Sunday, January 11, 2009

It Was Fun – While It Lasted

My ‘Art For Earth’ workshops ended – for a while – in the middle of December. During the last few weeks I have been very busy, but I can’t complain about the amount of time I’ve had, to enjoy life. I was able to help out with many chores around the house, go to the gym a bit more frequently and catch up on some reading. Tomorrow, these luxuries will end… and I’m very excited! Within the next two weeks, three more paintings will be completed by the students in my art workshops.

I spent most of my time, during my so-called time off, preparing for these classes… and I had a little help from my furry friends.

I had to restock my supply of art prints, so my living room spent a few afternoons being filled with cardboard. I cut the cardboard to be just a little bigger than the print. Then I tape a poem or a newsarticle or a story about the artwork onto the back of the cardboard before I take them to get shrunk-wrapped.

I’m not sure what the huge attraction is to piles of cardboard, but both my cats just love to sit on them. At first it’s kinda funny, but after a while I began to wonder…

I had to leave my work, for a few minutes, and when I came back I just started laughing – two piles of cardboard with a cat on each.

Just a few days ago, the prints were ready. My supplies are running really low so I had to create a few more sets of prints. Since, I’m not a rich man, I had to create copies of my black and white images – black and white prints cost less than ten cents each while colour copies can cost up to a dollar. Now, I’ve got an equal amount of both kinds to give to the students.

The last few days, I spent preparing my canvases with primer coats of paint, designing the paintings and mixing the colours. This is the most exciting time for me. I have to put a lot of thought into the designs, thinking about the age of the students and how they will be applying the paint, etc. I always have a huge smile on my face when I’m finally happy with my design.

The next few classes will focus on the topic of grasslands in Southern Ontario. Did you know that only 2% of natural grasslands remain in this area? Most of these natural habitats have been destroyed by industrial agricultural practices, over the last one hundred years. Now, many species of birds, bugs, butterflies and even foxes and deers have become threatened because of the loss of these habitats – their homes and feeding grounds.

We’ll be discussing these issues as well as learning about what is being done to create more natural areas. My guest speaker is someone who I have worked with many times over the last five years. Denise works for the Ausable Conservation Authority and her specialty is understanding and teaching the environments found in both grasslands and wetlands.

It should be a busy and satisfying start to the year!!! Wish me luck!


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