Thursday, March 31, 2011

Painting On Photography



This week we had a visit from the curator of The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography who gave a wonderful presentation of archival photographs by Canadian photographers.

I was so excited to see how some Canadian photography and painting was presented by some artists in a synthesis together as complete works of art. I find this fusion of both media very compelling, because it puts in to question the divisiveness between the two mediums. I am excited to find out more and would love to explore this further in my own art practice in my upcoming 4Th year studio.
The work of painting on photography I have posted is from the site by an artist Karl Zipser.
Unfortunately during the presentation I didn't write down the names of the Canadian artists who are doing this kind of work. I didn't bring my pen or paper. That's always an important habit to have during presentations!




Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Kevin Yates, Ai Weiwei

Today in Canadian Art History we had a special guest come to lecture on Installation Art. It was a very engaging and informative presentation given by Professor Leah Garnett, who presently teaches Open Media and Art Seminar. She gave an in depth and expansive explanation of the historical development of sculpture, which up to the 19th century had been represented as monument, paying homage to important historical figures.

Leah gave an overview of several contemporary installation artists and sculptures. I was particularly curious about Kevin Yates, upon finding out he had been a furniture maker in the past, before studying art. His great attention to fine detailed craftsmanship is very evident in his work and not surpassed by his imagination.
I greatly appreciate art created by artists who have a craft sensibility that lends connects itself to craft in the sense that reminds you of the workmanship of the traditional guild.

Kevin Yates sculpture transcends, transforms the past into future and simultaneously captures a moment in time that informs our precarious human condition, depicting the ordinary, somewhat fearful present, the future, in mystery and untold stories.
The discussion at the end of the our class was very lively and thought provoking and continued on in Art Seminar class that followed.

We watched a a video about Ai Weiwei the amazing installation artist that changed many lives and a village. I have included the link in his highlighted name. He is very compassionate, amazing and inspiring artist.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Art Is A Work Of Love


I don't believe, as some artists do, that collaboration with other artists or with scientists is the answer to today's problems in art. I feel that the essential nature of art is oneness or aloneness. I am convinced that the heroic quality of all great art of the past was achieved because one man's libido was involved. l suppose the only thing that l really took with me from art school was a teacher's remark that "art is a work of love". - Hugh Leroy

Politics

Well here we go again with another election. I am a rather apolitical person with a social conscience. I have heard it said as an artist and a human being everything we do is political in some way. I tend to believe this to be indeed true. Even apathy is a political statement.

As an artist and a citizen living within society I can't afford to be complacent or apathetic.
I have no desire to be the guilty bystander. It is difficult to reconcile oneself to this when it comes election time in Canada. People are cynical and fed up with the inaction of politicians and their inability to relate to the common working man or women as they generally appear to live in ivory towers, squabbling among them selves about who is right or wrong and taking the moral high ground. When it comes to politicians I think most folks would see this description of politicians taking the moral high ground as being an oxymoron.

So the inevitable question I am left with once again, is who to vote for and as an artist and a struggling student when I think about it, I have to consider the lesser of four evils or the one that comes close to my concerns as an artist and as a Canadian.

All I have to say is, I will once again vote.

God help me and our country.


“It is true, political problems are not solved by love and mercy. But the world of politics is not the only world, and unless political decisions rest on a foundation of something better and higher than politics, they can never do any real good for men. When a country has to be rebuilt after war, the passions and energies of war are no longer enough. There must be a new force, the power of love, the power of understanding and human compassion, the strength of selflessness and cooperation, and the creative dynamism of the will to live and to build, and the will to forgive. The will for reconciliation.” - from Introductions East & West. The Foreign Prefaces of Thomas Merton






Sunday, March 27, 2011

Canadian Sculpture/ Installation Art

I realized going over my blog entries I had over looked writing about Canadian Sculptors, and Installation art, which are class lecture topics in my Canadian Art History class, 1960 to present. How typically Canadian of me!

I have been thinking why it is I seem not to be so interested in Canadian sculpture, or Installation Art. Truthfully for me there are not a whole lot of notable sculptors or installation artists that come to mind. That does not mean they do not exist! It's really based on my own ignorance. Call it a character defect and why I have returned to finish my Fine Art degree.
However that said, I think I am more interested in sculptors and installation artists, as artists generally, as opposed to the actual work. I am drawn to learning about their practice and creative processes that go into the ideas and ideology behind the work and why it is relevant to them.

