The past 4 months have been so strange and hard for so many people in the world. So much suffering and injustice. First COVID-19 and then the killing of George Floyd. So many important and uncomfortable conversations about racism followed and are still ongoing. I found it very hard to paint and draw during these few months and to be honest, didn’t spend much time in my studio.
Then in June, we got the opportunity to rent a remote cabin. No wifi and most days, not even cell coverage. It was amazing to be unplugged for a week, in the middle of nowhere right beside a lake. I became so aware of all the sounds of nature and for the first time in months, I felt less stressed and worried. Just listening to the birds’ chirping made everything better. I know I am very privileged to feel that way because my friends and family are all safe and healthy. But I realized how watching wildlife and reconnecting with nature made things more bearable. I found myself pulling out my watercolors and ink and painting and drawing for hours.
Perfect timing because a month later I got an email from the gallery asking for a short write-up on my next exhibition scheduled to open in May 2021. I had to think about it for a few days but having these drawings and having experienced nature’s healing power, it seemed like a good starting point. I am very much in the early stages and don’t know exactly where it will go yet but I am playing around with watercolors, ink, and embroidery and also want to play with oils and embroidery on canvas. It’s exciting to dive in and see where I will end up.
Here is the statement I provided to the gallery today:
Exhibition title: Healing Power
A series of works exploring the beauty of nature and wildlife. The relief this beauty provides during tough times and the hope it symbolizes for humans to live in peace with each other and nature.
Please take care of yourself and your family. Wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance (sorry no hugs) and just be safe. COVID is not over and we need to be smart. And keep having those uncomfortable conversations about racism. That’s the only way we can all learn and be better humans.
Growing up in the Swiss alps I always felt a deep connection to nature and cared about protecting our environment. I am sure my parents were at times annoyed by their teenage daughter giving them lectures about recycling and sustainable living. I didn’t realize though that they took what I said to heart until this summer when my mom told me that to this day she turns off the water in the shower while shampooing her hair. What seems like a small thing to do, she had done for over 30 years because of what her teenage daughter told her. It filled me with hope and it proofed to me that we can all make a difference by changing our own way of living and educating others.
As a teenager (circa 1990) with handmade environmental activism poster on my wall “Please be nice to mother nature”
Expansion of environmental activism message to throw pillows. 🙂 (circa 1994) “Please be nice to mother nature”
Over the past couple of years, the environmental crisis has been weighing really heavy on me and I have been working on a series of encaustic paintings about the impact humans have on wildlife.
Our oceans are full of plastics, our forests are on fire, the ice is melting, sea levels are rising and animals are becoming extinct at an unprecedented rate. As average global temperatures rise, the land and all the species that live on it suffer: Heat waves, droughts, hurricanes, and dust storms are growing more intense. The rising temperatures combined with other ways in which we have degraded forests, prairies and shorelines around the world now put food security, human health, and ecosystems at grave risk.
It is becoming urgent that we significantly reduce our emissions, consume less, buy sustainable products, eat less meat and plant trees. Based on a report issued by the UN and the world’s leading climate scientists we have less than a dozen years left for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C. Anything beyond this will have a significant impact on our lives as we know it. I truly believe that we can turn this around by making an effort. We don’t need to live a perfect zero-waste lifestyle but if enough of us make some changes to how we live the impact will be immense.
Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird, and mammal go extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” rate and is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs. The thought of so much wildlife going extinct is very sad and I want to do everything I can to protect what literally has provided inspiration for my art for the past 30 years.
My hope is that this newest exhibition helps to increase awareness about the negative impact we have on our wildlife and that it provides inspiration to take action to protect our world and its wildlife. Each painting within this series tells the story of a Manitoba animal and one of the reasons why the animal’s survival is increasingly challenged such as deforestation, loss of habitat or global warming. 10% of all sales will be donated to a local organization Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (PWRC). Their goal is to rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife in Manitoba and to successfully release them back into their natural habitat. I am very impressed with Pulse Gallery for agreeing to donate 10% of any of my sales to this amazing cause. It’s very heartwarming!
From Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 Pulse Gallery at the Johnston terminal at the Forks will be featuring a few of these works and for one night on Friday, Sept. 27 (7-9pm), all works from this series will be on display. I hope you can join me for a night of art, wine, snacks and feathered friends from Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (they are bringing a couple of owls they are currently rehabilitation).
A couple of days ago the Winnipeg Jets announced the schedule for round 2 of the playoffs against the Predators and game 7 (if needed) will be taking place on May 10. Considering this I have decided to move the opening night of my exhibition to the next day – May 11, 7-11pm.
Go Jets Go and see you on May 11 at cre8ery gallery!
