A heart to help this world by reducing, reusing and recycling things inspires me to create lusciously textured paintings (which actually fulfill my in-born desire to make sculpture). When working this way I experience a completely different creative process than when painting realistically. Dorothea's Art Studio blog describes and illustrates my art making process.
After you read and watch this blog, you might guess by the gruelling process I went through, why the painting is entitled “Whirlwind”! I didn’t plan on what happened to this piece, but suffice it to say, it underwent an amazing transformation process.
It all began one day at the market when I saw an old beaded dress (from the 70’s) on display. I could NOT take my eyes off of it because I just knew there was something I could create with it. So I bought it for 80.00.
I took out the seams of the dress and planned to use the skirt section. It had an interesting hem, as you can see above. And because it was a sheer material, I knew I needed to paint on the canvas board first. So I painted lots of varying width stripes. When it was ready, I dipped the skirt into a pan of watered down glue and placed it on my canvas board in a certain arrangement.
Above was the result – after a little painting on top of the dress. To me was just ok – not really working for me – so I painted away. I thought to emphasize some of the movement ... and avoided at all costs, painting over the pearls. So I painted “these” sections, then whited them out: and painted “those” sections and whited them out. But It was all becoming even less ‘ok’ in my eyes. I was mostly likely bedazzled by the bling!
I began to set the painting aside for weeks at a time. I tried adding more beads and necklaces - for some sort of contrast, but really, I was at a loss. Time passed.
Finally after some quiet time with God one night, I realized I should paint what I would want to have on my own walls. So, gritting my teeth because I had spent so many hours on this painting already, I painted the whole thing a creamy white — I now had a vision for how I wanted it to turn out.
As often happens, visions and final results do not always match. But for the first time, it was actually fun to paint the largest upcycled piece I'd ever created. I stopped painting when the whirlwind had subsided.
My thought: I personally needed to go through the wild process of this appropriately entitled “Whirlwind” painting in order to come to the simplest solution. I learned something new again!
“WHIRLWIND” 2019 Upcycling in Painting 48 x 20 inches Beaded dress and acrylic paint
As with most of my artwork, these pieces need to be seen in person to receive their optimum benefit.
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Last year, I alluded to a piece of art I was making for a contest (being held in Halifax), and the subject was “Protest Art” about the Viola Desmond story. I decided to enter a painting using a “word cloud” (embellished with jewellery, of course).
At first they were going to have judges and the top ten winners would receive several thousand dollars and their work would be displayed on a building in New Glasgow, NS… then they decided that they would allow the public to vote for their favourites instead… then they decided that they would show the work at a gallery… then they found they were not allowed to… (some issue about appropriation)… oh well… I have yet to receive my painting back.
Above you can see that I’m almost finished laying out my letters. I already had in my studio 3 variations and sizes of letters. But one thing that really astounded me was that despite my limited number of large letters, I still had ALL the letters I needed for Viola Desmond's name!!! That was a fun sign to me that I was on the right track. A few smaller letters had to be made by my husband on his 3D printer, to complete my word cloud.
UPCYCLING IN PAINTING - Holding up my latest piece, "Private Collection"
I decided to call this art piece, "Private Collection" because it looks like one. A woman's jewellery collection is special – a very personal thing. Necklaces, rings and bracelets are preserved over the years and each one of them represents a special memory of a particular family member, a significant occasion, or even an overseas trip. I can only imagine the stories contained in the jewellery pieces that I've incorporated into this artwork! A woman's jewellery stash can reveal something about her heart. So, in my imagination, this painting is made from one woman's jewellery box.
It's wonderful to have a lot of friends and acquaintances with old jewellery! A while back I was delighted when a friend, who I hadn't spoken to in years, Dianne, contacted me to see if I'd like to come to Truro and pick up some jewellery from her sister's antique shop. Of course, yes!! Sadly (for us) her sister had moved on from this world to Heaven, and Dianne was now working on slowly "emptying" the shop.
Everything I see in this world gives me unending inspiration for art projects. I'm pretty sure that another 100 years of life would still not exhaust the creative ideas that God has put inside me. As the photos below show, I again used up some more of my husband's 3d printer reject parts.
