What Comes to Mind at the River

Reading and then meeting Kyo MacLear affirmed, for me, everything that’s been formulating inside me the past several years…about birding, art, nature and life.  Many things have formed me into this person who shows up at the Bow River around 10 on a winter’s morning, taking pause above the river and observing wildlife.

My friends and family wonder and ask…mostly not asking anymore, “What are you painting?  Why don’t you paint?”  and at those questions, I can only sit with who I am and be grateful for the grace of anything and everything that led me to this place where I find myself.  As I drove up from the parking spot this morning, I just kept saying, aloud, “I love my life. I love my life.”

I will paint again.  But, the truth is…painting was a lot about ego.  It was a lot about around-the-clock commitment.  It was about trying to balance full time work, raising children and keeping it all together.  My stomach sometimes hurt as deadlines for shows approached.  I was terrified in front of blank canvases.  I couldn’t assert myself with dealers, set boundaries or say what I needed.  I didn’t have money to buy those outfits that seem to be required if you are an artist, especially a female artist. Painting had lost its magic and so, when I paint again, it will be profound because it will be for all the right reasons, not for all the wrong reasons.

Doris McCarthy said, “Paint every day.”  I think more about her as days go by, without painting, than anyone.  She explained how those muscles work.  She explained how time also rushes by. Doris was my friend and she gave me a lot of strength. I think about Doris when I know that I will physically paint again.

Now…did the painting really stop?  I argue, “No”.  I have been intensely researching my next body of work for years now…having painted about 15 panels related to a Covenant series, I then began to connect again with the landscape.  It just happened.  It happened at the reading of two poems, the first,  The Wolf Between the Trees by George Bowering.  I used his poem, with permission, embedded in the poem along with a cup full of ash…remains of personal papers I had burned in the studio.  This is the painting…

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and secondly, a tribute poem written by Paulette Dube for the Caribou.  I’m including her words, here.  I hope you will read them.

In the new days, magic was on the surface of things, the shine of it all, quick and bright and fast as new rivers.

 Now Rivers winds Under Earth, has to be convinced, to play her deep song, entreated , to show herself.

 The Celts call these « thin places », where the other side is so close, the veil shivers your arms as you reach through.

 The First People travelled (sic) these sacred pieces of earth, to think on things in the presence of Creator.

 I know them as mountains.  I see them with my spirit eyes, walk them with blood and bone legs.  They teach, as clear as bird song or scolding squirrel lesson, bracing as clean water through moss.

 This alpine terrain is grey onion paper, thin as ash.  Feet must be wide to avoid lace-like flower and moss, spider web and lichen.        Be mindful.

 The Creator’s ear is earth as we do not see it.  Make joyous noise if you want to be herd.  Get yourself a song and string from bone to bone, a home of light and wind.

 She moves.  She feels her calf, inside, taking nourishment from her own bones and teeth.  The calf moves (as my son once did)  deep in the dreaming place.  The cow’s thickening body keeps the Small one warm, keeps him from hunger, keeps her     moving.

 Born where the dark forest gives way to lake, loon’s perfect call – silver sharp tremolo – traces the surface of this morning sky :  clear as mountain water scythes the earth.

 Loon calls from the lake face, that voice – shapes my form-    coming through the trees.

 The land reacts to our presence when we belong

 Noise of a sow grizzly and her two cubs.  To each a place, to each, a means of prayer and play.  To each, the necessary silence.

 Sacred whorl of grey and brown, blow open the gate.  Allow a wild glimpse of self.

 When you descend to leaf litter, feathered legs and all, you are an angel – touching Earth.

 The engine that is me, hears the song that is you…

 …coming together is a song I cannot bear for long.  Satiated by my own irregular rythmes.

 Promises shape who we are, what we will become –

we pray.

 His brow is unfurrowed.  Streamlined, he walks the wind, easily.

 Healing is water over stones, wind over grass, gaits – fearless.

