Sunday, April 29, 2012

Manitoba Book Awards 2012

I'm the Winner for the Best Illustrated Book of the Year at the Manitoba Book Awards for David's Trip to Paraguay, the Land of Amazing Colours! Whohoo!

I've shown the book cover so many times, so here is in one of my favourite pages inside the book. More information about the book is in a post from December 2011.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Waving Goodbye

Waving Goodbye.
Double-Plate Colour Etching, Chine-Colle, Hand Coloured.
30cm x 30cm. 2012.

For now this is the last piece in the Farewell series. In my family it is tradition to wave until we disppear from each other's view. I wanted to portray this waving goodbye and growing smaller and smaller as the distance grows. For this particular piece I remembered my parents standing on the airport platform waving as my airplane took off last time I was in Paraguay. But, since airport platforms and airplanes with little windows are kind of boring, I wanted to do depict more the spirit of leaving my country and my parents behind. I'm trying to figure out why this piece turned out so whimsical and almost happy, since I was (unsuccessfully) aiming at a more somber piece. Perhaps it is because my memories of Paraguay in general are happy memories, so every time I portray Paraguay, it is in a cheery and beautiful way. Perhaps it is because I feel fine with my current life in North America and I see myself as being off to new beginnings in the print, which outweighs the growing distance I intended to portray. Sometimes I have the feeling my art has a life of its own and I, the artist, have fairly little control over it.

The bird in the print is a Jabiru, a stork-like bird in Paraguay that is strikingly beautiful (despite its bare head) with its red band around the neck. I believe there is also a small airplane called Jabiru, so I thought I'm not that far off when I exchange one for the other.

Last Embrace

Last Embrace.

Double-Plate Colour Etching

(photoetch, softground, sugar lift, spit bite), Chine-Colle.

30cm x30 cm. 2012.

Last Embrace is part of my Farewell series of prints. I tried to capture that last moment, the last merging of two worlds before a separation, the last touch between two people. It is such a precious moment and despite all the repeated farewells in my life, the parting never gets easier. The second figure in the piece is no one in particular (although I must admit it resembles Terry quite a bit...which has no particular meaning). I wanted it to be a generic figure to stand in for all the farewells in my life. I looked at various paintings and prints by Gustav Klimt and Edvard Munch prior to working on this piece. Both artists work with the visual representation of emotion a lot. I think Klimt rubbed off on me when I drew the robe with the tears. It undeniably resembles the patterned robes in Klimt's paintings. I added the rain cloud as a counter weight to the figures and as a parallel to the robe of tears. I've had surprisingly many goodbyes on rainy days which always adds to the sad, gloomy mood and the whole universe appears to grieve with me when I have to let go of someone. This piece has more empty space than most of my work, which I think reflects that emptyness I feel after a farewell. The trees obviously represent the different worlds we live in and the brief joining of worlds during the embrace.

I had to do a lot of playing around and testprinting before I got the rain the way I wanted it to look. I was aiming for a hazy (after having looked at a lot of spit bite prints by Norman Ackroyd) yet substantial rain shower and after multiple sugar lift etches that gave me the droplet patterns and many many spit bites I got some of the misty rain effect.