I’m excited to report that my art exhibit, Maps of Loss: Rivers, Ruins, and Grief, will be on display at Richview Library from September 7th to the 30th. This exhibit excavates personal feelings of grief and translates them into more universal symbols of loss. When viewers encounter three encaustic paintings and seven collages, they will experience images such as a tidal river, a ruined barn, and a pier with no dock.
Lenin’s Mosaic by Catherine Raine, 2011 (Central image by Gerd Ludwig)
Please come to the opening for Maps of Loss at Richview’s gallery on Saturday, September 10th (3-4 pm). Refreshments served!
The exhibit finishes at the end of September, but the beginning of October heralds another art event. On Saturday October 1st, Ellen Jaffe and I will be offering a Collage and Poetry Experience workshop at Northern District Library as part of the Culture Days program. This free workshop will take place from 10 am to 1 pm.
Flower-Hatted Otters by Catherine Raine, 2011
The Richview exhibit and workshop at Northern District unite two of my passions: libraries and art. I have blogged about both TPL branches as part of my quest to visit all 99 libraries in the system, and I have also found wonderful inspiration and materials from the Picture Collection and second-hand bookstore at Toronto Reference Library (as well as the sister bookstore at North York Central).
Libraries are natural homes for artists, and I feel so fortunate to share my work and experience at two wonderful branches!
I started making this collage on Mother’s Day a couple of weekends ago. Mom had sent me the black and white image in the center of the butterfly a few years back, and near the top of the head she had written “I like this face!” in her distinctive handwriting. (It may be a little difficult to make out the words from this photograph).
Mom has an endearing habit of sending me articles she thinks I might enjoy or find useful for art projects. I’m super lucky to have such a thoughtful, creative, and quirky mother!
I continue to amuse myself by collaging bookmarks. (I know, it doesn’t take a lot to amuse me!)
I made a couple of them when I was on a retreat at Grail Springs and the other four at home.
The central image of “Lenin’s Mosaic” comes from a National Geographic article about Chernobyl. The photographer was Gerd Ludwig.
The scraps of paper which comprise the mosaic come from calendars, brochures, and magazines. I hope Lenin would have liked his eponymous mosaic or at the very least a bookmark.
I started “Theater of the Bosom” on the train from Montreal to Quebec City about a month ago. While I was lounging in my seat, I stitched the fingers of a fuzzy glove between the buttons of the apricot shirt. I also sewed together a couple of swatches of floral and camouflage fabric.
When I returned home to Toronto, I covered a small canvas with the fabric patchwork (plus glove-n-shirt) and added more fabric. Then I took an old sports bra and dressed the canvas with it.
I thought the bra-stuffing turned out pretty well. I may as well tell you the secret to a perfect fabric silhouette: shoulder pads, pantyhose, and bits of a shirt.
For theatrical embellishments, I draped a scrap of the camouflage material (originally a bandana that my friend Noreia bought at the dollar store) and added another glove, a ribbon, more fabric scraps, and some felt.
I used stencils and fabric paint to write on the bra. Later, I dabbed small blobs of purple encaustic wax over the dried paint.
I hope that “Theater of the Bosom” will serve as a playful reminder to respect the beauty of the female form, no matter what shape, age, or dramatic dimension!
In March 2011, my friend Ellen Jaffe and I facilitated an art workshop called “Collage Your Animal Spirit Guide” at Fermata’s Music Therapy Centre in Hamilton. Using the animal oracle deck pictured above, each of the participants selected a card without looking at the illustrated side. Then we took turns reading the teachings of the animals whose cards we’d chosen.
My animal guide for the day was the otter. According to Carr-Gomm’s explanatory booklet, otter “invites us to play, to ‘go with the flow’ of life and experience — to become a child again” (32).
Trying to capture the idea of flow and movement, I found some swirling fish and active grasses. For playfulness, I gave the otters and their fish friend some red flower hats.
And that’s the story of how the Flower-Hatted Otters came to be!
Hopefully the blankets at the base of the collage won’t become soggy holding up the lake. The mouse seemed to belong in the lower left corner.
By nature, collage leaves a lot of paper scraps. I was looking at the scraps and a long section of cardboard that I’d cut from “Blanket Dam” and thought, “Why not make a bookmark?”
Last week I tried using encaustic wax with stencils and got some mixed results. I like the two halves of this first piece, but they don’t really seem to work as a cohesive whole.
Today I got out the stencils and wax again, determined to keep it simple. I named the piece after my Grandma Raine because I think she would have liked it.
When I first posted a picture of “Mary’s Lost and Found,” I thought the piece was finished. However, the more I looked at it, something didn’t seem quite right. I was bothered by the heaviness of the fuzzy paper at the top.Â Here’s the result of my revision efforts:
For comparative purposes, here’s the earlier version:
The other evening I was marking a pile of 21 quizzes about sentence structure and I reached a point where I had to run upstairs and make a collage! I couldn’t face another quiz.
The icon figures come from a brochure I found about the Black Madonna. Other materials include handmade paper and wax. I was especially taken with the way the purple wax became blue-purple when it came into contact with the blue paper. Magic!
It was fun making “Mary’s Lost and Found”, and afterwards my brain felt refreshed enough to grade more quizzes.
Although I’m not the world’s best seamstress, I enjoyed sewing and gluing this textile piece.
Materials used for the pillow included: small canvas, fabric, felt, fabric glue, needle, and thread.
Update (April, 2012): When my mom came for a visit last week, I did a lot of show and tell with artwork. (I’ve never outgrown it). When I showed her this piece, she said, “This could be a vertical pillow. If you feel tired, you lean your head against the pillow on the wall. It could be called a ‘sinking spot’ and it picks you up like a brief nap.” I love the way she thinks!