Carmen Mongeau

Location: Port Theatre 125 Front Street, Nanaimo, BC.


"Bloomin' Art 2007 is a stunning exhibition and sale of contemporary paintings accompanied by interpretations by floral designers.

This exhibition is a fundraiser for Haven Society, this one of a kind event features large paintings and miniatures of twenty prestigious abstract artists from across Vancouver Island, BC. Canada. All proceeds will go to Haven Society.

Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission $5.00 at the door.


Bruce Williams from A-Channel will host the Gala opening. Guests will be able to have an advanced look at the exhibition, meet the artists and floral designers, and enjoy great food created by local restaurants. There will be entertainment by Baritone, Timothy Richard and pianist, Jeanne Campbell.

Silent Auction on opening night - You will be able to bid on exclusive items on opening night.

Tickets are available for $30.00. Please contact Joyce Hedges at 758-3354.


The organizers of Bloomin' Art are pleased to present some very special demonstrations and workshops designed to complement the exhibition. Admission is $5.00 and payable at the door. Click on this link to see the complete List.


Robert Genn's June 15th. letter about appropriation has sparked a lot of interetsing viewpoints. Click appropriation to go to "The Painter's Keys" page with his letter and all of the responses. Be sure to scroll down the entire page to the bottom to read all of the comments. You will see the following response from me there as well.

Memories Lost

(left) collage by Jill Ehlert (right) original image fromWikipedia

I used Photoshop to enhance the contrast of the head and printed it onto transparency film with my Epson printer. The Phrenology image appeared in Wikipedia and stated: This image is in the public domain. Its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. I used that transparency to transfer the black ink onto my painting. I took the picture of the trees with my digital camera and again transferred the image/ink with the same technique as the head. I pondered for a time about the ethics of using this appropriated image of the head. I have the ability to draw, but the idea of using this image was more appealing to my artistic process. I feel that this is what the spirit of collage is about - found materials and images that can have a rebirth. I would like to think that the original artist would be delighted to think that the image lives on in a painting in the year 2007.

Windex and Magic Eraser to the rescue

When working with acrylic paints the one product that will remove a layer from your painting or clothing is rubbing alcohol.

Recently I got gesso on my black jeans. I didn't notice this until it was dry - the next day I put them on the counter and puddled rubbing alcohol on top of that area and let it soak in. I used a small crochet hook and kept running that back and forth until all of the gesso was rubbed and scraped away. Success! After washing them I can hardly tell where the white gesso had been.

If I have applied a glaze to a painting and it has dried and I am sorry with the result I can remove most of that layer by spraying that area with rubbing alcohol and scrubbing it off with a paper towel. As well, a really neat burnishing look can come from this technique - while rubbing off an area - with valleys, grooves, textured areas... the colour is pushed into those crevices but taken off the higher points. This gives an aged look to the area and can be appealing. Sometimes this works great and other times areas can look muddied.

When I was working on "Field Notes to myself" and was almost finished I applied a glaze on a group of lighter areas in order to unify the painting Once that was dry I was disappointed with the result - it looked too dark and murky. I had run out of rubbing alcohol and it was late at night so I decided to try Windex, a 3M green scrubby and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This worked great. I had used a lot of acrylic medium to adhere all of the collage elements so this gave all those areas flexibility and they could stand up to the scrubbing. I have continued to use Windex this way and it really works great.

Award winning painting

I was delighted to have two of my recent paintings juried into "Through Island Eyes II" with the Federation of Canadian Artists - Nanaimo Chapter Summer show. The following painting received the "Award of Excellence".

"MEMORIES LOST" Jill Ehlert © 2007    30" X 22" MIXED MEDIA ON PAPER

Memories Lost” is a loving memorial to my Mother who had dementia. As her caregiver for many years, this disease had an impact on both of our lives.  

This 30" X 22" mixed media painting on paper has an underlying cruciform structure that is offset to the right hand side. Deliberately positioned in the lower right hand quadrant facing towards the center is a photo transfer of a head in side view. This head from a phrenology chart displays compartments of thought and emotion modules in the brain. Phrenology was promoted as a source of psychological insight and self-knowledge, personality and character. This line drawing was chosen for its symbolism and strong graphic imagery. A photo transfer of long undulating black tree branches like neural pathways and blood vessels rise up out of the head groping and reaching to the top edge of the painting. This graphical union of head and tree branches creates a dominant vertical thrust in the painting.  

The horizontal axis of the cruciform structure crosses behind the tree branches in the top third of the painting. This strata-like division contains successive layers of imagery, a clock hinting at time running out, spirals broken in half, pieces of a crossword puzzle, distressed paper, bits of road maps, the up and down zigzag lines of brain wave patterns are also echoed in corrugated cardboard added for repeated texture and interest. Thought compartments are echoed here as well. 

The photo transfer process was chosen specifically for its graphic and layering qualities. This particular phrenology image is in the public domain and the tree branches are my own photographs.   

