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Images, within and without : a personal search for imagery with implications for teaching art Shaw, Sandra Jane 1984

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IMAGES, WITHIN AND WITHOUT A personal search for imagery with implications for teaching Art  by Sandra Jane Shaw B.A. - The University of California, 1963 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Visual and Performing Arts in Education Faculty of Education  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June, 1984  °  Sandra Jane Shaw, 1984  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study.  I further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  be granted by the head o f my  department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s  It i s thesis  f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be allowed without my permission.  Department  ^  V i s u a l and P e r f o r m i n g A r t s in Education F a c u l t y of Education  of  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main M a l l Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date  (3/81)  1 5  0  c  t  o  b  e  r  I  9 8 4  thesis  Columbia  written  ABSTRACT  This thesis presents the account of one student-teacher-artist's odyssey through the discovery and evolution of a personal imagery.  As the  participant-observer in this quest, I have selected material arising from memories, thoughts, ideas, sketches and dialogues that relate to the history and processes of my image making.  A body of visual work is presented which  demonstrates the development of specific symbols and compositional tendencies. The thesis attempts to provide answers to three questions: How has my development as an artist influenced my role as an art teacher? implications may be drawn for the art teacher?  What  What strategies may be helpful  to the art student and to the artist? The processes occurring during the act of drawing and painting the works presented in this thesis are described. shared.  Insights related to image-making are  This information may be of assistance to the others in their pursuit  of a personal imagery and may provide understanding and knowledge useful in guiding students along this same path.  i ii  Table of Contents  Page No. Abstract  ii  Table o f Contents  iii  L i s t of Plates  iv  Acknowledgements  xi  Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION The Problem The Method Importance o f the Study L i m i t a t i o n s o f the Study  1 ,4 ..6 6  Chapter 2 THE ODYSSEY Personal H i s t o r y and I n f l u e n c e s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 L. G ci y* n I n cj About A K* t • • • • • • _••••• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • .• •••••35 Transition 69 Mother, Daughter, 1923 ,93 My Own K i t c h e n I. and H . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . , , . 9 7 Rock-A-Bye-Roses..................................... .101 Roses a t Forty-One .107 T r i b u t e s to Someone's G r a n d m o t h e r , , , , . . . . . , . , . , . , , 1 1 2 Reflections of a L i f e t i m e . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....118 The S t u d e n t - T e a c h e r - A r t i s t 135 Chapter 3 IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING A R T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3 8 The Fear o f A r t 1 3 8 The A r t Process ,139 The Need f o r D i r e c t i o n ..........................140 The Personal Nature o f A r t ,,.,,,142 S t r a t e g i e s f o r D i s c o v e r i n g Personal... C o n t e n t , , , , , ,145 The E x p e r i m e n t a l Nature o f A r t .,,,.,,,,,146 Suggested S t r a t e g i e s . f o r . G e t t i n g S t a r t e d , , , , , , , , , , 1 4 8 Pressure ,,,,.,,,149 The Role o f Q u e s t i o n i n g . i n the A r t Process,,150 Q u e s t i o n i n g S t r a t e g i e s , , , , , , , , . . . . . . . .151 Di s c u s s i o n ,151 E v a l u a t i o n and the A r t Process .153 The A r t Teacher 154 ?  References  156  Appendix  158  LIST OF PLATES Year  Page  1977 - 81  8  1  Kitchen Theme Grouping  2  Kindergarten  1945  11  3  Kindergarten  1945  11  4  Kindergarten  1945  12  5  Kindergarten  1945  12  6  Kindergarten  1945  13  7 Grade Three  1948  13  8  Grade Three  1948  14  9 Grade Three  1948  14  10  Grade Three  1948  15  11  Grade Three  1948  15  12  Grade Three  1948  16  13  Grade Five  1950  17  14  Grade Five  1950  17  15  Grade Five  1950  18  16  Grade Five  1950  18  17  Grade Five  1950  19  18  Grade Five  1950  19  19  Grade Five  1950  20  20  Grade Eight  1953  20  21  Grade Eight  1953  21  22  Grade Eight  1953  21  23  Grade Eight  1953  22  24  Grade Eight  1953  22  List of Plates (continued)  25  "Westcoast Reflections", Woven Satin Ribbon Quilt  1980  25  26  "Desert Mirage", Woven Satin Ribbon Quilt  1980  25  27  "Reflections of a Lifetime", Assemblage of Acrylic, Crochet Work, Lace and Photocopies of Photographs 1983  26  on Silk and Paper 28  "Rock-a-Goodbye-Baby", Acrylic on Canvas  1981  28  29  "My Mother's Doll I", Graphite and Pastel on Paper  1980  29  30  "My Mother's Doll II", Acrylic on Canvas  1981  30  31  Photo-etchings from Family Photographs  1979  31  32  "Oasis", Acrylic on Canvas  1983  33  33  "Dusty Day", Acrylic on Canvas  1983  33  34  "Tea with a Great-Aunt", Acrylic and Lace on Canvas 1983  34  35  "Portrait of David", Oil on Canvas  1976  37  36A  Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme  1977  41  36B  Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme  1977  42  37  Sewing Machine Theme Grouping  1977  42  38  Preliminary Search for the Composition of "Sewing Machines", Tempera and Acrylic Medium on Hardboard 1977 Experimental Liftprint Ink and Watercolour on  43  39  Newsprint Leading to "Prairie Window"  1977  45  40  "Prairie Window", Collagraph  1977  46  41  "Visiting Their Prairie Daughter", Photo-etching  1979  48  42  Lithograph of a Geranium  1978  49  43  "Geranium Series I, II, III, IV", Etchings from 1978  50  Copperplates 44  Copperplate Etching of a Geranium  1978  52  45  Collagraph of Geranium  1978  53  46  Observation-based Drawings of Geranium  1978  54  vi List of Plates (continued)  47 48  Free-association Drawing of Geranium and Memories with Annotated Thoughts in Margin  1978  55  1978  56  Drawing of Geranium Extrapolating Preferred Elements  49  "Geranium and Checks", Etching from Zinc Plate  1979  58  50  Sketch for "Rainy Day"  1978  59  51  "Rainy Day", Etching from Zinc Plate  1979  59  52  Sketch of Repeated Chair Design  1978  60  53  "Hall of Mirrors", Drawing  1978  61  54  Experiments with Lace Overlays on Photographs  1978  62  55  "Kirstin", Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing "Paisley", Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and  1978  64  1978  65  56  Embossing 57  "Bread Doily", Embossed Photo-etching  1978  66  58  "Celebrating Grief", Lithograph of Letters  1978  68  59  Pineapple Pattern, Soft-ground Etchings  1978  70  60  Sketch for "Mother, Daughter, 1923", Pen and Ink  1979  72  61  "Sewing Machine and Eggs", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  73  62  "Black Sewing Machine with Wallpaper", Pastel and 1980  73  1980  75  1980  75  Charcoal 63  "White Sewing Machine", Pastel and Charcoal  64  "Sewing Machine with Yellow Checks", Pastel and Charcoal  65  "Sewing Machine and Checks", Conte  1980  76  66  "Sewing Machine and Chair I", Pastel and Gharcoal  1980  76  67  "Sewing Machine and Chair III", Pastel and Charcoal 1980  77  68  "Sewing Machine and Three Chairs", Pastel and Charcoal  77  1980  vii List of Plates continued)  69  "Treadle", Graphite and Pastel  1980  78  70  "Fragments", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  78  71  "Sewing Machine and Chair IV", Graphite and Pastel  1980  79  72  "Geranium and Blue Checks", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  80  73  "Geranium and Red Checks", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  80  74  "Geranium in Pot with Checks", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  81  75  "Chair and Red Stripes", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  81  76  "Kitchen Chairs I", Graphite and Pastel  1980  82  77  "Kitchen Chairs II", Graphite and Pastel  1980  82  78  "Geranium and Chair", Graphite and Pastel  1980  83  79  "Chair and Brown and White Checks", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  84  "Chairs and Brown and Black Checks", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  84  81  "Chair and Blues", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  85  82  "Checks and Chair Backs", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  85  83  "Layers of Chairs", Graphite and Pastel  1980  86  84  "Chair with Red, Yellow and Blue", Pastel and 1980  87  1980  87  1980  88  80  Charcoal 85  "Swinging Kitchen", Pastel and Charcoal  86  "Chair and Geranium Leaves, Black & White", Conte and Charcoal  87  "Angel Chairs", Graphite and Pastel  1980  88  88  "Circus Chairs", Graphite and Pastel  1980  89  89  "Chair Alone", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  90  90  "Chair and Sewing Machine II", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  90  91  "Rose Chair and Friend", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  91  92  "Rose Chair and Pitcher I", Pastel and Charcoal  1980  91  vi i i List of Plates (continued)  93  "Rose Chair and Pitcher II", Graphite and Pastel  1980  92  94  "Mother, Daughter, 1923", Acrylic on Canvas  1981  95  95  Study for "Mother, Daughter, 1923", Watercolour  1979  96  96  Underpainting #1, "Mother, Daughter, 1923"  1979  98  97  Underpainting #2, "Mother, Daughter, 1923"  1980  98  98 Underpainting #3, "Mother, Daughter, 1923"  1981  98  "My Own Kitchen, I and II", Acrylic on Canvas  1981  99  100  Preliminary Sketches for "My Own Kitchen, I and II"  1981  102  101  Underpainting for "My Own Kitchen, I and II"  1981  102  102  Sketch of Initial Concept for "Rock-a-Bye-Roses"  1981  103  103  Underpainting for "Rock-a-Bye-Roses"  1981  103  104  "Rock-a-Bye-Roses", Acrylic on Canvas  1981  106  105  Sketches of the Rose Chair and Rose Pitcher Theme  1981  108  106  "Ghost Roses", Charcoal and Acrylic Medium on Canvas  1981  109  107  "Dusky Roses", Acrylic on Canvas  1981  109  108  Preliminary Charcoal Sketch for "Roses at FortyOne" on Newsprint  1982  113  109  "Roses at Forty-One", Acrylic on Canvas  1982  113  110  "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, I", Doily, Graphite and Pastel  1983  114  111  "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, II", Doillies, Graphite and Pastel  1983  114  112  "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, III", Embossing and Graphite  1983  116  113  "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, IV" Embossing and Graphite  1983  116  99  1X  List of Plates (continued)  114  "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, V", Hankerchief and Ribbons  1983  117  "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, VI", Embossing with Pastel  1983  117  "Ghosts in the Garden", Doily Photocopy and Graphite  1983  119  "Reflections of a Life Time"  1983  120  118  Sketch in Pursuit of a Composition  1983  122  119 120  Sketch of "Head-in-the-Clouds Couple" Drawing Based on Portrait of Great-grandparents Emphasizing Ribbon and Bouquet Theme  1983  123  1983  125  121  Exploring Ribbon Forms, Pastel and Ink  1983  127  122  Searching for a Composition  1983  128  123  Planning the Composition for "Reflections of a Lifetime"  1983  128  Centre Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime", Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopies, and Acrylic on Canvas  1983  130  Right Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime", Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopy, and Acrylic on Canvas  1983  131  Left Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime", Lace, Crochet Silk and Paper Photocopies, and Acrylic on Canvas  1983  133  115 116 117  124 125 126  Initial Sketch and Writing that Began  X  APPENDIX Plate No. I  Getting Ready - Raw Canvas  1981  159  II  The Beginning - Charcoal Underdrawings  1981  159  III  "Tea with a Great-Aunt"  1983  160  IV  "Bucket of Geraniums"  1983  161  V  "Red Curtain"  1983  162  VI  "Dusty Day"  1983  163-4  VII  "Oasis"  1983  165-6  VIII  "Going"  1983  167  xi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  I would like to express my appreciation and thanks for the help and patience of my advisor, Professor Sinclair Healy, and the other members of my thesis committee, Dr. Graeme Chalmers, Professor Doris Livingstone, and Professor Robert Steele. I also wish to thank my friends and acknowledge the invaluable encouragement and editorial help given by Jorgen Christensen, Rosemary Linn, Arlene Byrne, Elizabeth Griffiths, and Jane Conway. My thanks goes also to Tom Childs, photographer, and to Lorna Gibbs, wizard of the word processor. My special thank you goes to my two daughters, Kirstin and Paisley Shaw, who have been very understanding  of having an artist-mother.  I would like to dedicate this thesis to my mother and father who were always indulgent of my fantasies.  1  CHAPTER 1  INTRODUCTION The Problem  Teaching in the public school system places considerable demands on any teacher's time and energy.  Art teachers often encounter even greater demands  i f they wish to also explore and develop their own creative work. Linn (1982) states: Many art teachers in the public schools desire to create their own art work and to develop their talents in art. They have a need to express and to communicate as artists, and they believe that the creative art teacher has a lot to offer the students lack of time and energy, due to the demands of the.classroom, hinders the development and growth of their s k i l l s , (p. i i ) It is a premise of this thesis that teachers who pursue their own  person-  al imagery will gain confidence in their own ability and acquire an intrinsic knowledge of the art-making process.  It is believed that such teachers will  then be better equipped to guide students in a similar quest, thereby deepening their awareness of the personal meaning often revealed through the exploration of content and form.  Based on her research, Linn makes the claim  that "a teacher of the visual arts must continue to explore the problems of personal imagery and of s k i l l development" (p. 46).  Linn further recommends,  "A good learning situation arises when instructor and student are both exploring, discovering, learning and sharing successes and failures together" (p. 46). This writer posits that the teacher who has been, or i s , actively involved in the production of art work is more likely to be empathetic with the wide range of student feelings and attitudes toward art and may be better able to demonstrate sensitivity to the students' need for encouragement and direction.  Linn supports this view, "Surely the art teacher who is  2  experiencing the problems and hard work inherent in producing art will have more sympathy with the dilemmas and frustrations met by his art students..."(pp.  43 and 44).  Linn's study supports the premise that the art  teacher who is personally involved in making art and who expresses enthusiasm for the art process is likely to generate interest and excitement in the classroom (p. 43).  Students may profit from hearing about, and identifying  with, the frustrations and joys that the teacher has experienced during the course of an art career and also through the production of individual pieces.  Students may be encouraged when they see the progress evident in a  comparison of the teacher's past and present works. Linn found that many teachers in her study emphasized that "...students can see at first hand the creative process from the inception of an idea through to the completion of the art form.  Students are encouraged to value  the process as well as the final product" (p. 44).  The students will come to  realize that to grow in art requires time, work, concentration, and dedication . As a result of listening to an art teacher talk about the search for imagery, students may gain the confidence necessary to trust in their own artistic instincts when making decisions about form and content.  Linn main-  tains that students are "highly interested and intrigued" by the teacher's creative work (p. 47). It is the belief of the researcher that the common fear of "Art" and the inhibitions resulting from this fear are a central factor in the difficulty faced by art teachers in the school system.  This fear may be based on two  prevalent misconceptions about the nature of the artistic process.  The defea-  t i s t statements so often heard by the art teacher, "I'm no good at art" and "I can't even draw a straight line," both arise from the same confusion between the ability to draw realistically and the making of art.  For the student the  3  equation i s , "I cannot produce a 'realistic' representation therefore I cannot do art." Lewis (1984) states that by the time children are of elementary school age they are able to decide in advance on the content of their pictures and judge them in the light of their intent.  Their intent (unless they have  decided to do a "design") is to "make i t look real" (p. 9).  Reinforcing this  view is the corollary misconception that the finished product must be "right" as determined by some external standard. This belief is natural to anyone educated in schools where "rightness" is the prevailing criterion of success and in a society which is so much more oriented to product than to process. An effective remedy for these fears and inhibitions may be that of educating the individual in the technical, experimental, and personal nature of the art process, the theme of this present work.  Doerr (1984) claims that  students need training in the artistic process, a process that involves both pleasure and pain.  "Students," Doerr continues, "need to develop an under-  standing of the technical, formal, and expressive realms of the"content of art in order to develop an understanding or mastery of at least some part of the art process" (p. 32). It has also been found by this teacher-artist that learning technique, however important, is not enough.  It is equally, or more important, for the  artist or student to develop a personal approach to form and content. It is certainly possible for a student to learn the language of art without discovering how to make personal statements with that language.  It is  possible that teachers who have learned only impersonal techniques and who have never found their own personal style, or used their skills to tell their own visual stories, may not have the courage or know-how necessary to guide students effectively in the development of their own visual  imagery.  Following from these premises, the thesis addresses the following questions :  4  1.  How has my development as an artist influenced my role as an art teacher?  2.  What implications may be drawn for the art teacher?  3.  What strategies may be helpful to the art student and to the artist?  The Method  The proposition of this thesis is that the producing artist is a constant student and, at the same time, his or her own teacher.  The writer provides  implications for art education based on the personal experiences and the knowledge gained from participation in the three roles. Due to the personal nature of the art process, which is the focus of the study, the "artistic" or qualitative approach to research has been chosen. Eisner (1981) states that the artistic approach to research seeks the creation of an "evocative form whose meaning is embodied in the shape of what is expressed" (p. 4).  The "Odyssey" chapter presents a personal journal  revealing the student-teacher-artist's development through the art process. In order to separate the subjective material from the formal sections of the thesis, a change of print style has been utilized.  The Letter Gothic 12 Pitch  is used for Chapter 1, "The Introduction" and Chapter 3, "Implications for Teaching Art". Chapter 2, "The Odyssey", is printed in a Bold proportionally spaced type face. Eisner defines the validity of artistic research as "the persuasiveness of a personal"vision; its u t i l i t y is determined by the extent to which i t informs" (p. 5).  