology that heroically rode to Mount Olympus solo. This was far morein depth and intriguing and less of a temporary sugar high, and then I realized that I had (sadly) grown up a little. So the 1980's sparkly version of Pegasus was slipping away and the idea of creating a piece based on Mythology took precedence.

There are 3 pieces in the Pegasus series, and I think I will explore more creatures through mixed media and acrylics to flush out a nice 20 part painting set. Imagine Medusa (Pegasus' Mother) in paint? Or a Centuar?

Here is how the first painting started out. The base layer.

How to: Gel transfers will be added and more layers will come later, plus I will most likely take our most of the font and rub back to reveal only a little of it, to create less of an eye-draw here. I gelled in material underneath the paint right to the canvas to add a netted and lace texture appearance. I rubbed on gold metallic lattice to the stars, and cut out film negatives for the outlines of the stars. I used rubbing alcohol to get some of the spotty effects on the surface. I really love this technique for layering colors and also to get away from a brush stroke look.

 

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

After the second class and quite a few hours in my studio at 1000 Parker St, I'm about 90% finished with the 3 Pegasus pieces.

All 3 are 20" in height and range from 6", 12" to 16" wide. Mixed media and acrylic on canvas.

 

2017  *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

2017 *All artwork is copyright of Angella King*

The NEW studio diggs at 1000 Parker Street Vancouver Canada

My NEW studio space is coming together in the well known Vancouver Community art building known as the Parker St Studios, in East Vancouver. This is extremely exciting because I can make this loft space my own, and most importantly I can now paint LARGE scale without damaging the walls and rug at home. It's under a bit of construction, but in a few days I can move in to this blank canvas and customize it to my fancy. Maybe even a plant or two....

In this shared space I have the pleasure of creating alongside Merrell a long-time sculptor and woodworker, and Finny the regal pooch who mostly sleeps on his doggy bed by Merrell's side. I've been told there were many artists in this space before me, including John Fluevog's daughter, so I will have some big shoes to fill if I want to use this space to it's full potential and reputation.

Being a part of the immensely talented community of the Parker Street studios also means I will be able to open my studio up during the East Side Culture Crawl! Very exciting indeed. You will all have to come and visit me if you are in Vancouver or visiting. I plan on creating many paintings in this space over the next year, and hope to also have my first gallery show.

Garage Masterpiece Collaboration

Last summer, from the heart of my garage in Edmonton Alberta Canada, a colossal project was initiated between myself and multi-talented friend Adriano Aschenbrenner. We had the outrageous idea to paint a 32 foot x 5.5 foot canvas under the summer sun, with fast drying acrylics, good tunes, and a small gathering of neighbors as cheerleaders. No small undertaking, but exciting nonetheless!  We chose to collaborate by painting at the same time which was a new and challenging concept to me on it's own, as I normally prefer to work alone. However, it's always good to challenge ourselves and keep open-minded to new opportunities, right? This felt like the RIGHT time to jump right in brush first and experience something fresh and maybe even exhilarating.

 

The sheer size of the surface we were creating upon also posed some interesting questions. To give you an idea, 32 feet is the length of a large cross-country moving truck, and just under my hieght in width if I lie down next to it. However I prefered to simplify the daunting length by thinking of it as a science fact: On Earth, a free-falling object accelerates at 32 feet per second. So, I thought, if I were to throw down my paint quickly enough this could be merely 1 seconds worth of work. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Not so scary anymore.

Before pouring paint to canvas, Adriano and I met up a couple of times for coffee and free-thought discussions about the idea we were going to tackle, with some timed concept drawing sessions tacked on to our early stage development as well. I prefer to work in the moment, but when working with a canvas of this size and with a new partner, and a thousand dollars worth of paint, I think the little bit of pre-planning connection and concept discussion did us a favor. Plus concept design is a lot of fun on it's own.

 

We started our painting adventures one sunny noon-hour with yerba-mate, a tango playlist, buckets of paint, and hopes of visionary grandeur. I was buzzing with over-stimulation like a 5 year old at Disneyland for the first time. As soon as we mixed the first colors on a makeshift palette, I immediately forgot all the concept and pre-painting discussions shared between my painting partner and I, and my mind began swirling and vibrating with a multitude of color and forms all competing to be the initial contestant on the art project of the year: The Garage Masterpiece. I had to calm myself down a bit and give the selfish side to my brain a talking to. Afterall, this was about sharing, fun, and collaboration, not to satisfy my greedy solo creative needs, haha!

Next step: As we combined efforts our individual work and ideas began to overlap. We didn't judge what the other was creating or lend much advice. Instead it was more interesting to see what the other would do in the moment. We chose to stay open minded with color, media and brush strokes, that were rendered under the influence of a hot sun, and music that invited dance steps to go along with color application, and a light conversation about worldly things. We chose to work partially in the garage, and also with our art project rolling out and down the driveway as well, which lured the neighbors in to watch and ask questions. After several sessions the garage masterpiece has evolved in to something highly interesting and although not completed is already considered a success and achievement to me. It was (and is) a highly exciting and ambitious project we took on and I regret nothing. I discovered that I really get SATISFACTION from working with the right partner.

 

My hope was that our final creation would become cohesive, and at the very least our styles would stand up or even relax in to a parallel partnership that would play off of each other. With confidence I can say that was attained. Thank you for your time, patience and inspired creativity on this project Adriano. I am a better artist because of it.