Last evening I attended a workshop facilitated by Emma Bresola and Melissa Centofanti. It was a wide open creative experience after a brief viewing of the artist-facilitators’ exemplars and hearing about the possibilities. The give-back to the community was a response to the recent exhibit of Emma and Melissa’s own art books in the Tiny Galleries situated throughout Bridgeland. It was a fantastic night of creating!
I went with the specific intent of finding continued healing. With the anniversary of Mom’s passing, I find I am needing to create objects as a way of both journeying my grief and celebrating Mom’s life. Something so tactile and open-ended as the small books, allowed for that possibility. The session flew by. I am grateful for the expertise and guidance of both Melissa and Emma.
From the Bridgeland Community Center, I zipped out to look at one of the Tiny Galleries before the wind started howling and the weather changed. A beautiful evening!
In connection with this, I strongly recommend that my readers take opportunity to view the PBS film, Objects and Memory. This film really spoke to me and as various experiences of loss or destruction confront members of our society, it makes sense that we naturally memorialize through our objects. I felt this happening as I created my small book.
I didn’t know a single soul on the bus tour, but loved the anonymity of the event on that particularly dark and cold Calgary day. Yet again, snow. I enjoyed loading on to the bus with others and rocked gently while listening to a very interesting narrative about the Brutalist architecture that appears throughout the city of Calgary, unbeknownst, I’m certain, to very many Calgarians.
Hosted by Cynthia Klaassen, the President of the Calgary Heritage Initiative Society and Darryl Cariou, the Senior Heritage Planner for the City of Calgary, this guided tour was both fascinating and relaxing. I enjoyed seeing both premier and lesser-known Brutalist sites, including some of the most controversial and nationally acclaimed. It was fascinating to enter into the Science Center, a place where I had toured many times with my children when they were younger. Once again, I felt a huge link to the University of Lethbridge, designed by Arthur Erickson and completed in the early 1970s. I attended the university from 1973 until 1977 and lived in the main building residence on the fourth floor for two of those years. Playing guitar in the abandoned stair wells and conversing with friends into the wee hours of morning on the main concourse are memories that stick with me. The smell of concrete is not something everyone can easily get used to, but for me, a fond memory.
When we arrived back at the Esker, I purchased my 10.00 pkg of postcards and headed for the Blackfoot Diner, where I enjoyed a late afternoon breakfast, while reading over the descriptors on the backside of the postcards. Another great day!
I enjoyed another wonderful opportunity facilitating with Wendy Lee’s create! program. When I arrived, somewhat flustered because of a whole series of misadventures, Wendy had the coffee burbling and welcomed me with open arms. So good to see friends down at the East Village!
Eyes…the windows to our soul?
The origin of this profound thought is attributed to different writers and great thinkers…not precisely as it appears in my title, but in one way or another. Here are just a few, appearing on the Quoteland.com site and shared by the moderator.
The quote originated with Cicero, but in a different form.
The eies. . . are called the windowes of the heart by which love enters into the same.~Stefano Guazzo, Civile Conversation, bk IV (1584)
These lovely lamps, these windowes of the soule~Joshua Sylvester, Devine Weekes and Workes (1591)
The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs records the Latin “vultus est index animi (also occulus animi index, the face (also, eye) is the index of the mind” and “The eyes…are the wyndowes of the mynde.” (1545)
Today, inspired by a North Park University community art project, we painted eyes. Participants of the North Park University made images of fellow North Park students (or in a couple cases, faculty). 67 blocks using various media, mounted on a gold-leafed tondo. It is now installed in the vestibule of the chapel at North Park University.
I decided to begin create’s! portrait series at the Golden Age Club in the East Village with a look at the basic structure of frontal view eyes.
To begin with, one of the participants arrived, sporting an AWESOME fashion statement and gave me permission to photograph him. AWESOME! Yellow lenses? Are you kidding? More AWESOME!
While everyone was tentative, we began…analyzing the eye…exploring its complexities and having some fun along the way. Newsprint sketches began as small detailed miniatures and gradually grew to be confident explorations of the subject. More fun! More laughs! Quiet concentration!
At create! we modify our projects and expectations as need be…some artists are still dabbling in landscapes of our last sessions…some require assistance due to special needs. We can adjust! We want everyone to be in full participation to the degree that they are able!
I had a wonderful time and as we offered as our intention at the beginning of class…building…building nests…building community…I am pleased to say that the resulting experience was a warm and loving experience. We really looked into one anothers’ eyes!
Shannon Williamson, Assistant Director of Jarvis Hall Fine Art, introduced us to Carl White. She was bright eyed and smiling as she explained that this was the last day for the exhibit. My readers might remember that I had written of the opening event, but this was a wonderful thing to be able to have the artist to ourselves for conversation and inspiration. I circled Carl like a shark at the opening, but never did get closer than four feet from him…openings are just like that. This tour was oh-so-much-better!
Some of the topics that Carl White explored during his artist talk were poetry, cursive writing, romanticism, art as layering of skin/flesh, teacher as facilitator and Gnosticism. It was a thought provoking morning and the conversation certainly informed the work and our experience of the pieces. Shannon generously pulled out some of Carl’s earlier works that contributed to an even broader context. Thank you, Carl White, for your time and your thoughts.
