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Tour Des Arts – impressions & responses

For 10 days in July, I participated in a studio tour that happens in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The tour covers the general region including the town of Knowlton, where my wife and I have a place. It was the first time that my current painting style/incarnation had been seen by anyone outside of a few friends and family. Overall my paintings and silkscreen prints got more of a positive reaction than my ability to speak French. Admittedly, this is a very low bar.

This blog post isn’t really about the Tour Des Arts so much as it is about the responses that my previously (mostly unseen) work got from those that visited.

It’s fair to say that the majority of people who had seen photos of my work on TourDesArts.com or in the printed brochure were surprised to see that my medium was painting rather than wood-cut printing. I suppose that they were expecting the images to be smaller and on paper. Of course, this was true of the 5 silkscreen editions that I had on hand but most of the pieces were acrylic paintings on wood (acrylique sur bois). The sizes ranged from 2′ x 1′ to 4′ x 2′ and tended toward the latter.

It’s also fair to see why they were confused. The linework does have a similar graphic quality to wood-cut printing or engraving. I have many more layers than one would tend to have in block printing but those tend to be more visible up close and at full size. However, when seen in reproduction or at any kind of distance it has that same kind of binary quality that comes with printing one colour at a time.

I actually do paint with a single colour at a time across the whole surface of the painting. This has become my technique, or even formula, for painting. This formula, in large part, dictates what one could describe as my style. I am guessing that both ‘formula’ and ‘technique’ are both dirty words in the realm of art but it only makes me love them more. My nom de plume is LooseCanine after all.

DSC_3610_EaglePainting2000px

The majority of visitors also said that they saw a strong Native American influence in much of my work. Many also mentioned Australian Aboriginal influence. I can certainly see both, which is funny to me. I would never have thought of either as being something that I have looked at a lot or would ever try to emulate. Nonetheless, these things do present themselves, along with others, during the process of painting.

I am often working on something and well along when I see influences emerge. It could be anything from a stain-glass window to a Dr. Seuss illustration. I can tell you that is never intentional, at least not consciously. More often than not though, once I see an influence emerge I tend to just go with it.

In summary, I would say that having a few hundred people drop by for a quick look was very informative and provided some interesting insights into my work that I hadn’t necessarily thought much about. I’m planning on participating in the Tour Des Arts again next year but have a feeling that work done between now and then will open up some new worm cans.

That’s all for now. – L/C

 

 

 

 

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Business is business, but art is not business.

Making and selling art is a tough slog. Beyond the time and effort involved, the costs are much higher than people realize. 

I doubt that most artists have a clear sense of how much they are actually spending to pursue their vocation. I tend to avoid doing so because I just don’t want to know. 


Between art supplies, transport, framing, it adds up very quickly. You also spend money on things like websites, business cards, invitations and other promotional items. Every time I go into an art store I am amazed by how much everything costs. Renting studio space, as many artists do, is a whole other world of financial pain.

Artists typically spend a lot of time making each piece of work. Most of us spent the requisite time and cash for formal studies, so there’s that. We’ve also spent years learning, developing, and practising our trade. All of that time and experimentation is critical to our overall development as artists. Lots of time, money and trips to the art store.

The majority of an artist’s production over the course of their career will likely never be sold. Also, brick and mortar galleries typically take a 50% commission. The 50% that’s left over for the artist gets eaten up pretty quickly by the expenses already mentioned. Even online galleries take 35%. 

Making art actually costs us money so we do other stuff to subsidize it. Geez, did I say this was a business? – L/C

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Overcoming Social Media Affected Disorder

As an artist, social media creates a whole new set of pressures and anxieties.

I’m not really sure what to do in order to post effectively. Am I supposed to hashtag a bunch of keywords as part of the post? Am I supposed to follow a whole bunch of people and then unfollow them as soon as they follow me? That seems to happen a lot in the often insidious world of followers, and likes. People can be so awful and disingenuous on social media. It makes me crazy.

The pressure comes from an expectation that you have to promote yourself and specifically your art on social channels like Twitter and Instagram and that you have to constantly grow your audience. Your following has to be big and constantly getting bigger. Size matters.

The anxiety comes when I post something and then compulsively feel the need to constantly check to see how many likes and or retweets the post has gotten. So far my social media savvy has proven to be underwhelming. But like I said, as an artist, I am made to feel that this is a necessary avenue of pursuit and something that needs to be mastered. Ahhhhh!!!!!! – L/C

IG: @loosecanine

T: @hummygoo

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Printmaking for Fun and Profit

2019-03-21 20.15.43Pulling silk screens takes way more effort than I remember. I haven’t done it for a very long time and I suppose I was hampered a little from my recovering, but still injured, shoulder. Anyway, it was a fun and very satisfying endeavour.

The motivation was partly (read mostly) financial. I am participating in this thing called the Tour Des Arts this coming July. I am a newby (read terrified) to the whole experience and thought I had better have something that was more affordable (read easier purchase decision) than just paintings. Art is typically an impulse decision and it’s easier to talk oneself out of a big-ticket item than it is a small one.

My assistant (read wife) and I pulled two different editions within a week. The first one had a few more mishaps than the second so it is smaller in total number – 60 versus 70. We pulled a 3 colour eagle image first and then a 2 colour house cat. Just have to photograph them properly and get them on the site.

I have a feeling that we’ll do some more print editions soon. – L/C

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Why I love Banksy

As much as I enjoy his work, my favourite thing about him is that he is the ultimate outsider. The artworld seems to really want to appropriate him but he remains a true independent. He is a disrupter.

The artworld got busy trying to intellectualize his shredder stunt at the Sotheby’s auction house as performance art. I prefer to think that he did it because it he thought it would be funny. I think he was making fun at the expense of the high-brow, hoity-toity fine art establishment. And it was really funny.

Ironically, it likely doubled the value of the piece which had been sold only a moment earlier for the sum of £1m (including buyer’s premium). After all, the stunt made news and history and will, no doubt, eventually be displayed in an enclosed glass display case in a museum. – L/Cbanksy-painting_759_insta