Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!!!!!!

Wishing all my readers and supporters a peaceful and joyous 2012!!!!!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Creations for History

Over the last several months, my Peacebus art files have been spilling over the brim with bright colours and inspirational designs. I thought that it would be fun to share these art creations by placing them throughout a poem I wrote over 12 years ago…

Creation For History… With The Eyes Of Tomorrow

Now that this peace has been done,

I pause and reflect on how it had begun.

The hours spent labouring vanish away

And I’m back in time on that fateful day

When an idea, a flash, an inspiration was

Ignited in my mind

And the wheels of imagination churned to find

The ways, the means, the tools to be used

And random thoughts were congealed and fused

To structure this creation.

A blueprint was made to capture the essence

And through this process I felt the final presence,

But exactly what it was to be

Was still not yet made clear to me

Or you

So the work began unhindered.

There was nothing stopping us from seeing this through.

First the materials needed were all place together

And the beginning peaces were laid down,

Each made to measure.

Then one by one we united as a team

And this creation, steady and sure, came into being.

Do you remember the expression that we shared

When we realized that we shared the same dream?

To bring forth this creation for history

Was not as difficult as, at first, it seemed!


Monday, December 5, 2011

A Stitch In Time

Wow! It’s hard to believe that it was over a decade ago when Joanne and I were living in beautiful Nelson, British Columbia, as I worked to complete the artwork needed for the project entitled ‘Canada: Glorious To Be’.

I was exploring many new mediums during this stage of my art endeavours and while we were in BC my methodus operandus was needlepoint!

It was a lot of fun working with needle and thread. I didn’t stick to any of the normal stitching patterns like cross-stitch – I liked creating my own unique stitching patterns.

I also did a lot of my own thread colour blending and this technique really added a lot to all of the art peaces that I created, during this time of my life.

I was working as the Night Auditor/ Security Dude for one of Nelson’s downtown hotels – The New Grand Hotel. During the night I had a bit of time, between work duties, to fiddle around with my artworks. My boss didn’t mind. In fact, Danny rather enjoyed watching my progress each morning when he arrived to his office.

I created several needlepoint artworks for the staff of the hotel. Every once in while I think about them and wonder if they still have my artworks hanging in their homes.

Carol was one of my fellow ‘Front Deskers’. She usually worked the evening shift and so I saw her almost every night, as I was her relief. She loved things with smiley faces. She was a smiley face freak!!!!

In fact, she sent us a letter – after Jo’ and I had moved to Nova Scotia – and the envelope was filled with many smiley face stickers. I shared them with my friends and kept a few for myself.

I stuck one of them onto the side of my microwave and I see it every single day cuz I still have that microwave! It always casts my mind into many wonderful memories. Thanks, Carol!

Because of her passion for smiley faces, I became inspired to create a special smiley face needlepoint artwork just for her!

Whenever I teach a class, or simply talk about the world of art, I will always talk about the importance of texture. To me – texture is art!

Now, a smiley face is a very simple design. You’ve got a big circle, for the head, a couple of smaller circles, for the eyes, and a nice big curve, for the smile. So, when I was designing my smiley face needlepoint, I had to think of a way that I could make these four simple shapes more interesting, by creating a unique texture.

I thought that it would be very interesting to create the design using one continuous line of black thread. This one line wiggled this way and that way across the fabric canvas and many, many times it would cross over on itself.

When the black thread crossed over or looped around on itself a shape was created inside of each loop.

Once a loop was created, I would use coloured threads to fill in this space. Simple idea, yet I found myself getting dizzy and lost in this design all the time!!!

The colour scheme was rather simple: the background, the eyes and the mouth would be purple and the face would be yellow.

I decided to make this a little more interesting, as well. I used four different colours of yellow threads to create five different colours. Some of the shapes were filled in using only one colour of thread and other shapes were filled in using a mixture of yellow threads.

This colour blending is easier to see when viewing the purple shapes, especially if you look closely at the lightest blue shapes. You can see that the light blue threads were mixed with a dark purple thread.

I think that these colour blends kinda make the whole thing sparkle in a way!

It took me about two months to create this artwork and since it was to be a surprise present for Carol, you can imagine some of the trouble I had hiding it from her until it was completed!!! She absolutely loved it!

About a week ago, I was rummaging through one of my older art boxes when I came across this design. It’s always nice to find things that you’ve kinda forgotten about or misplaced. I smiled while remembering the history of this artwork and then an idea resurfaced in my mind. The idea was born during the creation of this art but I didn’t have the tools or technology at that time to bring the idea to life. I have those tools now…

I remember thinking that it would be really cool to create an animation film showing the adventures of that one continuous black thread line as it wiggled its way throughout the canvas… and that is just what I’ve done. To do this, tho’, I had to work backwards. I used an ‘erase’ tool on my computer to do this. I erased a few threads and then saved that image. I erased a few more and then saved that image and after close to 400 erases I had created all the images that will go into making this short animation film. I’m hoping to have this video ready to upload to my youtube account by this coming spring. I’ll be sure to post a link to the video when it’s completed.

I certainly did not want to post all of the images that were created, so I’ve posted every 30th frame for this story. I’m sure that your imagination can fill in the rest.

I hope that this story and these images have lifted your spirits and have put a smile on your face.

Until again… be smiley… it’s contagious ya know!!!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T is for Turtle!!

I love the fact that the students who ride the Peacebus are being filled with artful inspirations every day! Continuously I’m being gifted with colourful peace art designs that I use to decorate our bus. Occasionally, I create fun art competitions to focus their talents on specific topics… like turtles!!!

