Artist residency in Italy, October 1-15, 2022 (Video and post)

Rooster puppet

I had the pleasure of spending the first 2 weeks of October in the beautiful Tuscan countryside at La Macina di San Cresci, a wonderful artist residency near the town of Greve in Chianti.

At the end of my stay, I presented my recently completed works, and those in progress, to the local community. You can view the recording on YouTube . Note: Captions are available in English and Italian : Select English(Canada) or Italian from Settings|Subtitles/CC).

Check out my post below for more details!

Recording of artist presentation with Neil Kobewka, another featured artist in residence (details below).

At La Macina di San Cresci

Dog in foreground, woman sitting at table painting in outdoor setting
Working in the garden studio at La Macina while Argo, the resident dog, looks on.
Photo by Jodelle Marx

This was my third visit, and once again this place gave me a welcome pause from daily life that allowed me to reflect on my upcoming projects and plan their execution. With full days at my disposal, I was able to fully enjoy creative exploration without time constraints and life’s usual distractions.

The peaceful setting and lack of schedule at La Macina provides an ideal environment for artists to grow new ideas: Indeed, it was here, during a previous visit, that I created my first “Animalesque” drawing, which has now grown into the theme of an upcoming animation. Stay tuned!

My first “Animalesque” drawing, created at La Macina in 2019

Next animated work: A walk around San Cresci

During my previous visit in 2019, I interviewed several residents of the area with the goal of creating an animation: A walk around San Cresci. As I have aimed to do with previous works involving past travels, I wanted to convey the charm, uniqueness, and fascination I have for this place through animation. This project was on hold as I completed my latest animation, Costa Rica’s Creatures, which launched in September.

About the work

A walk around San Cresci will combine puppets, stop motion and hand-drawn animation, and video. Below is some artwork for the piece that I finished during my stay, as well as a glimpse of the creation process.

Backdrop

My decision to bring limited art supplies with me posed an interesting challenge, and one that helped me focus on my goal of using found or discarded materials to create my art: I used found materials from the residency’s supply room to create both the backdrop for the animation and the rooster puppet (featured in the next section).

Background with removable clay trees

Gallo Nero (“GN”): Legend of the black rooster, and puppet

The black rooster (Gallo Nero, or GN as I have named my puppet) will appear throughout the work. The legend of the black rooster explains its significance in Chianti’s history.

This visit was especially fun, as my husband Neil Kobewka joined me for the second week and used his time to create poetry, a longtime passion of his. This was his first artist residency and at the end, he also presented his work: A poem entitled “Autumn in Chianti” (also featured in the presentation recording). He also became GN’s puppeteer, and got to know him a bit better in the process!

Unexpected sights and fun facts

An abundance of guinea pigs

Valerio Cianti, a nearby resident, runs a farm that hosts an assortment of animals, including guinea pigs, peacocks, rabbits, and numerous types of birds. Valerio graciously hosted us for a visit one afternoon. He and his animal companions will be featured in A walk around San Cresci.

Fagioli al fiasco

On the last night of the residency, our hosts Duccio Trassinelli and Demetria Verduci prepared a lovely reception and spread, which included the traditional Tuscan dish Fagioli al Fiasco, made with white beans and sage leaves.

Fun fact: The original meaning of the word “fiasco” is (according to Wikipedia and other sources), “a typical Italian style of bottle, usually with a round body and bottom, partially or completely covered with a close-fitting straw basket.”

In conclusion

The above conveys only a fraction of what I experienced during my stay. I look forward to sharing more stories and impressions in A walk around San Cresci. With each visit, I have learned more details about this area’s rich history and traditions, as well as its evolution in today’s ever changing world.

Grazie to La Macina di San Cresci, and the local community, for another great visit. I look forward to seeing you all again soon, and in the meantime, I’ll relive the experience through animation!

Ciao!

Notes

Photo credit for image of fiasco: giulio nepi, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

My COVID-19 vacation: Stay-at-home artist residency, May 1-25, 2020

Still image from Great Blue Heron (Not staying long), short animation

During the month of May, I did a stay-at-home artist residency when my overseas travel plans got cancelled. Watch the video summary here, or keep reading for details.

May 2020. Like many who had planned vacations during this time, mine too got cancelled. I had been accepted to a 2-week artist residency on the Greek island of Kefalonia and had planned some time before and after for a bit of independent wandering in Athens and other parts. Alas, this was not to be.

Although I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to see a new country (and a beautiful, culturally vibrant one at that) or have the opportunity to share an immersive experience with other resident artists, there were advantages to spending this time off at home:

If the main goal of the trip was to create artwork, then home was an excellent location to do just that, for a number of reasons:

  • At home, my entire toolbox (or TOYbox, depending on my mood) is at my disposal:  I couldn’t have brought it all with me had I left home. I had 3 weeks and my choice of materials to create anything I wanted.
  • My dedicated art studio of easel, drafting table and animation stand are located within mere feet of one another in our apartment:  Absolutely no travel or setup time required.
My art studio, 6 AM

And last but not least, I had the company of my wonderfully supportive spouse and our 2 (equally supportive) cats to whom I no longer had to say goodbye for the duration – the dreaded downside to my solo travels.  

