Saturday, October 15, 2011

John W. Gardner: Quote

      “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

                                     John W. Gardner


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Day 2011

Drawing sewn on Canvas    Artwork and Photo by Margaret Braun   SOLD
Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

I spent the morning cooking a BIG batch of perogies and baking a European-style golden-flax loaf of bread for dinner.

This sunny and warm afternoon 22C (76F), I ran in my favourite park and, later, walked through a golden sea of autumn leaves. The Canadian Geese were flying in V-formation and practiced their landings.

I'm at home now, but, will be heading out in a few minutes to commune with my family and enjoy a delicious supper.

What am I grateful for today?  Pretty much EVERYTHING!  All is well in my life and has been for a very long time.  I feel VERY blessed.

If I had to list the top three things I'm thankful for they would be:

1.  The large community of BEAUTIFUL people in my life -- both family and friends -- and the new grandbaby that is still safely snuggled in my daughter's tummy whom I saw in a 3D movie last Sunday.

2.  This AMAZING country!  How stunning and diverse it is!

3.  The GOOD FORTUNE of being an active member in the art community.

I KNOW that I am blessed.

Thank you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

George Bernard Shaw: Quote

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

                                                                    George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keri Smith: Mess

Mess by Keri Smith

Tuesday’s are Play Days!

My friend, Linda, and I get together every Tuesday evening to play.  We laugh a lot and it’s contagious to those around us.

We do entertaining and mindless “doings”.  Either from our own imaginations or with a little help and inspiration from Keri Smith’s book “Mess” (available through Keri's shop and Amazon) we have:  created only blue collages; dropped beet juice on to paper from the highest climbing pole in the playground; walked in the woods gathering organic materials -- smearing, wiping, rubbing, squwooshing (technical term) on to paper producing a hodgepodge of marks  and colours; with our eyes closed, coloured a line drawing with several different wax crayons; followed the outline of a squiggly circular shape 100 times really, really, really fast; ambled through a golden field of autumn leaves scattering them about and rustling up trails; hiked along the river and photographed markings that look like contour drawings; took a copy of a 1900-something photograph filled with very rigid, serious men and drew silly and vibrant articles on their heads, faces and bodies;  collected interesting rocks and relocated them elsewhere;  gathered feathers and drew them; illustrated silly objects on a profile drawing of a deciduous tree; and continue to do other imaginative and intriguing things….

Keri quotes John Cage in her blog, "Purposeless play -- this play is an affirmation of life -- not an attempt to bring order out of chaos nor to suggest improvement in creation.  but simply a way of waking up to the very life we are living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind and desires out of the way and lets it act of its own accord."

Would you share with us what you have done lately or would like to do?

We would love to hear about your ideas!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bearclaw Gallery: Aaron Paquette

Artwork by Aaron Paquette exhibited at Bearclaw Gallery  

What a FABULOUS Alberta Art Days weekend!

Visiting the art galleries was so enjoyable!  I met friends, artists, new people and others I haven’t seen in years!  Some of you have emailed or facebooked (is that a word?) letting me know where in the province you were and the different activities you participated in.  What fun!

I had the pleasure of finally meeting Aaron Paquette at the Bearclaw Gallery opening reception on Saturday.

Originally, I “met” Aaron through iTunes.  He published a podcast called “Secrets of Success for the Creative Being” which I have relished.   His words reinforce what I have already come to know or discover what I have yet to learn.  He shares with us stories and words of wisdom from family members that lead to his experiences and insights.  Aaron has a beautiful way of using words to paint images in your mind.  He promised me that he would continue to publish more podcasts.

Correspondingly, he also writes a whimsical, interesting and informative blog, “The art of Aaron Paquette".   Plus,  Aaron is my facebook friend!

On Saturday, when we greeted one another I felt as though I knew him.

He personally toured interested onlookers through his world of paintings relating stories, thoughts and native beliefs.  I could feel the warmth, strength, peace and the bliss in his words and images.

If you would like to view the exhibition in person you have until 13 October 2011. 

