Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Starting To Get Ready

I'm starting to get organized for a show coming up this summer, which means framing some of the smaller works, which means cutting mattes. And all was going well until it wasn't, which meant the white matte had red splotches. Quite a few red splotches and I was hopping about yelling SH*T, SH*T, SH*T. Man X-acto knives are sharp. So it will be a few days before I cut any more mattes; meanwhile I got the photo I needed of the 4 scroll books hanging and finally found the black book boards for the Song to Spring book, and the peepers are singing.


the 4 scroll books hanging free, 2014


Monday, April 21, 2014

A Mysterious Process

J. started a new painting last week and when I was in his studio the other day i asked if I could take some photos. The 1st month of a painting, well his, is such a mysterious process to me as he wanders about in the forest looking for the path or the light. I, of course am always wanting to tell him to stop here or there as I love the forms hinted at, this ambiguous state. I know that at this stage he is calibrating the palette for this painting, the forms have already been decided. For me it's a treat to come in each day and see the slow build up of the under painting, some days what I had loved yesterday is covered over, or barely there, but other places have begun to sing. BTW in the photos the painting is sideways, and in the 1st photo the studio lights are on, in the 2nd it's just natural light.

Under painting 1, © John Ballantyne, 2014

Under painting 2, © John Ballantyne, 2014

If you would like to see more of John's work please visit his web site   johnballantyneartist.com


Saturday, April 19, 2014

April Snow

The other morning even Zoe, our dog, didn't want to go out side. It was back to the white world and deep freeze.  J. had put the screen door up and Zoe just stood there and stared.

Even Zoe can't believe what she sees

Later that morning I noticed that the snow was melting on the roof, sliding and folding down upon itself,  making wavelets of snow.

snow folds on the roof

And just before dinner, making a tour of the garden to see how the young shoots of the perennials had survived this latest assault, I wandered over to the pond; frozen solid, again. Even the split in the ice was trying to heal and the ice was a dark pewter gleam.


the self healing ice



Thursday, April 17, 2014

The End Of The Roll

Next time I will know to buy more than one roll of this practice paper. I seem to be eating it. Quite tasty I find, especially when we woke up to 5 inches of snow yesterday. Spring, can you hear me?


scales # 9, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #10, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #13, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Color of Melting

Really warm weather and strong winds have pulled the snow to the edge of the woods and water is beginning to flow into the pond and puddle on the surface of the ice. The colour of the water is that glacial green, not easy to capture in the photos below. I keep running out to the pond at different times of the day to take photos but never seem to capture that particular quality of colour. Within minutes of the ice going out of the pond the peepers will start to sing their spring song, I can hardly wait.


the colour of spring, 2014

more pond color, 2014

a lovely line, a crack in the ice on the pond, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Outside / Inside

Out side all is melting: water is running high in the streams, stone walls are exposing more of themselves every hour, where the snow has melted the grass lies matted and best of all is the smell again, damp earth, a soft scent. Watching out the studio window as the snow creeps back towards the woods, I realized I wasn't paying attention and had dripped water over some of this practice paper [last post]. As I pulled it off the table the light shone though the water marks, what beautiful shapes.




Friday, April 11, 2014

Practice Paper

Last week when we were in Montreal I picked up a roll of practice paper; I must say the name enchanted me. All I could think of was practicing scales and I realized, again, how much better a pianist I might have been if I had just practiced my scales; now I am drawing scales.  There is something so satisfying and pleasurable about making these marks, lines on paper, repeating motions, repeat again with slightly different pressure or motion. All the things my piano teacher tried to teach me about playing scales is so evident in this process. Wish I could have understood it then.

scales #1, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #3, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

scales #5, 11.5 x 15. 25 in, ink on paper, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back to The Japanese Paper

I have enjoyed using the Terra Skin paper but I have to admit to missing the aliveness of my beautiful Kozuke paper. There is something so wondrous about the way ink and paper meet. I'm hoping this is not a fatal attraction but there is a very sensual feeling about how they behave. I've never met 2 materials with such an attraction for each other. Maybe they have spring fever too.

trying to grow, 72 in x 40 in, ink on paper, 2014

reaching towards the other, 2014


Monday, April 7, 2014

Scroll Books 2, 3 and 4

Finished the other 3 scroll books and was on a roll so decided to glue the covers for another book I am  working on called Songs for Spring. It's big and the paper I was covering the book boards with has puckered and warped the boards [my gluing technique might have something to do with it], but what I really want are black book boards like I have used for these little ones. I've been checking on line without success, and I need large sheets, 13 x 19 inches, so if any one knows where to purchase large solid black book boards please let me know.

scroll book 2, 3, 4, opening, 8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

scroll book 2, 3, 4, middle, 8.5 in x 10 in, 2014


scroll book 2, 3, 4, ending, 8.5 in x 10 in, 2014


all the scroll books, 1,2,3,4,  8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

all the scroll books, 1,2,3,4, detail,  8.5 in x 10 in, 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Old Friends

Yesterday we were in Montreal picking up supplies and of course I needed paper so a trip to Au Papier Japonaise [link here] was on the agenda. It's always a treat to see Stan and Lorraine and I love the fact that I have been going to their store for  20+ years. They are  so knowledgable and each time I learn. Stan and I were reminiscing about a previous love affair of mine with one of their beautiful papers called gampi, a hand made paper, tissue thin but so strong, with a pearl like sheen to it. I used it extensively for a series of body castings I was doing about how our bodies tell stories, about taking off our armour and feeling vulnerable, and because I didn't remove the paper from the edge of the moulds they also suggested the light that surrounds us. These photos are scans from slides and I really should redo them…sometime.

The Heart of the Matter, 23.5 in H x 33 in W x 11 in D, gampi tissue, 1993

Surrender, 77 in H x 28.5 in W x 10.25 in D,  gampi tissue, 1993