Adventure Art

 

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This spring there is a frenzy of action, movement, and change in all directions….

1. I had an awesome time as artist in residence at the Portland Childrens Museum, and got to watch the spring blossom on long bike commutes and afternoon sketching sessions. There is an exhibit pulled from my time there which will be showing in their gallery space though July.

Arrow62. My new book Arrow to Alaska hit the shelves… Find it at your local bookstore, or on my etsy site when i’m back from #4 and #5

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3. Last weekend I celebrated summer weather during a Nature Journaling class put on by Cedar Root Folk School. We sketched and rambled and wrote and enjoyed Marrowstone Island. Above is a fish-head  collected during my drift exercise.

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4&5  Not one but two trips up the Inside Passage to Alaska! Tomorrow I steam off on the  mighty salmon tender  Chichagof, for some kids on boats fun and a week of pouring over charts and current tables in preparation for trip two. The “R2AK” or race to Alaska is a wild idea dreamed up by the head of the NW Maritime Center in Port Townsend, WA.  For its first year in existence, 40 teams will sail or row or paddle (no motors allowed) from PT to Ketchikan. The first team gets 10,000$, the rest just aches and glory. Its a crazy field of boats and competitors. Check out www.r2ak.com for full hilarious details. I’m team GRIN.  Ill also be posting a bit on instagram when service allows (@hannahviano).  Look for field sketches done along the way, and hopefully a show of artwork inspired by the journey in the months to follow.

Art is adventurous work these days, and i hope to keep it that way. Wish me luck.

 

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In the field

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This weekend I get on the Alaska ferry for the 4 day ride north. The 5 year old and I have matching forest green sketchbooks, fresh and new to record whale sightings and sketch mtn vistas and perhaps draw schematics for new improved X-wing fighters. I am beyond excited to have time sprawling ahead to just notice and be.

Last month I jumped onboard to lead an Outward Bound course sailing the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and though it had many wonderful challenges and moments, the 2 weeks were far too full to stop and sketch around in the way I really love to do when on my own. Really I hike so I can find an amazing spot to sketch/ write/ watch the world go by. I ski so I can get up above the trees and sit on my gloves, drawing with chilly fingers and a hot thermos nearby. Art and adventure go hand in hand for me.

In an attempt to share this love of mine, I will be teaching a weekend workshop through the Cedar root Folk school. It runs the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd on Marrowstone Island (just down the road from Port Townsend). We will be roaming the beaches and forests, finding spots to sit and notice and turn observations and emotions into art and words. I will bring basic art supplies for each student and a number of other media to try out through the weekend. At each stop I will share new ideas and exercises to heighten awareness of our surroundings and start integrating art into the observations of nature lovers and nature into the practice of artists.

Come join! Sign-up is through Cedarroot HERE. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.alaska watercolors (Sketch from a visit to Sitka, AK last summer)

Salmon and Salal- A Northwest Alphabet Project

         In the 1980s a woodblock artist called Mary Azarian went to work in a rural one-room schoolhouse in Vermont. Finding it bleak and uninspiring, she set strait to work making a set of alphabet posters for the walls depicting rural life and objects.  The alphabets’ fame spread and later the Vermont Board of Education commissioned sets for every school in the state.  After falling in love with her work and this story, I started to look around at my own sons pre-school and the other learning places in our lives.   Despite many fancy alphabet sets on display at kids’ stores, I kept coming across playrooms and library corners without this most essential literary tool.  I would guess this is a product of extensive budget cuts and a culture of teacher-out of pocket expenses for anything “extra”.

So I proposed  (to the CityArtist grant committee at Seattle Office of Arts and Culture) to make an alphabet set using papercut technique and then transferring it to silkscreen to reproduce the copies by hand. The 20 set first printing would be donated to schools, libraries, and community centers in the greater Seattle area.  5 of these locations would be chosen to do an in-person “demonstration”.  This visit will include me introducing the alphabet by reading through the letters, bringing in show and tell items related to the images, and describing creative process of making the posters from field sketches to long hours in the  printshop.  I would also bring a small silkscreen setup so each child/person can pull their own small print of a favorite letter.  These demonstrations are going to be  be kicked off with a family friendly presentation at my local Ballard library, ( October 13th 2pm)  to explain the project and art making process to community, friends, and family. …. Watch out those Salmon specimens are slippery!

 

To my great delight this project has taken flight and will also be turned into a book  to be published by Sasquatch press, still a year to go on that process but ill keep you posted on release dates.  At the moment i’m busy silkscreening the last of the letters and compiling my list of childrens’ programs who will receive the handmade sets, if you have a worthy place in mind let me know with a comment, i need them to be spread out all around the city.

For those of you who have run off to Port Townsend for October, ill have a bunch of pieces in the  “Black and White” show at  the Simon Mace Gallery. See EVENTS page for details.

 

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Seaworthy

Due to a storm off the Azores, I nearly forgot to pick my son up from preschool.

Ann Davison was the one sailing, the first crossing of the Atlantic by a lone woman sailor. I was the one reading her book “My Ship is So Small” in the back yard grass and musing  too long over the rigging of a passing catamaran while waiting to cross the locks.

A series of inspiring projects have been causing me to loose myself in sea-fever after a good few years of being content to play at the very edges.  Ann Davisons’ tiny boat, the Felicity Ann has just landed in Port Townsend and a group of amazing ladies have taken up the charge and plan to work with the NW school of wooden boatbuilding to create a series of empowering opportunities for women and girls starting with the restoration. Felicity Ann Boat Project.

“Go North, Go Simply”

Also in the works is a sweet little documentary being made by an old Outward Bound friend of mine, Teresa Carey, who has her own small fame these days for blogging about her experiences as a singlehander and striving for simplicity. The movie is called One Simple Question and documents an expedition she made with her partner on their own tiny boat  in search of  icebergs and answers. Watch the trailer, I love how she can ask big questions with the winning charm of a rosy cheeked girl from the great lakes.

Maybe not so much of the Sea but at the heart of Seattle, the Center for Wooden boats just opened their North Lake workshop and warehouse, next to Gas Works park in what used to be the mysterious and wonderful land of sea squatters and schooners called Metrodock. I made a piece that fits in panels between the old wooden studs and looks toward the buildings long and happy future as a community anchor for the North end of the lake.

Lucky me lucky me if only i could go to sea.

For the moment it is  well enough to be involved with some wonderfully seaworthy endeavours.  My own current show called “Hydrodynamics” is up at CLICK in West Seattle.  In this series of papercuts  I have been playing with the many qualities of  water  and the different types of linework  and form I can use to tell the seas’ stories.

Current Line 25″x35″

Ill be on hand Thursday June 14th for West Seattle Artwalk.

What a good excuse to see the citys best sunset.

Seastack 20″x16″

“Shared is the Sea”

There are many ways to know the water.  Through lines in your hands and icy water around your boots, on sunny days spent chasing zephyrs, or even from another’s words and pictures a world and years away. To the sailor, the seiner, or yachtsman, or scull, the simple curve of a wave can bring out the same sorrows and joys.  All share pieces of the puzzle that is a place, just seen from different vantage points.

The images in this exhibit are taken from my own study of the sea. I want to show a glimpse of the shared experiences that are life on the water.   Coming in to anchor at a quiet little cove, or the starry nights spent offshore with the wind blowing free.  Despite all the reasons we have for letting go of the land, the sea is shared by us and breeds a kinship that is undeniable. The lull of the waves soothes all our hearts the same.

the art that goes with these ramblings will be on display at the Northwest Maritime Center starting this Thursday Oct 13th, see EVENTS page for details.