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Outside Art – Quill & Quire

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In Anonymouse, the latest picture book by Toronto author Vikki VanSickle, a mysterious rodent creates Banksy-esque street art to lift the spirits of his fellow city critters. The assuredly understated narration takes an off-the-beaten-path tour of urban art, from the dank depths of the sewer system where a rat’s modest hole in the wall is transformed with a spray-painted, frilly pink curtain facade, to a bat cave in an abandoned industrial warehouse that gets graffitied with a joke on the Caped Crusader. There’s a whimsical bull’s eye stencilled on a lamppost for peeing dogs; a trompe l’oeil mural of a fancy restaurant on the side of a dumpster for raccoons dining al fresco; and a tiny ant Atlas carrying the world on its shoulders sketched on the sidewalk gutter.                

An illustration of raccoons in a dumpster

Anonymouse

Slyly subversive, Anonymouse also offers a shrewd commentary on the challenges and hazards facing nature in the city. Stumps of chopped-down trees appear to cast ghost shadows of their former leafy glory against a building wall, and displaced squirrels are forced to find new hiding spots in spaces left by missing bricks. There’s a satisfying sense of restorative justice when the ugly, ubiquitous antennae and satellite dishes on the roofs of houses are beautified into painted flowers that attract bees and butterflies.  

The busy cityscapes in Italian illustrator Anna Pirolli’s digital artwork have a limited palette of twilight blacks and concrete greys, enlivened with splashes of shocking pink that command attention. The playful approach to perception and perspective extends to Anonymouse’s tag – the capital letter “A” turned into a cartoon mouse with ears on the side and whiskers at the tip.  The “world is his canvas,” and although his art may eventually fade from surfaces, it leaves a deep, lasting impression on his fellow animals, allowing them to look at their city in a new way and motivating them to carry on the guerrilla graffiti movement.    

Outside Art

Outside Art, a picture book by B.C. author-illustrator Madeline Kloepper, focuses on how tricky it is to define art. Curious Pine Marten loves peeking in on the local art scene, always interested in what the “human in its log nest in the woods” is up to. When the red-haired woman is spied “putting colors on a board using a furry stick,” Pine Marten and his forest creature friends start to muse over perennially puzzling questions about the purpose and meaning of art, and a lively debate ensues.    

The animals’ scrutiny of the artist and her work, from outside the window looking in, prompts zippy back-and-forth dialogue and delivers lots of wry humour. Chickadee thinks the colourful display is a way to say “here I am, listen to me”; Moose is convinced “Art’s about finding a lady moose”; and nihilistic Grouse just squawks, “THERE IS NO MEANING!” The pompous house cat, sitting high and haughty on her indoor pedestal perch, is a self-declared expert on “The Artist’s work” and launches into a lofty exposition that is comically undercut with blank stares and mutters of “Ab-stract?” and “Huh?!”   

Kloepper’s distinguished, stylized coloured-pencil-and-gouache illustrations are gallery quality. An infectious inquisitiveness, innocence, and honesty emanate from the scenes. Long-lashed fawns; playful, howling coyote pups; and a cozy, snow-capped cabin in the country where the creative fires burn have a Maud Lewis charm.  

After the artsy argy-bargy winds down, Pine Marten decides to try out his own artistic technique, using paw prints in the snow. As each animal gets into the flow of creating personal works, from digging a den to scraping antlers on a tree, these true outsiders have an epiphany: “all of us were right about what Art can be … And every one of us is a great Artist.”

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Winter wonderland: A look at snow art across Ottawa – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
This past weekend saw the biggest snowfall of the winter in the capital, and it wasn’t just any kind of snow. It was the sticky type, perfect for sculpting everything from snowmen, to dragons to igloos.

And people’s imaginations were running wild.

“We woke up Saturday morning and saw all the snow. The kids ate breakfast and raced outside,” says Ottawa resident Michelle McCombs. “It was the perfect snow for making a snowman.”

But just one or two snowmen weren’t good enough for the McCombs family. More than a dozen snowmen sit on their front lawn, greeting people as they pass.

“People have been stopping by all weekend. It kind of lifts your spirits up,” says McCombs.

Jayson Ambrose wanted to build a giant snowman, but instead built a little Buddha on top of a giant snowball. A perfect accident, he called it.

Jayson Ambrose snow Buddha

“I just kept playing with it and it ended up kinda looking like a little snowy laughing Buddha sitting on top of are giant snowball here,” he said.

