Friday, 16 May 2014

A whimsical way with art

Kai-Liis comes to Bayview

Kai-Liis McInnes is an accomplished artist who combines a fine talent for storytelling with each of her paintings. An elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour and a signature member of the Toronto Watercolour Society, Kai-Liis came to BWS on May 13, 2014 with many stories to tell.

Kai-Liis works in watercolour, acrylic, various inks and mixed media compontents.
She demonstrated her unique method of transferring images from plastic foam cut-outs onto the paper surface, akin to stamping.

First, she created a loose background by applying paint using a small roller (brayer). Taking a premade cut-out, she then soaps its surface to ensure the paint will adhere, then briefly presses the cut-out into position on the paper. When the cut-out is removed, the transferred image is revealed. Many more will be added as the ideas gel. All will later be strengthened with additional layers of paint.

Other shapes are made by means of a negative technique, in which the cut-out, or perhaps a circular carton lid, is placed on the paper and paint flicked around its edge from a toothbrush.

Kai-Liis (her name is Estonian, although her early years were spent in Scotland) approaches each piece without a firm idea or concept in mind. The constant, though, is whimsy, coupled with what she feels about the subject rather than how the subject literally appears, and this shone through with each finished sample shown, from parading penguins, playful polar bears, graceful African ladies in dazzling dresses, to many, many, sheep - her favourite subject.

She has traveled widely, capturing ideas from the Antarctic, Arctic, Africa, Mongolia and other points.

Each piece builds as she considers the shapes she has applied and wonders what the various figures are doing, perhaps what they are thinking, or where they are going. As she pointed out, many of her paintings work well for childrens’ rooms as the inherent stories work so well for them.

While much of her work currently is in this mixed media form, she began painting as we all do, with traditional themes, including realstic works, but gradually moved to looser treatments.

Although she paints daily and exhibits widely in juried and open shows, teaches workshops in her studio and with art groups, Kai-Liis also runs Heed Farm, home to 16 alpacas, 2 Icelandic horses and a miniature donkey. The farm shop features a range of alpaca products made from the locally spun wool.

Visit her website to see many more examples of her work.

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