January 21, 2015 at the Rumble

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of letting your ideas float while painting.  This past week, I had a dream…something about seeing a face looking up out of the bottom of a well.  It was dark down that hole, but I could still see the face.  Instead of being made of rock, the walls were made of lush green foliage and plant life.

  “Green is symbolic of communicating care on a subtle, energetic level. When we dream of green, we are imbued with a magical ability to transfer knowledge by unorthodox means. Green facilitates growth, love and healing by mental stimulation. Greeks believed intelligence came from the heart. This combined with the green of the heart chakra talks to us about emotional intelligence and communicating with an open heart. I realize I’m being vague here, this kind of ethereal communication isn’t easily identified. However, we can look to mother nature for help in explanation. She speaks in viridian tongue – communicating a sea of burgeoning growth – all expressed by the color green. When we dream of green we’re experiencing levels of healing and growth that are subtle. It’s time to concentrate on the areas of our lives that need to flourish. Once we hone in, and begin to express our identification on an emotional (heart) level, our growth will be exponential and immense.”

I have no idea what was going on or who it was, but I’ve heard that all characters that one sees in a dream are the self.  I would consider this character to be a shadow person.

Given a two hour time limit, painting at the Rumble House does not always allow for a real resolution to a painting, but rather, allows the artist enough time to put the idea down in an instant.  Most of these works would be considered sketches of a sort.  I did not achieve the depth in this painting that was in my mind.  This would have required many more layers.  I tried to create the sense of coming out of depths quickly, by painting central dark to outward light auras regardless.  I got a quick snap shot, but not the result I had hoped for.

The inspirations that were drawn from the wheel of doom included 1) a whale breaching 2)  These

DSC_1845

DSC_1843And 3) hmm….something inspired by a Dylan Thomas poem.  Each evening at Rumble House, as was true of the Gorilla House, these inspirations may be included/explored by the artists in their works or be ignored all together.

Some of the real highlights last night were having ukelele music flowing live out of the heart of Emma Rouleau in the house.

Nina, of Hear’s My Soul Cafe was in the house, along with her friend, Steve.  The two of them had a bit of a bidding war on my piece, but Steve managed the final bid.  Thanks, Steve!  It’s ok…Nina left with two fantastical pieces, one painted by my artist-buddy, Jennifer and the other by a new-to-the-rumble artist, Nick.  Both, beautiful works!

Here’s the lovely Nina with Jennifer Stinson’s work.

DSC_1852It was good to talk to you, Stacey and to learn that you read my blog.  It always surprises me when people connect with my writing.  So, I was grateful for that.

Thanks to Andy for pulling over to say good night.  And, I had a wonderful chat with another artist (I want to say that her name is Lorraine…please send me a message and let me know your name!) (LOUISE!!  Her name is Louise!  She read this and contacted me!  So happy about that!) at the doorway, as I was leaving.  She is a woman after my own heart.  Priscilla, yes, I am coming out of the grief and I have appreciated your inspiration along the way.

Thanks to Steve, who generously purchased this piece at auction.  Now, off to teach grade threes!  We’re painting images based on the Taj Mahal today!  Stay tuned!

DSC_1850

 

Gorilla House LIVE ART Battle: January 9, 2013

Sheesh! The concepts drawn at the wheel of doom were absurd, the strangest combination of unrelated blah blah yet to be struggled with and that is for sure!

First…

“If Nancy Knew What Wearing Green and Yellow on Thursday Meant” by Joe Brainard

From 1963 to 1978, Joe Brainard created more than a hundred works of art that appropriated the classic comic strip character Nancy.

"If Nancy Knew What Wearing Green and Yellow on Thursday Meant" by Joe Brainard

Photo Credit Unknown but located here.

