Rumble House: March 4, 2015

I wonder how other women seem to have their ________together, especially those with young children, a career and outside-of-work volunteering and exercise programs.  I took on a contract, teaching grade three, beginning last Tuesday.  You’ve been wondering why I haven’t been writing?  Why my poetry response to each day has gone to the wayside?  Well, let me tell you, it’s a crazy life we’re living; crazy-busy, that is!  Max is still getting out to Frank’s Flats each day when I arrive home, dragging my feet and tempted to slouch on the red sofa!  We’re still out there.  And…we’re out in the middle of a field at 6:30 every morning and I drill at least twenty Frizbee throws into the darkness while Max, like a bullet, whizzes into the abyss.  These two daily events are the routines I can manage.  All else seems to be crumbling.  I laugh as I type.

Yesterday morning, I stood in line for the photo copy machine. You try to minimize the use of paper, but truly, paper is a blessing when it comes to a full day with grade three!  There was Lina (perhaps spelled wrong).  She was/is beautiful!  I was taking pause (a wait in a photo copy line just may be your only pause all day long) when I noticed how put-together she was.  A pony tail was lifted to just that perfect spot on the back of her head, speaking of youth and optimism.  YES!  Pony tails DO speak!  Accessories, colours, textures and the shoes!  I asked her, “How do you do it?”  I’m not going to spill the beans on her particular life at this time, but let’s just say, it’s a busy life she lives and while she says that she’s bubbled up inside, she expresses herself with friendliness and calm.

This gave me something to think about during the day.

Before I headed for Rumble House (late, as per usual), I captured a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror, as I washed my hands.  I looked at my reflection.  Those eyes spoke to me.  (not going to write down what they said)

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And while I was so so tempted to recline and find a good Netflix binge for the coming two hours, instead I walked to the computer in search of a reference image of a glam girl…I wanted to paint some concept of beauty, whether facade or authentic classical beauty…I wanted to explore the beauty-feminine, thinking about all of those amazing women who are so diligent in their lives to become ‘the archetype’ full-on.  I printed off a reference and headed out.

vintage womanArriving at 7:30, I grasped one of the concepts determined at the wheel…’what inspires you’ and the one and a half hour painting frenzy began.  I didn’t get a chance to say hello to Paula.  I was excited to meet up with friend, Bronwyn, from East End.  I parked my easel next to Dawn.  Priscilla came by and showed me an awesome book of portraits, flipping pages and pointing out beautiful contrasts and powerful black and whites. I met Miriam, James Young and Anna.  Enriquito gave me a big hug, as did Rich.  A couple of very friendly Shaw guys came by and interviewed me about the community,  Beatles music played in the background and voices buzzed.  There was energy and life and creation.

Thanks to Jess for purchasing this one at auction.

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At auction, I saw that many of the artists captured the ideas that were floating my boat.

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Painting by Bronwyn Schuster

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Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 30, 2013 A Perfect Day

As my readers know, last week we lost Lewis Allan (Lou) Reed.  The inspiration for last night’s painting were Lou Reed Lyrics.  I wasn’t feeling up for attending OR painting last night, but ironically enough, it was my father on some form of social media messaging, who encouraged me.  Beautiful, Dad.  It was good to paint.  Now, for the back-story on the poppies.

As a junior high teacher, I had attended, over the years, too many funerals for my students.  I have recently lost Jessica…and Sheri many years back…but so many boys, other people’s sons.  Visiting a funeral home along with other teachers, greeting families at the loss of their child, was surreal over and over again.  When Jarrett passed, I painted a show titled Pieces of Gold: A Tribute to Two Sons…and then when Chris and Peter passed in a tragic accident out highway 22X on October 22 of 1997, I began painting furiously in my studio.  One of the lines in Peter’s obituary…”One of Peter’s favourite hobbies was sketching.”

I painted large scale oriental poppies…approaching Remembrance Day that year…I simply wanted to remember.  Born in 1979, how was it possible that such young lights had been snuffed out?  I was having a very difficult time with the tragedy that other families were suffering and was fearful for my own children.  When I painted red, I painted the pain, sadness, utter joy of life and the history of children…the huge impact that they have in our lives.  No issue between children and their families can stand in the way of love.  Mothers…fathers…love your children.  Do the best you can.

