Sunday, September 16, 2018

Puppet Master - Ricky Syers




I haven't posted for a while as I've been working my way through some serious health issues, especially as of late, specifically breast cancer. I said it out loud because it's all part of acceptance and living life on life's terms.

Deciding I want and need to pro-actively find a way to move past what I've been coming to terms with, needing to get on with the business of living life creatively and to write for my emotional sanity and health.
Creativity for most artists I believe serves many purposes that cover the gamete. The therapeutic qualities, the need to somehow escape our realities, the inherent pleasure of creating and the professional benefits all give one hope, optimism, courage, trust and a faith that all will be well.

I have used creative expression of all varieties, for all these reasons from a very young age, and am very grateful for and with the love and encouragement of others, I've been able to continue to develop my art, because I have no doubt it's saved me from despair several times throughout my life and it has empowered me. Sometimes we are unaware the power that is available to us through creativity, or perhaps we forget that this is a fundamental truth for all human beings, we are all given at the time of our birth.

As I write these words I'm feeling better already.

And so what happened this morning  is that I came across a 60 Second Doc about Ricky Syers, entitled Puppet Master that filled me with positive feelings and memories of the joy I felt as a kid when I was introduced to the magical world of Puppetry by my mother.

I so love what Ricky Syers says about Puppetry. He's obviously such a talented, gifted and compassionate man and has so much to say that we all need to hear I believe..




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Creativity Helps Us to Prepare Our Sorrows for Joy


Self Portrait - Mixed Media - Geraldine Crimmins


Lately I've been reading and writing on a site Medium.com about recovery, my own and others. These individuals whose articles I read are also very creative. They use art to heal  and work through their own recovery. All are very creative artists, who express themselves through a myriad of expressions.

Learning about new artists is one of my favourite things to do. And I have to say, I especially love finding out about artists who have been through some kind of struggle and difficult life altering experience, that seemed impossible to overcome. In spite of or perhaps because of, they not only survive but they thrive, and have become immersed  in the healing and trans-formative process of creativity.

Today I came across one such person. Geraldine Crimmons lives in the UK, is a recovering addict, was once homeless, spent time in prison for drugs and has a disability. The strength that art has given her is a true testament to the power of art to transform and heal lives.

In my other life as a Youth Care Worker for over a period of 20 years, I had the privilege of helping troubled youth express their innermost feelings and thoughts through the expression of creating art. Creating art was non-threatening, enabled them to feel safe and comfortable, to be open about who they were, and what they were going through, without having to feel overwhelmed by words that would leave them frustrated and too vulnerable when trying to verbally open up about themselves to another, especially with an adult authority figure. The words more often than not did not come, to adequately express their feelings, that had been suppressed and repressed for most of their young lives in ways that could not have been imagined by many people who'd lived a life time.

For me seeing other artists use art to heal is affirmative and empowering. I find strength through their strength and it helps to lighten my own load, and I continue to learn that there is great strength to be found in my weakness, and creativity continues to renew the human spirit.
Creativity helps us to prepare our sorrows for joy.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Blue Zone - Take The Test





Today I listened to  a guest on Marie TV who was informative and engaging. Marie' Forleo's guest was Dan Buettner, an explorer, a National Fellow and award winning author.

He defined the perimeters of happiness and longevity very well, based on specific scientific data after studying what elements determine happiness and longevity, relating to Centenarians living in what's called Blue Zones throughout the world.

The biggest insight for me, listening to what Dan Buettner said, was the realization I'm a pretty happy person for the several reasons he'd laid out. After watching, I took the free test he offers on his site and I got a A+. the first A+ I've got on any test that I can ever remember!

Twenty five plus years ago I came to the realization, I'm the only one responsible for my own happiness and well being.  At this time, I asked myself the most important life changing question. When was I the most happy? It was when I was in the country, in Nova Scotia. And so I was blessed to have found the opportunity to  purchase a place in the country, which I bought 24 years ago and it's where I live, on a river and very close to the woods and the ocean.
Our rural coastal community is very tight knit and caring. I certainly didn't arrive at this circumstance without the help and love of my family and friends. And for this I'm extremely grateful for everyday.

Gratitude for me is also what brings me happiness, appreciating the daily pleasures of life, living in the present moment, good friends, many of them life long, who I can share my heart with, and whom I can count on. This has made all the difference.

Having a sense of humour is an absolute must, remaining humble, and having a true love of humanity, for me, are the tools of life that I use to find contentment, happiness,  health of body and soul.

As an artist my sense of purpose is directly related to creativity, and living a creative life. Creativity is the word repeated in the four columns, when I ask myself what is my sense of purpose based on my values, what I like to do, what I'm good at and what I can give back.

 Finally, because I have long had a belief in a power greater than myself, prayer, trust and persistence are essential for my sense on well being and happiness.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why it's Important for Artists to Have a Written Contract




If you're an artist and you've struggled with navigating and negotiating your way through the business of selling your work or have obtained commissions or had various business transactions with clients, you are not alone. I'm certain we all have our own horror stories.

 Many artists, myself included, have frequently experienced situations where our work and education is not valued. We often put our selves into financial predicaments with those who want quality work, who appear trustworthy clients, and so you go ahead with a verbal mutual agreement on the price for a commissioned art work that you've spent hours and energy on, not to mention your formal education. In spite of this you don't get the agreed upon price, though the client  is very satisfied with the artwork you've created for them.


This experience is very demeaning and leaves you with such a sense of anger that it's hard to know who you are more angry with, the client or yourself.

First of all the most important and hard lesson to learn, is to value your own work and place the perimeters around it so you don't undersell yourself or allow clients to do just that by not having a contract. If you find yourself in this circumstance over and over you haven't learned this important lesson.

There are vital and significant reasons for a written contract which I've listed below.

1. If we have a written document it avoids he said she said arguments and is a confirmation of what and wasn't agreed upon. Written words provide clarity. Though a verbal agreement can hold up legally, the evidence is problematic as the burden of proof is on you or the client.

2. Formal business relationship establishes and clarifies the perimeters and the ground rules into writing which provides you with and your client with protection in case there is a need for some kind of legal representation in the future. Your contract will be the evidential documentation you'll need if future is legal intervention is necessary. In time we can forget what has been agreed upon in a contact. In having a written contact, your memory will be refreshed and will hold both parties accountable.

3. Providing a written and signed contract promotes the assurance needed for successful, hopefully more amicable and profitable outcome and also will cover your butt!
There is also a need to stipulate the distribution of artwork and clarify the appropriate financial compensation and shared profits made via your artwork.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

" The Shadow World Inside The Global Arms Trade





As a life long listener to CBC Radio, and in particular the program Ideas with host Paul Kennedy, of whom I am such a fan, not only because it is so very informative, but because it changes peoples lives.

Many episodes are entertaining, interesting and compelling, but in my opinion the best episodes are the kind of journalism that Chicago writer and humourist Peter Dunne once satirically described as the what newspapers do, in that they comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Although this quote is often used out of context I do believe one of the primary purposes of writers is to not simply to inform and enlighten, but to convict the conscience.

Last night I listened to one such show with Andrew Feinstein based on his documentary and book entitled The Shadow World Inside The Global Arms Trade. It was both enlightening, disturbing, and convicts the conscience, of those who have one.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Body Remembers




The Summer Solstice is an important date to me for a number of reasons, but mostly because it holds loving memories of when my late husband and I were married, in 1980. That was 38 years ago on the Summer Solstice.

When human beings experience tragic death of those they love, and the it comes round to the time when that happened, we might not be completely aware as days approach, but our bodies go into some kind of psycho-physiological state of remembering our loss or trauma. We may not notice until the date arrives especially if many years have past.

It's what's happened to me this year, but it's not that I forgot June 21st, and what it means to me, I always remember, but this year is different perhaps for a compilation of reasons. I lost two dear life long friends to cancer the past year, Father's Day came and went, which brought to surface some sad thoughts and feelings surrounding my father, who  left our family when I was 13 years old. Then, at the beginning of June I turned 65, which didn't make me sad, but more reflective of my life and my own mortality, as it's one of those big milestones in life.

This month and today I found myself sad, unmotivated, and even depressed. When telling someone you're depressed it can feel like your saying one of those really dirty words, that leaves you almost feeling the same. If people don't feel they can express to one another feelings of depression, it can cause illness, manifested in a myriad of ways. I'm very grateful to be able to write down my feelings so I can work through them and make some sense of my world. It's a kind of healing catharsis and it's important for my mental health.

I don't believe any one "gets over" the loss of a loved one, and it doesn't matter how many years it's been, or how old we get in age, the pain is still there like a healed over scar, and aches where the wound once was, on those dreary dark days. It may not be the same as when it first happened, but none the less we remember and so does our body.

Instead of keeping it to ourselves it's important to share our feelings with someone else whom we trust to understand, because they've felt similar feelings, and we can share our hope, strength and experience with each other.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Get Off That Internet!




Lots of us are concerned that our kids are spending way too much time on the internet, but as adults supposedly setting an example, with attached cell phones, and constant immediate access to the internet, we probably spend even more time online than our kids, so we can't really expect to set much of an example.

I have no cell phone, nor do I want one. Having a desk top computer is more than enough for me. Oh I get all the convenience and how cell phones even save lives and provide safety features of sorts when someone is lost or in a dangerous situation. I also see how cell phones have become an addiction, a diversion, a poor substitute for face to face communication and there are increasing security concerns that threaten our privacy.

Before writing this blog today, I got outside to prepare my garden for planting soon. I can't say I really wanted to get out there to work and could have easily opted to sit in front of my computer screen. But my body memory tells me, I'll be very happy and finding the experience very rewarding afterward and in the days to come, especially when I'm picking and preparing to eat my fresh vegetables.

Today if I'd chosen to stay inside on my device, I'd never written this post and shared this great video, co-written and performed by two of my favourite performers, Steve Poltz and Danny Michel. It's really entertaining, fun and gets the message across.

I thoroughly enjoyed my day of gardening, except for the part when the horse flies bit my butt through my pants, but I know I'll do it again tomorrow anyway.