Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vintage Photo frame displayed with love

This is an absolute darling. What to do when old treasures fall apart? When it comes to photographs and old frames, we can certainly help you. A customer came to see me with a seriously deteriorated portrait photo of her mother and a small vintage picture frame that was broken. These items had a an immense sentimental value and the owner was extremely concerned about preservation.
The first step was to have the photograph restored. Local photographer Charles Bryant took this as a personal mission and resurrected the original clarity and colour. At the same time multiple copies were printed, and this way every member of the family got their own personal copy.
The little vintage photo frame had seen better days. The hand-hammered copper was bent and cracked and simply could not serve as a frame anymore. My solution was to clean it up and insert it into another frame. We chose a small shadowbox moulding called Sofia by Larson-Juhl.
This beautifully reflects the time period and colouring of the original frame. I float mounted the copper frame on an archival mounting board, added a generous amount of spacing and finished it with a piece of conservation quality glass. The whole piece is like a piece of jewellery!
The customer was very pleased with the presentation... and very happy to have her mother back. In a way, this really was an act of love and affection, a beautiful way to pay homage to someone very dear and close.

If you have little treasures stored away in boxes and photo albums, put them together and come and see me! Together we can create a one-of-a-kind piece of home decor that is much much more than just a pretty picture!

September is a major picture framing month, it is the time for all the art tours and group shows. This is also a perfect time to redecorate! I have plenty of ideas how to add some fresh colour to a home without getting into a extensive renovation! Just call to book a free consultation or drop by to get some quick ideas!

Wishing you a fun and creative fall season,

I remain,

Outi, the Frame Dame :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Greg Hindle,master painter, teacher, mentor

"Daring Leaders" Oil over acrylic, was presented and auctioned in support of DAREarts education for at-risk children.The event took place at the Liberty Grand, Toronto, April 29th,2010. For the frame we chose profile called LUCERNE by Larson-Juhl.
There are paintings and there are PAINTINGS. These are the days when most art schools focus on developing ideas rather than training the skills. There are plenty of goodness in both approaches. Good paintings are rarely born without good ideas....but great skills are required to take that good idea to the maximum.
Greg Hindle is a traditionally trained painter and well loved teacher with outstanding technical skills. As an honours graduate from the Ontario College of Art, Greg also studied in Florence, Italy. As a teacher, Greg spend another twenty five something years teaching at OCA (now OCAD) and he currently teaches at various locations around North America. This September he will be teaching and supervising a group in Italy.
If you are under the impression that you don't need to know how to draw in order to paint, Greg will prove you wrong . He will show you that drawing is a skill that can be developed. It is based on hand-eye coordination and sharpened observation skills. OBSERVATION is the key word.
There is a difference in between seeing and really seeing. Greg can teach you how to look so you can REALLY SEE what it is that you are looking at, -instead of just THINKING THAT YOU SEE WHAT YOU SEE.
Confused yet? Don't be.
The truth is that a great representational painting cannot be born without fundamental drawing skills and practise. Follow the leader; here is GREG HINDLE!

Greg is comfortable with all traditional mediums: graphite, watercolour, pastel, oil and acrylic. You can commission him to paint a watercolour of your house, a pastel of your dog and an oil portrait of your grand-mother and they will all display mastery of technique and distinctive professionalism. Not to forget purity of colour and great likeness of the subject matter.

The small selection of paintings on this blog are a very narrow selection of Greg's repertoire.
I apologize for the quality of my photos, please click on the images to view them closer.
Greg is a great visual story teller, his favorite thing is to create paintings that stop the viewer and make him contemplate. His allegorical characters in whimsical settings often deliver strong social and environmental statements. The colourful cast of characters will make you laugh and growl.
Greg shows no mercy when he illustrates the foolishness of the human race.
This painting is titled "A Fool's Paradise" and it is the third in the series of "fools" paintings that follow an environmental theme. Together they satirically investigate humanity's plight as we realize that, bright as we think we are as species, we are unable to stop ourselves from poisoning our support system, the environment.
In this painting, the fools are happily going about their foolish pursuits, but there is feeling that something isn't quite right. A carnival-like scene is set against a skyline of now dormant smokestacks.

