This past winter I spent a happy week creating rice paper birds. When I recently visited my neighbours, Wendy and Keith, I noticed that the large piece of art I gave them 20 some years ago was full of the same kind of birds. At that time, I had young children so my medium of choice was wax crayons. I believe that an enthusiastic Alice added some of her own scribbles on the bottom. I began to think back and realize that variations of these same birds have cropped up in my art work for a long time. Even my children’s book, Madame de Toucainville’s Magnificent Hat, features variants of these same birds.
When the idea of holding an art show in the beautiful Qu’Appelle Valley Centre of the Arts came to me, I thought it would be great fun to explore birds in my art and my life. Then I realized that as well as birds, I am really interested in all kinds of flying things. Poached Egg Woman flies, after all. “Free Range Chicken” flies in my imagination. I have been creating fairies from collage materials and rice paper. We have a few dragons around the house. All of them can fly. (Just to clarify that – one is paper machier and the other is watercolour!) Our living room is full of intricately built bird’s nests, tiny eggs, and feathers. I am proud to say that I come from a long line of birdwatchers, and while my birds do not pretend to be realistic, they are no doubt inspired by many road trips with Peterson’s Field Guides and binoculars in tow.
This art show called “Taking Flight” is dedicated to my mum and dad (Sylvia and Joe Bland) and to my in-laws (Hugh and Wanda Stueck). While they lived, I enjoyed many bird adventures with all of them. It is fitting, I think, that it will be held on Mother’s Day Weekend. Even better, the tea will be served in mum and gramma’s china cups. Hey, it’s going to be a party! (and an art show).
In the blogs leading up to my art show, I hope to explore different aspects of birds and flight in my art and in my life. I hope you will join me.