Friday, May 30, 2008

Riley Charters

Riley Charters is happy to sit back and let her husband Bill do all the talking. She doesn't feel the need to stand out and be noticed. Her paintings stand out for her.
Oils, some acrylics, pastels, found objects, gold leaf, coffee grounds and white glue for textures are just some of the mediums that She uses for her paintings. She finds inspiration from family stories, stories her father wrote down, and observations of her family. The culture of her Salish history, her Mom from the Thompson, Coldwater Band and her Father from the Shuswap Barrier are rich with inspiration for her visual art. Riley also enjoys researching First Nations in BC and putting her research on canvas. If she isn't painting she's beading and making jewelry.
Abbotsford and Mission areas have been her home for a long time. For three years in the mid seventy's she went to art school in Nelson. She has continued to take art classes through the years and doesn't intend to stop learning new techniques or new way to fashion her art.
Riley took some courses in Facilitation and then went on to facilitate a class in printmaking at Abbotsford's John MacLure elementary school. She would also like to enrich her life with travel and experience other cultures along with more teaching to enrich young lives through art.
A couple of years ago Bill drove for miles ( we are in Canada eh) kilometers around BC and Alberta looking for Galleries that would display Riley's work. She has her work in Banff at the About Canada Gallery, The Path Gallery in Whistler and Eagle Feather in Victoria. Her next show in Abbotsford will be with the Graphic Guild starting October.
19th at Kariton Gallery.
Visit Riley's web page Riley Charters

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pat's Pots A crystal garden of pottery for all occasions. Four photo's By Bert Schendel

Pat Schendel Ceramicist

First greetings at Pat's place are the dogs. Big and hairy they wanted to show their affection and rub against my black pants, creating black and tan furry pants. Inside the 40 or so song birds serenaded us as we had tea and fruit muffins.
Pat and her husband Bert have lived on their small Surrey acreage since 1982, they have the biggest and most majestic trees in the neighborhood, on a hot day Pat's place is the place to be.
She was born in 1950 at the Abbotsford Cottage hospital which was replaced by the MSA hospital. After high school she lived in Kamloops for nine years and trained to be a nurse. She joined her first potters Guild there. She also lived in Prince George and New Westminster. She has been with the Fraser Valley Potters Guild since 1993. In 1992 to 1995 she studied porcelains and crystallines under the instruction of David Loyd.
Pat and her husband have traveled around the world twice in 1980 and again in 1990. They saved up money and took 13 months for each trip. They were robbed in Columbia both times.
Pat's ancestors came to North America (USA) in 1630 from England and Scotland, They moved to Quebec in 1805. Pat went to a two hundred year reunion in Quebec and then on to Boston for a reunion with the Boston relatives.
I first heard of Pat Schendel when I walked into the Kariton Gallery where she and Gwen Gregorig were having a show(April 6-30, 2008). A painter and a potter it was a good show and a strong combination of mediums. I was impressed by the delicate shapes, crystalline glazes and color choices. Pat likes beautiful things and strives for beauty in her creations. Serene, simple, clean elegance, with an element of surprise when it is done, like the floral shapes the crystallines form, "crystal gardens". Her pots are meticulous with interesting shaped edges. Crystalline porcelain is very different from other types of ceramic glazes. The zinc silicate crystals are grown and the temperature is manipulated on the cooling cycle. The glaze must have a low viscosity for the crystals to grow, resulting in some glaze run off. Each pot is placed on an individual catcher which must be removed and the foot of the pot ground smooth. This is a technique for the meticulous potter who likes a challenge, and Pat loves this challenge. The April show was Pat's first solo ceramics show and was a retrospective of five years of work, her greatest achievement among the many awards she has won. The award she is most proud of was the Peoples Choice, to be the peoples favorite was an honor. The BC Potters Guild sponsored that show, entitled "Finger Play", they are miniature pots that are traveling around BC for a year.
Pat's words of wisdom are follow your ideas and dreams to conclusion, stimulant your self with travel and see what others are doing. Go in the direction of what is pulling you, work on your own style.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Cowichan 2008 Spirit Pole

I drove out to the Sumas Community Hall today to take part in the Spirit Pole tour and be a carver. I was given a red ribbon and my shavings in an envelope. Bus loads of school kids waited in line to get onto the trailer that housed the Spirit Pole and have a chance to carve the 20' red cedar log. This is a first and a big undertaking to tour BC. Fort St James will be the farthest North it will go. From Prince Rupert they are putting the pole in a large canoe, paddling to Cowichan Bay where it will be part of the opening ceremonies for the North American Indigenous Games on August 3-10. The log was donated by the Skwxu7mesh Uxwumixw (Squamish Nation) from the sacred Village of Stanley Park. This is a most wonderful thing capturing the spirit and imaginations of people across British Columbia bringing them together in the form of a beautiful Spirit Pole, This Pole will have special memories for years to come.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Noises Off,

