Most lately I’m cooking on two elements in my art practice: my love of animals and my love of portraying the human form. These switch back and forth from front to back burner fairly regularly. The animal love manifests in my Pet Portraits on Porcelain, where I’m pleased to say my portrayals of dogs, cats and horses (though I’m not limiting myself as to species— I’d love to do birds, for example) are engaging and convincing, really showing individual personalities. They’re in china paint, which I began using when an art school teacher handed me a mixed bag of colors in their tiny glass vials and said “have fun”! I did, loving the ability to layer bright color over the fairly quiet cone 10 glazes I was using then on my first porcelain work. They’re in the ‘overglaze’ category, firing at a pretty low temperature, and I continued using those colors as well as gold, platinum and iridescent lustres for either finishing touches or major decorative elements.
A few years ago, after inspiration and technical upgrades from Paul Lewing at the Metchosin Summer School for the Arts, I began taking porcelain cups, plates and serving pieces to life drawing sessions, using them as supports for figure studies. I quickly found that I liked working with a steel-nibbed pen for the way it grabs the surface better than a brush. And as with ink, and drawing on paper, I just love the tiny thin lines I can make when I load that nib with china paint.
Then, a friend asked if I’d decorate a tray and two cups for a wedding present, including both text and a picture of their little dog. I was unsure but ‘Winston’ was a real hit and occasioned more warm emotion than I’d imagined. Other commissions followed, and I did a few of my own animals, finding out how good that likeness of your own pet feels in your hands with your morning coffee or tea in it. I’m calling them Comfort Art, and have had more heartfelt engagement with others over these works than over any other thing I’ve done.
I’ll be promoting these at my booth at the Vancouver Pride Festival on 31 July, 11-6, as well as selling figure drawings in china paint and other drawing media. There will be a number of 2x2” miniature canvases, and many cups and plates, fully usable at your dining table, all drawn from life. One French friend loves to see guests’ reactions as they eat and uncover a nude on their plate. I’ll also have small figure drawings and paintings, unframed, to flip through.
And I’m promoting the idea of commissioned boudoir drawings, in the same vein as boudoir photography but a little quieter and more subjective.
THAT’S WHAT’S COOKIN’!