Feral hearts wander – oblivious to fences of human design.

 Survival embodies existence but – does not define it.

 He moves through sunlight to scrub, deliberate – elemental – muscle.

 Hummingbird hears colour – Coyote knows crack in a leaf is direction – Bear walks trail made of wind.

 If Humans could once again divine the essential – would we find home ?

 A candle in a church is a thing of beauty – a flame in the wilderness is a miracle.

 Find something big to pit against – to throw loneliness into –  Amid bone, snow and stone –   caribou.  The precious, the delicate of design – we live here.

 Fire and earth – water and air – there is no room for anger.

 Memories permit us to speak of things –

our heart tends to in the night.

The resulting painting, upon hearing this poem is posted below.  The words to the poem are written into the painting.  It was at this punctuation mark in my life, at this painting and the other, that I realized my painting would always be about ‘place’.

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So, as an artist, what I’ve been doing ever since is sorting that out….the surface, the paint, collage, text, subject matter.  It might take a lifetime to make sense of it.  I don’t know.  But, in the meantime, I am energized and interested and creative and LOOK!  I write!

Everything I’ve been doing, in the sorting,  has made for this wondrous life of mine.  It’s taken me out into the landscape.  It’s caused me to notice more.  It’s manufactured poems, paintings, photographs and connected me with videographer, Liam of Beam Media and the photographer,  Jack Breakfast.

And this morning, I met Doug Newman.  It was after two cups of coffee at home and after two posts about books that I have read that I headed out into the cold with Max man.  The roads were bad, so I decided to get us down to a parking lot that edges the Bow River and to explore the first wintry day on the river.  There was only one other car in the lot…a man speaking on his telephone.  Max and I headed out.

This is what I wrote once back inside the car…and after snapping four photos on my cell phone…and after turning up the heat and settling in with CKUA.

I didn’t bring a camera with me, but hiked the edge of the Bow River this morning. I watched a Bald Eagle fish, its wings, so powerful. Three times, it landed on tree tops to the left of me, by 200 meters. The geese, exhausted and resting, lifted off of the dark water, along with the cacophony of gulls each time the eagle dove toward the water. Two deer swam, gracefully, from this side and shook off like wet dogs, once arriving on the shore across from me. A perfect morning.

From an interview with Kyo MacLear, writer of Birds, Art, Life… this…

Q: In the book there’s a list, the “Pantheon of Smallness,” in which you compare items such as blackbirds and Rembrandt’s etching. Equating the arts with nature was deliberate, no?

A: It was. It was also a bit playful. I wanted the readers to come in and fill in their own ideas. The Pantheon of Smallness was a way of thinking about smallness differently. Sometimes we make small things, sometimes there are small bird songs, but it can have an enormous impact. Sometimes you have to whisper to be heard. Our culture is very much one of “bigging it up,” always upping the noise level in order to produce a louder signal. What you see in the bird world is sometimes that the smallest tweet can actually pierce through the cacophony in a different way. That became a metaphor for thinking about art. Emily Dickinson did quite miniature work that had a very profound, almost epic, impact, culturally speaking.

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While typing that paragraph, I saw the gentleman leave his car, carrying a camera and sporting a huge lens.  I watched, discreetly, as he took photographs.  I saw him pan as geese took flight.  I saw him quietly observe for quite a long time.  Finally, as he turned to get back into his vehicle, I rolled down my window and we began to chat.

It turns out that Doug also posts photographs to Alberta Birds.  We introduced ourselves to one another and I began to ask him questions about photography, equipment and we shared some of our ‘bird’ moments.  It is such a pleasure to discover another birder along the quiet pathways of my every day.  It was nice to experience his enthusiasm and his excitement.  He opened up his photograph of a goose taking flight and I was in awe of the detail and the strength captured in that single image.

