Archive for the “Other Artists” Category

Some people enjoying the reception at the MNBC

Some people enjoying the reception at the MNBC

Well, the reception for the exhibit at the Museum of Northern BC has come and gone. The gallery attendants told us that we had a very good turn out. I met with people from my hometown that I haven’t met in years and made a few new contacts as well. Things are working out so well in Prince Rupert that I decided to stay a week instead of just a few days; and good thing too, because I finally had the opportunity to meet with artist, Nicole Best Rudderham in her 3rd avenue studio. We talked about a number of things. She has a background in marketing so I gleaned what I could off of her, and took some advice to attend a meeting of the “easel weasels” later on that night.

Dad sketching the Prince Rupert CityscapeSketch of dad sketching


My dad was at the reception for a while, too. It was good to see him. We went out later on the next day for some sketching. We went to the top of Service Park in Prince Rupert for about 3 hours and just sketched the scenery.Sketch of the view from Service Park

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People enjoying themselves at the first annual Terrace studio tour

Although many of you who are from out of town did not hear about this event in Terrace, there was an annual studio tour this weekend in Terrace. It couldn’t have been a better weekend, weather wise. Numerous people came out to where I was stationed with two other artists, near Usk. Usk is about 10 minutes outside of Terrace, so the people who came sure wanted to see us. There were treats, good conversation, refreshments, beautiful scenery and beautiful art. My only regret was that I didn’t get to see the other studio venues; Amy did, though, and she told me that she had a really great time.

Susann WilliamsonTodd Stephens

At the venue where I was stationed, there were two other artists: Todd Stephens and Susann Williamson. Todd is a Nisga’a artist who runs a studio in town, Wilp Simgan (House of Red Cedar), and Susann is an artist who makes stained glass in her studio, Mountainside Stained Glass.  Susann was an amazing hostess and a cook of heroic proportions.  I think that I will remember the ham sandwich that I had this afternoon for some time to come.  amy and I were very privileged to stay with her and her partner, Al.

We are looking forward to next year’s event.  Over all, it was a very successful weekend, we gave it our best, and then had a rest.

Nigel Fox, sleepyTodd Stephens, taking a nap

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Nathan Wilson and I finished our first commission together.  It had its ups and downs, but it was over all very positive and a total blast.  We worked 10 hour days over a 6 day period and worked on site the whole time.  We set up a tarp tent soon after starting the project and with the wind blowing very hard at times, it nearly blew over a few times and collapsed more times than we could remember.   We started with sketch ups of the proposed crest heads and after all the formalities, such as price, dimensions and other considerations, we started the first day after finishing our last day of class at Freda Diesing School.

Nate, looking over logPreparation of the log

We started by preparing the log–a first-growth western red cedar.  And after the surface was prepared and all the roughage taken off, we had a smooth surface to work on and put the crest heads.

"Refugee" tent that we set up to keep the rain outBeaver crest with primary and secondary forms colored

Next we painted the primary and secondary forms.

Killer whale and raven crest heads

Then we started carving.

Eagle, beaver and wolf crests

Then, finally we painted the tertiary areas and after getting approval from the clients, we were done.

final approval

Very exciting project and I am looking forward to what’s next.  Stay tuned.

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Nathan Wilson, working on old growth log Nathan Wilson, working on the old growth log

Well, it’s the first day out of school at Freda Diesing School and Nathan Wilson and I have work to do already. We have been commissioned to work on a twelve foot long, old growth cedar log. We are to put five crests on this log. The four main crests: wolf, eagle, killer whale and raven; and a sub-crest, beaver. For those of you who don’t know, a crest is a native stylized design of an animal, usually to represent a matrilineal (ie from the mom) blood-line. We have been commissioned to do this piece in order to honor first nations at a local day care.

It has been quite the year at Freda Diesing School. I remember being so nervous on the first day. Over the first few months, with the incessant ovoids and various workshops and fieldtrips. Then the new year with its deadlines, exhibits and presentations. What a year. I had so much fun and learned so much–that is the way that learning should be. I look forward to meeting with everyone in the class in the future, and if not, then on Facebook.

