New Things

March 24th, 2011

You may or may not have noticed that it has been a year and a bit since I posted here. It was not a particularly creative year. Life intervened and I abandoned the goal of a new piece of visual art each week. But something good has come of it. In November 2011 I began making new art: works in mixed media. Now I cannot stop. They are happily piling up all around me, as I experiment in various ways.

So appearing here for the first time (and on my website: www.dianneeastman.com) are my new works. I would love to hear your first impressions. My email is: dianne@dianneeastman.com.

Mixed Media No.25

Mixed Media No.25

Mixed Media No.21

Mixed Media No.21

Mixed Media No.14

Mixed Media No.14

Mixed Media No.19

Mixed Media No.19

Mixed Media No.18

Mixed Media No.18

Mixed Media No.11

Mixed Media No.11

Mixed Media No.15

Mixed Media No.15

Mixed Media No.8

Mixed Media No.8

Mixed Media No.12

Mixed Media No.12

Mixed Media No.16

Mixed Media No.16

Mixed Media No.13

Mixed Media No.13

Mixed Media No.9

Mixed Media No.9

Mixed Media No.24

Mixed Media No.24

Mixed Media No.4

Mixed Media No.4

Mixed Media No.3

Mixed Media No.3

Mixed Media No.20

Mixed Media No.20

Mixed Media No.22

Mixed Media No.22

Mixed Media No.1

Mixed Media No.1

Presenting For Your Pleasure …

January 8th, 2010

OldSlidesTitle

Over the holidays I spent some time looking at ancient slide photography. The image above turned up in a tray of old slides taken by Harold’s father. Isn’t that cool typography? The more things change the more they stay the same.

The reason I was looking at old slides was that I wanted to give my kids some images from their childhood. Like a lot of families, we took photos in the 1970s on slide film. Those slides filled up boxes that didn’t ever get looked at again. We don’t even have a slide projector anymore. Does anyone?

As promised in the pitch above, I did take a lot of pleasure in looking at those old “natural-color slides”. So for this week’s entry, I picked favourites to share with you. Here we go: “From the pictorial library of your host, presented for your viewing pleasure …”

Matt

Matthew Eastman on the monkey bars.

Sue

Susannah Eastman, fine painter.

MattGuitar

Boy making off with his father’s guitar for the umpteenth time.

TheBand

And finally, The Band. Susannah conducting. Matt on guitar (of course) and Mom on shovel.

See you next week.

Winter Holiday

December 29th, 2009

SantaBird

Hello all. I hope you have been enjoying this holiday season too. We have had a wonderful week with all our children with us. And the best snow!

I hope you enjoy the following images I collected around our place this week.

Trees1

The trees are amazing.

Sign583

The sign on our road.

ChristmasWreath

A wreath hung by Harold.

Trees3

What we call The Ring Road.

WindowScene

Seen through a snowy window.

I wish you all well. See you in the new year.

The Edible Entry

December 17th, 2009
BigGourd2
Here’s the story behind the large gourd pictured above.

A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely dinner and evening with friends on Bay Lake Road. These friends had recently been gifted with five large gourds, really large gourds, of the Blue Squash variety. These gourds were huddled together by their front door, looking something like those pods from the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.  I could not pass them by without a remark of astonishment. Perhaps not surprisingly, our hosts kindly offered to send one home with us.

The gift gourd amazed us with its girth. For the trip home, we placed it gently on the backseat of the car, just refraining from strapping it in with a seat belt. Passing through town we were stopped at a main intersection by a contingent of the hard-working R.I.D.E. police. While one officer asked us the usual questions concerning the evening’s libations, the other circled our car, shining his flashlight through the windows. On completing the full circle, the second officer popped his head in on the driver’s side and remarked in a serious tone, “Big gourds are allowed.”

Ha. And so this moment of notoriety made our Gourd all the more loveable to me. I had to get his portrait posed on our sideboard, as you can see in the photo above. I doubt that this particular Blue Squash Gourd is going to be made into soup. He is too entertaining visually to be offered up to such a mundane purpose.

••••••

On the topic of big edible things, look at this.

