Sunday, September 19, 2010

Alberta Art Days the ASA Way!

Hoodoos near Drumheller the Dinasour Capital of the World  Photo: M. Braun



Alberta Arts Days 2010 finally arrived! Artists and organizations across the province showcased their talents in hundreds of family-friendly events this weekend. Most of Alberta’s provincially-owned historic sites and museums offered free admission. With so many different events happening in all four corners of the province, Alberta was abuzz with energy and creativity.

I began the art days weekend with my friends Verne and Glenys at 9:00 a.m.  Destination?  East Coolee, Alberta.

Every September, the Artists Society of Alberta (ASA) offers an interactive weekend at East Coolee, Alberta, approximately 19 miles east of Drumheller the Dinosaur Capital of the World. At one time, East Coolee was a bustling coal-mining town.  Now, a ghost town.   We house ourselves, each year, in the former brick schoolhouse that has transformed into the local museum of coal mining and geological exhibits along with George, the resident ghost.

Our first destination was Red Deer.  We were headed to the Marjorie Woods Art Gallery to drop off our work for an upcoming exhibition beginning 25 September.

Our next visit was to the library to see the works of local artists.  Then off to Gallery IS, Harris-Warke Gallery and the Velvet Olive Lounge.   We enjoyed the art and chatting with the residents we met along the way, however, our tummies were rumbling and knew it was time to eat.

So off we went to visit St. Mary's Cathedral a product of, architect, Douglas Cardinal.  As we approached the church we recognized the distinguishable lines of Cardinal's work.  The good folk in the church allowed us to explore the interior.  We were pleasantly surprised.  Our thoughts of lunch disappeared as our creative souls were fed by the feast of craftsmanship we observed.  The assortment of lines, shapes, materials, sculptures, lighting and textures used in the sanctuary was staggering.

After our visit, we retreated to the gardens and spread out our picnic lunch.  The day was warm and sunny.  The sky was blue and not a cloud in sight.   Surrounded by flowers and charming stepping tiles, created by the congregation, it made for a pleasant and welcome rest stop.

Painting at Dry Island Buffalo Jump     Photo: Margaret Braun
Off to the ferry and then to Dry Island Buffalo Jump to paint the landscape.  The area reminds me of The Grande Canyon, only smaller and greener.

After touching base with a few other artists by cell phone we packed up and headed off to meet our twelve artist friends with whom we were going to spend the entire weekend.  Our friend, Shelley, traveled from Vancouver to share in the fun. 

Edie lovingly prepares the meals for us every year!  What a lovely soul she is!  We ate and  caught up on the news of our lives.  Around 10:00 p.m. we decided to draw one an other's portrait.  We laughed and drew until midnight determining the next night we would all use our non-dominant hands.
After a brief but deep sleep we spent the entire day photographing, searching, exploring, painting and drawing.  A quick trip to Wayne was a must -- driving over the famous eleven bridges and a hike through the golden fields.

Once back at the museum, we feasted, shared stories and revealed our images of the day.  Later, as discussed the previous evening, we drew one another with our less dominant hand.  More laughter, ohs and ahs as the paint splattered, dribbled and mediums drew.

Sunday morning came all too quickly.  Off we went in the early morning fog exploring the landscape, photographing, feeding horses and wandering through the hoodoos of beautiful Dorothy,  another prairie ghost town.

The clock was calling us.  It was close to 10:00 a.m.  We decided to head back to an expectant mouth-watering brunch!  Just in time, too.  The rain came!  We collected into the cafe, engaged in conversation, laughter and sharing our newly developed work all the while savouring every flavourful mouthful of Edie's delicious cooking!

Photo:  Margaret Braun
After packing, hugs, and saying our good byes, Verne, Glenys and I ventured off to Drumheller to visit more galleries.  They were closed, however, we continued down the art walk viewing the work displayed in the windows.

What a wonderful weekend!  Good friends!  Good travels!  Good art!

How did you spend your artistic weekend?

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