He states that the focus is on the experiences the indivi-  duals are having and the meaning their actions have for others (p. 5). The artistically oriented researcher is interested in making the particular vivid so that its qualities can be experienced and because he believes that the particular.has a contribution to make to the comprehension of what is general. (Eisner, 1981, p. 8)  5  In order to make the particular experiences described in the Odyssey more useful, the implications for teaching art, based on a survey of the journal data, are presented in Chapter 3. The working assumption, (of the artistic approach) is that with (the resulting ineffable forms of) understanding both cognitive differentiation and the ability of individuals to grasp and deal with situations like those portrayed in the research will be increased. (Eisner, 1981, p. 12) Eisner states that the major source of data, in artistic research, emanates from how the investigator experiences what i t is he or she attends to and that the meaning of an incident may be revealed when i t is put in its historical context (p. 12).  Eisner further states that in artistic  approaches to research the role that emotion plays in knowing is central (1981, p. 13). Following in this context, the writer has elected to use herself as the subject of the research and has chosen to use the participant-observer mode for collecting data.  Related personal history and significant  influences are included to provide the reader with a clearer understanding of the sources of current imagery.  By tracing the ancestry of the images  from the past to the present, other artists are offered a useful avenue for finding their own personal imagery and art teachers are presented with insights that may prove useful in guiding others in their pursuit of "authentic imagery."  The researcher's art training is reviewed.  Key works  are described and discussed. The research material includes memories thoughts, ideas, sketches, photographs and dialogues with others. The material has been collected by tape recorder, notes, photography, sketches, and journal entries.  6  Importance of the Study In o r d e r t o develop i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r a r t e d u c a t i o n , t h i s attempts to present a h i g h l y personal authentic  account o f one a r t i s t ' s  thesis quest o f an  imagery.  Limitations of the Study The study covers making.  This t h e s i s  j u s t one a r t i s t - t e a c h e r ' s e x p e r i e n c e s w i t h image can o n l y r e l a t e the knowledge gained to the  present  t i m e , and i t i s l i m i t e d by the p e r c e p t i o n s , p e r s o n a l i t y , l i f e s t y l e , cultural  e x p e r i e n c e o f the p a r t i c i p a n t - o b s e r v e r p r e s e n t i n g the  and  thesis.  7 Chapter 2  THE ODYSSEY  Personal History and Influences As images.  a producing a r t i s t , I explore, experiment, work, and play with visual The images I have chosen for my present explorations have welled up from  my past and are rooted in f a m i l y traditions. When I search my personal environment, experience, and feelings for form and content, the resulting work has an integrity of meaning that satisfies me and o f t e n touches others. I am awed by the persistence throughout  my l i f e of the same visual and  emotional preoccupations. My excitement with a l l things visual and the particular pull towards c e r t a i n forms have not fundamentally changed over the years. My visual curiosity is, and always has been, relentless. I have, at t i m e s , f e l t overwhelmed by the power my eyes have over me.  When I find something I want to  visually absorb, my eyes drink in every nuance of the object. They rove over, around and under, devouring every change of d i r e c t i o n , t e x t u r e , colour, l i n e , shape, tone, and contrast belonging to the object. I cannot say for c e r t a i n that I had this passion for the visual at an early age (my very earliest memories bring mostly a feeling of atmospheres), but I deduce that I did from  the f a c t that much l a t e r , in c o l l e g e , I was  able to produce a detailed  representation of my f i r s t childhood k i t c h e n in the Eastern U n i t e d States (Plate 1, a). A few years l a t e r , I remember persuading my mother to choose one piano over another on the basis of the wonderful opulent curves of its legs.  This piano became a visual  relief from the " m o d e r n " decor of my childhood home. I remember fondling my rock and stamp collections with great visual delight. This visual appetite intensified as I grew older and has provided me with an abundant dictionary of visual images.  8  b. Initial drawing copper etching plate  a.Continuous drawing of early memory of a k i t c h e n  c. First stage of etching  d. Final etching chair & geranium  e. Exploration sketch " M y Own K i t c h e n I & II"  g. Exploration sketch " M y Own K i t c h e n I & II"  f. Photocopies of sketch for " M y Own Kitchen I & H" h. Photocopies of photographs of drawings  Sketch for teacup "The S t a r "  j . Sketch for " T e a with a Great-Aunt"  P l a t e 1: K i t c h e n Theme Grouping  9 My eyes cause me to l i n g e r , taking in every drop of colour l e f t in a sunset and every sparkle on the sea, to search every grain of sand for new visual messages and to investigate every t r e e , f l o w e r , and glade. My eyes soak in the rushing water tumbling over creek stones, light dappling through the trees, gutters, where wet leaves lay partially submerged in rain water, and the reflections in puddles.  I have studied  undulating alleys f u l l of r i c h l y f i l l e d garbage cans staggered below the patterns of yellowed window blinds peering through  t a t t e r e d curtains.  I have gazed up at  skyscrapers leaning toward each other as they soar to the sky. I am fascinated by the changing perspective of the patterns of glass imprints in the concrete faces of these mighty structures.  I am overwhelmed by the radiant light of d e l i c a t e blossom trees  and the glowing centres of flowers with their piercing pistils and stamens.  Worn,  weathered wood with the subtle traces of mildew and moss, chunks of m e t a l , nails and railway spikes rusting from use and weather, walls of peeling paint, the " r e t i n a l c i r c u s " of second-hand junk and clothing stores are sources for my visual glossary. Rainbows from c r y s t a l prisms dancing in my k i t c h e n sink t a n t a l i z e my vision. I study the e f f e c t s of light dancing in the mulberry tree outside the steam-moistened windows as I soak under bubbles in my old-fashioned bathtub.  My sight is fascinated by the  fractured images from the bevels of old mirrors and the phenomena of entire mountain ranges r e f l e c t e d from a single f a c e t of my grandmother's diamond ring. When I environment.  make  my  art, I  draw  upon  the visual resources  which f i l l  my  The g r a c e f u l shapes and indentations of age-worn pressed back chairs,  turned spindles splintering backgrounds into b i t s of p a t t e r n , the quiet deepening of colours in drying f l o w e r s , ornate silver tarnishing in the dust of neglect, and the sculptural lines of the humble y e t powerful sewing  machine decorated with an  Egyptian Makara (a winged lioness-woman of powerful strength), provide inspiration for my images.  The sun dancing through the undulating wisp of sheer curtains or the  melancholy burnt sienna glow from an end-of-the-day sun f i l l i n g a room with l a s t chance warm light illuminates my work. C o c k y clay pots sprouting jocular geraniums,  10 nasturtiums spilling over with d e l i g h t f u l petals of b r i l l i a n t sunburned colours, agecrazed china plates laced with faded f l o r a l designs barely clinging to their golden rims, worn baskets f i l l e d with bits and pieces o f f e r colour and shapes for my a r t . I exult over satin ribbons, netting and l a c e , needlework heirlooms, antique l i n g e r i e , and old wedding gowns. I store treasured pieces of t i n f o i l as i f they were bits of captured rainbow spilling from the fabled pot of gold. The foregoing descriptions d e t a i l but a few of the resources of my visual image bank.  I draw upon this c o l l e c t i o n as a stimulus to my own c r e a t i v e processes and, in  teaching, to lead my students to keener observation.  It is an important goal of my  teaching to develop the students' a b i l i t y to see the visual world. Sharing my own visual excitement has proved very h e l p f u l in this. My a b i l i t y to observe enables me to notice subtleties in students' work and thus give them useful feedback. While it may not be possible to explain how I acquired this predisposition to the v i s u a l , I c a n , to some e x t e n t , follow the ways in w h i c h , as a c h i l d , I translated enjoyment of observation into graphic f o r m . My f i r s t mark-making e f f o r t s were r e c a l l e d in an autobiography w r i t t e n in Grade Ten. I w r o t e , " M y bed was by a w a l l and I used to have the most fun drawing on the w a l l , and I remember the eraser Mother bought to clean i t o f f . "  I sometimes  wonder how much e f f e c t that eraser had on my "slow a r r i v a l " to a r t making. My involvement with art making is further documented by my kindergarten portfolio (Plates 2 through 6), work done in Grade Three (Plates 7 through 12), Grade Five (Plates 13 through  19) and Grade Eight (Plates 20 through 24).  I find i t  interesting to note the s i m i l a r i t y between my childhood work and my recent work.  My  interest in bold p a t t e r n , t e x t u r e , contrast, colour, shape, and line are evident at an early age. I f i l l e d space and shapes with i n t r i c a t e d e t a i l then as I do now. Embroidery was another way I satisfied my hunger for colour and d e t a i l . I l i k e d to use as many colours as possible in a design. I have always enjoyed working with my hands and eyes. I find pleasure, a sense of being mesmerized, in watching the visual  Plate 2: Kindergarten  Plate 3: Kindergarten  12  Plate 5: Kindergarten  13  P l a t e 9: Grade Three  16  P l a t e 12: Grade Three  Plate 13: Grade Five  Plate 14: Grade Five  Plate 16: Grade Five  19  23 events brought about by the manipulation of t o o l and media or a needle and thread as the surface qualities of a work emerge.  I believe this t r a i t plays a major role in my  approach to art making and the resulting products. A t times, when I am into the ones m a l l - s t r o k e - a t - a - t i m e stage of a painting, I f e e l as i f I am embroidering the image onto  the  canvas.  Etching  provided  me  with  this  same  mesmerizing  act  of  concentration. My f i r s t " r e c o g n i t i o n " as an a r t i s t came when I was in Grade Four. The class was studying M e x i c o . The teacher had planned several c o l o u r f u l art a c t i v i t i e s r e l a t e d to the unit. My task was to draw a l i f e s i z e M e x i c a n boy in a serape. I was intrigued with the folds of the draped serape as they f e l l from the boy's shoulder. I r e c a l l how impressed I was when I found that a wavy, h o r i z o n t a l line joined at right angles by a few v e r t i c a l strokes moving upward, created folds.  I s t i l l like making folds and  creating the illusion of undulating movement on a surface. There is a p a r t i c u l a r curve inherent in folds that permeates my work. Folds appear in several works (Plates 1,2, 27 - 30, 32, 38, 43, 51, 60, 65 - 67, 76, 77, 90, 94, 95, 99, 114, 117 - 121, Appendix, Plates V and VII) and in the background of "Rock-a-bye-Roses"  (Plate 104).  on the Mexican serape linked me with J e r r y , the best a r t i s t in the class.  Working I can  remember the flush of pride and status I f e l t when the other children would m a r v e l at our a b i l i t y .  U n f o r t u n a t e l y , my f a m i l y moved soon a f t e r and I lost my new found  identity. A t the new school I was reduced to manilla paper, crayons, the occasional watercolour, and making a clay piggy bank every year. I have always wondered i f I would have found a r t in my l i f e earlier had I stayed at the other school. Before continuing with the account of my development as an a r t i s t , I w i l l examine in more d e t a i l the image streams which have been of continuing importance in my work.  These streams are folds, ribbons, crochet and l a c e , mothers, daughters,  and dolls, and my family's ancestry and memorabilia.  24 My fondness for folds and undulating motion reveals itself over and over again as I recall the things I enjoyed as a child and still enjoy as an adult. Playing dress-up was a favourite pastime and still is. I find gowns and flounces fascinating. Our sheer curtains and even our bedsheets, in transit to and from the laundry, became great billowing fashions as I flounced in front of the mirrors. Of course, for a girl growing up in that era, the sensuous appeal of these materials was heightened by their romantic associations:  Ginger Rogers twirling through life in her filmy dresses, the  glamour of formals with rustling taffeta and floating tulle, and the magic of a wedding dress. Ribbons make a physical appearance in the woven satin ribbon quilts, "Westcoast Reflections" (Plate 25) and "Desert Mirage" (Plate 26). Ribbons become a major theme in my imagery in "Reflections of a Lifetime" (Plate 27). My fondness for ribbons is another manifestation of a deeply rooted attachment to the flowing curve. With their beauty of pattern, texture, colour, and responses to light, ribbons have traditionally played a part in many celebrations and served many purposes during my lifetime.  I recall the ribbons on baby bonnets and bassinettes, on doll dresses, on  special occasion presents, ribbons on party dresses, corsages and chocolate boxes, for party streamers and awards, Maypole ribbons blowing in the breeze, the happy ribbons on wedding bouquets and the mournful ones of funerals. The sensual pleasure I seek in ribbons and ruffles, satin and lace, velvet and diamonds, and crystal and china is also found in the dolls I have collected and loved ever since I was a young child. I enjoyed designing and making gowns and dresses for my dolls. I would spend hours sculpting their hair in elaborate styles. I remember my mother crocheting several gowns for storybook dolls which were lovingly added to my collection. My dolls were a "magic carpet" to fantasy. Dolls are far more than toys; traditions and roles are transmitted through the cherishing of dolls. I grew up thinking that bearing children was part of the fulfillment one gives one's mother — that of being a grandmother. I experienced one of the many joys of  25  P l a t e 26: "Desert M i r a g e " Woven Satin Ribbon Quilt, 80 x 86 in.  Plate 27: "Reflections of a Lifetime" Assemblage of Acrylic, Crochet Work, Lace and Photocopies of Photographs on Silk and Paper Left Wing - 23 x 30.5 in. Centre - 43 x 32 in. Right Wing - 23 x 30.5 in.  27 becoming a mother as I presented my mother with her b e a u t i f u l , p e r f e c t grandbabies. K i r s t i n , my f i r s t , was very much l i k e the treasured china babydoll that had always sat on my mother's bed. This doll appears in the painting "Rock-a-Goodbye-Baby" (Plate 28).  My second c h i l d , Paisley T e r r a , resembles my mother's other p r i z e d doll.  This  doll was restored and presented to me when I was old enough to take care of something special and is portrayed in the pastel drawing, " M y  Mother's  Doll  I"  (Plate 29) and the a c r y l i c painting, " M y Mother's D o l l II" (Plate 30). I find a s i m i l a r sensuous pleasure in drawing and painting dolls now as I did when I played with them as a child. Dolls were revered by my mother, as by me, because of their beauty and because they were given in love, by mothers, and also because they were links with past generations. This reverence extends to a l l aspects of my family's heritage. When I was growing up, I was curious to know what my predecessors looked l i k e , where they came f r o m , what they d i d , what special quirks and talents they had, what adventures they sought and how they l i v e d .  I was intrigued by the old f a m i l y photographs and  would search them for f a m i l y resemblances and t r a i t s , clothing styles and background details. These ancestral images surfaced to the present through the photo-etchings I developed during my semesters in graphics at the University of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a (Plates 31, 41).  A snapshot of my mother and grandmother is the basis for " M o t h e r ,  Daughter, 1923" (Plate 94). Photocopies of old photographs appear in " R e f l e c t i o n s of a L i f e t i m e " (Plate 27). The deep t r a d i t i o n of motherhood and strong f a m i l y ties are expressed in this work. The fascination for my family's past was f u e l l e d , when I was a c h i l d , by two trips my mother and I made to O n t a r i o , Canada; trips which were to provide some of my dearest and most profound memories. We l e f t dry, brown Southern C a l i f o r n i a with its stuccoed, geometric sub-divisions behind as we r a t t l e d our way by t r a i n to the "olden days" of "back east".  There were farms with barns, cows and r a i l fences, and  old homes with outhouses, waterpumps, feather beds, and china chamber pots.  28  P l a t e 28: "Rock-a-Goodbye-Baby" A c r y l i c on Canvas, 19 x 32 i n .  29  Plate 29: "My Mother's Doll I" Graphite and Pastel on Paper - 20 x 26 in.  Plate 30: " M y Mother's D o l l II" A c r y l i c on Canvas - 35 x 27 i n .  31  Plate 31: Top Row: left to right  Photo-etchings "Feeding the Chickens" "Factory" "Percy, Roberta and Robert"  Bottom: left to right  "Visiting Their Prairie Daughter" photo-etching "Bread Doily" embossing "Eden Mills" lithograph  32 Having California.  dinner at a farm house was a unique experience for a g i r l from  We a l l p i t c h e d in and helped clean the vegetables picked minutes earlier  from the garden.  This was amazing to me, having come from the land of frozen  vegetables. The paintings, "Oasis" (Plate 32) and "Dusty Day" (Plate 33) remind me of farmhouse kitchens. My great-aunt Verna l i v e d in the old f a m i l y home.  The house, was f i l l e d with  furniture and keepsakes from the previous generation. Coming from the C a l i f o r n i a fashion of blond straight-edge f u r n i t u r e , I was overcome by the i n t r i c a c i e s of these antiques.  In my great-aunt's special parlour, I would sit alone and very s t i l l .  My  senses were drenched with the d e l i c a t e , detail-laden atmosphere. Having t e a with my great-aunts was a s p e c i a l occasion. The l a c e covered table would be l a i d with china plates, linen napkins, gleaming s i l v e r , assorted f r u i t nappies shimmering with a bounty of homemade applebutter, gooseberry and raspberry jams. A pot of teaspoons always sat in the centre of the table. I would choose the most elaborate, fine bone china teacup for sipping my t e a . I loved the gentle c l a t t e r of a silver spoon as i t s t i r r e d the steaming t e a . Homemade preserves would be heaped onto piping hot biscuits. I would sit very straight and keep my elbows off the table.  The painting, " T e a with a G r e a t -  A u n t " (Plate 34), features a teacup given to me by my great-aunt Verna and emits the aura I remember from those teatimes. While s i t t i n g very p o l i t e l y next to my mother as she and the relatives chattered away, I would entertain myself by visually rearranging the knick-knaeks, pictures, furniture, cushions, d o i l l i e s , and my f a v o u r i t e , the contents of the treasured china cabinet. My mother would flush with embarrassment when, at an opportune moment, I would inquire i f perhaps there might be a dusty old a t t i c or musty dark cellar I could explore. I would root through ancestral trunks and old cardboard boxes; searching the f e r t i l e layers of ancient nutrients, quenching my thirst for knowledge of the buried past. I was unconsciously tucking away mental "keepsakes" w h i c h , years l a t e r , would resurface through my a r t work.  33  Plate 32: "Oasis" Acrylic on canvas - 19 x 32 in.  Acrylic on canvas - 19 x 32 in,  P l a t e 34: " T e a with a G r e a t - A u n t " A c r y l i c and L a c e on Canvas, 14 x 20.5 i n .  35 I looked into a window on the past when I v i s i t e d "back east". My appreciation of "woman's work" was strengthened through these visits. When I remember the care and diligence the women  in my f a m i l y put into their cooking, fancy work, and  cleaning, I see very s i m i l a r drives and traits that are essential when I am producing my art. It's a heritage I would l i k e to recognize. Many of the images found in my present work are rooted in the warm impressions gathered f r o m these f a m i l y reunions. I have celebrated women's " f a n c y work" in the recent works, " R e f l e c t i o n s of a L i f e t i m e " (Plate 27), "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother" (Plates 110 to 115) and "Ghosts in the Garden" (Plate 116). My mother had always wanted a teacup c o l l e c t i o n and a china cabinet. desire was part of her Canadian heritage. wealth.  