Saturday, April 25, 2015

Michael Gaudet - The Film - Writing, Art and Ketchup

I've been patiently waiting for this film about my long time friend and Artist Michael Gaudet. Here it is!
As a painter and a writer I sure identify with what he has to say about writing and art.

 Michael's attitude, talent and dedication to creativity is a testament to his heart and soul that can only inspire, instill happiness and give hope, to this beautiful troubled world we live in.

Friday, April 24, 2015

"Misery Loves Comedy"

I've always been a kind closet comedian.  Since I was a kid I entertained myself and my family with impersonations, animals impressions, silly walks, and other fun weird behaviours. I found it was a great stress release like opening the pressure value. It decreased the serious shit happening around me and my family. We could always have a real good laugh, and it made me feel good to get a laugh.

I could never get enough of this stuff, until finally in my mid-twenties, I met two clowns on Prince Edward Island. Seriously they were clowns, and we'd hang out doing' clown work, where I learned to juggle. It didn't take me long to figure out that I really wanted pursue the basis of theatre, and how to entertain.

So away I went back to Toronto where I'd spent a good portion of my childhood, to study Commedia dell'arte ("Comedy of Art" or "Comedy of the profession"), meaning improvised drama.

 If I'd known about Second City I would have auditioned. At this Mime school I attended, I learned that I wasn't cut out for solo performance, but worked better in groups. Drama wasn't my thing but comedy, especially improvisation, that was what I was crazy about. I still am, but I don't think I could ever perform solo, because I have too much anxiety, and stage fright.

Pretty early in life, I think I inherently understood why I was drawn to comedy, but later I began to be able to articulate for myself the reasons why. I so admire comedians that have the passion, drive, and the courage to get up on stage. In the meantime, I'll stay in the closet and entertain my friends.

Here is a new documentary film, the official trailer, to Misery Loves Comedy, written by Kevin Pollak and John Vorbaus. It looks like they've done one hell of a great job at explaining the whole miserable comedic mess. I can't wait to see the it!
You can listen to the interview that Shad had on CBC Q, with the director of the film, comedian Kevin Pollak.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Art of Michael R. Gaudet: Saskatchewan Government Awards Mural Contract

 I am going to date myself when I say I've known my good friend Michael, since way, way back in the 70s from our days as students at NSCAD, playing in a crazy band called the Suedeens. He is still the same soulful spirit who has a great passion for living life creatively to the fullest, with a big heart full of love and laughter.

I am grateful and proud to call Michael Gaudet  my friend. I want to wish him every success and blessing in his new creative adventure! I hope you will do the same in visiting his website. He's a pretty darn remarkable artist and human being!

The Art of Michael R. Gaudet: Saskatchewan Government Awards Mural Contract: About three months ago I got the head's up from a good friend that Saskatchewan Government Employees' Union (SGEU) was in the marke...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

She's Made It To The Third Round!

Carla Bonnell

My cousin Carla's made it through to the third round in CBC Searchlight Contest! She's now in the top 10 representing Northern Ontario.

I know what it means to this small town Minto New Brunswick, Maritime woman, and how very hard she's has worked to get to this point. Her father would be so, so proud of her, as are all of her family . I am so very happy she believed in herself to pursue her passion, and her dream to take this musical adventure.

Please vote and help her to make it the rest of the way!

Here's a quote from Carla.

"Thank you for getting me into the top 10 of the CBCSearchlight Contest! Its an honor to represent Northern Ontario! It would be a great honor to represent this awesome country of Canada. This final round of voting ends on April 27th at 3PM. You can vote from any country as CBC is internationally broadcasted!!
I could not have come this far without your support. I am asking for it again. You can vote several times a day if you wait a significant time between votes. You can vote from each device that you own! Lets make some history together. Please share this voting link several times a day. I will be on the road traveling to a couple of gigs in New Brunswick until the 26th. Help a girl make a dream come true! Take the Last Train to the top!
I would also like to thank the Akademia Music Awards in Los Angeles California for awarding " The Liberator" Best Country Album/Singersongwriter in the month of April. Thank you all for your daily support!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Lady of Shallot - John Atkinson Grimshaw

Lady of Shallot - John Atkinson Grimshaw
Have you ever wished you'd been born in another time and place? The land of Camelot perhaps? Do you look at certain paintings, longingly wishing to be transported there through a time machine? This is the way some paintings affect me. Creativity has the power to transcend and transport the imagination, and it is a wonderful thing!

My absolute favourite Pre-Raphealite painting is based on Lord Alfred Tennyson's poem, The Lady of Shallot and is so beautifully put to music by Lorenna McKennit. John Atkinson Grimshaw did his own exceptional  interpretation of the poem in his paintings.
John Atkinson Grimshaw 1836-1893

I've have always been particularly partial to the English landscape painter John Constable, and for that matter, passionate about the art work of all the Romantic painters.
When I look at a Constable painting, I want to be right there in those expansive English countryside fields, with the grand trees, and skies, filled with bilious stormy clouds, and maybe some Beethoven's Pastoral No 6 Symphony in the background. Just kidding about that part!