Over-consumption, instant gratification, unsustainable development, desertification and global warming are, like the jack-in-the-box, a big question mark to our future on this planet, that only a fool would ignore.

A blind accordion player stares with vacant eyes at the viewer, begging the questions of who really is the fool? Is he? Or are we? One fool's solution to the lack of greenery is to paint all the dirt and concrete with green paint. Another fool is about to consume the last beautiful flower.
Great or what? Fun or what?
It has been my pleasure at several occasions to study life drawing and painting under Greg's supervision. It is remarkable to see how quickly the quality of your work improves when you are given the right advice. Take me seriously here: only after a couple sessions of life drawing with Greg you will never look at a drawing , any drawing, the same way!

This is detail of a full size life drawing. Below you can examine another detail of this drawing. The actual piece measures 24"x18", conte on newsprint.

It is fascinating to watch Greg is action: his arm moves with a flow and does not dig into trivial detail. With a confidence that only one can only earn with experience, he carves the impression of the gesture on the paper. Fast.
If you study with him you will find out yourself : he will get your arm moving. He will teach you how to look so you can see. In no time you will be seeing everything differently; you will see FOUND EDGES, LOST EDGES, EDGES THAT ARE EARNED, POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE SPACES, FORESHORTENING EVERYWHERE! You will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation....you will learn to enjoy art on the whole different level!

Good, plump toes here. Michelangelo Buanorotti would have approved. :)

Great also has an affection to the Northern Ontario landscape. At several occasions he has taught painting workshops on a wilderness location at French River. This is 11"x14" oil, palette knife on wood panel. For the frame we chose black and silver a moulding called Palladio, recently distributed in Canada by Frameguild.
This belongs to my husbands extensive collection of painting of trees. Remember that Kevin has a degree in Forestry and trees are just as important to him as people. This is another piece that Greg brought back from the French River. It is an oil on canvas board, 16"x12". For the frame Kevin wanted something special to highlight the flavour of the Northern country side with a touch of elegance.. We elected on a stacked frame; this combination comes from Roma Moulding, a Canadian company that specializes in high-end, hand finished picture frame moulding from Italy. The outside frame is a rustic swan profile called Boccacio and the little gilded frame inside is from a line called Palio.

Another French River landscape , oil on board 12"x16". When I study these paintings I hear Greg saying: "Let your eye do the blending!" There's the secret: keep the colour clean and vibrant and leave the joy of discovery for the eye of the viewer. A painting is not supposed to be a photo realistic reproduction of the subject matter, is has to be MORE! This is where the ART comes into the picture: a true artist has the skill (hence:art) to show you more that you would have seen on your own.
This frame is one of my all time favorites, a wax wood pine moulding from Roma. Unfortunately, this particular line is not available any more, however, I have some others that feature similar rustic country charm.

Here is an opportunity of a life time: Join Greg and his wife Susan (also a OCA graduate and a remarkable artist herself) for a PAINTING TRIP IN ITALY! THIS SEPTEMBER! Imagine spending a week in a villa, just south of Florence, Tuscany! Oh Gelato! Oh Fromaggio! Oh Sergio! (just kidding, please!)Painting at historical locations around the area, with the help of the masters! Call Greg and Susan immediately at 905-729-3874, the space is limited! Hopefully, I'll see you there!
To see more of Greg's work, please visit his web pages at http://www.logsendstudio.com/. Greg was recently interviewed by Rogers TV, he will be featured on "Local Living" episode that will be aired in the fall.
Now, go and paint! That's what I'm going to do!
Have a wonderfully colourful weekend,
as always,
I remain,
Outi, the Frame Dame :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

A PIECE OF WALL BOARD - Well preserved

I get to see the most interesting things: keepsakes and pieces of history from all over the world. We all want to hold on to something tangible that keeps us in touch with places and people from our past. The sentimental value of these items cannot be counted in any kind of currency.
This piece is a beautiful example of a rare family keepsake.
It is a piece of fibrous wall board that comes from an old farmhouse in NAALDWIJK, The Netherlands. The customer that brought it in for framing grew up looking at these little Dutch girls that adorned the walls of the kitchen. Her mother had stencilled them. The house is now gone, so is her mother.
A little piece of both will keep on living in this shadow box frame that we crafted to house the remaining piece.
It now has a place of honour in my customers country kitchen in Southern Ontario.

Since the piece itself is a true folk art item with genuine country charm we opted for a very simple arrangement. The board itself was float mounted on a delft blue archival mat board and shadowboxed in a stacked wood frame. The cap moulding "Straw Bandana" by Larson-Juhl beautifully reflects the weathered appearance of the item itself.

A piece of conservation quality glass was inserted in between the two frames.
This will not only protect the keepsake from environmental hazards: dirt, dust and soot, but it also keeps the piece from further fading and discolouring. A generous amount of spacing will keep the glass well off the artifact. It is good to keep in mind that even when only the best quality materials are used in the framing , a piece like this should always be hung away from direct sunlight. A picture frame is like a greenhouse...or a car...a closed space behind glass where heat and humidity builds up in seconds! Direct sunlight will cause condensation and any moisture could activate the growth of mildew. A piece of old wall board is a prime candidate for that! Mould does not only mean a death sentence to your art work but it also provides a serious health hazard to you and your family.
So, here we have it again: putting an item into a frame does not necessarily preserve it,
in fact, a well-meaning but uneducated do-it-yourself job will most likely destroy it.
Framing a family keepsake is paying homage to people that are/were important in your life.
Respect your past, trust your treasures to a PROFESSIONAL picture framer.
A frame within a frame..
in that kind of frame of mind
I will remain ,
Outi, your FRAME DAME

Saturday, May 1, 2010


There ARE good people in the world
.... this is a story with a happy ending.
During the 23 years of my retail life in Alliston some bad things have happened:
my front window was smashed to smithereens by hooligans, merchandise stolen and vandalized, displays destroyed and demolished.
Every time I experience a mean-spirited random act of vandalism I feel like backing it all up, closing the shop and leaving the town for good. Anybody who's been through something similar knows how it feels: your whole life tastes contaminated.

This is how I felt the morning of Tuesday, April the 6Th.
I came to work and noticed that THE MOON was missing! This iconic emblem is the main adornment of the sign in front of my store, the image therefore used on all my advertising from business cards to newspaper adds.
And it was GONE.
I sent my husband looking around town: ...surely there would be pieces of purple debris laying around somewhere.. after all, it was only made of Styrofoam and fragile as a biscuit.
Not a piece anywhere.
I sent my husband to check out the river:...surely some athletic punk had taken it and then tossed it in the river...after all, it was a longweek: lots of time for dirty work.
"VANDALISM! "I decided ". "I AM CLOSING THIS STORE! "I hissed.
"I HATE THIS TOWN!" I screamed.

Thankfully , I WAS WRONG and Oh hoh hoo, how wrong I was indeed!
I was right in the middle of my hysterical "I AM THE VICTIM"- temper tandrum (Act I)...when the situation turned around completely:
A man I had never met before walked into the store with my moon in his arms! As it turned out,
the day before, in a tornado like windy weather, he had witnessed the moon taking off: a sudden gale ripped it off the side of the building and landed it in the middle of Victoria Street.
This man, realizing that the next car would crumble it, graciously decided to save it.
And so he did.
Our store was closed for the holiday that day so next day he came in to return it.
I thanked him and offered to buy him a cup of coffee. He politely declined and swiftly got on his way. I was baffled: HOW DUMB OF ME....a couple of Coffee! Surely he deserves more than that....and I don't even know his name!

Sign maker Cliff Perry who carved the sign seven years ago rushed to my rescue:
he picked up THE MOON, gave him a face lift and offered to mount it back on the sign board.
It was also Cliff who contributed to the final chapter of this story:
on the day of re-installation Cliff called the Herald and told the paper what had taken place. Reporter Maija Hoggett found the story interesting enough and decided to come and take a look. The article that followed spread good tidings right through the community; I could not believe how many people called, commented and congratulated us. Everybody loves a story with a happy ending!

The mysterious good Samaritan who had saved THE MOON dropped by a day later: not to retrieve any trophies but to THANK FOR THE STORY IN THE PAPER! He still would not accept anything and quickly signed off with a positive statement: "that's how the world should work, don't you think?" I still don't know his name but I know that he lives close by and has two cats. Next time I see you, Mr. MOON SAVIOUR, I will have a basket of goodies for your kitties! At least!

