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Have you ever been in a place (physically, mentally or emotionally) where everything is so still, no movement or ‘disturbances”? Lately I have been thinking about time and reflections. How we invest or spend it and who we choose to invest it in or with. The funny thing is that whether you think about investing or spending time, the only thing that seems almost criminal is to ‘waste it’. The act of waiting is one of those that may seem like a waste of time… unless we use it for what is intended: reflect and prepare.
In one of my many drives last Summer I saw this almost blinding view while coming to a stop. The reflections in the water were so striking that… you guess it: I stopped and took a photo. This specific painting has taken me longer than anticipated. Partly, because I chose to do more of a glaze (which I usually don’t do because of the waiting process) and partly because though I liked the view and I liked the reflections it had no emotional connection to me. Until, I started thinking about the many hours I was investing in painting it.
Upon that realization, it came to my mind how fitting the title would be: Reflections. Reflections are just that, a mirror of an image. But when applied to us, to our thinking process, to our experiences and perhaps our spiritual walk, they also show us the real image; we see ourselves for who we are. Just like in a painting, these reflections could be blurry if the water where we are seeing our image is cloudy; yet it gives us the thought of a different possibility of what we have in mind. The trick of those mental and visual reflections is to identify where the light comes from, are we only blocking the light, creating a shadow? Or, are we really seeing a clearer image of what we think we see?  In the case of this painting, I was able to capture both, shadows and reflections. You’ll see that the first ones have a different angle and different tones in the water.
After this reflection ( no pun intended),  I was able to conclude that it was because I took the time to study and work on this piece that I could capture what sometimes we can ignore, light, shadows and reflections, which in reality, are not far from each other.


May you take the time to stop, invest and see the reflections that light causes in everything… there are more than shadows out there.  Hope you enjoy this piece!

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To Train a Beginning Painter

After my very early experiences with painting instruction, and my quite recent ventures into different techniques as a retired adult, it came to me that starting out by using painting knives instead of brushes could be a very useful way of eliminating the common reliance on tight control and tiny details that so many of us get involved in.

I am using painting knives more and more in my own work–and I love the freedom of expression that they spontaneously bring to painting.  I admit to being somewhat horrified by the volume of paint required, however.   As a painter of tiny miniatures, the fact that one scoop of the knife can gather more paint than needed for an entire painting of my usual size and style is more than a tad unnerving.

Perhaps that is one reason that my class and I are enjoying grabbing a knife to scrape our palette at the end of a session, then just playing with the paint.  Some results are rather mediocre–but others get the “WOW !” reaction.  Besides, it is so much more interesting than just wiping the palette clean and heading home as we used to do.  On days like today, some of us will even work the entire session with our knife in hand.  We are finding that using 140# or heavier watercolour paper, or stretched canvas, works well for this method.  In class we work mostly with acrylics, although watercolour is a second choice.  As we paint at the local Seniors’ Drop-In Centre, we have mostly avoided oils because of their odor/solvent requirements.  There is no need to gas the Scrabble players behind us!

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Mountain View

Mountains, no matter how many times I drive by or see them, they always remind me of the sense of peace, tranquility and security one can feel when you know that you are protected by someone way bigger than you.  Somehow the Mountain View makes us think of rest and evoke feelings that need to be felt more than translated with words.
During last year’s Plein Air I started this acrylic painting. I had already made a similar study in Pastels  (Wetlands) but I knew there was more that I needed to get out of that experience.  I finally came to the conclusion that instead of going back to my photographic archives as reference I wanted to go back to my feelings archive: The movement, the combination or elements, the smells, sounds, sun light, wind and the tree that I was sitting under while I did this study.  Instead of continuing with my acrylic approach, I decided to make it into a Mixed Media. I knew the palette I wanted to use and started to add Pastels that later would be mixed and adhered with medium. Everything was coming along yet there were 2 elements that were missing: The Mountains that I couldn’t see, because according to my visual archive they were to the left of my view and the tree that kept me protected from the sun… so, I added them. I used parts of the phone book I just received and continued the application of Pastels, Acrylics and Ink for the final touches. My husband came up with the title, which I loved. This time it was finished…
Through this process I was reminded that our senses, as amazing as they are, don’t give us the “full” experience. The things that matter the most to us are the ones that sometimes our visual mind could even fight because they are not in the view; yet, without the things that protect us and give us a sense of security and peace we only have a partial view.


May you always have the full perspective of everything you experience in life and know that life is much more than this.

