The Art Connection Summit

Under normal circumstances, September would be the start of a new series of workshops offered in my studio. However, Covid19 has disrupted everything. But from hardship comes innovative new ideas and a different way to gather and learn from each other. The Art Connection Summit is the brainchild of Adele Sciortino and Leslie O’Leary and is basically a virtual 5 day conference revolving around figurative sculpture, doll art, textile art, felting, beading and embroidery to name a few things. Everything you want to learn and more, all without the travel expenses, hotels and time restrictions.

Whether you are an artist, a student, collector or art lover, during the Summit you can take and download as many classes and seminars as you like, and you have the time to work on them during or after the conference. You can meet and interact with other students and teachers from around the world and you can take advantage of excursions, speakers and educational seminars.

Ten instructors are offering 18 exclusive, never-before-seen workshops. For my part, I’m offering two new polymer clay sculpting classes – a whimsical 2-day project workshop called “Fantastic Beasts Taxidermy” and a 4-day technique based workshop called “Sculpting Studies”. The workshops are suitable for both novice and experienced sculptors. The nice thing about these new classes is the format is mostly video or a combo of PDF files and video files, so you can actually see my process and my techniques as I do them. Once you download the files, they are yours to go back and refer to as often as you like.

“Fantastic Beasts Taxidermy” is a fun project for any age or skill level. I show you how to make several different animal characters as well as creating portraits of your pet. Templates, PDF’s and videos take you through the steps from prepping the wooden base to accessorizing your sculpture. I can see these being great Christmas gifts for all the animal lovers on your list.

If you are interested in figurative sculpture or portrait work, “Sculpting Studies” will be of particular interest whether you’re a beginner or ready to take it to the next level of advanced studies. You’ll learn all about facial anatomy, mapping and the step by step process of building the face and head. I give you several alternatives like how to sculpt a closed mouth, an open mouth and how to insert teeth. I show you how to sculpt the eyes without using prosthetic glass eyes or beads, how to age the eye or create an ethnic eye. I cover common sculpting mistakes and how to correct them. After each segment I will show you how to apply it to a full face sculpt. This workshop took almost a year to put together and I feel it’s one of my best workshops for the student who is serious about improving their sculpting skills.

There’s lots to see and do at the Art Connection Summit. Check it out for yourself at http://www.artconnection.gallery

Hope to see you in one of the groups. Stay safe and make art!

For the live interview with Maria Saracino click on the link below.

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The Toller Cranston Commission

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 6.46.31 PMPat Gorgas came to visit early in the Covid days. We sat on my porch, social distancing as she described the project she wanted me to do.  A commission of the late Toller Cranston – Canadian national figure skating champion from 1971-1976, and the 1974 World bronze medal and the 1976 Olympic bronze medal winner. Although I knew of Toller Cranston, I learned so much more about him as I started working on this commission. The Globe and Mail referred to him as “He is his own work of art.” He was fearless in expression, courageous in creativity, and innovative in interpretation. Toller Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 6.48.08 PMhad a determination, dedication and a desire to go where no figure skater had gone before. Renowned for his artistry, Toller Cranston brought freedom of expression to the sport and was acclaimed as the most influential figure skater of the 20th century. Toller revolutionized figure skating. He took the sport to new heights. He inspired generations.

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A Married Couple by Toller Cranston

He was not only an artist on the ice. His paintings—colourful, flamboyant and intricate—continue to be sought by collectors all over the world. He became a legend.

For my client, Toller Cranston represents more than just a legendary figure skater. His world was her world too. Originally from Toronto, Pat, a figure skater, met her husband Arnim at the Michael Kirby Ice Skating School. They both performed in the Minto Skating Club’s Minto Follies for several years, and eventually in some of the same shows as Toller Cranston. She recounted stories of Toller’s dramatic entrances and flamboyant style.  This commission is an homage to both a great man and to the life she and her husband enjoyed for so many years and the people they met in the figure skating world.

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Toller Cranston Polymer Clay, textiles, wood and resin. 18″ H x 11″ x 11″ The wooden base has images of him skating as well as his art around a resin ice surface.

 

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Studio Space Downsize

DaVinci quote

This quote by Leonard Da Vinci is going to be put to the test as I settle into my new studio space – a compact 8′ x 6.5′ room. This is the space where I sculpt and create my figurative sculptures and commissions. It’s where I will be developing, photographing and filming new workshops and tutorials. And it will undoubtedly be my favourite place in the house.

To maximize my space, I installed peg boards around the room and IKEA553A12E1-CA50-4514-97A9-C3F3B5CBD824 picture shelves to hold paint, clay, jars of buttons, glues, etc. . .  My old metal tool cabinet serves to hold all the little bits and pieces I’ve collected over the years and my workbench has added storage underneath. It’s compact and it’s efficient, and hopefully many beautiful things will come from this space.

Having a designated studio space means you don’t have to spend time packing and unpacking your supplies and tools. It’s not about the size of the space or what the view is from the window. It could be a corner in the kitchen, a closet, a spare room or the garage. Many successful and dedicated artists create beautiful art in small studios.  What’s important is that you create.