I had the privilege of having a wonderful Canadian sculpture teacher and practicing sculptor in the past by the name of Hugh Leroy. I have to say I produced some of my best work while studying under him. After researching him further I was pleased and rather amazed to have found out that he studied under Arthur Lismer. He was a wonderful teacher and human being and I would consider him to be another one of those heuristic teachers I have referred to in previous posts.
Some time ago I was looking for information about Hugh Leroy and found a wonderful tribute to him on a blog by a fellow who was also a student of his. He had done this beautiful portrait of Hugh, as he was retiring from York University.

Another teacher I had the great fortune of studying with was Krzysztof Wodiczko , who is an installation artist doing large projections that are politically and socially charged. His work reflects his strong social conscience, that I greatly admire. His passion for life and dedication to his art as a vehicle for change is only surpassed by his humble nature and compassion for his fellow human beings.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Art Art


A friend sent me this quote by Arnold Weinstein from his book. I really like it, and I need to read this guys books! I found a site to down load the e-book, A Scream Goes Through The House. I myself prefer reading the hard copy book then the virtual.

Art honors what is best in feeling, pith and keenness of sensation, radiance of thought, enchantment of the heart. Art restores us to full circulation. Arnold Weinstein -- A Scream Goes Through The House


Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Painting




This is my most recent painting, egg tempera on wood, I did today. My reference was from one of those old black and white family photos that I think everyone cherishes. The photo, I figure was taken in the 1942, prior to my brother and I being born. My mum and dad were courting. My father was in the army and is in his uniform. My mother was by this time a working woman, as a secretary. It's very endearing to me, because they are simply a beautiful couple, in love, having a picnic, who happen to be my mother and father.
This is the first time I have ever done a painting of my parents. I intend to do another of my brother. It feels good to be doing paintings of my family that I love.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What I Want Art To Do?


We were asked by our Art Seminar Professor to express what we want art to do.

I'm not sure I want art to do anything. I know I want to do or create art, and most times I think I know what kind of art I want to create. But for me, it's about creativity and all that it entails, which I think it is somewhat ineffable because I do think creativity is defined individually for each person. I can only speak for myself.

Creativity for me, functions on a very intuitive level and comes from the spiritual resource that is a wellspring of creativity that I have faith and belief in. My own creativity only flourishes and is contingent on my own effort, imagination and consciousness to maintain a regular creative practice that can be manifested but not limited to, dance, visual arts such a painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, writing, music, and dramatic performance.

Many folks are very creative in thought and imagination without having to express it in the arts, and sometimes without even being aware they are creative. They believe they have no knowledge of or have forgotten , that we are all born with the gift of creativity.

It saddens me when I hear people state they haven't any creative ability whatsoever. I often hear the proverbial comment. "I can't draw a straight line." Their definition art is whether or not they can draw a straight line.

Rather than addressing what I want art to do, I would pose the question to those who say they can't draw a straight line and have no thought, belief in or hope in their own ability to be creative, what do they want art to do? If they do not know, then I would challenge them to explore their own creativity definition and learn about their own creative process.

If everyone took the opportunity to allow themselves this is inner exploration, art wouldn't have to do anything but be what it is and people would be living a creative life of their own. That's my utopia of the imagination.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Painting and Photography

I have been thinking lately a lot about the comparison and contrasts between painting and photography.

I found a site that discusses this and I have posted the link. I am interested in hearing what other artists think about the comparison and contrast; whether or not you can compare the two, if the are similar or contrast one another in their creative objectives.

"Photography and painting occupy the same position on the spectrum because there are no salient differences between them in how we experience time and space. There are however interesting differ
ences during the creation phase. A photograph captures a scene all at once and is then developed over a period of time and in the dark. A painting starts out “invisible”, in the light, is developed gradually, but remains visible the entire time. Any effect that is achievable by painting is achievable by photography, and vice versa. For instance, multiple exposure is more easily achieved in photography but the appearance it creates is equally representable by the painter."

