Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Silver on Silver, Fork Reflections I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Now there is a triptych in my 'silver on silver' cutlery series.  Not that they have to sell as a triptych, but they would look fabulous hung together, either side by side, or one above the other.  I will try to get some photos of them hanging together in my gallery room once they dry a bit.

The word fork is derived from the Latin 'furca' meaning pitchfork, which is what the early designs resembled.  The Fork started out life with two prongs, with origins and dates differing, but for arguments sake 400 BCE seems to be a good starting date.  By the Seventh century small forks were used at Middle Eastern Courts and made their way to Italy in about the eleventh century in the dowry of a Byzantine princess who married a Venetian doge.
Thanks to Catherine de Medici (who married Henry I in 1533) the fork made its way across the sea to England.  It took a while for it to catch on in Europe. By the late sixteenth century, a period when upper-class Italians expressed renewed interest in cleanliness the fork came into use; yet the French court did not pick it up until the seventeenth century when it was deemed uncivilized to eat meat with both hands.

As the saying goes 'necessity is the mother of invention'...  so somewhere between the late seventeenth and the mid-eighteenth century, the tines increased from two, to three, to four, in order to make it a bit easier to consume peas, grains, etc.  Plus a little curve to the tines allowed the user to scoop up food, besides spear it.

Now we have forks designed specifically to aid us in serving and consuming almost any food you can think of!

$150.00, 10x10 oil on canvas

Monday, December 27, 2010

Still Life Painting, Silver on Silver, Knife Reflections I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

This 'silver on silver' series is challenging, but it is sharpening my observation skills.  My left brain is surrendering to the creative right side, and in the process seems to be enjoying the exercise.   But, in order to be fair to both hemispheres I am indulging the left side in some historical research...

During the Middle Ages most people ate with their hands off of slices of four-day old bread.  Only the wealthy used knives.  Knives were impressive, and among the male nobility there was no better place to show off your talents than to bring along your personal knives to a dinner party and help the women folk cut up their food at the table, when necessary.  Two knives were better than one, because then you used one to cut while the other held the meat still.   Once it was no longer necessary to spear one's food with the point of a knife, (after the fork came into use) craftsmen began to create knives with blunt ends.  I would assume that rowdy banquets would be a bit safer with the sharp knives safely tucked away.

More reflective thoughts to come...

$150.00, 10x10 oil on canvas

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Silver on Silver, Spoon Reflections I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

New Years is fast approaching, bringing with it reflections on events of the past 365 days, along with some thoughts on how we might create a few different experiences for ourselves in the year ahead.

Tin foil is a favorite backdrop for me... creating interesting passages of light and reflected color from the objects placed upon it, giving a semi-abstract feel to the painting.  This is the first time I have painted silver objects upon a silver background and I must say it was an interesting experience.  "Paint what you see", I kept telling myself,  not what you "think" you see.  Our left brain (the analytical side), loves to overpower our thoughtful creative right brain.  The left brain kept telling me to paint silver on silver, because we all know that silverware is silver in color and so is tin foil... but my right brain kept repeating the painters' mantra of "Paint what you see", telling me to really look at the spoons lying on the tin foil and paint all the colors that appeared in the reflected surfaces of each.
Yes, there were many shades of gray, but there were also tints, tones and shades of blue, and orange... reflections from the various objects that surrounded this still life that really created what I was focused on painting.
How many other things in our lives are reflections of what is surrounding us?
One of my new years resolutions is to "Paint what I see, not what I think I see..." in as many areas of my life as possible.

