Although I've always been a very hands-on sort of artist, I took to the computer very quickly... perhaps because I started early! The logo at the top of this page was created using a piece of software called Fontasy, running on MS-DOS. That image has been through a lot of generations since then, but I think it still has a certain pixelated magic you don't get with today's high-resolution software.
But my first real experience with computer graphics came in the late 1980s. I collaborated with my husband on the very first book on how to use the very first great piece of graphics software for Windows: Micrografx Designer. I plunged in at the deep end and had to learn quickly, blazing my own trail without the library of references that's available today.
Nowadays, working in software like Illustrator or CorelDraw, I think of the computer as something between collage and mosaic. The computer lets me assemble images slowly, with amazing detail. But it also suits my taste for bold, graphic designs.
I really see the computer as a proper fine-art medium, not just a tool for commercial design. I think there are huge possibilities yet to be explored... and I'm certainly doing my bit to explore them!
I did a number of printmaking courses while in college and one was Wood/Lino cuts. I found that cutting the Lino really inspired me. My father’s old wood cutting tools cut like butter through the lino, and the effect was beautiful to see. The pieces were pilling up and not getting printed. The creative process was so much more enjoyable than the actual work to produce the print. I ended up with a pile of cuts and no printing press. So I painted them and discovered a really lovely new technique.
Soon I was cutting specifically for painting and not for printing. The process is very different, not as much cut and yet more detail to the subject. I spent a year walking the Rosedale Ravine and sketching the landscape, and those sketches were my inspiration for a new series of lino-cut paintings, showing the ravine through all the seasons of the year.
Inlaying the lino cuts into routed wood seemed to be the best design for framing. This gave me more room to carve and paint a different texture with a different palette. Because the frames were hand-made I could stain and carve them. Sometimes I would bring beach bark back and inlay it right into the frame. Sometimes the painting was continued onto the frame as well.
I did about forty paintings in that year; I sold all but four of them, at private showings, at the St. James Town annual Art Show and at Café 363 on Bloor Street. This technique is something I’ve just put aside for now, but it is a beautiful process that I expect to return to someday.