LargePumpkins

This is a picture that appeared in an old book of my mother’s: “Those Years From Rail to Oil”. This thick tome was published in 1981 by people from my mother’s home town to set down the history of their part of Alberta.

Now my credibility is stretched. I find it difficult to believe pumpkins ever got that big. What do you think? This book was printed long before everyone was into fancy Photoshop manipulation. And it seems unlikely that the Hardisty Senior Citizens group who pulled the whole book together would put in a fake photograph. Still and all, look at those babies on the back of that wagon! Can you believe that?

••••••

Staying with the Edible theme, my own art for this week is a very modest entry. Nice little green limes studded with cloves and topped with bay leaves. Cheers to you all. Enjoy your holiday festivities this week.

NiceLimes

Fine Ferns

December 11th, 2009

Wow, it is Friday again already. We are off shortly to join our local version of the 350 Vigil in support of progress on climate change in Copenhagen. Many of you, my friends, will be doing the same right now, as well as thousands of people all over the world. That’s nice to think of.

FernMasthead

When I designed the masthead for this Journal, I decided to make a new one for my recently-updated website  – to match. That’s it above. I picked ferns for the visual, because they are all around me up north here. And because I admire them.

Designers have to love ferns. They’re so darn symmetrical.

This week’s Visual is this simple fern collage.

FernImages

The photo of the wonderful field of ferns above could have been taken on our property but I will be honest and tell you I took it in beautiful Cape Breton.

••••••

I recently put the fern to work on a design to be printed on a recyclable leaf bag (the sort that city people collect leaves in and put out for pick up for composting). It was to be sold in fundraising for Nature Conservancy Canada, a group dedicated to preserving wilderness. Here it is.

Illustration, Nature Conservancy of Canada

Illustration, Nature Conservancy of Canada

I would like to have a nice leaf bag like this. But I would not like to have to pick up all the fallen leaves on our land. Good thing they return to nature on their own.

Dear Powers-that-be-in-Copenhagen: Remember the ferns too please.

See you next week.

Snowy Days and the Snow Queen

December 3rd, 2009

SnowQueen1

It was all white and cool blue out on the lake Monday morning, as winter appeared. The most visually-interesting thing I did this week was cool and blue as well. I was asked to take production stills for “The Snow Queen” – a musical produced at the Village Playhouse. The credits for this lovely production go to:

November Theatre’s “The Snow Queen”
Book by Jim Henry & Jacqueline Lopez
© 2009 November Theatre
Music by Howard Baer
Lyrics by Jacqueline Lopez & Howard Baer
© 2009 BaerTracs Music

And a host of other hard-working folks.

I’ve chosen a few of the images I found striking to share here as this week’s visual offering. The photo above is the amazing Jacquie Lopez as the Queen herself.

SnowQueen2
Here are the two main child actors in front of video projections created by Harold.

SnowQueen3

The faeries wore silk wings, beautifully hand-painted.

SnowQueenFlowers1

And here are the flowers. I took a special interest in seeing them onstage. Because the other role I had in the pageant was Maker of the Flowers. We took a little video so we could see how they looked in motion. I was hoping they would ‘flutter’ as flowers should do.

Well, they sort of flutter. I had big fun making those flowers. I wrestled womanfully with glue gun, six paper umbrellas from Chinatown and reams of colourful lining material. A regular Martha Stewart moment. I was going to put detailed instructions for “How to make your own Flower Umbrella” in today’s entry (since a goal I have for the Journal is to make it useful). Till I thought about how little demand and need there is for flower umbrellas in the world. (You know how you can get too close to a project?) So let’s just have a nice close-up of them and call it done: A Joyful Project Much Enjoyed. Thanks for the assignment, Jacquie.

SnowQueenFlowers2

SnowQueenUmbrella
See you next week.0

Norman Rockwell, I’m surprised at you.

November 27th, 2009

RockwellVanityFair

Did you see these? The images above are from an article in last month’s Vanity Fair which demonstrated how much Norman Rockwell used photo reference for his illustrations. I am shocked. And all this time I thought he was just a great drawer!

