Friday, August 26, 2016

Artist Residency at Ottawa School of Art - Week 1

What an adventure my first week in Ottawa has already been. I left for Ottawa on August 20th, first thing in the morning. Packed up Heloise (our blue Mazda 3) with materials, provisions and my bicycle. 

The first leg of the Journey was going to be the longer one, I drove all the way to Quebec city already. Stayed at a rather shady Air BnB for the night and headed out again the next morning. After an uneventful trip, and covering over 1500 kilometres in 2 days I arrived in Ottawa at my dear friend Anne-Marie's place. As Anne-Marie needed someone to house-sit her condo anyways I get to spend a week with her and then take care of her place the remainder of my stay. It's the perfect arrangement. And it has been an absolute pleasure spending some time with her and her cutie-pie puppy Peeta.

The Ottawa School of Art has invited me to spend 3 weeks in their printshop as an artist in residence. Other than a lot of printing we have a few fun things planned. Next week Friday and Saturday I will be teaching two one day workshops. Open to anyone. Check out their website for details.

The following week on September 8th I will be giving an artist talk at OSA, showing my work and as a great opportunity to ask me questions about what I do. Last but not least I will be doing some demo printing during their open house on September 10th. I will then head to Montreal for a few days before my return to Halifax.

As part of my daily ritual I bike for half an hour to get to OSA from Anne-Marie's place. After three days of having google maps guide me this complicated route I think I have finally internalized it.

Adjusting to a new printshop environment is always a bit of a challenge for me. When I did my residency at Zea Mays they gave me a space that I was able to set up in and spread out and work without having to pack up my stuff for the duration of the residency. I think that best case scenario has spoiled me. When I arrived at OSA it became clear that this is a school printshop, so even though it's a quiet time of the year everything has to be put away at the end of each day and then set up again the next. This is the first residency I have done where that was the case, and it's amazing how much extra energy this takes when you go in every day to print and it's like starting over on everything from set up to clean up.  Of course this is nothing new for a printshop environment.
But after my 30 min bike ride and then setting everything up for working in the printshop, by the time this happens most of the morning has been used up and I feel exhausted enough to want to take a nap.

I always think that I am good at adapting to most situations and just find a new routine, but then I don't really allow myself to actual take time to find that new routine and get comfortable with it. So the first week at OSA was a bit frustrating, but for no reason than my own stubborn self. I started cutting corners in my process and didn't take the time to really think things through properly. The results... less than satisfying. So yesterday I took a step back and said ok. Lets just spend the day mixing inks. And that's what I did. Now I have a proper palette to work with again. No more short cuts! The next goal is to cut paper and then do a bunch of proofing with my new batch of inks until I find the right colour combinations for new batch of 6 lino-blocks. Today I am allowing myself a late morning because I am tired. Afterall this is not a race. 

What I did accomplish this week is to pull a proof of all 6 small linocuts and carve out the detail that I wanted. Here some photos:

First proofs pulled. Now back to carving more. 

Top was the before I carved more, bottom is the after. 

Definitely needed to add more detail to this block. 

That's much better.


I always love seeing what innovative solutions print shops have found for the various difficult equipment needed. I love this graining sink that is actually a bathtub with a wooden grate on top. Brilliant solution! And the faucet is hooked up to hose that can be used for washing out screens in the washout booth next to the sink, or moved back to the sink for rinsing off litho stones. 

Ink mixing party. 

A solid days work. Feeling pretty good about this.

Anne-Marie's dog Peeta finds it fascinating that I make my own ice cream. 

Anne-Marie told me Peeta never jumps up on anyone except her and maybe sometimes her partner Mathieu. 2 Minutes later Peeta hopped up and we had a good doggy cuddle. ;)

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