I especially admire Constable's ability to render the countryside. Besides his skill, exceptional talent, and ability to paint, the reason I identify with his subject matter, I expect has to do with my love of the land, and why I live in the countryside myself for over 20 years.

Constable's objective to express emotion through landscape was definitely accomplished as seen in his beautiful renderings, study of trees, clouds and the land. He obviously had a deep love for the land and the environment. This is why I think I identify so strongly with him.

In the past , I'd never aspired to be a landscape painter, because the undertaking impressed me as being too overwhelming, and daunting. I thought I'd surely get bored, and loose interest, or so I thought. I have since changed my opinion. I have created a few landscape paintings of the local scenes, where I live.

An artist can't help but be influenced by their environment, and have it emerge in their subject matter in some manner. There are however so many varied ways to interpret landscape. I don't know if I'll ever take up full fledged interest in landscape as a subject matter, but  I certainly do love seeing the variety of landscape painters and the myriad of expressions to be found in their art.

Today I found out about a rather overlooked artist. The Victorian-Era painter, John Atkinson Grimshaw  Sept 6-1836 - Oct 13 - 1893,  who created numerous landscapes, portraits, and some still life.  He was very influenced by the Pre-Raphealites, founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt. These painters appeal to my hopeful romantic nature. His moody atmospheric expressions of England, in the moonlight, are absolutely captivating.

Knowing my family genealogy, on my mother's side, who's family came from England, specifically Yorkshire, where many of these painting scenes were depicted by John Atkinson Grimshaw, allow me to virtually experience in a small way what it must have been like to be there in that historical time and place, which completely captures my imagination.

My most favourite Pre-Raphealite painting, The Lady of Shallot, by John William Waterhouse. Recreating in his narrative work, the Victorian poet's poem written by, Alfred Lord Tennyson. This poem was also put to music by Lorenna McKennitt.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Art Appreciation - Humble Pie

I called my good friend tonight around 7:30 p.m. I told her about a situation that had taken place earlier today. I then said, I was going to have a late supper, and that wasn't really hungry, because I'm eaten a lot of humble pie. We both laughed, but what I was talking about was serious business.

Later in the afternoon I dropped into a friends, who had done me a very big favour. We talked about this and he relayed in so many words he was hurt, because I hadn't thanked him. My generous friend, was right I'd over looked thanking him, and now I really felt like shit. It wasn't my intention to not thank him, but as they say, 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions.' I apologized profusely. I asked if he would accept my apology. He said yes he did. But as I left, walking back to my car, with my head hung low, it just didn't feel right. I felt horrible, even though he'd accepted my apology.

So many times I think for most of us, it is easy to focus on how we feel unappreciated and maybe we are, but how often do we tell  or show others how much they are appreciated. Sounds easy enough, but seems like humans find it a hard thing to do, and easy to overlook or forget about. Not a good default!

On the way back home, I thought I have to give him some art. Something that kind of hurts to give because it is cherished. I just wanted to try and make it right again between us by showing generousity, in the same way it was shown to me. When I got back home, I removed one of my paintings from the wall, in my studio, that was from a series I'd done a few years back. I am quite attached to as it has a lot of personal meaning to me.

I then immediately headed back over to his house again to present him with my painting. I was certain that he would accept and it was going to be his, and this would make us both feel better. He'd already had one of my paintings, and he is a great lover of art. But he refused to take the painting I was offering him! I pleaded and practically begged him. I wanted him to know that I really appreciated what he did, and for all that he does to help people in our community. Nope, he was not going to take it. He'd made it clear in making the the point, that all he'd wanted was a thank you , in others words to feel appreciated. He said he wasn't looking to be given anything, and stated that I should be selling my art work, not giving it away, and that I shouldn't have to do this. He said he wasn't going to take my art work when he thought I could sell it. I tried to explain that a wanted to give it too him, and it wasn't because I felt I had to give it to him. He became even more adamant, and I could see he was not going to accept this painting. What was I going to do now?

Most artists have a hard time selling their art. When you can't give it away, well that's not such a good feeling. However, under these circumstances, though my good friend wouldn't accept my painting as a gift of appreciation, he knew, because I'd made the offer that my apology and appreciation was indeed sincere, and heartfelt. This seemed to make all the difference to both of us. It was a beautiful feeling.
We both went away feeling better than any material gift would ever make us feel. I'd say my friend and I both received two gifts, that of appreciation, and especially the most precious gift, was that of friendship. 

 Besides the lesson of humility, I learned another important lesson from my friend. Never assume that someone knows you appreciate them, tell them, show them. Never assume someone knows you are sorry, tell them, show them. Appreciation comes in all forms, and it comes in the form of a simple word, that should never be overlooked. A heartfelt, thank you.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Disposable Youth - Henry A. Giroux - Hardened Cultures and The War On Youth

As a former Youth Care Worker for over 20 years, I often have used the description 'disposable youth' when referring to society's attitude toward youth. My ears picked up immediately when I heard the Ideas program tonight on CBC Radio that had scholar, Henry A. Giroux talking about " Disposable Youth ".
And here all these years I thought I'd come up with that term! Lol

Anyway this guy sure got my attention.  It is rather disturbing what he has to say, visionary really, and he brings it all into focus when it comes to the war on youth and our hardened culture.