"Proof of Identification"

   "CONNECTION"   - Jill Ehlert  ©  12" X 12" - Mixed Media on Canvas

"CONNECTION"  - Jill Ehlert  ©  12" X 12" - Mixed Media on Canvas

   "BECOMING"   - Jill Ehlert   ©  12" X 12" - Mixed Media on Canvas

"BECOMING"  - Jill Ehlert   ©  12" X 12" - Mixed Media on Canvas

Proof Of Identification

"Connection", "Becoming" and "Grow into You" (the painting below) are part of a series of 15 paintings that I created for the upcoming group show "Proof of Identification". Information on the show is in the August 25th entry.

About this body of work

Over the years I have created a lexicon of symbols that have special meaning to me that I use as metaphors for my personal visual language. These "identifiers": chrysalis, butterfly, seed-pod, ladder, honeycomb, ruler, ABC, 123, spiral, double helix, cells...for example work together with chosen themes. These combined ideas and images in turn inform my mark making and direct the "look and feel" of the piece. This is an intuitive process with painting multiple layers of marks, text, shapes, line and colour. I am interested in themes of life, death and rebirth; transformation and metamorphosis; the ancient and the primordial. My abstract paintings are created by applying a rich layering process of mixed media, acrylic paint, collage, drawing, stamping, scratching, subtracting...combined with a layering of imagination, intuition, metaphor, memories, dreams and symbols.

Check out the new photo album "Proof Of Identification" in the left margin to see all 15 paintings.

"Upcoming Art Show"

   "Grow into You"   - Jill Ehlert  ©  12" X 12" Molding Paste & Mixed-media on Cradle Board

"Grow into You"  - Jill Ehlert  ©  12" X 12" Molding Paste & Mixed-media on Cradle Board


"Work that addresses ideas surrounding identity through mark-making, text and  handwriting"









2549 QUADRA STREET  VICTORIA BC  250.380-3500   www.slideroomgallery.com

Bamfield Painting

   "THE BIG WORLD OF SMALL"  -  Jill Ehlert  © 24" X 36" Acrylic, mixed media on canvas

"THE BIG WORLD OF SMALL"  - Jill Ehlert © 24" X 36" Acrylic, mixed media on canvas

 "The Big World of Small" was inspired during my attendance at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Check out my  blog for various descriptions of this adventure.

This painting was part of the fund raising art exhibit

 "Oceans of Art" held June 11 - 27th 2009 in Nanaimo, BC.

Oceans of Art

 is a fund raising collaboration between Art and Science. Artists inspired at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre  contributed work for sale, and non-gallery proceeds will provide bursaries for schools to participate in BMSC's Public Education Program. The paintings are now on display at BMSC's RIX Centre for Ocean Discoveries.

My painting is actually still showing at the Nanaimo Art Gallery.

No More Secondhand Art

Peter London has the following to say about "No More Secondhand Art" on his website:

"This book means to help you uncover your natural image-making abilities and so return to you the power that language has to share and create life. We must recapture our personal and idiosyncratic language so that we may speak about our personal and idiosyncratic life. The claim is not that our triumphs in art will automatically lead to similar successes in life. The claim put forward is more modest but nonetheless substantial; it is that the ways of thinking about what art is, what art has the potential for doing, and the strategies offered herein, are powerful means of awakening the artist within. The potential of carry over from art to the transformation of life is real- not simple or automatic, but real. It is this personal transformation of life through an engagement with the creative process that this book intends.

How breathtaking it is to start out on a journey into the unknown…Setting out on that journey in the hope of uncovering sources of inner worth so that we may step more lightly and confidently through life is our ultimate goal; our means will be the creative process.

Suppose life is a journey, an endless, surprising odyssey in which we may move from naivete to wisdom, from self-consciousness and awkwardness to grace, and from superficial knowledge to profound knowledge. The infinite menu of possibilities that life continuously displays before us may be viewed as an invitation to embark on this adventure through the varied and unpredictable terrain. The artistic process is more than a collection of crafted things; it is more than the process of creating those things. It is the chance to encounter dimensions of our inner being and to discover deep, rewarding patterns of meaning."

Last Friday after playing around with two printmaking techniques we moved on to an exercise called "Going to the infinite well" from Peter London's book.