The best part of this weekend, however, came when my five-year-old grandson called to see if he could join me in my studio.  We explored all the paraphernalia that it holds and then painted.  His final painting was pinned outside my studio wall for all to see.  That was the best!

Sorry Aaron.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Alberta Arts Days 2011

Alberta Art Days  September 30 - October 2, 2011

Alberta Arts Days is an annual celebration of our culture, heritage, artistic diversity and provincial pride. All galleries, communities, governments, organizations, schools, libraries, media outlets, cultural and recreation facilities, and individual Albertans join in the celebration!

Alberta Arts Days began in 2008 as a one-day event to recognize the value of Alberta's arts and cultural communities. Since then, it has expanded into a vibrant, three day, province-wide celebration.  This inspirational movement has raised the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life.

Last year, thousands of Albertans discovered, experienced and celebrated our unique culture, heritage, artistic diversity and provincial pride through 682 events in 91 communities throughout the province. Alberta Arts Days 2011, September 30 to October 2, will continue to showcase the province's artists, arts organizations and cultural industries, while encouraging Albertans to discover the important role the arts plays in developing a prosperous, vibrant society.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Paul Klee: Quote

"A line is a dot that went for a walk."

                             - Paul Klee

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Figure Drawing: 9 Tips on Life Drawing

Figure sewn on canvas                    Artwork and Photo:  Margaret Braun        $235

  1. With each model, I find myself asking, "What really characterizes the person?"
  2. Even though you may be a little anxious about your drawing, remember to breathe.
  3. Because I love hands, I will always include them.  They say so much about a person.  So do the eyes.
  4. If you are having trouble with something, focus on that.  For example, I had trouble drawing feet so I drew them over and over again -- for months.  Keep at it!
  5. Don't forget to breathe!
  6. Look at the drawing of the masters.  Ask other artists that you are drawing with for their advice.
  7. Are you breathing?
  8. If you aren't getting the results you want try something new.  Draw with other mediums.  I encourage my fellow artists to draw with their left hand.  
  9. Don't take yourself or your work too seriously!  Have fun!

    Remember:  If you are in Edmonton, join us at Harcourt House Art Centre on Wednesday, 28 September 2011.  I will be facilitating the drawing session.  Would love to meet you!

    Would you like to add your "Top Tips" to the list?

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    Figure Drawing: Give it a Try!

    Figure sewn on canvas     Artwork and Photo:  Margaret Braun      SOLD
    There is a long tradition of drawing the human form; figure drawing is, infact, the traditional cornerstone of formal art training.  If you really want to improve all aspects of your drawing, you should give life drawing a try!

    Wednesday, 28 September 2011, I will be monitoring a life-drawing session at the Harcourt House Art Education Centre, 10215 - 112 Street, from 7:00 -10:00 p.m.  Please feel free to join us.

    If you live in another city, give life drawing a try.  It is a challenge!

    If you are a first-timer, please let me know how you did.

    Sunday, September 25, 2011

    What I did on my Summer Vacation

    Collaborative Mark Making                       Photo:  Margaret Braun

    I have been enjoying this summer!  Even though I live in Edmonton I believe it’s NOT OVER YET!!  September is a beautiful month with temperatures ranging from 20C - 28C (72F - 88F).

    Teaching 5 - 11 year-olds the art of bookmaking at Harcourt House Kids Art Camp
    Photo:  Margaret Braun

    My life was filled with many, many family and friends, birthdays, weddings, new family members, meeting new people, a cornucopia of festivals, hiking, cycling, playing, jogging, corporate challenge events, a global urban sketchers drawing gathering, designing new hand-made books, bookbinding,

