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Bird Inspiration 12: sad story

As I continue  to work with birds (after a big pause), I am noticing a change in how the project is going. There is something unsatisfying in just drawing pretty birds. I need depth. Or I need to say something.

In my most recent exercise, I re-used a bird I had drawn before. The leg of the collage paper accidentally tore off and I decided to go with it. Using the bird this way, with one leg, opened up the possibility of saying something about the environment. The bird leans over to look for food in a pretty field with flowers. But above it is a big X, as in do not use, do not eat, do not drink. But the warning is lost on the bird as it does not speak our language.

People are changing nature, the victims are not only us and our future generations but also all that makes up nature.

Sad story. Mixed-media on paper.

Sad story. Mixed-media on paper.

Inspiration from other artists in the art journal


Part of what makes it to my daily visual journal are things that other artists have said that resonate with me. I often watch artist interviews or art programs online while I work on my art. Sometimes I’ll quickly jot what I hear in my journal and later or the next day I’ll ponder the words further sometimes writing and rewriting the words in order to process their significance.

In the page above, I was thinking about something that Kiki Smith said:

I don’t try to set my work on any path or any direction. I really try to follow it. . . I don’t question my impetus. I just do it and see what happens.


And in the page above, I liked what one of the Boyd Family artists said (I think it was the guy), he said:

To be totally immersed in something is glorious.

Yes, I agree.  Visual journaling for me is not about making art, it is instead where I massage my brain to help me process thoughts and life. There are visual elements yes, but these function as writing. Visual elements in my journal are like a vocabulary of states of feeling.

Stitching with Purpose at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire

Craftivist flag

Stitching with Purpose

I am happy to announce that I will be leading my Stitching with Purpose workshop at Maker Faire Vancouver coming up in June.

Workshop Description

What matters to you? Find out what ‘craftivism’ is all about and learn to stitch your message on a fabric flag that can be hung around your neighbourhood. Facilitated by artist Laura Bucci. All materials provided.

Workshop @ Vancouver Mini Maker Faire

When:  Sunday, June 8th, 2014,  4  6 pm

Where: PNE Forum, 2901 East Hastings, Vancouver

Cost: TBD, Tickets sold through the Event, please not that the workshop not included in your Entrance Ticket but it will be very fairly priced. Info coming soon.

What is Maker Faire?

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.
Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

a poetry of place that defines Vancouver

. . . a poetry of place that defines Vancouver

is a phrase taken from a talk on Public Art organized by CARFAC BC at the Vancouver Public Library downtown (April 9 2014). Karen Henry, the Public Art Planner of Cultural Services for the City of Vancouver had these words on her power point presentation. The phrase refers to or was a definition of public art–this is from memory so I may be slightly off here.

This was a stimulating talk. It was great to hear from Richard Tetrault, visual artist and muralist, who has worked with several local communities on mural projects.  Also, Elisa Yon, the Public Art Project Coordinator from the City of Richmond was there and Cameron Cartiere, the Dean of Graduate Studies of Emily Carr. Each talked about different projects. Henry and Yon somewhat demystified the process/bureaucracy behind city projects.

Here are a few interesting things that I was able to capture in my notes:

  • There is a difference between a studio practice and a public practice; with a public practice you have to ask yourself “what do you want the work to do?” (Cartiere) (I’m thinking wouldn’t you ask yourself that question with a studio practice too?)
  • What is the difference between public art and community art? (from the audience I think)
  • How do you make the general public more interested in public art? How do you make them care? (from the audience)
  • There is a power to seeing public art in places you don’t expect to see it. (Tetrault)

Elisa Yon talked about how some public art is very short-lived, so it needs to be documented. This can include stills, video, talks, and tours. Also, at the talk there were some great pamphlets on individual works produced by the City of Vancouver.


Pamphlets with information on the works and the artist. The pamphlets open up into small posters of the work. Published by the City of Vancouver Public Art Program.

Someone from the audience remarked that some public art seems to be way more popular than other work. For example, the laughing statues at English Bay. This is the work of Yue Minjun from China titled A-maze-ing Laughter (a project that came out of 2009-2011 Vancouver Biennale). Although the large bronze sculptures are still, they are very successful in engaging the public (as you’ll see in the picture through the link above). The audience member had said that people take selfies of themselves with the art while other public art does not get anything close to this reaction. This work had social media engagement. It was unclear what point he was trying to make. It sounded like he was saying that some public art is more successful because people want to photograph it with themselves in it. Argh! I think some work, figurative/representational, is easier to relate to when you don’t have an arts background or an inquiring mind or are not used to looking at art.

Anyway, you may want to check out one of the artworks Elisa Yon talked about was Nicole Dextras, StoreFront: objects of desire. You can see a video of this performance public art work.

stitching with purpose drop-in workshop

I plan to offer at least two events this year. There may be one in June but the one for August has been confirmed, so please mark your calendars if you want to learn some stitching or talk craftivism.

Craftivist flag

Stitching with Purpose

What matters to you? Find out what ‘craftivism’ is all about and learn to stitch your message on a fabric flag that can be hung around your neighbourhood. Facilitated by artist Laura Bucci. All materials provided. Free to participate. Drop-in 12 – 5pm.