The opening night of my solo exhibition “Layers” is only 1 month away. This week I finished my last painting and most of my sculptures. Lots of things still to do such as the naming of all works, working on an installation and of course promoting the show.
This series of work consists of encaustic paintings, illustrations, and sculptures.
The works within this exhibition are an exploration of human existence and identity. We all have different layers to our personalities, due to the various roles we play in our personal lives, our careers, and the fundamental personality traits we were born with. We put on masks for protection, disguise, performance, or entertainment, and some experiences can cause cracks in our layers. Some of our layers arevisible and some are hidden, but at the core, we are more alike than different. Over time, we end up becoming complex human beings with many layers. To truly see somebody for who they are, do we chip away at those layers or is this accumulation of layers what truly makes us into who we are – complex and beautiful.
Each of the encaustic painting and hand-painted nesting dolls is aportrait. Each layer of wax within the paintings expresses a different part of the subject’s personality through abstract landscapes, photography, transfers of graphic patterns, and illustrations. The nesting doll sets each consist of 3 dolls and are hand-painted using acrylic paints. Each doll depicts an animal symbolizing a part of the subject’s personality.
The clay sculptures focus on the damage life can cause. Instead of hiding our imperfections we should embrace them and realize that allexperiences, good or bad, make us into who we are. This philosophy is underlined through the integration of the centuries-old Japanese art of Kintsugi, through which broken pottery is repaired with 18k gold, showing that if we embrace our history we become more beautiful.
Here is a sneak peek of some of my pieces and a fun promotional video for the show.
The exhibition will be at cre8ery gallery and runs May 10-22. The opening reception will be taking place on May 10 from 7-11pm. After May 10 the gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday noon-6pm and Saturday noon-5pm.
I hope you can all make it to the opening night on Thursday, May 10, 2018, 7-11pm.
See you at cre8ery gallery, 2nd-floor – 125 Adelaide, Winnipeg
After my last exhibition so many people told me that my illustrations would lend themselves perfectly to a colouring book. After months of hard work my colouring book “Familiar Friends” is finally ready. It’s been so much fun to see this project come together and I am very proud of the accomplishment to have published my first book.
The illustrations within my colouring book are portraits, exploring the physical nature, personality and character traits of people I have met. To me seeing an animal in a person is just like looking up into the sky and seeing animals form within the clouds. The portraits consist of simple line drawings and geometric patterns inspired by folk art from all over the world, including Swiss Bauernmalerei and paper cuts.
Many of us live stressful and hectic lives and we all find different ways to cope. I am sure you remember colouring as a kid and might think that you are too old to pick up your crayons again. But not so fast! Research has shown that even short times of colouring can reduce your stress levels and increase creativity. So much so that even the corporate world has taken notice and offices have started doing colouring sessions to decrease their employee’s stress levels and at the same time increase their creativity.
Give the gift of relaxation this Christmas! Available for $19.75 (SFR. 19.75) at McNally Robinson (in-store and online – they ship worldwide).
If you are local and want to get your hands on a copy right away pick up your own copy at McNally or email me at email@example.com and we can arrange delivery.
A special thanks to Kyle for all his support, to Rob for doing an amazing job with the layout of the book, to Lindsay for proof reading and to Emily for creating this beautiful video to help me launch my book! Couldn’t have done this without you!
In 2011 and 2013 I participated in the Sketchbook project organized by the Brooklyn Art Library in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. I was sad that I didn’t get a chance to go to either one of the vernissages or catch the exhibit in one of the many cities it toured in. You can only imagine just how excited I was when I finally had a chance to visit the Brooklyn Art Library last Saturday.
Walls of sketchbooks
Interior of Brooklyn Art Library
It was amazing to see a library filled with sketchbooks, to finally see my books as part of this permanent collection and to get a chance to see other artists’ work. It’s incredible that the Sketchbook project has grown to include works from over 35,000 artists from over 135 countries.
Here is a bit more info on my sketchbooks:
My 2011 sketchbook “Below the Surface” is a a collection of very personal self-portraits consisting of poems and illustrations. The books toured the US from February to July, 2011 to Brooklyn, Austin, Portland, Atlanta, Washington DC, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and Winter Park Florida.
My 2013 sketchbook “J’amerais mieux te connaître” was a reflection of 2012 – a year full of change, opportunity and travel. I got to travel across Europe and spend some time in Hawai’i on business. The simplicity of pen and ink takes away the noise surrounding each place and shows the purity of my love for each of these places. The books toured from March to August 2013 to Brooklyn, Austin, Atlanta, Toronto, Portland, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
If you are in NYC take a quick subway ride to Williamsburg and visit the Brooklyn Art Library. Definitely worth a visit.
