The week began with Live Painting at Congress 2016, a huge event hosted by the University of Calgary that included ‘six interdisciplinary symposia to exhibit the university’s most compelling and leading-edge thinking and research.’ The symposia on Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions was inspired by University of Calgary assistant professors Shane Sinclair and Graham McCaffrey, ‘who share a mutual research and practical interest in the topic and in sparking conversation and debate around some of the realities of compassion.’
The topic, Compassion Under Contemporary Conditions, really inspired me and I was thrilled that I would have opportunity to hear Margaret Atwood speak as I find her very entertaining, closely linked to family and very very smart.
At home, I shot about loading easel, panel and STUFF into the car. At the U of C, I was met, early, by Allan Rosales who made the invitation for me to submit my artistic intention a week earlier. Allan was helpful and very gracious. I also met Zareen and friend, from the University visual arts department, as they displayed a beautiful art exhibit based on compassion. It wasn’t long and I was settled alongside artists Mark Vazquez-Mackay and Rebecca Zai. As the day opened up, Mark seemed to be painting the various layers and facets of compassion and his piece was breath taking. Rebecca was working from a photo reference that she had taken while on one of her international travels, a person demonstrating care for the ordinary street cats of his village. Again, a beautiful painting!
Hmmm…doesn’t seem I have a completed painting by Rebecca in my photo archives. I’ll grab one and post later.
It was a blessing day, as it revealed itself. I thought it was very gracious of both Shane and Graham to come and introduce themselves and chat a little about art and life. While my painting was not completed by end of day, there were a lot of different feelings that I moved through in the process and I was very excited to begin the journey of painting a body of work based on British Home Children that I’ve been researching for probably, WAY TOO LONG. I interviewed descendant, Janet Fair, such a long time ago. Her grandfather, Sidney Emms Prodgers, was about to become my very first subject.
Home! I’ll take Sidney into the studio to complete…so happy with the process!
I was grateful to hear Margaret Atwood’s talk on Compassion…the humour woven throughout, colourful experiences of nurses and health care providers, historically, leading up to contemporary issues, as well. I thought a lot about my sister as I listened. I’m grateful for Valerie Jean Fiset, more than she will probably ever know. She has had a most inspiring journey and I am so proud of her. I likely should have brought along some of my Atwood books for signatures…I’m not surprised that I forgot.
Another blessing during the course of the day was to have a visit with a dear friend, Dr. Rita Irwin. Our friendship began while we both achieved our B. Ed degrees at the University of Lethbridge. She wandered over to my location, along with three of her witty and smart friends, and had a short but amazing visit. Another strong and accomplished woman; I simply loved our shared big hugs and the familiar ring of Rita’s voice and laughter.