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There is less than a week until the year end exhibit for we, the students at Freda Diesing School. Most of the submitted pieces will be carvings and although this is a new medium for me, I have to say that I have surprised myself with how well I did. I’m happy with the work and I think that is all that matters.

It’s been quite the year and i think that I will do a bit of a review when I have the time, but for now it’s back to the grindstone. I still have some pieces to finish for the exhibit… Here’s a photo of a red cedar mask that I am working on for the show:

Red Cedar mask

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Brenda Crabtree giving a presentation on drum makingBrenda Crabtree giving a presentation on drum makingBrenda Crabtree giving a presentation on drum makingStudents preparing drum skins
Well, things are busy yet again this week, with another presenter, this time from Emily Carr University–Brenda Crabtree.  Brenda came here to teach us about first nations history on the coast and in BC, plus she is co-ordinating a drum making workshop.  It has been a very full two days.  Brenda brought with her a student from Emily Carr, Luke Parnell, who is currently working on his masters at the university.

There is a very thin line between art and history, this is the impression that I got when listening to Brenda’s talk.  Historians and archeologists try to re-create a picture of the past in the same way that an artist forms an image out of a vision.  An artist may take an idea that starts off as little more than a notion and, over time, form something that makes perfectly clear what their intent is.  The artist may use certain materials at their disposal, such as a model, object or photo, but ultimately the interpretation is theirs.  In the same way, a historian may use documentation, photos and artifacts to mold a picture of what might have been; but ultimately, the interpretation is theirs.

Now, an interpretation will be guided by the beliefs and perspective of the interpreter.  The same is for an artist as for a historian.  This is why there is a trend towards aboriginal historians interpreting first nations history.  First nations understand their culture and are best suited to describing it.

BC's Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point

BC's Lieutenant Governor, Steven Point

A certain noteworthy person dropped by the school today, BC’s lieutenant governor, Steven Point.  Steven is an artist, actor and canoe maker, and also the uncle of one of the other students in my class and so he felt quite comfortable.  He went from desk to desk, observing the various pieces and making conversation.  It was good to see him.

Another person who came to the class today was Yukon artist Aaron Smarch.  Aaron is the son of artist, Keith Smarch.  Aaron will be with us for a month in order to observe and report back to his peers and promote the school.  Not too many people have been to the school who are from the Yukon, and having Aaron give a first hand account to his friends and acquaintances is good for the school.

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Roy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the classRoy Henry Vickers speaking to the class


Today we had the honor of hearing the artist Roy Henry Vickers talk to the class. Roy is energetic, enthusiastic and totally engrossing in his speeches. He covered topics ranging from his life history to design. Roy had a way of capturing the attention of his audience with a gentle, yet responsive tone and always was sensitive to his audience. I know that a few times during the presentation he answered questions that I had without me even having to ask them. One of these questions was about where he got such amazing story telling skills. Roy confided to us that he gained these skills from two people, one person being the poet and scholar Chief Dan George and the other person being a gentleman who spoke in his village when he was younger. Roy said that Chief Dan George taught him to speak “from here”, pointing to his chest. Roy also mentioned that one of his elders taught him to speak from the heart, because when you speak “from here”, you speak to others “right here.”

Roy went on to discuss his gallery, the Eagle Aerie Gallery, in Tofino; his family and children; and some of his key prints. Roy described his experiences with tears and laughter. Roy described his prints in tones of emotion and reminiscence. Roy touched upon various issues that are close to his heart, such as the protection of the rivers and waters in the area from potentially destructive influences such as the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway project and the suspended Shell Coalbed Methane development. Roy said something that is true about the rivers–they are the lifeblood of the people. Kill or polute these rivers and you seriously injure the traditional ways of the first nations, possibly forever.

Roy went on to talk about what makes a print valuable and even what makes a print an original work of art. He said that when you make an edition, especially your first edition, your reputation is on the line. To me, he impressed upon me to make my first edition a high quality one and never another cheap old giclee edition.

Tomorrow he will be discussing prints and computer design. Stay tuned.

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