Writing on the Studio Wall

I have a long history of writing on walls.  But, what a friend recently told me is that Sharpie fades and will only last so long on drywall. (this explains why my affirmations, written on my bathroom wall in metallic gold pen, have begun to disappear)  So, as I looked at my studio walls, I DID realize that many of the original song lyrics and early writings of friends have begun to disappear.  I have documented these so that as they fade, they can be remembered as they become a part of the history of place.

I’ll begin with the most recent signing…that of my furnace tech, having just cleaned out my furnace and vents for this year.

If you do not see your writing on my wall, it is time for a studio visit!  Scout…looking for your writing. ;0)

img_2782

I need to change my filter more often.

img_2726

Annie Lennox: The Saddest Song I’ve Got (yup…sometimes when you’re painting, you feel sad and I would have been playing this CD while I painted, likely after I saw her playing a concert with Sting.)

img_2728

My oldest Kananaskis Country map plastered on the studio wall. I think about the mountains whenever I’m not in them. When I thought to, I recorded the odd hike…just so that I could remember the circumstance. Most times I forgot.

img_2732

Oh my gosh…winter hot dog roast at Sandy McNabb…that was a long time ago! I DID DO RAE GLACIER again!

img_2730

I didn’t keep this up…but, I thought it would be cool to list the new CDs that came into the studio. Don’t know what the Martha Stewart Wedding memo was about.

img_2733

This boy has a big influence on me. He got over some addictions. He helped me recently.

img_2734

Alan put up some shelves in the studio when I first built it…now, that was a long time ago! It seems we reused wood. I painted it up and it looked great. I remember when the studio was empty.

img_2735

Pat, from the Ironwood, was out with another buddy. I was bugging him about the fact that when the move happened from the present day Blue’s Can, they took Mussels off the menu. We were drinking wine in the studio that evening. These things happen.

img_2736

My niece, Mandi, wrote beautiful words for me on the morning of my first born’s wedding…and it’s almost impossible to read them anymore. I treasure them and always will. I send her love, abundant love.

img_2737

Bee, my dancing partner, when there’s good Honky Tonk music playing, continuously shares hilarious bits of blah blah…usually, I write them down.

img_2738

Oh, good grief…weird stuff ends up hung on my studio wall, but, I am always prepared. Nothing’s worse than having to leave a painting, in order to floss your teeth…and times wasted looking for it.

img_2739

Oh my gosh…I was obsessed with getting large storage for my big canvases. Thank you to all my friends and family who had to listen to my musings on this subject and to the two men who eventually built them. I’ve been afraid that they are going to fall on me while I paint, ever since. lol

img_2740

Yes, I was this obsessed. To the right, a beautiful mosaic created by a Larche artist, a gift from Father Clair Watrin a zillion years ago.

img_2777

One view of the storage that I love so much.

img_2780

The other side…

 

img_2741

Chris and Clayton…former students. Every so often the kids come back to visit…they’re both grown up now. We don’t forget, though. Proud of both of these dudes.

img_2742

Broken hearted, I cut three travel journals up into little squares, when my trucker boyfriend dumped me over the telephone. (I may as well be honest). Chances are that if you’ve got one of my paintings since 2006, one of these squares is buried in your painting. I thought it would be good to send a bit of my heart out with each new piece…the nice thing to announce is that it barely hurts at all any more. This is what happens with broken heartedness.

img_2743

Awe…my cousin, Clayton, just before he headed out for a huge walk for the support the Kidney Foundation? Correct me, if I’m wrong, Clay. Karina and Clayton…a gift to share an evening with them.

img_2744

Jen Hall took the first and only ‘real’ portrait that I’ve had done of me…and Max…and she documented a few paintings for me. She’s awesome.

img_2745

I have a habit of picking up things in old frames, especially if they look like they were hung in some one’s kitchen for a zillion years…where mayhaps tea was served and ladies talked.

img_2746

I read stuff about our animal/bird/insect/plant species that are in trouble…I clip them here…I don’t want to forget. Some of these land in paintings…it all depends what I’m thinking about at the time.

img_2747

My son….he was my very young batman…he wanted to keep everyone safe and happy and calm. These are two of my favourite photos of him. The other one…well, you saw it earlier.  James and sister, Cayley, at Angel Glacier.

