Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Art Giveaway

To celebrate my new daily art blog and Etsy store, Luule (online on October 5th), I'm giving away a piece of my original artwork. Just comment on this blog telling me which piece you'd prefer and I'll randomly select a winner and post it on October 5th. As far as my stats tell me, I'm not terribly popular, so your chance of winning is pretty good.

The first choice is the more craftier piece, shown above. It's an original paper mosaic entitled, "By the River". It's 8" x 6" on a mounted wood panel that is 1 1/2" deep, the sides are painted a gloss black and it's wired and ready to be hung. The first one I did sold recently and you can see it here.

The next choice is an original mixed media piece, entitled, "Two". It's comes unframed, on 8"x8" bristol card stock, and is rendered with acrylic, ink and coloured pencil.

These next gems I discovered today are not part of the giveaway, because if I owned them (and I WILL have them!) I would never part with them. Coolest barbies ever! Alfred Hitchcock's, The Bird's Barbie released this year. Those superiorly intelligent crows attacking oblivious Barbie? I'm in metaphor heaven.

and Borg Barbie!


The latter is the perfect toy for me, combining my sci-fi geek tendencies (yes, they exist) with my girly girl aspirations which are somewhere latently buried within me. Christmas is coming early for ME this year, boy oh boy.

I found The Birds Barbie on one of my favourite blogs, The Scary Parent. He's a dad and a published horror writer. You can read his novel Stillwater, which he's posted exclusively on his blog, if you're in the mood for some deep water creepiness.

Don't forget to comment and good luck!

Monday, September 29, 2008

"I'm sorry Ms. Sereda, the operation was a complete failure"

by Banksy

Disengaging myself from electronic media was harder than I thought. I didn't blog, (ok, still read everyone's and am off to comment after this). I mainly checked my email, tried NOT to surf the web, but the news! the news last week! Unbelievable! I was hypnotized and stuck myself in front of the tv for 3 days. I managed to conduct my own layman study of journalistic propaganda. In conclusion - CNN? simplified rubbish PBS? couldn't pull myself away. The BBC?- who knows, but the British make everything sound important and smart. In the end, my blogging break helped me understand one important thing -

I wish Bill Moyers was my uncle. Then I could visit him over the Christmas holidays, and listen to him brilliantly discuss his experiences talking to some of the most intelligent and interesting people on the planet. But then again, I would feel intimidated and shy because of his great mind and it would be uncomfortable, unless he was the kind of uncle who gave out lots of candy, then it would be okay.


On Oct 1st, I'll be posting the art giveaway contest. Original art, no prints and you get a choice! I feel schmaltzy marketing myself, I'm so very bad at it, but I have been getting excited and inspired by some of the new work I've been doing. As of today, the kinder, gentler me can be found on my new daily art blog . I managed to tackle a few things with the first post, an Illustration Friday drawing and a piece for the traveling sketchbook which has gone into Melanie's book. Katie has posted her contribution to the sketchbook here. I have 2 more to catch up on which I'll get to this week (just reassuring everyone who is participating, they have arrived safely!). I'm also wondering, now that I've separated much of the art from this blog, what this blog will become. A ranting place? Time will tell.

Finally, regardless of whether you love Palin or loathe her, Tina Fey's impersonation is brilliant. If you haven't seen it, watch it, it's hilarious.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I'll be away from blogging/crackbook/google for a spell. I'm having the USB port that spontaneously grew in my head this past week surgically removed. I gave a self-imposed deadline of Sept. 30 to have a lot of new work ready, along with a new Etsy store and art blog up and running. I must now barricade myself in my studio.

When I'm done, I'm planning an original art giveaway with some silly question asked in which you must comment, because I'm needy for your attention and I want to know you're still out there and listening. And I just like giving away free stuff.

In the meantime, my last googling fix unearthed a bit of eye candy sites.

Dave Beckerman's gorgeous black and white photos of New York City places and people. His work is beautifully atmospheric and narrative. I love lingering in his photographic world.

My Love For You Is a Stampede of Horses is a blog highlighting artists. You'll notice a similar style in her choices of artists - graphic, mixed media, Etsy hip. There is a lot of interesting art to be found. It's a wonderfully image rich site.

Artist Liu Bolin paints his models to blend seamlessly into their backgrounds. Wild, take a look.

And finally, Royal de Luxe's little giant girl. Magical -

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Birding Adventure

I wanted to spare anyone reading this blog my long winded drivel of the last post and make a little cartoon/photo entertainment today, but darn! my computer illustration program is ancient and acting like a fussy old man. It's newest cantankerous rebellion is deciding to only measure things in MILLIMETRES and if I try to select otherwise, it beats me with it's cane and throws mashed peas at me. I know it just wants to sit there, do nothing and think of the good old days of its youth (when Bush was only a governor). I fear it won't survive another hardware upgrade. Pooh I say, pooh!

so anyhoooo.....

The past weekend I was overjoyed when everyone in my family said yes to my suggestion of visiting the Reifel Bird Sanctuary on Westham Island. This is a beautiful area of protected wetlands in Ladner, BC where the Fraser River meets the Pacific ocean. 280 species of birds have been spotted there, so I was anticipating some spectacular photo opportunities.

At the entrance I immediately was taken with my first bird encounter. Ducks and lots of them. I bought a little bag of seed for each of my daughters. These boisterous birds are used to being hand fed.

Walking along the trail, more ducks appeared ahead, ready to be fed.

