Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


2 Comments

Day 255 (of the Pandemic)

How is everyone holding up?

Second wave of the Pandemic is here in spades, but at least there are multiple promising vaccines being worked on. I’ve heard that it probably will be at least another year before things could be back to “normal” (whatever that turns out to be) if the vaccines are effective and start distribution early in the new year.

I have a collection of 12 fabric masks now, and a large supply of TrioMed Active Surgical & Medical Single Use Masks – which are treated with an antimicrobial that kills the covid and flu viruses. Gives me a bit more comfort when I have to get on transit, go to class or appointments.

I’ve been taking part in National Portfolio Day. It is completely online this year and I have to say I like it this way! I’ve talked to 10 art schools and universities from around the world so far, and still have three more dates where I can talk to more. I’ve already scheduled a session for this Sunday with another school.

If you are thinking about attending post-secondary art programs I highly recommend it – you can still sign-up and participate! I’ve found that with them running sessions since September that there is no waiting to talk to the school reps. And, even though it says 10-15 minutes a session, I’ve been getting 30-60 minute sessions as there is no one waiting after me. I’ve had some excellent portfolio reviews, critiques, suggestions, lessons and discussions about various program options. The link to register is: https://nationalportfolioday.org/

All the UK schools I’ve talked to have suggested applying straight into their Master’s programs. That isn’t an option with the Canadian schools I’ve spoken to, at least not one they are promoting. In the UK they go there straight off. I’m a “mature” student with a decades long arts based career, and lifetime of producing work in multiple media. I am VERY interested in that option as I was thinking I’d like to get a Masters of Fine Art and assumed it would happen after finishing a BFA. But… skipping the BFA would save time (1.5 to 2 years) and overall would cost less as well (comparing MFA to MFA.)

I’m finishing a three year diploma in Fine Arts – Advanced (Honours) and the Canadian schools’ maximum credit to transfer into their BFA programs is only 50% to 75%. And even with a 75% transfer credit it would be three semesters to complete a degree. And that was only one school, the others were 50% – you have to complete two years of their program to get their degree.

The Master’s programs are three semesters straight through which is a full year. Compared to finishing a BFA that is faster as most BFA programs run a traditional schedule with the summer off. I’m not getting any younger, so that is very appealing to me too. The last year of a BFA is the thesis year – researching a specific theme or topic and producing a body of work… the MFA is also a thesis with a broader/deeper scope.

I’ve been working hard on my Statements of Intent (different ones for different programs) and portfolio to get them ready for applications. I’ll be applying to several schools (some have waived their application fees due to the pandemic) as soon as I have my final marks for this semester in December, for both BFA and MFA programs to start in September 2021. Then I’ll see what happens!

Below is one of my current projects – I built the box which is is 2 x 2 feet, and I’m creating an elephant from cloth mache. So far I’ve recycled egg cartons, meat trays, an old fitted sheet, a sheet of foam core from another project, six different types of sponges and a used lot of glue. Tomorrow work continues – will install the background as I have to do that before I secure the armature for the ear. I’m pretty pleased with it so far.


Leave a comment

Day 133…

Over four months into the pandemic now. I don’t see an end to it soon. Even though Ontario has mostly moved to Stage 3 of reopening, it is still not contained/controlled. If everyone would wear a mask and maintain social distancing it could possibly be contained, but so many don’t.

I honestly do not understand people who think that wearing a mask and maintaining a distance from others is too hard for them to do. Selfish gits. Losing my life, or someone else’s, isn’t worth going to a beach or a pub or a party. It isn’t even worth going for groceries when there are delivery options.

I am staying home as much as I possibly can. I am still alone in my unit which is nice as the added stress of a roommate is gone, for now. Since it is already past mid-July I don’t expect they’ll have anyone moving into the vacant room until later next month (although I could be wrong.) My other three roommates most likely will return for the end of August. But, there’s a possibility, if their programs have gone 100% online for the fall semester, that they may choose to stay home with family. I know they all have leases to next summer like I do.

I’ve been eating well, which means more than I usually do when I have somewhere to go during the day. I generally have one meal (usually when I get home) and a snack (that would be breakfast.) Now that I am home all day I usually have two meals and snacks… not a great plan. And, well, now I’m trying to get back to just one meal and stopping with the extra snacking! I need to fit my clothing in September for school!  This is my “normal” breakfast, which I am back to now: cheese, some cucumber and celery, and a massive coffee (decaf most of the time.)