"There are many similarities between paintings and photography. First of all, photography and painting are similar in that they can both capture moments in time that are accurate.
Although some consider photography to be the truth in capturing moments, painting is able to do the same whether it be actually on site or from a photograph. They are both able to manipulate their "subjects" as well, which has become more apparent and prominent in modern day photography. Photography and paintings are both able to use the artists imagination in order to capture what they are thinking, both can be abstract, precise, indirect, direct, etc. Some consider the main difference "between a painting and a photograph is that the painting alludes to its content, whereas the photograph summons it, from wherever and whenever..." however, I disagree, because I feel like, especially in modern day, artists have created ways to simulate both photograph and paintin
g with the other (Wells, 29).


This except I have posted I found on another site discussing the similarity between painting and photography. I also found an e-book by Henry Rankin Poore on the subject by, I would like to read, by Henry Rankin Poore.

"Both photography sessions and painting sessions can be grueling work for live models not to mention the difficulty experienced by the artist in the set up processes. The stages that are set by photographers and painters are very specific and intricate, which they must be in order to aid the photographer in capturing the "perfect picture." Though some consider photography to be less so, with the obsession over reality television, we can see first hand that photography shoots might as well be sessions for a painter as they are just as time consuming. Photography and painting can also capture the exact same things whether they be portraits, buildings, family, nature, scenery, etc.

Something else that painting and photography interestingly share is each other. That is, the incorporation of photography in artistic paintings and visa versa. Though most painting can be done digitally now, there are
some studio and artists that still prefer to touch up their photographs the old fashioned way, with paint. But, digital touch up of photographs and paintings is the new way to incorporate both with each other, and there are many programs to aid in modern artists quest to utilize both
mediums. Overall, in my opinion painting and photography share many similarities, but these also help to make them each unique mediums, while at the same time linking them throughout history. Even though modern day sometimes separates and devalues the other medium, they are both incredibly valuable and important to art in past, present and future."

References:

Wells, Liz. Photography: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge 1996.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Six 16 Kodak Camera - The Photo As A Window Or Mirror




This is a special camera, that belonged to my father. It is a 116 Kodak. He took all of our family photographs with it and developed them. It took pictures that were really quite beautiful.

The sepia colour of old photographs have an of atmospheric quality that supports the subject matter and image taken.
It's a vintage, an antique. I love this camera, but haven't had the opportunity to take pictures with it yet because I need to modify it for 120 film, as it is missing a spool that takes up the film.

Presently, I am involved with the colour film process, combined at times with black and white, in combination with coloured film and in digital format, using a scanner, photo shop, and a huge printer.

During the three years of photography, I have focused on black and white film with manual and the large format view camera. Frankly I am in love with the black and white image. That translates even into television and film for me as well. Primarily the reason being, that the focus is on the image and subject matter. The eye is not detracted by the vibrancy of colour.

Learning about photographers like Ansel Adams, Robert Frank, Ralph Gibson, Sally Mann just to name a few is such a wonderful experience. Not just because of their ability and talent as artists but because of the people they are, driven, passionate, compassionate toward life and the world. They actually are often more like philosophers in my opinion. I love to hear the things they say about photography and what and how they perceive and what they reflect back to the viewer.

Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.
Robert Frank

I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love.
Robert Frank

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough - there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.
Robert Frank

..photographs open doors into the past but they also allow a look into the future. - Sally Mann

Photographic technique is no secret and – provided the interest is there – easily assimilated. But inspiration comes from the soul and when the Muse isn’t around even the best exposure meter is very little help. In their biographies, artists like Michelangelo, da Vinci and Bach said that their most valuable technique was their ability to inspire themselves. This is true of all artists; the moment there is something to say, there becomes a way to say it. - Ralph Gibson

Simply look with perceptive eyes at the world about you, and trust to your own reactions and convictions. Ask yourself: "Does this subject move me to feel, think and dream? Can I visualize a print - my own personal statement of what I feel and want to convey - from the subject before me? - Ansel Adams

Myths and creeds are heroic struggles to comprehend the truth in the world. - Ansel Adams

I am probably afraid that some spectator will not understand my photography - therefore I proceed to make it really less understandable by writing defensibly about it. - Ansel Adams

A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety. - Ansel Adams

Compelling Sculpture



Andy Goldsworthy


I have posted pictures of sculptures by artists that inspire and create compelling art.


