I love my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North Country Dreaming

Winter!  Beyond November, it seemed that Calgary would not suffer winter…no snow fell and the temperatures were surprisingly moderate.  But what came to crush us was the current run of sub zero temperatures, -22 with windchill sitting at -37 some days, for example.  We are into our second week of this.

I don’t take my camera out to take photographs on my walks with Max because of the frigid air.  Instead, I perused the images saved to my computer, things I haven’t written about and came to this collection of images from a Paul Kuhn exhibit in April of this year.  Such colour wakes us up from our winter sleep!  Art makes me happy.

My friend, Ed Bader, was featured in the White Project Room, with his exhibit, North Country Dreaming, but first, I enjoyed the bold colour of John Eisler’s (the cast), in the upstairs gallery.

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Ed and I attended the University of Lethbridge in a very  creative and high-energy period of its development from 1973 to 1977.  I include documentation of Ed’s conversation in the following series of photographs because I was intrigued by his large hand gestures.  I’m also including an early photograph of Ed, in conversation with our former drawing professor, Pauline McGeorge.  It appears that he has remained animated!

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1977 Dennis Burton opening

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The following photograph has been borrowed from the Grand Prairie Insider, Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

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Blue Valentine by Ed Bader: Collage

“In 2015 I executed a series of collages based on my 2010 photographs taken at the North Country Fair. The Fair is a recreation, on a smaller scale, San Francisco’s  “The Summer of Love”, with its’ wandering jugglers, clowns and numerous kiosks and festive tents selling alternative health remedies, workshops, massages, international crafts, souvenirs and CDs from the local to international groups that perform. I have appropriated the high key colors, flat florid graphics of California’s Sixties art and counter culture i.e the posters of Peter Max and the art style of the Beatle’s animated classic, “The Yellow Submarine”.  The goal of this body of work is to celebrate the vibrant energy and values of Northwestern Alberta’s own counter-culture.”

I remember that day not being able to really connect with Ed.  Openings are like that.  However, stepping back, I enjoyed watching him make other connections.  I felt very proud of him.  It was a big day.

When winter has you shivering, bring life to your experience by perusing the galleries.  On my list…Glenbow’s Beaver Hall Group exhibit and Otto Rogers at Paul Kuhn.

Generations: 50 Years of Art at the University and Beyond

I strongly recommend your attendance at the Nickle Galleries for Generations; 50 Years of Art at the University and Beyond. Today, I decided to attend Nickle at Noon, a wander through the exhibit in the company of Mary-Beth Laviolette.  I made my way to the campus early enough to consume the most wonderful Reuben sandwich made by the peeps of the Red Wagon Diner food truck.  There was still a bite to the air, but now the sun is out and it is a magical autumn day.

Curated by  Mary-Beth Laviolette, the exhibit began with a variety of work from the Founders of the University Art Department, spanning every decade up to the present day.  An extensive body of work gives a very positive sense of the production and the mentoring within this powerhouse visual arts community of ours.  It all made me feel so proud.

Mary-Beth was funny and smart and shared with a few more than 20 attendees, the interesting narratives behind most of the work that included sculpture, paintings, drawings, fabric arts, mixed media and print making.  I’ve documented a few of the things that really amused or intrigued me.  The tour was beautifully paced, educational and thorough.

Our city is loaded with the most wonderful opportunities.  I hope my readers will get out to take advantage of this one.  DaveandJen’s A Natural History of Islands opens tonight, from 5 until 8, in the upstairs gallery.  I will be holding off on this one until the Artists’ tour on November 24.  There are a ton of events going on in the city right now and through Saturday.  Don’t spread yourself too thin, but it is definitely not a Netflix weekend.  (oh…do what you want!)

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Work by Nicholas Roukes, writer of Design and Art Synectics...two books that greatly influenced my teaching.

Work by Nicholas Roukes, writer of Design and Art Synectics…two books that greatly influenced my teaching.

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Peter Deacon and Marcia Perkins

Peter Deacon and Marcia Perkins

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Amy Gogarty...this one just captivated me!

