Auction Art – 4 works inspired by Rex Ray and the Hummel Concerto

Auction Art – 4 works inspired by Rex Ray and the Hummel Concerto
Continuing the descriptions of art that is up for online auction until Dec 6, 2018
In 2008, I bought two plane tickets for myself and Guy Few, and we flew to San Francisco to edit our second concerto album, Romanza.
We spent 4 days in the studio of recording engineer David Bowles of Swineshead Productions LLC in Berkley, CA. When the editing was completed, we headed into SF to eat things, buy stupid hats and look at art.
I was really inspired by the art of Rex Ray which was on exhibit. I bought a book about him and a big pack of postcards.  I pored over the book and created two large paintings in one of my favourite elongated narrow shapes (2 feet x 6 feet).
LOT 137
One was called The Sun’s Letter to the Moon (I love you) and sold in 2014 to flutist Leslie Newman. The second, Othello and Desdemona, is available in the current online auction until December 6.  It is acrylic on canvas, with portions of the painting collaged onto the main canvas.  I also used multi-media acrylic polymer to give it a gritty texture in places.  If it doesn’t sell, I will pull it off the stretcher, roll it up and use the stretcher frame to continue another series I am currently working on.

 Othello and Desdemona, 24″ x 72″, acrylic on canvas, original art by Nadina Mackie Jackson

LOTS 129 AND 130
And I carried the postcards for 9 years, through 3 house sales and moves, one divorce, the death of both my parents and several more recording projects.  When sorting out boxes when I moved to the church studio in Drayton, I found those fabulous postcards and made two very long, double-sided mobiles.
The first one is my basic motif of a flying bird. I used very strong, thin nylon string that I had inherited from my father who had used it for creating fish nets (for catching food, not for making stockings) when he was sailing to Hawaii on a boat he built himself. Yes, his story might be more interesting.
For the cut-out birds (Fly Free), I cut birds from two postcards and glued them one at a time, always referring to a hanging point to make sure they were level.  The cardstock is good quality, but all papers need to be heavily weighted to dry straight and true, so I did one bird at a time, allowing a minimum of 12 hours to dry for each. In the end, there were 11 birds spaced on the string, and when hung, they turn slowly in different directions. In the daytime, they catch the sun and briefly flash; at night, they cast poetic shadows. 
I used the remaining postcards to make PictureThis (Fly Free), which is another, shorter mobile (ca. 7 feet).  This mobile uses two parallel support strings which are attached to a carved willow twig at the top.  To create this mobile, I put equidistant pins into each end of the work table, then secured them for the duration of the creation process.  I alternated the flying direction of each bird on the totemic mobile and spaced them evenly.  There are 10 images on the mobile.


all photos by Dawn McLeod


Auction Art – SCROLLS
I am moving from a 4000 square foot house to a 1500 square foot house. The new place is more rugged, no climate control other than what Mother Nature deems necessary and what I allow Hydro One to ameliorate.
Which means my paper-based art and larger canvas works will all be vulnerable.
Thus, 18 of them are up for online auction, along with other things that need to find new homes.
Bidding closes on Thursday, December 6.
Over the next three days, I will describe the different types of works in more detail, starting with the scrolls.
Bidding is anonymous and progresses in increments of $2.50. You can pre-set your highest bid and the system will notify you if someone challenges that.
The auction house will ship at buyers’ expense.
If you’ve ever wanted one of my works of art, this is your chance to get them below market price.  I still have over 100 large works in my collection and ca. 80 of these are available online.
Here is more background on four of the large paper scrolls, Upstream, Ariel and Caliban, Road to Freedom and Big Baby Dragon.
Lot 125
This painting is 11 feet long and can be viewed at full length either horizontally or vertically. It is adjusted to a smaller size by scrolling the paper up or down at either end, thus it can be any measurement from 3 feet to full size.
Made from a roll of handmade paper,Upstream is a complex and layered work created with many materials, including watercolour and pencil crayons, collaged tiny ovoid shapes cut from other of my watercolour and acrylic paintings (paper and canvas), gold leaf and ink.  The main scroll of paper is heavily textured and the long sides undulate in a natural scalloped effect from the edges not being cut.
While not literally realistic, these fish images feel alive and fluid.
The background was created over many years, and the fish (ink) were created last in one burst when I was staying up all night to follow the livestream of an international informatics competition where my son was competing in 2014.
These images truly emerged spontaneously without any preset ideas.  While I have done many scrolls in my career, this is the largest and the subject is unique.  I feel that all the scrolls have a narrative quality, but I never impose the story.
This work is robust and can be rolled for transport.



Lot 126

A very long (ca 12’) scroll painted on kraft paper with a double-sided base of acrylic with the principal figures painted in oil.
Also collaged onto the surface are pieces of cut outs circles and ovoids of other art works, old stamps, time-worn small metal objects and ribbons of painted, distressed paper.
The swirl of ovoid shapes above Ariel’s upturned face are flying up towards an abstract image of the sun, also collaged to the main scroll.  Beneath the figure of Caliban is a fish with shadows of prehistoric piscine shapes beneath that figure. The almost cartoonish and oddly benevolent image of a Caliban appears to be uplifting Ariel and paradoxically, his is the only figure with wings.
This large work is very fragile and would be best protected in a frame.  Ideally it would also be transported flat, though it can survive one or two more rollings. And even if it were to crack, it can be mended as the tumultuous surface easily integrates further trauma.
Lot 127 
I did a series of oil-based watercolours inspired by the basement windows of the miserable apartment where I stayed with my now ex-husband and baby son while my ex was subbing with the National Symphony in Washington and I was preparing to record one of my solo albums (Notes from Abroad).  There were about 12 images in this series, and while they were colourful, only two of them sold.
I sliced the remaining 10 images into narrow strips, and over a period of six weeks, my dining room table was hijacked to service the creation of this scroll.  It took time to place the strips as the juxtaposition of colours seemed to be very precise, meaning that when I set one strip next to the other, it would be immediately clear if it resonated. I had cut all of the paintings into dozens up dozens of strips prior to starting the project. I could glue only a few at a time, then would set plastic and heavy art books atop them to create a flat bond.  The completed work is just over 6 feet long, it is my smallest scroll.  Pictured horizontally in the catalogue for ease of photographing, I prefer to hang this work vertically.
The base is made from a single, integral large piece of handmade paper, velvety in texture, with soft naturally undulating edges.  There is a large ink drawing on the back with a soft grey ink wash. This work is the most rugged of my scrolls and will roll easily.
Lot 128
This was my very first scroll and combined many of my favourite things… dragons, found paper and a painting medium that was completely new to me.  The recycled paper is from an Ikea bookcase, the mystery powdered tempura paint that I bought in a country drug store was a white powder that only revealed it’s actual hue when mixed with water, and then dried exceedingly quickly, giving me almost no mixing time. And this little irreverent dragon has withstood the test of time, fearlessly brandishing his baby smoker’s teeth and cockeyed grin.  I love him.  This work is historically significant as it is my first painted dragon and I have gone on to paint many seriously expressive dragons with far more expensive materials.  And the scroll surprisingly robust given that it is the polar opposite of acid-free. It can endure rolling for shipping.



Little Bird Big Dreams

Little Bird Big Dreams

My studio is open to the public this Saturday, Saturday, September 29 from 11 am to 4 pm at 16 Spring Street, Drayton.
There will be 107 works of my art on view and friends will join me for casual outbursts of music throughout the day…. pianists Heather Taves, PhilipMorehead, and composer/oboist Patricia Morehead.
The show is a broad arc of paintings and as with all my previous shows, there are several works on loan from private collectors.   I am working on getting my web designer to create an online gallery for the privately owned paintings. And slowly, I am getting all of the currently available works online.  
The newest painting, Little Bird BigDreams, was finished just a couple days ago up north at the log house.  This piece took years to complete… I had experimented with carving lines into the wooden panel, then painting in many layers of oil paint.  It didn’t blossom as I expected, seemed opaque and aloof, and over the years, I would add a layer or thrash away on it with a steel brush (didn’t change much), then one day, I picked up the Festool electric sander. This fine piece of equipment was in the house thanks to logbuilder David Rogers who used it in the restoration of my Dad’s log house last spring. Using a light touch with fine sandpaper, I smoothed the surface of the painting and something completely different emerged.  Atmospheric bursts and lines were revealed, and interesting concentrations of colour in some of the knife cuts. When I posted the results on FaceBook, one of my friends (thank you, Randy Rennie) noticed there was a hint of a bird in the lower centre.  There were actually two potential birds…. A streaking swallow or a dreaming cockatiel. I picked the dreamer.

And this is an active dream… it doesn’t represent longing or escape but rather, the kinetic panchromatic reality of the bird’s private spirit… 

big picture………………….

and a closeup of the little bird…


and I was going to show this work-in-progress but the heavy white oil paint was too wet to move from the studio last week (oil on rough-sawn and cracked plank, ca. 14″ x 50″, called I Will Always Love You)


This is all part of Cultural Days Ontario. The other big event in Drayton will be tours of the magnificent DraytonFestival Theatre, three doors down from my place on Spring Street. You can easily fit in both visits. And we will have snacks from Drayton’s A La Mode and River’s Edge Goat Dairy.

artist life — sold a few paintings, met a few people

Art Show #1
On Saturday, Sept 15, I hosted the first of two art shows at my studio home in Drayton.
Glad to say that I sold 4 works (possibly five pending if painting matches someone’s couch) including Sweet Trash, Bright Bassoon, Diva, Missive and Fox Trot II and these works will be making their homes in Waterloo, Orangeville, Drayton and Los Angeles.