Heather Jansch, uses driftwood to construct her sculptures of horses.



Being a painter, my focus is often on painting
and painters as opposed to sculpture and sculptors. Thanks to my teachers and mentors I have learned how essential it is to involve yourself in other mediums and to appreciate many different artists, for not only a broader knowledge base, but to widen your perspective to include a wide creative spectrum of art practices which is paramount to growth as an artist.

The horse sculptures coming out of the wall are by, Sayaka- Kajita-Ganz.

Over the years I have been actively involved in participating in sculpture classes during my art education and I certainly appreciate the medium and sculptors.
I am particularly interested in soft sculpture, on site and site specific, that is
environmentally friendly and harmonious within the world.

Andy Goldsworthy, and those like him I am in admiration of and artists that
use recycled materials or work with the nat
- ural environment to construct their work without damaging the environment. I have tried to do this in my work because I believe it is important to me as an artist to be environmentally conscious.

The photo of the vessel, belonged to a group of folks, who called themselves, the Floating Neutrinos. My life long friend helped construct this with recycled materials and they sailed all over the world . It is more like a floating sculpture that was built collaboratively.









This chair is entitled, Throne Of Weapons.











Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Rail View Camera & My Heuristic Professor


This is a large format photo I took with a rail view camera, of my most excellent Professor, mentor and friend, Thaddeus Holownia, during a class field trip, to Rockport, New Brunswick.

Many years ago, I first heard the name, Thaddeus Holownia, after perusing one of those little independent book stores where you loose yourself, and all track of time and space in that special find.

I looked at one of these, a photography book, by Thaddeus, and wondered who was this mysterious man, who took the most amazing photos of the marshes I grew up around. His name alone was enough to intrigue anyone.

Little did I know or even imagine years later I would have the opportunity to study photography under him, as the Head of the Fine Art Department at Mount Allison. I found out he is just a regular guy who has an exceptional passion for life and captures that through his heart by way of the lens of a view camera, oh and happens to have a great name you don't soon forget.

As my third year is winding down, I am reflecting on what I have learned and am excited to be going into my fourth year. I have decided I will once again, embark upon another photographic adventure. I know it has been a love/ hate relationship for me with photography and has been at times my nemesis, but it is has all been and will continue to be, a worthwhile struggle. I see that, as a painter, there is a strong connection between the two mediums and I am really just beginning to understand what that connection is
.

It is really is all about enjoying the journey not the destination, one day at a time.


Bill's Writing

"The more I work, the more I see things differently, that is, everything gains in grandeur every day, becomes more and more unknown, more and more beautiful. The closer I come, the grander it is, the more remote it is."
Alberto Giacometti






These are scanned 35mm photographs I developed and digitally scanned of some the writings I have belonging to my late husband Bill. They were written in the 1970s. No one to my knowledge has ever seen them before. Bill was a very compassionate soul, who suffered greatly with paranoid schizophrenia and brittle diabetes which eventually took his young life at 26 years of age in 1980. He taught me much about gratitude.







Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ray Fenwick

Last night I went to Struts Gallery, in Sackvillle New Brunswick and attended a workshop with Ray Fenwick. How much fun was that? Great fun!

First of all, I have to say how impressed I was with Ray easy going and relaxed manner. He put everyone at ease and was full of humour, play and keen wit. Obviously an emotionally intelligent lad.

When I arrived, just a few were gathered about a table munching away on a variety of sustaining food substances along with the beverage of choice. Ray informed us that when the said number of ten people arrived he would be locking the door. There had been a misunderstanding in that this workshop was limited in number and not open to the public. It has been stated on the poster that Ray had posted but most of us had overlooked to read this detail. I only mention this for the reason being , my poor friend who I had asked to meet me there as she was letting me crash at her place for a few days. She had arrived to a locked door and didn't want to disturb us and waited out there for an hour.

The workshop lasted for two hours and while my friend was outside freezing, we were all by this time wildly entertaining and amusing ourselves through various hysterical improve exercises to say the least. Sorry about that Rebbecca.

In light of my own personal involvement in Theater, Mime and Improv I found it very compelling to observe the non-verbal body language of the participants and how the level of comfort and enthusiasm transformed and increased over progression of the workshop. There appeared to be a supportive bond of sorts develop, a like mindedness in our united purpose of simply having and making spontaneous fun.