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Finding some clay

During the summer on one of my many paddling trips I found some clay. It was on the bank of the Red Deer River just a short distance upstream of Sundre, Alberta. It was smooth feeling, very plastic clay. I thought I would try to throw and fire it to see what I could get. I grabbed the bailing bucket and loaded it full of clay and took it with me.

Once home I plopped it on the wheel since it seemed to have little to no debris in it and I made a vase effortlessly. Any twig or pebble was removed or considered to add character to the clay. It is very nice clay to use. The next challenge was firing it in the kiln. I experimented with a higher temperatures upon each firing and eventually it failed. It was a catastrophic failure. The clay would crack with a load bang and break into pieces. So I learned, not so high a firing next time.

I tried a couple different glazes and some worked well and others made it crack again. It made me appreciate the store bought prepared clay. I chose a blue glaze to work with at first since I found it on the waters edge. I also had a few other glazes that I could test it with that would be a good matching.

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Sally Banks — Beading Class

Crystal PendantHow would you like to make a stunning pendant like the one shown here? Beautiful Swarovski crystals — the world’s finest — stitched together with dainty Japanese seed beads. To finish it off, you’ll hang your pendant on chain, attach a clasp and yes, wear it home!

Never beaded before? No worries — even beginners will be able to complete this gorgeous piece during the class. There will be several colours to choose and everything you need is included in the class fee ($35).

I’ll be teaching this class at the Sundre Library this Saturday, September 20, from 1 to 3 pm. The class is limited to 8 students so if you’d like to join us, please call the Sundre Library to register (403) 638-4000.

Osi Cruz-Lahtinen earns a bright spotlight

16 – Innisfail Province, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

MVP Staff

Osi Cruz-Lahtinen Innisfail Province

Tim Lasiuta MVP STAFF
Mexican-born Innisfail artist Osi Cruz-Lahtinen puts on finishing touches to a recent painting-sculpture in her home studio.

Innisfail artist Osi Cruz-Lahtinen has survived her first solo art show reception and is poised for future art success.

Last June, the Mountain View Museum and Archives in Olds hosted Cruz-Lahtinen’s art show entitled “Life in Central Alberta” which garnered support from the artistic community in Olds and the surrounding region, including Innisfail.

“The museum was very good to myself and other artists in Olds,” said Cruz-Lahtinen. “They are supportive of our work and our efforts to celebrate culture and build a local art community.”

The Mexican-born artist has not always been in the artistic spotlight, training as an architect and youth minister when younger.

“I was born in Mexico City and my earliest memories are when I was painting,” said Cruz-Lahtinen. “When I was four or five years old I would draw or paint with watercolours on every piece of paper I could find. Even today, when I pick up a brush or palette knife, I start seeing the possibilities or am transported to my childhood memories.”

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Calgary Stampede Western Showcase

July 18, 2014
Woodworking section

John Smythe of Olds had a First place entry in the 2014 Calgary Stampede Western Showcase. His turned and carved wall sculpture depicting a western theme was awarded a First place ribbon in the Western theme category of the woodworking Section.

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Bergen Farmers’ Market June 28

Twin Hearts — one of the friendliest farmers’ markets you’re likely to find — begins a new season this Saturday, June 28.

Many of the regular vendors will be there with smiles on, along with some new folks who are joining us for the first time. A new addition this year is the Saturday Strolls. They will run every Saturday in July.

The market is outside and goes rain or shine. The coffee pot is always on and there are delicious baked goods to enjoy.

I’ll be there too with my jewelry. 🙂

Sally Banks: New Work

Several of these items are from my ReDesign Series, incorporating old or vintage pieces from other jewelry. I enjoy working with these odds and ends. I usually find them at yard sales and thrift stores, discarded because they’re broken, tarnished or merely unwanted.

After cleaning and repairing them, they’re ready to become part of my new work. Many of the “found” pieces I work with are of higher quality that some parts available today — and in many cases they form truly one-of-a-kind pieces.

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Life in Central Alberta series

This month I have the privilege of being hosted at the Olds Museum for my “Life in Central Alberta” Art Show during the whole month of June

(Tuesday to Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm )

Life in Central Alberta 2014Both the Show and the Reception are open to the public, so feel free to invite and bring friends.

Please save the date: June 12th (6:30 – 9:00 pm) and join me for the Show Reception, I would love to visit with you!

Hope you are able to visit and enjoy the show and continue to get a charge out of the beautiful Life in Central Alberta!

See you soon,

Osi Cruz-Lahtinen

Links to more information on the series: