5: Contagious

…tending to spread from person to person
Have you ever heard the term “a germ of an idea”?
The 30x30x30 Art Challenge is one of those ideas. The whole concept of 30 artists (or groups of artists) producing 30 works of art each in a 30 day period is unique and inspiring. So much so, I want to tell everyone about it.
Why are all these artists giving so much of their time and creativity? To help Treetops Montessori School – a little independent school set in Darlington in the Perth Hills (Western Australia). This school is one of the most nourishing environments for a child’s soul that I have ever seen. My children have been lucky enough to have experienced the melting pot of Montessori schooling in this spacious, tree-filled environment. There is room to breathe, play and learn.
This little school has recently benefited from the government stimulus package (thanks Kevin for the low interest loan) and has had a whole new high school building. The high school now has rooms dedicated to science, music and art. This building is fresh, airy and unfortunately quite empty of resources. THIS is why the 30x30x30 Art Challenge came about. If we can give these children opportunity to shine, we will see extraordinary results. The proceeds from the 30x30x30 Art Challenge will go directly to the Arts facilities at Treetops Montessori School.
Thank you dear artists, sponsors and friends who have given so much of their time and efforts to help this little school grow. We hope you can see the benefits you bring in the coming years.

Let this idea be contagious, let people know about this project, let friends and family come and enjoy the exhibition. Let them hear about the opportunity to buy works of art for only $50 a piece. Affordable art for everyone. There is an invitation to the event on facebook – head here to invite your family and friends!


It is going to be extraordinary.

10: Crystallisation

to form or cause to form crystals; assume or cause to assume a crystalline form or structure ; to coat or become coated with sugar; to assume a recognizable or definite form.

Once again I have been juggling my various tasks this week at a rapid-fire pace. I have managed at the last minute to have a flash of inspiration for this weeks blog… a moment of crystallisation.

I was gazing out of my window, beyond the computer screen onto the paddock beyond. This morning brought a light frost across the grass, it was like a light dusting of icing sugar over a misty landscape. Beautiful, peaceful and quiet.

At what point does crystallisation occur? Scientifically, it is the moment at which liquid transforms into a solid. It is a beautiful moment, almost intangible in its instance. A point that comes and goes, and what was before a flowing liquid gains structure and rigidity.

I love the process of crystallisation as an analogy for the creative moment. That point when an idea transforms into something more solid. A vision, a plan on how to pull it all together and create.

Enjoy that moment fellow artisans. Relish in the beauty of what our minds are capable of, and create!

Challenger 10 – Michelle Reynolds

From Behind Curtain 1, we are excited to announce that Michelle Reynolds starts her challenge today.  From her breathtaking property in Hovea, Michelle will create an artwork a day for 30 days. Michelle describes her challenge:

“My acrylic paintings are bright and colourful layered abstracts.  My approach to this challenge will be to begin by painting similar layers on ten paintings at one time then I will concentrate on individual paintings, bringing out the layers and adding bling. Whilst I have a list of 30-40 ideas for paintings I will let the paintings speak to me as to their colour and composition and paint intuitively to see how they evolve. Ideas include flowers, my confetti trees, little houses and words.  Working on 8”x8” canvas will be a challenge as I prefer a larger canvas. I will be adapting my style to a smaller canvas.  One of my goals is to produce 30 high quality paintings in 30 days and in a style that people will recognise for their similarity. Another goal is to try different techniques such as adding collage or texture paste.”

Challenger 9 – Roslyn Blackburn

From Behind Curtain 1, we are excited to announce that Roslyn Blackburn starts her challenge today.  From her Kingsley studio Roslyn will create 30 artworks in 30 days.  Roslyn describes her challenge:

“I would like to use this opportunity to work in a more experimental style to add depth and mood to a storybook or illustrative style of painting. I’d like to weave a story for those who want to linger. I will develop subtle colour using layers of paint overlays to build form and texture. These textured works normally take days to develop, by working on a smaller scale I can work on several works each week to develop the coloured and textured backgrounds I use as a base for my work. Then I should achieve the painting I need to complete in a day. The idea of using a theme of animals or birds and figures appeals where the viewer can make their own interpretation of a story within each individual work or the overall collection of 30 pieces.”

24: Canvas

A closely woven, heavy cloth of cotton, hemp, or linen, used for tents, sails, etc.

I had the most extraordinary opportunity at Treetops Montessori on Tuesday evening. It was their annual AGM and I was lucky enough to have a tour around the new buildings that have only just been opened for the upper school.

Walking around this incredible facility, breathing in the freshly painted and carpeted smells, I was struck with the thought that these very places are blank canvases. Some of the rooms are not yet fitted out, some partially so… but the potential is incredible. Even the small pieces of student’s art placed around the art room were truly inspiring. The students that are lucky enough to experience this new facility could probably be likened to canvases too (but more fleshy and brainy, less flat and square). What are they going to come out of this experience of Treetops looking like? One thing is for sure… they will each be a work of art.

Now to dissect canvases a bit more.

Origin of the word “canvas” reaches back as far as 1260 from the Anglo-French language, “cannapaceus” meaning made of hemp. (1)

blank canvas

The question that pops to mind is: Why do artists use canvases? Of all the materials available, we still tend to gravitate towards these taut pieces of fabric stretched over wooden frames. Is it the texture that lures us? The portability? Or is it just the sheer tactile nature of having an object of art?

According to the Font-of-All-Knowledge (Wikipedia): “Canvas has become the most common support medium for oil painting, replacing wooden panels. One of the earliest surviving oils on canvas is a French Madonna with angels from around 1410″ (2)

But why did the artists of old replace wood panels? Surely a wood panel would be more durable and sturdy than a canvas?

It seems that the reason was due to “a sudden success of the merchant industry”. Canvas became affordable to the public, and was still a durable enough medium to withstand the tests of time. (3). Consider also the fact that canvas is much lighter, portable, and not restrictive when it comes to size. So it seems to me that we can thank the early maritime industry for what art has become today. Who would have thought we have more to thank them for than peppercorns?

I am excited about the journeys we will see in this remarkable exhibition. No doubt some of the artists who will explore completely new ideas, colours and subject matter. What will be extraordinary is the artists each bringing so many dimensions to this project (subject matter, mediums, materials) with the one thing in common: The Canvas.

I am especially interested in the collaboration we will see with among the contributing groups of artists. Collaboration…. now there’s a good title for the next blog.

  1. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 12 Mar. 2012. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/canvas>.
  2. Wikipedia
  3. http://www.anythingpaintedoncanvas.com/article/canvas_painting