I was reminded of how we as a society seem to have lost this ability to entertain ourselves and through group activity. It also reaffirmed my belief in how intuitive, non- verbal and verbal communication can be a powerful function of language if we use it effectively. I think seeing, listening and feeling, when we communicate enables our sensitivity to significant physical clues, that increase our the ability to effectively strengthen communication and the understanding of ourselves and our relationships. I think this is what defines us as human , our relationship with the other.

I am so grateful I was able to attend Ray Fenwick's workshop that helped me to increase and exercise my emotional intelligence. Thank you Ray for giving me the opportunity to come out and play!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Art Story Continued...



My journals I have kept up for over thirty years. I know I am mathematically challenged but I have that number right. It's hard for me to believe it has been that many years. Click on the highlight to see my pile of thirty some years.

The artist's contract I signed in 1995 in my Artist Way Journal and the daily practice of writing three daily pages a day was a wonderful commitment to myself that resulted in an experience that would see me through the death of my mother and morning pages enabled me to fulfill a life long dream of riding horses for two years.


It wasn't everyday that I wrote, not until around the early nineties, when I met an artist/ art therapist. I was taking a class about art therapy through the agency I worked for as a Youth Care Worker. I thought it would be useful to me and the youth I worked with that were troubled kids and young offenders. The woman who I was blessed to have met, we became friends and I would spend hours talking to her about art and art therapy. She had been a graduate of Emily Carr University and had credentials as an Art Therapist. She shared a book with me that she recommended I read, The Artist Way, by Julie Cameron. I have mentioned this book several times in my posts so I won't bother to go on about it again. But if you are in any way curious about this book and want to know more, I would strongly suggest and highly recommend reading it.
It truly changed my life and I can assure you if you allow yourself the opportunity to read it and apply the principles and exercises it will change your life as well.

She told me after I finish that she suggested have another book, Women That Run With The Wolves. After I read that one too and found it to be very empowering and I read it again and again from time to time to remind myself of who I am.

What to write today?

Holy crap. I love writing but some days are dry as dirt and I can't think of anything to write. Oh I have my Canadian Art History journaling I could write about but I'll get to that this week. Thank goodness the term is just about done I starting to slowly fizzle out not unlike most of my fellow students.

Oh this just in...I will be attending a workshop tonight at Struts Gallery here in Sackville with the artist in residence by the name of Ray Fenwick. He has been involved with improvisation which is right up my alley. Something I feel I have spent a lot of my life doing, living by the seat of my pants. Maybe it has something to do with growing up in an alcoholic home and being in a perpetual vigilant state of maybe it's just life as a single woman, or a bit of both.

When I was attending Mime School Unlimited in Toronto in 1980 we did a lot of improv, and I realized I worked much better with others as opposed to solo. If I had of known what I know now I would have sought out Second City and tried to get in there. I did get an opportunity a few years back when I went to audition for a reality show called, The Next Comedy Legend for Second City, when they came to Halifax.

My friend Christie she drove me down after I had been sleep deprived in the worst way. Needless to say it was the was one of the most scariest but exhilarating experiences of my life and I got to meet one of my all time comedy idols, Joe Flarhety. He was the sweetest, kindest man and I made him laugh and that was golden for me. A dream come true. The other was meeting Julian, from the Trailer Park Boys, in the kitchen of Bubbles Mansion where the auditions were held. The guy is built like a brick shit house!

The premise of the show was ridiculous and Joe Flarhety eventually quit because he felt it was a useless exercise to try and discover or manufacture a comedian, and how it pitted one contestant against the other quite unfairly. The show was a flop.

I've embedded the clip of the Halifax taping and if you look real close and don't blink you'll see me. Good luck in finding it. I'm the one with the checker red and black Apple River dinner jacket, puffed up cheeks a flailing arms. In the commercials for the show I was in split screened with Mike Myers because we were both wearing the same kind of dinner jacket with a cap. That was also a huge thrill because I have been his biggest fan since SCTV days and SNL.

Well I guess I had something to write about after all.




Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vali Myers - Cobra Group




I wanted to share this site I found serendipitously after the artist Ben Reeve's visit to the Mount Allison recently. He talked about the Cobra Group which was an avant-garde movement that led me to Vali Myers. The fact that we share the last name is nothing but coincidence...but a nice one regardless. I like to think if not related in a familial way she is definitely a Spirit Sister, which is how Vali referred to her life long friend Ruth Cullen.




Corneille - Cobra Group

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On Painting

John Baldesarri

The realistic rendering of people, places and things has long been my preference in subject matter in my art work. In the not so distant past, I always considered myself a realistic and figurative artist. However eventually I found myself loosing my passion for any kind of figurative representation. The reason being, I had lost the connection with the creative process. This was the result of a kind of myopic vision and getting caught up with the final outcome or preconceived notion of what I thought the art work should look like. The realistic rendering became paramount to me and creativity was being diminished and seemed to all but disappear as a result. I had to completely let go of any figurative realistic subject matter and replace this with my intuitive process and approach that was coming more directly from my imagination without preconceived notions or thought of the final outcome. Most of the imagery was based on the spiritual, dreams and myths. My art work became more like the art I made as a youth which was very freeing and enabled me to find my artistic and creative direction in my art practice.

After creating this kind of work for about a year and a half I finally felt the desire to get back to the kind of art I had been interested in the past. However now I was very conscious of not loosing site of creative process and I feel this metamorphosis of sorts was very refreshing helped me immeasurably.

I have always loved drawing with graphite and painting with oil, more then any other medium.

Portraiture has always been a great subject matter for me and felt it was my strength.
Over the past year I have gained a very strong interest in egg tempera which has been a wonderful surprise and discovery to me.

It is essential that I be very engaged and passionate about my subject matter. If I find I am no longer connected in this way, I know I have reached a stalemate in my creative growth as an artist, and it is time for a complete change and I need to get out of my comfort zone and take some challenging risks.

I love the long tradition of egg tempera. It is very flexible and lends itself to mark making, detail and the subject matter can be given an energy through the application of several layers which are translucent and show through with a luminescence, that I cannot achieve through the medium of oil.

Over the past term, I have found that my own art ideology is becoming clearer to me. Though I don't believe this to be set in stone, I do know I want to, and will continue to, build on this foundation, through my use of egg tempera and involvement in the creative process.

Meeting and listening to Ben Reeves has helped to clarify and reaffirm my thoughts and ideas about the importance of balance between representation and process. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet him. I like to think artists of like mind can share in this utopia of the imagination Ben spoke of, during his visit with the Fine Art students, at Mount Allison. Painting at Mount Allison is very much alive!

Painting is a conversation. Make your speech deliberate, not full of babble, nonsense. Be sure of what you want to say. (Timothy Chambers)

Painting - Process - Ben Reeves


I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity and privilege of hearing Ben Reeves give a presentation about his work and art practice. As well having the chance to meet with him individually prior to this in my studio space and then in the class room setting I was able to really get to dig a well spring of information gaining a deeper understanding of his thoughts, ideas about art, skill and painting. There was a great deal to glean from him and I have to say this has been the most beneficial experience for me as an artist and as a painter and I learned so much from his visit.
My first meeting with Ben Reeves was in my studio space and we talked about the importance of process in particular how this related to painting. Being preoccupied with the end result as opposed to the process results in work no longer enjoyable as a creative experience.

I shared that I was more interested presently in mark making and process, and how egg tempera, as it is like drawing with paint very much lends itself to this process. Painting is a direct record of mark making, he stated during his class visit and was reaffirmed again during his presentation at the Owens Gallery.

This mark making process is for me also about having a mindfulness of the moment during the creative process which invites the viewer into the process. Ben questions the expectation of always explaining the meaning in art work, but it is more about looking.

Our class room session was very enlightening and I am so glad I took notes. This is information I don't want to ever forget. The reference to Dianne Petherbridge's book, Meditations On A Dirty Word, was compelling and provided a great overview and analysis of skill and de-skilling and how this pertains to art and teaching art. I was excited to explore ideas about skill and how the biggest part of skill is in looking, the relationship between ourselves and others, our relationship to the material, to the world and our environment.

Here is a list of some thought provoking questions and ideas that were presented and discussed in our class during his visit.