img_2748

Yeah…more journal squares…a piece from Ashleigh Bartlett’s workshop at Esker…more salvaged religious memorabilia from the second hand stores…a postcard of Tim Belliveau’s glass…my all time favourite glass artist.

img_2749

Book suggestions…words from my sister-in-law, Grace. Aaron, Angela and Wisdom visited me and took away my teaching table so that I would never, again, be tempted to teach in the studio, but instead, paint.

img_2750

Yes…my daughter’s wedding. Trying to remember neighbour’s names…

img_2751

Karina…beautiful. I wish more of my relations from Raymond and Lethbridge and Magrath would stop in for visits. Love them so much.

img_2752

Youngest person to visit my studio…Wisdom is growing up so fast. Love the Sponge Bob!

img_2753

Leaves of Grass: Walt Whitman Read it! WHEN the true poet comes, how shall we know him— By what clear token,—manners, language, dress? Or shall a voice from Heaven speak and show him: Him the swift healer of the Earth’s distress!

img_2754

Bill used to move my art…I loved him so much.

img_2755

Bill Webb…still painting luminous landscapes of the Livingston Range and winter roads. New adventures are happening for my dear friend.

img_2756

James Blunt…during heart wrenching moments in the studio.

img_2757

Margy…oh my gosh…how many times did we watch the music video and sing along with this tune??

img_2758

Bob Nelson…drove all the way from Helena and we went down to Knox and listened to acapella music. High school friend and talks about life, the world and Kant. I’m catching waves.

img_2759

I didn’t see this note about the scissors until today. Cayley, sorry that I wasn’t helpful. lol The scissors are hanging in the scissor place over there!

img_2760

Beautiful lady, Angela. And, I guess some sort of recommendation from Dylan. Dylan and Kristan, former students, have visited. But…it’s been a while. Both are doing inspiring and exciting things. I still have a JH self portrait in a portfolio for Kristan to pick up. lol

img_2761

Oh dear…I can’t read this. Can you? Please let me know…something about meditation…I can read “Remain Radiant”

REMAIN ‘RADIANT,’AS JOYCE PUT IT, IN THE FILTH OF THE WORLD.

The goal of life is to be a vehicle
for something higher.Keep your eye up there
between the pairs of opposites
watching your play in the world.Let the world be as it is
and learn to rock with the waves.Remain ‘radiant,’
as Joyce put it,
in the filth of the world.”~ Joseph Campbell, Excerpt From: “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living.” Joseph Campbell Foundation, iBooks

img_2762

This young man…an accomplished and published photographer/journalist out of Toronto. Look for his stuff on cars…and his road trips! Proud of you, Clayton.

img_2765

My brother, owner of Cliff’s Chinook Charters out of Comox, wrote about the plight of the salmon. I love my brother…he knows how much I think about him. I caught a big one out there, while sharing a trip with my daughter and father.

img_2766

Leslie Champ, former student and amazing man! Christmas visit 2013. The little piece matted in purple, a piece of art created by student Katie McGreevy for me when I taught at St. John’s Fine Arts School…again, a zillion years ago. A couple pieces of my paint-by-number collection.

img_2768

I cherish Leslie’s words.

img_2769

Jen…another artist extraordinaire. A part of a powerhouse teaching team at AGC when it was before the boss woman went down in flames.

img_2770

Middle Child, daughter Cayley, is one of my two daughters. Both have taught me about courage. I could not have learned the lessons of courage in life, without them.

img_2771

Thank you.

img_2772

Rita, I miss you. You opened up so much discourse. You supported me.

img_2773

First born. I can’t type anything about her without getting teary. Such a warm, funny, organized, loving human being! Brave! Pam and Larry, that was a fun night! Such fun!

img_2774

“The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” ― Frederick Buechner, The Hungering Dark

img_2775

lol You’re welcome, Larry.

img_2776

In two places.

img_2779

Jen, I miss you. A bit of a piece done with Asheigh Bartlett, as a response to work by Jack Bush.

img_2781

People leave me stones, shells and earth from places they have traveled…these came from Australia. Thank you, Bob.

img_2783

Natasha…former student studying art in Vancouver. Love you and so proud of you.

img_2784

Darwin stones.

img_2785

Prince Edward Island Sand…touch it every once and a while and my mother comes to mind.

img_2786

Shells and stones…Prince Edward Island. I get teary looking at these.

