PUBLISHED: 5:25 PM on Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Griffin showcases work at The Canvas during First Friday
The Canvas also will offer new courses, such as pumpkin carving
October at The Canvas brings a fresh load of classes and the vibrant new show of Donna Griffin during First Friday on Oct. 3.

Griffin's show integrates poetry, strong lines and repetition to reflect on her relationships with her husband, grandmother, and self. Facing the role of caregiver for her grandmother, and the recent separation from her husband, has instigated much of the work that will be on display throughout October.

  Donna Griffin
"Art is a way for me to synthesize complex experiences and feelings into visual forms," Griffin said. "I often express irony in my art by incorporating bright colors and contradictory images into (what is often) darker subject material."

Griffin was just 10 years old when she received her first journal and sketchpad, and she continued to write and draw throughout her adolescence. However, it wasn't until she attended the University of Alaska Southeast in 2000 that she received formal training.

"I didn't have either the desire to be thought of as an artist or a proper appreciation for art materials until I took an art class at UAS," she said.

image courtesy of Donna Griffin
  Donna Griffin describes her work as a mode to "synthesize complex experiences and feelings into visual forms," producing " darker subject material."
Now that Griffin has learned more about art materials, she has begun to experiment. October's show incorporates paintings, drawings, books and sculpture, making use of both the written word and collage effects. And she still makes use of her notebooks, drawing on past doodles for inspiration in her finished pieces.

Griffin, originally from Bellingham, Wash., has been living in Juneau for just over eight years, and has worked at The Canvas for the past two years. This experience influenced Griffin in many ways, both by surrounding her with an artistic environment and by rousing her interest in pursuing medical school, which she is in the process of applying to so she can one day work with people who suffer from cognitive disabilities.

This month's show is another step toward Griffin's artistic goals to be able to "express myself through art in a way that will be more evocative and communicative to audiences. I am still learning the language of art and exhibition."

While at the Canvas viewing Griffin's show, visitors can also pick up a copy of the October schedule of classes, which boasts some new listings to draw on this fall.

Some classes will give students a jump-start on the coming gift season, such as the two-week Holiday Gifts class taught by Joyce Payne in late October. Other classes will allow for introductions to classic forms, such as the Studies in Oil painting class that Karen Suderman will be offering Monday nights. Continuation of the Introduction to Wheel Throwing classes will continue through October as well.

To close out the month, The Canvas will offer a pumpkin carving class on Oct, 29 from 4 - 7 p.m. (bring your own pumpkin) and a pay-as-you-can Halloween Party Friday on Oct. 31 from 4 - 7 p.m. Both will provide opportunities for family's to enjoy Halloween activities, art, and treats.

Information on artists and October course listings are available at The Canvas, located at 223 Seward Street in downtown Juneau.