I’ve generally felt as if I cheated if I copied from a picture. And wow, I never conceived of the possibility that I could hire models, wardrobe them and place them in a set. Just to take a photo for reference for my drawing. (I guess Norman had better budgets to work with than I’ve had.)

I suppose I shouldn’t judge Mr. Rockwell too harshly. As Vanity Fair pointed out, what we’ve learned is that the man was really a pretty cool photographer as well as being a fine painter and social commentator.

Still and all, it’s a shock for us struggling drawer-types.

It prompts me to share an experience I’ve had with photo reference.

This is an illustration from a children’s Christmas book I did for Kids Can Press called “One Splendid Tree”. It’s a story set in the hard times of World War Two, about a family and a community who can’t get a Christmas tree and end up decorating a beaten-up and abandoned palm plant they find in the apartment hallway. In this image the young boy (“Junior”) is supposed to be jumping up and down with excitement.

Illustration "Junior / One Splendid Tree", KidsCan Press

You will see that I resorted to putting Junior down on this hands and knees instead of jumping. Why? Because I was having a nasty time trying to make him look natural doing the jumping up and down thing. I even tried photo reference. Without great success. Perhaps you will enjoy the following video where you can see how that worked out.

Hmmm, I chuckled to myself the day that I was fooling around with that illustration.

Jump2

Anyway, that illustration of Junior under the tree is not one of my best efforts in the book. Here’s one that turned out better. You may be interested to know that the photo of the soldier father on the radio is actually a photo of my own Dad. It was nice to be able to put that in.

Illustration, "One Splendid Tree", KidsCan Press

••••••

In my first post, the Visual of the Week was “This is my cup of tea.” Some of you wanted to see the tea cup illustration bigger. (I warned you about my softness for very tiny things. But I am happy to oblige,) Here is: “This is my bigger cup of tea.”

TeaCupDrawingDetail

I have also since done a little digital painting on this theme, called “This is my cup of tea 2”. See below.

MyCup

About the cup above:
Thirty nine years ago, in the summer I married Harold, my good neighbours had a Tea Cup Shower for me. I was a little dismayed. I was 20 years old and had no idea what to do with a dozen fancy tea cups. But I hauled them around from pillar to post, over all these years and the one you see above is a survivor. I’m glad now that it made the long trip with us.

See you next week.

A Visual Journal

November 19th, 2009

Book&Pen

Putting something in the first post of a blog feels like starting a new scribbler. I hardly dare to spoil that first clean white page with any marks. I used to be so intimidated by the first page of new creative notebooks that I always started on the second page. Almost nothing seemed good enough to appear first. But tempted though I may be, I know I can’t leave the first post of my blog blank. Too obscure.

Then’s there is the odd fact about blogs that anyone reading this in the weeks ahead will read my first post last. Blogs make weird journals.

Despite the weirdness of blogs, I aim to rise to the challenge of this first post, by making a semi-solemn commitment to you. Which is: I will try to place a new small work of art in this Visual Journal every week.

I know the world isn’t exactly waiting breathlessly for more small visuals. Still I can’t believe all the wild and wonderful things I see online. It makes me want to jump in. I usually work everyday to make some project or other as beautiful as I can. Perhaps some of you would like to see what I’m up to. Or not. That’s Ok. There is something about making stuff that just compels a person to want to put it out there anyway.

Not everyone admires the same things. Which is a good. Otherwise we would all have the same wallpaper and curtains and that would be a Very Bad Thing, especially if they had cowboys and horses on them like some of the ones I grew up with. Therefore I won’t apologize much for the fact that this journal reflects only my personal taste. It is not everyone’s cup of tea. I know by now that I never make the type big enough for most people and I use too much pink, which I am told men do not like (though I swear I know some who do). Also I don’t have a lot of important things to say about everyonelse’s art. I’m just going to share some of my work and influences. One of the things I’ve learned is that if you make something to please yourself, there is probably at least one guy out there who’ll be pleased to see it too.

In that spirit, I offer my first post this Friday and my first visual now: “This is My Cup of Tea.”

Book&Drawing