Beyond Remembering

Listening to Fleetwood Mac’s When I See You Again, as I type.

I wrote away to Amazon for Beyond Remembering: The collected poems of Al Purdy before driving east, the morning of my mother’s birth day,  July 27.  Since then, I’ve been pouring through the poetry and visiting the places that Canada’s poet, Al Purdy, visited and sometimes thought and wrote about.  I heard Eurithe’s strong voice over the telephone, positive and supportive and carried to me all the way from Sidney, British Columbia.  Al’s wife gave me the generous permission to use bits of Al’s poetry in my paintings, all produced in my studio bedroom, generously offered to me by my loving father his summer.

I’m still working on small panels and told myself they would be completed by September 1 and I will hold myself to that and I will rest for September, taking in the new autumn air and visit my brother and sister in Ottawa before I drive west to Calgary.

If you haven’t had a connection with Al Purdy’s writing, do give yourself that opportunity some time, when it’s right.  The summer of 2013 was the right time for me.  I had picked up George Bowering’s book about his friend, Al, his writing…and I became suddenly, profoundly connected…not just with Al Purdy’s writing, but also George Bowering’s writing and more than before, Margaret Atwood’s.  I was excited by Al’s connection to my all-time favourite author, Margaret Laurence, and went in search of correspondences between the two and poems where he wrote about her…even to the point of the description he gave in one of his poems of his writing space and the images of both Gabrielle Roy and Margaret Laurence that hung there, on his wall.

Yes…I became a fan.  George Bowering co-authored a book with Jean Baird, The Heart Does Break: Canadian Writers on Grief and Mourning.  Drowning in a dark pool of grief for my mother, all of these beautiful circumstances, all surfacing through poetry, writing and literature, gave me a nudge into my personal journey of grief.  I have to say that tentatively, visually, my relationship with the folk of the Gorilla House (you know who you are) and then the Rumble House in Calgary, also provided a string to my practice.  But, I have to face it, for years, I’ve been broken and not particularly functioning on any level as an artist.  I painted in my head and pulled off these two hour blast outs every Wednesday night.  I was happy to let go of them at auction on the same night because I was suffering too much to want to hold on.

Somehow, I knew that this summer I had to create a segue into my practice of painting.  I had unloaded all of the furniture and other stuff that I had pushed into my studio space, as a physical way of avoiding painting.  I finished projects that were created as a way of distracting me from the fear, the incapacitation and the flat out avoidance of canvas or panel or paint.

And so I find myself here, painting the shape of Purdy’s words, in as much as I can over a period of four weeks.  I am sitting here crying as I type.  Dad isn’t home.  Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks…singing to me through the single speaker.  And…I feel good to be in the act of painting again.  A bit illustrative in nature, I don’t necessarily believe that this is the direction my work is going…but, it is the beginning of the direction and for that, I’m grateful.  It makes sense that I should begin in this beautiful, lush, humid, Victorian city of Belleville, on the edge of the Bay of Quinte…not far from Purdy’s resting place and his little A Frame on Roblin Lake.  I know that when I get home, I already have a ‘shitload’ of content from a pond that I love, that will give me a subject for my winter’s exploration.

I will add the poems, a bit at a time, to this post…I really need to get back to those small panels I mentioned.  After all, it’s the 28th of August.

Mom, I love you.  I love you with all of my heart.   Something about what I’ve painted this summer is about you…home…Canada…experience that is the very most mundane…things in the day-to-day that all too often go unnoticed.   Painting again, with joy…not pain…is home for me.

Thanks to Mary and Pat…two friends back in Calgary, who tentatively asked…and supported my journey of grief as it related to my painting.  Thanks to Pricilla.  You know why.  Thanks to my Dad, who feeds me.

The paintings can be seen, thanks to the generous opportunity given by Lisa Morris and Peter Paylor at Artists and Artisans: Studio and Gallery on Front Street, show beginning on Thursday, September 6, with a bit of a sha-bang on the 11th from 2-4 and with the potential of after hours viewing any time.  I hope some of you can see these.

IMG_0854IMG_0856IMG_0858IMG_0861IMG_0862IMG_0864IMG_0866IMG_0868IMG_0870IMG_0873IMG_0875IMG_0878IMG_0882IMG_0884

From the poem, May 23, 1980 in the collection, Beyond Remembering…the final stanza.