This  China cabinets contained a woman's  The treasured c h i n a , c r y s t a l , and silver allowed a woman to b e a u t i f u l l y  present her hospitality. China cabinets make their appearance in " K i t c h e n Chairs I" (Plate 76), "Oasis" (Plate 32), and " M y Own K i t c h e n I" (Plate 99). My mother died before getting her long desired china cabinet.  The denial of my mother's simple  l i f e l o n g wish caused me to r e a l i z e how necessary i t is to grasp what is important in l i f e while i t can s t i l l be enjoyed. I decided to begin doing what I most wanted, and that was to learn more about making a r t .  Learning About Art In the f a l l of 1982, following my mother's death, I returned to Canada from C a l i f o r n i a and enrolled in drawing and ceramics classes. structure and I wanted to be pressured. efforts that demanded q u a l i t y .  A t this t i m e , I was craving  I wanted to concentrate my energies into  I wanted to work for and achieve standards of  excellence in a r t . My goals at that time were to accumulate a knowledge of the various media taught in the public schools and to develop my t e c h n i c a l s k i l l in each. A f t e r a w h i l e , however, I began to f e e l discontent. Although I was growing in t e c h n i c a l s k i l l , I f e l t that I lacked an understanding of composition.  I wondered how artists chose their  36 form and content. There was a dearth of meaningful content in my work which I found frustrating.  I was learning a language but not what to express of myself with the  language. A t one point, an instructor made the statement that an a r t i s t must be able to simplify what he sees.  I understood this to mean " t o make simple." I r e l a t e d i t to  abstraction as in " m o d e r n " a r t . Because I had d i f f i c u l t y in s i m p l i f y i n g what I saw and what I wanted to express, I began to doubt my ability to succeed in a r t . I sought out artists such as the F l e m i s h , Dutch and French Masters to console myself in the f a c t that other artists have also delighted in d e t a i l . I have since come to r e a l i z e that a process of s i m p l i f i c a t i o n is involved in even the most elaborate p o r t r a y a l of a subject.  What I hadn't comprehended earlier was  that the degree of s i m p l i f i c a t i o n used is r e l a t i v e to the artist's personal goal for his imagery. I now accept my love for d e t a i l and elaboration as a strength and appreciate these t r a i t s as a g i f t rather than the handicap I once f e l t i t to be. In those years of my l i f e , I f e l t that I didn't have anything to express that was esoteric or " a r t y " without i t being c o n t r i v e d .  I was constantly searching for the  answer to the questions: "What is A r t ? " , "How do you know when something becomes A r t ? " , and "How can I make A r t ? " . I seldom completely resolved a painting to its finished state.  When I finally  worked up the courage to push a painting to its darkest darks and to put in the brightest highlights, the resulting image, " P o r t r a i t of D a v i d " (Plate 35), gave rise to new concerns.  David's expressive face f i l l e d the entire canvas.  The image was  insightful and p o w e r f u l , r e f l e c t i n g David's intensity and physical pain. The a b i l i t y to paint something with impact frightened me. I was bewildered by many feelings and anxieties. What i f I have potential?  What i f I think I can do something and I fail?  At  the same t i m e , I was e x c i t e d by the painting and f e l t myself being consumed by the desire to lose myself in image-finding and image-making.  I could paint for hours,  forgetting my r e a l i t y . I became worried that I might neglect my parenting responsi-  37  Plate 35: "Portrait of David" Oil on Canvas - 33.5 x 22 in.  38 ilities.  As a result of these concerns, I decided to take a break from art training and  to focus my c r e a t i v e energies in ways that included my f a m i l y . The time came, in the Spring of 1977, for me to make another choice of direction for my l i f e .  I made the decision to attend an art education course at the  University of B r i t i s h Columbia, which had been recommended by a friend. I based the decision to pursue further training as an art teacher on the fond memories of my early teaching experiences in C a l i f o r n i a . I had taught third grade from 1963 to 1966. I loved working with the children i n subjects that allowed for creative opportunities. A r t was a favourite. I became very excited as I watched the children's innocent images emerge. I thrilled at the joy and pride the children f e l t when they had finished something to their satisfaction. During this period I had toyed with the idea of becoming an art teacher. A t this time we were fortunate to have working in our D i s t r i c t a dynamic woman with a gray-haired bun, raucous voice, flamboyant personality and clothes to match. Helen C o r d e l l was art coordinator for the elementary schools. Ms. C o r d e l l did a pilot study demonstrating that Grade One pupils could learn the vocabulary of art, apply the knowledge gained in their projects, and enjoy art appreciation discussions. Through workshops put on by Ms. C o r d e l l , I became aware of the elements of art and the principles of design. She taught me also that art had a language that I could l e a r n and use, and which I could teach children to use in a l o g i c a l , sequential manner. Cordell's  mission  in  life  seemed  to  be  to  convince  the  children,  Helen  teachers,  administration, and the board alike, that art was an essential in the education of the child.  She was an example of what I wanted to be when I was in the prime of my  career. In June of 1977, I f u l f i l l e d a long held dream.  I took my children to visit the  fabled Eastern Canada of my mother's ancestral home.  I wanted to share with my  children the wonder of " w a t e r i n g one's roots" which I had experienced when I was young.  I wanted them to have the sense of themselves as the extension of a f a m i l y  tree. I also wanted them to experience the crossing of Canada's vastness firsthand.  A r e l i c from the past, which was to have a profound impact on my art work, came into my l i f e on this t r i p . Driving along Toronto's Bloor Street at 3:00 a.m. with a f r i e n d , I saw an old treadle-driven Singer sewing machine, patent 1885, s i t t i n g on the curb waiting for the morning garbage pick-up.  My friend and I managed to put the  machine into the trunk of the c a r . It was arranged that my cousin, who was planning to drive a large container truck across Canada, would bring the sewing machine west along with the other treasures my great-aunt Verna had given me. A s a result, I saved the Singer from one destruction b u t , inadvertently, sent i t to another. In J u l y of 1977,1 attended a beginning a r t education course at the University of British Columbia.  This course was to have a monumental e f f e c t on my l i f e and a r t  direction. The course c u r r i c u l u m covered drawing, painting, three-dimensional work, and graphics. Students were required to choose and develop themes for the projects in each of the four areas.  It was in doing those projects that I began to uncover my  present imagery. In the following pages I trace the development of the symbols which emerged as a result of the course assignments and continue to appear in my art work: the sewing machine,  the  compositional discussed:  geranium,  the  c h a i r , and  devices, which have  family  become  photographs.  i n t e g r a l in  my  The  work,  supporting  will  also  be  checks, l a c e , and c r o c h e t . The use of each symbol w i l l be followed u n t i l  January of 1980, at which point a change occurs in my attitude regarding my symbols and my products. A s a student the symbols had played a subservient role in my quest for t e c h n i c a l and compositional experiences. In 1980, circumstances required that I perform as an a r t i s t . In this new phase of my development, technique and composition suddenly became integrated with the content or concept of the work. In the beginning course, I chose the sewing machine as my theme image because of my emotional need to make the best of a disappointing situation. When I went to c o l l e c t my long-awaited treadle sewing machine that I had rescued f r o m Bloor S t r e e t , I  found a pile of splintered wood and shattered m e t a l .  I was  wretched with  disappointment. In an a t t e m p t to channel my anguish, I decided to turn what was l e f t of the machine head and m e t a l work of the treadle into a r t .  I did many  drawings  (Plates 36A, 36B, and 37d, 38a and c ) , a painting (Plate 38), l i f t p r i n t s (Plate 37a and 38b), a lino cut (Plate 37b, 37c), a c e r a m i c sculpture, and a plaster carving based on the sewing supports.  machine's  features.  Crochet  and lace  were used as  compositional  As I worked with the image, I became more aware of the a r t i s t i c qualities  inherent in the design elements of the old treadle machine. appreciation for the old Singer as an aesthetic object.  This increased my  I was almost glad for the  disaster. The objects/symbols that appear in my artwork are chosen for compositional, symbolic, and emotional reasons.  The following explains how the sewing  machine  satisfies the three c r i t e r i a : Compositional:  The ornately decorated, c u r v e d , sensual form of the machine  head fills space with a g r a c e f u l strength which enhances the fragments of background pattern that r e v e a l themselves through the open spaces of the machine. E m o t i o n a l : I have an a f f i n i t y for things that r e f l e c t the patina of use and have been part of the process of l i f e . The aura of these old objects emits a sense of history and passing t i m e . P a i n t i n g and drawing sewing machines is emotionally soothing f o r me and evokes many fond memories of the t i m e my mother and I spent together sewing my dreams into f a b r i c . Symbolic: Sewing is an accepted outlet for women's a r t i s t i c and c r e a t i v e urges as w e l l as being a way in which they can make a physical contribution to the f a m i l y . The sewing machine, in my v i e w , has deep symbolic meaning of woman's " p l a c e " and "woman's work." This framework may be used to analyze the presence of other objects and compositional devices which are prevalent in my work. During the course, I had become intrigued with the graphic process, and decided that I wanted to learn more about the t e c h n i c a l aspects of the various processes.  Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme  Drawings from Sketch Book on Sewing Machine Theme  43  crj] [CM  a. Liftprints  b. Lino cut prints c. Design for Lino cut  d. Contour Drawing  f. Lithograph g. Photocopy of colour  e. Drawings  drawing with colour  Plate 37: Sewing Machine Theme  PES v  .-__  a.  s  *  ^  *  Preliminary search for composition of "Sewing Machines." - drawings.  Plate 38: "Sewing Machines" Tempera, Acrylic Medium on Hardboard. - 19 x 20 in.  I also thought that by e l i m i n a t i n g the element of colour from my imagery, I could concentrate on the composition and structure of an image, an area where I felt I needed further understanding. The following y e a r , 1978, I attended a graphics course. lithography.  We were to study  I did a rough, simple drawing of a sewing machine for a m e t a l plate  lithograph (Plate 37). While exploring a new technique, I f e e l more c o m f o r t a b l e using a f a m i l i a r image.  A f t e r the lithograph of the sewing machine, the symbol does not  reappear u n t i l 1980. The geranium appeared in my work during the introductory a r t course.  This  symbol surfaced quite innocently during a contour drawing session in the university greenhouse.  These contour drawings became the foundation for further experiments  and explorations in design. The resulting ideas were used for making l i f t prints, which were further "played w i t h " in the search for imagery. - While drawing the geranium, I r e c a l l e d the geranium my mother had grown i n the backyard of our home in Southern C a l i f o r n i a .  Geraniums l i v e d outside a l l year  round and were one of the few flowering plants that could survive hot summers. A s a c h i l d , I enjoyed their pungent aroma and the f u z z y green leaves poking out at cocky angles, framing the clumps of b r i l l i a n t red flowers that were bursting from their twiggy stems like " F o u r t h of J u l y " sparklers. From a l i f t print of a tomato and of a geranium in a c l a y pot (Plate 39), I developed a collagraph using suede, d e n i m , cardboard, and net (Plate 40). work made its first appearance in this collagraph.  Crochet  I needed something to use as a  texture for the geranium f l o w e r . That afternoon, while walking about the campus, I noticed a piece of crochet work lying in the road.  The piece consisted of three  sections of deep scallop shapes with a spoke design in the centre of each section.  I  could not have found a more p e r f e c t piece to represent the f l o w e r . The small-paned window made its f i r s t appearance in this collagraph. I used the grid as a compositional device dividing the background and anchoring the organic  45  Plate 39: Experimental Liftprint Ink and Watercolour on Newsprint Leading to "Prairie Window"  Plate 40: "Prairie Window Collagraph, 23 x 16 in.  shapes to the edges of the f o r m a t .  The collagraph, printed in b l a c k , took on the  appearance of a silhouette. I experimented with warm sunset colours using a rainbow r o l l on cardboard. These colours were printed f i r s t .  When I put the black silhouette  on top of the intense sky, fading from gold to orange to rusty browns, I was suddenly transported to the p r a i r i e s , standing in a darkening p r a i r i e shack, looking past the window to the lingering light of a sinking sun f i l t e r i n g through the dust rising from a prairie tractor's wake. I c a l l the print " P r a i r i e Window" (Plate 40). A light source or a window  is used to indicate a time of day, l o c a t i o n , circumstances, mood, and  atmosphere in l a t e r works. The p r a i r i e shack m o t i f reappears in an e t c h i n g , " V i s i t i n g Their P r a i r i e Daughter" (Plate 41). The  geranium  was  next used as a subject for exploring technique in a  lithography course (Plate 42) and in an intaglio course.  Using one of four s m a l l  copperplates, I did a sampler of etching techniques (Plate 43, I).  As three s m a l l  copperplates remained, i t occurred to me that I could put the geranium in a particular environment.  I decided to use my k i t c h e n and one of my pressed-back chairs for this  design. This was the debut of my own k i t c h e n as a m o t i f . I drew a table covered with a checkered tablecloth for pattern interest and included square windows to divide the background space (Plate l , b ) . The f i n a l etching (Plate 43,1) strikes a home-like chord in many people. The composition is based on the balance between organic rounds and curves contrasting with geometric grids which is also explored in the collagraph "Prairie  Window"  (Plate  40).  It  is interesting to note  that these  contrasting  compositional elements also appear in my childhood art (Plates 2 - 28). The  image  on  the second  copperplate  is  a s i m p l i f i e d geranium  enlargement of the tablecloth and window pattern (Plate 43 II).  and  an  The fourth plate was  an experiment with the sugar-lift technique using a single leaf and a few flowers. The f i n a l image resembled a microscopic view of the juices flowing inside the leaf (Plate 43, IV). The series exemplifies another compositional concept that recurs in my work, that of focusing inward. The plates were editioned in a dark sepia brown on A r c h e s buff paper. The prints are t i t l e d , "Geranium Series I, II,Til and IV" (Plate 43).  48  Plate 41: "Visiting Their Prairie Daughter" Photo-etching, 17 x 13 in.  Plate 42: Lithograph of a Geranium 14 x 18 in.  Plate 43: "Geranium Series, I, II, III, IV" Etchings from Copperplates 28 x 10.25 i n . , 4 x 4.75 i n .  During that summer session, I continued to explore the intriguing forms of the geranium in a larger copperplate etching (Plate 44) and in a collagraph (Plate 45). For the collagraph I used a variety of m a t e r i a l s , including a c t u a l leaves and flowers. The petals of the flowers were defined with carved modelling paste. The plant shapes are again anchored down by the window g r i d . In the f a l l of 1978, 1 began another year of graphics. I continued to explore the concept of abstracted designs  based on s i m p l i f i e d organic shapes and geometric  patterns, along with images based on the contrasting concepts of mood, atmosphere, and the "essences of r e a l i t y . " I  chose  to continue  working  with  the geranium  symbol.  I drew  some  observation-based drawings (Plate 46) and a free-association drawing (Plate 47) in my sketchbook.  These drawings were t r i a l studies for future etchings.  The idea of  leaving the s t y l i z e d positive shapes of the geranium leaf and stem w h i t e , while f i l l i n g in the negative shapes with images f r o m my memory, expressed itself in one of the drawings (Plate 47).  In doing the " G e r a n i u m " etching (Plate 44) and the detailed  sketchbook drawing (Plate 46) of a geranium, I had closely observed the edges and shape of the l e a f .  I was intrigued with the shapes of the negative spaces that  appeared when I drew the positive l e a f and stem shapes. The free-association drawing (Plate 47) generated thoughts which I noted in the margins of the page.  The c o w ,  another a symbol from my past, appears in this drawing. Following this, I did another drawing which extrapolated the elements I l i k e d best. This new drawing used only the geranium leaf and stem shapes as the positives and the negative spaces were f i l l e d with checks.  I was again searching out the  contrast between the organic curve and the geometric g r i d .  The resulting design  (Plate 48) e x c i t e d my eye and my sense of tension and balance. I decided to use the design for an etching.  A s I worked, I was mesmerized by the sharpened dental t o o l  sliding through the soft black-brown asphaltum, fine stroke by fine s t r o k e , u n t i l every other check in the design was opened to receive the acid's b i t e . I editioned the print  Plate 44: Copperplate Etching of a Geranium 13 x 16 in.  53  P l a t e 45: Collagraph of Geranium 8 x 7.5 in.  P l a t e 46: Observation-based Drawings of Geranium  55  Plate 4 7 : Free-association Drawing of Geranium and Memories with Annotated Thoughts in Margin.  P l a t e 48 Drawing of Geranium E x t r a p o l a t i n g P r e f e r r e d Elements  in red on white rag paper (Plate 49). I was concurrently working on the plate ("Rainy Day", Plates 50, 51) which explored the mood and atmosphere of an environment. I experimented with the r e p e t i t i o n of a chair shape (Plate 52) and chair and table shapes using pattern as a compositional device (Plate 53). I was fascinated by the f e e l i n g of mystery evoked by the " H a l l of M i r r o r s " image (Plate 53). I f e l t that I had made a breakthrough to a more profound understanding of the principles and the power of composition as I pushed my way through these drawing explorations.  The  compositional themes and tools discovered in these exercises continue to reappear, almost unconsciously, as the foundations for my personal statements. The k i t c h e n and chair theme made its f i r s t appearance in a continuous line drawing done in the foundation art education course. The instructor asked the class to draw a picture based on a fond memory f r o m early childhood.  I remembered the  k i t c h e n in the home where I had spent the f i r s t f i v e years of my l i f e . I had pleasant memories of the f e e l of that 1940's k i t c h e n with its wooden k i t c h e n chairs and icebox (Plate 1, a). The k i t c h e n theme next appears in the previously mentioned copperplate etching (Plate 43,1) and in the e t c h i n g , " R a i n y D a y " (Plate 51). We were required to keep a sketchbook in the beginning art education course. This was an invaluable experience for me.  