Archive for ‘Art Making’

June 20, 2016

Could it be a sign? And if so what does it mean? – my current art series…


Three friends pointing to their favorite sign – at the Roundhouse Artists in Our Midst opening Wednesday, June 15.


This is the “before” picture. I delivered the 12 pieces and got to put them in the order I felt they worked best. The following day, they went up on the wall and lighting adjusted.

I’ve been working on a series of small 8″ x 8″ canvases that are loosely grouped as “signs”. Many have letters or numbers; Some have labyrinth symbols; some maps. In a way, it’s just a continuation of other work such as “Mapping the Journey” (lots of maps) and “Incubating Poetry” (lots of words that could be incubated into poetry).

Saturday morning before heading off to sit with my art – mainly the “signs” series (that was still looking for a more interesting title) – I heard a CBC interview with Genevieve von Petzinger about her book The First Signs.

Could that be a sign? And if so.. what does it mean?

I tend to pay attention to synchronicity so have now put the book on hold at (I’m #16 for two books). and have been googling all over the place, liking her page and photos etc.  After several hours I have finally found a place where the distinct geometric signs she’s catalogued can be viewed.  She says 32, but this lists 28, so not quite sure, but I’ll find out why four of them aren’t included.

Here you go:

I’ve collected way too many links and ideas to put it all here, but fortunately Genevieve has quite a distinctive name so if you want to know more, GIYF (Google Is Your Friend.)

So I think I’ll call my series: Could it be a sign? Maybe even with the subtitle “and if so, what does it mean?”

And further more, I consider “meeting” Genevieve at the start of an art show weekend means that I should keep thinking about and making art about signs.

March 15, 2016

I went to Opus for ONE red China Marker. I came home with 5 plus another $55 worth of supplies

photo 3

I used the red China marker for an arrow and a line, heightened and extended the line from the pattern tissue and then did some rubbing. #workinprogress

photo 1

I’m working on a series of 8″ x 8″ mixed-media pieces on deep canvas. These may be about 75% done. But what the other 25% will bring…? I don’t know as yet

I went to Opus for ONE red China Marker. I came home with five markers plus another $55

worth of supplies. If I get under $100 I always feel I did OK.

The backstory here is this. A friend of mine took an art class with Nicholas Wilton – “best course ever”.  So I’ve been accidentally learning some of his techniques, from Jane and from his blog and e-newsletter. Thanks, Nicholas and Jane.

Jane and I both do mixed-media and live 3 blocks away from each other so we’re often chatting on the run around the neighbourhood. I’m gardening; she’s driving by. I’m walking by her house en route for grocery shopping and see her on her porch.

Ever since seeing her first batch of 12″x12″ Nicholas-inspired pieces I’ve been wanting a China marker (aka grease pencil).

photo 2

I used the white China marker to extend the lines of the letter A I’d collaged on. Then I rubbed the blue marker onto the polka-dot texture I’d made with paint and gel. #workinprogress #staytuned

I’m working on some pieces that my art partner friend suggested I incorporate an orangey-red as a complementary to the green, so off I went to Opus to buy one red China marker.  After phoning, because when I was last there I couldn’t find them — very high top shelf, way beyond eye-level for someone under 5’4″.

Now I’m googling around to see how other artists use them and to be honest not finding a lot.

I *do* like Kathleen Pequignot’s work though and not surprised to see she’s an art abandoneer as am I. or on facebook

Although China markers are not part of this blogger’s list, one of the comments included it, and, hey! I like the idea of doing a blog post with “my favorite art supplies.” I’ll do that. maybe tomorrow.

My favourite art supplies!

What are your favorite art supplies?


March 10, 2015

Art Teacher as Surgeon

I received this wonderful testimonial from a participant in my mixed-media workshop:

“I wanted to learn some texturing, blurring, & layering techniques for collage. Mary is an actual fount of knowledge about mixed media. But in our sessions, she zeroed in surgically on what each person specifically wanted to learn, which was great. She has all the stuff, so you can experiment and find your mode without a big layout of money. She explains well, demonstrates, answers all your questions, then frees you to experiment without judgment. Seeing what the possibilities were from her demos, then playing with all the stuff in her lovely bay-windowed studio — that was really fun.”

I often felt I was skimming over so many techniques because the group was so enthusiastic and had so many questions. So to be told I had zeroed in surgically was very affirming.

Next series starts March 17, 2015 2-4pm.  $70 for 5 2-hour sessions.

Groups are tiny (2-3 people) so if you want a different time, let me know and we’ll see what we can do.




January 31, 2015

Alpha to Omega and Home Again

IMG_20150126_085421-1Labyrinths have been of interest for some time  maybe 20 years. Almost. And now I’m revisiting my interest. Labyrinths are on m mind –and on my easel.

Here’s a 16″x16″ one that I’m calling “Alpha to Omega and Home Again”. It was inspired by an image a friend sent me with a finger labyrinth that looked like it was words cut from magazines on a black background.  Mine also has words but, as is my wont, I’ve partially covered them with acrylic paint, Kroma crackle, self-levelling gel etc.

The little bubble that says “Talk” in the lower left is about “no talking on the labyrinth.”

I have three others in progress. I’ll post after I work on them a bit more.


Never Felt So Good – Labyrinth inspired by sand labyrinth at Spanish Banks by Les (c) Mary Bennett – early stages

One is  25″x62″ collage representing the labyrinth in the sand at Spanish Banks.

Another is on a 30″x40″ canvas that I think will be a group project.

