Thursday, 18 June 2015

FEH's First "Installation in the Woods" for 2015

Last Saturday, I got together with my friends Fran and Holly to make a site-specific installation in the woods. We had done this several times last year and really enjoyed the results. We called ourselves FEH, for Fran, Evlyn, and Holly. So as FEH, we decided to meet again this past weekend to create our first installation of this year.

We decided we wanted to do a "painting" so we picked a huge rock with a flat top on which to lay our colours down, using found materials.

Then we started to "paint" with bark, stones, pinecones, moss, twigs, broken glass - anything we found that had colour and could add to the shape and design.

It involved a lot of decision-making and precision putting the elements in place, just like any painting does. In this picture, Fran is carefully placing pinecones down in patterns. It was interesting that we each favoured different materials to work with - I mostly used rocks, Holly was really into sticks and twigs, and Fran focussed on pinecones and bark.  

After about an hour, it had taken shape. We started to finesse the elements, getting excited when something really "worked". We were also in awe of the colours we managed to find in these natural, found materials - the green moss was gorgeous, the red bark added a pop of colour, and we wanted to make sure that the blue-greys of the rock showed through.

Walking around the rock afterward, we had fun seeing the patterns and colours of the painting from different angles. There was no problem with "up" or "down" on this painting. It was interesting no matter where you stood in relation to the rock.

And of course, like all artists, we signed our work at the end. Then we left, with our eyes opened to all the colours around us in the forest, after this art-installation in the woods.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Story of a White Apple

Once upon a time, there were three white apples. They were installed in the River Gallery Sculpture Garden in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1993.

They were made by the sculptor Peter MacElwain. In this picture, he is putting the final touches on the apples after they had been set up in the sculpture garden.

I helped Peter install the apples in the sculpture garden. It was fun taking them to Tennessee and setting them up. Two of them were sold to collectors and the third lived with me and Peter at our home in Lefaivre Ontario.

Many years passed. Peter died in 2001 and I tried to take care of the sculptures of his I still had left (most were purchased by collectors). Despite my efforts, the remaining white apple deteriorated after years of sitting on my front yard. It lost its stem and needed some minor repairs, a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint.
Then this year, I was invited to show the white apple at a sculpture garden in St. Eugene Ontario. The owner of the sculpture garden, Nik Schnell, did the needed repairs, attached the new stem, and set the apple up beautifully on the grounds. As you can see, I was very happy with the beautiful restoration of this white apple. 

Everyone who sees the white apple loves it. Nik sent this picture to me just the other day. It shows his son Alex with his girlfriend Amber, getting their picture taken before they went to their graduation prom. Love the contrast of white and black, especially Amber's black dress and white purse, beside the white apple. This is a particularly lovely picture for me because Alex's mother (Nik's wife) died just this past April. But an apple is a symbol of life and hope and fulfillment, so it is nice to see Alex and his girlfriend beside it. Peter would have been so happy to see this!