1997

1997

1997

1997

I saw my work as a tribute and felt that I could ‘work’ the struggle away.  Recently, a dear friend mentioned my poppy paintings…the Red Green Show came to mind, so it was only instinct that as a tribute to Lou Reed, I paint a poppy and after months of neutral colour, at the loss of Mom, I squeezed red out onto my palette.

I wrote the complete lyrics to A Perfect Day in gold text from top to bottom.  The words poured out of me.  With white chalk, I sketched in the two blooms…one about to burst open and shed it’s protective cover, the other, fully open.  Thank you to Phil and Laila who purchased the piece at auction.  Remember.

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Phil and Laila

Phil and Laila

Songwriters: JAMES, TIM / ARMATO, ANTONINA

 

Just a perfect day
drink Sangria in the park
And then later
when it gets dark, we go home

Just a perfect day
feed animals in the zoo
Then later
a movie, too, and then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spend it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day
problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
it’s such fun

Just a perfect day
you made me forget myself
I thought I was
someone else, someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh, such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on
You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow
You’re going to reap just what you sow

Gorilla House LIVE ART: October 16, 2013

Rosa Lone Woman Heavy Breast, daughter of Calf Robe and First Strike, wife of Owen Heavy Breast of the Pikuni Blackfeet collides with the words from the Bee Meeting by Sylvia Plath.

I was late, as is usual these days.  I couldn’t find a sheet of 1/4″ plywood…a disappointment…but purchased the 1/2″ thickness instead.  I wanted to paint a female this evening. I chose Rosa Lone Woman Heavy Breast. Her name described my present state of mind.  I liked her posture…her ease…the enjoyment of sitting ‘in this photograph’ having a smoke.

I worked from a photograph that exists in a collection of eight negatives.

Title Mrs. Heavy Breast
Subject Photography Negatives
Blackfeet (USA)
Blackfeet (USA) – Personalities
Blackfeet (USA) – Women
Blackfeet (USA) – Clothing
Siksika
Description A Blackfeet woman wearing an elk teeth dress and earrings, sitting down and smoking. Note: Photograph of a photograph.
Creator Thomas B. Magee, 1862-1930; Henry L. Magee, 1896-1966
Contributors University of Lethbridge
Date c. 1910-1945

The story of her husband, Owen Heavy Breast is located on the Blackfeet Digital Library.

Father: Heavy Breast
Mother: Tall Nose
Wife: Rosie Heavy Breast (Lone Woman) No children.

Owen and his wife Rosie were successful farmers and ranchers. Owen and his wife had two Medicine pipe bundles, a Horned Weasel Headdress & a Weasel Shirt. Owen was also a member of the Shriners of Montana and the Masons of which he was very proud. Owen was very well known not only within the tribe but also with many outside officials. He often traveled with delegations around the United States.

Last evening, at the Gorilla House, I incorporated RED and this is of huge significance to me, given that I’ve been painting in very muted and neutral palettes since we lost my Mom.  Interesting though, I had squeezed out some red on my palette last week during one of my prayer times at the feast table.  I was praying a new layer of my prayer mandala at the time.  I hadn’t thought about any of this until this morning.  In fact, Rosa is painted in a very similar palette to the mandala.  The act of painting is contributing to my healing…I know it.

P1130464If my readers will bear with me, I am posting the Bee Meeting in its entirety, but the truly impacting words offered up as a Battle concept last evening, came from page 51 of Plath’s Selected Poems…the final stanza.  While I will not go into the details of how I relate with the words of this poem, suffice it to say that I experience ‘recognition’ as I read the complete poem.  The following text, in blue, is written on the panel.

I am exhausted, I am exhausted –
Pillar of white in a blackout of knives.
I am the magician’s girl who does not flinch.
The villagers are untying their disguises, they are shaking hands.
Whose is that long white box in the grove, what have they accomplished,
why am I cold.

The Bee Meeting

Who are these people at the bridge to meet me? They are the
villagers—–
The rector, the midwife, the sexton, the agent for bees.
In my sleeveless summery dress I have no protection,
And they are all gloved and covered, why did nobody tell me?
They are smiling and taking out veils tacked to ancient hats.

I am nude as a chicken neck, does nobody love me?
Yes, here is the secretary of bees with her white shop smock,
Buttoning the cuffs at my wrists and the slit from my neck to my knees.
Now I am milkweed silk, the bees will not notice.
Thev will not smell my fear, my fear, my fear.

Which is the rector now, is it that man in black?
Which is the midwife, is that her blue coat?
Everybody is nodding a square black head, they are knights in visors,
Breastplates of cheesecloth knotted under the armpits.
Their smiles and their voices are changing. I am led through a beanfield.

Strips of tinfoil winking like people,
Feather dusters fanning their hands in a sea of bean flowers,
Creamy bean flowers with black eyes and leaves like bored hearts.
Is it blood clots the tendrils are dragging up that string?
No, no, it is scarlet flowers that will one day be edible.

Now they are giving me a fashionable white straw Italian hat
And a black veil that molds to my face, they are making me one of them.
They are leading me to the shorn grove, the circle of hives.
Is it the hawthorn that smells so sick?
The barren body of hawthorn, etherizing its children.

Is it some operation that is taking place?
It is the surgeon my neighbors are waiting for,
This apparition in a green helmet,
Shining gloves and white suit.
Is it the butcher, the grocer, the postman, someone I know?

I cannot run, I am rooted, and the gorse hurts me
With its yellow purses, its spiky armory.
I could not run without having to run forever.
The white hive is snug as a virgin,
Sealing off her brood cells, her honey, and quietly humming.

Smoke rolls and scarves in the grove.
The mind of the hive thinks this is the end of everything.
Here they come, the outriders, on their hysterical elastics.
If I stand very still, they will think I am cow-parsley,
A gullible head untouched by their animosity,

Not even nodding, a personage in a hedgerow.
The villagers open the chambers, they are hunting the queen.
Is she hiding, is she eating honey? She is very clever.
She is old, old, old, she must live another year, and she knows it.
While in their fingerjoint cells the new virgins

Dream of a duel they will win inevitably,
A curtain of wax dividing them from the bride flight,
The upflight of the murderess into a heaven that loves her.
The villagers are moving the virgins, there will be no killing.
The old queen does not show herself, is she so ungrateful?

I am exhausted, I am exhausted –
Pillar of white in a blackout of knives.
I am the magician’s girl who does not flinch.
The villagers are untying their disguises, they are shaking hands.
Whose is that long white box in the grove, what have they accomplished,
why am I cold.

3 October 1962

Thanks to Cheryl Todd Shergold who generously purchased last week’s, Chief Eagle Calf and last night’s Rosa at auction!  Thanks also to Tyler who has recommended for us the reading of Black Elk Speaks by John G. Niehardt  While this section of my personal library is swollen and moving beyond the shelf, this is one that I’ve intended to read for years.

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Photo Credit: Cheryl Todd Shergold  Two treasures find their way into an inspiring artist's studio.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Todd Shergold Two treasures find their way into an inspiring artist’s studio.

“You have noticed that the truth comes into this world with two faces. One is sad with suffering, and the other laughs; but it is the same face, laughing or weeping. When people are already in despair, maybe the laughing face is better for them; and when they feel too good and are too sure of being safe, maybe the weeping face is better for them to see.”
Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux

Poems for e. New work by Carl White

Last evening I attended an opening at Jarvis Hall Fine Art, Poems for e by Carl White. This was an exquisite collection of works, with such subtleties and interesting nuances, I was captivated. The use of line, the variety of surfaces and the elegant incorporation of the written word had me smitten! Get down to this exhibit!

White Paint - the artwork of Carl White

Poems for e. New work by Carl White

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Gorilla House LIVE ART: May 22, 2013

An evening spent in conversation with Vincent Varga…wowsah!  This was a surprise.  I guess this was some sort of an artist’s profile experience at the Gorilla House.  I arrived as per usual sometime around six thirty.  The gorillas were sitting on the front step.  It was a grey evening, but the air was beautiful.  I was anticipating PAINTING because I had missed last week, pushed down into covers with a chest cold, and while I had good intentions around the studio this week, I ended up spending more time in the garden in the sunshine than anything else.

The guys told me that I was on film…”Go back to the bushes, they said.” Take TWO!  So funny.  I don’t know what I talked about while I painted, but I really truly didn’t shut up.  The thing was…I was super focused on what I wanted to paint about and so to have a conversation was likely going to distract a little from that.  Vincent, though, was a natural and his interview questions were endearing and brought up a lot of stuff for me.  As I left at the end of the evening I was thinking about a lot of things.

First: My intentions for the evening.

Earlier in the month, I wrote about an exceptional book written by Joseph Marshall III.  I know it’s had a huge impact on me and unless I can get some of it worked out of my system, I’m afraid I’m going to somehow ‘contain’ the content and I feel that I need to express it, not hold on to it.  The Day the World Ended at Little Bighorn: A Lakota History is a book for everyone.

First Nations Artist, George Littlechild, has recently put me in touch with a huge archive of old photographs posted here.  When I saw an album posted of the Sicangu Lakota, I knew that I wished to portray one of the many people captured in the collection. When I heard the themes for the evening, I was especially happy because the third concept selected was pulled out of a BC comic strip, “struggle to defend himself and justify his place in the universe.”  GO!

I chose, out of a number of references, to use a photograph of Tacha Sinte Sapa (aka Black Tail Deer) the husband of Nite Win (aka Hip Woman) of the Oglala Lakota.  No date was available on the photograph and certainly, in the end, I did not capture much of a likeness.  I DO know however, that I am going to paint Black Tail Deer again.  I began, as I typically do when painting a portrait, by turning the image upside down.  In this way, I do not focus on capturing THAT likeness, but rather, focus on the forms of dark and light, this after writing out the last paragraph from Marshall’s book.

“True,” the grandfather replied, “but like all stories, it has a lesson.  You can be like the young man in my story who forgot where he came from.  Or you can choose never to forget who you are, and where you are from.”

While I painted, I talked to Vincent about my father…about endangered species…about rose hip tea and cactus berries…the gorilla house…about painting and recollections of small pots of oil paint, the smell of linseed oil.  It seems that I’ve had quite a history and Marshall’s words were coming to life in me as I painted.  I can not forget who I am.  I can not forget where I have been.  Notions of place, identity and memory permeate my work consistently.  It took talking about it to figure that out.

There were some wonderful conversations that circled my easel.  Thanks to all of the people who seem to care hugely about these same issues that concern me.

Thanks to Ryan for your generous purchase of this piece at auction.  It was a wonderful thing to learn afterwards that you are working with folk who are marginalized by their addictions and struggling to rise above them.  I mean it.  Phone me and I will deliver some volunteer art programs and do some portrait work with your gaggle!

Thanks to Jenn Arguin for archives.

Thanks to Vincent Varga, for expanding my heart.

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Tacha Sinte Sapa (aka Black Tail Deer) the husband of Nite Win (aka Hip Woman) of the Oglala Lakota

Ryan and Gabriel

Ryan and Gabriel

Ryan and Kath

Ryan and Kath

May 22 GHouse

Ryan lowers the veil.

Ryan lowers the veil.

It’s Lent and I’m Still Making Christmas Cards

A process, well documented.  Every so often, we have to blog something on the ‘lighter’ side.  When I considered writing my Christmas cards in January two years ago, it was because of the hour-long line up at the post to buy my stamps that year.  New Years Christmas wishes went well for the following year.  This year, not so much.  Those of you on my list might have noticed that I have always enjoyed a home made touch…and this year, that went snaky.  I have documented the process.  Now, I have only to fold the letters and address the envelopes.  I have 92 pieces remaining so that I may continue to make cards to complete this conceptual piece…these will be shared with friends and family who have not been on my annual list.  In my imagination, I see you all getting together one day, to reconstruct the painting that you see here.

Christmas Card 2

It all began with a landscape…

I really treasure the memory of my grandfather…drives west to Cardston, from Magrath.  The mission: to pick up a hard ice cream cone.  I treasure the Oldman River…I fought against the dam.  I used to flow milkweed pods on the water…watch them drift, ever so slowly away from me.  I love reading…and writing…magpies.  I am nostalgic, sometimes painfully so.  I believe that we are all connected…that nothing we do is for us alone, but that it all relates…our words, our actions…our treatment of our environment.  I have an artist soul…painting is not optional, but essential to who I am.  I am utterly convinced of the Divine nature of everything…and treasure the Divine in myself.  I hold fast to my faith, especially when I am challenged.  I journey like a lost pup in a very huge world and love it all.  Family; my three children…my sister…my three brothers…my mother and father and all my ancestors are in me as I move through this big world and I am grateful for them, as I breath.