$150.00, 10x10 oil on canvas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Still Life of Fruit, Pomegranate Wedgies, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Pomegranates are one of those festive fruits we associate with winter and especially the holidays.  Inside the leathery skin is a treasure trove of ruby red flesh covered seeds which can add sparkle to any salad.  Last year some Foodie Friends introduced us to 'Pomegranate Molasses'... it was love at first taste!  Pomegranate syrup would be a better name for this nectar from the gods, but molasses will have to do.  I often add about a 1/2 tsp or so, to any vinegarette salad dressing I make, but after doing some research on the web, I noticed that you can supposedly replace the vinegar with the pomegranate molasses like this 'recipe' I found.
While perusing the web I also came across a few meat dishes using pomegranate molasses that I am going to try over the holidays, one is with Pork Tenderloin and the other one is with Chicken.   Here in Edmonton you can find pomegranate molasses at the Italian Centre Store, but I am sure that it is available at many ethnic or specialty stores since it is popular in Middle Eastern cuisine.

Happy Holidays everyone... I may not post much over the holidays.  But you never know...

$200.00, 9x12 oil on canvas

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Abstracted Pine Painting, Red Pine, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

My head has been full of ideas just waiting to pop out onto the canvas when the right mix of various muse showed up at the same time.  Well it happened today...

After viewing a few different artists' work on the web, (one fellow, who's work I find very inspiring is Angus Wilson), perusing art magazines, attending various art exhibits around the city, looking over stained glass designs and colors my husband is going to be working with for our house, along with wanting to try using more color with a touch of abstraction in my landscape work, my head almost exploded today!

I will blame some of my experimentation on the fact that last night was a full lunar eclipse  (which we made a point of going outside at 1:17 last night to observe) of a red toned moon, and today is the winter solstice!

Some of this might explain today's painting called Red Pine, which is perhaps the beginning of a new series in the coming new year.  No promises... 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pine Tree Painting, Lone Lodgepole, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

It was a dark and stormy night....  oops!.... that is how Snoopy from the Peanuts Gang, always started his stories.

It was a gray and stormy day along the Bow river in Banff, Alberta when I snapped this photo.  Like my last posting, this painting is of a Lodgepole Pine (I found out that it is all one word, so I must go back and change it on my blog posting from Friday), and as I  thought, the name gave a clue as to its use.  I said to my husband that it was probably used to build native longhouses, but I was showing my eastern Canadian heritage, because longhouses were mainly built in north eastern North America by such tribes as the Iroquois and Mohawk.

Here in the west, lodgepole pines were (and still are) the favorite choice for tepee poles.  Fifteen to eighteen lodgepole pines is the typical number used to construct a tepee.  Long, straight and lightweight were the characteristics of the species that made it ideal for horse transport in nomadic buffalo hunting cultures.  Tribes made long journeys across the plains to harvest lodgepole pines that only grew in mountainous regions.
No wonder the Lodgepole Pine is the provincial tree of Alberta, Canada.

10x10 oil on canvas

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tree Painting, Lodge Pole Pines I, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Lodge Pole Pines I, 10x10, oil on canvas

 'Tree Pose'

It was an overcast and snowy day when I took the reference photo for this painting, but even a gray day can have it's own magic.  These lodge pole pines grow along the Bow River in the mountain resort town of Banff, here in Alberta.  Fine snow flakes began to fill the sky as we walked back from Bow Falls to the main street of the town.  A few dogs played together long the path, kicking up snow as they chased each other through the trees, while a horse and sleigh jingled its way down the road next to the river.
A winter wonderland.

P.S.  Anyone who does yoga will get my 'tree pose' joke...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poinsettia Painting, A Touch of Lime, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

The gallery photo above is just for fun, and is NOT the actual size of my pink poinsettia painting.

A number of daily painters have emailed to ask me how I did this gallery shot.  I used a site called Photofunia.  Enjoy!

'A Touch of Lime'
16x20 inches 

Here is the 16x20 inch, oil painting called 'A Touch of Lime' from last week.  I had a few subscribers contact me asking if it is for sale.  It was marked NFS (not for sale)... but I have decided to sell it.
Tones of pink with hints of burgundy reds, and of course, a touch of lime...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flag Paintings, by Canadian Artist, Kim Blair

  Imagine what a larger version of your flag might look like...  

My studio has become Santa's workshop, so I won't be posting anything for a few days, as I am busy painting some (you guessed it) flag painting commissions!