Second…from The Onion, America’s Finest News Source,

Authorities Abandon Search For Missing Girl After Finding Huge Bass While Dredging Lake

Photo Credit Unknown but Located Here

Photo Credit Unknown but Located Here

And finally,  Joan Miro’s Image, The Potato

The Potato by Joan Miro, 1928

The Potato by Joan Miro, 1928

Now…I ask you, what would you do with that?  Quite honestly, at the moment the concepts were drawn, I was more consumed with a conversation shared prior to the spin of the wheel.  I had chatted with a few people about insomnia…my daughter struggles with this and at times, I do as well.  For two nights I hadn’t slept.

This led to a visit about dreams…wakefulness…consciousness and sleep.  It always happens at the Gorilla House (the visits, I mean)  So, when we began to paint, I had to deal with one gentleman’s dream and Miro gave me the entry point for doing this.  The dreamer found himself pulling wiggling worms out of his shoulders and pitching them down on to the ground…a nightmare…the setting, looking at himself in the mirror after having had a shower.  Seeing the worms in the reflection, he pulled them out one at a time.  A question at waking, “Was I really asleep when that happened?”

For the rest, my painting speaks for itself.  It is just so bizarre!  The missing girl…in yellow (no green), left while dredging.  Apparently, it was more important for the authorities to snapple that large bass!  Miro…amorphic shapes, line, text and colour palette.  THE BASS…a fish…unrealistically large in context with the other dream-like figures.

Thanks to Jessica for purchasing the piece at auction.  Just to let you know, Jessica, ashes from a Sweet Grass smudging in my studio were incorporated into the ground.  This painting will be a blessing-painting.  Thanks to Harold for propping up my piece while I snapped a photograph.  Thanks to Karen for a taste of red wine when I had no coin.  Thanks to Kells and Deb for quiet conversation.  Thanks to Jenn for Cadmium Yellow Medium.  And thanks to Bassano del Grotto!  Thanks be to God, for a safe drive home through a blizzard and too many centimeters of snow!  Readers…may you have sweet dreams and know that they have a story for you, if you but take the time to ponder them.

P1090272 P1090273 P1090275 P1090276 P1090277 P1090285

Where are you, Jordan Bearshirt?

I didn’t publish a post yesterday.  I’ve been trying, interspersed with the organizing of our household, to create a reading list of my favourite writers under the heading, I Read This.  It was while publishing a page about Hugh Dempsey’s writing this morning, that I thought of Jordan Bearshirt.  I would love to meet him again.

After teaching in Medicine Hat for a couple of years, I managed to snapple a job teaching junior high art at Holy Cross Catholic School here in Calgary.  It was during my first couple of years that I met Jordan Bearshirt in my grade nine art class.  He had a profound sense of line and a meticulous way of rendering his world.  He was a quiet boy and while so many other students were performing for attention, he was in a world of his own, using every moment of time in class to draw.  After learning that his ancestors were Blackfoot, I asked him if he would do a drawing of the great Chief Crowfoot for me.  I would provide him the best of papers and would pay him as a commission for his work.  He set about the task at home and brought the first of two drawings back to me, with disappointment.  After investing hours of labour, some damage had happened to the piece.

I asked Jordan if he had a desk to work on at home and he explained that “No, I am working on the floor”.  As I recall, I had a feeling that I needed to bring this young man under my wing.  He was such a meticulous artist and such a gentle spirit.

In the end, this is the beautiful piece that Jordan Bearshirt completed in graphite on arches paper.  It has been a family treasure ever since.  I hope and pray that this young man is well and that he continued with his art.  You are in my heart, Jordan.

A Rabbit Comes to Me in the Night

Rabbit #1

Freaky, right?  Well, I chose not to ignore the image of a rabbit that came hopping into my consciousness/dreams at 4:00 a.m. two nights ago.  I got up out of bed, turned on the lights in the family room and drew this rabbit. I’ve always had some unexplainable ‘thing’ for rabbits and have yet to discover why.  I’ve had four experiences that began to define this attraction and I will briefly describe them here.