What is meant by the essence of painting?
Are we making images or is the image making us?
Skill on demand
The shift in trends
Teaching of skills being too deterministic
Thinking through process
Utilization of ideas
Knowing our world in terms of our bodies
Invitation by the artist to look
How technology has sped things up and, shifted our sense of scale and time
The artist and art is not separate from the world
Painting being a slowed down process, having a relationship to the body and human scale, space, duration and time
Bringing a painting into a realm that it doesn't belong

What I especially appreciate about Ben Reeves and his art practice is his involvement in the language of representation and process which both work together in a kind of relational balance. He strives to enable the viewer the opportunity to accept the artist's invitation, to look and hopefully participate in a dialog about art and the creative process. Painting is about process, looking, language, and exchange of communication and engagement with the viewer. I think Ben Reeves is very much involved in this process and it is what empowers his art and him as an artist.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Painting In Tongues



I finally arrived back home after a one night couch surf and another night bed flop. Needless to say I certainly will enjoy a good night being horizontal in my own bunk tonight.

Yesterday in painting class we had a visit from Ben Reeves, the artist and professor from Emily Carr. This time I made sure I brought my notebook and my pen. He had many insightful things to say about the painting process and he read a few excerpts from some written essays. I will extrapolate further on his visit with our third year painting class tomorrow after my brain has reverted back to normal as it is really on tilt right now because of my lack of sleep.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

An Exceptional Day and Visiting Artist - Ben Reeves

This has been an exceptional day for me. One I hope I will not ever forget. I am very very grateful. Without spilling my guts and going into detail about my personal shit storms I will simply say I have had a miracle today. Not because I deserve it. But because I have some very special friends that I know prayed for me and I want to say thank you so much.


I had a studio visit with Ben Reeves today. I was really quite amazed with what he had to say; his thoughts about art, artists and art schools. I think he is quite an exceptional artist of intelligence and integrity. I could have spent the afternoon taking with him. I have had just two studio visits with artists and they both have been very beneficial but Ben Reeves, I have to say has great clarity of thought, perception and knowledge.

I look forward to hearing his presentation tonight.



A tribute --International Women's day March 8.From Aneek to Women on the...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Painting of Bill


I've completed my painting of my late husband Bill. I didn't have any surfacing of painful feelings, if any thing I felt happy to have done the painting and am glad that I made the decision to follow my intuition and complete this project. I enjoyed the process not unlike any other other egg tempera paintings I have done. However I do feel this was a spiritual kind of experience for me, that is difficult to put into words, but I feel I have honoured Bill's spirit, and this gives me comfort. I am happy with this painting that is special really to no one else but me. I can't stop looking at it. I guess that's normal. I think the experience is a little cathartic and healing. I am surprised that it was much easier than I expected, emotionally speaking and I think it is something I would recommend to any one else that was thinking about doing an artwork that portrays a loved one lost.

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March 8th International Women's Day

Monday, March 7, 2011

Stand by me Ben E King

For Bill

A Down Day


I couldn't make it to school today, not having a ride, so I'm trying to get something constructive done. I've got my gesso applied on a new panel to start another painting. I am doing a portrait of my late husband Bill and I have ambivalent feelings about this. Mainly because I am not wanting to find myself faced with the painful feelings that are likely to surface.

I can't help but be compelled to do painting of my family that are gone, regardless of the possible painful feelings I might experience. I intuitively feel for whatever reason, it is a necessary exercise for me and am anxious to see the results of not simply the final painting, but I am interested and ambivalent in how the process will affect me, because of the chosen subject matter. I can't say I completely understand this intellectually on a conscious level, I am following my gut, and doing these paintings of the ones I love who are no longer alive.

The last portrait painting I will paint my late father and mother. That I think this may very well be harder for me to paint, emotionally speaking, more than the subject of my late husband. I won't know until I do it.

I will be once again be working in egg tempera. Firstly my drawing will be the primary foundation part of the painting, and will build on that. I intend to use more brush work with this painting as opposed to using mostly sponges which was the tool I used the in the last piece.

Alright enough babbling for now...to be continued...

The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to - Frida Kahlo

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Love And Will


Years ago, I read a book by Rollo May entitled, Love and Will. I really don't remember much about it other than this one good thing which helped me over the years, to come to terms with death.