I have grown old

but these words remain

tell her for me

because it’s very important

tell her for me

there will come one May night

of every year that she’s alive

when the whole world smells of lilacs.

Al Purdy

IMG_0887IMG_0892IMG_0895IMG_0896IMG_0898

Finding a Poem For Katie Ohe

I’ve tried to write about Katie three times.  Each time, I got to a point and had to stop.  Today, I begin to write again.

As I reflect back on things that Katie said and then the unspoken power of her sculpture, I am left somehow overwhelmed.  It seems to me that she is some version of a fireball.  She is compacted energy that has been burning deeply for a lifetime and in connection with that light, I was left in awe.  So, once in awe, I had to go looking for a poem.

No luck. I found no poem for Katie Ohe.  That, in itself, is unbelievable. However, the act of looking for a poem caused me to sit for most of that particular afternoon, reading poetry, and that can’t be all bad.

After some days…more than a week…I found this.  It describes something of Katie Ohe.

A short version, my version, of one of Katie’s stories (and really, you need Katie to tell YOU her story…nothing compares).

Katie’s Dad gave Katie and her brother each a potato to peel.  Katie created a long spiral of peel…I think she said that she tried to peel the entire potato in a single peel.  (Her brother doesn’t even remember this, but Katie does.)  Her father then attached the end of her peel to a pin or a needle, suspended it by a string and then set the peel to spinning.  This image has stuck with her all of these years. (The metaphor…the image of the twirling potato peel offered up in this narrative, illuminated some very basic principles of Katie’s work…at least I think so!)

Katie spoke of Weeping Bees and Typhoon…and so much more and shared her studio space with us.  I was in awe the entire time.  I was left speechless.

P1140259 P1140261 P1140264 P1140266 P1140269 P1140270 P1140271 P1140272 P1140273 P1140275 P1140277 P1140278 P1140279 P1140281 P1140282 P1140283 P1140284 P1140287 P1140288 P1140290P1140291 P1140292 P1140293 P1140296 P1140297 P1140298 P1140299

Katie Ohe IS a poem.

A Library, Phil, Tim, Good Snacks & Lea Bucknell, Artist in Residence

P1130185I hopped on the train after Esker and Max and stopped at City Hall.  The CPL is right there on the opposite corner and as is always the story about the library, great things were happening last night.  An Artist in Residency program is under way!

Torn directly out of the social media event description…this…

The New Gallery has partnered with the Calgary Public Library to implement a special residency program. Beginning in the fall of 2013, this collaboration encourages social practices and public engagement. Lea Bucknell, the inaugural artist-in-residence, will be building a wooden structure, Graphite Mountain, at the Library’s Central Branch (616 Macleod Trail SE) to act as a place for public gathering and a venue for cartographic and drawing-based workshops.

Both poetic and playful, Graphite Mountain resembles an idealized mountain form and provides a unique and unexpected experience for library-goers. Clad in old wooden fence boards that have been cut and arranged to mimic mountain stratigraphy, the structure’s interior cavity becomes a studio for the artist during her residency. A curiosity in the library, this mountain environment collapses notions of picturesque landscapes and retreat spaces into one stand-alone structure.

I treasured conversation with former student, Tim Belliveau and his Bee-Kingdom buddy and mine, Phillip Bandura.  I also learned some new things from Lea’s talk and look forward to learning more about ‘the follies’ and participating in the various related workshops happening with the library during her residency.

P1130176 P1130186 P1130188 P1130189 P1130192 P1130194 P1130195 P1130196 P1130199 P1130201 P1130202 P1130205

Storm Gathering: Now Arrived

BOOM! Boom of thunder as I type.

It felt cozy in the studio while listening to Dave Matthew’s Band on the stereo.  It’s always wonderful to be in that space when it’s grey outside.  It just feels so warm and bright.  I noticed before I began my sanding that the birds were in a bit of a frenzy at the feeder.  I wanted to belt out a warning to them.  The neighbour across the way has an ‘outdoor cat’.  I woke this morning to watch as the cat pitched a bird up in the air over and over again, batting it viciously and then tossing it again, over and over until it lay lifeless…the cat walked away…its owner, in bathrobe, sipped from a Tim Horton’s cup and smoked a cigarette while watching.  Seems like torture to me.  She was probably saying to herself, “This is what it’s like in nature.”

