Alison Garwood Jones

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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Creative is fragile

May 12, 2017

BBDO in Applied Arts Magazine, by Alison Garwood-Jones

“Any great work you see out there probably died five times. Creative is fragile. Every step of the way there’s going to be a barrier of some sort, so you have to be relentless with your ideas. Your clients will thank you.” My favourite quote from Denise Rossetto and Todd Mackie, co- SVP’s and Executive Creative Directors at BBDO Toronto. I profiled their agency in the June issue of Applied Arts Magazine.

BTW: BBDO is the ad agency that inspired and informed Matt Weiner’s TV series, Mad Men. But because it’s 2017 women are in 40% of the leadership roles at the Toronto shop.

This one’s for you, Peggy.

I like art director, Peter Zaver’s handling of the opening.

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Window Art: My process

May 9, 2017

We all have skills that are lying dormant — for whatever reason. For me, it was art.

A dozen years ago, when I was trying to break into journalism (with no degree in the field and no contacts), getting writing gigs was all-consuming. And it was creative, so not drawing didn’t feel like such a loss.

None of us cold have predicted the Maker Movement and its subsequent publishing channels (Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress, and even LinkedIn), or the rise in paid gigs for surface designs on walls, windows, tote bags and teacups.

With afforable design programs, the ability to market yourself internationally, one-swipe billing and e-payments it’s so much easier to be your own boss.

So what skill are you sitting on that, (a) you used to love doing but stopped, and, (b) that you could ressurect and monetize in today’s economy?

My Process (this gig was at The Merchant Tavern in Toronto):

• Read the menu and ask for a list of suppliers. Pick out food items that make the best designs

• Use a simple drawing style and sketch a handful of food items (legibility above all else).Window art plan for the Merchant Tavern in Toronto

•Arrange your designs around your key message. Check out MyFonts.com for typeface styles appropriate to your message.

Window art plan for the Merchant Tavern in Toronto

• Then map the rough sketch out on your window. I didn’t grid the drawing or the window, so the spacing wasn’t exact. Certain items did not make the cut, like the pie at the bottom. That’s ok. The think the finished looks better than the sketch.

Window Art by Alison Garwood-Jones

 

 

 

 

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Know your tools

May 7, 2017

Windsor and Newton Cotman pan set

Windsor and Newton Cotman pan set.

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Baratunde Thurston

May 7, 2017

A man with something to say. This drawing was inspired by Baratunde Thurston‘s searching interview with Sarah Jones on her podcast, Play Date.

Watercolour painting of Baratunde Thurston by Alison Garwood-Jones IMG_3032

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