Amy Gogarty…this one just captivated me!

Joane Cardinal-Schubert

Joane Cardinal-Schubert

Mary Scott and Jed Irwin

Mary Scott and Jed Irwin

Mary Scott

Mary Scott

John Will

John Will

Beautiful portrait of John Will in Ballpoint Pen and Sharpie Marker by Aurora Landin

Beautiful portrait of John Will in Ballpoint Pen and Sharpie Marker by Aurora Landin

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Rita McKeough Mitten Series

Rita McKeough Mitten Series

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Bill Laing

Bill Laing

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Dang...something is on my lens!

Dang…something is on my lens!

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Artist, Bev Tosh, speaks a little about her War Bride series.

Artist, Bev Tosh, speaks a little about her War Bride series.

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Marigold Santos

Marigold Santos

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Dulcie Foo Fat

Dulcie Foo Fat

 

 

Art to Adore

I was fortunate to attend the National Gallery of Canada while the recipients of the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts 2016, were on exhibit.  When I attend such a large collection as is available at our national gallery, it is typical that I feel particularly drawn to some work.  Sometimes, it is because I have followed particular artists over my years…sometimes, it is because the work is new to me, but visually, very exciting.

One woman’s work that has been of great interest to me all of these years is that of Jane Kidd.  She is original and a technical-sensory genius when it comes to tapestry.  I’ve picked up brochures about the artist, read what I could and viewed a few excellent short films about her process.  Her work, for me, is always organic and, typically, elements of nature are embedded.  I relate with this work.  I was so excited to see that she was acknowledged so beautifully in the gallery this past summer.

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Edward Burtynsky’s photographs have been represented very well in Calgary.  I’ve had the opportunity to connect with them in the Glenbow Art Gallery and in several exhibits that feature the best of Canada.  My own interest in environment and the exposure of the human mark on the landscape has always drawn me to Burtynsky’s work.  While I am involved in the rather sad practice of picking other people’s litter from the ground of a single pond ecosystem, Edward Burtynsky uses his images to speak to the collective about the impact of their choices.  His works have a lot to do with consumption and my favourite documentary has to be Manufactured Landscapes.

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Wanda Koop’s work, in its minimalist sense, always feels fresh and eloquent.  I’ve been blessed to have great space on her canvases in several instances.  I’ve always left feeling very blessed by  time spent standing in front of her work. This opportunity was no different. Her painting speaks about the collective conscience.  Many paintings, for me, talk about the consumption of land.  They are atmospheric in their nature.

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Bill Vazan was new to me.  This piece was a very potent image and I simply had to engage it and feel awed by it.  By connecting with it, I became fully aware that there was, inherent to the piece, depth of thought and energy and travel. The culminating piece is complex and intriguing.

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Some years ago, I read Verna Reid’s book, Women Between: Contruction of Self in The Work of Sharon Butala, Aganetha Dyck, Mary Meigs and Mary Pratt.

In Women Between, Verna Reid explores the evolving perceptions of “self” in the work of four Canadian women – visual artists Aganetha Dyck and Mary Pratt, and writers Sharon Butala and Mary Meigs. All four came into prominence in middle age, doing their most significant work in their mature years. They, along with the author, are members of a transitional generation of women, occupying the space between the traditional world of their mothers and the postmodern world of their daughters. The multiple roles they have played are reflected in the strong autobiographical content present in their work. Applying feminist and autobiographical theory, Reid considers the work of Butala, Dyck, Meigs, and Pratt in light of the influences that have shaped their senses of identity. As a contemporary of her subjects, Reid infuses her interviews with the four women with sensitivity and immediacy, lending a unique perspective to the exploration of their lives and work.