And then... more ducks.

I could hear other birds, I knew they were somewhere out there, but...

At last, at the end of our visit, I spotted some different birds...

Leaving the gift shop, we were again accosted by ducks. I didn't like the shifty look about them. They were moving closer...

and CLOSER...!

Quickly, we made our escape off the island away from those swarming ducks!

The lesson to be learned, the best time to see a variety of birds at the Sanctuary (without a good pair of binoculars) is the spring (nesting time) or winter, when a lot of species have migrated there. Or right now... if you just love ducks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

If you want to stick around, grab a cup of coffee, I'm a rambling...

"The Last Roost"
Acrylic on board, 8"x8"

More about the painting from the last post as per Andrea's request. Forgive me, this might get a little dull, I'll try to keep it short and simple. No that's not true actually, I'm just going to spew it all out no matter how long it takes.

Technique: At the moment I'm loving Golden's fluid acrylic, along with an acrylic glazing medium. The results aren't like an oil painting, even though I do use some of the traditional glazing techniques of oil. It's a little more like egg tempera, lots of transparent, quick drying layers rendered with tiny brushes.

As for meaning, is this not the part so many artists hate? We want our work to speak to the viewer on a gut level, on an emotional level and for them to come to their own conclusions. Yet I've discovered, when I can't clearly articulate what a piece is about, it's usually because it's only decorative (which is fine, if that's my soul intent) or I don't really care much about it.

This painting I do care about, and I've felt a series building for some time in which this one is included. I realized after observing and studying birds and now other animals this past year, I find it difficult to remove the human presence from any art I create about wildlife. There isn't a species or area of earth that hasn't been transformed or affected by human activity and I have an urge to explore that reality in some way.

Breaking down the elements-

1.) I tried to find some moths to photograph at night, but came up empty handed. Late the next night, while I was deep in concentration painting, a huge moth hit the window in front of me. I went outside with my camera, but found nothing. It happened again, I went out to the window, not there. I have to say it was a bit weird, like it was (ooooo) a ghost moth. No prophesies please, I know crows and moths have the same negative superstitions surrounding them (death), but hey, really they're just nighttime butterflies.

Failing to find my ghost moth, I decided to paint this moth from a compilation of found images. It's part of the Saturniidae family and this one was common in the part of Eastern Canada where I grew up. These moths are usually large. They have no mouths or digestive tracts so can't eat. Their soul purpose after they emerge is to mate and lay eggs. They live a week of less. Something to put on your list of daily gratitutes - I am thankful I am not a Saturniidae moth.

2.) I met the barn owl at the rodeo, of all places. The Vancouver Zoo has a Birds of Prey exhibit and presentation that includes this young owl. It's handler was extremely nice while I took lots of photos. It's a stunningly beautiful creature and I knew I wanted to include it in a painting at some point.

3.) As for the last element, the hand. I love hands. They're the hardest part of the human body to paint because of their complexity. They are responsible for so much of our non verbal communication. I love their gestural quality, I love that they can wordlessly convey emotion.

I believe, in any art piece, the analyzing really comes near the end of the process. I had this image in my head, I wanted to do it and then started thinking of the 'why' after. I think that's what creative output is all about, a compulsive need to express something that is the unconscious amalgamation of your experiences, what attracts you, repels you, fascinates you. We make better sense of it later.

If you've read this far, and I don't blame you if I've bored you to unconsciousness, I'd love to hear what drives you creatively, what it is you're needing to explore, themes, colours, ideas, materials.... anyone?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Art, blah, blah, blah.

The Last Roost
Ellen Sereda

I just completed this acrylic painting yesterday. I intended it to be a study for a larger painting, but I got swept up in it and treated it as a final piece.

I started writing a big, wordy post about art, about realism, about illustrative art, conceptual art, about visual art as a concept vs. an object and how both are fused in the act of painting, and what that means in a media that has been proclaimed dead many times over since the invention of photography... blah... blah.... blah. Then I realized, no one visiting this blog is interested in reading that, including me. I go read that from the smarter people.

So from a smarter person, here is quote that has resonated with me lately:
"What I want to show in my work is the idea which hides itself behind so-called reality. I am seeking for the bridge which leans from the visible to the invisible through reality. It may sound paradoxical, but it is in fact reality which forms the mystery of our existence" - Max Beckmann
This quote was taken from the archives of the Big Crow website (how synchronous!) created by San Francisco artist Anna L. Conti. A lot of interesting links and articles on art and realism can be found on the link.

My art tastes mimic those people who, when asked what type of music they're into, they say, "all kinds of music, as long as it's GOOD". I may feel compelled towards realism for myself these days (months, years...), but one of my favorite artists, one whom I've mentioned on this blog before is Vik Muniz. His art speaks of the illusionary aspects of representational art and the impermanence of the materials he uses is so relevant to modern society. And it's a bit cheeky at times. I simply love it. Here's his talk on TED on creativity and his art. He's entertaining and worth a watch.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Crows and Google Maps

"Conversation #1"

"Conversation #2"

Some recent acrylic and ink works on paper. The background text is excerpts taken from Mark Twain on Indian crows.

My crow obsession is slowly waning, although it is branching out to a general bird appreciation. I've just discovered there is a Great Blue Heron reserve not far from me. I'm off to find it this week with the help of Google maps. I only hope my downloaded directions are more accurate than this:

From xkcd webcomics