I kept from talking to her about it.  I try not to razz the neighbours.  I also had to change my mindset.  I remembered Mom and Dad singing this one in the station wagon.  We all laughed about the ‘wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside ‘er’ part…guess it’s the lighter side of the predator story.

Back to the birds…they seemed to be getting a good feed before the storm!

P1120352 P1120353I heard a chickadee in the tree, but of course the little thing had to wait for the sparrows to fly off in unison at the bark of my dog and then it had its chance.

P1120356All this activity happening at the front of the house, I went out to the studio to get some stripping and sanding done.

Grey clouds were gathering, but the studio looked welcoming and the music was set to playing.

P1120359 P1120361Good physical work, music and a glass of fizzy ice water…a perfect combination for time well-spent!

Yesterday

Yesterday

Today

Today

Yesterday

Yesterday

Today

Today

Yesterday

Yesterday

Today

Today

Today

Today

I came inside to find my ‘indoor cat’ jumping off the red couch to greet me.  Life is good.

 

My Space

Photo Credit: Graham Richardson

Photo Credit: Graham Richardson

Clayton came over and took some photographs.  I still dream to collaborate on a project with the man…he’s pure genius, well, at least through my eyes.  I thought he was all of this when he stepped into my grade seven classroom many years ago.  A brilliant writer, a car enthusiast, photo journalist, student of the world.  It is nothing for him to head out in his treasured Lily or some other vehicle of choice and drive 900 miles straight (a number I pulled out of my head) or to be skidding about on a sheet of glassy ice.  He’s remarkable.  Recently, he had an assignment to capture someone in their environment.  He captured me.  Did I say that he is a connoisseur of music?  He is…and today is a Tom Petty sort of day!

Welcome into my studio space…a place I call “The Chapel” because the work, the conversations and the ideas shared in this space are sacred.

Photo Credit: Clayton Seams

Photo Credit: Clayton Seams

At the feast table with Max and a cup of coffee.  Photo Credit: Clayton Seams

At the feast table with Max and a cup of coffee. Photo Credit: Clayton Seams

Being in the Goof  Photo Credit: Clayton Seams

Being in the Goof Photo Credit: Clayton Seams

David Hockney on Lucian Freud and Scale: CBC Interview Captured While Driving

Another wonderful interview on CBC radio today, David Hockney speaking of his relationship and his experience of being subject for Lucian Freud, as well as interesting views on art, life and most interesting to me today, the concept of scale and painting to scale.

David Hockney Interview

For years, Lucian Freud has been one of my top three portrait artists, the others being Alice Neel and Attila Richard Lukacs. There is something stunning about the rich combination of colours used within the flesh tones and the soulful ‘presence’ of these artists’ figurative works.

While I only caught the final twenty minutes of the interview, I’m attempting to post the entire interview from CBC with Eleanor Wachtel here, so that we might enjoy listening to it, sort of, together.

Freud’s nude subjects may be repulsive, surprising or uncomfortable for some, but one only needs work at figure drawing consistently for four years in life drawing classes to understand the nature of that activity and to be wowwed by such results as these.

I’m including a wee bit of background here.

It’s Cold Outside

Anders Osborne…have a listen.

I guess I’ll post a photo to look at….hmmm….what/who/where comes to mind?  Once I’ve listened to  one more song, I’m going to go out and nest in the studio.

Max Lounging in the Studio

Branching Out All Over the Place!

Angel

Some people travel long distances to see beautiful places…I travel inside my head mostly.  I’ve been very challenged the past three months with a painting…just some issues of composition that kept annoying me.  I couldn’t even close my eyes at night, without seeing it…trying to resolve it.  Well, tonight I sipped some lemon-flavoured water, turned on an old Joni Mitchell cd, talked to my daughter briefly about the troubling place on the canvas….and went forward with courage!  I’ve traveled to and from this glacier a thousand times this past three months…and now I can put her to rest.  I’m celebrating and ready to go on with my Christmas time in the studio!  Time to plug in some coloured lights out there!  Take a look at ‘her’ in my most recent photo album!  Welcome to my world!
 

Angel Glacier