“Setting up a dedicated space for your art sends a message to both you and the universe that says, this is important and meaningful to me, and I want to give it space in my life.” Tara Leaver

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I’m Still Here!

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The de-cluttering process was not much fun. Everything went into storage during the renovation. It was hard to be separated from my studio stuff.

I haven’t posted much over the last few months with good reason. My husband and I made the decision of downsizing and moving closer to the city core last summer. This involved selling our home, purging, finding temporary accommodations all while gutting and renovating a 110 year old building in Centretown.

Anyone who has gone through any renovation knows too well both the highs and lows of the process. We experienced both good and bad surprises like the unexpected extra costs of foundation issues to discovering and exposing beautiful vintage brick walls. We were lucky to have a great contractor and the results are wonderful. After 5 months of living out of a suitcase, we are now in our new home and slowly finding a place for everything within our 850 sq. ft. Just as we hoped, life has become much simpler and easier to manage.

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Before . . .

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and After

Even more difficult during this time was downsizing and restructuring my art studio. In my old place I spread myself out over a large finished basement area and was able to teach complex workshops within this space. That’s not the case B7C1045B-4A5F-478D-8961-91517E6A5984anymore. My basement area is much smaller and every inch has to serve a purpose. The space is enough for me to create and this week I’m so happy to finally be getting back to working on commissions and some new ideas that have been percolating during this pause period.

Unfortunately the space is small so I won’t be holding any in-house workshops anymore. All workshops and classes will take place in outside locations like the Orange Art Gallery. My first workshop of 2020 will be taking place at the Orange Art School on Monday nights in April. I’ll be teaching “Sculpt a Bust” and there’s only 1 spot left, so if you are interested please get in touch with them soon at 613-761-1500. I will also be scheduling some workshops in other host locations and hope to have that schedule up shortly. Online workshops are also available through my website at saracinocollection.com or at AforArtistic.com

Thank you once again for all your kind words, support and for following my work over the years. Stay tuned for new and exciting projects coming up soon.

 

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A Story About the “Mémère” Elf

Last November I posted photos of some Christmas elves I made. Not long afterwards I received a message from someone who was in a frenzy to get her hands on one particular elf I had shown that looked just like her “Mémère” who had recently passed away. Unfortunately it was one of the first elves to sell and was already in it’s new home in Florida. This young woman was from Penetanguishene in Central Ontario. She was new to my website and my facebook page and she had been just casually coasting through Facebook when my page, and that particular photo popped up. It blew her away and she couldn’t stop thinking of it. Her grandmother had recently passed and her family was still mourning her loss – this photo popped up and looked 560CF3F3-FC83-452F-8C28-27C33491FC87_4_5005_cjust too much like her to ignore. She needed to buy this for her Mom.

It was late in the season and I was pretty well finished creating new work, let alone any more elves. She kept apologizing for being so persistent and sent me this photo to show me how much it looked like her Mémère. She pleaded for me to make another one. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take on another commission until I saw the photo she sent me. Then I understood.

It wasn’t a typical commission – it was an elf – an elf that looked like someone. Someone who was special and in many ways . . . like an elf.  I started work on it right away and managed to finish it the week before Christmas. The elf has a removeable hat so they can see her crazy hair. Here’s the finished piece.BDB7ADF4-80F6-421B-A081-CB946CBE3A4D_4_5005_c

It was shipped and arrived just in time for Christmas. After the holidays, I got this lovely note. “My mom was shocked and happy. Everyone saw my Memere when looking at her. She sits on our mantel 🙂 she is our forever elf.”

Job satisfaction?. . . Off the charts.

Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Christmas, Christmas Elf, Elf, Elves, Figurative Art, Halloween, Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party, Marguerite D'Youville, Maria Saracino, Mother Christmas, Mother's Day Gifts, Mrs. Claus, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polymer clay, portrait commissions, Santa's Elf, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, solar system, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Vingettes, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Witches, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Teacher’s Sample Sale at Wall Candy Art Expo This Saturday!

fullsizeoutput_417eTeaching is a big part of my life as an artist. I love sharing my techniques and introducing both young and old to the joys of 3D sculpting and polymer clay. My style of teaching is to work alongside my students which means I create a new sample piece with each class I teach, but with a home and studio downsize, I’m running out of space!

If you like what I do, here’s an opportunity to pick up an original piece at very special prices. I’ll be at Wall Candy – Sweetly Affordable Art Expo this Saturday, November 23rd in the Aberdeen Building at Lansdowne Park from 10am to 6pm. It’s free admission and there are over 100 artists to check out. From Potted Elves to Framed Santa Reliefs, La Befana and more, come visit me at Booth #117. Here’s the link to the show . . . hope to see you there! https://www.facebook.com/events/2345798758991077/

Posted in Art, Art Awards, Art Dolls, art exhibits, Art shows, art shows in ottawa, Artists, Christmas, Christmas Elf, Elf, Elves, Figurative Art, Maria Saracino, Mother Christmas, Mother's Day Gifts, Mrs. Claus, Orange Art Gallery, ottawa, Ottawa 150, ottawa art scene, Perth, ON, polymer clay, portrait commissions, sculpey, Sculpting Workshops, sculpture, space, Studio 87, Uncategorized, Vingettes, Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, Witches, Workshops, Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Buddha Commission

Not all artists accept commissions – they can be stressful because you are trying to meet someone else’s expectations. You might also be asked to create something that is outside of your usual area of work. As a result of this, commissions are often more expensive. A recent commission took me outside of my comfort zone, but I learned so much from this experience and I’m proud of the legacy this piece represents.