Last night Steve and I went to Yale Secondary School to see "Noises Off" a Farcical British comedy by Micheal Frayn. It was hilarious, and suspenseful. The kids were well cast, and worked hard even through the set changes, as they moved the sets around they stayed in character. This is a play within a play, You see the dress rehearsal, and the back stage drama of British farce at it's best. The play is on for two more nights May 16th and 17th at 7pm tickets are $10 at the door. An evening well spent.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Art of Humyny

Hugo Myny was raised in Brussels but he has lived in Abbotsford longer than any other place. When he came to Canada, by boat in the 1960's he lived in Edmonton for a while then he moved to the west coast and it rained for fourteen days straight, and he thought "I don't need this!". So he looked on the map and saw big cities in the east, like London and Paris in Ontario, so he headed for Ontario and lived there for a long time. He had not planned to come to Canada he wanted to go to South America.
He had friends in Chile and in Argentina. Both of his friends wrote glowing letters about the beauty and the opportunities in South America compelling him to go. One day his mother said "Well you talk about it quite a bit now, where you going to go now?" He still didn't know but he was going to decide right then. So he took a coin out of his pocket flipped it on the kitchen table and it rolled off the table on to the tile floor where it stopped upright. He stomped on the floor close by and it wouldn't budge, so he picked it up to inspect for a flat side and he could not get it to stand up at all. His mother said "Someone was trying to tell you something." He said he wasn't really superstitious but it gave him a strange feeling, so he still didn't know where he was going.
Six weeks later his cousin from Canada came and said "Hugo why don't you come to Canada?" He was not interested. In fact when the Expo came to Brussels, Canada was one of the pavilions he had not gone to see. His mother told him they grew huge apples the size of a child's head, he had not seen an apple that big only heard of them. What did he know of Canada? Snow fields, Mounties that were chasing mad men in the woods, a Trans-Canada highway that looked like a driveway because it was so narrow.
He was convinced to come to Canada by his cousin who's brother would go only if someone would go with him. He figured it was closer to South America having no clue to the immensity of the country. I asked him how his English was when he came to Canada? He said it was better than now, they called him a "limy" thinking he was from England.
He has been painting since he was about twelve years old. He would paint when he was sick or had a toothache. One of his Doctors told him he needed to learn about perspective. "If you made me something and the perspective is right I will buy it from you." He didn't know what to do, so he copied a postcard he got in the mail of a village, figuring you had to get the perspective right that way. The Doctor bought the painting even though he thought something wasn't quite right, he liked the colors and hung it up in his office.
At twelve he was commissioned by a women to do a series of paintings on birch bark, from that he was able to take some courses in art. For a while they thought he might become a Tailor because he had a sample book of fabrics that he made collages with, he learned a lot with that fabric. He spent hours and hours at the beautiful Museum of Art in Brussels.
After the war, 1945 and on, when you could get bicycle tires he would go and visit other painters. Since he was a child they would let him sit and watch, thinking he would go away soon anyway. He was fortunate to see the problems they were having. One painter asked him "If I changed the direction of the brush stoke would it look better do you think?" He said "Lets try it!" as if he was also painting. There were many gifted artists to visit.
Oil is Hugo's medium of choice and he likes to mix his own colors. If he makes a mistake he can scrape it off. Painting on Board is good because you can cut it down if you need to, with canvas you can't change the shape without a lot of trouble. "Vernisage" is when a painting is finished and varnished, it could take three to four months or sometimes a year before a painting would be varnished. It was like a celebration.
Dreams are Hugo's inspirations, he is a lucid dreamer and can control is dreams, his dreams feel like past lives. When he is in the right state of mind he can see the picture on the white canvas, like a memory in the inner eye.
As a young man Hugo had a back injury and was in bed for eighteen months and had four months of rehabilitation. He suffered for a long time from these injuries and the muscle relaxants he took caused him to go partially blind. He still painted when he was blind, the paintings had a lot of white and the objects leaned to one side, as if they were leaning to him. Blindness gave him an insight into past painters works, he realized that the halo's around lights suggested they were losing their eye sight. Later an operation corrected Hugo's vision.
Hugo speaks Flemish, German, French and English. He lives with his wife Caroline in a small co-op housing complex. Not a wall in the place is empty, he takes up two small bedrooms with his art studio and art storage. He built an easel that moves up, down and side to side, very clever. I love the many stories of Humyny as painted and spoken. We could sit for hours talking and story-telling maybe I should watch him paint one day.
"If you do the best you can, thats all you can do"



Just a Small Collection of Hugo's work

Top Photo:

Lastest painting, painted on a Krokeno board.

Second photo:
Looking up the stairway
that is covered with art work.

Third Photo:
A Self portrait after Hugo had his heart attack.
He uses Styrofoam plates for paint palettes, he cut up used ones
and glued them to make this picture.