This morning while I sip my coffee, Peanut-the-cat curls up on my lap as I type…his neck melts over my arm so that I feel the purring before I hear it. His head hangs heavy and eyes watch the slow movement of letters across this page.
I am thinking about the art opening yesterday….and feel wonderful about the entire event. Five other artists, all men, were present for the opening and I could only describe our afternoon/evening exchange as ‘magical’.
My dear sister-artist-friend traveled up to Edmonton with me early in the morning and the road slipped under us and away from us as we shared much in the way of animated conversation, laughter and tears. We seemed to have been transported there. It was such a rich and peaceful time for me, something I have not relished for awhile now.
This morning I have been reading little articles and biographies on -line about the artists, who for the most part I only knew by their reputations, but now know in a more personal way. Brent Laycock stood with me and visited about his brilliant painting “Red Rose”. We spoke of many things, but most memorable for me, will be how he turned toward my work and said, “Your paintings are powerful.” I was taken aback when he responded to my work. He explored it, thought about it and asked me questions about my process. This is a man who late in the 80’s presented a workshop for me in a little community painting group called Calgary Community Painters! I respect him for his ethic and his dedication to his art. He is a humble man and his words are like red berries on grey bushes….precious and intense.
Bill Webb. Well…what can I say about him? He is an absolutely marvelous person! He is so interested in hearing from others and he REALLY listens. He included everyone in conversation and listened with intention. I knew that Bill was listening to me by the next question he would ask. Only certain people can do that…keep their focus on others rather than themselves. Bill has that gift. We had great discussion about his grand-daughter Emily-Ann who walked up to one of my paintings and asked, “Why are the leaves turning?” We spoke of gator board and shipping art and framing art and stretching canvas. We spoke about transparency and gesso and all things artistic and otherwise. It was completely remarkable! It was so very special. He turned off the road toward Camrose…but had led us to the edge of the city after the event. It was a warm thing to have him pass a hug through the open window and to wish us safe travel. W.H.Webb to Canada and the world……Bill to me.
Glen Semple and his wife Lisa were so wonderful! I had met Glen a long time ago and it was so nice to talk to him about things like gator board and airbrushes… 5-0 brushes. I heard about his transition in subject matter from 1990 to the present. I heard about his University experiences and the different influences on his life and his work. It was interesting to hear him speak about creating a balance in his life with family and dance lessons and such. He ate all of the shrimp off of the appetizer plate. Amazing how detailed and technical his work is. It is such a contrast to my own.
Walter Drohan and his wife seemed to be the most steeped in and knowledgable about this lifestyle. There is such wisdom and experience there! Walter plays poker with Ted Godwin and has quite a bit of history around Emma Lake….and some stories that were just alluded to regarding the Regina Five. We were making light of The Group of Seven, etc as we set our reservations at the Copper Pot Lounge , overlooking the legislative grounds in Edmonton. I spent some time this morning looking at works, both ceramic and painting, by Walter Drohan. He is clearly a master at his craft and it is a wonderful thing that I shared company with him.
Don Toney was so comedic and light-hearted and generous with his advice. I loved his direct approach and appreciated his willingness to mentor me immediately. He had so much to share with me regarding marketing and the ‘business’ side of painting. I will include notes on these things in other documents and refer to them as I go along. He and his wife Verna shared so many delightful stories about family and truly made us all feel a part of his circle. Delightful!
Dan mentioned in the presence of others that he believed my current work was some of the best he has seen for some time. I felt very much affirmed by his comments and very warm to be included in a circle of such amazing artists. He spoke very positively about Len Gibbs who was unable to attend the opening. He also chatted with a large group of us about the history of the commercial artist in Edmonton. Those stories are so interesting and help me to look at all of this within a ‘context’.
The day/evening caused me to feel so enriched, so proud and satisfied with my experience as a woman-artist. I have done well with my life and only hope that my good health will be sustained so that I can go forward in this relatively ‘young’ skin of mine and grow.
On the drive south…..home……I felt so tired…..but so blessed by the day. I had my friend at my side. We quietly chatted all of the way home….grateful for a full rich day!