"This exercise encourages us to traverse new territory in new ways and cultivates a light hand and an uncomplicated, nimble mind. Its rapid pace cuts through our unusual convoluted thinking, and the large number of mini-tasks overwhelms our ordinary repertoire of responses, calling forth unexpected reservoirs of original and personal responses."

We started off looking for an object that spoke to us and then spent five minutes looking it over. We  put the object away and out of sight. We assembled 60 sheets of computer paper in front of us with an array of drawing media. Each drawing was timed for 1 minute. The first drawing was based on a reaction to the object, then the second image was based on our reaction to seeing the previous drawing. We kept repeating this pattern of sixty-second images, each new drawing based on the experience of having made the previous drawing.

We all experienced different reactions as we moved through the exercise, sometimes tired, sometimes frustrated. The idea is to be aware of bodily reactions at each stage of the series, noting at what phase of the exercise we ran out of ideas, got stuck, became frustrated, got a second wind, made a breakthrough, or felt swept along by fresh inspiration.

The whole idea is to work so quickly that you don't have time to think or use old ways of working, hopefully breaking into new ground.

We layed out our 60 sheets in the order they were drawn to see the flow and movement.

Here is an example of the characteristics of the series as a whole that London asks us to think about.

  • The direction of the evolution of the pieces: have you moved toward more abstraction/realism, toward more gesture/detail, toward more/less color, texture, parttern?
  • The distance between images: how much of a difference is there between one image and the next? Was the pattern of change drastic, or moderate? What kinds of changes did you make in mood, attitude, apparach, conception?
  • The fatigue factor: did you run out of ordinary responses after a while and probe any new territory?
  • How did you handle your fatigue; your breathless pace, your frustration, your out-of controlness? Did you meet your fatigue in anger, in a welcome yielding, in defeat, perhaps in soft joy?
  • Your reaction(s) to the time constraints: Did you make it into an enemy, an ally, or an opportunity?
  • Did you uncover some very old ways of working?
  • Did you uncover any new ways of working? 

I really liked this exercise and I am going to try and repeat this once a week in my studio. I think it will be a valuable way to beak new ground. learn about myself, my process and develop a new repertoire of mark-making. I have done this several times before but it has been at least 14 years since I did.

"The big world of small"

Our last evening in Bamfield we had a lab looking at plankton under a microscope; I was blown away by the beauty of these tiny creatures that came alive under the microscopic gaze. The following pictures and words are from a fabulous website calle Image Quest 3D. Please go there to see hundred's of fantastic images and articles. They will sweep you away.

Photos/ Image Quest 3D photo

Image-Quest 3D  website has the following to say about plankton:

 "The word plankton means, “that which drifts”. By this token a colossal number of marine creatures, both plants and animals, vertebrates and invertebrates, qualify as members of this extraordinarily important mass of life that glides and wanders, flaps and flips, floats and flies, sinks and swims within the oceans. The very biggest jellyfish weigh more than half a tonne, some deep sea relatives of the Portuguese Man-O-War would cover a football pitch and some of the colonial salps are the size and shape of ballistic missiles.

Much of plankton is small. Diminutive though these forms are in size, their habits, colour, life cycles and relationships are some of the most bizarre in the animal kingdom and many billions directly comprise the staple diet of the ocean’s very largest inhabitants."


"This resource is much more important for the survival of this planet than all the rainforests and prairies put together. The microscopic plants of the sunlit surface waters of the oceans capture more oxygen than all other life forms. These are the organisms most likely to be affected by global warming, climate change and man’s indiscriminate and careless pollution of the oceans. Not only are they incredibly important, they are miracles of design and structure. Victorian microscopists recognised this and converted millions into microscope slides. Those illustrated in image number two are just such an example. Many of the colours are structural - like oil on water. All images are approximately x15,000." 

Content from Image Quest 3D.

Sketches from Bamfield

We were so busy while at Bamfield moving from one activity to another that there really wasn't much time for doing art. I managed to get the following sketches done. I have tons of photos for ideas.

Click on this link to see a more detail version of this trip, sketches and sketch books. 

Quick pencil sketch of a Copper Rock Fish from the Aquarium in The Rix Centre. I painted the background later at home using a techinque that Mark Hobson demonstrated for us.