Sharon Butala’s writing is some of my favourite writing.  And, I’ve enjoyed reading about Mary Pratt and her practice as I tried to find my own way, making art and raising a family at the same time.  But, what really intrigued me was, discovering through this book and a single lecture at ACAD, the interesting practice of Aganetha Dyck.  To encounter her work at the National Gallery of Canada, gave me chills.  A wonderful moment for me!  What a joy to share this viewing with two of my nieces.

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Beyond Canada…other pieces were in the gallery, to adore.  A progression of work in the exhibit, A Solitary Mexican Modernist: artist, Rufino Tamayo‘s (1899-1981) exotic use of colour mirrors, I think, the climate and texture of Mexico.  I really enjoyed this work and liked the experience of seeing how, over years, the work progressed.  This exhibit marks 25 years since the artist’s death.  It was an honour to see this and in some ways, a visual relief at that point.

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I enjoyed interacting with the dynamics of the Ai Weiwei’s tree.

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There are so many fabulous documentaries and things written about Ai Weiwei’s practice and the intolerance he has endured as an artist, a person, and a mind.  I was blown away that I had the opportunity to celebrate a piece of his work in our national gallery.  I recommend my reader’s further investigation.

Perhaps one of the most potent sculptures that I encountered was this one, by Brian Jungen.  Strong social commentary, Brian Jungen’s found object sculpture do not fail to impact.  Lots to read about Brian on line.  Enjoy.

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If you have the chance to get out to the ‘big’ galleries…you will never be disappointed.  Canada…a prosperous and blessed Nation!  We need to celebrate our opportunities as artists and as citizens.  Never take the arts for granted!

 

 

Three Chicks Visit the National Gallery of Canada

The September long weekend was filled to the brim with family, football, food and adventuring. My nieces, Ainslie and Eliane, and I caught a drive down to the gallery on a perfect sky blue day in Ottawa.  I was giddy, as I had been anticipating the exhibit of Chris Cran’s work for some time.  I am so darned proud!  I’ve always assumed that Chris was so much younger than me.  We are closer in age than I had imagined.

Back in the late 1980s, Chris opened his studio up to me and my then-spouse and generously shared, in his witty fashion, his bigger-than-life pinhole camera and the work that he was exploring at the time.  I’ve never forgotten his generosity that day and it remains evident, in so many ways, that he is an active and contributing community member where all of the arts are concerned in Calgary.  Through Chris, I met another awesome dude out of Salmon Arm, Herald Nix, and have become a big fan of his music, as well as his art.  For many reasons, I was so excited to have the chance to enjoy the retrospective of Chris Cran’s work, elegantly and historically displayed in one of my favourite art galleries.

This post will contain just a few images, all Chris’s work.  I’ll share about other works that I enjoyed in separate posts.

img_0949 img_0950 img_0951 img_0952 img_0954 img_0955 img_0957 img_0958 img_0959 img_0961 One of the security guards, Thomas, gave us many insights on our tour of Chris Cran’s work.  He took in every word of Chris’s tour offered during the exhibit’s opening days. He was so generous to pass short narratives on to us.  He could not give permission for us to photograph him while he was wearing his uniform, but I guess I had nabbed this one before that conversation. img_0963When I went on the studio visit, Chris was working on the Stripe and Halftone Paintings.img_0964img_0968 img_0966 img_0967 I saw something very gestural in this piece and so the girls humoured me by becoming the forms in the piece.  Love them so much!

img_0972 img_0970 img_0971 img_0965These are a mere smattering of images from the exhibit.  I really was swept up in the experience of being in such an aesthetically pleasing space wandering in and out of gallery spaces, in awe.  Later, I will post the few Instagram shots I took, as well.

img_1021 img_1022I feel so grateful when magic like this takes flight and lands in my heart.  I love you, Eliane and Ainslie, for being with me.