Layering is both an intuitive and conscious approach to my art making and be it referential or material, it is a formal element in this work. [1] 

Layered meanings of memory, lost identity, alienation, fear of the unknown and loss are combined with a rich layering process of acrylic paint, mark making, collage, symbols, photo transfer, veils of colour and erasure. 

A sensitive palette of pinks and flesh tone mixes, yellow ochre and unbleached titanium dominate the background and contrasts with the grayed down olive and golden green colour found within the vertical axis.  Veils of colour bridge levels of perception and knowledge. 

Gauze like material adhered to the background on either side of the head was chosen for its texture and psychological impact – creating a hint of interruption to suggest something is not quite right. The delicate weave and lines within the gauze directs the eye upward through this space. Washes of flesh-toned colour are applied, veiling what is underneath, it is foggy and uncertain and we can’t quite tell what lays ahead. 






Last weekend I attended "The Victoria Book and Paper Show" held in Sidney, BC. I felt somewhat intimidated as I had never been to anything like this before. I approached a few vendors and explained the type of thing I was looking for. I had several shakes of the head but kept looking. Most things that I liked were collectibles and therefore really expensive, too expensive to tear up into collage bits I felt. Just as I was about to leave I browsed once more at the second booth I happend upon and there on the floor was a pile of Punch Magazines. The magazines date from 1927 with about 20+ pages in each magazine. They are filled with really neat line drawings, graphics, political cartoons, text, advertisements - all with sharp contrast - all great for tearing up and putting into my collage work.

I hadnever been to something like this show before and didn't really know where to begin, but perservering and asking questions helped a lot to gain confidence. I also purchased a small elementary text book of anatomy, physiology and hygiene again with really neat diagrams and yellowed pages. As well I got two small log books with handwriting, one a personal log book for someone buuiding an aircraft and the other a small farm income log with lots of mathematical calcualtions scribbled throughout. The types of items that you would find at this sale are: paper money, stamps, comic books, regular books, maps, old brochures, advertising, sports cards, magazines, post cards, autographs, paperbacks, postal covers, photographs, complete photograph albums, cigarette cards, catlogues, posters, newspapers - and tons more!

This group will hold another book and paper show in the same venue in November.


“Artist’s Design: Probing The Hidden Order” by Marie MacDonnell Roberts. --- This book on artistic design composition identifies and describes the elements of design -- the basic requirements of a painting; the role of the artist's means to achieve an integrated work of art ; the role of tension and movement ; the use of the track of vision to control the path and pace of the viewer's eye; and the use of a variety of design scaffoldings to provide solidity and clarity to a painting. 250 illustrations (190 of which are in color ) are integrated into the text to demonstrate these principles. Many of the paintings included, although masterpieces in their own right, are rarely seen in anthologies. 

According to Marie MacDonell Roberts a "Geometric Division of Space" structure is a formal deliberate kind of grid with more or less straight lines and 2-3 different sized divisions. A grid-like flatness prevails. The same subject matter or aspects of it appear in all divisions. Nuances of difference are found in one section from the other which creates these divisions by a gradual change in colour and value".



A couple of weeks ago I took a 2-day workshop with Master collage artist and author Nick Bantock. The class was a lot of fun and we worked hard. I learned a lot and returned to my studio full of steam and inspiration.  Nick is a great teacher.

Nick and his partner Joyce live on Salt Spring Island and on June 2 they will be opening in Ganges their brand new gallery, studio and workshop called "The Forgetting Room". Nick will be offering workshops there and for information email Joyce:

Nick Bantock

Nick Bantock

The Robert Genn Twice Weekly Letter

By subscribing to this free online newsletter by Robert Genn you will join a world-wide community of creative people. They are mostly painters, but there are also a large number of sculptors, writers, photographers, and to a lesser degree collectors and art dealers and others who are just interested. There is an excellent resource of art quotations, a worldwide artists directory.

As well you can list your website there for free! It costs nothing. A free listing will help you to be found online. Their free listings will show up in the top 5 search engine results. You need to supply them with a brief statement-- about you and your art, and any websites (up to five) you wish to be connected to. They may add an illustration to your free listing at their discretion.

I found that a couple of hours after I submitted my information and added their link on my website that when I googled on my name "Jill Ehlert", my website, link to their site and other sites were front row and center where before nothing came up in my name. Great results.


Bloomin Art

I have been asked to be part of an abstract show called "Bloomin Art 2007". This is a third party fund raising event in suppprt of Haven Society which provides services to women and children who have experienced violence.

This event will take place from Thursday August 16th to Saturday August 25th 2007 , at the Port Theatre, 125 Front Street in Nanaimo, BC, Canada.

This group show will include 18 abstract paintings 36" X 36" or larger along with a section of miniature works smaller than3" X 5". Together these paintings will be interpreted with appropriate floral arrangements ranging in style from traditional to Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging.  

"Spanish Wall" - Jill Ehlert © 48" x 36"

"Spanish Wall" - Jill Ehlert © 48" x 36"