The moral of my story is this:
2. Situation is not always as it seems: don't be so quick to anger.

I want to officially thank you MR. MOON SAVIOUR: Your kind action saved me hundreds of dollars and rekindled my faith in humanity.
Also bundles of thanks to CLIFF PERRY , the sign maker, for his free professional help and quick thinking....and MAIJA HOGGETT for the heartwarming story in the paper.

To see the article please go to:


In "a-foot-in-my-mouth" kind of FRAME OF MIND,

I remain
OUTI, your Frame Dame

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Greetings from The BOND HEAD ART GROUP!

Spring Greetings with SPRING COLOURS !
This was a fun night! Friday, April the 9Th was the launch date for the spring show opening for The Fine Art Group of Bond Head. This took place, as always, at the Woodwright Studio in the heart of the village. This group is a fine example of how a bunch visual artists can join forces for inspiration and support. Every member presents a totally different style and medium , an independent way of looking AND seeing the task at hand. The group feels that versatility is strength; the pool of combined knowledge becomes a resource that benefits all involved. You get help if you feel stuck and your approach in turn helps another; "Here, try this, see what happens....." It is about fellowship and support: getting together in a nourishing environment, sharing the sacred ART space .
There is safety in numbers.
Like-minded souls help each other to get ahead.

Pictured with me are members Nadia Laundry (front), Mary Artymko (centre back) and Coral Dryden (right).

Nadia has developed a distinctive way of drawing with coloured pencils. Her approach is highly concentrated, her designs carefully laid out. These semi-abstract studies of plants, leaves, lines,textures ...will make the viewer fantasize about exotic fabrics, wall papers and rhythmic, visual puzzles.

Coral has plenty of different toys in her tool kit. I have known her for her detailed pencil drawings and watercolours and.... I was totally blown away after discovering that she is also an accomplished printmaker! Ask to see her portfolio, it displays a wonderful spread of bold monoprints; you will absolutely love what you'll find in there!

Mary Artymko is an established name in the local art scene, a painter extra ordinaire and a well loved instructor. Her work hums with bright colours; paint so appetizing that it simply calls to be touched, fondled, licked and eaten! The painting I 'm holding is titled "Lovely", 10"x8" acrylic on canvas by Mary Artymko. It now hangs in my living room!

This display gives you some idea how very varied the works are. Click on the photo to enlarge it for viewing. Winter landscape on left is by Charlotte Brown, mountain scene in in the middle is an oil by Meade Helman, the abstract on the easel with green, white and rust leaves is a detailed coloured pencil drawing by Nadia Landry.

This is the man! Meade Helman is his name and he is the heart of this group, his spacious studio is its home and the meeting place. Meade is a true renaissance man. He paints, draws, ... builds musical instruments out of old cigar boxes, bakes wicked chocolate squares...turns out vegetarian gourmet meals and keeps you entertained with funny stories.
Talking to Meade always cheers you up. This man has a decidedly positive outlook on life, no matter how grave the situation might be, Meade will find the bright side and bring it to focus. A natural comedian, Meade will make you laugh. You just got to love him for that!

Meade's favorite medium is pastel, landscape his favorite subject matter. This one titled "Killbear Trail Sentry" is a 13 1/4"x 10" pastel on matboard.
A PASTEL PAINTING is surely one very difficult customer; it requires immediate and careful attention. The pigment is rich, dry powder that is rubbed in to the surface of the support (paper, board, fabric etc.) If not handled with extreme care it will smudge or shed. Environmental changes could be lethal: vibration, heat and humidity can cause the paper to expand or shrink, forcing the pigment particles to separate from the ground. Not for sissies.

Now you might ask: why bother , -why to use pastel if it is such a challenge? The answer is simple: THERE IS NOTHING AS BEAUTIFUL AS PURE, SATURATED COLOUR! And that is just what a pastel painting at it's best can be!

Meade has found his language and his paintings clearly present his outlook in life.
They are bright, they are happy. They simply glow with joy.
This is a close up detail of "Apple Blossoms In The Garden" (full image below) 16"x20" pastel on matboard. Now in private collection.

"Seen Better Days" 16"x20" pastel on matboard. Meade loves derelict old buildings , wonky architecture and varying reflections. Sunlight so bright that it makes you dizzy.