    Native Dancer                              Photo:  Margaret Braun

    exploring the comical world of the BBC, drawing, painting, exploring the pond in a paddle boat, canoeing, visiting galleries, "stars and science centre" as my grandson has come to call it, museums, discovering new milkshakes, exploring the river, soccer, baseball, marvelling at the sunrises and sunsets, studio openings, figure drawing, barbeques, live concerts, dancing, blowing bubbles, flying kites, watching tight-rope walkers, uncovering organic materials for mark making, watching the deer,
    Hula Hoops             Photo:  Margaret Braun
    celebrating the arrival of new birds, observing ducks and geese, undertaking research, picking saskatoon berries in the woods, dining on vegetables in the garden, collecting wildflowers, drumming with my friends, singing backup, dyeing natural fabrics with organic materials, getting lost and found in a corn maze, teasing and frolicking throughout the maze, having fun on the playground with children and adults, jumping on the jumpy thing, attending carnivals, pow wows, picnics, stargazing,  making collages with only the colour blue, laying on the grass and watching the clouds, long runs in the warm summer rain, bowling, appeared on television, run/walk for charities, learning about Feng Shui, meeting new neighbours, visiting a new lake, teaching bookmaking at a kid's art camp, running through fields of glistening red and blue dragon flies,  hula-hooping,  cookouts, drawing with chalk on the sidewalk, crayon art, painting with feathers, jumping in the fountain pool in front of city hall, water fights, playing with transformers, camping in a tent in my living room, making smores in the microwave and watching the marshmallows grow, hide-and-go-seek, climbing trees, playing tag, puddle jumping, spinning until we were dizzy, skipping stones, gathering feathers ….

    Saturday, September 24, 2011

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    University of Alabama Tornado Victims Fundraiser

    A tornado was spotted 27 April 2011, Wednesday afternoon from the university campus in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Winds with hurricane force up to 300 miles an hour, a 4-mile path of destruction up to half a mile wide were caught on camera. Over 300 people were reportedly killed as a result of the outbreak. However, the exact number is unknown as search and rescue efforts continue, and consequently, various sources differ on the exact count. These are just numbers. The emotion of the story lives in the destruction. Dramatic videos have surfaced throughout the internet of the tornado on the campus.

    27 April was the deadliest tornado day in the United States since the 1932 Deep South tornado outbreak of March 1932, and the deadliest tornado day since modern tornado forecasting began in the 1950s. Over 300 tornadoes were reported over four days, including 211 in 16 states on April 27.

    Most students at the University of Alabama were weary. They broke into small groups to pray together Thursday for the victims of the tornado that destroyed parts of their city of Tuscaloosa.

    You must be wondering why I am writing about this particular catastrophic devastation.

    I have friends who teach at the University of Alabama. Steve Miller lost his house. (You will find mention of Steve in previous posts.) Anna is fine but not untouched by this event. Emily’s husband was eventually found. These are outstanding generous creative people who are near and dear to my heart. Friends whom I am meeting during Paper & Book Intensive next week.

    On 14 and 15 of May, I will have a clearance sale at my studio: over 300 used book titles (art, craft, travel, decorating, photography, pottery, cooking, gardening and more); over 600 colours of hand-dyed cotton and silks; wooden garden houses; leather scraps, sewing machines, oil and fibre art (30% off); nifty craft items and more! Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the students of the University of Alabama.

    Studio address: Harcourt House Art Education Centre, 10215 – 112 Street, Edmonton. Hours: Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    Please tell your friends and help to support this worthy cause. Hope to see you there.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Bagerbrush: Ted Harrison Art Foundation Retreat

    I have always been a huge fan of artist Verne Busby's paintings and drawings.  He is a guest artist of the Ted Harrison Art Foundation Retreat

    The Ted Harrison Artist Retreat Society (THARS) operates a visual arts retreat that is intended to give artists from across Canada an opportunity to concentrate on the development of a creative project or body of work in a remote and inspirational setting.

    Verne began, his blog, Bagerbrush, an accounting of his work, travels and experiences while inhabiting the artist residency.  What a fabulous opportunity to create visual works in the wilderness in the heart of the southern Yukon.

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Somewhere Over the Rainbow

    Promises of a Rainbow at Banyan Tree Park   Photo: M. Braun

    Prior to my visit to the Hawaiian Islands, a few weeks ago, a Tsunami hit.  Upon arriving, there was a threat of nuclear radiation consuming Eden as a result of Japan’s hellish disaster.