I took the sketchbook everywhere I went  and made an e f f o r t to draw in the book whenever I was s i t t i n g and not using my hands to drive or eat. The drawings are a diary of the summer's events. I used a variety of media and drawing approaches throughout.  Contour drawings of my k i t c h e n , other  rooms in my home and those of friends, household a r t i f a c t s , and my children were included in the sketchbook.  This c o l l e c t i o n of images held many seeds that would  germinate into a r t work which would l a t e r appear in public exhibition. I went through a phase during the 1977-1978 school year, when I f e l t my marks and renderings were not significant enough to take up space in a world already overloaded with visual m a t e r i a l . About this t i m e , I was exposed to the technique of photo-etching.  I  began  experimenting  with overlays  of  crochet and l a c e  photographs of my children (Plate 54). I used photographs of lace and crochet f r o m  on  Plate 49: "Geranium and Checks" Etching from Zinc Plate. 8.75 x 11.5 in.  Plate 50: Sketch for "Rainy Day"  Plate 51: "Rainy Day" Etching from Zinc Plate 8.75 x 11.5 in.  P l a t e 52: Sketch of Repeated C h a i r Design  Plate 53: "Hall of Mirrors" Drawing  Plate 54: Experiments with Lace Overlays on Photographs  63 my c o l l e c t i o n and spent hours shifting and adjusting the patterns. I learned a great deal about the significance of minute spaces while preparing the orthofilms for these plates.  The a c t u a l lace and crochet was used to emboss the borders of the prints  (Plate 55 and 56). I became fascinated with embossing. I had taken a photograph of a doily made for a bread basket. The word " B r e a d " was crocheted into the design. Someone had made a piece of fancy work to embellish the serving of bread and I wanted to take the sentiment to the art l e v e l . I see bread as a symbol of nourishment, the " s t a f f of l i f e , " and a woman's way of providing for her family. plate.  I used an o r t h o f i l m enlargement for putting the doily image onto a zinc The plate was deeply b i t t e n by n i t r i c a c i d .  The image was embossed into  Japanese K o c h i paper (Plate 57). By this t i m e , I was t o t a l l y devoted to l a c e and crochet as an image.  Crochet  and l a c e have since become dominant compositional devices in my work. The i n t r i c a t e patterns of lace and crochet provide the visual interest of contrasting textures. I f i l l the negative spaces of my compositions with d e t a i l and pattern. i n t r i c a t e , and c o m p l i c a t e d .  L a c e is f r a g i l e ,  D e l i c a t e f l o r a l shapes are suspended  on  transparent  gossamer webs of geometric grids which hold and capture light. Crochet is heavier and coarser than l a c e . The sturdy i n t r i c a t e patterns give a l a c e - l i k e e f f e c t durable enough for constant use.  C r o c h e t blends decor and f u n c t i o n ,  durability and d e l i c a c y , giving common household items a touch of luxury and beauty. Crochet work was made by women to be used for p r a c t i c a l reasons in their homes on garments used from babyhood to death.  U t i l i t a r i a n items, from pillow cases to dish  towels, were graced with crocheted elegance. Women could get together to talk and s t i l l be constantly productive, contributing to their family's well-being. In the 1978 summer lithography course, I decided to continue exploring the " B r e a d " doily image (Plate 57).  I planned to experiment with the doily using the  positive, negative, and reversal processes of lithography. I needed a background for  Plate 55: "Kirstin" Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing 10.5 x 14.5 in.  65  Plate 56: "Paisley" Lace Overlay, Photo-etching and Embossing 10.5 x 14.5 in.  Plate 57: "Bread Doily" Embossed Photo-etching 17 x 14 in.  67  the doily shape but did not want a meaningless scribble. In my mental elaborations about the significance of the doily, I had pondered my link with the women in my family and how the handicrafts performed by women embellished the family's life. While riding the bus to school one morning, my mind made the connection between my desire for an unobtrusive textured background, a conversation about using handwriting as texture, and my thoughts on the meaning of the bread doily.  I decided to use  letters written by my grandmother and my mother for the background. That evening I rooted out a package of letters.  There were letters from my mother written to me  and a letter from my grandmother written to my mother at the time of my second child's birth. I had decided on a dark background with white writing. I made a negative orthofilm of the letters in their original size. Whenever I tried to explain the project to someone, tears revealed my emotional involvement with the letters. I persevered in my idea which had become an act of grieving and felt good in a sad way.  As I  worked with the letters, the words of caring would catch my eye and soothe me. As the print evolved and my involvement grew with the background, the doillies became extraneous.  The resulting lithograph, "Celebrating Grief" (Plate 58), has a very  special significance. The instructor for this class made it a practice of having times set aside for discussions with students regarding their work, progress, and concerns. During one of these discussions an instructor encouraged the way I was thinking and reasoning in my art.  As a result of this comment, I began to feel that my thoughts might be  artistically valid. This instructor had accepted my images based on the home and past as worthwhile. I began to gain the confidence I needed in order to visually express my own feelings and ideas.  I felt comfortable accepting myself and giving myself  permission to explore and search for content within the confines of my own person. I became excited that I could express the praises of the woman-mother-heroine of the home.  With my new enthusiasm for the ordinary, I delighted in the idea of doing  something with the pineapple-pattern doillies which were on the arms and backs of our  Plate 58: "Celebrating Grief" Lithograph of Letters 22 x 30 in.  69  couch and chairs when I was a child. A p a r t from a couple of e x p e r i m e n t a l soft-ground etchings done in the autumn of 1978 (Plate 59), the pineapple motif lay dormant u n t i l its appearance in "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother" in 1983 (Plate 113).  Once I  began to f e e l some confidence in my own imagery, I discovered a paradox.  Setting  goals and priorities for myself, I was then free to explore form and content to a greater depth and breadth within the chosen framework. In the autumn of 1978, I began the second year Graphics course at the University of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a .  My fascination with photo-etching led me to the  exploration of old f a m i l y photographs.  These messages f r o m the past surfaced to my  awareness while I was searching for the l e t t e r s I used as a background f o r the bread doily lithograph.  I found, in this c o l l e c t i o n , images  that I f e l t were classically  b e a u t i f u l and were a r c h e t y p a l of the Anglo-Saxon Canadian f a m i l y l i f e during the l a t e 1800's and early 1900's. I invested a great deal of time and concentration in pulling f r o m the evolving prints the nuances of meaning and f e e l i n g which were evoked by the photographs.  Transition In the f a l l of 1979, I enrolled in a graduate course. This particular course had been designed to give participants the opportunity to perform as artists and to expand on their abilities in the realm of a r t c r i t i c i s m . independent of each other.  The students produced  work  The class made visits to the studio or place of a c t i v i t y  where the work was produced.  The site, method, and imagery were discussed.  The  group would then offer comments relevant to the work of the host artist.  The  meetings  for  were charged  with excitement and provided creative nourishment  everyone. It was decided by the group that we should put ourselves on the line.  If we  were going to perform l i k e artists, we should exhibit l i k e artists. I make i t a rule to accept challenges that may lead to personal growth, so despite my apprehension, I agreed to the idea of an exhibit. A public exhibition was organized f o r A p r i l , 1980.  70  P l a t e 59: Pineapple P a t t e r n Soft-ground Etchings  71  My mind was s t i l l involved with the ancestral images of the f a m i l y photos which had been developed into etchings the previous year.  F e e l i n g stronger in the  skills of composition, I now wanted to tackle colour. A c r y l i c paint became my next challenge. In the box of old f a m i l y photographs, I had found a picture of my mother and grandmother that held particular appeal for me. I had explored the image in a pen and ink drawing in my sketch book earlier in the year (Plate 60). I decided to attempt a painting of this photograph.  A f t e r some f u t i l e attempts I abandoned the project,  r e a l i z i n g i t involved more than I was ready for at the t i m e .  Its completion is  documented in the "Mother, Daughter, 1923" section. Suddenly i t was January.  The a r t exhibit that had been scheduled for A p r i l  loomed large in my mind. In an attempt to conquer the inhibiting fear that my work might not be deemed art, I said to myself, " J u s t do something, anything."  I picked up  an old sketch book, some charcoal, and a few pastels that had surfaced and had been f l o a t i n g near the top of my " c l u t t e r p o o l " for some t i m e . I sat down at my k i t c h e n table, looked up, and saw my old black sewing machine.  I drew i t in the foreground  and drew a jar of blown eggs in the background (Plate 61). F o r the second drawing, I decided to frame the black sewing machine shape with my colourfully patterned k i t c h e n wallpaper (Plate 62). Because I thought of the drawings as just warmups in an old sketch book, I was relaxed and having fun.  My line loosened. I f i x e d and fussed without worrying about  what might or might not become " A r t . " I spontaneously put in backgrounds. I played, experimented, and explored the nuances of shape, line, and colour of the objects I had gathered around me. I stopped f r e t t i n g about the "mysterious" Tightness a f t e r which I was always searching.  I found pleasure in looking at these objects and enjoyed the  mood and atmosphere they created in my home.  I f e l t a connection w i t h the past  through  It  these old, worn, household  artifacts.  satisfying to use them as the subjects f o r my drawings.  was  visually and emotionally  72  P l a t e 60: Sketch for " M o t h e r , Daughter, 1923" Pen and Ink.  Plate 62: "Black Sewing Machine with Wallpaper" 14 x 17 in.  I continually reminded myself of three significant comments that had been made to me some years e a r l i e r . During my f i r s t course at the University of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I had asked a fellow student, whose work I admired, how she decided what parts of a s t i l l l i f e to draw.  She replied that she drew what she " l i k e d . "  The second  comment, made by my lithography instructor, was that my drawing should be as natural as my handwriting.  The t h i r d , made by the same instructor reinforced my  confidence in my a r t i s t i c thinking. I said to myself over and over while working on the exploratory drawings, " D r a w what you l i k e . " " R e l a x and draw in your n a t u r a l style." continued  to  experimenting  draw  the  sewing  machine  with  pastels,  c h a r c o a l , and  with a variety of compositions, backgrounds,  I  graphite,  patterns, and moods  (Plates 63 - 71). I grew dissatisfied with the surface I could create with pastel. I f e l t that the way I was using pastel did not do the objects j u s t i c e . They l a c k e d impact. I had not taken the t i m e to f u l l y develop the forms.  I decided to start leaving the positive  shapes white and began to emphasize the negative spaces, which I delighted in f i l l i n g with a v a r i e t y of patterns. This provided me with the opportunity to explore the use of l i n e , shape, p a t t e r n , and colour, which in t u r n , l e d to the i n t r i c a t e visual surfaces I enjoyed.  I found the r e l i e f offered by the contrasting white shapes enhanced the  patterns. I looked around my house, finding compositions everywhere. My eye was a c t i n g as a f o r m a t .  As I drew the pressed-back  chairs, geraniums, the rose p i t c h e r , and  checkered tablecloth (Plates 72 - 93), I became more and more visually intrigued with the qualities that endeared these objects to me.  Using these items as compositional  toys, I moved further into the search for imagery. form  such  as  movement,  psychological  space,  I explored various approaches to mood, atmosphere,  and p a t t e r n .  Content evolved from the amalgamation of these elements. The constructive suggestions given by many of my teachers and the experience of organizing compositions began to merge in my mine. occurring in my approach to art making.  I began to sense a change  P l a t e 64: "Sewing Machine and Y e l l o w Checks" P a s t e l and C h a r c o a l - 20 x 15 in.  P l a t e 66: "Sewing Machine and C h a i r I" P a s t e l and C h a r c o a l - 15 x 20 in.  Plate 67: "Sewing Machine and Chair III Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in.  Hr  •  Plate 68: "Sewing Machine and Three Chairs" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in.  •  78  P l a t e 70: " F r a g m e n t s " P a s t e l and C h a r c o a l - 15 x 20 i n .  Plate 71: "Sewing and Machine and Chair IV" Graphite and Pastel - 22 x 30 in.  80  81  Plate 74: "Geranium in Pot with Checks" Pastel and Charcoal - 14 x 17 in.  Plate 75: "Chair and Red Stripes" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in.  83  Plate 80: "Chairs and Brown and Black Checks" Pastel and Charcoal - 15 x 20 in.  85  86  P l a t e 83: "Layers of C h a i r s " Graphite and P a s t e l - 22 x 30 i n .  87  Plate 85: "Swinging Kitchen" Pastel and Charcoal 15 x 20 in.  89  Plate 88: "Circus Chairs" Graphite and Pastel - 22 x 30 in.  P l a t e 89: " C h a i r A l o n e " P a s t e l and C h a r c o a l 15 x 20 in.  P l a t e 90: " C h a i r and Sewing Machine II" P a s t e l and C h a r c o a l 15 x 20 i n .  P l a t e 91: "Rose Chair and F r i e n d " Pastel and C h a r c o a l 15 x 20 i n .  P l a t e 92: "Rose Chair and P i t c h e r I" Pastel and C h a r c o a l 15 x 20 i n .  92  P l a t e 93: "Rose Chair and P i t c h e r II" Graphite and P a s t e l - 22 x 30 i n .  The lack of compositional skill I had experienced earlier had been replaced with a more sensitive understanding of the use of space. division of space with great precision.  I could now visually plan the  My deepened understanding of composition  enhanced my ability to express my personal statements.  I was also beginning to  understand the use of colour and how to balance the contrasts of light and dark, warm and cold, and bright and dull. A change also occurred in my perception of myself.  I went from being a  student to being an artist. My images were no longer just practice. I began thinking of them as art. My new found confidence in my expressive and compositional ability was reinforced by the positive reactions of my classmates to the pastel drawings. To further investigate the elements of art and principles of design, I decided to pursue painting with acrylics.  I chose to continue the themes which had become  apparent in the series of pastel drawings (Plates 61 - 93). A number of preliminary sketches on each theme were done in preparation for the paintings. varying sizes were assembled (Appendix, Plate I).  Canvases of  Preferred compositions were  transferred to the canvases with charcoal (Appendix, Plate II). The paintings were worked on concurrently.  The preliminary sketches, photographs of stages in the  underpainting, and the finished painting are presented in the Appendix, Plates i n VIII. These paintings reinforced my interest in the themes which were becoming more clearly defined.  Significant works which further explore the themes of atmosphere,  mood, movement, pattern, and psychological space will be discussed in the following sections.  Mother, Daughter, 1923 The painting stems from my interest in my family's past and is based on an actual photograph of my mother and grandmother, circa 1923. The photograph has a special appeal for various reasons, some of which are based on form and others are in response to the content.  94  In the painting (Plate 94), the two l i f e s i z e figures are bathed in warm sunlight, surrounded by green grass dotted with s m a l l white daisies. The mother stands t a l l and strong in ah ankle-length white dress accented with a dark green ribbon down the front. The child, wearing a pink and white c o t t o n gingham play dress, leans shyly into the mother's p r o t e c t i v e f o r m .  Each has an arm around the other.  The c h i l d looks  shyly out to the world, not yet ready to stand alone. This joining of mother and c h i l d symbolizes a mutual sharing of p r o t e c t i o n , dependence, and love. The c h i l d needs the mother, the mother needs the c h i l d . If I take my analysis of the picture further, I find signs of a d i f f e r e n t kind of support and nurturing structure embodied in the house and t r e l l i s . The presence of the male member of the f a m i l y is i m p l i e d and represented by these g e o m e t r i c elements in the painting. To become more f a m i l i a r with the forms and compositional components, I f i r s t painted a watercolour of the image (Plate 95).  I was interested in exploring the  contrasting patterns, textures, and the d i f f e r i n g geometric grids serving as backdrops and supports to a v a r i e t y of organic shapes. A large c l i m b i n g rose bush, laden w i t h pink roses, drapes over an old wooden t r e l l i s behind the figures. A garden path, lined w i t h s m a l l rose bushes of varying sizes, shapes, and colours winds through the background in front of a towering brick house with a wooden r a i l i n g edging the front porch. A cross-hatched t r e l l i s creates a sunspotted pattern on one end of the porch. The pink and white checkered pattern of the child's dress contrasts with and defines the soft folds of the skirt and pocket. I found working f r o m the s m a l l photo d i f f i c u l t , so, an eight by ten inch enlargement was made of each face and of the whole photograph. I did a few studies in an attempt to become re-acquainted w i t h paint, which I had not handled for a number of years.  The resemblance of the painted faces to the photograph  was  extremely important to me. This made the task of painting the faces very d i f f i c u l t .  P l a t e 94: " M o t h e r and Daughter, 1923" A c r y l i c on Canvas. 72 x 42 i n .  96  P l a t e 95: Study for " M o t h e r and Daughter, 1923" Watercolour - 24 x 38 i n .  It was while doing my preparatory painting that I o p t i m i s t i c a l l y built the six by four foot canvas, thinking to myself, "If you are going to paint figures, why not paint l i f e - s i z e figures?"  The grid method was used for transferring the underdrawing onto  the large canvas.  I did not know where to s t a r t with the paint. I began brushing on  two of the wildest colours I had - pthalocyanine blue and phthalocyanine green. I was so startled by the overpowering result that I counteracted with earth colours.  Using  burnt umber, I t r i e d to establish the shapes and grids of the geometric structures appearing in the composition.  I put some burnt sienna on the mother's dress and  touches of pink on the daughter's (Plate 96). overwhelmed.  A t this point I was f e e l i n g t o t a l l y  I f e l t I had forgotten everything I had ever learned about painting.  T r y i n g to translate a black and white photo into l i v i n g colour was much more d i f f i c u l t than I had imagined. I abandoned the p r o j e c t . The painting sat in the corner of my dining room for a y e a r , a ghostly reminder of my promise to this image from my past. In the l a t e f a l l of 1981, the painting was resurrected and given another chance at l i f e . It was going to appear in an art exhibit of women's work.  I had a deadline, the pressure I find h e l p f u l when focusing on a  project to the exclusion of most other distractions (the work in progress is shown in Plates 97 and 98). I found that as I worked on this painting I could indulge in the reminiscences of the happy and sad, friendly and angry, h e l p f u l and h u r t f u l times of a mother and daughter relationship.  