Friday, February 24, 2012

I'd Like to Be Under the Sea

When I was a small child, back in the days of vinyl records and naugahyde sofas, Ringo's song, "Octopus's Garden", was one of my all time favourites. There was just something about the idea of being able to live underwater, to swim around with the fishes in a shimmering undersea garden of rocks and coral that was naturally appealing to a child. I guess that childish notion has remained buried somewhere in my subconscious because last year when I started seeing lots of underwater photos popping up on my friends' Facebook pages, I was drawn to them immediately. The beautiful blues, strange lights and shadows, the sense of weightless exuberance of kids and adults swimming underwater got me hooked. I knew exactly what I wanted to do: a series of underwater collages!

Below is the first effort. Thanks to my cousins Mike and Elaine for the use of their family vacation photos.

Mara Underwater - 20"x 24" painted paper collage on panel, ©2012 Alyson Champ

I'm putting the word out: If anyone has some underwater digital photos and you don't mind them being used as reference material for artwork, send 'em along to me. I am always on the look out for more ideas and inspiration. You can email me here under contact in the website menu.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

An Unusual Job

I recently completed a commissioned painting which was an unusual project for a couple of reasons: first, the visual content was fairly different from the subjects I usually paint or collage; second, the support, or surface that the painting was painted on, was odd. This particular oil painting, featuring among other things, cars, milk cans and a large adjustable wrench, was painted on an antique saw blade. Here it is below, photographed in two sections while still in my studio.

Tannahill Transport #3 - saw blade showing the dairy transport and three generations.

This unusual painting was created for the Tannahill family and is one of a series of saw blades I have painted for them. The series constitutes a visual history of the family transport business, a business which has been in operation in this corner of Quebec for a very long time. In fact, my older brother used to drive for them years ago, so seeing one of those big, green Mack trucks coming up the road always made me happy when I was a kid.

Below is the first blade (in three sections), painted about seven years ago.

Tannahill Transport #1 - saw blade with older trucks,

a family portrait,

and newer trucks in the fleet.

Not long after completing that first blade, I was commissioned to paint a second one. I think this one is my favourite.

Tannahill Transport #2 in two sections.

I especially like this section. Can you guess why?

Thanks Brian T. for letting me stand on your coffee table to photograph these blades. It was great to see them all together for the first time, and fun for me as an artist to be part of such a nice family project. If you find another blade you want painted, you know where to find me!