    Although there was potential for a “black cloud” to hover above, the entire holiday was glorious devoid of any plagues! Every flight connected beautifully; found fortune in befriending a multitude of spectacular travelers from every corner of the globe and balanced, peaceful local inhabitants; explored paradise encountering breathtaking vistas and experienced amazing adventures!  It was the perfect vacation!

    In life, it seems, when we venture into a new territory of change or suffer a loss a feeling of dark and daunting unsureness can envelop us when we first consider our future.

    Surprisingly, what lies ahead could be more remarkable and magnificent than one could have ever imagined if we just take a deep breath and progress forward.  Trust that out of every situation, good will come. When you choose to believe that good will come out of every experience, you’ll soon discover that perceived obstacles are really blessings in disguise.  Sometimes these obstacles serve to nudge you in a new direction—one that will open up your world to magnificent experiences. Sometimes they help you become a stronger, better, and wiser you.

    It begins with the first move.

    Shoreline of Lahaina          Photo:  Margaret Braun

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

    Italy Illustrated

    Having had spent three weeks in Italy, I have decided to create a sketchbook filled with images of my travels.

    I drew these two spreads in a store-bought sketchbook, the one with the pebbly black cover.

    Collage/Illustration   by Margaret Braun

    Ink, pastel and watercolour illustration by Margaret Braun

    Since I wasn't very happy with the paper, I purchased some Fabriano paper from a local art store and will make my own hand bound sketchbook to create the illustrated memories.

    As luck would have it, I found an old TEDTalks program from 2002 of one of my favourite illustrators, David Macaulay who wrote and illustrated  All Roads lead to Rome Antics.  I'm sure you will enjoy his process and birds-eye-view of the city.

    Although Rome is fascinating, I must admit, if I were Italian I would be a Tuscan woman.

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Papermaking: Learn the Basics

    Handmade paper adding silk fibres         Photo:  Margaret Braun

    Not only is it a fun experience for you and the kids, but it's a good way to recycle waste into wonderful possibilities.

    If this is the first time you are making paper, don't be afraid to experiment.  Add dried flowers, scraps of yarn, glitter, and even seeds. It all comes down to what you want. Experiment with different textures and colours.  Have fun with it! Express your creativity!

    Sign up at Harcourt House Art Centre by calling Terrena at 780. 426.4180 or email  Class is scheduled for Saturday, 2 April from 1 - 4 p.m .  The Art Centre is located at 10211 - 112 Street, Edmonton.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Sketchbook: Learn How to Make Your Own!

    Make your very own personalized sketchbook  Photo: M. Braun

    Are you frustrated by the options of sketchbooks?  Imagine how perfect it would be to draw on your favourite paper in the book size you want!

    Learn how to bind your own hardcover sketchbooks with amazing results using tools you already own!

    This course covers folding multiple signatures, sewing, supporting and reinforcing the text block, and creating a hard cover with an inset. 

    Sign up at Harcourt House Art Centre by calling Terrena at 780. 426.4180 or email  Classes begin Monday, March 7 from 6 - 9 p.m. and continue on 14 and 21 March.  The Art Centre is located at 10211 - 112 Street, Edmonton.

    Paste Paper          Photo:  Margaret Braun

    BONUS!  We will also learn how to make paste paper.  You can make the designs as complicated or as simple as you like!  It’s versatile and FUN!

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    Spring Fever

    Photo:  Margaret Braun

    Let me help you Jump into Spring!

    It feels so good to clean, organize, reorganize and redecorate in anticipation of spring time!  From 20 February until 20 March 2011 all of my oil paintings exhibited at Lion's Breath Yoga Centre are reduced by 30%!

    Visit the yoga studio at 206  10350 - 124 Street, Edmonton.  At Lion’s Breath you will find the variety of classes, inspired teachers and friendly, nurturing community to support you on your unique journey to total body and mind wellness.  Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced practitioner,  it is a space where you can breathe, quiet your thoughts and get grounded -- away from the demands of your busy life.