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve created a fun and educational group on Facebook revolving around the subject of turtles (!/groups/turtlebookink/
- please feel free to join our group) and so, I thought that it would be fun to add some creative artworks to the growing library of turtle images!

In the past, whenever I’ve created an art competition, I’ve usually prepared a sheet of paper with information about the art topic to hand out to the students who want to participate.

This time I didn’t. I simple told the students about the competition and then let them have complete control over their own creativity. I’m so glad that I did!

Most of the drawings that were handing in to me where created on regular sized peaces of paper…

… but one student really blew me away when she handed in this rather large turtle poster!!!! Melanie’s artwork is almost three feet long and it is filled with so many wonderful turtle activities. There are turtles swimming with peace fish, rowing boats and rock climbing. It reminds me of a turtle peace resort!

I just rolled with laughter when I noticed this fun character screaming ‘Rock and Roll!’ while he was parachuting to the Earth!

My wife especially liked these turtles playing on a peace rock with one turtle playing with a turtle balloon!!!! Way tew kewt!!!!

Well… after I showed the rest of the student’s this art poster I’m sure that you can imagine what happened. Yup! More art posters!!!

This art poster is so long that I was only able to capture a portion of it to share with you. You can see that Kira has a parade of colourful turtles marching along peacefully, surrounded by a peace sun and peaceful butterflies. You can see that she’s numbered each of the turtles. The poster ended when she reached 15!!

There must be something about turtles that makes people think about relaxing. Here’s another drawing of a group of turtles relaxing at a resort…

… while Sydney shows just one turtle relaxing under the sun!!! I’m looking out my window, as I write this, and I’m seeing drops of rain and fallen leaves being blown by a bitterly cold wind and then I look at this drawing and I’m reminded of summer again!

A few of these drawings ended up on the windows of the Peacebus, so that more people could see and enjoy them!

I love it when a student hands in a drawing for the very first time. This amazing artwork was created by Nikos in grade 3. Just look at all the detail. - two turtles drawn using nothing but peace symbols, swimming in an ocean of peace! Being a bit of an artist myself, I’m completely aware of the dedication to detail that this kind of creation demands.

And talking about detail… just check out Dalia’s artwork, here!!!! My eyes popped out of my head and my jaw dropped when she handed in this creation. I asked her how long this took to complete and I was not surprised when Dalia told me that it took her a little over four hours!!

Really, all the artworks impressed me greatly. The many varieties of colours, textures and environments that the turtles found themselves in, shows a mountain range of imagination. This is one reason why I love my job!!!

Jasmine is one of my great art talents! She has also joined my Facebook group called ‘Turtle Book Ink’ (!/groups/turtlebookink/)and she visits this page quite often. I love how she included a turtle book into her drawing. The turtle sliding down the peace rainbow really makes me smile, too!!!!

This is Zarek’s first drawing for the Peacebus, and what a delight it is! When I was first talking about this competition, I told the students that they should think about what kind of environment their turtle would be in. Zarek really blew me away with this creation, complete with an ocean lapping up to a peace beach with some peace trees and shrubs in the distance leading to a peaceful and spouting volcano!! Tres cool!

Now, Andor here went in a different direction, creating a very abstract and psychedelic world filled with gumdrop peace turtles. I think that John Lennon would have been inspired to write about this artwork in one of his songs!

Because the students hand in so much artwork, I sometimes – more like all the time – find myself getting behind in putting their drawings up on the bus. I’ve had some students ask me why their art isn’t on the bus and so I’ve had to tell them all that they have to be patient, “… and because the window decorations don’t last very long during the wet winter months, I’m even saving some until next spring.”

Like Rachel’s two peace turtle designs. It’ll be fun to see the students’ expressions after they have forgotten about their artworks and then suddenly, there they are filling the windows with bright colours to match the colours of springtime!

Mira is a student who rode on the Peacebus last year. She is friends with several of the students who are now riding my bus and she hears about all of our adventures. She also heard that Mr. Jim and his wife had a baby and I was delighted when she came to visit me and to give me this amazing artwork!!!! My wife loves this drawing and she said that Mira did a great job putting her in the most styling of high-heeled shoes!

Melanie handed in another turtle artwork, just a few days ago. She told me that she knew the art competition was over, “but now I just love turtles and I had to draw another one!” In the past, many drawings were addressed to ‘Mr. Jim’. Lately, I’ve noticed that they are now being addressed to ‘Daddy Mr. Jim’ or just ‘Daddy Jim’!!!! This makes my whole soul smile.

When anyone hands a drawing in to me, I always give them one of my black and white peace Stik-ers. This fact remained the same for this turtle art competition.

I told the students that there would be a several winners who would receive an additional prize. As is often the case, I couldn’t figure out who the winners should be – all the artworks were exceptionally creative and well executed. So, I decided to give all participants a small prize to show my appreciation.

I had shown the drawings of the turtle mural I had painted for Devon’s bedroom and I heard many ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhhs’ throughout the bus. So, I decided that since everyone seemed to like the turtle mural image that I would make some large stickers using this image and that these would be the prizes for all the participating artists.

I don’t like doing anything that doesn’t include all the students on the bus, so I made an additional present to share with each Peacebus student. I used Ava’s peace turtle design to create a whole bunch of smaller stickers to share! Everyone loved them!! Ava was absolutely surprised, a bit shocked and overwhelmed with gratitude that I had chosen to use her design to share with the whole bus!

Well, we are at the end of this story, but rest assured that this is not the end of the Peacebus art adventures that I will delight in sharing with you in the future!

Until then, be peaceful and be turtley!!!!

Mr. Jim