The little one on canvas board might not work out. Some art has to get sacrificed. Sorry. That’s the way I work.

January 30, 2015

Bird on the Beach – Facebook Challenge Day 5


The day that Pete the plastic bird was photographed and laid to rest and then recycled.

Toast1I nominate Jane Williams and Derek Irland, intrepid companions on the B on the B project.


from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum at UBC.

To the right “skins” of the Northern Fulmar, the inspiration of this project from Beaty Biodiversity Museum (Thanks, Ildiko). NF is shown alongside related birds.

To the right is Derek photo-documenting the “autopsy” of Pete the Plastic Bird. (All good things must come to an end.) After this he was recycled, some parts the worse for wear.

Above some lovely FriendMas birds created at a free workshop “Put a Bird on It.” Thanks to MLA David Eby’s Community Office for hosting and Vancouver Trade School for organizing.

It’s been fun to focus on uploading three photos each day – I took a rather eclectic approach, I think.

I now also nominate any friends who hesitate to call themselves an “artist” – to step up and claim the title and your creations as art! Let me see what you create. Please.

Post to facebook and I’d be honoured if you mentioned my name as encouraging you to claim your art!




January 28, 2015

Artists Facebook Challenge Day 3 – I nominate YOU

Solar Energy, 8"x 8" on board, Tarot Card series

Solar Energy, 8″x 8″ on board, Tarot Card series

The rules are simple, but I haven’t followed them completely. I’m supposed to nominate some other artist each day as well as posting three photogs of my artwork.

Well, as a catch up – I nominate any of the 40 members of Artists in our Midst who haven’t done the Facebook challenge or enjoyed it so much they’d like to do it again.

I’m certainly enjoying seeing art by friends from as far away as Newfoundland, so I’d like to see this keep on going.

Can anyone trace this back to its beginning? when? who? a big bang or divine intervention?

The Moon Sees Me, 8"x8" on board, Tarot Card Series

The Moon Sees Me, 8″x8″ on board, Tarot Card Series

I see that poets have now joined in and extended artist to include new genres.  What’s your art? join in and claim me as your nominator.

For today, two of my tarot series Solar Energy and The Moon Sees Me.

I’m working on two new pieces on sun and moon as part of the mapping series. Stay tuned. Watch the sky. (Or facebook where I’m posting pieces that aren’t quite finished. A couple of likes or so and it helps me motivate myself to complete them.)

January 27, 2015

Gain a Day / Lose a Day – Facebook Challenge Day 2, Photos 1-2

Lose a Day, mixed-media collage 12"'x12"

Lose a Day, mixed-media collage 12″‘x12″

These two collages were the first with my new bright colours purchsed after viewing an exhibition from Mexico at UBC’s Museum of Anthropology. There’s maps and leaves on them and coated with pouring medium which makes them look like resin (without the health hazard.)


Gain a Day (c) Mary Bennett

Gain a Day, mixed-media collage, 12″x12″

In an old atlas I found the little explanations for what happens when you cross the International Date Line.That idea always fascinated me as a child.  As metphor, what does it mean to lose a day or gain a day? Some days do seem to be either lost or found.

December 27, 2014

Kids Making Art

BoxingDayGrandKidsdoingartI love to see kids making art. So I’m the arts-and-crafts-Grandma in our family which has several other grandparents with other specialties.

I have fun looking at Opus to find nice art stuff: this year Zentangle theme and Space theme (think circles).

Here the grandkids are on Boxing Day – taking a break from skiing!


November 27, 2014

Thinning out the art supplies

That would be as in “art” (quote-unquote) supplies.

The trouble with working in mixed media, is that almost *anything* could wind up n a collage.

“Is it fresh?” my creativity coach suggested I ask as I look around the overflowing studio.

The corrugated cardboard, the lace, the crayons,ink and miscellaneous paints I was given and either never used or don’t now… are they fresh?

A lot isn’t.  But I’m not so good at letting go.

This past January I made a new year’s resolution to get rid of all of the condiments in my fridge. Should they live that long without poisoning me, the threat was that if they were still in the fridge on December 31, 2014 – out they go!

I’m sufficiently on track that I frequently stir fry some veggies and think, ah, what can I put on as a sauce? hmmn. nothing in the fridge.

I’m allowed to (by my own rule) buy new condiments, just had to get rid of anything that was there as of January 1st.

I’m going to do it for 2015 with art supplies.  And I’m getting a head start already.

One of the more valuable things I have are many, many different kinds of gels. I’m eyeing them with a look that says: why are you there on the shelf instead of on a piece of art.

I think I’ll google Kroma crackle and get some ideas on what to do with that jar.  Can’t remember which crackle you can use on canvas, but if that’s the one, I have a place for it…



November 27, 2014

Mental Maps: Mixed Metaphors in Mixed-Media

I’ve been using maps in my mixed-media collages fora while, but I just completed two 12″x12″ pieces that feel like the start of something new.

Also I’ve been peering at the fine print on maps and finding notes that seem to be metaphorical advice on life.

This was found on a chart (procured from the Hornby Island Free store) and on Stuart Channel it says:

Flood tides are weak and variable but ebb tides may reach velocities shown.

I read it out to my art partner and asked her what she thought it could mean as metaphor.

Her response: Well, flood tides are high tides. So I take it as incoming wealth and abundance is “weak and variable” and then when the ebb/receding tide comes along it reaches top speed.

sigh. she added.

But it doesn’t have to mean that. What’s your interpretation?


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