Charlotte Brown is a young painter with a bright artistic future. Here she is with some of her self portraits. This is a fun exercise that this group decided to engage together: Every member painted/drew a self-portrait and then some portraits of each other. The results yielded an interesting spectrum of studies, some serious, some tongue-in-the-cheeckish, some detailed and some barely suggestive. The exercise turned out to be a meditative observation: how do I see myself, how do I see you?
Last year the group did a similar joined project: every member produced an independent original of the same subject matter: an abandoned old pickup-truck in an over grown landscape.
The results were entertaining and engaging: it was fascinating to notice how differently we all see and comprehend whatever it is that we are looking at. Diversity is wealth!
Every single piece of work delivered a different story, every artist revealing different elements of the subject matter. The viewer could compare the results to the resource material (photographs of the actual scenery) and get involved with the project : What do I see? How would I paint/draw this? What would I include/omit? What is my mark/ my story?

A buttery detail of one of Charlotte's landscape paintings. Don't you just love the way she uses the paint?! These confident strokes let the viewers eye to do the blending. This is colour that talks!
The other two members of the group are Joseph Stellato and Jeff Dryden. These gentlemen will be featured on a later blog entry..I got so caught up in talking to so old friends that I totally missed some works and have no photos to post. Joseph Stellato has a unique approach to a multimedia, three dimentional painting and Jeff Dryden follows in the footsteps of his mother Coral with uncounted hours invested in drawing.

The group puts together a theme event a couple of times a year. You will be able to view the latest projects at the Beeton Honey Festival which is coming up on May 29th. For futher information you can always call or e-mail me and I'll get you the latest developments. To find out more about this group: artwork, up-coming events, commissions and study opportunities please e-mail Meade at meadehelman@rogers.com or Mary Artymko at mary.artymko@yahoo.ca.
In a bright, springful frame of mind,
I remain,
Outi, your frame dame :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mary Wood at Canopy Restaurant

Mary Wood is one fire cracker of a visual artist and a dearly loved teacher, an instructor and a mentor . She is currently showing some of her latest works at the Canopy restaurant in Alliston. Pictured here at the opening reception with Mary are the president of the South Simcoe Arts Council Nancy Williams (center) and Janet Clayson,a member of SSAC and a strong supporter of all arts in our community (right). The Canopy Restaurant is a spacious, new venue -with a great menu....and large empty walls that the owners call The Big Sky Art Gallery. The intention is to feature a new artist every six weeks. All artists, rejoice!
Mary 's show is the second one in the series, Catherine Cadieux, -another local powerhouse of a painter, was the first one.

These two large canvases were born from the images that Mary collected during her recent trip to Scotland. She is also a brilliant storyteller, so -listen up: WHATEVER her topic happens to be, -visual or verbal, you can be be sure that the story has substance and something to teach you.
Mary certainly keeps her eyes open; in Glasgow she collected all kinds of "visual treasures" right from the streets, -mainly just observing the debris that people had left behind. The story is hilarious and leaves you laughing; you just never know what might inspire the artistic eye!
These two are large 48"x48" acrylic paintings on canvas, consequently titled "Glasgow 4, Orange and Blue" and "Glasgow 6 ,Blue and Orange."

These two pictures are my humble attempt to deliver some detail of the surface....as you can see, the best thing you can do is to make a trip to the restaurant and study these close up. The texture is really quite yummy.

Here is a view of the front dining area with the Glasgow paintings in the back ground. On the very far left you'll find another large piece titled "Egress". This one is a multimedia, acrylic on canvas 60"x48".
The last three pictures on this blog are details of the surface of that painting: you'll discover how Mary fearlessly combines painting , drawing and decoupage.

This is one TALL room! I apologize for the darkness of this photo, I wanted to include it so that you can get some idea of the vastness of this display space. The Canopy restaurant has a nice, long bar area, a good place to sit down, enjoy a beverage and study some art. You can really see that Mary's paintings have a lot of power and strength; they certainly deliver through/over/above any distance and visual competition. These paintings are all acrylic on canvas, clockwise titled "Remote" 48"x48"( If you are looking for THE STRONG, SILENT TYPE, -this would be IT! :), "Cytoblast" 48"x36" and "Patriot" 48"x48".