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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.

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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.

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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,

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“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

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Gorilla House LIVE ART Battle: December 12, 2012

Another cold and blustery night…somewhere around -23 degrees.  Believe it or not, Max and I headed out to the off leash park and played several rounds of whizzo (frisbee) before his feet got cold and I felt the bite of the icy wind.  When we returned home, I went out to the studio and prepped my panel with the application of a layer of brown paper, crumpled, dunked into water and then applied with gloss medium. This would give me an interesting surface to work with and would dry nicely before the start of the battle.  Sometimes (like last week) I find two hours is just NOT enough time for my process…too many steps…so, the prep on the panel removes some anxiety.

Before I left, I cooked up a can of beans and served them on toast, along with a fried egg and sliced tomato.  There is nothing like a substantial supper-hour breakfast to make you feel energized.  I headed out into the wintry night with my panel and art supplies.  The Gorilla House and good friends were waiting.

The themes of the evening were 1. Yes and 2. Genius.  I chose to focus on the affirmation.  I have been processing/incubating a concept around Fibonacci and his ‘magical’ Rabbit sequence.  I have been conceptualizing about a series of rabbit paintings.  I’ve been drawing them…a bit of painting…but most of all, getting the content ready around this body of work.  YES!!!

Fibonacci’s Sequence and Rabbits!

The rabbit, itself, has been an image/symbol that’s come up for me a lot in life…and in dreams. I will try, at some point, to find a link to former blog posts on this subject (afterall, I’ve been writing since 2005…there has to be something here about my thing for rabbits) HERE. Rabbits find their way into a complex system of tunnels and can manage their way through these sorts of cave dwellings.  Wild rabbits (and my series will feature domesticated rabbits released into the wild) naturally change colour with the seasons.  At times, they seem to offer themselves as food for prey such as coyotes and the like.  Within them, there is the sense of surrender…also, the sense of YES.

I chose as an underpinning for this painting, the Sylvia Plath poem, The Rabbit Catcher.

It was a place of force—
The wind gagging my mouth with my own blown hair,
Tearing off my voice, and the sea
Blinding me with its lights, the lives of the dead
Unreeling in it, spreading like oil.

I tasted the malignity of the gorse,
Its black spikes,
The extreme unction of its yellow candle-flowers.
They had an efficiency, a great beauty,
And were extravagant, like torture.

There was only one place to get to.
Simmering, perfumed,
The paths narrowed into the hollow.
And the snares almost effaced themselves—
Zeros, shutting on nothing,

Set close, like birth pangs.
The absence of shrieks
Made a hole in the hot day, a vacancy.
The glassy light was a clear wall,
The thickets quiet.

I felt a still busyness, an intent.
I felt hands round a tea mug, dull, blunt,
Ringing the white china.
How they awaited him, those little deaths!
They waited like sweethearts. They excited him.

And we, too, had a relationship—
Tight wires between us,
Pegs too deep to uproot, and a mind like a ring
Sliding shut on some quick thing,
The constriction killing me also.

A powerful, but dark poem, students of English have analyzed this work and other poems by Sylvia Plath with great interest and curiosity over the years.  She was a wonder of a writer who looked carefully at the most ordinary moments in a woman’s day and her struggle to love and be loved.  Fundamentally, I was looking at the feminine ‘YES’ as I painted.

Thank you to Ann, for generously purchasing this painting at auction.  And it was great to have Rylan join us for the battle last night.  I’m including a photo of his work here.

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Rylan's Work: Charcoal on raw canvas.

Rylan’s Work: Charcoal on raw canvas.

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Gorilla House LIVE ART: November 28, 2012

It was a blustery night and the temperature was falling quickly.  My eyes watered as Max and I hiked around the pond before dusk, the tears forming crystals on my eye lashes. When I walked to the van and loaded up my supplies, a biting wind hit my face.  It was difficult to get motivated and head out onto the Deerfoot, but with thoughts of comradery (Try spelling THAT word and get it right the first time…in fact spell check is still telling me it is wrong!  Alternative spelling: camaraderie.) and painting under pressure of time and interpretation, tentative thoughts turned quickly to excitement.

The themes for last night’s painting were, as is typical, random! 1. Trust is the daughter of Truth (This concept became my focus and a note here, looking at the internet this morning, much is written about Truth being the daughter of Time…so there you go!) 2. “The stranger was sensed as the greatest menace in ancient communities.”  This, from The Only Published Poetry of Jim Morrison: The Lords/The New Creatures, and 3. From Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, “Enjoy captivity”.

I prepared my panel at home, sanding lightly and then pulling a ground of burnt umber, burnt sienna and gloss medium over the surface.  I incorporated two pieces of my mother’s sewing patterns…keeping them front and center and creating a nice surface for my evening image.

When I heard the list of concepts, I knew that I wanted to explore the idea of trust being the daughter of truth.   I still haven’t wrapped my head around the performance piece that I witnessed this past weekend, where my daughter, at the end, was shorn.  Her beautiful copper hair was left on a make shift altar, surrounded by words of poetry.  It was a very powerful experience and in some ways, a huge statement about vulnerability and trust.

To begin with, I attached a couple of collage bits…and worked in some ultramarine blue washes, to push the umber into a darker plane.  I chose a small passage from the book of James and a vintage illustration from one of my books.

Birds navigate using the sun and the stars.

Blessed is the person who perseveres in spite of trial.

I was a bit distracted by the crowds last night and found that ultimately, I had to turn my panel upside down so that I stopped feeling the pressure to make this about two figures, but just to go searching instead for dark and light shapes.  This is an exercise that I had once practiced, creating a depiction of the Pieta in charcoal with my students.  It worked for them…it might work for me.  I found this idea years ago in the book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Dr. Betty Edwards.  Doing this, I could continue to chat with the evening’s participants.

Some folk would step up and say quietly, “If being here bothers you, just let me know.”

This gave me pause…I realized how much this process has changed for me and how painting and creating has become a very public thing for me now…less precious or intimidating.  The public experience of LIVE ART has opened up the dialogue and truly removed the art from the walls and put it into the hands of all of us.  Interesting.

Thank you to Kevin who purchased this generously at auction and if Kevin or Geoff (Jeff) are reading this, would they please e mail me the photographs…especially the one of Kevin and me with the painting as I didn’t collect one of my own.  It was so good to have Andy back…and to see Lauraine and Wendy, along with several new folk.  I would like to credit Calgary photographer, Aran Wilkinson Blanc , for the reference I used for this painting.  Clearly, the pose of the figures bears some similarity.

One beautiful image! Photo credit Aran Wilkinson Blanc of Calgary

Weekend Blessing #2: Inspiring Art Journals

One Book One Calgary, sponsored by the Calgary Public Library offers a whole range of wonderful programs and session surrounding this year’s book selection, The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha.  I chose to attend a session Saturday morning, along with my cousin, at the Thornhill Branch…Inspiring Art Journals.  What a blast!  the Session presenters were Meredith and Jann of the Fibre Optics Group.

It was so generous that we were each gifted a visual journal through the One Book One Calgary initiative.  Then we received a whole variety of hands on activities and approaches to creating our own personal art journals.  It was a very relaxing time and an hour and a half swooshed by so quickly.  I’m posting here some pages that I found particularly beautiful in both Jann and Meredith’s journals.

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A wee site that might be of interest to the natural doodlers in my reader list, might be this one.  This was my initiation into the concept of zentangle.

From this session, Margy and I headed to the Calgary Waldorf School for an afternoon exploring crafts, woodwork, art, fabrics, wool and pottery.  We had a great time looking at all of the beautiful home made products and chatting with the artists and artisans.  It was spectacular.  One of my main reasons for heading up to this event was to support my friend, Belinda Fireman, who is an exceptional artist who I’ve connected with through the Gorilla House.

Belinda is a featured artist in the book, Journal It! Perspectives in Creative Journaling by Jenny Doh.  I was very excited to purchase one of these books and a couple of other knick knacks at her booth and what a remarkable one it was!  Thanks for the inscription in the front of my book, Belinda!  I’m going to have a blast exploring some of the ideas.  I love it when words and art connect!

Photo Credit: Belinda Fireman