 Quick Sketches  from the invertebrate tank in the Whale Lab

Quick Sketches  from the invertebrate tank in the Whale Lab

Algal Art - Pressed seaweeds

 Pressed seaweeds

Pressed seaweeds

 Pressed seaweeds

Pressed seaweeds

Algal Art

We had a really good lecture on seaweeds by the Bamfield Marince Sciences Centre Public Education Coordinator Anne Stewart. Anne's team had gathered dozens of examples of seaweed for us to look at which were displayed in water-filled glass dishes. Anne described how to make "Algal Art":  select pieces of seaweed, lay those on top of a piece of wet paper that has a fibre content that is low in acidity and high in absorbency. Lay this in a press to dry flat. Heavy duty wax paper was laid over top of the piece and then placed between many sheets of newspaper, j-cloths and cardboard. This takes several days to dry.

Sketch of Brady's Beach

Bamfield - Brady's Beach - sketch photo.JPG

The top sketch was done en plein air while at Brady's beach. It was quite cold that day and I was sitting on my life vest on top of a log that had frost coming out of it as the morning warmed up a bit. I worked on a page in my sketch book that I had toned in blue along with some mark-making done with a couple of stamps I had made. I did this background preparation before I left home. I worked on site using a soft water soluable graphite pencil and later in the whale lab I added in the white washes to the sky and water. 

The two photos I took that morning as well, but it was only a few minutes ago that I compared the sketch to the photos.

Mark Hobson

A lecture and demonstration by Mark Hobson was the main event for the first evening of our artist retreat. Mark gave a talk on his early life teaching science at Shawnigan Lake School and how he got to painting full-time and living in Tofino, BC on a float home. Mark gave a great demonstration on mixing ocean blue-greens and advice on how to paint underwater scenes especially of seaweeds. Our big group of 44 was divided into 4 groups and I was lucky enough to have Mark in our group. Mark is full of joy and he happily shared his knowledge of the natural world. He is a really nice person with a big heart, who was always jolly -- he was a lot of fun to be around. 

On our way to Grappler Inlet

Mark Hobson is based in Tofino BC., on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island where he has painted for over twenty years. A diverse artist in both subject and media, he is equally comfortable in watercolour, oils, and acrylics. Mark is best known for his passionate portrayals of the B.C. coast, from pounding surf to sheltered cove; from rainforests to the underwater realm. The richness of the natural environment and its wildlife comes alive in his work. Professionally trained as a biologist, he taught high school science for nine years before painting as a career. Self-taught as an artist, his paintings are simultaneously accurate and sensitive depictions of the many moods of wilderness and rural landscapes.

 Mark painting in the Rix Centre

Mark painting in the Rix Centre

 Mark Hobson     "Green Point Rocks: Long Beach"

Mark Hobson     "Green Point Rocks: Long Beach"

 Mark Hobson   "China Rockfish"

Mark Hobson   "China Rockfish"

 Mark Hobson    "Sea Otters Return"

Mark Hobson    "Sea Otters Return"




Out to sea

 The M/V Alta was built in 1981-82 by Little Hoquiam Shipyards, WA. The Alta operates bottom trawls, dredges and hydrographic instrumentation, has a range of 600+ nautical miles and a running speed of 9.5 knots. Maximum capacity is 12 passengers plus crew.

We spent an hour and a half on the M/V Alta out in open water cruising around the group of Deer Islands. There's Jeanne again.

  Onboard the  M/V Alta

Onboard the  M/V Alta

The captain did an open ocean sampling, the dredge brings up a big bucket of what looks like sand and broken shell and dumps it in a big container. After our instructor Anne Stewart added ocean water she then separated things and found all these treasures which she put in the yellow dish pan. What delighted us the most was a little tiny baby octupus about two inches long. The beige coloured octupus darted around madly and squirted ink a couple of times; Anne immediately scooped the toxic ink out of the yellow container. The little octupus found refuge on top of the big star fish and went from beige to red and crumpled itself down into a little mass shape that looked like worms in order to disguise itself. Here it is on the side of the dish pan still in it's red colour. looking for a corner to hide. 

Grappler Inlet

 Grappler inlet to the left of the Marine Sciences Centre (Photo/BMSC)

Grappler inlet to the left of the Marine Sciences Centre (Photo/BMSC)

On our way to Grappler Inlet - Jeanne Aten - my friend and roommate


The end of Grappler Inlet