Being in the Studio

I’ve just come in from the studio, my Chapel, where I’ve spent most of the evening playing with my new ideas.  I’ve almost completed two of the studies and began sorting canvas triangles onto a new canvas that has beautiful proportions for this sort of thing…about twelve inches tall by sixty inches wide.  I painted a ground of yellow ochre wash onto the canvas and then proceeded to arrange light blue sky triangles onto the surface.  The sense I get from these pieces is almost like the experience of looking through a kaleidoscope up through the trees and at the sky.
They ARE about memory. 
When I began painting the landscape, it was my intention to capture some sense of ‘place’ so that my children would have an inheritance.  I hoped that by painting images of ‘magical’ landscapes that I have treasured, particularly the river, there would be an imprint that would survive the loss of the land and river as we know it.  Now, the work becomes more and more suggestive of that memory.  As it is minimized it becomes more successful. 
This evening’s work is most reminiscent of the vast golden fields of southern Alberta and the wide open skies that were once shared with my grandfather on Sunday drives.  It is appropriate that the work should be interpreted through the device of a quilt-like motif.
September 7 2008 Max and Heaven 042 September 7 2008 Max and Heaven 039 September 7 2008 Max and Heaven 034

Quilt Templates

Quilt Image
I’m taking a huge interest lately in templates for traditional quilting.  My artist’s statement is evolving to incorporate a commentary on remnants and how women have traditionally created utilitarian and aesthetic objects out of bits and pieces of things.  I believe these pieces reflect much about various cultures and more importantly, reflect the patience and hope of women.
I will publish my completed statement here at some point, but in the meantime, am completing a number of pieces that I consider studies…pieces that should open up a body of work of some significance in terms of ‘meaning and context’ as opposed to representation.  I’m going to paste a number of images here, knowing full well that due to copyright, they may start disappearing just as quickly.  We’ll see how astute the internet police are.  I will try where I can to provide the links that I use and hope that this credit will give license for their use.
Quilt 2

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

I enjoy reading Danny Bucket’s  movie reviews.  In contrast to The Departed,  this one absolutely runs away as the worst film I’ve seen in a long time!  My Super Ex-Girlfriend was soooo cheesey!  My daughter was just in the mood to watch something meaningless and this filled the bill!  Sometimes she and I think so deeply that we need to give our brains and hearts a rest and go into auto-pilot.  This film can take you to that place.  Uma is wonderful regardless.  Given the fact that she has personally, in real time managed her way through huge difficulties, there is some irony in the role she plays here.  I’m imagining that she had terrific fun doing all this!


My Super Ex-Girlfriend /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Luke Wilson, Uma Thurman, Ana Farris, Eddie Izzard, Rainn Wilson

Directed by: Ivan Reitman

Produced by: Arnan Milchan, Gavin Palone

Written by: Don Payne

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

In the summer of 2006, the trendy thing to do among proclaimed romantic comedies—I’m speaking specifically of The Break Up and You, Me, and Dupree, here—has been to void oneself of both romance and comedy. Audiences have witnessed startling efforts of realism plague the genre, even when there’s nothing real about the film in question’s plot or characters. Ivan Reitman’s late-July confection, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, is a welcome digression back into the territory of breezy fun within the constraints of the romantic-comedy name. Starring Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson as mis-matched love-interests—she’s a super-hero and he’s an average-Joe—the movie is amusingly forgettable in just about every way possible.

 For the most part, My Super Ex-Girlfriend blends the adventure and romantic-comedy genres effortlessly. The action scenes involving Thurman’s super-hero alter-ego G-Girl, who regularly lives under the quiet cover of art-gallery-employee Jenny Johnson, are perfectly paced and feature some intentionally (and pleasantly) campy special-effects. Meanwhile, the film bodes equally as well with its softer-side, in which G-Girl and Wilson’s Matt Saunder’s share a rocky relationship. Director Reitman’s approach in creating a multi-faceted movie works particularly in displaying the dilemma that Matt faces when he realizes his desire to break up with his crazy, powerful super-girlfriend and express his true love for co-worker Hannah Lewis (Anna Farris).

However, despite My Super Ex-Girlfriend’s ingenious execution of its material, it would be impossible for me to declare that it’s anything more than a light-weight, see-it-and-forget-it kind of a movie. I was amused by its original spin on a tired formula, but I never became particularly involved in the story or cared about the characters. But, then again, the film never really wants to do much more than offer a shallow, but amusing entertainment-experience. Thurman and Wilson smile through their roles and, clocking in at a mere hour and thirty-five minutes, My Super Ex-Girlfriend never overstays its welcome. It may not be the perfect film to pay the full price of admission to see, but it’s always diverting at the least.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews (7.27.2006)

The Departed

"The Departed, directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Anderson, Ray Winstone, Alec Baldwin and Amanda Lynch.

A remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film called "Wu jian dao" (Infernal Affairs), "The Departed" tells the story of two men from opposite sides of the law who are undercover within the Boston State Police department and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy’s identities. Written by William Monahan, based on an earlier screenplay by Felix Chong and Siu Fai Mak."

This film is one of the most interesting in terms of PLOT that I have seen for a long time.  It came recommended strongly by my son.  I wanted to blog it here because I would highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be engaged for the duration.  It moves along and truly it demonstrates that young actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon are coming into their own in terms of skill and character roles.  Awesome acting!


Work Socks for the Mustard Seed

Lent began yesterday with Ash Wednesday and our classes are collecting work socks for the Mustard Seed.  I love the photographs, so make certain that you visit the SOCKS photo album.  Like any good installation sculpture, we’ll see if we can, in the end, make a huge visual impact by providing many pairs of socks….what? perhaps 2000 pair?
IMG_7309 IMG_7310 IMG_7311 IMG_7312

I’ve been teaching every student I meet how to fold socks and we are sharing the work together….along with a calming radio station, this experience transforms the art room into a huge EXPERIENCE!  I have always loved Bruce Cockburn’s music…saw him for the first time in the Yates Theater in Lethbridge, Alberta.  Now that I am able to embed music videos and things, I am going to pepper my blogs with his tunes so that you can listen to something while you read.  The first one…a powerful tune called Soul of a Man.  Enjoy!


My computer has been serviced for the past week and a bit…one problem led to another problem and finally it is here in our office again.  The thermal ‘whutzit’ had a bit of a meltdown to begin with, just as I wrote this same entry last Friday. I had used the text to create an awesome landscape,  a beautiful job of using colours to create a field of bright yellow sunflowers beneath a wide blue sky.  Why sunflower fields?
My two ninety-year-old friends are like sunflowers.  They turn their heads to the sun….they look out at the blue sky with hope and they believe in the goodness in others.  I attended two birthday parties last weekend and celebrated a combined 180 years of living!  It was absolutely beautiful!  I think that every moment should be treasured and that if you know anyone who is getting up in years, hold onto them and soak up the love that radiates from them!  Happy birthday Elma and May!


On the way to my doctor’s appointment this afternoon, I stopped in to the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store for a wander.  Afterall, I was 45 minutes early.  I used to live in that part of town and knew what it was to be a part of that whole scene on International Avenue.  I’ve been thinking about retirement lately.  I know.  I know.  It seems it isn’t in my nature, but really, it’s about time I think about retirement.
So anyway, the Thrift Store and the notion of retirement….they DO connect, only you, as readers, you don’t know exactly how.  Well, my bank person (my financial advisor) and I have sat and had a few conversations the past month about things and she knows and I know that it looks like down the road I might hit a shortfall.  Well, truthfully, no one wants to sit across from a young woman in a navy blue business suit who is saying such things…but you walk away thinking to yourself…how mortal you are…how temporary you are…and it’s time to get transparent with the people you care about and not hold anything back.
Anyway…in the Thrift Store, the fifties music is playing and you notice the poverty around you.  You notice the ladies with the funny hats and the hair pulled back in pony tails…slight greying whisps falling down around their faces.  Their clothing seems to already be three sizes too- large for their bodies and you look down at your coveralls.  But the music…it’s cheery!  And at every rack of mismatched clothing strung out on wire hangers, you hear a voice singing, womens’ voices throughout the store singing Elvis Presley’s music off key, but with spirit.  And you begin to smile wide smiles as you head to the back where the book racks are.
And here comes the connection.  The banker lady asks, "Do you know where in your budget you might cut back?  Are there areas where you overspend?  Things you might cut back on?"  I think about my spending and shake my head side-to-side until I remember my passion for books.  Is this what it comes to? I ask myself??  Alright…then, perhaps I can find my books in Thrift Shops!  I’ll cut back!
I stooped over and crouched down, scanning the titles stacked neatly on the bookshelves.  They had that funny smell, a combination of dust and mildew…but I poured over them as though they were worth their weight in gold.  A new tune was piped in through the air…sounding like a surreal version of elevator music…but a different era.  I looked to the left as I heard another woman’s voice singing enthusiastically each and every word!  When she skipped a few lyrics and began to hummm….I stated, "It’s so wonderful that in this store, everyone sings along!"
She returned, with a huge smile as she shifted her funny hat, "I come to this store just to get out.  I always feel happy when I come here.  And everyone sings along!"  A shorter lady to my right, working her way through the old knitting magazines whispered, "I’m supposed to be grocery shopping."  Just then, I had visions of myself growing into the skin of a wee eccentric lady singing tunes…dressed in heavy cloth coat and bright coloured hat…picking out my reading books on a Wednesday afternoon.
In all, I found a few books to collage into planned pieces in the studio…The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence, a new copy of The Bridges of Madison County, an inscribed hardcover titled The Meeting of the Beautiful: The Triumphant Story of Annie Johnson Flint, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and printed in 1957, Kennedy’s 1500 page Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama: Fourth Edition, and Noyes 1300 page book on English Romantic Poetry and Prose, all for $8.45.
As I stood at the cashier’s station, learning that it was her last week and that she would be going back to school to be a nutritionist, I saw a bright red artist’s tam hanging on a coat hook.  As I oogled it, I said to the would-be nutritionist, "Can you believe I found Pride and Prejudice for fifty cents?"  She returned with, "Hmmmm, I haven’t heard of that one."  In the end, I really threw caution to the wind placed another $3.50 on the counter just for me…walked over and put the red tam in my book bag. I thought of Joni Mitchell and music and red and the joy of the women in the store, and thought there could be no better way to celebrate the moment!  It was magic!

Chocolate Covered Cherries

Are chocolate covered cherries over-rated?  Is the commercial aspect of Valentine’s day nuts?  This morning I woke up to feel, apart from continued pain and discomfort, that we’re pretty darned lucky for any day that’s been set aside for reviewing, pondering and acknowledging LOVE.  Not to say that we shouldn’t do that very thing every day of our lives, but this morning I have a big skip in my step as I remember the people I love and those who love me.  I’m a person with a blessed life and I want the world to know that.

Okie Dokie

Ok…so it turns out that I was sitting for over a week with two dislocated ribs on my right side.  At this moment it makes me smile, although it wasn’t funny at the time….funny only because I knew I had tolerance for pain…and that in fact, I’m not a wuss (is that how you spell that?), but I think it’s absolutely insane that I continued to go to work and manage the house as best as I could, under those circumstances. 
I’m home in daytime hours because I had a two-and-a-half-hour appointment with a dentist chair this morning and the entire left side of my face remains frozen in what feels like a chipmunk cheek.  At 4 in the morning I woke with the same seering pain from back to the middle of my chest, so I know that one or both of the ribs have displaced again, something that I was told COULD happen because of the longevity of this particular situation.  It made the dentist visit particularly painful, but it happens that the chiropractor will visit me in just an hour to see if we can put this to rights again.
I’ve naddered on at length about my supposed muscle strain here, so I thought I’d share the information about my health with the entire world.  Words to the wise:  It is a common injury that I incurred…a fact that when you work hard at something like sanding…expend tons of energy…you tend to hold your breath as you push and exert…then when you release, you take in a big breath of air.  This sort of behaviour in repetition often leads to popped/dislocated ribs.  So…please beware and be careful!

The Year of Pleasures: Elizabeth Berg

What a beautiful book!  Our book study from parallel places and lives did not work out all that well, given that blue’s outlook express mail stopped working part way through the process and I could not collect her questions OR her responses for the week.  Suffice it to say however that I was pleased to have this book on the weekend, given that I was unable to do much of anything.  It took me most of Saturday to change the kitty litter and empty the dishwasher. 
My daughter, who just recently earned her driver’s licence, made her way out into the snow of yesterday (it doesn’t seem to stop) and picked us up some groceries.  As well as picking us up a few items that wouldn’t normally be on my list (snow peas would be my example), she met me out in the studio afterwards with a glass of ice tea, ripple chips and dip, all which contributed to a sense of well-being and cheeriness.  But then…I’ve drifted from the book discussion here, however slightly.  Truth is, this book was all about a year of pleasures.
And…what happens when you fall ill or feel incapcitated is that the world and every part of it slows down to some degree…given, of course, the seriousness of your injury.  I am grateful that I continue to be able to do the simple things, especially that I am able to communicate. 
The book is a beautiful piece of writing and included many elements that spoke personally to me.  It was serendipitous how many little images could quickly be connected to my own life and experience.  It was meant to be.
Last evening, late, I continued to make progress on my Margaret Laurence biography.  I am at the point in Margaret’s life…1969…when she is beginning to receive acclaim Canada-wide and also internationally.  This all comes as a surprise to Margaret who has had so many challenges personally.  Her female protagonists are truly Canadian and this makes her early novels so special because the characters are ‘real’ in the deepest sense…Hagar, Stacey….Morag…amazing!