Landscape in French

March 7, 2014 I was at Pauline Johnson French Immersion Elementary School practicing my French.

Standing in front of 28 grade 5 students with their eyes and ears glued on me, I made it through the introduction of the proposed art project. 

Once we started picking, ripping and tearing out pieces of newspaper, French was flowing and so was the glue. 

I called upon the BUILDERS and the ENGINEERING among the kids to create a cityscape with a peaceful waterfront. They collaged the already selected pictures to the surface of the canvas - pictures of sofas, crosswords, suitcases, fast cars, groceries, stock market results, real estate, fashion, and tons of fun words and phrases.

Then I asked the ARCHITECTS and SURVEYORS among this fine bunch of 10 year olds to ensure that the buildings were perpendicular. They added interest and appeal to the structures. 

Next in line were the DESIGN and ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERS. They had to make sure the water was pure and transparent; the air was clear and clean; the streets, alleys and waterfront were attractive and inviting. 

Last but not least we had the INSPECTORS, a group of kids to come and finish up the painting. They added final touches and gave the seal of approval. 

Everyone - teacher, class parents, kids and me the FREELANCER had a great time and were pleased with the results. 

This project was done in 2 hours - this was possible because of great teamwork, creativity and a positive attitude of all the grade 5 students at Pauline Johnson School.  


Kids and their Faces


Some time ago I proposed an idea for an art exhibition at a local Gallery. My proposal was about the human face, a show where artists from near and far could submit artwork of faces and portraits executed in all sorts of mediums, styles and interpretations. My proposal was accepted. North Vancouver Community Arts Council is hosting the exhibition at CityScape Gallery here in North Vancouver, BC Canada. The show entitled 'ABOUT FACE' is on from January 30 - March 1, 2014. Twenty-eight artists are represented. Their paintings, photography and sculptures focus solely on the human face, capturing the essence of the subject through approach and medium. The works strongly embody expressive and emotive sensibilities rendered in realistic, impressionistic and semi-abstracted styles.

Today (Saturday Feb 1, 2014) I held a workshop for children ages 8 and up. Ten children signed up - but 19 children showed up !!! After a quick tour through the gallery and a short demo children were each given a 8x8 inch canvas. The project was done in two parts.

>>> First the children could tear out pictures, text or words from newspapers and magazines and paste them on their canvas - any way they pleased.

>>> Next they were given acrylic paints, a variety of brushes to paint over the collage, letting some of the pictures and words show through the paint or leave them unpainted all together. Children were encouraged to paint a face. Some children were compelled to create an abstract work of art.

Everyone was into it! It was delightful to see all the children creating one masterpiece after another. There was a lot of personality and expression in their work. We all had a fun Saturday afternoon.

Many thanks to the children who participated. I very much appreciated the help of my artist friend, Iris Low and the volunteer from the North Vancouver Community Arts Council.


The Nutcrackers:

The Holiday Makers:

The Naturals:

Our youngest participant's abstract artwork:

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A few years ago I started painting faces. Well, not really! The first few faces 'actually' did not have a face at all - no eyes, nose, mouth or eyebrows. There was just a suggestion, a hint of personality and character. The rest was up to the viewer to discover.

About one year later the faces began to show more distinctive features. The face became divided into two parts. I call it 'dual disposition'. I believe that most people have more than one side to them. We often show one side to a certain group of people and the other side we only show to ourselves or to those we love or hurt the most.

This 'two-sided temperament condition' began to intrigue me. I explored different personality styles and tried to embed them into my portraits. Eyes, noses and mouths gradually appeared.

This is when I started to have a conversation with the 'person' on my easel. From there onward the personalities became stronger, colors became more vivid. The 'split' down the middle of the face became more pronounced as well.

The facial features started to take on a style of their own. The faces often portrayed a small chin, small lips, a long nose and always a pensive look.


I thoroughly enjoy creating these imaginary people. But even though they are created purely by intuition they do remind me of people I actually know.
About one year ago I began to implement torn newspaper clippings on the empty canvas before starting to paint. I created a composition of newspaper collage. The purpose was mostly to create texture.

Also around the same time I created my first male portrait - "The Beloved" above left. Followed by "No Kidding" above right.
The newspaper collaging became an important part of my portraits. Not only for texture but also for interest. The text and the images I tore from the newspaper and flyers took on more and more importance.

I could spend hours looking for the right words, sentences or illustrations. Even objects like grapes, shoes, tools, wine bottles, sweaters or comic strips and so on... were keeping me inspired. I experienced a creative overflow with all the possibilities.

Last summer (2013) my friend, Iris Low and I submitted a proposal and applied for the Don S. Williams Grant through the local Art's Office, FANS (The Funds for the Arts on the North Shore).
On November 8, 2013 we each received the funds during the ceremony of the Awards Night at the Gordon Smith Gallery in North Vancouver. Our goal is to create between 28 - 52 faces representing the the multiculturalism of the North Shore. Both of us live on the North Shore of Vancouver and are thrilled to take on this project.
Ever since then I have been busy producing faces using clippings from the North Shore Newspaper.
We launched a Facebook Page, Faces of the North Shore - find us there, like our page and follow the progress.

In February 2014 I will also be part of a show entitled "About Face" at the CityScape Gallery in North Vancouver.

Who knows where my faces will take me next. But so far it has been a fun and colorful journey.

To view the all the faces in a larger format >>> click here


FROM "iPhone" TO "i did it"

My student arrived with a 20x24 inch canvas and her iPhone.
"I want to make the painting on my iPhone and I really really want to finish it today and take it home." I paused... and said: "ok?! Show me the picture". I do not like to rush students, neither do I like it if they hurry through a lesson. "Let's see how it goes, it is your painting that will decide when it is done and how long it will take", I said to encourage her to focus on the process, rather than the clock.
Long story short... the painting got done in just under 2 hours with a lot of teamwork, organisation and quick planing.