Here is a close up of the "Patriot" in the bottom of the previous picture above. These images Mary composed after meditating over the shapes she saw in the bundle of her KEYS! Look closely and you'll discover a car remote surrounded by the flowing negative and positive spaces around it. Such confident use of colour!
One does not have to travel the world for inspiration, it might just be waiting in your own handbag!

Another large piece inspired by the keys: "Unlocked, The Space Between" Acrylic on canvas 48"x60".

A detail of "Egress" 60"x48" featured earlier. ( Renew is intentionally upside down)

A close up that leads you to discover some of the drawing and decoupage: there is a story hidden behind that veil of paint!

A point of entry or a point of exit? A joyful egression? A transformation of existence?
I had the good fortune to spend a week with Mary in 1997; I participated in a week-long painting workshop taught by her. The experience was liberating! There is no need to be afraid that your painting is not going to turn out right; you just get back at it and force it to a different direction. Go ahead, -make a mess! A mess can be the best thing! This was a gift from the Universe! ( and my friend Emilia Perri from Maggiolly Art Supplies).
Not enough can be said about Mary Wood.
She is one powerful pixie that gal!
Fire in her eyes and brimstone in her talk!
A laugh that picks you up and takes you with!
Her enthusiasm and love of life is contagious.
As a teacher she is gentle, resourceful and generous.
If you wish to "stretch" your eye and train it to see "bigger", -study Mary's paintings.
The show at Canopy will run till the end of the month.
If you wish to take your painting practice to a new level, seek for an opportunity to study with Mary.
Your whole life will take a new course!
Maggiolly Art Supply Store in Orangeville is planning to organize another week long painting retreat with Mary later this summer, for information contact Emilia at 519-942-9560 or write to maggiollyart@sympatico.ca
With the spring in the air
I leave you
in a elated FRAME OF MIND,
as always,
Outi, The Frame Dame

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Kirsi Neuvonen -Printmaker from Finland

Kirsi Neuvonen: The Pomegranate Tree, line etching, aquatint, copy etching. 1996 65x50 cm (25 5/8"x19 5/8")
Kirsi Neuvonen (born 1960) is a Finnish printmaker who has become a household item in my native country.

This blog is a quick introduction to some of her plates and I seriously encourage you to study her website and look further. Her knowledge of art and history is so deep and wide that it will humble you. The website is very informative and generous, -great resource for the intaglio inclined and an injection of inspiration for the rest of us.. Go to http://www.copperfield.fi/ , click on the top right EN and it will lead you to the English pages.

Those of you who are familiar with intaglio printmaking will find this to be solid fodder for the creative mind,...those of you who are fascinated by mythology will be intrigued with the symbolism.... and those of you who are WRITERS will enjoy her TRUTH OR DARE section: THE STORY GALLERY! Kirsi has listed a series of her works and invites you to join in by WRITING POETRY OR SHORT STORIES of her images. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! The images are extremely story provoking, -my head is quickly composing some material as we speak. Look at "My Shadow Thinks Obviously Otherwise"...click on the image and you'll get a larger version of this creepy shadow dude with an attitude. What is going on in here?
WRITE ABOUT IT! I am sure that I will.

A line etching, in very simple terms, starts with a drawing on a metal plate. The artist uses a variety of sharp tools to scratch the surface. The plate is soaked in an acid bath that enhances the area where the metal is exposed. Different technigues are used to achieve various surface textures, the parts of the plate that are not worked are masked to protect them from the acid .
Finally the plate is inked , the excess ink is wiped off and the plate is pulled through a press with sheet of paper laid over the surface. The pressure transfers the image to the paper. Every colour is printed separately. Multiple plates can be used to create one image.
The process is very labour intensive and dangerous at times : you deal with corrosives, sharp objects and toxic vapors. Great skills are achieved only with a lot of experience, practise and hard work. Additional difficulty with this media is that the end result (the print) is always a mirror image of the image on the plate (and the image in your head)! If you don't think this might cause some problems, try this exercize: make a simple drawing of a standing figure. Tilt the hip a little, give the head a 3/4 profile. Hold it up to a mirror and be ready to discover: there is always an element of suprise. A good printmaker has the ability to see ahead and embrace this accidental element of the medium. Definitely not for control freaks.