    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Art Gallery of Alberta: Chance in Art

    Chance poetry by Margaret Braun

    What do you think about Chance in Art?  Does it occur?  If you think it does, do you avoid it or do you welcome it?

    Well, a number of my friends and I attended the Chance and Contemporary Art Lecture at the Art Gallery of Alberta last night.  Special Lecturer and Distinguished Scholar from the University of Essex, Dawn Ades, shared her discoveries on chance in Dada and Surrealism.

    This lecture tracked the ways in which artists harness or submit to the fortuitous, whether in the street or in nature. Among the contemporary artists whose work were featured: Gabriel Orozco, Marcel Duchamp, Hans Arp, Francis Alÿs, Roger Hiorns, Sophie Calle and Cecilia Vicuña.

    Dawn mentioned an exercise in "chance poetry" which inspired me to try it last night.  Here are the directions:  Simply snip out a paragraph from a newspaper, magazine or any printed matter you might have at home.  Cut each word out separately; rearrange them as you wish.

    It's a lot of fun!  Try it for yourself!

    I see another addiction in my horizon...

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011

    Doctors and Derrieres: Year 6

    Ashley at Doctors and Derriers    Ink drawing by Margaret Braun

    It's Doctors and Derrieres time again!  It was FABULOUS!  So good to see all the artists gathered together for this occasion!

    What is “Doctors and Derrieres”?  It is a fundraising event co-founded in 2006 by Edmonton-based artist and show curator Roger Garcia. Doctors and Derrieres is hosted by Roger Garcia, the University of Alberta medical students in partnership with Change for Children Association, Christian Based Communities of El Salvador with donated support from Harcourt House.

    All proceeds support Change for Children's Emergency Social Health Fund, a community-led grassroots initiative in rural El Salvador that provides health care in under-served areas.

    The idea behind this fundraiser is to have medical students pose nude for talented local artists and sculptors. Art pieces in diverse mediums celebrating the human body are then donated by each artist and sold at a silent auction.

    Over the past 5 years, this event has raised over $50,000.

    If you have any questions or require information, contact or Roger Garcia at or

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Paper & Book Intensive 2011

    Deborah Howe's class 2010  "Readdressing the Built-In Groove Case"  Photo: Margaret Braun

    I finally sent in my application to PBI 2011!

    Having attended PBI last year, I wish I could put into words how wonderful the experience was for me.   I lived, breathed, created, worked, ate, slept and celebrated with people of my planet!  It was a mass of strangers who came together and immediately became community.  I felt comfortable and connected from my inner core with these creatives.  No explanations were necessary for any of our actions or interests.  In fact, we thrived on every activity!  We were on the same wave-length!  There was such delight in every moment!  A sharing of interests, experiences and knowledge! 

    This year assembles a talent of Carol Barton, Denise Carbone, Ann Freilsen, Nancy Levitt, Bridget O'Malley, Jean Buescher Bartlett, Andrea Dezso, Julia Miller, John Townsend and Martin Vinaver teaching the sessions in Ox-Bow. 

    Ox-Bow’s campus encompasses 115-acres of pristine natural forests, dunes, a lagoon, and historic buildings. Ox-Bow has been in operation for over 100 years and provides an immersive environment for artists to explore traditional and contemporary modes of art-making. 

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    My Sketchbook is Traveling to New York!

    That's right!  My sketchbook is complete!

    It's off to Brooklyn, New York to become a part of Sketchbook Project 2011 which will tour across the USA.  Funny... I was excited and sad at the same time when my sketchbook left my hands at the Post Office.  It is a little like sending your child off to college.  Only, she never comes back.

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Sketchbook Project 2011: Five days and counting

    Fire Truck on 1905 Street at Fort Edmonton Park        Ink Drawing:  Margaret Braun

    I have five days to finish my sketchbook!

    Sketchbook Project 2011 is  Art House Co-op's newest incarnation and possibly the most ambitious attempt yet.   This large art project ties thousands of artists together. Each artist is sent the same blank Moleskine sketchbook.  Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited in galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the USA.  After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of the Brooklyn Art Library where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.

