Things have been busy here! Kal and I have virtually given up having a living/dining room, for the sake of art of course.
Above: some of the many mixtures I've been experimenting with.
My wall tests and chemistry experiments continue. I think the "chemistry" aspect is soon just a matter of trying one more real variation and then fine-tuning, which is good as I'll re-coat the wall with my preferred mixture and then get drawing madly on it.
The fabric panels (part of a sculpture installation) are being made with the help of a group of generous artist-student-friend volunteers.
Mira Martinez did the sewing, Pam Bell (pictured below) has put in a lot of hours, Darlene Kulig, Lauretta Santarossa, Helen Jones and Kal Honey have all made contributions (names in black are hotlinks).
Almost four of six panels have their white layer now with the black layer still to go, so if you would like to volunteer to come to Brampton to contribute a few hours, please contact me!
I am also doing prep work on the metal sculpture installation pieces before I paint them.
Though I used to imagine myself as the culturally stereotypical solitary artist toiling (probably painting) in my studio, it hasn't quite worked out that way. It seems my work benefits from community, almost as much as I do!
Below: Pam Bell is one of several generous (and cheerful!) people whose help and company I've been enjoying.
Above: Experiments in our stairwell are already more extensive than in this photo and my surface prep research is moving toward its final stages.
Below: Drawing experiments continue. When the surface prep is finalized, I'll be back up on my platform (see the "Massive Drawing" blog post from April) playing with actual image and form.
The swatches below were drawn inside the taped off rectangles you can see in the lower left of the stairwell photo above.
This weekend I had a great, challenging and tiring time being a student again.
One of my first teachers when I got back into visual art in 2003 was John Leonard. I took a number of painting and figure-based classes (working from a model) with him, ending with his Wednesday Workshop, a by-invitation-only group of experienced and professional artists.
I began as the least experienced member of that high performance group, which was a little stressful, but that served to help me up my game.
This weekend I was back with John Leonard and many of my favourite people (with a few notable exceptions). And I was back to painting from the model… for the first time in at least 5 years!
Since my painting has been focused almost exclusively on non-objective work for a few years, it took a while for me to work my way back to the figure in an easily-discernable way. The photos below are in the proper sequence, showing how abstracted I began and how I did find the figure again.
Drawing was a little easier because of the prep and demo’ing I do for my 'Figurative Art' classes at Neilson Park. Make no mistake though, prep and demos are not the same as mindfully drawing from a figure with no other intent.
I always loved the challenges John threw at us and he didn’t disappoint (it felt like home!). If you click here, you will go to the first drawing of the group I’ve uploaded to Flickr. There I have captioned the photos with a list of approaches required for the exercise, in their proper sequence, for anyone who’s interested. Just click the right arrow on the page to view the next drawing.
I was nervous heading into the workshop after so long away, but after a brief adjustment period, the experience was joyful and the challenge has really refreshed me. Even for someone like me who is always inventing and trying new things, periodic challenges like this are invigorating and good for my creativity.
Here are links to a few of my skilled and talented artist friends who were in the workshop with me:
does with the proper respect can require more thought than usual before speaking, as well as longer and deeper consideration of the other person's work than you would need for something you had done yourself.
For this collage, Kal and I started by taking turns at individual layers. Then things got interesting. It became a series of discussions with each intervention; longer discussion over smaller aspects as we got closer to completion.
The piece borrows a little positional/proportional structure from the original collage we responded to, as well as some colour and material reference, but in the end it totally surprised us, and that made us very happy.
Have you done collaborative work? Was it an enjoyable process with an interesting result or did the collaboration itself need more work? Please share your stories in the comments.
This summer was the first year for a new program I helped to develop and teach: the Studio Process Advancement (SPA) graduate certificate at Haliburton School of the Arts, a 14-week intensive combination of academic content and studio work.
We were lucky to have an amazing group of 12 committed, passionate and hard-working students for our first cohort. Along with the faculty team of Lisa Binnie (our coordinator), Elinor Whidden, Darlene Bolahood, Kal Honey, me and our fearless leader (and dean) Sandra Dupret, we had a number of visiting artists, a gallerist and a curator (I would thank them all by name, but I don't have them all at hand; a special thank you though to Andy Fabo) who made presentations, conducted hands-on demonstrations and consulted with students on an individual basis. Diversity of vantage points is hugely important in art, so these invited guests enriched the program tremendously by their contributions.
I found teaching for this a really interesting challenge. My favourite experience was having in-depth conversations one-on-one with the students, asking and answering questions, offering responses and suggestions, riffing on ideas. Those conversations are something you can really miss in a solitary studio practice, along with the support of a tight-knit group. Solitude is important for creativity, but so is connection, which makes all kinds of programs, classes, critique groups and so on, essential for most artists, at least on a periodic basis.
I'm very excited about the progress everyone made this summer and am so proud of them all!
The Haliburton Echo wrote an article about 'SPA' that you can check out here:
Making art is engaging in a conversation; a conversation with the world around me, with myself, with other artists (past and present), and ultimately with viewers and collectors of the work.
Working in the studio is quite solitary unless you happen to be part of a collaborative partnership or team, so artists are often hungry for conversation: about art in general, about being an artist and of course about their own work. That hunger often motivates artists to attend open studio sessions, take workshops and form communities. It may even motivate them to start a blog!
Welcome to my new blog. I invite you to join me in this conversation whether you are an artist, student, work in the arts, or are just generally interested in things art-related. What would you like to talk about?
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
All images and content on this website © Kim-Lee Kho 2005–2018 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.