Staycation artist residency: activities

Main objectives:

  1. Continue working on my animation in progress, “Costa Rica’s creatures” – a short, handmade work about the wildlife and geography of Costa Rica, based on my travel there in 2018.
  2. Create illustrations and short animations inspired by fashion and nature.

Other activities – the joys of Montréal

I also had the chance to watch our beautiful city blossom, day by day, from spring into summer on multiple running/hiking jaunts to Parc du Mont-Royal, walks through our Plateau neighbourhood, and (socially distanced) picnics (for two) in Parc La Fontaine. All this, plus a bonus sighting of 2 Great Blue Herons who graced our park with their presence for a few days while the pond was low and inspired some artwork (see illustration at the top of this post).

Final thoughts

Although my work does not speak directly to world issues (for now), I believe that nothing is created in a vacuum. Had it not been for COVID-19, this report would have been completely different.

As I write this, the world is being transformed by two incredible forces: one a pandemic, and now a global uprising against racial inequality, calling for change that is long overdue. I am humbled by the magnitude of both, and their impact on life as we know it.

I share the hope – and belief – that our world will emerge from this period a kinder, stronger and more just place for all.

Thank you for reading – wishing everyone safety and good health.

30 Days in Venice (30 things learned) – film d’animation // animated film

En avril 2017, j’ai eu l’occasion de voyager à Venise, Italie, pour une résidence artistique. Pendant ce mois, j’ai créé des œuvres d’art, en faisant du tourisme !

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In April 2017, I had the chance to travel to Venice, Italy, for an artist residency. While I was there, I created some artwork and did some sightseeing!

 

Bande-annonce // Trailer

Le résultat : Un an de plus, mon film d’animation, intitulé « 30 Days in Venice (30 things learned) », sera publié bientôt! Voici la bande-annonce: 30 Days in Venice (30 things learned)

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The result: One year later, my animated film entitled “30 Days in Venice (30 things learned)” will soon be released! Here is the trailer: 30 Days in Venice (30 things learned)

 

 

 

 

Mes deux zines pour Expozine // My two zines for Expozine

Voici un aperçu de mes deux zines qui seront à ma table cette fin de la semaine à Expozine 2014 : Carnet de Voyage, et L’été a Montréal. Chacun inclut des exemples de mes dessins.

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Here is a look at my two zines that will be at my table this weekend at Expozine 2014: Travel Sketchbook and Summer in Montréal. Each one contains examples of my drawings.

2 Zines

 

Expozine 2014, 15-16 novembre // Expozine 2014, November 15-16

Je serai à Expozine le 15 et 16 novembre! 5035 Saint-Dominique,  Montréal, Québec, entrée gratuite !  http://expozine.ca/. Il y aura un aperçu de mes zines très bientôt!

C’est un évènement fantastique – j’espère de vous y voir!

Voici un autre dessin de ma visite au Musée canadien de la nature.

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I will be at Expozine, November 15-16!! 5035 Saint-Dominique,   Montréal, Québec, free admission! http://expozine.ca/en/. There will be a preview of my zines very soon!

It’s a wonderful event – hope to see you there!

Here is another drawing from my visit to the Canadian Museum of Nature.

heron_vert

Au musée canadien de la nature // At the Canadian Museum of Nature

J’ai fait ces dessins au musée canadien de la nature à Ottawa. Les expositions permanentes sont tellement impressionnantes, et j’ai passé assez de temps pendant deux après-midis en dessinant dans les salles.

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I created these drawings at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. Their permanent exhibitions are truly impressive. I spent much time over two afternoons drawing in the rooms.

oiseaux_crapauds

Lookdown Fish // Selene vomer

Enfin, j’ai terminé une peinture d’un poisson incroyable que j’ai observé en voyageant en Europe, il y a 2 ans. Je suis allée à l’inoubliable Musée océanographique de Monaco en 2012 ou j’ai été fascinée par le poisson Lookdown (Selene vomer). Situé sur une falaise, le musée soi-même est un chef d’œuvre. J’espère que j’aurai l’occasion d’observer ces créatures en liberté un jour.

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I have finally completed a painting of an incredible fish I observed while traveling in Europe, 2 years ago. I visited the unforgettable Oceanographic Museum of Monaco in 2012 where I was mesmerized by the Lookdown fish (Selene vomer). Situated on a cliff face, the museum itself is a work of art. I hope I’ll have the chance to observe these creatures swimming freely in their natural environment someday.

Poisson_Lookdown