Words carried away in my heart as we left the gallery…”Kath, who is your e?”
I am here in my pjs, sipping coffee and checking my e mail. Max, the border collie, has left no speck of food at the bottom of his bowl. Outside…a light rain. Last night’s dishes whir in the dishwasher. Peanut-the-cat stretches his back leg and washes its length again and again. We’re all resting back upon the day. I enter into my third year of retirement.
For me, days like this will always mark the first day of school. I’ll never forget that feeling of the brand new class of children sitting before me…I’ll never forget that responsibility. I found an entry I wrote on August 30, 2006 and just want to paste it upon this page…everything still applies. I pray for my friend-teachers and for the parents and students; for another year of magic…and that they can ‘make meaning’ together.
Sitting here listening to Ben Harper… I’m so inspired by his music….reflecting back on the work day and the work in the studio and the surrounding ‘energy’ of my children. I’ve been thinking about “making meaning”. It’s an expression I used to use solely with my own students and their art. I worked endlessly at convincing them that unless they could make meaning in their own art, it would somehow have limits as to how it could speak to others.
Now I’m thinking about this being a real purpose for my own life this coming year. MAKE MEANING! I’m so ritualistic and I so love setting goals and MAKING things happen…I like to manifest my life and have for years, been reluctant to just let life swoosh over me. I know there are pitfalls to this thinking. For example…what if something bad happens?? What if I was to be challenged by poor health or unexpected loss? hmmm…I wonder how I would react to these possibilities in the ‘soup’ of the moment?
Back to the subject of this entry, I think that anything profound and really worthwhile in life requires that it be meaningful. A relationship is deep and abiding to the degree that you personally invest and make it meaningful. Your own music, art…your writing is profound because you have decided to make it meaningful. You ‘show up’ to it. You commit to it and create it from your deepest joy, sorrow or indifference. But, you ‘show up’! Your children grow as you respond to them, connect with them and give, not in superficial ways, but in ’meaningful’ ways.
A painting speaks to me when I make my own meaning with it. It doesn’t necessarily matter that I engage the artist’s intended meaning; but it DOES matter that I, the viewer, bring my energy to it…and manifest something. Otherwise, I think that art becomes wall decoration. Perhaps Clive Bell and others would say “Heh, that’s ok…art for art’s sake…a wall decoration is alright. We can’t all be connoisseurs. Is that how I spell that? Who cares.”
I think that a big reason why my english language arts students have troubles with literature or reading in general, is because they have difficulty taking text and ‘making meaning’ with it. I think that my goal is to show them the ways/strategies that I have made meaning with literature. It seems that I love books beyond words! smiling here… Rarely do I say, “Don’t read this one. It’s a book that you could never get into!” Instead, there is always some MEANING that I have created for myself in the book. Whether non-fiction, biography, historical fiction…it matters not! I become that publication’s biggest fan! Wow!! Imagine if I can show my students how to do that!
Right now I am making meaning in the studio. I have freed myself over time of all encumbrances around the act of painting. I am creating works right now that speak to me and speak powerfully. Now…in a week or so when I deliver them to my galleries (and I can’t believe they’ve shown such patience with me) I will have to be prepared to remain separate….to trust in just how important the art is to me…and how it is ok to protect its ‘meaning’.
I think that when we ‘make meaning’ in relationships…in the world of business…in our art….we become responsible to all of that. There is an investment made. These become ‘of the heart’.
(I remember as I type the word RESPONSIBLE….the context from Le Petit Prince par St. Exupery…such a beautiful way of describing what I’ve been writing about here…”You become responsible for your rose…”)
It is my hope that I will be able to create a meaningful school year…that I will be able to continue building upon meaningful relationships and that I can make meaning in my art. I hope the same for each of you.
Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe. Truman Capote
We took in a workshop and a Main Stage performance with Justin Townes Earle. His work smacks of memory as I recall times spent listening to Guthrie. After some time with his lyrics and with his melodies, one becomes deeply connected with his story. It creeps into everything. He doesn’t have to narrate anything. The music is raw. I think he’s a brave musician.
The writer’s intentions are not necessarily the only interpretation we can bring to music…sometimes the lyrics mean something else all together. That’s why music is so interesting…music channels so much for us and is so universal, while at the same time, so very special to our own individual response.
Bryan Adams: Everything I Do
Look into my eyes, you will see
What you mean to me
Search your heart, search your soul
And when you find me there you’ll search no more
Don’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for
You can’t tell me it’s not worth dyin’ for
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you
Look into your heart, you will find
There’s nothin’ there to hide
Take me as I am, take my life
I would give it all, I would sacrifice
Don’t tell me it’s not worth fightin’ for
I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more
You know it’s true
Everything I do, I do it for you
There’s no love, like your love
And no other, could give more love
There’s nowhere, unless you’re there
All the time, all the way, yeah
Look into your heart, baby
Oh, you can’t tell me it’s not worth tryin’ for
I can’t help it, there’s nothin’ I want more
Yeah, I would fight for you, I’d lie for you
Walk the wire for you, yeah I’d die for you
You know it’s true
Everything I do, oh, I do it for you
Everything I do, darling
And we’ll see it through
Oh we’ll see it through
Look into your heart
You can’t tell me it ain’t worth dying for