The  f i n a l completion of this painting, a f t e r a month of  continuous intense work and learning, was a great personal v i c t o r y . My Own K i t c h e n I and n These paintings are r e a l i s t i c presentations of my symbols; the sewing machine, geranium, chair, and checkered tablecloth (Plate 99).  K i t c h e n I has a chair tucked  under a table; the back part of the seat is showing.  The head of an o l d , ornately  decorated sewing machine sits on a bright blue and white checkered t a b l e c l o t h . The w a l l behind the table is covered in elaborate wallpaper. The floor is a gleaming shade  Plate 99: "My Own Kitchen I and II" Acrylic on Canvas. Each Painting - 34 x 45 in.  100  of beige. K i t c h e n I. table.  A piece of the geranium and yellow straw mat from K i t c h e n II appears in There are two spools of thread and one long brass bobbin sitting on the  K i t c h e n II shows a pressed-back chair; great attention is paid to the ornate  design of the chair back and to the contours and shading of the spindles. small white cat sleeping on the seat of the chair.  There is a  The table is covered by a  continuation of the t a b l e c l o t h from K i t c h e n I; the folds of the cloth at the corner of the table are c a r e f u l l y delineated. The geranium plant, with bright green leaves and red flowers, is growing in a c l a y pot s i t t i n g on a bright yellow woven mat. decorative wallpaper continues in K i t c h e n II.  The  A leaded glass door of an oak china  cabinet f i l l s the right-hand corner behind the chair; in the cabinet is a stack of handed-down p i c k l e dishes and a white c e r a m i c cream pitcher in the shape of a cow. The creamy beige floor shown in K i t c h e n I is continued in K i t c h e n EL The painting balances the v i v i d contrasts of homey r e a l i t i e s . The geometric, bright, op art quality of the t a b l e c l o t h accentuates the "old-fashioned" tonal p o r t r a y a l of the chairs, sewing machine, and cabinet. The colours of the wallpaper are repeated in the geranium, the yellow mat, and in the spools of thread. The chairs and the table are t i l t e d forward to r e v e a l more surface pattern and shape.  The beige floor area,  with its shadows and patches of soft light, is broken by the chair rungs into a grid of triangular and rectangular shapes. The curves and elaborate decorations of the sewing machine are echoed by the i n t r i c a t e flowing patterns of the wallpaper.  The red,  green, and gold spools of thread punctuate the blue and white checkered tablecloth w i t h the colours of the wallpaper, geranium, and straw mat. F o r visual balance, each painting has a piece of wallpaper showing in the lower third of the composition.  The  china cabinet presents a r e l i e f from the patterned wallpaper. The cabinet is a dull tonal grid, in contrast to the warm curves of the chair back and spindles. The shapes and colours r e f l e c t e d in the cut glass of the p i c k l e dishes provide contrast to the dullness of the cabinet window.  The blue, yellow, and white c e r a m i c cow brightens  the otherwise dark corner. The cow-shaped cream pitcher belonged to my mother and  101  reminded me of our f a m i l y drives to the country. I believe that I learned to " r e a l l y " see by "looking at the cows" (Plate 47). The l i v e l y plant and sleeping c a t add a v i t a l element to the image. Sunshine is indicated by a change of tone on the t a b l e c l o t h , a shadow cast by the clay pot on the yellow mat, and the light f a l l i n g on the c a t , the back spindles, and the seat of the chair. This is a painting of a c o l o u r f u l , warm, sunfilled, friendly k i t c h e n . The k i t c h e n is a productive space, a setting for the emotional and physical nourishment of those who share i t . My goal for this painting was to imbue the objects with "greater than l i f e " intensity. I was interested in capturing the "essences of r e a l i t y " of the objects I enjoy and that hold emotional and symbolic meaning for me. I wanted to provide the viewer with a feast of delicious d e t a i l and t a n t a l i z i n g contrast (Plate 100, preliminary sketches, " M y Own K i t c h e n I and II," P l a t e 101, underpainting, " M y Own K i t c h e n I and II").  Rock-a-Bye-Roses This was the f i r s t a c r y l i c painting a f t e r the previously mentioned series of thirty-six drawings in which I became intrigued with the expressive qualities of the drawn line.  I wanted to create an image of my rose chair on canvas that echoed the  beauty of line and shape that I had discovered while doing the pastel drawings (Plates 91, 92, 93).  The objects in my drawings had been l e f t white.  positive shapes of the rose chair as bare canvas.  I chose to leave the  The outline and detailed patterning  of the chair were etched onto the canvas with charcoal. Maintaining the qualities of the c h a r c o a l line was very important to me. I was unclear in the beginning just what direction I wanted the painting to take beyond the line, shape, and d e t a i l of the chair. I sketched some large diagonal checks behind the chair and began f i l l i n g these in with red, yellow, dark blue, and black.  The resulting e f f e c t was dreadful.  Frustrated at having been so out of tune with the image, I decided to t r y an opposite approach to colour.  Plate 100: Preliminary Sketches for "My Own Kitchen I and II"  103  104  A f t e r having painted the background over with white. I made the grid behind the  chair spindles smaller with wavy h o r i z o n t a l lines and f a i r l y straight v e r t i c a l  lines. The s m a l l square-like shapes created a p e a c e f u l undulating rhythm as they were painted with the warm and c o o l tints of red, blue, and y e l l o w . I was very c a r e f u l not to obscure, with the paint, the unique qualities of the c h a r c o a l lines defining the chair.  I was f e e l i n g quite good about the dainty shapes and colours that were  evolving.  My daughter commented, "Those look l i k e baby colours."  P r i o r to this  moment, I had been pleading with the canvas to give me an indication of what story i t wanted to t e l l .  "Speak to me, t e l l me what do you want to say?"  connections began to be made in my mind.  Suddenly,  I looked at my rose chair with a new  understanding and appreciation. I r e a l i z e d that this squat brown chair had once been a rocking chair. I asked myself, "What do rocking chairs do?"  " W e l l , one thing they do  is hold mothers and grandmothers as they rock babies," was my reply. A s I pursued my questions and answers for the image, the rocking chair became a symbol of safety, protection, caring, love, and security.  Having chosen a story for the chair symbol,  t e c h n i c a l decisions were easier to make. In my drawing explorations of chairs, I had discovered that by making wavy h o r i z o n t a l lines and varying the distance between the v e r t i c a l crosslines, I could create a surface that appeared to undulate (Plates 65 to 67).  By transferring this  finding to the background of the painting, I had hoped an o p t i c a l illusion would be created between the strong v e r t i c a l of the chair spindles and the undulating motion of the background, giving the impression that the chair was a c t u a l l y rocking (Plate 102, Thumbnail Sketch).  The illusion created was not as dynamic as I had anticipated. I  would like to play with this idea in the future. Meanwhile, my original goal of using the bare canvas for the surface of the chair was being altered. A s I painted the background, paint dripped onto the natural canvas surface making i t impossible to leave i t in an unadulterated state (Plate 103). A l s o , the chair appeared much too cold and did not exhibit the qualities which were  105  now taking precedence for the image.  My art keeps me constantly in touch with the  t r i a l and error method of working. " J u s t do something", I keep telling myself. " F o l l o w your instinct." " E g o - c r i t i c leave me alone!" What was I to do with the chair surface?  I decided to experiment with pale  pink, blue, and yellow. I painted three curved bands of colour on the seat of the chair, blending the overlapping edges.  To my surprise and pleasure, I had painted a glowing  light into the chair, giving i t an ethereal quality. The yellow begins as a bright glow then turns to a gentle warmth as i t blends into the soft pinks.  The pink blurs into  mauve, as i t mixes into the dusky blue. The e f f e c t has been likened to a sunrise and a sunset.  The quality of the surface was so successful that I decided to use i t in the  other f l a t areas of the chair. The t r i - c o l o u r theme was also e f f e c t i v e in defining the volume of the chair shape.  Y e l l o w was used for the highlight, the pink for the m i d -  tone, and the blue for the shadows. As I changed colours, I would wipe the paint l e f t on my brush into the s m a l l shapes of the chairback design.  My random  dabbing  produced some d e l i g h t f u l e f f e c t s . The design of the chair seat and the arch containing the rose and leaf shapes remained to be painted. I based the design for the seat area on the original pressed-paper seat.  White appeared in this area causing the other  colours to look brighter and offering a visual rest.  I looked around for another area  that could use this r e l i e f from colour. I painted around the paisley shapes on the wings of the chairback with white; the white separated the chair from the background and gave i t sparkle.  Somewhere along the way, I had smeared on yellow ochre.  This  turned out to be a fortuitous stroke of contrast. I put sky blue on the area behind the raised shapes of the pink roses and green leaves. That combination, with the touches of white, f e l t sweet and tender.  While working on the painting, I had come across  irridescent white paint. I decided to add i t to the colours in every other row of the wavy background  in an attempt to exaggerate  luminous quality of the painting (Plate 104).  the undulating movement and the  106  P l a t e 104: " R o c k - a - B y e - R o s e s " A c r y l i c on Canvas 31 x 43 i n .  Children  have  very  positive  responses  to  this painting and they  usually  recognize i t as a rocking chair. Some of the comments I have received from children who have viewed i t in the public schools are: " b e a u t i f u l colours," rainbow chair," the back is like the decoration of a knight's armour," " i t glows l i k e a sunset," "the colours are like my baby brother's blanket," and " a magic chair where I can float o f f into my imagination."  A kindergarten boy told me that the painting made him think of a  happy, peaceful home for a f a m i l y . Roses a t F o r t y - O n e This canvas is a continuation of the rose chair and pitcher theme explored in two of the previously mentioned pastel drawings (Plates 92 and 93). I was interested in experimenting with pinks, wine, and deep rose. I was deliberately moving into the feminine and sentimental with a new resolve.  "If I f e e l like doing i t , I'm going to do  i t " was becoming my m o t t o . Several drawings (Plate 105), and the paintings "Ghost Roses" (Plate 106) and "Dusky Roses" (Plate 107) explored the rose chair and rose pitcher theme prior to "Roses at F o r t y - O n e . " The period around my f o r t y - f i r s t birthday was a restless t i m e .  I remember  telling friends that I f e l t out of "sync" with myself. I began to worry about aging. Td look in the mirror and moan to myself, " Y o u are getting older and older. Y o u w i l l never be a young woman again."  Looking back now from the c a l m vantage point of  adjustment, I see that I was experiencing the crisis of passage from one of l i f e ' s phases to another. I did the i n i t i a l sketch for the composition on large sheets of newsprint measured to the canvas size (Plate 108). I took great pleasure in working on the huge sheets of paper.  Using a f a t graphite s t i c k , I translated the g r a c e f u l curves of the  rose chair and pitcher into a flowing composition.  The full-bodied jug with its  g r a c e f u l handle echoing the wings of the chairback, the luscious swirling spirals of the roses, and the quivering grid of the crocheted table covering fascinated my eyes. beloved curve dominates this composition.  My  108  P l a t e 107: "Dusky Roses" A c r y l i c on Canvas, 14 x 20.5 i n .  I have asked school children to find this curve in my work, and, as a result, have come to r e a l i z e that i t is a major component of my s t y l e . I seem to have a natural fondness for this p a r t i c u l a r visual motion. When the t i m e came to paint, I f e l t a strong desire to portray in colour the intensity of f e e l i n g I was experiencing at the t i m e . I began l a y e r i n g on various reds, incorporating stripes of varying intensity.  Perhaps this was an a t t e m p t to i n t e r j e c t  structure and c o n t r o l . I carelessly painted a design, based on a heart shape with dots, into the lighter stripe. The result was disappointing. I continued to add more layers of red. The unsuccessful design became less obvious. I added a layer of red that had an orange cast to i t . This had a diminishing e f f e c t on the intensity of the lusciousness I was a f t e r . I proceeded to add layer upon layer of the cooler reds, deepening the background hue. I f i n a l l y f e l t somewhat satisfied with the background.  My next goal  was to paint onto the surface of this r i c h red backdrop a demure pitcher f u l l of flowers placed on a t a b l e , which was l a c e d with a d e l i c a t e crocheted covering and standing next to the tender rose chair. A t that t i m e , I began to see this painting as representative of my emotional state.  I was a t t e m p t i n g to symbolize the opposing  forces of my personality within the confines of the painting. The opposing forces were symbolic of the c o n f l i c t i n g influences on women, as I saw them. A s a result of my upbringing, I f e l t that it was not ladylike to have impetuous desires and assertive feelings. Y e t , I wanted more power and c o n t r o l over my own destiny, but I was a f r a i d that I would appear brash and impolite i f I became too assertive or aggressive. The painting was not working.  It was as "out of sync" as I was.  I needed to  make changes in myself and the painting. I dulled the background behind the c h a i r . I decided to mix opposites together for the foreground. A c r a v i o l e t , hooker's green, and phthalocyanine b l u e , again my wildest colours were blended together with white. The results were very e x c i t i n g . A marvelous range of muted but l i v e l y colours evolved. The colours ranged from the pure hues to the r i c h n e u t r a l greys c r e a t e d by mixing complements.  The h a l f - c i r c l e shape in the back of the chair took on a m i r r o r - l i k e  Ill  appearance.  Another interesting phenomenon occurred with the table surface.  Not  knowing quite what to do with this large empty area, I did what I usually do when I don't know what to do.  Before making a change of colour for the chair, I wiped the  excess paint onto the problem area.  When I viewed the surface from a distance, I  realized that a luminous, irridescent quality was emerging from the smears of dulled colours. The rose pitcher was to be translated into a large, glossy white, voluptuous shape.  A s I painted on the layers of white, I couldn't understand why the pitcher  wasn't taking on a more voluminous quality. I looked more closely at the surface of the a c t u a l pitcher.  I discovered that white china isn't white.  It consists of the  r e f l e c t i o n s of a l l that surrounds i t . T r y i n g to capture the deep r e f l e c t i v e surface of the white jug in paint became a t e c h n i c a l challenge. I began brushing on the various colours found in the other parts of the painting. A t one point, I brushed some yellow onto the pitcher and the chair. scheme.  This colour was not to be part of my original colour  However, I had learned from other paintings that an underpainting  of  contrasting colours o f t e n gives e x c i t i n g sparks to the finished painting. The yellow on the jug created a sense of warmth in the otherwise c o o l shape. Gradually, through the layering of colours, which were glazed w i t h white and clear a c r y l i c , the desired pitcher form emerged. I had been working on the bouquet of roses and leaves in the pitcher concurrent with other components of the composition.  Some flowers had been created with the  f i r s t strokes of the brush; others took a l o t of experimental brushwork to bring them to bloom. I painted a beige rose design into the crocheted pattern on the table. It was l a t e r drawn to my attention, by a grade six g i r l , that the crocheted design looked like a dead rose. A connection was made in my mind and I became aware of the symbolism of the rose in this painting. I had unconsciously symbolized the l i f e c y c l e through the blooming, fading, and eventual death of the roses.  112  As the elements in the painting became more balanced and the painting began to work, I began to f e e l more adjusted to the idea of aging and to see the advantages that are inherent in the process.  I decided to c a l l the painting, " R o s e s - a t - F o r t y - o n e "  (Plate 109).  Tributes to Someone's Grandmother During the autumn of 1983, I had the opportunity to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a group a r t show.  This  Grandmother."  prompted  me  to  produce  I located several sheets  the series,  "Tributes  to  Someone's  of German etching paper suitable f o r  embossing, which had been torn to size a f e w years earlier for another project. In my c o l l e c t i o n of handiwork, I found a favourite doily with a crocheted design of trees, a house, and flowers.  There were a f e w others also suitable f o r embossing, one being  the "promised" pineapple pattern. I came across an embroidered piece which I decided to a c t u a l l y use i n a work. For this composition, I began by finding a place on the paper where I f e l t the doily rested pleasantly. The shape was repeated several times. To portray the hint of g r e y blue and grey-pink  of the embroidery on the doily, I used pencil-pastels.  An  embroidery s t i t c h - l i k e stroke was used to f i l l i n the details of the doily design and the negative spaces between the doily shapes (Plate 110). By deciding to use the a c t u a l doily i n the f i r s t image, I was then free to explore possibilities using other doillies.  The pale aqua cranes embroidered on t w o s m a l l ,  round doillies came to my mind.  One was more faded and t a t t e r e d than the other.  This contrast appealed to me. I played around with possible arrangements looking f o r one that would enhance the character of the design. I came to think of the two rounds as a rising moon and its r e f l e c t i o n in a pond.  The birds were so l i v e l y in their  movement that I decided to continue their flight design o f f the doily and onto the paper.  A s I drew, I could almost hear their cries as the cranes plunged and soared  around the moon and into the water (Plate 111).  P l a t e 109: "Roses at F o r t y - o n e " A c r y l i c on Canvas, 31 x 42 i n .  Plate 110: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, I" Doily, Graphite and Pastel, 14 x 17 in.  Plate 111: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, II" Doillies, Graphite and Pastel, 14 x 17 in.  One day, as I was studying a pieee of crochet in the sunlight, I noticed the wonderful shadow patterns that were created when I held the crochet at various heights and angles from the paper. I decided to darken the negative areas of the embossed designs with graphite. This enhanced the white embossed positive thread shapes. I recreated the positive thread design on the flat surface of the white paper by darkening the negative spaces with graphite.  This created the illusion of an  embossed surface. The resulting works are very subtle. The intricacy of the crochet thread and pattern is revealed and emphasized (Plate 112). The same approach was used for the pineapple-patterned doily (Plate 113). The third work using an actual cloth piece evolved from a lady's handkerchief delicately embroidered with a geometric design surrounding minute open spaces. The embroidery is grey, the handkerchief white. I've had the handkerchief a long time and I have always found the contrast between the strong geometric pattern and the delicate nature of the handkerchief material fascinating. I played with various folded and gathered handkerchief arrangements trying to find a solution that showed the design to best advantage. The handkerchief had a blemish in the centre. By pleating the handkerchief, I could hide the blemish, condense the size of the blank centre, and create a vertical shape. This arrangement showed more pattern, less plain area, fit the frame better, and created a more interesting format. I added a vital touch to the work by placing a piece of red velvet ribbon and pink satin ribbon under the centre pleats of the handkerchief (Plate 114). The embossing from the crochet with the house, tree, and garden evoked a feeling of sunshine and "Home Sweet Home" gaiety.  