If you think you 'missed a great gift idea' it's not too late.  You may place your flag order, and when I paint it, (before Christmas) I will send you a photo of your purchase so that you can print it off (in color) and slip it under the tree, telling the recipient that the real thing will be arriving after the holidays.
January can be dull and a bit boring... so why not have the anticipation of a package arriving ' a little late' from the North Pole... or Edmonton?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Floral Painting of a Poinsettia, A Touch of Lime, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

16x20, oil on canvas

It is December after all... so why not paint a poinsettia?  Native to Central America the poinsettia blooms in the tropical highlands during the short days of winter, and was known by the name of cuetlaxochitl to the ancient Aztecs.  The Aztecs extracted a purplish dye for use in textiles and cosmetics from the plants bracts, which are the coloured specialized leaves of the plant, and the milky white sap, today called latex, was used for some medicinal purposes.
Thanks to the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, a physician, named Joel Poinsett (he was the ambassador from 1825-1829), 'Euphorbia pulcherrima' plants were eventually cultivated in South Carolina.  Mr. Poinsett's real love was in the science of bontany, and this 'most beautiful Euphorbia' (as the name translates to) soon became known as a poinsettia.

Guess what else Mr. Poinsett is famous for?  He founded the institution which we know today as the Smithsonian Institution.

16x20, oil on canvas

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Floral Painting of Lilies, June in Chicago, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

June in Chicago, 12x24

This past June we were in Chicago soaking up the art, architecture and flowers...

We stayed in an area of the city that had an abundance of lovely old brick homes, and brick walk-up apartment buildings, with various forms of front yard gardens growing next to the sidewalk.  One morning, on our way to catch the train, we walked past these glorious white trumpet lilies.  Elegant blooms with a dusting of golden pollen, perched on tall, slender stems with short green leaves.  Each plant was easily 4 to 5 feet tall!  Parked on the street next to the garden was a deep red car... the perfect backdrop.

12x24 inches on canvas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Floral Painting of an Orchid, White Phal, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Once upon a time, when I was a Florist, orchids were considered exotic flowers.  Although we have access to a wide variety of orchids from a number of stores, I think they still fall into the exotic category.

Most people are introduced to orchids through the phalaenopsis variety.  Pots of elegant, arching sprays of these blooms can be seen displayed on coffee tables in many design magazines across North America.  The classic white hybrid is often called a moth orchid and seems to be a popular variety among interior designers, and for good reason.   Phalaenopsis are generally rewarding plants, and are not demanding.   In the right conditions they will reward the grower with months of showy blooms.  The only thing that might be more rewarding is owning this painting of a 'phal' (as we liked to call them when I was a florist).

Guaranteed not to die while you are on holidays, she can take a draft... so hang her where ever you please!

12x12 oil on canvas

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pen and Ink Floral of an Iris, Evening Iris, by Canadian Artist Kim Blair

Evening Iris flowed off my brush and pen onto the paper...
Drawing ink first appeared in China, about 3,000 BCE.  This early ink was a combination of pinewood smoke, lamp oil, and gelatin from animal skins.  Since then, art inks have been made from a diversity of sources, such as sooty carbon, oak galls, insects, cuttlefish ink and crustaceans.  I create my pen and ink work using a brush and a metal tipped quill pen, which I dip into bottled waterproof ink.  Like watercolors, ink pigment produces magical passages when dropped or brushed onto wet paper... rather mesmerizing.

$100.00, 12x9 pen and ink on watercolor paper, (+ 15.00 S/H anywhere in North America)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flag Paintings, by Canadian Artist, Kim Blair

Sometimes we miss the obvious choice...

The holidays are upon us... and it can be a challenge to find the perfect present for that special someone.  When you are out racing around trying to find that unique gift you may be missing all the signs along the way... pointing to a patriotic solution to your shopping needs... a flag.

A Flag painting fits the bill (or is that bill-board?)