 

The Belleville Club: An Open Mic Session

My ‘Connectors’ (read Malcolm Gladwell’s work) here in Belleville are Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor.  The other night they brought me into a circle of live music and friendship at ‘the ol’ boy’s club’ in Belleville.  How cool is that?  I met some very friendly and lovely creatives during this live mic session, a night demonstrating the variety of music and energy that weaves through this beautiful city, edging on the Bay of Quinte.  The photographs pretty much say it all…just want to make sure that I document things as they unfold during my stay.

I’m trying to balance socializing a bit…engaging the landscape…and painting, while visiting Dad.  It’s a different sort of trip this time around because I brought a good part of my studio with me.  I’ll eventually get around to writing about that experience as well, but shortly, I’ve got to head back to the easel, so here is a representation of the images I collected during the music and the fun.  Thanks to Larraine Milligan, an awesome figurative artist, for showing me the upstairs rooms in the club.

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Ashleigh Bartlett Workshop

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.

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Feather Gallery

It was best I not infiltrate the big Disclosure opening with my germs last evening, so today I nipped into  Feather Gallery  at 36 Woodfern Court,  just west of me in suburbia, all on my own.

I headed over to Woodbine after having a lovely visit with artists, Barbara Ballachey and David Foxcroft down at Calgary’s new Edge Gallery.  There’s a big opening there next Saturday.  I’m excited to see that one!

I’ve been a fan of Barbara Ballachey for a zillion years, having her as one of my first Artists in Residence at Cardinal Newman School the year after it opened up in the late 1980s..  She did a marvelous job conducting drawing sessions with almost 400 children.  Anyway, Barbara is always generous and welcoming and I considered her a mentor as I tackled the subject of landscape years ago.  I enjoyed, always, how she received pleasure from the land and had an amazing relationship with it.  While my work was very much different from hers, I think I had a similar passion for the earth, water and air and still do.

 

We’re blessed here in the south where entrepreneurs are popping up with some warm and wonderful spaces where we don’t always journey to the core, but sometimes hang out in our communities.  I consider  Michelena’s Wolf Willow Studios to be among those beauties.  For music, the Cornerstone Music Cafe is bringing in live performers that include Ruth Purves Smith (going on at this very moment).

 

So, once I made it to Feather Gallery, I had the chance to have beautiful, reflective and relaxing conversation with Samantha.  I love her vision for her space.  The gallery, a part of her living-breathing home, is warm and welcoming.

Directly from the Calgary Herald dated July 27, 2015, this…

“The home, incongruous among the usual mix of residential homes of Calgary’s suburbia, was built in 1931 as Leighton, recently married, set down roots in his adopted city. He’d been hired out of England a few years earlier by the Canadian Pacific Railway at age 23 — already acknowledged as a prodigious talent — and asked to paint the scenery of the Canadian West.

When he saw the Rockies he was stunned, so much so that, by 1929, he had put down roots in Calgary, resigning from the railway and accepting the role as head of the Alberta College of Art. Soon he’d met his bride-to-be and, once hitched, they decided to build a home, buying ten acres for $500 from rancher Alfred Crocker.

Fellow artist Walter J. Phillips visited Leighton and later described to the Winnipeg Tribune, the harrowing trip to the newly constructed home.

“A.C. Leighton telephoned to say he was coming to fetch us. He arrived very late, having driven all the way with the emergency brake on. We piled in the car, and having succeeded, by the grace of God, in getting headed in the right direction, we started immediately on an exciting seven-mile journey to his new country home.

“We emerged on a bare expanse of prairie, a desolate spot at night, but one which affords in the daytime an unrivalled view of distant mountains.

“In the East many artists’ homes have been built around a studio, but in the West I know of only two — Charles Scott’s in Vancouver, and Leighton’s in Calgary. Leighton’s is in the best tradition — high, wide and handsome, with plenty of light,” said Phillips.

Leighton and his wife moved on — their final home eventually proving the location for the art centre named after him near Millarville — and the house he’d built was captured and virtually swallowed by expanding Calgary. But something remained behind. A spirit of place, as D.H. Lawrence would have called it.