Rabbit Trim and My Mother’s Black Pearl

First, there was this dress!  My mother sewed this on her treadle sewing machine for my school photograph.  She always made certain that we were dressed to the nines for school photo day.  How sad for her that she had no control over what my hair would do after recess or the expression I might have on my face!  This makes me pause and smile.  I still remember the feel of the fabric, the bow that was tied at the back, the colour of the taffeta and how beautiful I felt, even as a grade one student.  The reason I still remember it?  You’ve got it!  The bunny trim!  There was nothing softer or more ‘magical’ from my little-girl perspective!  I had no idea that a rabbit had lost its life.  I didn’t think about that.  I was caught up in the tactile/visual experience of this white trim.

Secondly, Flo Hunter was my mother’s closest friend and our closest neighbour.  Our family was stationed in St. Margaret’s,  New Brunswick at the time.  Peter-the-rabbit was the Hunter family pet!  He was a wonderful white over-fed bunny who had been with Flo and her children for some time.  I envied her children this bunny because for many years, our only family pets had been cats and dogs, Pal being our dog at the time.  He was a mutt who was strung out on our backyard clothesline.  I remembered that the PMQs backed onto a large field and then a forested ares.  I can picture that still.

Well, I decided one fine summer day that, while my playmates were well-distracted with games of kick-the-can and such, I would steal Peter and have him for my very own.  I carried him down to the basement and locked him into a foot locker that was hidden under the stairs.  There, in the dark, I imagined that I would take him out any time I wished and play with him.  Surely this plan would work out perfectly!

When the Hunters noticed Peter was missing, the entire neighborhood went on a search for the lost bunny.  It was nearing dusk and the children and adults, both, were weaving in and out of yards and even exploring the woods out back.  I still remember the children’s wild cries.  “Peter! Oh!  Peter!!”  The Hunter children were in tears and Flo’s arms were flailing!  So that I would not be found out, I remember engaging in the search, acting concerned and calling Peter’s name also.  And sadly, I was even articulating my own theories about where Peter might be hiding.

It wasn’t until later that evening, or even the next morning that I fessed up; the guilt was just too much for me to carry any longer.  When we went to the foot locker, we found Peter….inhaling….exhaling….inhaling….exhaling very slowly as though he was on his last ‘bunny legs’.  I have absolutely no recollection of the outcome, my shame, or the consequence for me, but Flo and her children were ecstatic at the returned bunny rabbit.  Looking back, I can not help but wonder what was going on in my head at the time of the bunny caper…and what was my passionate attraction to bunnies?

In the late 1990s I lived on a beautiful ridge lot, just above the Bow River.  It was a ‘magical’ place to live because I could easily disappear into the river bottom and see all sorts of wildlife; plants, birds and mammals.  It was absolutely amazing.  One night I was in the living room and looking across the street when I saw the flash of lights in the field stretched out before the ridge.  I stepped out, in my nightgown, onto the front porch and then gradually down the front steps, trying to make sense of what I was seeing.  As the lights danced horizontally across the field, I also noticed the flash of red eyes and the white form of a rabbit racing one direction and then another, in extreme fear.  The entire nightmare unfolded as I ran,  in my pyjamas, into the dark field, shouting.  A couple of young people were shining flashlights into the eyes of the frightened rabbit and as it became mesmerized, the other was beating a golf club onto the ground, trying to beat the rabbit, as sport.  The air rang with the sound of their laughter until they heard my shout and abruptly ran the opposite direction.  I saw the white form of the rabbit disappear into the night.

The fourth experience took place late at night, likely ten years ago.  I used to go running in a wide open field a short distance from here.  I would do several rounds of the perimeter once the sun had just set and Laurie-dog would run along side me, taking little breaks to explore and exercise as well.  This particular night, the air was cool.  I remember the rhythmical breathing as I almost completed the first lap.  All of a sudden the air split wide open…an explosion of movement!  Laurie ditched me and took off into the center of the field.  Before my eyes were what seemed to be hundreds of white rabbits racing in all directions.  It was as though a silent field was suddenly undulating.  I had never seen anything like it!

I do not know why these encounters with rabbits have been a part of my emotional formation.  I do not understand if there is any real significance to the symbol of the rabbit in my life or what I am meant to do.  Just recently, however, I have been reading about and viewing news items coming out of Canmore, Alberta.   A rabbit cull is underway. Maybe that’s why I am experiencing recent agitation around the image of a rabbit.  For a short while, at least, I’m going to explore this subject in my art work and see where it all leads.

Dream Retreat

My Daughters: One Whizzin' By and the Other Standing Still

 

The three of us went down to the Retreat Center of the Faithful Companions of Jesus on the weekend…an exploration of Dreams and a good foundation to the work of Carl Jung.  It was interesting that I was just at the completion of my novel, Pilgrim by Timothy Findley.  Apparently, the novel Pilgrim is the inspiration for a contemporary opera, The Dream Healer, composed by Lloyd Burritt, with libretto by Christopher Allan and Don Mowatt.

I really treasured the experience of getting away with my girls and sharing in a learning experience with them. 

Cuddles

Dreams 

Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well who am I to keep you down
It’s only right that you should
Play the way you feel it
But listen carefully to the sound
Of your loneliness
Like a heartbeat… drives you mad
In the stillness of remembering what you had
And what you lost…
And what you had…
And what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say… Women… they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean… you’ll know

Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions
I keep my visions to myself
It’s only me
Who wants to wrap around your dreams and…
Have you any dreams you’d like to sell?
Dreams of loneliness…
Like a heartbeat… drives you mad…
In the stillness of remembering what you had…
And what you lost
What you had…
And what you lost

Thunder only happens when it’s raining
Players only love you when they’re playing
Say… Women… they will come and they will go
When the rain washes you clean… you’ll know

Dreamtime

Just got back from the off-leash with Maxwell…eaten alive by skitters, but so happy to have been in the sunshine.  I love it when my neck starts sprouting freckles…it’s summer!  Whoot!  Whoot!  Stopped at the Co-Op and picked up Quinoa, Tofu and ‘stuff’ for daughter #2 to cook us up a vegetarian dinner.  Going to head for the garden…so happy to see the asparagus coming up again this year and Mary’s strawberries are multiplying.  Last week, when I turned the soil and added the sheep manure, I ached for a couple of days.  I’m expecting the same good feeling this evening.  Those kinds of I-haven’t-used-these-muscles-for-a-month feelings are so so good!  The day is filled-to-the-brim with great stuff and summer-feelings, that’s for sure! 

It was an interesting sleep…I woke up, fully aware of having had dreamtime.  It’s been quite some time since I had that wonder-filled sort of sleep.  Bits of images, at waking, so vibrant that for a time, I had to sort out the new reality of the day.  I saw my mother in the dream, but more-particularly, I heard her voice.  It came over a PA system in a huge school.  I was in a classroom, separated from her by escalators, elevators, many desks and hallways…but, I heard her voice.  I was in a wheel chair. The time on the clock was 2:35 exactly.  I was supposed to meet her at 3: 15.

Her voice called out, “If Ms. Moors is in the building, this is her mother.  You are late.  I am afraid.  Please come to the office immediately!”  I set out, rolling, dealing with one huge obstacle at a time, frustrated and anxious that so many barracades were keeping me from telling my mother, “Mom, you are ok.  You are early.  We are not late.  I am ok.  I am trying to get to you.”  I woke before getting to my mother…looking at the dark ceiling of my bedroom…feeling my dog’s hot breath on my face.  Max staring down at me, I began to separate the story from the story.

While drinking my morning coffee, I called my father.

John Tjapaltjarri: The Tingari at Pantjantjanya, 1993