DSC02341

I’ve not been as productive as I was earlier on in this isolation. I putter. Did a few more drawings but took a break from the painting series. Made some jewelry – goal is to use up my craft supplies and beads so I can reduce my on-hand materials. I’m now assembling “dangly things” with shells and other bits of stuff I’ve collected over the years.

Here is a micron drawing, and I used my new iridescent watercolour paints and pencil crayons to add colour to it.

The paints are Finetec Pearlescent Colours. They are quite lush.

DSC02382 (2)

A friend passed them onto me as she found they didn’t do what she had wanted them to.

Below is a photo of the first batch of jewelry I made up. I’m planning to sell them – during third year we have opportunities to set-up to sell things as part of one of the classes we are in. These are mostly painted wood pendants with glass beads, with some metal and wood beads as well. If you are interested send me a message or comment on this post!

DSC02466 (2)

I’ve started making hanging/dangly things now. I lay out stuff on my work table so I can just sit down when the spirit moves me to put something together. I sorted out pieces to use into little trays (I save the plastic trays from the 99% cacao Lindt chocolate bars,) one for each dangly thing – all the components and beads, etc.  I’ve got the finished ones hanging all over the room. I’ll photograph them once I’ve got this batch finished.

Hope everyone is managing through this upheaval and keeping healthy. It will eventually get to a point where we can start getting back to doing things without the constant fear of infection. Eventually. Be safe.


Leave a comment

Leapin’ Lizards… It is Leap Year!

I wasn’t consciously aware that 2020 was a Leap Year until the radio station started talking about it last weekend. As Friday was the 28th and thus payday, and the deadline for T4s and other tax forms, it wasn’t on my radar. But, it does explain why I had no “memories” on Facebook this morning!

Apparently this is my 15th Leap Year. As I wasn’t born on February 29th that’s an irrelevant fact. So… nevermind.

I’ve been on my “Reading Week” break from school this past week. It seemed like such a long break to me a week ago – I like being busy and having deadlines – but it now seems as if it went by very quickly. I did manage to work through most of my To-Do list. The two items not ticked off are in progress – finishing my Fabrication project (it was already marked but I need to do all the finishing to put it in the end of year show) and culling my stuff, again.

Mid-Term marks were posted this week – I’m happy. I received two 100% (Painting IV and Mass Extinctions which is a General Education elective), 96% in Art History II, 95% in Ethics (another elective) and 90% in Fabrication Studio II.

One of my paintings for class was on the theme of representing ourselves, so mine represents memories of childhood. We lived on the west coast of British Columbia overlooking Juan de Fuca Strait and could watch the Orcas and sunsets from our house.

DSC01604

My current painting is in progress with the theme of Mythology and/or Mystery so I am doing another painting of Rapa Nui – my go-to favourite subject currently! So far just the underpainting is done.

DSC01634 (2)

My Fabrication piece that is still being worked on is all fibre art – quilting, crewel work, embroidery, crossstitch, beadwork, etc. This is a photo of what I presented for marking – a lot was just pinned in place to show where it would (probably) be. I still have so much more to do on it.

DSC01632 (2)

I am doing this all by hand, so all the seams are being hand-stitched which is going to take weeks. I spent six hours simply stitching seams as shown below and only completed nine inches… I calculate there are approximately 12 feet more of those seams. I also have to go back over some that I did quickly in order to attach the main components for class… this is so much work! But… that’s what I do to myself on a regular basis. My ideas grow and expand as I start to work on a project, making it much harder on myself. But, honestly, I can’t do it any other way.

DSC01632 (3)

Culling is a never ending chore for me. As I am constantly downsizing my accommodations, I need to lessen the amount of things I keep. I currently have approximately 126 square feet of living/storage space. That is it. I don’t store things anywhere but in my room. So it is important to keep it all under control, and tidy! Everything has to be neat and put away or it gets me stressed.  If I am working on something, my work table will be covered with bits, but that is the only spot where I will leave things.

I need to go through my clothes again. I really reduced what I had when I moved into this complex in the Fall, but since then there are more items that I HAVEN’T worn than I have worn. So, time to cull the clothing again.

I’ve also got a surplus of art supplies that I think I will try to sell.  A classmate has had success selling off her excess and recommended a platform, so that is something I might go at this weekend.

Pride & Prejudice wrapped up on the 15th – it was a really well done show, full of talent. It was a pleasure to work with the cast and crew at Oshawa Little Theatre. I really had fun working on the hair styles of 1813!