“It is a special place. There are a lot of people who come in and they feel something here. Sometimes we forget how special it is — people come in and they look up and down and around and you think ‘What are they looking at?’” said Samantha Malach.”

The artists are to be commended for a beautiful exhibit of figurative work…I’ve connected with so many of you over the years and I’m proud of your collective contribution to this show! (missed you, Paula, Daniel, Joanne, Mark, Luella, Bruce, Elena, Desere…)

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Rumble House: September 30, 2015

I sat in City Hall for much of yesterday afternoon in order to get a Building Permit.  Then, I crawled home on Deerfoot Trail because of an accident somewhere near Anderson.  Max and I did a quick neighbourhood walk and then, crackers and cheese in tow, I headed back down to the core for the Rumble.

It’s nice when you just ease into ‘the house’.  I had been looking forward to painting my great blue whale and buoy throughout the week.  The image has been alive in me and the outcome of this remarkable animal, caught in a web of fish net out at sea, has been concerning. The story, as covered by the news, has just dissipated with the calling off of the search.

It was a peaceful evening, painting.  The gathering was small, but productive.  One of the inspiring pieces was a poem from Maya Angelou, titled Old Folks Laugh.

Old Folks Laugh

They have spent their
content of simpering,
holding their lips this
and that way, winding
the lines between
their brows. Old folks
allow their bellies to jiggle like slow
tambourines.
The hollers
rise up and spill
over any way they want.
When old folks laugh, they free the world.
They turn slowly, slyly knowing
the best and the worst
of remembering.
Saliva glistens in
the corners of their mouths,
their heads wobble
on brittle necks, but
their laps
are filled with memories.
When old folks laugh, they consider the promise
of dear painless death, and generously
forgive life for happening
to them.

by Maya Angelou

The line that would be incorporated into my piece would be, “When old folks laugh, they free the world.”

We can’t see beneath the surface of the beautiful and endless oceans. We do not take pause and think about the rivers that are constantly finding their way to the sea. A mirror, the water reflects the sky. There is a forever-drift of life beneath the blue. But, we forget. In all of our wild consumption and progress, we do not remember the life that gasps for breath, but is hidden from us.

Last night, I wanted to meditate and to remember. Thanks to Benjamin who purchased this piece at auction.

Photo Credit: Michael Collett

Photo Credit: Michael Collett

Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 051
Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 049 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 048 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 006 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 008 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 010 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 012 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 014 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 016 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 017 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 020 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 021 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 024 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 025 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 027 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 028 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 030 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 037 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 039 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 040 Kath's Canon, September 30, 2015 Rumble Blue Whale Blue Jay 043

Rumble House: September 16, 2015

I painted a two-hour Rumble in my kitchen on Wednesday afternoon.  I want to paint Chief Poundmaker as an offering to Dylan, for his continued success on a positive and rewarding journey.  For now, life seems to be blessed and it is because of some great choices.  I first met Dylan at the Gorilla House, while painting my studio chief sketches and so, it came to be that he shared his story.

Needless to say, the painting was not accomplished in two hours and so I took the panel with me to the Rumble, thinking I might complete it then.  Nopers. With the whirl of activity and lacking intense focus, I knew that I would be putting a soulful effort in at home, again.  It’s still not complete, as I make the effort to achieve a satisfying likeness.  This is just important to me. I am writing this blog as more work is happening and while drinking my morning coffee.  I’ve decided, however, to get the post about Wednesday night on my blog, with the painting in progress.  Otherwise, my readers won’t see the archive of work and enthusiasm that was poured into our latest Rumble.

It seemed to be Rico’s night at the auction!

Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 014 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 017 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 020 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 023 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 027 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 030 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 035 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 037 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 044 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 047 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 052 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 056 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 060 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 062 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 064 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 065 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 068 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 070 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 073 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 078 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 081 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 082 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 084 Kath's Canon September 17 and 18, 2015 Frank's 085