The main character in The Awen Chronicles, Lucy Gillespie, is a successful artist. While considering what I might write in this second blog instalment, the women artists I know seemed an appropriate topic. What of who they are as women and as artists might have made its way into the character of Lucy—I’ll leave that for you to decide.
Among them, the artist I’ve known the longest is Rocio Amozurrutia. Rocio and I became pen pals back in elementary school and have maintained a friendship ever since, periodically taking time out for those things that life throws in your direction between then and now. Somehow, we always manage to pick up the pieces and continue.
Rocio was born in Mexico City and studied painting at The National School of Visual Arts there. In 1991 she moved to Florence, Italy where she was awarded the first prize at the Fortmann Studios. While studying at the Fine Arts Academy in Florence, she worked in restoration of Gobelins and ancient tapestries of the 13th and 14th Centuries.
In 1993 she was awarded a distinction for an exhibition titled “Al Femminile” in Trento, Italy. Not only award-winning, Rocio gives painting and art therapy courses, frequently in addiction centres. Her work has been shown featured in gallery shows throughout Italy, as well as in Holland, and, of course, Mexico.
She says that her art is a metamorphosis, constantly transforming. It takes her to the darkest zone within, an underworld of madness, fury, impotence, pain and loss from which she struggles to recover her instinctive strength. www.instagram.com/elpinceldeetaine
Perhaps my Lucy Gillespie embodies some of Rocio’s spiral growth, propelled by an engine of instinctive strength. Perhaps.
Years later, at St. Mary’s School for Girls in Kitchener, Ontario, I first encountered C. Ann Kittredge as a fellow classmate. Like me but unlike Lucy, Ann’s “first life” involved a study of science—she at WLU, while I was just down the street at the University of Waterloo. In each case, our time as “lab rats” led us into teaching. While Lucy doesn’t overtly express an aptitude for science, I think her analytical skills may. When you read L’Orté Point, let me know what you think about that.
Early in her transition, Ann won the Joel Dana Memorial Scholarship as an outstanding graduating student in the BFA program at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Today, C. Ann Kittredge (BFA, MFA) is a mixed media artist residing in New Brunswick, Canada. During the early part of her “second life”, she lectured at the University of Maine, Presque Isle where she taught drawing, painting, design and printmaking.
She continues to be fascinated by the connections between art and science; much of her imagery arises from a lengthy consideration of issues and phenomena which reside in that area where science, art, and spirituality overlap. In addition to painting in acrylic, Ann has been making mixed media works built with collage, ink, paint and other media over large intaglio prints (etchings). The layering of images and media speaks to the levels of meaning, reflecting the physical, intellectual and spiritual concerns which inspire the work.
Ann has been an instructor of children’s summer art workshops and adult drawing classes. She also served as a docent at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, NB and has participated in numerous gallery showings of her art— not only at the Beaverbook Art Gallery, but also at galleries throughout New Brunswick, Maine and Vermont.
I find the transitions inspiring; they give me hope. One can become far more than one is at any point along the journey that is life. Then again, it is these real transitions, facilitated through art, which inspired me to create Lucy, an artist who forges her own path through a very personal transition.
The third artist, Hilary Slater, I have known for the shortest period of time—and that’s about forty years! During most of that time she lived and worked in southern Ontario, eventually moving her studio to Tiny Township on the shores of Georgian Bay.
Hilary is a prolific artist. Her work is greatly varied since she is very active across a broad spectrum: watercolour, oil, acrylic, pottery, textiles... and more. Primarily self- taught as a painter, Hilary has been painting for over thirty-five years, eight of them as a professional artist.
Having studied Landscape Design at the Master’s level, Hilary transposes her educational background into her art, painting native tree and plant species of Ontario into her work. She paints landscapes of the Canadian wilderness, from Ontario to Labrador. Her recent works are large-scale watercolours sealed with cold wax, mounted on birch panel, as well as acrylic painting on panel.
She has been featured in PleinairMagazine.com and AmericanWatercolor.net since she paints predominantly on location to capture the immediacy of live experience. Her inked line work creates a “stained glass” effect in some of her paintings. More recently, Hilary’s winter wet-on-wet paintings have incorporated snow as a medium, allowing the natural material to play with abstraction in her painting process.
Hilary thrives on the lack of control that her wet-on-wet techniques allow, since other mediums afford a forced decision-making with each brush stroke. Wet-on-wet forces the excitement of letting go to allow nature to take experiences while plein air painting.
Hilary says that she is inspired by the wild fetish of colour that the Ontario landscape affords. Her many years of colour research have led to the courageous combinations she now applies in both her watercolours and acrylics. Her work can be seen on www.instagram.com/hilaryslaterart . Her website is hilaryslater.com .
While Lucy Gillespie doesn’t share Hilary’s love of plein air painting, she does share a similar joy in celebrating the exuberance of nature. Readers of The Awen Chronicles will meet Lucy and her art in Book 1, L’Orté Point, but the art becomes far more significant in Book 2, Cow on the Ice.
We like to say that no news is good news, but in this case no news is merely a lack of information––and that’s not particularly good. I’m still waiting to hear about the progression of L’Orté Point in the publishing queue. It’s clearly not a hare, but the tortoise won the race anyway, didn’t it?
I ask that when you visit my website: www.gibbensauthor.ca or Facebook page: www.facebook.com/gibbensauthor that you leave some indication that you have visited. A “like” would be nice. And, of course, this website’s contact page is a convenient way to send me a private message. I hope you do!
The buttons linking my books to various sellers will become active once L’Orté Point is available. I’m definitely looking forward to making that announcement!
Here, I hope to share with readers the bits and pieces of experiences which have inspired my writing, as well as postings and photographs which relate to certain matters which form parts of my stories. Several times it has happened that upon completion of a manuscript, there is the coincidental and serendipitous appearance of articles in the media which reflect some of those same concerns, themes, locations...It’s as if we’ve falling into the same stream, and as we're being carried along by currents, have found ourselves within the same eddies and whirlpool.
But since I’m in a holding pattern, all that will need to wait. Soon, I promise, very soon.