Important to remember:
We are talking about prints but we don't mean copies. Every print is an original.

Kirsi has made a whole series of dress illustrations. This one is titled Venus Dress" (1994), -a ball gown with ample oceany adornments! I would just LOVE to show up at some fancy function wearing that, -maybe with some seaweed shimmer in my hair!

Please pay attention to the SIZE of the plate: 90x60 cm (35 1/2 x 23 3/4")! Those of you who have ever inked a plate can imagine that the task on hand is gigantuous! There would have been a lot of sweat, maybe even some tears, most certainly praying and swearing involved.

These following six pieces are formed of three separate plates. This one is called " Wild Strawberry Dress". 2001

" Waterlily Dress" 2001

" Lily Dress" 2001

" Daisy Dress" 2001

"Violet Dress"

"Pearly Dress 2001"

To fully appreciate this one you would have to have some background knowledge in Finnish mythology and art history. This one is titled "The Kalevala Dress" and is a playful take on the work of Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1865-1931). He was an artist of momentous proportions who deeply influenced our National identity. Mary Gallen-Kallela ( who's dress this is depicting) was his wife.

Growing up in Finland the work of The GREAT A G-K was always at your face, this naturally, -got somewhat sicketating , you finally tuned it all out and developed a selective blindness to it.
(The Canadians have a similar love-hate relationship with Tom Thomson.) Having spent over twenty years away from Finland I was stunned to meet The Great A G-K again. I was instantly whisked back to my childhood. Printmaking. Symbolism. The Art's and Crafts movement was fed to me along with my cereal. As a child I found those dark woodcuts and etchings weird and frightening but also extremely fascinating. And I have loved them ever since.
"Kalevala" is the epic saga of Finland , A G-K illustrated it with a powerful hand. He was not only a accomplished painter but also a experienced printmaker. The man on the horse in the bottom of the etching is a detail of a painting titled KULLERVO TAKES OFF TO WAR (1901) . (Kullervo was an arrogant dude and faced a horrible ending and SO totally deserved it too!)
If you wish to learn more about Akseli Gallen-Kallela go to http://www.ateneum.fi/ . This is the National Gallery of Finland and the permanent home of the illustrations.

Ok, enough of this,
now , back to Kirsi!

"I am a poor little Deer" reads the banner on the top of this plate. It refers, of course, to our darling Frida Kahlo. The piece is titled "Frida Kahlos Hunting Gown" and displays the drama and rootyness of Fridas life and work and the tonque-in-the-cheekyness of Kirsi's sense of humour.

"Leda" is the same Leda that is known to all artist since antiquity. The Greek mythology tell us that Zeus himself, -in shape of a swan..(the capable chap he was), went to visit Ms. Leda here. From that reunion two children (Helen and Polydences) were born. Leonardo Da Vinci (1452-1519) painted the painting that this image is a playful take of. Sadly, Leonardo's "Leda and the Swan" got destroyed. It was later recreated by Da Vinci's contempory Cesare Sesto who's claimed to have been familiar with the original piece. And SO WHAT is he wasn't. The story is intriquing, -Leda and Zeus belong to all of us now. Why not craft your own take of the legend?

"Tiny, Decorated Freedom" 1997 Middle plate 20x20cm, side panels 20x10 cm.
Go to ARCHIVES on Kirsi's website and click on 1997, the left side of the screen will display a scroll down list of Kirsi's work from that particular year. There you will find a whole herd of "Divine women", Caryatids. Kirsi created these pieces after studying some frescos in Sienna, Italy. What is remarkable here is the physical SIZE of some of the plates: you find some etchings that measure 180x60 cm ( almost 6 feet in height!) How does one manoeuvre a plate that big?

"A Portrait with a Yes-No Morpho" 1995 20x33 cm , on the archives page 1995 you can see the rest in the series titled Portraits with Fauna.

Please visit Kirsi Neuvonen at http://www.copperfield.fi/ or http://www.kirsineuvonen.fi/ . Go through the archives and your soul will thank you. Click Kirsi Neuvonen>Art Work>Art Work Archives. I hang around there all the time!
In an intaglio influenced FRAME OF MIND,
I remain yours,
Outi ,the Frame Dame