When: Sunday, August 24th 2014, 12 – 5pm

Where: Artful Sundays - The walkway at 1661 Napier Street, Britannia Community Centre site, Vancouver

Artful Sundays is an outdoor, visual arts market featuring local artists, live music, special events, artist demonstrations and workshops, tea leaf reading and more!

how do you experience creative flow?

How do you experience creative flow? Lisa Sonora Beam asks this on her blog. When I think about the projects I’ve been wanting to work on, I have to say I’ve been feeling really stuck. It seems they’re all in my head, the ideas, the execution, the final product. Product. There’s that word that I think is the cause of all problems. It stops me from starting. Envisioning a finished piece is a desire but also an expectation that does not outline how you’ll go about it. So I know I have to focus on process, doing the work. In Sense and Non-Sense, Maurice Merleau-Ponty said:

“Conception cannot precede execution.”

Kit White expanded on that by saying:

“Art is a process of discovery through making, and our ability to discover is generally greater than our ability to invent. Think of your work process as a form of travel. Look for the things you don’t know, the things that are revealed or inadvertently uncovered. It is easier to find a world than to make one.” (from the book 101 Things to Learn in Art School)

To discover you have to do, you can’t just stay in your head all the time. Luckily, I’ve had a little breakthrough lately. I’ve realized that in my art journal I was thinking and talking about what I wanted to do. I was doing it too much. And while through the art journaling process I’ve come to realizations, I’ve also realized I needed to move beyond the page.  Finally though I was able to just start working on actual paintings.

Below is a painting I started several months ago and that went really wrong.  I didn’t know what to do about it. So I put it on a top shelf, out of sight.


I dusted it off a few days ago and I’m now taking another go at it, this time allowing myself to experiment or to travel with it as Kit White says. I’ve already painted over areas I didn’t like and re-painted them over again. I’m trying to go with the flow and think of paint as an eraser as well as a colour medium.


So for me, creative flow has been a struggle between doing and not doing, getting out of my head and allowing my hand to follow. I can make myself think I am creating just because I am working in my visual journal. But I’ve been using my art journal as an excuse  from moving onto new territory.


Still here, still creating

20140227-112444.jpgI’ve slowed down on my bird project while I’m exploring other fundamentals in the practice of drawing. I came across a beautiful dead bird a few weeks ago which asked to be drawn in a different way than my previous exploration in drawing birds.

I could really feel that drawing from life is extremely different–energizing. The presence of death is richer than a book illustration or photograph. So here is one of many sketches of the bird in repose. It was interesting to experience the shift in choosing my materials and size of paper. I was drawn to use chalk pastel on 24 by 30 inch paper.

Bird Inspiration 11: the vulturine guineafowl

jan-30-2014 Laura Bucci

The vulturine guineafowl seemed appropriate to express sentiments of the heart. This is because its beautiful patterned blue, black, and white feathers (not seen in my black and white rendering) are integral to courtship. While I was creating this composition, this love scenario, I was listening to songs by Cuban singer Omara Portuondo, one of which is called Donde estabas tu? Where were you? And that’s how this piece came together, inspired by a fact about the bird and love songs.

Bird Inspiration 10: the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

I mentioned in my previous post that to help me explore drawing further, I am taking a drawing course at Emily Carr University of Art & Design. On the first lesson we focused on line qualities. I really liked that lesson. It got me thinking of different ways to draw birds–my current drawing project. I’ve long known that I’m really drawn to line drawing as opposed drawing something realistically with tone and proper shading. So this class really spoke to me.

Last Saturday I drew another bird from my visit at Bloedel Conservatory. The great thing about drawing from your own photographs is that you have many views of the bird and this can help you remember something of the creature’s behaviour which can inform your drawing. So here is the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. It is known for its expressive yellow crest but at the time of my visit, the crest seemed to be closed up. This bird is native to Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania. And they can live up to 80 years in captivity!!!


While I was putting this collage together I was listening to music by Calexico and so the words came from a song they were singing.

Six days later I drew the same bird but with line quality in mind. The image below was part of my art journaling for that day and I was inspired by having just read this from a book called Carr, O’ Keeffe, Kahlo: Places of Their Own by Sharyn Rohlfen Udall:

(on Frida Kahlo)…some of the telling symbols of migration between worlds are winged creatures, whose flight readily suggests the allegory of soul flight or of the artists’s own shamanic transmigration into other realms.


Bird Inspiration 9: the Gouldian Finch


I saw the ever colourful Gouldian Finch at the Bloedel Conservatory at Queen Elizabeth Park here in Vancouver. It’s a pretty small conservatory but neat nonetheless.  I took a photo and this is the resulting drawing.

Something I recently realized is that these bird drawings are not part of my art journaling process as I first thought. They are, instead, a project of its own. A drawing practice project, an exploration project. Last Sunday I went to the first session of a drawing course I’m taking at Emily Carr. I think it will be very good for me as it is encouraging me to explore mark making and other fundamentals of drawing in a way I might not have approached on my own. So I continue to wonder how this project will evolve.

The beauty of drawing these birds is that I can, if I wish,  use them in my art journaling process too–seen below in an art journal page.



By the way, in the early mornings when I work in my art journal I have been tuning in to meditation music on You Tube. There is one particular offering, that is three hours long! In the mornings, I am now favouring having this music in the background instead of just silence. It is definitely soothing. I’ve never tried meditation but lately it’s really on my mind, so perhaps listening to meditation music is one way to nudge me into actually trying the practice.