    I chose the theme "Down My Street" because I live in such an AWESOME area of the city!  Of course, Edmonton has a lot of interesting spots.

    My home sits on the top of a hill in a large western city in the Canadian Prairies.

    Walking down my street a few houses west of my home lives a well-known Canadian sculptress, Barbara Paterson, whose bronze sculptures sit outside the Canadian Parliament Building in Ottawa.    Sidsel Bradley is the other treasured female artist and former owner of the Fringe Gallery where I have shown my work for years.  Each exhibits their own nearly-life-size sculpture of a female form in their front yard.

    Rainbow Valley Campground  is nestled at the bottom of the hill and a few steps west of the site are the Whitemud Freeway and the Snow Valley Ski Hill.   There is a path behind the campground that leads to a forest thick with vegetation and alive with wild animals.  The path leads to the North Saskatchewan River, Fort Edmonton Park and the Whitemud Equine Centre.

    Heading east down my street are the University of Alberta Experimental Farms, new LRT Station, Foote Field (football field), major shopping centre and Fire Station No. 13.   My grandson really likes fireman Martin and so does my friend Jane!

     I love living here!

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Deep Freeze: More than Just a Festival!

    It took me an hour to shovel the snow around my car       Photo:  M. Braun
    Where's my car?

    Down my street            Photo:  Margaret Braun

    Edmonton has just experienced a heavy snowfall during the Deep Freeze Winter Festival!  What timing!

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Arts on the Avenue: Deep Freeze Festival 2011

    Once long ago.....               by Margaret Braun

    Arts on the Avenue presents The Deep Freeze Byzantine Winter Festival  January 8 & 9, 2011.  A celebration of winter merriment with many activities that can only happen in a winter here in Edmonton! 

    Ample snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures begs for hot chocolate and a fire. That doesn’t mean everything is going on outdoors this weekend. There will be plenty to find indoors for those wanting a bit more warmth and a bit less winter. We’re talking live music, a dance, Ukrainian and French Canadian food and culture.

    An art show is taking place at the old Alberta Cycle Building 9141 - 118 Avenue where you will find my stitched work.  Once long ago.... combines handmade paper (created from sage, rose hips, wild grasses and autumn leaves collected from the East Coulee area near Drumheller, Alberta), paint, beads and drawn with thread.

    For schedules visit the Deep Freeze Festival site and enjoy the two-day festivities!

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    A New Year 2011: A New Handmade Book

    It’s snowing again.

    My 8 x 12 foot window frames a picturesque setting outside.  It genuinely is a white winter wonderland with a labyrinth of animal tracks marking the ground.

    Inside, the aroma of freshly baked golden flax bread wafts throughout my home.  The flames in the fireplace look like Persian dancers tonight.  Walt Disney's  movie The Love Bug with Dean Jones, Michele Lee, and Buddy Hackett plays in the background.

    I am stitching the signatures together for a new calendar book.  With every stitch I am recounting the wonderful events over this past year.  I feel so grateful for all the new adventures I have experienced, new learning, new people met and new friendships developed.  I am also appreciative of my community of loving and caring family and friends!

    Stitching Design on Exposed Spine for Handmade Calendar Book 2011                                 by Margaret Braun

    As I stitch, Deborah Howe comes to my mind.  This summer, in her kindness, she taught me to make my first hard-covered book.  As well, Deborah chauffeured Tatiana, Mary and me to New Brunswick to watch the whales.  As we entered the province we were met with the scent of wild roses that filled the air.  We drove down a narrow road which lead to the ocean and made our way to a cliff where we sat in the warmth of a summer's day.  The sky was a brilliant peacock blue and the sun's rays twinkled on the ocean waves like sparkling diamonds.   We were in awe of the whales as they entertained us by surfacing, spouting, diving, and resurfacing once again.  Deborah's generousity and beautiful spirit were magnanimous gifts.  I shall always be indebted to her.

    I am thrilled to be starting year 2011!  I am eager to experience, with you, an exhilarating year fresh and new like the white snow outside my window.