As this piece developed, I wound up with a lovely textured background (using the 3D printer parts), but it was just a background. I already had a colour theme in mind so after I painted and glazed with acrylic paint, I searched through my "jewellery boxes" from around the world to pick out whatever would satisfy my colour cravings. Above are photos of the painting's very beginning, and below are some close-ups of it near its completion.
And here's a short video clip of some of my painting process for this piece. THANKS FOR WATCHING! Full video "Coming Soon"!
Short clip of "Private Collection" - YouTube
WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING FOR AN UNUSUAL ART GIFT, EMAIL ME or MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE MY HOME STUDIO IN HALIFAX: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are 5 things that were happening in my studio this summer:
1. For the last few weeks I've been working on a secret project that can't be revealed until much later ... but here are a couple of closeup shots that I can show you now. The piece is 24 x 36 inches.
2. I'm clearing my backlog of time lapse video clips so my iPad doesn't crash. So as I was creating the complete video of my staple project last week, I decided to retitle it, "LIKE RAISING CHILDREN". I'm comparing our attempts at teaching and guiding of our children (to the best of our ability) with "arranging staples". And I'm comparing the unexpected joy and randomness of children's behaviour to "painting with pearls" because they both just go and do whatever they want to do, when they want to do it! (If you watch the video, I also created the long piece of music you'll hear, in GarageBand. And this is the first time the WHOLE song is being featured, yay!)
Like Raising Children Process Video - YouTube
3. I'm making a realistic painting. This is a short silent (and a bit shaky) timelapse clip that I did last as I was discovering what I could do with limited time and colours – for a class. As it turned out, this painting took over the expected time to make, and it needed unusual colours so I demonstrated a small upcycling piece for that class instead.
Garden Poppy short time lapse clip - YouTube
4. Earlier this month I started and then put on hold the making of another upcycled piece using Michael's leftover amateur-radio-box "tests" from our home 3D printer. Here's another silent, short timelapse video of what it looks like right now: I'm excited to find out where it's going to end up ... maybe next month we'll find out!
Amateur Radio Painting - short timelapse clip - YouTube
5. Cleaning up my studio ... oops, did I just say I was cleaning up my studio? Nope, not this month ...
This is a very short blog just to show a bit of what my dual/solo art show looked like when it was live from May 12th to June 9th, 2018. It was displayed alongside the fish sculptures of Nancy Roberts. I enjoyed the artistic arrangement of all the artwork, accomplished by Nuri, the gallery owner (who I'm sure had help from her husband).
On a later visit, I made two short videos of my artwork hanging in the gallery (Visual Voice Fine Art Gallery of Truro, Nova Scotia). I hope you enjoy seeing these bits and pieces!
My dear daughter (Christel), standing beside me, came with flowers to my opening!
My friend Marcela and I are speaking with ceramic artist, Nancy Roberts (short hair, bright blue turtleneck)
Gallery Showing of Dorothea LeBlanc Artworks - YouTube
If you follow my Instagram feed, you may have seen the photo progress of this painting. (The gluing onto a canvas of objects I'd scrounged that had any kind of circular form).
So, my exhaustive supply of circular objects was dumped on the canvas and organizing began. When I had something I thought I liked, I removed everything and drafted some circle guides on the canvas to follow. Then I repeated the laying out process (re-organizing is an opportunity for me to see if my previous idea was really going to work).
It's hard to describe what happened for this painting, but I already had an image of sorts inside me, of shapes and colours that I wanted to use even before I began. It was not necessarily a mental picture, yet it also came along with feelings (maybe they were feelings of excitement and wonder - to see if I could create what I had in mind).
So it turns out the circles and rings made a collection of eyes; hence I titled it "His Eyes Run To and Fro". As always with iridescent paint, the appearance varies with the light around it as it shimmers and glows. Eyes depend on light for their ability to see and be seen, don't they?
Does this painting evoke any emotions for you, I wonder?
I call this one, "His Eyes Run To and Fro" and for short, just "His Eyes."
Here are two interesting articles about plastic and the ocean: