I never fail to be excited by the programs and resources available to us in Calgary. Some weeks ago, I attended a workshop led by Ashleigh Bartlett at the Esker Foundation. There, we explored the possibilities within abstract painting, with a lovely connection drawn between the works of Jack Bush and Colleen Heslin and process. The process of exploration included elements of collage, painting and play. Thank you to Esker for providing such hospitality and wonderful materials.
Thank you to Ashleigh, for sharing a clear and embracing experience! I’m sad to see this exhibit go. It has been so inspiring.
Since teaching this workshop, Ashleigh has received one of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards for Emerging Artists. This made me so happy.
Ashleigh actually took the time to chat with me about my thoughts on being a self-taught artist versus ‘a real artist’ (one who has attained credentials). Years ago I made a choice to attain a Bachelor of Education degree, with a double major in art and English and never did receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts. As a result, when I applied for a Masters in Studio Art program some years ago, the wind was knocked out of my sails when I learned that my years and years of accumulated portfolio work was not in any way equivalent to ‘THE DEGREE’. So, I registered with ACAD and completed my third year toward a BFA, while on Sabbatical from my school district, but when my friends moved on to their fourth year and graduation, I had to return to teaching. All these years later, the registrars office people seemed less than impressed with my desire to enroll for my fourth year and the two studio courses remaining. They were not encouraging. Ashleigh told me to NOT lose hope based on the hoops that they have created for me to jump through. She encouraged me and for this, I am most grateful.