This is Buddha, a sculpture that took me almost 4 months to complete. It is my client’s offering to his temple. A large piece, 34″ tall, sculpted in polymer clay but guilded in 24-karat gold leaf. The robes are made from three colours of Dupioni silk. The under robe shown here is in a soft yellow orange hue, lined in cream silk. The traditional Kasaya is made from a deep orange/red Dupioni silk divided into 13 sections trimmed in gold. I had to learn the correct way to fold and wrap his body. The clasp is also made from polymer and gold leaf. I created the staff from scrolled wood and covered it in 24-karat gold leaf. It holds 12 metal rings. His crown is created from paper, polymer clay, resin and gold silk trim.

My client purchased a precious gemstone to place in his left hand. To protect the sculpture I had a museum quality acrylic box, custom made by Canus Plastics.

As challenging as this commission was, even more challenging was packing and shipping it to Philadelphia. I attended a seminar on how the National Gallery of Canada ships delicate artwork and used many of their tips and tricks. In addition to this I also built a wooden crate. Each step of the packing and unpacking of the sculpture had to be documented and photographed and the directions were included in the crate for both the client and possible inspection by custom officials.

After a couple of nerve wracking days, the sculpture arrived safe and sound. Happy client, happy artist, happy Buddha.

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Fish with Faces

A few years ago I developed a series of smaller sculptures for an exhibit supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.  Expanding on a polymer relief class I was teaching at the time, “Fish with Faces” came to be. These whimsical little humanized fish floating above sanded and polished burls of wood were a big hit, and sold out at the exhibit.

Since then “Fish with Faces” has become an ongoing series available exclusively at Studio 87 in Perth, Ontario. I’ve done them in various sizes and colours and I give them beautiful Italian names that reflect their mediterranean influence and a sense of peacefullness. Names like Sogno d’Acqua, Mare Azzurro and the two latest fish to find new homes, Tranquillita and Riposo.

Resin coral reefs support the two newest additions to the collection –  Aquaril and Meditazione. Brass rods support the fish over the reefs or wood burls, and tiny glass bubbles either pop from their mouths or are supported on their tails. The fish are sculpted from Living Doll and Sculpey.

You can find the whole collection at Studio 87, located at 87 Gore Street East in Perth, ON. Also available are my exclusive Galaxy Bowls and Pendants in polymer clay and 24K Gold. Only $40 – a perfect Mother’s Day gift. Check it out at http://galleryongore.com/artists-p-z/saracino-maria/

 

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Light, Space, Time Competition and Exhibit

1st Place, 3D Category The Railroad Traveller Polymer Clay, textiles, cement and resin. Available at http://www.orangeartgallery.ca

This morning I found out I received 1st place in the 3D category of the Light,Space,Time Figurative Exhibit. My winning entry was “The Railroad Traveller”. I also received a Merit Award for “Lunch in the Park”.  I’m beyond thrilled, not only to win this honour, but to be in the company of several other artists I know and respect.

Art competitions are a way of promoting your work and building your credibility as a professional artist. The benefits can range from exposure, exhibitions and even self-confidence to cash, promotional material and opportunities. In this competition artists were asked for their interpretation of the “Figurative” theme by submitting their best abstract or representational art for this competition.  The gallery received 845 entries from 35 different countries from around the world.   The exhibition was divided into three media categories.  Painting & Other Media, Photography & Digital and 3 Dimensional Art.  In addition, there is an overall Winning Artists Category, and also included Special Merit awards and Special Recognition awards for outstanding art.

Here is the link to the competition and the exhibit. Scroll down and click on the 3D category to see the entries. https://www.lightspacetime.art/figurative-art-exhibition-2019-april/

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Cormac, the Brew Master Leprechaun

The Irish celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, their patron saint on March 17th, but did you know that St. Patrick was the son of Roman immigrants, so he is also widely celebrated in Italy. But it doesn’t stop there – St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated all over the world. As a matter of fact, for at least one day, everyone likes to be a little bit Irish. And who doesn’t love Leprechauns and the stories of those magical wee folk who live underground, causing mischief and hoarding pots of gold. If you are like me, every time I see a rainbow, I always look to see where it ends and think about that elusive pot of gold.

Thinking ahead and as a distraction over this long cold winter, I made one little original Leprechaun. He’s my wish for an early spring.  Meet Cormac, the Brew Master. Standing a wee 14″ tall, he’s one of a kind and available through my website at https://saracinocollection.com/collections/frontpage/products/cormac-the-brewmaster-leprechaun or on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/684984967/cormac-the-brew-master-leprechaun

May good luck pursue you each morning and night. May your thoughts be as glad as the shamrocks. … May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessing of Saint Patrick behold you. 

 

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