Back to the Battles: Gorilla House Art Battle: January 2, 2013

I haven’t painted at the Gorilla House since the End of the World Battle, but went down last night and had fun hooking up with my artist-buddies and responding to recent life experience through paint.  I’ve enjoyed the season, as you’ve already read; with good food, drink, reads, friends and family…and now, the painting begins!

I arrived at the house with a bit of an agenda last night and was feeling more than a little manic.  Grief and sadness are expressed through a spectrum of behaviours. For me, this evening would be about RELEASE.  Another young man passed away on New Year’s Day and I had to deal with that and the impact so many deaths have caused on my family these last years.  Not that this can happen in a single painting…but art has always been a part of my healing over the years.

The concepts during the SPIN of the Wheel of Doom were 1) History 2) Appropriation and an image of graffiti and 3) Standing in the street yelling at passers by.

I had purchased my panel at the WIN store, as is usual, and after deconstructing the attached image, was left with bits of Monet’s painting, Woman in the Garden, Sainte-Adresse.  I left the figure to represent myself, looking upon the loss…of mothers…wives…children.  I find myself in the painting through this figure and therefore, the artist separates herself from the sadness.

Claude_Monet_ 0012

Leaving Monet’s figure took care of the subject of Appropriation in art, the second concept.  Appropriation is something that I have to be mindful of because I am a collage artist and it is important to look at history as a reference continually. For those readers who do not refer to the link, this, from Wikipedia,

“Appropriation can be understood as “the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work.”[2] In the visual arts, to appropriate means to properly adopt, borrow, recycle or sample aspects (or the entire form) of man-made visual culture. Most notable in this respect are the Readymades of Marcel Duchamp. Other strategies include “re-vision, re-evaluation, variation, version, interpretation, imitation, proximation, supplement, increment, improvisation, prequel… pastiche, paraphrase, parody, homage, mimicry, shan-zhai, echo, allusion, intertextuality and karaoke.”[3] The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work[2] (as in ‘the artist uses appropriation’) or refers to the new work itself (as in ‘this is a piece of appropriation art’).”

This would be an interesting blog post…I will tuck it away for future writing.


I used collage to include a buck and doe onto the surface, representing those that James and I saw on New Year’s night.  I included one verse of Tennyson’s poem and specifically this one because my dear friend, Val, attended Gorilla House last evening. She inspired the inclusion of this verse. I remembered going on a walk with her with my old dog, Laurie-dog…it was a beautiful summer day and she and I were visiting about life and about death.  She mentioned a bee….and so,


“But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.”

Scriptural text incorporated, before arriving to the battle, while painting my ground (panel prep) were the words of Psalm 23.

The foreground element…the deer skull.  The deer is heavily weighted with mythology and symbol in many/all cultures.  For me, in the night, the deer was a physical reminder of the spirit and of resurrection and of the renewal of the body.

Thank you to Brian for his purchase of my piece at auction…to my dear friend, Belinda Fireman for her photograph of us.  Thanks for the visits of Val and Darlene…for the battles shared with Deb and Kells…love you guys.  Good to see you, Vincent Varga and Andy!  Happy birthday, Karen.  Aaron of Red Dot Photography took an amazing photograph of this piece because I explained to him that I wasn’t particularly ready to let go of this one and that it meant something special…and so he took a great photo that I will publish later.  The painting is titled, A Farewell.

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman


Losing Patrick

I love the preface written for this particular book of poetry.  It claims to have a poem for each season and every occasion.  I looked over the poems…thought about them…the one that speaks to me today is written by Alfred Lord Tennyson, A Farewell.  A former student of mine has passed away…he was an avid fisherman…loved the outdoors…he was a young man.  My heart is broken for his family and his friends.  Following, the composition based on Tennyson’s words.

When I drove my son down to the park last night, looking for Patrick’s brother…a tall buck was standing right in the middle of the road and a doe nuzzled snow just off to the side.  Noticing us, in just a few long strides, the buck gracefully vanished, along with its partner, into the night.  In some mysterious way, I thought, “How appropriate that these two beautiful creatures…so stately…would come up from Fish Creek Park tonight.”  Patrick, may you rest in eternal peace.


A Farewell

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

P1090195P1090202 P1090200 P1090199 P1090197