Lindsay Hunter and her family needed a place to play checkers outside, so they built themselves what they call their Irish igloo, complete with tables and chairs.

Lindsay and Rosalie Hunter in snow fort

“We’re very tired of being inside all day,” says Hunter, “and when the beautiful snow came, which was the stickiest, best textured snow to make stuff, and on top of that it was warm out, we couldn’t help but spend all day outside.”

Many people around the city took to their yards, spending hours making snowy masterpieces and the talent was off the charts. 

But Daniel Benoit’s castle in Embrun is next level.

“We were doing it during lunch break, and then after dinner with the kids.” says Benoit. “After the kids go to bed, both of us go out and spend some time away from the TV screen or computer screen.”

Daniel Benoit snow castle in Embrun.

The Benoit family had been working on it for two weeks, and with all the snow that fell this past weekend, they were able to finally complete it. But they might not be done just yet.

“My wife was already taking about another tower or something so we’ll see,” says Benoit. 

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Winter wonderland: A look at snow art across Ottawa – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
This past weekend saw the biggest snowfall of the winter in the capital, and it wasn’t just any kind of snow. It was the sticky type, perfect for sculpting everything from snowmen, to dragons to igloos.

And people’s imaginations were running wild.

“We woke up Saturday morning and saw all the snow. The kids ate breakfast and raced outside,” says Ottawa resident Michelle McCombs. “It was the perfect snow for making a snowman.”

But just one or two snowmen weren’t good enough for the McCombs family. More than a dozen snowmen sit on their front lawn, greeting people as they pass.

McComb's snowmen

“People have been stopping by all weekend. It kind of lifts your spirits up,” says McCombs.

Jayson Ambrose wanted to build a giant snowman, but instead built a little Buddha on top of a giant snowball. A perfect accident, he called it.

Jayson Ambrose snow Buddha

“I just kept playing with it and it ended up kinda looking like a little snowy laughing Buddha sitting on top of are giant snowball here,” he said.

Lindsay Hunter and her family needed a place to play checkers outside, so they built themselves what they call their Irish igloo, complete with tables and chairs.

Lindsay and Rosalie Hunter in snow fort

“We’re very tired of being inside all day,” says Hunter, “and when the beautiful snow came, which was the stickiest, best textured snow to make stuff, and on top of that it was warm out, we couldn’t help but spend all day outside.”

Many people around the city took to their yards, spending hours making snowy masterpieces and the talent was off the charts. 

But Daniel Benoit’s castle in Embrun is next level.

“We were doing it during lunch break, and then after dinner with the kids.” says Benoit. “After the kids go to bed, both of us go out and spend some time away from the TV screen or computer screen.”

Daniel Benoit snow castle in Embrun.

The Benoit family had been working on it for two weeks, and with all the snow that fell this past weekend, they were able to finally complete it. But they might not be done just yet.

“My wife was already taking about another tower or something so we’ll see,” says Benoit. 

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Online art course with Adrian Baker – Millstone News

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NEW! Appleton Studio – online ‘ART MENTORING’ course

Instructor: Adrian Baker, BFA, MFA

Want to keep making art this winter, but could use a little guidance? I’m offering personal feedback sessions by email, one-on-one online meetings, and online group feedback sessions. Work on your own projects in your choice of medium, under the guidance of a professional artist. Receive valuable feedback from your peers. Flexible scheduling to suit your routine.

‘Art Mentoring’ runs from the week of January 18th to March 26 (choose your own times/days).

Cost is $180

What you get:

– Weekly personal assessment of your current art project via email, with constructive critiques and professional guidance. (eight sessions)

– One-on-one online meetings to discuss the progress of your work (six sessions)

– Online group feedback sessions with fellow participants (two sessions)

– Regular links to online painting tutorials relevant to your work.

What you do:

– Choose a project to work on in your choice of medium. Your first email session can be a discussion of what to paint, how to get started, colour & compositional decisions, etc.

– Photograph your artwork regularly as it progresses over the ten weeks and send the pictures by email for feedback from the instructor, for a total of eight email instructional sessions.

– Schedule six one-on-one meetings with instructor over the 10-week period (schedule of available days/times will be provided)

– Participate in two online group critiques (coffee, tea or wine are optional!)

– Have fun! Be creative! Keep on making art!

I am accepting a limited number of participants, so let me know asap if you are interested.

To register, or for more information:
613-257-4233
appletonstudio@gmail.com
www.adrianbakerart.com

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