She began with pasting newspaper and tissue paper strips with medium, to create horizontal lines and texture suitable for a landscape.

Once the paper had been added we helped the drying process along with a blow dryer.

45 min. later, we had not started painting the pretty colours yet. Was I panicking? No! The student was so engaged in her work, she forgot to check the clock. A good thing.

While I was still blow drying the thicker parts of the newspaper collage the student began to paint the dry parts of the canvas with dark neutral brown/gray. We call it "GOOK and GUCK". Periodically I turned the painting around to give the student space to paint. While she was busy filling in all white areas, standing on the left - I was blow drying and sweating away, standing on the right. In the photo above - she just finishes the last little bit.

Then out came the pretty colours. The student used the dry brush technique and started with the darkest colour at the bottom of the painting. Next she blended the reds, the oranges, the yellows and last the whites.

Then she went over the painting again but this time starting from the top - light to dark.
We were both so into it I totally forgot to take pictures of the process. Sorry! I just managed to take a picture of the finished work before the mother came to pick up her daughter.

Success - the mother liked the painting. The student was thrilled to take it home and I enjoyed the fact that everyone was happy.


FUN at Harmony Arts Festival

The first weekend of Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver is now over...

We, the 5enses showed our art at in a double tent right across from the SilkPurse Gallery.

Arriving on Friday 11 am to an empty tent.

Everyone was buys hanging paintings, attaching labels, adding lights and arranging their space to make it look just right.

People came from far - Europe, US, Australia, Hong-Kong, India...
People came from near - I got to meet neighbors I did not know I had.

Artist checked us out - and we connected and talked about art for hours.
Art-Lover lingered around - and we shared our work and sold our art.

Friends arrived - friends we had not met for months or years.
Friends arrived - friends we forgot we had.

We had 4 fantastic days, full of laughter and plenty of sunshine.
Hugs and smiles were freely given.
Live music filled the air.
Fresh crepes, falafel, yam fries and espresso kept us going.

We were entertained the whole day through by:
kids with runny ice cream cones,
ladies with puppies, fancy hats and brightly colored purses,
gentlemen in uniforms, shaved heads and checkered shorts,
grannies with walkers and grandpas with scooters,
people dressed smartly and people dresses skimpily,
folks with money and folks who wished they could afford to buy our paintings,
people who adored, analysed, inspected or ignored our work,
young men and women jogging and cycling by,
artsy teens with dreadlocks and baggy pants,
happy teens with girlfriends and grumpy teens with parents,
professors, curators and artists happily giving critiques and advise about our work,
Italian friends sharing biscotties, gnocchi and fresh figs with a smile,
all in all the time flew by, the weekend was over, the paintings came down,
husbands and sons came to help us dismantle the booth.

Would we do it again next year? It's a YES for me.

NOW GO AND CATCH THE LAST WEEKEND OF HARMONY ARTS - but it won't be the same without the 5enses.

For more pictures check out the official Harmony Arts Blog  



one could say from...
                             WILD to ORDERLY
                             CRAZY to ACCUSTOMED
                             ABSTRACT to CONCRETE
                             MYSTERIOUS to EVIDENT
                             UNEXPLAINED to APPARENT

The following paintings are my latest works. All started with intuitive automatic drawing and enthusiastic scribbles. After initial mark making I used 1 inch, 2 inch and 3 inch brushes to apply a selected range of colors. Brush strokes were intuitive and used without thought of right or wrong - do's or don'ts. I felt free to splatter, dribble, and smudge - I drew over the dried paint and scratched the wet. No rules!
Once satisfied a piece at a nonrepresentational stage, I looked at the work for a while and pondered what to do with it. The longer I gazed upon a work the more I saw in it. I began to see what it should become. 
Intending to convey a message through the figures, I continued on. My focus was on the message rather than the correct dimensions of the figures themselves. The hard part was to form the figures just with as much energy and intuitiveness as in the  nonrepresentational stage. I hope my work draws the viewer in and lets him/her discover the story told. 

nonrepresentational stage 

finished work
30x36 in, acylic on canvas

nonrepresentational stage

finished work:
"Mom Knows Best"
30x36 in, acrylic on canvas

Please check out my website for more work executed the same way 

Looking forward to your response.



GIVING AWAY MY PANTING - It could be yours!

Yes - It's true...
I am giving away this very hot and spicy painting, entitled "Red Sultana". 
She will add zest and zing to your life, empower you to press on and chase your dreams...

Red Sultana
mixed media

Here is how to win "Red Sultana"

Send Red Sultana on a trip around the world via facebook and twitter. Have her meet as many people as possible and let her be seen on every computer screen, iPad, iPhone etc.

- promote this post through twitter or facebook  
- go find Red Sultana on my facebook page and share it 
- go find Red Sultana on my website and share it on facebook or twitter

DON'T FORGET to link your efforts back to me so I know you shared it.
here are my links:
My twitter name: @thereseljoseph
My facebook art page: https://www.facebook.com/ThereseLydiaJoseph

THE WINNER will be the person who gave Red Sultana the trip of a lifetime
THE WINNER will be the person who shared her face the most
THE WINNER will be announced on August 1st 2013 - Her Birthday
THE WINNER will receive the painting by mail free of charge within Canada
THE WINNER will pick up the remainder of the mailing charge if shipped outside Canada


Update: August 5th 2013

The winner of the painting met me at the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver and was very happy to receive "Red Sultana". Here is a picture to capture the happy moment: