Alison Garwood Jones

Chalk art tips

June 13, 2017

Window Art by Alison Garwood-JonesPhoto: Alison Garwood-Jones

The Merchant Tavern, TORONTO (@TheMerchantTo): Colouring on the back of a window makes the shaded areas appear more solid from the front. This is especially true on double-pane glass. This is my latest #ChalkArt discovery using Molotow acrylic markers.

Some other things I’ve learned since I started drawing on windows two summers ago: ink adheres to the glass really well in the morning when the windows are still cool. By 2:00 pm, any window that receives direct sun is pretty much a right off. The heat makes the ink and the window act like oil and water. My lines bead and slip and slide. This is true for water-based inks, oil-based, and acrylic. I’ve tried them all, and in combination too!

Window finishes (like UV coatings) also create an unpredictable surface. Sometimes I have to will the art to happen!

Thank you to The Merchant Taps & Tavern for inviting me to decorate your windows knowing full well I had never done this kind of work before this gig. This is what happens when you say, Why not?

Alison Garwood-Jones painting the windows at The Merchant Tavern, TorontoPhoto: Greg Garson

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Why hire an artist?

June 5, 2017

Window Art by Alison Garwood-Jones

Any business can order vinyl lettering, but having a chalk artist on site shows more care and commitment to the customer (who wants to be delighted), your business and the artistic community. It creates work!

People love to stop and talk to artists in action. The biggest feedback I get is: you spelled that wrong. Guys especially love ribbing me with that. I’ve met some fun people.  I’ve also learned to keep business cards in my back pocket. Doing is the best advertising.

This collage is some of my work, so far, for the The Merchant Tavern in Toronto (@themerchantto).

#hireanartist #Windowart #surfacedesign #gratituden #chalkart

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I made my first wallpaper pattern

June 3, 2017

Summer Lovin' Wallpaper design by Alison Garwood-Jones

I designed this “Summer Lovin'”wallpaper pattern for The Merchant Tavern‘s beer, wine, and sangria station at the #AdelaideEatsTo Summer Food Market. It’s open M-F, 11 am – 9 pm at the corner of University and Adelaide, upper deck. 

I learned how to make wallpaper patterns in a great Skillshare video by Julia Rothman (Thank you, Julia, for sharing your know-how).

You draw something once and repeat it 100 times! It’s so efficient.

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Fred Rogers

May 29, 2017

In 1968  Fred Rogers published a children’s song about managing anger. The generation he wrote it for are all grown up now, but his timeless words can still reach them almost 50 years later.

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong…
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there’s something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

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How I use watercolour pencils

May 27, 2017

Tips on how to use watercolour pencils

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Spring Florals

May 27, 2017

Spring flowers

Nothing beats the new greens and watery blues of Spring.

Watercolour is, hands-down, the best medium for capturing this season.

 

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Kara Walker

May 24, 2017

Watercolour sketch of Kara Walker, artist, by Alison Garwood-Jones

Kara Walker is one of seven artists profiled in the April 17-30 edition of New York Magazine (still on many newsstands). Doreen St. Felix describes a black female artist who is acutely aware that her work and persona are a lightning rod for the pathologies that are everywhere in the U.S. “She knows that putting a naked representation of a black woman in a public space invites all sorts of projections, and bullshit, and reverence. She likes that.”

In Walker’s words, an artist is “a person who is strong enough to withstand projection and can project ideas back to the [public] in such a way that their minds change. Or not.” This drawing is my riff on the cover photo of Walker. #courage #UsingYourVoice #Sculpture #AmericanArt #WomenArtists

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Wrecking ball

May 18, 2017

I let my dad down.

Trevor was an architect, and earlier this week one of his modernist designs, the Fawcett House (1966), was torn down to make room for something new and improved.

Thomas Allen wrote an eloquent and heartfelt lament about it in The Inlet, saying, “the tranquil courtyard, barrel-vaulted roof with celestial windows, midcentury interior, and austere brick exterior were strong symbols of modernism. Now it’s just a hole in the ground with a pretty view.”

The Fawcett House (1966) by Trevor Garwood-Jones. Photo by Thomas Allen, The InletFawcett House (1966) by Trevor Garwood-Jones. Photo by Thomas Allen, The Inlet
Site of the former Fawcett House (1966) by Trevor Garwood-Jones. Photo by Thomas Allen, The InletSite of the former Fawcett House (1966) by Trevor Garwood-Jones. Photo by Thomas Allen, The Inlet

It wasn’t that long ago that my dad and I were in the car driving past Hamilton Place when he said, “If they’re about to tear down one of my buildings, Alison, make sure you and your brothers fight it.” I imagined us, at some future date, marching around the streets of Hamilton on our way to wherever it is that you go when you protest thoughtless development.

I best look into this now so I’m not caught flat-footed next time.

Dad and I had a lot of “after I’m gone” talks in the car. That’s why I feel like I let him down. I didn’t hear about the fate of the Fawcett House until Alex Bozikovic, the architecture critic at The Globe and Mail, tweeted me the link to Thomas Allen’s piece in the Inlet.

Fawcett House TweetIt didn’t occur to me to push for a heritage designation on the Fawcett House. Maybe that’s because I’m busy living life. Or, maybe it’s because that would mean putting a timestamp on my own chronology. It’s too soon.

My brothers and I grew up on Romar Dr. in a cookie cutter sixties bungalow right next to John and Mary Fawcett’s home. We shared that great view of Dundas from atop the escarpment at the Sydenham Hill. The Fawcetts and my parents loved how the panoramic living room windows in both our homes acted like the windshield of an airplane hovering over the city and rolling valley below.

My parents marched us kids through the breezy couryard and under the barrel vaulted living room of the Fawcett House only a few times. I remember seeing a pot-bellied stove in one corner, which felt odd in a modern home.

The Fawcett House interior shot by Graham CrawfordPhoto: Graham Crawford, Historical Hamilton
The Fawcett House, photo by Graham CrawfordPhoto: Graham Crawford, Historical Hamilton
The Fawcett House, photo by Graham CrawfordPhoto: Graham Crawford, Historical Hamilton
The Fawcett House, photo by Graham CrawfordPhoto: Graham Crawford, Historical Hamilton

I spent most of my time outside the Fawcett House, playing dolls in the long grass. I learned how carrots grow sitting in the dirt of Mary Fawcett’s vegetable garden, while she tore at the earth with a garden claw.

Mary was a working mother of four boys. When she wasn’t nursing, and later teaching nursing at McMaster University, she baked a lot of blueberry pies and delivered them across the field between our two houses. In keeping with the times, she wore a lot of pedal pushers and checkered kerchiefs. And her cheeks were always flushed. Apart from my mother, she was my first introduction to a woman who moved with purpose in and outside the home.

Even at four, I took those pink cheeks as a clear sign that women can and must do a lot.

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Artist toolkit

May 16, 2017

Makeup brush kit doubling as an art supply pouch. Watercolour by Alison Garwood-JonesThis makeup brush kit from my days as an Elle editor is now my fountain pen and waterbrush kit.

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Insights with Nargis

May 12, 2017

While Yann Yap and I finish editing our first batch of Willful videos and gear up for the next spate of interviews, it was so gratifying to participate in Nargiz Mammadova’s thoughtful interview series, Insights with Nargiz.

We talked about creativity, work, life, and constant adaptation.

Thank you, Nargiz!

Nargiz Mammadova interviewing Alison Garwood-Jones on Insights with Nargiz

Photo: Gary Chen, White Clover.

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