I wanted to share some of the media coverage I have received for my current art exhibition “perception” at cre8ery gallery in Winnipeg.
The exhibition is still running until March 24, 2015 and the gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday noon-6pm and Saturday noon-5pm. I will be at the gallery this Saturday from 2-5pm and on Tuesday from 2-6pm. Come by for a private tour!
Thanks everybody for the ongoing support!
CTV News – interview with Jesse Carlson – aired on March 17, 2015
The opening night of my solo exhibition “Perception” is only 4 days away . I am busy with lots of final preparations and with preparing for my parents arrival on Tuesday. I am very excited to show this new series of work consisting of illustrations, screen prints, encaustic paintings and a large format installation. This series is based on the idea that two people can have the same experience but perceive it so differently. While working on my last solo show “Home Sweet Home,” I discovered that my perception of growing up is quite different from my brother’s – that it’s not only people, events, and experiences but rather our perception of those that makes us who we are.
I wanted to take this opportunity to invite you all to the opening night on Thursday, March 12, 2015, 7-11pm at cre8ery gallery, 125 Adelaide, 2nd floor. I hope you can join me for this exciting night!
In case you are wondering what I have been up to over the past 2 years… well where to start. I have had very little time for my art due to my new job as the Senior Project Manager, New Media at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It’s been inspiring, crazy, tiring and rejuvenating all at the same time. The museum fully opened on November 11 and I switched my attention from opening a museum to getting ready for my exhibition. It’s been a lot of long hours but hey I was already used to that after working at the museum. I have loved being able to get lost in my art again and being able to spend 8 hours at a time in my studio creating and playing.
This new series being exhibited consists of illustrations, screen prints, encaustic paintings and a large format installation. Here is a sneak peek of what I have been working on… More details on the opening night to come in the next few days but please mark your calendars – the opening night is taking place on March 12, 7-11pm at cre8ery gallery in the Exchange.
A few years back I went to see a talk + demo by the local artist Tim Schouten at the WAG (Winnipeg Art Gallery) with my friend and fellow artist Charlene Brown. We had both seen Tim’s encaustic paintings and were interested in learning more about his work and about encaustic in general. Seeing him work was fascinating and the following summer I made sure to visit his studio (http://www.watchthewave.ca/). I was intrigued and scared by this ancient medium and wanted to try it out so badly. I ordered some pre-made encaustic paints and started exploring. It was a lot of trial and error and a lot of playing with different tools – and playing is the key word here, as it truly feels like playing. I instantly fell in love with this medium. I have taken a workshop and have learned how to make my own encaustic paints from bees wax and damar resin. I don’t have proper ventilation in my studio so I decided to set up my encaustic studio on our deck. Painting outside solved the ventilation issue and I have to say it intensified the sense of playing as it reminded me even more of being a kid playing outside. I started working on my next solo show (March 2015 at cre8ery gallery) exploring the theme of dreams and illusions. 6 of my encaustic pieces will be exhibited at cre8ery gallery Nov. 5 to Dec. 10, 2013. Gallery hours are Tuesday & Thursday 12-8pm, Wednesday & Friday, 12-5pm and Saturday 12-4pm.
Here is a bit more information about encaustic:
The word encaustic comes from Greek and means to “burn in”, which refers to the process of fusing the paint. Encaustic is a paint composed of beeswax, damar resin and pigments. The term “encaustic” is often used to describe both the paint itself, and the method for using it. Encaustic paint is applied molten to an absorbent surface, and then fused, (or re-melted), to create a variety of effects. Unlike other paints, encaustic is never wet or dry – it goes from a liquid to solid state and back again in seconds, which means additional layers can be added immediately, without disrupting your composition. Once the surface has cooled, the paint has reached a permanent finish, but the painting can be revised and reworked with heat at any time – minutes or years later.
Encaustic paint was first used over 5,000 years ago in Greece when it was used wax to seal their ships. Eventually they added pigment to decorate the boats.
The oldest surviving encaustic works are 2000 years old. These are the beautiful and realistic Fayum funeral portraits from Egypt. These were painted in colored waxes on wood and w.ere attached to mummy cases to commemorate the deceased and transport them to the afterlife. The wax has preserved them in near perfect condition.
Encaustic eventually fell out of favor because it was so cumbersome to use. Imagine melting wax paint over a wood fire by candlelight! The medium was replaced by tempera painting, fresco, and eventually oil painting. Still, it was kept alive over the centuries by small groups of dedicated artists. Many Impressionists and Symbolist artists experimented with wax. Some of the artists known to use wax in their paintings include Paul Gauguin and George Seurat.
My motto for this week: Try something new that scares you!