I spent a day completely rebuilding my website from the ground (or template) up. I’m quite happy with it. I had been given a critique of my art and social media/internet presence as part of a workshop I took back in January and some excellent points had been made. So I tackled the website as it was a relatively simple, if time consuming, fix for me. Still tweaking it as I go but I think it is looking pretty good – check it out and send along any feedback to me via the contact page! Shannon Fennell Art is the link.

Doc1-page-001 (1)

Only two more months of college this term and then year two of my Fine Art program will be complete. One more year here to finish the three-year diploma, then I will be moving on to another school to complete a degree. The college has articulation agreements with many institutions so I have lots of options – my plan is to complete the degree abroad as the adventure of living in another country is extremely appealing!

 


1 Comment

And just like that, January is over.

Tomorrow it is February.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun… or, let’s face it, just getting old. Wish I could go back to the time when waiting for something to happen took forever – like a kid waiting for Christmas.

It’s been a fairly hectic month for me. New semester started, back to the part-time job, rehearsals for Pride & Prejudice which I am doing the hair and make-up for, took an art/business workshop last Saturday, lots of medical appointments, participated in a monthly art challenge and have issues with my residence.

The show opened last night at the Oshawa Little Theatre. Really well done! Pride & Prejudice runs until February 15th. They had some fantastic photos from the other night from the photographer.

83618818_2654577934610422_4373384869019910144_o

Well into art projects now – first painting assignment is going well. I meant to take some work in progress photos yesterday but completely forgot. And just finished my first Fabrication project for the semester – a wooden box. I chose to go small (no surprise there).

Here is my tiny box. It’s only 1.5 inches square. It is made from a solid block of pine. I hand carved it… used a drill to hollow out most of the bottom, but was finished by hand. Then I used pyrography/wood burning. That was my first time using a wood burning tool and I loved it! I used a diluted cherry stain, then lined it with gold leaf. It is sealed with a matte finish. And, thankfully the sealer is encasing the campfire smell.

Box

I wanted to decorate it with some mystical symbols – I decided astrology symbols would work so I used four of my family signs – Pisces, Virgo, Cancer and Leo. They looked suitably arcane. Then did some decorative patterning on the lid and the sides.

I’m putting a tiny petrified dragon heart (it is really a small polished stone that looks like an anatomically correct heart) and a talon (from a large bird I think) in it… Because a small dragon was trapped in this box and all the burning is from them trying to escape, but an evil wizard put a spell on the box so the dragon died in there and all that is left is their hardened heart and one talon. Everything needs a back story… right?

The next project for Fabrication is an Assemblage. I’m going to be doing something with fabrics, needlework, fibre, etc. Talked it over with the instructor and he’s quite enthusiastic about it.

I sold one of my art challenge works – the little Sharpie cross-stitch Corgi got customized with a shark fin and got sent off to his new home.

DSC01357 (2)

In the art challenge (I posted some things in the previous blog post already) I was having fun painting with Sharpies and alcohol. I’m on a sunset kick right now. Here are a series of mini paintings from the challenge – all are on 2 x 2 inch canvas boards.

DSC01523 (2)

I completed all 31 days of the challenge too! I think this is only the second or third one that I managed to get through to the finish. Yay me!

Also decorated this little trinket box with Sharpies and Copic markers – just for fun.

DSC01470

I took a workshop on Saturday with Tim Packer on “Key Concepts to Being a Successful Artist.” Really enjoyed it and got lots out of it. Basically… practise every day until you are producing great work, find your voice, love the process, love what you are producing and other people love the work and buy it. He gave us plenty of information and ways to do all of that. Now I need to apply it and work my ass off.

I’ll be talking with him tomorrow – getting a critique on my work and his feedback on what I need to work on to get where I want to go. I have not settled on a medium or technique – so it is a challenge to focus on the constant improvement of one particular style. I love watercolour (one of my favourites below) but also enjoy so many other things. I am looking forward to the critique.

FennellConeflower

I was supposed to be having surgery on my left hand back on January 13th. I was in the operating room, on the table, with my hand stretched out on another table. When the surgeon came in I told him it had not been acting up since I had seen him months ago.  He examined it and said I didn’t need the surgery! I might still at some point, but it was great to not have it done!

I will be moving to another unit in the complex. I get the key on Sunday. Probably will take me a week to get it all done. It is in the building across the courtyard – I look out my window at it. Same floor plan, same room as I am in now. There is a problem with the space (not the roommates) and there is not an easy fix so they offered me another unit. So I took it. Just had to wait for them to do the cleaning and prep for a move-in. The room is identical and furnished, so the plan is to carry over things systematically and put them in the same place, so not having to pack. I’ve made my usual lists. Address change is just the unit number.

Check me out on Instagram as I post my art and other creations there much more regularly! Here’s the link shannonfennellartist

 


Leave a comment

New year, new semester, new challenges

Happy New Year. Ten days in now, but hey, still a valid wish to everyone. Regardless of the crap that is going on in the world, let us all think happy thoughts and do what we all can to make this world a better place for everyone and every creature on the planet.

I usually do a year in review post annually, but this past year was a bit of a blur. A lot went on, and when I look back it is hard to believe that ALL that happened in just the last 12 months.

The most notable things for me in 2019 were:

  • My trip to Africa in May for almost a month – I visited South Africa, eSwatini (the country formerly known as Swaziland), and Mozambique (I blogged about that here – that’s the first of eight posts about my experiences.)
  • The Year End Juried Art Show at the Station Gallery in Whitby, Ontario – I won a prize for one of my mixed media works! That was exciting ( I blogged about that here!) I helped with the show set-up for a week before I left for my trip too, which was a fantastic learning experience.
  • I spent 79 days over the summer working as a residential camp baker/cook at a camp at the south end of Algonquin Park, Ontario. I had to leave for the job one day after I got back from my African trip. I did not blog about that. It was exhausting with regular 16-hour days with only three actual days off the entire summer (that was NOT how it was supposed to be!) I baked, I cooked, I prepped, I cleaned, I slept. That was the extent of my daily activities. I lost 30 lbs in the process. On the up side, I invented some awesome vegetarian meals, and vegan, gluten free baked goods. And my bread and soups were legendary. But I had to have others taste everything I made as I couldn’t myself due to my dietary restrictions.
  • I had a 5.0 GPA for the Winter (Jan-Apr) 2019 semester, and 4.91 for the Fall (Sep-Dec) 2019 semester. Did some cool stuff (posted here, here, here, and here about some of them.)
  • And, tragically, lost Brian in August. I was at camp and wasn’t there when he passed over the rainbow bridge. It wasn’t completely unexpected as he was old for his breed (Samoyed) and had been declining – the last time I saw him in July he didn’t seem to recognize me. Not being there to say goodbye was, and is, upsetting and I still cry.FennellWideIMG_5377 8x10crop
  • I had to move, unexpectedly, at the beginning of October and now live in purpose built student housing across from the College. It isn’t a residence, but a private development. I share a three-floor unit with four other females. It is actually very comfortable – all rooms have ensuites and maglocks on the doors. That was my big issue with student housing/residences – security and privacy. All appliances including washer/dryer are in the unit, and the rent is all-inclusive. And being directly across the street from school and work is awesome. It did require downsizing even more than I had when I moved to Ontario – I now live in 126 square feet with EVERYTHING I own (except for the car – it is outside!) It is actually quite liberating to get rid of stuff.DSC00834

2020’s plans and activities include:

  • I am working on setting up to sell my art online. I just have to figure out the best way for me to deal with it. I need to start working on a business model for myself for the art. I was very successful running my make-up business for twenty years, but this is a bit different and I need to get my mind around marketing tangible goods rather than services.
  • I’m working on a production of Pride and Prejudice with the Oshawa Little Theatre which opens at the end of this month – hair and make-up, of course.
  • Classes started this week for my fifth semester in my Fine Art program. I have five courses this semester: Special Topics in Sociology, Ethics in Your Daily Life, Fabrication Studio II, Painting II, and Art Survey – 1900 to current.
  • I am having hand surgery on Monday … it is day surgery and I was told there is no down time. We’ll see. It is my left hand and I am right handed so hopefully I’ll manage okay.
  • No travel plans this year – I hope to go to school in Ireland (fingers crossed) in 2021 so my budget is tight. Depending on what summer job I get I might take a road trip to visit friends that are a day’s drive away – will have to see.
  • I started an art challenge January 1st. Art everyday – which I am posting on Facebook, Instagram, etc. I’m keeping things small so I can complete them in one sitting! I tend to lose the plot on the monthly challenges and really want to carry through on this one. Below are some of the items I’ve made so far… All are for sale! Except the Corgi, he’s already sold.