I carefully stroked the raised  areas of the embossing with the colourful pencil-pastels accenting the design with cheerful colours (Plate 115). A series of, what seemed to be, misfortunes resulted in the evolution of a favoured piece. The piece of cotton with the colourfully embroidered garden was kept in plain view during the time I was working on the doily series waiting for an inspi-  116  P l a t e 112: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, HI" Embossing and G r a p h i t e , 14 x 17 i n .  P l a t e 113: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, IV" Embossing and Graphite, 14 x 17 i n .  Plate 115: "Tribute to Someone's Grandmother, VI" Embossing with Pastel. 14 x 17 in.  ration.  A number of silk photocopies had strayed during a clean-up by my elder  daughter. A few days before the show, the silk photocopy of five children wearing playclothes standing in a garden "magically" reappeared. I'd found my inspiration. I glued the silk onto the cotton with clear acrylic and blended the photocopy into the cotton background using graphite.  Unfortunately, the graphite was applied  too heavily and the piece became dull. Wondering what to do, I inadvertently placed the piece on the laundry basket, where I could still keep it in view while working out a solution.  Some time later, I realized the work had disappeared. I asked both my  children if they knew what had become of the embroidery. My heart sank when I learned that it had been sent to the wash.  However, after searching through the  clothes dryer I found it, crumpled but intact and much brighter with just enough graphite left to create the desired blending between the foreground and the background.  After a starching and ironing, "Ghosts in the Garden" was ready for  framing (Plate 116).  Reflections of a Lifetime In the spring of 1983, while listening to a nurse read her poetry of wartime experiences, I was flooded with emotion. I reached for a pencil and paper. As I wrote my response, my emotions ebbed onto the paper.  At some point in the writing, I  sketched a chair^and the rose pitcher sitting on a long-legged stand (Plate 117). I put an ornately framed portrait of a woman on the left to give triangular balance to the composition. The undulating bands symbolizing waves of emotion, which I had been drawing, ended abruptly leaving the composition unresolved. From somewhere came the word "ribbons."  The woman became a bride holding a bouquet with ribbons  cascading over the edge of the picture frame, flowing down and becoming the floor itself. The floor takes a dip, a rise, and then a right angled drop. The ribbons taper to an end, creating a positive-negative design on the right of the format.  Curving  ribbons were woven through the straight, vertical ribbons of the wall creating a checklike pattern in the background.  P l a t e 116: "Ghosts in the Garden" D o i l y , Photocopy, and Graphite. 15 x 20 i n .  120  Plate 117: Initial Sketch and Writing that began "Reflections of a Lifetime"  To bring colour to the image, I changed from a graphite p e n c i l to a rainbowcoloured lead.  Colour was used to represent the changes in the past, present, and  future events, moods, and feelings of our lives. A s I added colour to the background, it began to resemble the woven satin ribbon q u i l t , "Westcoast R e f l e c t i o n s " (Plate 26). A reminder, that the same themes continue to reappear in various forms throughout my explorations in a r t . L a t e in the summer, I was involved with arranging the flowers for a wedding. The wedding experience began to combine with my earlier ribbon idea. I resumed the search for ribbon imagery in the f a l l of 1983 with a drawing based on the f i r s t s m a l l sketch (Plate 117).  The rose chair and the rose pitcher holding cartoon-like roses  s i t t i n g on a t a l l plant stand were featured in this drawing (Plate 119).  On the right  side of the back w a l l , I placed the p o r t r a i t of a bride and groom. The bride's bouquet ribbons spilled over the frame and down the walls, behind and under the chair and t a b l e , flooding the image with movement. the  ribbons, interesting shapes  A s I darkened the negative spaces between  emerged.  The  image  is  overflowing  with  my  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c curve. I next decided to focus in closer and explore the p o t e n t i a l of texture in the wedding dress, bouquet, and ribbons with a drawing of a bride and groom without heads (Plate 119).  The male's large hand clutches his d e l i c a t e bride's a r m . Her hands are  f i l l e d with a bouquet of spiral roses set in a l a c y c i r c l e . ribbons hang down from the f a m i l y of roses.  Loops of varying coloured  From underneath, the loops of ribbons  swell out, as i f blown in a b r e e z e . I explored the idea of r e a l i s t i c a l l y representing the symbols of married l i f e on the ribbons, however I abandoned this idea. The heads of the wedding couple were placed in blue and grey clouds, with a rainbow for o p t i m i s m . The drawing.  image  wasn't  working to my s a t i s f a c t i o n , so, I moved on to another  A t this point, I unearthed an old studio p o r t r a i t of my great-grandmother  and my great-grandfather. The photograph had been waiting for the right connection to be made, allowing i t to become more than i t appeared to be.  122  Plate 118: Sketch in Pursuit of Composition.  123  Plate 119: Sketch of "Heads-in-the-Clouds Couple" 8.5 x 14 in.  124  I used the p o r t r a i t as a basis for another exploratory drawing (Plate emphasizing  the bouquet and ribbon theme.  satisfied with my drawing of the people.  120),  I enjoyed the ribbons but I was  not  The qualities I appreciated of the original  portrait had been lost. I was intrigued with the l a c e design around the spiral roses in the " H e a d in the Clouds" drawing.  As I considered the lace around the bouquet, the concept of using  a c t u a l round, crocheted doillies came into my mind as an alternative to painting the lace onto the canvas.  About this t i m e , I had found, at a t h r i f t sale, a round crocheted  doily, a round linen doily with a l a c y crocheted edge, and a long,  rectangular,  machine-made crochet piece with a rose design. A s soon as I arrived home with my treasures, I took them into the l i v i n g room where a few blank canvases were leaning against the b u f f e t . I pulled out the three largest.  The rectangular piece of beige crochet just f i t on the largest canvas.  I  placed a round crocheted doily on each of the smaller canvases. A t this point, I s t i l l wasn't visualizing the f i n a l composition which, I now see, was before me a l l the t i m e in my second drawing (Plate 118). I taped the doillies in place on the canvases.  A f t e r some experimenting, I  decided on a s y m m e t r i c a l arrangement of the three canvases; the large canvas in the centre w i t h the two smaller canvases attached to either side, the three being l e v e l along the bottom edge.  My comfortable feeling with this arrangement was reinforced  when the comment was made that the arrangement was l i k e an old-fashioned, t h r e e way, hinged mirror, as often seen on dressing tables. s m a l l panels  wing out from  The outside edges of the two  the w a l l when the piece is hung, hence  the  title,  " R e f l e c t i o n s of a L i f e t i m e " . The composition was s t i l l not f u l l y developed in my mind.  I had great fun  planning various ideas and exploring these w i t h friends who stopped by to visit.  At  f i r s t , I thought I would have two b r i d a l bouquets, one on either side, with flaring ribbons intertwining in the centre panel. I was picturing a c t u a l wedding veils and the  125  P l a t e 120: Drawing Based on P o r t r a i t of Great-grandparents, Emphasizing Ribbon and Bouquet Theme  lace of wedding gowns glued to the canvas.  Someone suggested r e a l ribbons. I knew  the clear a c r y l i c would o b l i t e r a t e the b e a u t i f u l qualities of the satin. I was playing with the idea of putting a r t i f i c i a l silk flowers on the crocheted lace for the bouquet and of gluing on an assortment of odds and ends symbolic of f a m i l y l i f e . A t one point, I experimented with the e f f e c t that changes in l i n e , shape, d i r e c t i o n , tone, and colour have on the illusion of movement being created on a t w o dimensional surface.  I blacked in the negative spaces to heighten the illusion of  ribbons moving in empty space (Plate 121). As I sorted through the ideas for the t r i p t y c h , I began to s i m p l i f y my concept of the collage. The v a r i a t i o n in the colours, going from light to dark as the ribbons move across the canvases, symbolizes the changes and experiences in a person's l i f e .  The  idea of depicting a f a m i l y history from a p a r t i c u l a r beginning, symbolized by wedding bouquet, was emerging.  a  I was s t i l l attached to the vision of the s p i r a l -  designed roses on each side of the t r i p t y c h . I began to r e a l i z e that the t r i p t y c h could tie together various threads from previous work.  I became very e x c i t e d about the  prospect of amalgamating my themes. The early drawings held the solution for the composition.  The concept also  provided the opportunity to use a photostatic reproduction of the treasured p o r t r a i t of my great-grandmother  and great-grandfather.  The doily on the l e f t f i t p e r f e c t l y  around the bottom of the rose pitcher which could hold a bouquet of deeper-hued s p i r a l roses.  Great-grandmother's p o r t r a i t could hang on the distant w a l l with the  ribbons f l o w i n g from her hands. I played around with the l o c a t i o n and size of the chair (Plate 122). On large sheets of newsprint, I began the canvas-size c h a r c o a l drawing of the ribbons e n c i r c l i n g the bouquet doily and the ribbons f l y i n g across the centre canvas ending on the l e f t panel in the hands of my great-grandmother (Plate 123). decided to place a s m a l l rose chair in the distance of the composition.  I  The rose  pitcher became l i f e size to f i t the doily which was placed on a f i c t i t i o u s , scallopededge table top f i l l i n g the lower l e f t corner of the l e f t canvas.  127  Plate 121: Exploring Ribbon Forms Pastel and Ink 4 x 10 in.  Plate 123: Planning the Composition for "Reflections of a Lifetime"  The idea to cut the roses and pitcher out of canvas, paint t h e m , and then glue them on top of the doillies occurred to me as a solution to the problem I have with destroying a piece of " f a n c y work" that someone has created. This solution added low r e l i e f areas to the piece. About  this t i m e , I attended an art exhibit in which the artist had used  photocopies with washes of water colour. C a p t i v a t e d by the illusionary quality of the work, I began to consider the idea for my t r i p t y c h . I gathered some old photographs of my f a m i l y and of my great-grandmother at different stages of her l i f e .  The images were photocopied onto a thin silk m a t e r i a l .  The resulting ghostly images were placed in the negative space between the ribbons and coated with clear a c r y l i c (Plate 124). I was now faced with the d i l e m m a of integrating the edges of the photocopies with the canvas and painted ribbons. I wanted a feeling of ethereal space behind the ribbons,  not the visual stop of a painted surface.  solution.  The texture of lace was a natural  C u t t i n g the pieces of l a c e to f i t around the photocopies and between the  ribbons without losing the smooth edges of the ribbons was not an easy task. I worked on this " i d e a " for a week, wondering "Why? Why do I do this?  My back hurts!" I find  ideas delightful to imagine, but not always as easy to f u l f i l l and r e a l i z e (Plate 124). For  the area around the wedding bouquet, I wanted a lace with a b r i d a l  feeling. Going into my c o l l e c t i o n s , I came up with a piece of t a t t e r e d old l a c e from a nightgown.  I had used the piece for a graphic project a few years e a r l i e r . There were  blue areas l e f t from the ink.  The blue accentuated the s m a l l f l o r a l design of the  l a c e . I decided to use the blue lace in the area above the bouquet. A silk photocopy of my great-grandmother, when she was ninety-four years o l d , was placed in the upper right-hand corner of this canvas.  I decided to further distance the already soft image  of my aged great-grandmother by gluing a piece of b r i d a l v e i l over the image (Plate 125).  130  Plate 124: Centre Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime" Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopies, and Acrylic on Canvas. 43 x 32 in.  131  Plate 125: Right Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime" Lace, Crochet, Silk Photocopy and Acrylic on Canvas. 30.5 x 23 in.  With the photocopies and lace f i n a l l y in p l a c e , I could begin painting. The pale washes, l a i d on earlier in order to define the ribbons, had a delicate translucent quality.  The highlight areas had been wiped o f f .  This e f f e c t enhanced the t h r e e -  dimensional illusion of the ribbons. I hated the idea of putting opaque paint over the radiant ribbons.  However, the lace stood above the surface of the canvas and I f e l t  the texture over-powered the d e l i c a c y of the ribbons.  I had to say good-bye to the  beautiful e f f e c t s f o r the sake of the o v e r a l l surface. The colours of the bouquet were to symbolize the dreams held by people starting a l i f e together. Irridescent white paint was used to create a p a s t e l , i l l u s i o n f i l l e d feeling of fantasy around the b r i d a l bouquet. As the ribbons f l a i r out from the bouquet and across  the centre canvas, they widen giving the feeling of blowing  outward towards the v i e w e r . The ribbons then turn back and begin to narrow as they move  toward  the  portrait  on  the  wall  reuniting  in the hands of  my  great-  grandmother. I encountered another c o n f l i c t . A bouquet of roses stemming from the pitcher would have destroyed the e f f e c t that had been created by the wave-like movement of the ribbons leading to the p o r t r a i t .  I was l i b e r a t e d from my plight by friends.  I  explained my rose-ribbon d i l e m m a to two friends. The woman expressed the feeling that the roses and leaves were unnecessary. of water, l i f e giver, and nourisher.  She f e l t the pitcher symbolized a holder  My friend saw the ribbons as flowing f o r t h from  the womb area of the woman in the p o r t r a i t . This interpretation satisfied me; the roses were removed from the l e f t panel. I decided to leave the c h a r c o a l line drawing of the rose chair exposed and use only white and irridescent white paint inside the drawn shapes. A s the paint mixed with the c h a r c o a l , a greyness appeared exuding the desired qualities to symbolize death and to give the chair an otherworldly q u a l i t y (Plate 126). The colours of the ribbons were painted and repainted many times. I was aiming for a wide variety of the tints and tones of the various hues of red and blue.  I  133  Plate 126: Left Panel of "Reflections of a Lifetime" Lace, Crochet, Silk and Paper Photocopies and Acrylic on Canvas. 30.5 x 23 in.  complained to an artist friend that I was having difficulty in getting the range I wanted.  My friend offered to lend me her purple acrylic. A spot of this purple did  wonders for my colours and some unusual variations emerged.  Friends and fellow  artists are invaluable resources for my art process. In an attempt to smooth over the difference between the height of the lace and the surface of the canvas, paint was laid on as thickly as possible next to the rough edges of the lace.  It was not easy to make something look as if it were protruding  past a surface which was actually higher. The reverse was also difficult. I had stained the lace a grey colour hoping to match the grey of the photocopy. Every now and then, while painting the ribbons, I succumbed to the temptation to wipe my colourfilled brush onto the lace.  The effect was quite pleasing and seemed to warm the  background as if the ribbons were casting coloured reflections onto the lace. After taking great care to build up the irridescent surface quality of the cut-out roses, leaves, and rose pitcher, these pieces were finally glued into place. I am very pleased to have persevered to the conclusion of the work, especially when I share it with adults and children. The form and content of "Reflections of a Lifetime" present a familiar theme and offer an array of possibilities for discussing the compositional, symbolic, and emotional levels operating in a piece of artwork. Children readily recognize the photographs as being from the past and having to do with families. Some identify the ribbons with celebrations and the wedding bouquet with tradition, love, and families.  One third grade girl suggested the ribbons may  stand for feelings; pink for happy, blue for sad, and red for angry. The work is generally recognized as a story of a family and how it grew and changed over the years. As a result of these discussions, I have found deeper meaning in the elements I chose to represent my original intentions.  135  The Student-Teacher-Artist "How has my development as an a r t i s t influenced my role as an a r t t e a c h e r ? " My  eyes  provided  me  with a great  deal of pleasure  as I observed  my  environment and as I worked with a r t materials. A s an art teacher, I wanted to share this joy with others. Helping children appreciate their vision was the primary goal for my art teaching u n t i l I began blending my sensitized power of observation and acquired t e c h n i c a l know-how together with my inner thoughts and emotions in the process of making art. A s a result of these experiences my attitude toward my role as a r t teacher changed. Previously I had wished my students to see more c l e a r l y the images without, but now, I also want them to be sensitive to their images w i t h i n . Our senses provide us with information which, when f i l t e r e d through our emotions, thoughts, feelings, and memories, may generate ideas that can then be translated through a visual language into personal expressions.  I believe this language and its use can be taught and  learned. I was able to work i n s t i n c t i v e l y with young children.  However, I f e l t that  before I could confidently lead older students past the inhibiting fear of a r t , I needed to overcome my own inhibitions. In an a t t e m p t to gain firsthand knowledge of the art process and the art work of others, I decided to become a student. A s a result of this search for knowledge, I developed as an a r t i s t .  I have come to believe that, as an  artist, I am a perpetual student and, at the same t i m e , my own teacher. Being a student provided me with new challenges and the benefit of feedback and suggestions from instructors and classmates.  A s a student, I was given d i r e c t i o n  and placed under pressure to achieve beyond my own expectations.  I was provided  with percepts that built upon, altered, r e a f f i r m e d , or eliminated previously held concepts. The transition from student to a r t i s t came, not only as a result of an increase in t e c h n i c a l s k i l l and the development of personal imagery, but as a result of a change  in attitude. When I began to trust my own instincts, knowledge, and artistic decisionmaking abilities, I relaxed and overcame many of my inhibitions. At first, I pretended that I was an artist and able to do what artists do. I gave myself permission to be my own constructive critic. I decided when an image was "right" or was "working." As an artist I was able to explore, experiment, organize, clarify, and expand my form and content in directions of my own choosing.  