River West Artworks
Original Art, Artisan Works and Photographs by Jan Jenkins and Brian Erickson


(posted on 28 Aug 2017)

This year has just flown! Where did it go??? It's been a super creative year for me, thanks to being one of 5 artists invited to participate in the Parkland Rural Arts Mentorship Program led by professional artist Chris Cooper from Brandon and sponsored by Manitoba Arts Network and MAWA.  I never expected I would grow so much creatively, the support and encouragement from both our mentor and the other group members has been so inspiring.  Seeds were planted and ideas I'd been wanting to experiment with - such as my art as a repeating pattern and my art on fabric - is becoming a reality this year.  The mentorship program included one on one sessions, studio and gallery visits, group meetings, planning sessions covering artist statements, grant applications and more, and culminates in our group having a show in the community gallery space at the AGSM in Brandon this September.   

This past weekend was all about finding artistic inspiration in Riding Mountain National Park.  My Parkland Rural Arts Mentorship Group and I spent the weekend in the Park gathering inspiration from our surroundings on Saturday and then chatting with and demonstrating our craft to the public on Sunday.  A big thank you to our mentor Chris Cooper for facilitating this marvelous experience, to Wasagaming Community Arts for hosting and collaborating with us, and to Manitoba Arts Network and MAWA for providing Parkland rural artists with this amazing mentorship program opportunity.  I have met so many interesting and supportive people since embarking on this journey.  Now it is nose to the grindstone to ready my artwork for our group show at the AGSM in Brandon mid-September!!

Finding Inspiration   Rosehips on Wildrose Bush  Riding Mountain National Park

Tree Bark Beauty  By The Artists Cabin Explaining the creative process Hammered Bow on Art Table

Rosemarie with her needle felted neighbors  Clay artists Arlene and Derryl

I was very fortunate this fall to be accepted as one of six Parkland Region artists to be mentored by professional artist Chris Cooper of Brandon, Manitoba as part of the Manitoba Art Network's Rural Arts Mentorship Program. Chris is active in the Brandon arts community and works at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba. Chris is an inspiring mentor whose insight and feedback is making me rethink my artforms and process and encouraging me to integrate them into larger format bodies of work. I'm so excited with the possibilities and direction I'm now envisioning for my art. Chris also encouraged me to become a member of the AGSM. The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba is a premier gallery located in Brandon, Manitoba. I'm thrilled with the opportunity to have 3 of my recent linocuts "Climbing High", "PeaceMaker" and "Gone To Seed" on display at their annual member show and sale taking place this December. A portion of the proceeds from sales of members work at this show helps fund the AGSM and its programs.

(posted on 8 Dec 2016)

I was invited by Bev Morton to participate in Wayne Arthur Gallery's annual December group show, the theme this year was "How Does Your Garden Grow?" with 50 artists participating. Set-up was scheduled for December 1st with the show opening reception on December 4th. The Wayne Arthur Gallery is located at 186 Provencher Blvd. in the historic St. Boniface district of Winnipeg, a quaint gallery with beautiful original art, hand-made original prints, pottery, glasswork, and more. Wayne Arthur Gallery also carries some of my unframed original linocuts and artcards.

The drive into Winnipeg from Dauphin can be very iffy in wintertime with unexpected snowstorms closing highways. As some of you know, I don't drive a car as I'm unable to multi-task as required for safe driving. Me darlin' B was very supportive and said he would drive me in and we lucked out on good road conditions. I and others assisted Robert with the show set up, and I enjoyed chatting with artists and others during the reception. I met some wonderful people and while at the gallery I couldn't resist buying a beautiful glass dish hand-crafted by glass artist Angel Calnek.

While in Winnipeg we stayed with family and visited with them and other Winnipeg friends - a big thanks to those who hosted our stay and invited us for suppers. A dear friend also gifted me a beautiful eternity scarf she knitted. Our return home was just right as the day after we returned home a storm closed the highways from Winnipeg to the Saskatchewan Border. I am so fortunate and very grateful!

It's here! "More Than Just The Art....." opening show! I am so pleased to be part of this group exhibit now touring Manitoba. My diptychs "Connections I and II" are amongst 50+ artist works being showcased by this touring exhibition. This project, driven by Pauline Braun and Audrey Lute, invited over 60 artists to secretly participate and be challenged by creating work within structured guidelines, not knowing who else was involved. A 'hand' of creative cards were pulled for each artist, the cards' instructions used for inspiration and incorporating into their artwork. With much imaginative interpretation and artistic license of course!!

Here's the creative guidelines I was assigned:

Technique: Collage
Layout: In the form of a diagram, chart or map
Text: Abstract, non-verbal, gibberish
Paper: Pre-treated (crumpled, dipped, textured, decorative, etc)
Colour: Favourite
Image: Found Image
Adjectives: Quiet or subtle, encyclopedic, non-sequential, monotonous, ordinary or mundane.

So happy I was invited to particpate in this group project, the result of which is now touring Manitoba! This exhibit will be on display at The Watson Art Centre here in Dauphin a year from now and I can't wait to see in person the other pieces created from the randomly drawn creative instructions we were each assigned!

I don't often blow my own horn, as a matter of fact I'm rather uncomfortable with it, preferring instead to just knuckle down and spend time creating. As a result it can be a bit daunting putting yourself out there on social media with blogs and facebook posts and doing the self promoting thing. I was thrilled and honored when Corinne and Gary of ArtsQuest.ca approached me wanting to include me in their schedule of artist interviews while on their road trip across Canada this summer. Wow - someone else interested in promoting moi! way cool - me like!

Brian and I really enjoyed connecting with Gary and Corinne, very thoughtful and creative people who have a real knack for condensing hours of interview and filming into meaningful well-crafted written and video snapshots of the artists they get to know. ArtsQuest has an exciting mission - to promote Canadian Artists via their website through artist interviews, creating and posting write-ups and video on Artists across Canada as well as creating a marketplace for Canadian Artists and art lovers. A huge thank-you to Corinne and Gary for their delightful work. We look forward to working further with ArtsQuest.ca when their marketplace launches next year!

Click here to view ArtsQuest.ca's interview and video with me. Also they've a Treasure Hunt and you can win a lovely hand-crafted art piece by playing along!

It sure has been a busy summer - from an artistic perspective I'm still catching up from being away at art camp in June. Some of the "hand-pulled original prints" I created then still need to be written up with certificates of authenticity, then custom matted and packaged. In the next few days I'll be away touring the Alpine regions of Austria, Germany and Switzerland with my sister. I'll be leaving behind a few works in progress to finish up on my return - an oil pastel sgraffito "Juniper", a pen & ink zenwork "Bouquet", design/color scheme plans for a new batch of tie-dye tshirts and woven cord braids for some new cord necklaces. Before I go though, I'll need to use my digital printer to print some limited edition art reproduction prints. If I don't, the print nozzles will clog when left unused for too long. Last year I invested in a lovely high-end Epson Stylus Pro 3880 printer that uses Epson Fine Art paper (100% cotton rag, acid free heavyweight paper) and Ultrachrome K3 ink, which is rated archival and lightfast. I've been making reproduction prints of my zenworks with this.

What is the difference between a "hand-pulled original print" and a "limited edition reproduction print"? The difference is a limited edition reproduction print is created by digitally scanning an original artwork and using the resulting digital image to make multiple copies using an electronic printer. A "hand-pulled original print" is created by carving a design into a surface, such as a piece of linoleum, then hand inking it, laying a blank piece of paper over it and either hand pressing it or running it through a manual press to transfer the ink from the design surface onto the paper.

One therefore is a machine made reproduction print of a photo taken of an original artwork, and the other a hand-made printmaker's original print from an inked plate carved with designs.

As an artist, I not only create original works of art such as my oil pastel sgraffitos and my pen&ink zenworks, but I also make quality reproduction prints of these, and distinctly different to that I also design and create hand-made original printmaker's prints. Each comes with a certificate of authenticity explaining whether it is an original, a reproduction print or an orginal print.

Reproduction Prints Hand made linocut print plate Pulling an original print

(posted on 7 Aug 2016)

Becoming a full-time artist has been quite the adventure and journey, one of the most satisfying experiences of my life. It's been a journey filled with meeting new people, connecting with other artists and learning about product presentation and packaging, setting up my website, approaching retail and gallery outlets, self-promotion and more. I could not have done it without the support of my partner Brian and a number of Manitoba organizations along with their owners, staff and volunteers. Uniquely Manitoba is one of them and a great place for artists and artisans to gain product presentation and marketing knowledge as well as exposure for their works. I have been a Uniquely Manitoba member since 2011. Their new catalogue will be coming out soon, meantime the 2015 one is worth a view! Notice how part of the province graphic on their 2015 cover page is sourced from one of my Zenworks "Butterfly Effect"? Thank-you Uniquely Manitoba for helping me grow as a Manitoba artist!

(posted on 3 Aug 2016)

I'm so very pleased to announce that Bev Morton with the Wayne Arthur Gallery has accepted my framed oil pastel sgraffito "Wild Roses" along with a number of my monotypes, linocuts, limited edition zenwork prints and artcards for sale in her lovely gallery space! They are located at 186 Provencher Blvd, in St. Boniface - Winnipeg.

Our camping-road trip in our little hippy van over the August long weekend was a lot of fun, the weather sunny. We headed east and south to Winnipeg, camped at Stonewall, attended the Icelandic festival in Gimli, visited friends in Winnipeg and Fisher Branch and made it within 80km of home before the poor old Westy broke down. Her alternator went and we were very fortunate it happened at the end of our trip so close to home. She's being fixed now in preparation for attending the Dauphin Manitoba Mud Run. Brian will be mudrunning, I'll be staying clean and relaxed, taking photos, making art and handing out cold beer!

(posted on 16 Jul 2016)

I was thrilled when Understorey Magazine advised me they had selected my photograph "Chosen" to accompany writer Susan Cormier's "Three Keys" fiction piece in their latest online issue. Understorey Magazine, a non-profit relying on public support and private funding, publishes literary writing and visual art by and about Canadian women. Each issue of Understorey Magazine has a specific theme and this Issue Eight is about Women and Justice... My photograph "Chosen" is was originally created by me to illustrate my hand-braided charm bracelets. Thank-you Understorey Magazine!

(posted on 28 May 2016)

My 3x5" linocut "Gone To Seed" celebrates the Dandelion, a hardy medicinal plant with a bright and early bloom our bees rely on after wintering.I've always loved bright cheery dandelions and remember as a kid blowing on their fragile gone to seed halos. In support of bees, the environment and our own health, I'm delighted we're no longer spraying herbicides to eradicate these hardy enduring plants. I chuckled when I saw my neighbors lawn this morning as they certainly have a bumper crop gone to seed! And they mowed just 3 days ago! That being said, we've ordered some white clover seed to spread on our lawn - offering biodiversity and a bit of competition to our cheery yellow headed friends...!! Also the jack rabbits running wild around here will love eating the clover. Hopefully some great photo opportunities will result and inspire yet another linocut!

This artwork was created by block printing with a linocut onto dampened paper and run through a press to achieve an embossed effect. Block printing is an ancient printing technique where the artist carves a design into a solid block of material (such as wood, lino or styrofoam) much like a stamp. Once the design is complete, the block is inked with a roller and the block is then applied to paper, fabric or other surfaces. The carved areas will not show in the final product, while the raised portions left behind will print.

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