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Carla's images displayed on this site are protected by copyright and may not be used without written permission. Please contact Carla, if you would like to discuss use of her work.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My new Talisman Journey shop on Etsy. Spiritually inspiring gifts for your body and soul.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's October already!  Hard to believe the summer has come and gone.  It also means this year's Nanaimo Art Gallery banners have come down from their perches around downtown Nanaimo and are available for purchase.

You can find mine, titled. "Endless Possibilities", T009A: "Endless Possibilities" Carla Stein  at this link:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Banner Day -- Part Two

On day two of painting I started to fill in all the colors and paint the back of the banner as well.  Every bit of material has to be covered with paint or the sun, wind, and rain will cause the banner material to rot and tear while hanging outdoors.

Day three and the banner is ready for the black outlines that will complete the project.  It was a challenge to find the right brush to use, but it turned out that an inexpensive chisel edge brush worked best to get a smooth curved line.  Here's the completed banner!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

It's a Banner Day!

Our local art gallery does more than host shows and support artists with classes and information.  Each year for the past 26 years they also invite community members to dress up the town with colorful hand painted banners.  These original gems are on display from mid-May until October and showcase the ability of everyone from students to professional artists.  The sale of the banners at the end of the season also helps to raise funds for the gallery.

This year I decided to take the plunge and create my own banner.  It started with a little sketch that I submitted:

Next came transferring the sketch onto the white banner material and starting to paint with acrylic house paint that has been diluted according to a time tested recipe.  I don't have the formula though because apparently it's a lot like learning to bake bread, you have to just get the feel of it.  I thought it would be a quick project, but painting on raw fabric is slow going.  After the first day the results looked like this:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The New Art Patron - You!

I started off this series of posts asking a question about whether patronage of art and creative pursuits belong only to the very wealthy 1% of individuals or, if the other 99% per cent of citizens have a role in supporting the arts. My last post looked at the historical state of affairs around art patronage - one that involved the wealthy and powerful and supported a few select artists while leaving many other artists of great skill tied to a life of struggle.

Yes, there are modern artists, who have also found wealthy patrons, but artistic pursuits have over the past century been acknowledged as important to the overall well-being and level of satisfaction for all citizens in our society.  Governments at the local, provincial, state, and national levels have recognized the need to support a variety of creative endeavors. This usually takes the form of funding contributed to arts organizations, such as museums, schools, and less frequently to individual artists in the form of grants from agencies like the Canada Council or the National Endowment for the Arts.  Unfortunately, government funding is frequently influenced by politics and the importance that politicians place on the value of the arts.  Case in point, the severe cuts experienced in British Columbia, Canada in the past two years when much of the proceeds from gaming grants was no longer available to arts-oriented and non-profit organizations.  Many organizations have had to severely limit the services they provide or have been forced to shut their doors completely.  Of course, in a democratic society, governments change with the passing of public opinion through the elective process.  Private foundations are another avenue of funding, but often have a specific focus on the type of art they will support.

So where does that leave the 99% -- in between elections?  Individuals who appreciate art can become more involved on a local level by participating in arts councils, supporting local museums, volunteering their time in projects that support the arts in venues from daycares to seniors’ facilities.  Purchasing or commissioning work from artists in your own locale just because you like their work is also a good way to make a statement about being an art patron.  Many artists offer their work at costs which allow you to own art that speaks to your personal tastes without needing a bank account akin to that of the Medici’s.

But what about the creative projects artists wish to produce that have a grander scale in mind?  Are we left with hoping that government, foundations, or a wealthy benefactor will support these?  The information age has changed the way many systems operate and art funding is no less affected.  Kickstarter is an new innovative way for artists to raise funds, while maintaining creative control of their projects.  Anyone can contribute to a project of their choosing and the average donation is about $71.00 according to the information on the Kickstarter website.  So, yes, if you are a member of the 99%, you, too, can be a patron of the arts! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Art Patrons

The term "patron" derives from ancient Rome and denoted a citizen who protected a recent immigrant to Roman territory.  This idea of protecting and fostering gradually became associated with the arts as powerful and wealthy individuals and institutions sought to exhibit works showcasing and supporting their own world views.   Families like the Medici in Renaissance Europe are well know for their largesse in commissioning works by such artists as Donatello and Fra Angelico.  Within 37 years Cosimo de Medici spent the equivalent of 10 million dollars on artistic commissions - many of which were gifts to the Catholic Church.  Patronage of the arts on a similar scale has also been a part of art history in cultures such as Japan, China, and India. 

Portrait of a Man Holding a Medal of Cosimo de Medici

Sandro Botticelli
about 1474-1475
Tempera on panel, 57.5 x 44 cm
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi

Materials used by artists both past and present tend to be expensive and this is, of course, even more cost intensive for those who produce large scale work.  Expansive undertakings, such as the Sistine Chapel's ceiling, required the work of many hands.  A master artist became the "project lead" as we would refer to it in today's corporate terminology.

Of course, not all artists have had the fortune to be under the protection of a Cosimo de Medici.   Johannes Vermeer often struggled to financially support himself and his family.  He luckily found a supporter in a local art collector, who appears to have assisted him with various loans.  Still, due to a disastrous economic slump in 1672, Vermeer found himself requiring his mother-in-law to furnish surety for a loan he negotiated in Amsterdam.  He died shortly thereafter, and his wife was left to sell some of his paintings to pay a previous debt for bread.
Although the term "starving artist" was not coined with Vermeer, his life exemplifies the struggles common to many artists not blessed with strong and powerful patrons.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hard Times for Artists ...

Since the 2008 economic downturn, otherwise known as financial nightmare to many, there has been lot of discussion in the arts community about its effects on the ability of fine artists to earn a living from their efforts.  Artists comprise a rather rare breed of entrepreneur in that they have to navigate all the perils attached to any small business venture, but are usually driven far more by their need to make art than to successfully market it.  Artists have for this reason historically relied on patrons to support their creative endeavours.

What does it mean to be a patron of the arts?  Is this label only to be applied to the 1% of those with wealth identified by the Occupy (fill in your favourite town or city's name here) movement?  What about the other 99% percent of individuals and their relationship to supporting the arts?  I'm going to explore these ideas in the next few posts -- so stay tuned and feel free to add your own comments.
About one thousand people gather and form a largeAbout one thousand people gather and form a large "99%" in the middle of Freedom Plaza during an "occupation" of the plaza October 6, 2011 in Washington, DC. Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that began la

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It's gratifying to know that the art one spends time making is appreciated enough that some one else wants to take it home with them.  I don't think about whether or not a piece will sell when I'm painting it.  I do think about whether it's turning out as a good painting.  I sometimes feel a little sad when I finish a piece because it means the bonding process between me and the painting is over.  Then I get to put my critic's hat on and decide if it's going to get shown to anyone else but me!  This one passed my self-critical eye and it's new owner will have lots of time to bond with it.

"The Dispute"
16" x 20"   acrylic on canvas

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Thoughts from Georgia

Georgia O'Keefe is one of my heros.  Not only as a artist, but as a measure of what we can aspire to as human beings.  She had the strength to follow her own heart and others followed her, or not -- she still kept to her own path.  In these troubled times, these are powerful words to remind us that whatever our situation in life, we can be true to ourselves.

"I found myself saying to myself… I can't live where I want to… I can't go where I want to… I can't do what I want to. I can't even say what I want to. I decided I was a stupid fool not to at least paint as I wanted to…. That seemed to be the only thing I could do that didn't concern anybody but myself"    Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe, Series I—No. I, 1918. Oil on composition board, 19 3/4 × 16 in. (50.2 × 40.6 cm). Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Purchase with assistance from the Anne Burnett Tandy Accessions Fund 1995.8. © Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Viewing artwork

Why make art?  There are a lot of endeavors that come with less frustration and are easier to master.  But, if like myself, you are an artist invovled in creating images, part of the process hopefully includes someone beside yourself to look at them!  So what about our viewers?  People that feel drawn to go to galleries and museums, people that we may never have direct contact with, but whom we are none the less having a conversation with?  Ever wonder how viewers are thinking about and interpreting your art?

That's one of the amazing things about the internet.  Artists can now hear comments from the viewing public, fellow artists, and art collectors even though we may never meet in person.  Face-to-face contact is still the best way to have a conversation, but if you spent all your time in a gallery engaging with your viewers, when would you be able to create your art?

So this post is directed at getting feedback about what the viewing experience is like for you whether it's in a gallery, studio show, art fair, or on-line.  What does the process look like for you when viewing a painting, sculpture, or an installation?  What questions do you ask yourself?  What draws you to look at a particular image?  Is it different if you are an artist yourself viewing someone else's work?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and will respond.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Monet continues to inspire

Giverny, France 2008

When we think of what an artist leaves as a legacy, it's usually the body of work he/she has amassed in a lifetime that comes to mind.  Images of paintings, sculpture, or fancifully displayed found objects (think Duchamps) float in our mind's eye.
Claude Monet left a legacy that continues to inspire and amaze both artists, collectors, and casual observers.  But he also left the gift of the source of much of his own inspiration  -- the garden at his home and studio in Giverny.  I was fortunate to visit there in 2008 and was awed to walk through the terrain that served as the reference for Les Nymphéas at the Musée de l'Orangerie.   

Unlike paintings, gardens continue to evolve.  There is a new gardener taking over the care and planning that Monet once watched over.  I hope to return to Giverny and trust that this living connection to Monet and his work will continue to flourish under James Priest, who seems to understand that this place is not only a garden, it is living art work.