At this point, I also became my own  teacher. As my own teacher, I became responsible for assessing my weaknesses and strengths. I congratulated myself for victories and gave myself encouragement in the difficult times. I was responsible for finding remedies for failures. The criteria for success was my own sense of satisfaction. By this stage, I had developed a faith in the art process.  I believed that if I continued the search for solutions to my artistic  problems, answers would suddenly or eventually be found. Questioning myself, the image, technique, and other people became a useful device for pulling out solutions and finding directions for the form and content of an image. Viewing the work of other artists, past and present, as well as discussions with friends were invaluable in breaking stalemates or bridging gaps in my knowledge. Feedback from other people has also opened many creative doors. I value the art process as a learning process. I have become more aware of my humanness, animalness, aliveness, and instincts for survival.  I achieve a balance  between tension and release, problem and resolution, pain and pleasure, fear and joy, love and hate, discipline and freedom. Process is important, however, a satisfying product can be an invaluable motivator. A product is a record of the fears and tensions that have been resolved in reaching the climax. It is a reminder of the joy and elation felt at each resolution. A product may become a source of pride. Students can share their visible successes. The product is a souvenir of a journey to knowledge and growth, a trophy of an endeavour. A product reassures the student that success is possible, if one will just begin.  137  As  a result of my involvement in the process  of image making and the  improvement of t e c h n i c a l s k i l l , I began to exhibit my a r t work.  Consequently, I grew  more confident and comfortable as an art teacher. A s an a r t i s t and as an art teacher, I am continually learning. This enables me to empathize with the students' dilemmas and  victories.  encouragement.  I  can  better appreciate the students'  need for d i r e c t i o n and  I believe that the more knowledgeable and experienced I become, the  more confidence my students w i l l have in my suggestions. This confidence has been reinforced when, at their request, I have shown students my work. I would l i k e to encourage teachers who are teaching art, on any l e v e l , to pursue some form of personal involvement with the a r t - m a k i n g process.  Challenging their  c r e a t i v i t y and completing a successful product, may provide the t e a c h e r - a r t i s t with the personal knowledge of the a r t process, the courage, and the c o n v i c t i o n essential in leading a group of vulnerable students into the uncharted t e r r i t o r y of their own c r e a t i v i t y and expression. In the following chapter i m p l i c a t i o n s are presented for teaching art. They are drawn from the personal research documented in the "Odyssey" chapter of this thesis.  Page numbers are given for the reader's r e f e r e n c e .  Strategies that have  proven useful in the development of my personal imagery are provided. L e t t e r G o t h i c 12 pitch type face is used to distinguish the d i f f e r e n c e between the thesis form of Chapter 1 and Chapter 3 and the personal form of Chapter 2, which is printed in B o l d proportionally spaced type f a c e .  Chapter 3  IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING ART  The "Odyssey" chapter has presented a written and visual of one art teacher's experience with the art process.  documentation  As a result of a  survey of the data presented in the foregoing chapter, certain implications for the teaching of art have become apparent.  The implications and a  number of strategies which have proven useful to the writer in the search for a personal imagery follow. The Fear of Art  A lack of understanding of the experimental and personal nature of the art process was responsible for the early inhibitions of the writer.  The  dearth of meaningful content and an inadequate knowledge of composition were the cause of frustration even though technical s k i l l was improving. The writer asked, "How  do artists choose their form and content?" (p. 35);  "What is Art?"; and "How do you know when something becomes Art?"; and can I make Art?" (p. 36).  "How  Other fears arose as a result of a painting  which made an expressive personal statement.  More questions arose, "What  i f I have potential?"; "What i f I think I can do something and I f a i l ? " (p. 36).  There were fears and inhibitions in connection with the anxiety  that one's personal imagery may not be valid subject matter for art (pp. 36, 57 and 71).  The fear that what one produced "may not be deemed art"  and "fretting about the 'mysterious' rightness" was a strong inhibiting force working against the writer's progress in art (p. 71). An analysis of the foregoing statements and questions identify several implications for the art educator. following sections.  These implications are presented in the  139 The A r t  Process  "When s t u d e n t s  undergo  a studio experience in attempting to solve  problem o f the a r t i s t they encounter the a r t p r o c e s s " p. 1 6 ) . process  (Michael,  I t has been found by t h i s w r i t e r t h a t an u n d e r s t a n d i n g is v i t a l  to the s t u d e n t ' s  success and w i l l  the  1980, of  this  play a s i g n i f i c a n t  role  in conquering the " f e a r o f a r t . " M i c h a e l s t a t e s , "The problem o f the a r t i s t i s to express a e s t h e t i c a l l y a t the h i g h e s t  human l e v e l "  (p. 1 6 ) .  one's  self  He f u r t h e r c l a r i f i e s  t h i s d e f i n i t i o n by e x p l a i n i n g , . . . t o " e x p r e s s o n e ' s s e l f " means t h a t the person i s g i v i n g and p r o j e c t i n g h i s p o i n t o f v i e w , h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , h i s p e r s o n a l and unique f e e l i n g , t h i n k i n g , and p e r c e i v i n g about s o m e t h i n g . In a r t , t h i s p r o j e c t i o n i s shown i n v i s u a l . f o r m . T h i s . e x p r e s s i o n n e c e s s a r i l y w i l l be c r e a t i v e . . .each p e r s o n , . . . i s . u n i q u e . " A e s t h e t i c a l l y " has to do w i t h s e n s i t i v i t y to c o l o u r , shape, l i n e , t e x t u r e , f o r m , movement, and v a l u e as t h e s e elements are o r d e r e d , a r r a n g e d , composed, to g i v e a f e e l i n g o f " p r e s e n c e , " " c o m p l e t i o n , " and " u n i t y . " We have many p r i n c i p l e s . . . b a l a n c e , rhythm, c o n t r a s t , v a r i e t y , o p p o s i t i o n , c o n s i s t e n c y , and s u b o r d i n a t i o n . " A t the h i g h e s t human l e v e l " . . . t h i n k i n g , f e e l i n g , and p e r c e i v i n g as b e s t we c a n . . . t o express o u r s e l v e s a e s t h e t i c a l l y . (1980, p. 1 6 ) . Michael also w r i t e s that t h i s perience.  i s where q u a l i t y comes  He s t a t e s , "The wise t e a c h e r i s always  to a h i g h e r and more s e n s i t i v e l e v e l areas"  (p.  i n t o the a r t ex-  t r y i n g to extend the s t u d e n t  o f achievement in each and a l l o f  16).  Doerr  (1984) s u g g e s t s t h a t , " U n l e s s  the a r t i s t e x p e r i e n c e s  and p a i n , maximum growth i n a r t cannot be a c h i e v e d " ( p . 3 2 ) . expressions  both  pleasure  The f o l l o w i n g  found in the d a t a demonstrate the range o f f e e l i n g s t h a t the  s t u d e n t - a r t i s t underwent d u r i n g the process i n the t h e s i s : anxieties,"  "Work up c o u r a g e , "  o f c r e a t i n g the works  represented  "frightened," "bewildered," "feelings  " e x c i t e d , " " d e s i r e , " " f o r g e t t i n g my r e a l i t y " ( p . 3 6 ) ,  t r a n s p o r t e d " ( p . 4 7 ) , "mesmerized through,"  these  " p l e a s a n t memories"  " t e a r s . . .emotions,"  (p. 5 1 ) , "  "act of g r i e v i n g , "  "suddenly  "fascinated," " f e l t . . . a  (p. 57), "phase...not "soothe"  significant"  (p. 6 7 ) , " s p e c i a l  and  (p.  break57),  signifi-  cance," "became...excited" "comfortable," "gain...confidence" (p. 67), "futile attempts" (p. 71), "relaxed and having fun," "pleasure in looking," "enjoyed the mood and atmosphere," "visually and emotionally satisfying," (p. 71), "grew dissatisfied" (p. 74), "startled," "totally overwhelmed" (p. 97), "forgotten...learned," "more d i f f i c u l t than...imagined," "final  completion...  intense work and learning...great personal victory" (p. 97), "frustrated," (p. 101), "feeling quite good" (p. 104), "surprise and pleasure" (p. 105), "disappointing," "out of sync" (p~. 110), "Why? Why do I do this?  My back  hurts!," (p. 129), "hated the idea," "had to say good-bye to the beautiful..." (p. 132), "very pleased to have persevered to the conclusion of the work" (p. 134).  This collection of comments reinforces Doerr's  statement,  It is the balance, then, between pleasure and pain that must be experienced in order to obtain optimum.growth in art or in the development of a positive self-concept. This combination of pleasure and pain is a natural pattern in development. (1980, P. 32) The message for the teacher, according to Doerr, is that the pattern functions naturally i f the teacher does not prevent its functioning. Doerr further instructs the teacher, "It is important to leave the task of learning to the child and to focus on teaching artistic content including formal, technical, and expressive aspects that are taught through experience (pp. 32 and 33).  The role of the art teacher should balance between acceptance and  encouragement and that of requiring students to learn about art and to grow from failure, to be responsible and disciplined in their approach to solving artistic problems. The Need for Direction  The researcher's need and desire for direction, standards of quality, knowledge of the formal, technical, and expressive aspects are obvious from comments made in the beginning pages of the section, "Learning about Art" (pp. 35 and 36).  The writer claims that as a result of being "required to choose  141 and develop themes....I began to uncover my present imagery" (p. 39).  The  writer states, "We were required to keep a sketch book....invaluable experience..." (p. 57). The value of accumulated suggestions given by teachers combining with the student's own experience with form and content is reflected in the section, "Transition" (p. 74).  As a result of the success with the personal imagery in  the medium of pastel, the artist decided to pursue the imagery in acrylic paint emphasizing colour and tone, areas in which the writer felt further growth was needed (p. 93).  The necessity for greater s k i l l is also obvious in  "Mother, Daughter, 1923" (p. 97). Young children love making art. They jump in and enjoy i t . sometime after eight years old, they want to know how to do i t .  However, Art instruc-  tors need to teach the skills students want and need in order to succeed to their own satisfaction.  Giving the student activities in which technique is  developed, but which are at the same time personally relevant to the student will likely further technical s k i l l , understanding of form, and the search for personal imagery.  Students must also realize that i t takes time, effort,  work, and concentration on their part to gain the technical s k i l l essential in expressing their personal statements.  "Teachers," states Lewis (1984),  "should maximize the opportunities for assimilation and let the accommodations occur when they w i l l . "  Lewis claims that, "Out of an active engagement with  the problems and materials of art emerge the challenges and solutions that impel the child towards higher levels of artistic learning" (p. 17).  Lewis  warns that instruction can accelerate the rate at which drawing ability develops, or arrest i t depending on the kind of instruction and the point at which i t is offered (p. 16).  Michael (1980) supports the need for direction.  He  suggests that i t is the wise art teacher who appropriately develops the s k i l l of the students as a means for them to create art. He further recommends  that, " s k i l l should always be a secondary consideration and should contribute to the expression so as to bring about a harmonious integration" (p. 17). The Personal Nature o f Art  As we dream, our subconscious mind borrows images from real experiences. When an artist paints, he channels his dreams to flow back into reality through his brush and become a work of art. This transfer is part of the creative process that an artist must recognize, respect, and u t i l i z e . . . . When each painting is born, another dream comes true. (Szabo, 1976, Dedication) The contrast between the beginning query, "How do artists decide on their content?" (p. 35) and the sense of personal involvement and confident thrust of later works demonstrates the importance of a personal content to this artist.  The section, "Personal History and Influences" relates the wealth of  background experiences, preferences, thoughts, memories, feelings, and emotions which lay untapped when a predominately technical approach to art was pursued (pp. 7-36).  The frustration felt by the writer implies that learning  the technical language of art is not enough (p. 35).  The writer's expression  of the feeling, "I didn't have anything to express that was esoteric or arty without being contrived" (p. 36), implies the lack of awareness that art can be personal communication. Michael (1980) stresses the importance of motivation in the art process. First off, you must have something to.say about whatever i t is that you are doing, creating, interpreting, making, or expressing. Art is a means.of communication, a visual language-what are you saying? (p. 16) Motivation was essential in the completion of "Portrait of David", a painting which indicates a depth of feeling and understanding.  The work gave  the artist a new awareness of the power of personal expression. The emergence of the sewing machine, a personal image which sustained the artist's interest for a number of years, was the result of an emotional need of the writer and a course requirement to choose a theme (p. 39 and Plates 36A, 36B, 37, 38, 61-71, 99, Appendix, Plates VI and VII). The meaning of the  sewing machine expanded and deepened as the involvement persisted.  The thesis  documents the emergence and continuing importance of particular objects and compositional devices throughout the artist's development of imagery (p. 40).  The awareness that a favourite object can be used compositionally,  emotionally, and symbolically laid the foundation for many future paintings (p. 40).  The understanding that the elements of art and principles of design  can be used to portray meanings came from further experiences and explorations with media and technique (pp. 44, 74, 93, 100, 101, and Appendix, Plates VI and VII). The knowledge and insights gained with the experiences of the sewing machine transferred to other personal imagery, i.e., the cow (pp. 27, 51, 100, Plates 47 and 99). The implication for art teachers would appear to be that students are likely to benefit from formal instruction and activities that will assist them in their search for imagery.  This premise is reinforced by the development of  the writer's imagery using the geranium, pressed-back chair, kitchen, rose chair, rose pitcher, family photographs, crochet, lace, and the checkered table cloth as presented in Chapter 2, "The Odyssey."  The historical roots of  these images are evident in the section, "Personal History and Influences" (pp. 7-35). Based on their personal background and experience, each student will have a unique pool of valid symbols and images.  It is the s k i l l and sincerity of  interpretation which determines the quality and effectiveness of a piece of work. Teachers can encourage students to search their memories, thoughts, feelings, and preferences in order to discover the richness of their personalities.  In the process of discovering the wealth of resources buried in their  own experiences, past and present, and in their own environment, students are likely to find a deeper understanding of who they are, what i t is they like and dislike, and what is important to them. Michael (1980) states, "It  behooves the teacher to put the student into a situation so that he will have ideas and feelings about what he has experienced.  Most students have a bank  of experiences upon which the teacher can draw" (p. 16). The historical, social, cultural, and familial influences should not be ignored, when a student is involved in an activity as personal as art. Teachers need to make allowances for a wide range of differences in students, ie. developmental  levels, a b i l i t i e s , backgrounds, and approaches to art. Not  all students plan to pursue a career in art. Many are interested in the recreational aspects of art and/or the decorative possibilities.  Each  student's particular interests and stage of development must be accepted and appreciated by the instructor.  These interests can then be used as stepping  stones for further growth. A need for the improvement of technical skills is also likely to occur as the student pushes further into the search for imagery and the desire to relate their findings in an "artful" way increases. The content comes from the student, the teacher's role is to guide the student in finding and developing the most effective approach. Teachers must encourage students to give themselves permission to express their own statements in their own way at the level of their current s k i l l . The data suggests that the writer's style was evident at an early age (pp. 7 and 10).  The importance of accepting one's natural style and the  themes that continually reappear in one's work is verified throughout the "Odyssey" chapter (pp. 23, 35, 51, 57, 67, 71, 74, 93, and 126).  Students  need to be assured that their technical s k i l l and depth of imagery are likely to grow and develop in proportion to the amount of involvement and work expended.  145 Strategies for Discovering Personal Content  A scrapbook collection of personal memorabilia, a photograph album (photo copies may be used), or a collage of "things I like" or "favourite memories" is a valid imagery search activity for all ages (pp. 7, 9, 10, 32, and 44). This has been supported by the interest elementary school children have demonstrated in the assemblage, "Reflections of a Lifetime" (Plate 27). Have the students select something they "love" (pp. 112 to 118, Plates 110-116), a souvenir of an experience they want to remember, a personal or commercial photograph (pp. 93-97, Plates 60, 94 and 95), a poem, newspaper, or magazine article, etc. The more significant the item is to the students' own realm of experience, the more likely i t is to arouse their interest and to offer a greater potential for content development. item be pasted in their sketchbook.  Suggest the item or sketch of the  "Reflections of a Lifetime" (Plates 117-  126) demonstrates the development of a work stimulated by a poem and as the process evolved, included "favourite things" and family photographs. students to choose a favourite object. painted or drawn around the object.  Ask the  Suggest that an environment, a set, be  Require the students to answer the rele-  vant questions, Who?, What?, Where?, When?, and Why? of the character, the star.  The stage is constructed, the mood is set, action, the play develops  around the character, and an image happens.  The painting, "Tea with a Great  Aunt" demonstrates this strategy (Plate 34 and Appendix, Plate III). The following suggestions are likely to prove fruitful when used in connection with the previously mentioned activities. Look around your own environment, that which is closest to you (pp. 7, 9 and 74). What do you do when you are bored? (p. 32) interests you? (pp. 93, 97, 104 and 112)  What is i t that  Look for particular traits in your  personal style (pp. 4, 8, 17-21 and 40). What is i t you like? (pp. 9, 112 and 118)  What fascinates your eyes? (pp. 7-9 and 121)  What appeals to (attracts)  you?  Why does i t appeal to you?  appeal to you?  How does i t appeal to you?  Where does i t appeal to you? (p. 71)  When does i t  What is important to  you, meaningful, or a cause you support? (pp. 63, 67, 132 and 134).  What are  your favourite fantasies, ideas, nostalgia, or humourous thoughts (p. 67). Discuss with the students the compositional, emotional, and symbolic roles an object, an art element, or principle of design can perform in a work of art (p. 40). Encourage students to document, by sketching or writing, the exploratory reflections and elaborations stimulated by the item or collection of items in a journal or sketch book. Suggest that they make lists of the qualities and sensory words that pertain to the image (Plate 117). Request that a long l i s t be made, in a given length of time, of related thoughts, ideas, memories, and feelings.  