Next show is Saturday, Sept 29 from 11am to 4pm for Culture Days Ontario and I will be showing some hitherto unseen new works for the first time. There will also be posters and cock-a-doodle-doo coffee mugs available with the cultured rooster from my poster!


This past weekend, I displayed a large swath of my work, from 1998 to date with 30 new works being shown for the first time. My junior artist colleagues came over early to set up their art and treated the numbered catalogue as the key to a treasure hunt.

On the beautiful hot September afternoon, friends and neighbours came to visit and the even the mayor of Mapleton attended. And ten young people came to look at the art, ranging in age of 3 to 15 years old. They were vocal about which paintings they would like to buy and they generally had expensive taste.


I featured guest artists, including Dawn McLeod, a Drayton-based photographer who specializes in wildlife and nature shots. She is working on a new website to show her remarkable and sensitive art photos. She also photographed all of my art for my website shop, a difficult task and a godsend for me to have.



The junior guest artists were my youngest neighbours, Caitlin, Hannah, Daniel and George Rogerson who displayed a large selection of the clay objects that we created during the year after our intermittent bassoon lessons, plus paintings that they have done. I wanted them to have the opportunity to expose their art to more people and also to see it in a new space.


At the end of the day, after almost everyone had left, I taught a bassoon lesson to a gifted young player who had driven in from Toronto, starting our official lessons for the year. After a day of thinking about art, we focused on the fundamentals of sound, finding ways to let the full spectrum of tone colour emerge from having a correctly formed embouchure and airstream… amazing how quickly and immediately young people can understand. The sympathetic acoustic of my church-turned-studio, which is even more resonant now that I have decluttered, revealed the quick changes in tone production that my student was able to make.
Having an art show is a bit like presenting a solo concert… you muster the faith and courage to present your best work in the present moment.  Doubt may flicker, but really, taking the step to bring our work to other people is as important as anything in becoming an artist. Oddly though, I am fearless when it comes to showing my visual art, though I was quite tired the next day! Regardless, I know that it is essential to have many and frequent opportunities to present my work and music, and for that reason, I also work hard to provide opportunities and support to others. And I am as grateful as can be to those who helped me on my way, including everyone who came to the show, the kids, the neighbours, the buyers and fellow musicians and artists.  We really are all in this together. 



New Art, New Start

I am hosting two art shows in my studio this month and hope you can come to one or both. There will be snacks from local vendors including A La Mode and River’s Edge Goat Dairy.

Saturday, September 15 from 3pm to 6pm at 16 Spring Street, Drayton, Ontario.

Featuring about 30 new works that I have done since moving to Drayton and a sampling of my art from the past two decades.  The cover feature is Fox Trot. This large oil painting celebrates the fox that ran past me at 5 am on the day I moved to Drayton in 2015.  Photographer Dawn McLeod will also be showing some of her works and there will be a display by local junior artists, Caitlin, Hannah, Daniel and George Rogerson.

The second art show will be on September 29 from 11am to 4 pm as part of Culture Days Ontario and will feature some extra works that won’t be at the first show (logistics), with a total of 103 works. And there will be posters of this featured rooster… 18″ x 24″ for $40 as the original is in a private collection.

Various musicians will join me at both shows, including Philip Morehead, Pat Morehead, Lucas Rogerson and others. All musician friends are welcome to make the walls ring during the show.
And if you want to buy the walls that the paintings are hung on…. I’ve been working hard all summer to move my archives and gear up north, and preparing to put my big beautiful historical 1890 stone and brick former church studio building officially on the market September 29.  Here is a sneak preview of the photos… heaven on earth for musicians, artists and anyone who relishes the high building standards of the past combined with modern upgrades!
I will be touring again in 2019 and rebuilding my teaching studio in Toronto. I am still on faculty at University of Toronto and the Glenn Gould School. And my big fat everything you want-to-know-about-my-bassoon-technique tome that I am writing with bassoonist Kevin Harris will be ready this fall.
Yesterday, played a most enjoyable concert with Pat and Philip Morehead for the 15th anniversary of one of the PROBUS (business) association in Huntsville, then drove to Toronto for dinner with my son before he flies to San Francisco to start an internship with another AI company. While awaiting his delayed visa, he continued work on one of his own development, Tab Nine… a program to help coders program more quickly (auto completer)… at least, that’s what I think it is… take a look at Tab Nine here.
Many of the paintings are uploaded to myshop on my website and I have a catalogue that I cannot figure out how to upload.  Once I figure it out, proofreaders always welcome to pipe up!
I will write again soon and meanwhile, I am always glad to hear from you about the music or the art or anything.