The Colours That You Mix

It’s a very other-worldly feeling to be journeying life through a pandemic.  In the grocery stores, yesterday, I felt to be plunked into the opening scenes of a Sci-Fi movie.  Sometimes a person just has to find a way to ground themselves when all else; health, economy, events and travel are floundering.  I almost feel that this is a guilty pleasure in these times…writing about children and painting.  But in doing this, I feel like a rope has been tied around my ankles…someone is tugging…and I am easing my way, like an overfilled balloon… coming to rest on the ground.  This is what I do.

At one time, I wrote about painting with Green in March.

This year, my friend, Claudia, inspired me by the painting she did with her students.  My practice, as a guest teacher, is to promote painting with children.  It can be so messy…there is the preparation and there is the clean-up…but Claudia doesn’t shy away from any of that.  She is a remarkably inspiring Div 1 teacher.  Thank you, Claudia!

After seeing the results of Claudia’s art lesson, I went out into a Div 1 classroom and painted the very next week.

And following that, Gillian also painted with little ones.  Gillian has had a long and accomplished career as an educator and she is also not one to shy away from paint.

I wanted to post all of these resulting paintings at the same time in order to illustrate the variety that can be achieved with paint….same concept…same lesson…but, each and every painting is unique and each of the three sets of paintings is using a different palette of green.  If you look about the hallways of elementary schools, if you see that there is a sameness about the works that children create, there is the possibility that their outcomes have been engineered to be close-ended; it also means that the means to get there may have been closed. (the trouble with most Pinterest activities) Try letting go, just a little, at first.  The resulting projects may not be as predictable, but this is what creativity and visual art should excite in children.

Children are magical.  May they be safe and may their teacher’s be safe through these trying times.  Happy March!  Happy GREEN!

Claudia’s Palette.  (I didn’t include images of students painting because their little faces were in the photos.)

Kath’s Palette.

Gillian’s Palette

First Stop: Framed on Fifth

My sister-cousin-friend, Margy, and I headed down for our Love Art in Calgary Tour with Wendy Lees yesterday morning, after a nice casual start to the day. Wendy’s signature hot coffee and freshly baked coffee cake were waiting.

P1150730Our first experience was had at Framed on Fifth and a meeting with Hannah White.  From the website,  “Hannah is a University of Guelph graduate with a Fine Arts degree. Framed on Fifth’s owner Hannah White offers a high level of craftsmanship and an excellent eye for colour and proportion. She is an artist and stone carver with over 15 years experience in framing and design.  She opened Framed on Fifth in March of 2011 at the location formerly known as Sheppard Fine Art Services.”

P1150752P1150734Representing local and emerging artists from as far away as Edmonton, there are regular exhibits and openings hosted in this location.  There is an intimate feeling as you step into the space.  Hannah shared this comfortable and warm feeling;  likely the big draw to Framed on Fifth!

Presently on exhibit, Jane Newman’s work.  She is a Banff artist who incorporates mixed media into most of her works, both sculptural and two dimensional collages.  I was fascinated when I got home last evening, exploring Jane’s Blogspot and learning about her processes, artistically, in writing and in horticultural design.  I encourage my readers to take a browse.

I really enjoy that this artist incorporates magical ‘finds’, both natural and person-made, into her works.  The multi-dimensional aspects are very engaging.  I particularly love the piece, all mothers.  Thank you to Hannah for being so engaging and for giving us opportunity to explore a new space.  I hope to make it down for some of the openings.

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Gorilla House LIVE ART Battle: February 27, 2013

I wasn’t up for rushing on Wednesday night…so I took my time, arriving about fifteen minutes before the spin.  My spiritual offering for the night would be from Isaiah 11: 6-9.

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. 7 The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. 9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

This had nothing to do with the serendipitous fact that we were moving out of February and into March, purely coincidence, as it would turn out and so now, as I write, I ponder this…

“If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb?”

The three concepts that flew off the wheel on Wednesday were…

1. From The Little Prince by Ste. Exupery…”I discovered an extraordinary little boy.”
2. Time Machine
3. From Henry Rollin’s Solipsist, “Gonna dye my hair.  Gonna pierce my face.  Gonna get me some tattoos.”

I didn’t even think about these…just went forward with the inscription of Lewis Carroll’s words and Isaiah 11…and pulled out my new intense watercolour pencils.  These didn’t produce the desired effect, although I managed to create a bit of texture and some nice line into the background.  Shortly after, I pulled out my acrylic paints.  I will use my pencils another time,  in my sketchbook where I have a better tooth and a white surface.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass


It was a pretty focused evening of painting…even peaceful.  Again, there were several new people.  I especially enjoyed chatting with Mark and Victoria, driving all the way from Silverado.

I treasured time visiting with Elijah…it’s been a long time since catching up.  Thanks for the hug, Rich and for the story of your son…and for the most beautiful painting.  Thank you, also, to Tony for purchasing my piece at auction.

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Peaceable Kingdom by Patti Smith

Yesterday I saw you standing there With your hand against the pane
Looking out the window At the rain

And I wanted to tell you That your tears were not in vain
But I guess we both knew We’d never be the same
Never be the same

Why must we hide all these feelings inside?
Lions and lambs shall abide

Maybe one day we’ll be strong enough To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom Back again
Build it back again

Why must we hide all these feelings inside? Lions and lambs shall abide

Maybe one day we’ll be strong enough To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom Back again
Maybe one day we’ll be strong enough To build it back again
Build the peaceable kingdom Build it back again

Build the peaceable kingdom Build it back again

John Snow House and the New Gallery

I was really happy to be spending time with my girls at the John Snow House last evening…celebrating dance and the Watering Hole project, art, music and poetry.  It’s always a great thing when creative people, in all forms, connect.  The venue itself brought up lots of memories for me and I felt as though the Snow home was spilling over with positivity.

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I graduated from highschool in Great Falls, Montana.  I had enjoyed the experience of power-house educators…among them, Kathy Rice and Dwight Winenger.

A Most Wonderful English Teacher

Rice Family Scholarship Endowment

Kathy Rice created this endowment in 2003 to provide funds for the Foundation’s Healthcare Scholarship Program. Kathy is a founding and current member of the Benefis Health System Foundation Board of Directors and gives generously of her time and monetary resources in support of the Foundation. She is a former teacher and business owner and is dedicated to helping students who are pursuing careers as healthcare providers.

Dwight Winenger Photo credit: Willie Black

Dwight Winenger is currently the Founder of The Living Music Foundation and Webmaster of the Living Music Web Site. He is a composer and theorist, a painter, sculptor, and commercial artist. Dwight plays trombone and piano and has been known to play french horn, clarinet, percussion, and recorder. He is a writer, mostly in english, and an editor, speaking some spanish and some danish. Winenger taught music, art, english, and spanish for several years. It is an awesome thing to go and dig around in my portfolio to find a calendar that Mr. Winenger had silkscreened in 1973.  It is also cool to see this piece’s relevance to his body of work, once viewing the gallery piece produced in 1972. (Hmmm…I note that this photo includes a copyright, so will have to wait for the appropriate permission)

Silkscreened Calendar by Dwight Winenger 1973

Even though I lived in the west, there was evidence of racial segregation in the school’s cafeteria.  Hard to believe!  Given that I was Canadian, I crossed those boundaries regularly, something that caused some heads to turn.  I left Great Falls with a notion that the world was a larger place than previously thought and perhaps that was due to my age, more than anything.  These were the booming years, though, for the United States and programs were well-funded, across the spectrum.  My mind was opened up to politics and religious discourse.  I was excited by the arts: drama, music and visual arts.  I was struck by the need to always carry ‘a cause’ in my heart.  Even in 1973, citizens were wearing MIA bracelets after the horrendous years of the Vietnam war.

I moved to Canada in 1973, but stayed west (Lethbridge, Alberta) when my family moved east (North Bay, Ontario).  Given my place on the edge of the Oldman River and meeting people like Larry Weaver, Charlie Crane and Pauline McGeorge, my life continued to open up to new discoveries, ideas and purpose.  I think that 1973 was a year of tremendous significance for me, by the choices I made as a young adult and for the huge influences on my life.  I continue to be grateful to the fine teachers who generated a desire in me, to make every day count.

University Residence…my space above the river. 1973