The pressure of a time limit may  have the effect of reducing inhibitions and promoting spontaneous associations . Suggest the students keep a running dialogue between themselves and the image. Perhaps a story will evolve which will assist them in making choices for the expression of significant qualities (pp. 101-107, and pp. 107-112). The Experimental Nature of Art  The author found that using a familiar image facilitated the experimentation of new techniques.  The corollary of this is that by exploring a theme  with various techniques many different aspects of the theme are discovered. The value of exploring a theme by experimenting with a variety of media is demonstrated in the development of the geranium image. The emergence of the geranium as a dominant theme happened quite unexpectedly while doing a contour drawing (p. 44).  The drawings were used as the basis for a variety of experi-  ments using different media.  Each media has its own unique characteristics  and qualities.  Exploring a theme using different media allows the artist to  experiment with the different elements of art and the principles of design emphasized by the particular media. These activities will bring out a variety of possiblities inherent in a theme (Plates 39, 40 and 42-45).  While immersed  in the search for imagery the writer was free to associate personal  signifi-  cance to the theme, leading to further possible directions in which to push the imagery (pp. 44 and 51).  The value of exploring a theme which focuses on  a variety of goals is demonstrated by the series of geranium drawings (Plates 46, 48 and 50), the ensuing etching experiments (Plates 49 and 51), the pastel drawings (PLates 72-78), and finally the acrylic paintings (Plate 78, and Appendix Plates IV-VII). Jerome Hausman (1970) states that the essential content of any teaching about art must come from the nature of art i t s e l f . The teacher must create situations that allow students the pleasure of exploration and discovery, the joy of finding new forms for the expression of their ideas, and the suffering that.comes occasionally from "the pain and disappointment of failure" (pp. 334 and 335) The evidence presented in the thesis consistently stresses the importance of experimentation, exploration, play, searching, and work through the process of theme development and throughout the progress of individual pieces.  The  implication for the art teacher would appear to be that, by providing the atmosphere and opportunities that encourage students to stretch their imaginations  and develop their problem solving s k i l l s , one would be offering  the student an environment conducive to the flourishing of the art process. The author has stated that art keeps her constantly in touch with the " t r i a l and error method of working" (p. 105).  She finds i t helpful to tell herself,  "just do something," "follow your instinct," and "ego-critic leave me alone" (p. 105).  The artist has found i t very beneficial to keep a watchful eye for  accidental effects (pp. 105 and 110).  Keeping an open mind to new ideas is  constantly productive (pp'. 67, 69, 101, 104, 105, 110, 112, and 118-134).  148 Flaws, accidents, and serendipity are constant sources of inspiration to the artist (pp. 39, 44, 47, 67, 69, 104, 105, 110, 112-118, 124, and 129). It is helpful i f the use of the word "mistake" is minimized in the art class. try  Some things do not work out as anticipated.  again.  Encourage the students to  Perhaps even attempt the opposite and see what happens.  Before  changing the "problem area" re-evaluate the phenomena with an open mind. may be a more effective solution than the one originally planned.  It  Art is full  of happy accidents, as verified by the "Odyssey" described in this thesis. Michael (1980) states that art students must feel that they can, and must be willing to try to work with various art media.  He claims that the wise art  teacher is able to utilize closure experiences in art to achieve confidence for  those students who are lacking in this attribute.  He further states that  the art teacher must be very encouraging and supportive during these initial experiences by praising the student for "finding" an idea as well as for continuing work on the picture (p. 17). Suggested Strategies for "Getting Started"  A student's lack of confidence and fear of the popular view of what constitutes art is often a great hindrance to their progress in art making. Suggest the students tell their "critic" to go away and leave them alone; this is the time for working and learning, not for criticism. Begin the work period by warming up with drawing callisthenics. something quickly. freely.  Sketch  Suggest the students relax and let their ideas generate  Ask the students to briefly document the ideas for later reference  (Plate 51, and 117). Play with a variety of free, loose compositions using a chosen theme, element of art or principle of design (Plates 37A, 38, 105, 117-123, and Appendix, Plates III, VII and VIII).  By setting limits the students will be  encouraged to focus and explore to a greater depth and breadth within the particular framework (p. 69).  149 Reassure students that an image will evolve as long as one keeps working with an open mind, eye, and attitude toward change.  Suggest they keep alert  for messages emitted by the images as changes take place.  Encourage students  to relax and follow their instincts. Pressure  Linn (1982) found that artist-teachers deliberately set deadlines and due dates which they must meet, such as working under the pressures of a show or a commission.  Many of the artists felt that they often did their best work  under such situations (p. 39). The data in the "Odyssey" chapter supports this finding.  The writer  states, "I was craving structure and I wanted to be pressured. concentrate my energies into efforts that demanded quality. for and achieve standards of excellence in art" (p. 35).  I wanted to  I wanted to work  In the beginning of  the section, "Transition", the proclamation is made, "I make i t a rule to accept challenges that may lead to personal growth, so despite my apprehensions, I agreed to the idea of an exhibit" (p. 69).  As a result of this  commitment to an exhibition, the writer produced a body of work which played a significant role in her development as an artist.  The pressure to "just do  something," brought about the initiation of the series of pastel drawings (Plates 61 through 93).  The benefits of the pressure created by an exhibition  is referred to in connection with the completion of "Mother, Daughter, 1923."  The writer states, "I had a deadline, the pressure I find helpful when  focusing on a project to the exclusion of most other distractions" (p. 97). The series, "Tributes to Someone's Grandmother," was initiated and completed in response to the opportunity to participate in a group art show (p. 112). Pressure of time limits and standards can facilitate creative production for students.  The student will be forced into making decisions and choices  throughout the art process which will eventually lead to closure. New ideas,  connections, thoughts, and conclusions are likely to occur as a result of disciplined attention to the research, collected material, and/or experience of the student.  The pressure of a deadline and the expectations that a  product will be matted and displayed can add an exciting element to the art making process.  Knowing that a product will be shared with others often adds  to student motivation.  For some students, however, this may create crippling  apprehensions which need to be considered and dealt with by the teacher. The Role of Questioning i n the Art Process  By asking herself questions, the writer has been able to clarify her thoughts, goals, purposes, and priorities for an image. The writer demonstrates the value of questioning when searching old family photographs for information of her ancestry (p. 27).  This process is also evident in the  chapters, "Mother.Daughter, 1923," "My Own Kitchen," "Rock-a-bye-Roses," "Roses at Forty-One," "Tributes for Someone's Grandmother," and "Reflections of a Lifetime." The writer reports making direct requests of an image, "Speak to me, tell me what do you want to say?" and asking questions about the subject of the painting, "What do rocking chairs do?"  Through the question and  answer process the concept of the work was established which led to the choices of particular aesthetic and expressive qualities (p. 104).  Asking  questions about the technical execution of an object is evident in the discoveries made about white china while painting "Roses at Forty-one" (p. H I ) . Hamblen (1984) suggests that for problem solving, critical thinking, and inquiry learning, active discussions between teachers and students are essential.  Questions, properly framed, foster student involvement and s e l f - i n i t i a -  ted 1 earning (p. 12).  151 Taunton (1984) supports this statement. Questions and comments, posed by the teacher at different stages of art-making, tend to focus and clarify children's thinking about their ideas and intentions, procedures they are following, and solutions they devise. Questioning strategies can be designed to develop knowledge of one's actions as an artist and.to establish a more general awareness of the process of art-making, (p. 15) Sturr (1982) also recommends that teachers ask students relevant questions during the development of technique and processes, and about personal choices and a r t i s t i c goals (pp. 12-14). Questioning Strategies  1.  Suggest students ask themselves questions about the image.  2.  Suggest students ask the image questions, as they would a friend they are getting to know: How?, When?, Why?, Where?, What? Who?  3.  Recommend to the student that they record these dialogues in a private journal or diary.  Many such recorded dialogues assisted the writer in  recalling the data in the "Odyssey" chapter.  Certain comments may be  displayed with the work (Taunton, 1984, p. 16).  Such comments may  prove useful kept in a sketch book accompanying visual images (Plates 47, 48, 117, and Appendix, Plate III). 4.  Teacher or student questioning may help a student choose a topic for further development.  5.  When a topic is selected for exploration, questioning may lead to s t i l l further resolution of the image.  Discussion  Discussing one's work with fellow students, teachers, friends, and other artists can be helpful in the search for imagery, overcoming technical d i f f i culty, the resolution of problems, and for encouragement.  The writer reports  a discussion with an instructor that led to increased confidence in her personal imagery, feelings, and ideas (p. 69).  The value of group discussions  is referred to as "providing creative nourishment" (p. 26).  Feedback, from  152 children and adults alike, has given the author many fresh insights about her work and stimulated new ideas (pp. 104, 107 and 110-111). The importance of discussing work in progress is documented by comments in "Rock-a-bye-Roses" (p. 104) and "Reflections of a Lifetime" (pp. 124, 126, 132 and 134)". Students are encouraged by seeing the relationship of their work in a historical context.  This is verified by the writer's need to seek reassurance  for the validity of her imagery by researching the work of respected artists (p. 36). The value of classroom discussion is argued by leading art educators. Madeja (1980) discusses the use of language in the art program, defining i t as "a device to enable students to describe, analyze, and comprehend qualities, and then to make and justify aesthetic judgements about art" (p. 25).  Vincent  Lanier (1980) describes a new content for art which he calls the "dialogue curriculum" (p. 19 and 20).  Taunton (1984) supports the idea of "reflective  dialogue" being incorporated into classroom conversation throughout the art process.  She believes that a discussion about works in-progress is beneficial  because students are able to make use of comments in subsequent efforts. She further claims, "The validity of children's understanding  of how artists,  including themselves, make art can be increased by insuring opportunities for reflectivity about their own work" (p. 16). Through discussions with the teacher and/or fellow classmates on the intent for an image the student may discover further motivations and goals worthy of exploration. The teacher's appreciation of the student's imagery may also be deepened through attentive listening and discussion. The sharing of knowledge, ideas, experiences, insights, new awarenesses, and changes may provide essential encouragement and stimulate group and individual enthusiasm, thereby providing a constructive climate for growth.  153 Evaluation and the Art Process  Evaluation is useful throughout the art process.  This is demonstrated by  the mention of judgements and decisions being made by the artist regarding the qualities and effects created by various media and techniques.  Such comments  as, "the resulting effect was dreadful" (p. 101), "not as dynamic," "much too cold," "did not exhibit the qualities," "so successful" (pp. 104 and 105), "disappointing," "unsuccessful," "somewhat satisfied," "was not working," "needed to make changes," "very exciting," and "marvelous" (p. 110) indicate continual evaluation of works in progress. Michael (1980) states that in evaluation one must refer back to one's objectives and goals which are derived from the problem of the artist and the art process. tives (p. 18).  The student and the teacher should be aware of the same objecStanley Madeja (1980) tells us that our discipline, with its  history, methods of criticism, and body of knowledge, is essential to a thorough education.  "Any educated person," he maintains, "should be able to  evaluate art objects and should have experience in producing them." As art teachers, i t is vitally important that we evaluate children's art products and that we share not only our evaluations but also the process of learning to make objective evaluations with our students. As they see us practice this and as they learn the benefits of evaluation by seeing improvements in their own art work, they will gradually evaluate their own products, a sign of maturation and an important step in the artistic process. (Doerr, 1984, p. 33) Promoting student discussion and sharing of the process of evaluation and encouraging them to make positive criticisms and suggestions may assist students in looking at, judging, and appreciating artwork outside of the classroom. Eisner (1966) warned of the dangers of not evaluating artwork on a regular basis. The student who receives l i t t l e or no feedback about work may harbor uncertainties of its worth and may be tempted to reject art as unsatisfying. Encouraging the student to participate in evaluation  154 provides the opportunity for the teacher to discover and counteract such attitudes, (p. 387) Evaluation is encouraging to the student and artist.  The powerful effect  of a teacher's evaluation of one's ability and imagery is documented in the section, "Learning about Art" (p. 67). The effect of a positive evaluation of one's work by fellow students is reported in the section, "Transition" (p'. 93). As an artist i t is important to recognize one's own weaknesses and strengths.  This is reflected in the comments, "I lacked an understanding of  composition"  (p. 35), "there was a dearth of meaningful content" (p. 36), "I  now accept...as a strength and appreciate.. .as a gift" (p. 36), "...by eliminating the element of colour...concentrate on composition and structure...1 needed further understanding" (p. 44). "I could now visually plan the division of space with great precision" (p. 93), and "To further investigate the elements of art and principles of design"  (p. 93).  The A r t Teacher  The creative, productive teacher is likely to stimulate sincere involvement. The generation of ideas seems to heighten energy and enthusiasm in students.  The writer has found that, as a result of sharing her own experien-  ces and enthusiasm for art, both teachers and students have been encouraged to continue in the pursuit of their own interest in art. Linn (1982) states that all of the teachers in her study stressed that art teachers who are also practicing their craft and developing their skills have a positive influence upon art students.  The group felt that students have a greater respect for  teachers who make art important and vital in their own l i f e (p. 43). Linn concludes that, "when students see a teacher enthusiastic and excited about art, they are more apt to be inspired and to regard art in a new way.  As a  result, the whole student-teacher relationship is improved" (p. 43). Sharing personal experiences of ups and downs and gains and losses enhances student  155  understanding and helps in affirming student confidence. Linn states that, "Art, and the making of i t is really a process of sharing, sharing not just the final product but the steps and decisions made along the way" (p. 43).  Linn cites Szekely's view of the artist-teacher as  one who is'"giving his creative self as a model to others" (p. 43). The art teacher who has developed confidence in the art process through successful experiences will benefit students by sharing this attitude. The teacher-artists in Linn's study reported that their energies and enthusiasms are high when confidence in one's own abilities is high (p. 42).  "Success  does breed success, and pleasure at seeing one's art work progressing often banishes frustrations" (Linn, 1982, p. 42). To open the doors to new insights and enlightenment for another person is a joyful reward in i t s e l f .  Art teachers are likely to reap such a reward as  they guide students in the creative journey of discovery and appreciation of the art process.  If a teacher is also pursuing his or her own quest of perso-  nal expression, surely, the joy will be intensified.  156  REFERENCES  Doerr, S.L. If you want to get stroked, talk to your mother: Art education as the discipline i t deserves to be. Art Education, 1984, 37_ (1), 31-34. Eisner, E.W. Evaluating children's art, in E.W. Eisner and D.W. Ecker,.. Readings in art education. Waltham, Mass.: Blaisdell Publishing Co., 1966. Eisner, E.W. On the differences between scientific and artistic approaches to qualitative research. This is a modified version of a paper presented.at the annual convention of the American Educational Research Association, Boston, Massachusetts, April 1, 1980, and was used with the author's permission as a study paper for his presentation to the Art Education "Quarterly Quorum", University of British Columbia, March 26, 1981. Hamblen, K.A. "Don't you think some brighter colors would improve your painting?"--0r, constructing questions for art dialogues. Art Education, 1984, 37 (1), 12-14. Hausman, J.J. Teacher as artist and artist as teacher. In G. Pappas, Concepts in art and education: An anthology of current issues. London: The MacMillan Co., Collier-MacMillan, Ltd., 1970. Lanier, V. Six items on the agenda for the eighties. (9), pp.19-21.  Art Education, 1980, 33_  Lewis, H. P. Peregrinations in Child Art. Study materials for- the Art Education Quarterly Quorum", University of British Columbia, February 18, 1984. Linn, R.M. The artist-teacher: Balancing a dual role. Arts thesis, University of British Columbia, 1982. Madeja, S.S. The art curriculum: (10), 24-26.  Sins of omission.  Michael, J. A. Studio art experience: Education, 1980, 33 (2), 15-19.  Unpublished Master of  Art Education, 1980, 33  The heart of art education.  Art  157  Sturr, E. Motivation with a rational twist. 14. Szabo, Z. Creative Water Colour Technique. Publications, 1976.  Art Education, 1982, 35 (1), 12~~ New York: Watson-Gupti 11  Taunton, M._ Reflective dialogue in the art classroom: process. Art Education, 1984, 37. (1), 15-16.  Focusing on the art  158  APPENDIX  159  m  _69_  Ii Plate I - G(^tting Ready  If. Plate II - The Beginning  —F  m  161  Acrylic on Canvas 16.5 x 20.5 in.  Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in.  Plate VI: "Dusty Day" Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in.  165  Plate VII "Oasis" Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in.  166  Plate VII "Oasis" Acrylic on Canvas 19 x 32 in.  167  Plate VIII "Going" Acrylic on Canvas 16.5 x 20.5 in.  


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