He compared the attitudes present in the 50's and prior to this decade and I would include the 60s even, when most of us were very uncomfortable talking about the topic of sex or our perceptions were askew.

Rollo May's conjecture was that today we have replaced the taboo of sex talk, with death talk. This makes so much sense to me, as I have observed this over and over, in my own personal life and in the lives of others and our response or lack of it, toward death. It has become so removed from our lives for a myriad of reasons. No longer do we hold funerals and wakes in our homes. Death and/or life has become something the medical world is able to prolong or disconnect with machines, and we have created a culture of disconnection with so many things that were once considered as being a normal part of human interaction and in particular, death as being a very natural process, at the end of our lives.

We often fear death and are in denial that it is happening. We run away, not knowing how to help ourselves or others accept and come to terms with the loss of those we love, including ourselves. What do we do and what do we say?

In the past, I could never understand how people could work with those in palliative care. I've learned that this is a real way for others to intimately understand what life is about, through death and dying. I think death has never been so foreign to us as it is now; compared to life in the past, where death was very much a large part of life. It was a time, when there was no such thing as funeral homes, life support machines and death was not a disconnect from, ourselves, our families and communities on whom we could rely and receive our support and strength.

I think of another book by Jean Vanier, In Weakness Strength. He writes about how there is strength to be found in our weakness. I am also reminded of something I once heard about the cross being heavy for those who drag it and light for those who embrace it.

And so, I've learned that if I embrace my own weakness, burdens and struggles, I can better accept them and share with others, and we can both enable each other to become strong, if I have faith in myself, in others and in the God of my understanding.

In helping others in difficult times of loss and grief, I begin to understand the preciousness and fragility of life and that death is the natural, vital and important conclusion to life and I can learn to live compassionately, giving my life depth of meaning.

I have learned the most about life, through death, and have always thought I was very blessed to be drawn to creativity, expressing myself through art, writing, music, dance. These always have helped me greatly and were therapeutic and transforming, during times of loss and grief. I found a site while looking for a picture to for today's post and I have high lighted it.

Growth begins when we begin to accept our own weakness ~ Jean Vanier

Popular N.L. entertainer A. Frank Willis dies - Nfld. & Labrador - CBC News

Popular N.L. entertainer A. Frank Willis dies - Nfld. & Labrador - CBC News

Friday, March 4, 2011

Art Story







I was hoping to have a few more things to post regarding my Open Media project but a computer glitch only allowed for these three files to be forwarded. I'll be expanding these further, and will be posting all of the excerpts from two of my journals, dating back to 1982 to 1995. As well, I will be posting more of my late husband's writings, that he wrote in the 70s. These are the first of a number to follow, involving this journal and writing project. To me they all are an expression about life of somewhat unconventional prayerful like thoughts.

The brown marked journal begins in 1982. A lot of changes took place in my life during the period of time, covered in this journal; two years after losing my first husband to a tragic death after four months of our marriage. During this time I turned 30, married and divorced my second husband and reunited with my absentee alcoholic father after 26 years of not knowing his whereabouts.

The second large book, Morning Pages Journal, I made a contract with myself to commit to writing everyday, three pages, which began in 1995. This was also the first year I was introduced to, The Artist Way, by Julie Cameron, which literally changed my life. I had one year of sobriety as a recovering alcoholic, quit my 8 year job as a Youth Care Worker and went riding horses for two years and it was the year my loving mother died.

The single sheet, is a page from one of many writings, belonging to my late husband. This was a writing dedicated to his youngest, little brother, Buddy. Bill's passion was writing and working with troubled kids, and blues. He loved the written word and considered himself to be a writer. I very much believe, Bill truly had the heart of a writer and taught me so much about compassion and generosity more than anyone else I have every met in my life, and after 30 years, I still miss him deeply.

I will be sharing additional excerpts from these journals, along with all of my late husband's writings I have had, since 1980 and have never shared with anyone. Bill died in 1980 following many years of suffering from drug induced paranoid schizophrenia and brittle diabetes. He was 26 when he died, I was 27 and we had been married for a very short four months, after being together for one year. He was truly my best buddy, the love of my life, my soul mate and the heart of my heart.

I have chosen to make this a part of my art work sharing these writings. We all have our own important story to share, and this is a big part of mine and Bill's.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Just sayin'

You know how you have one of those weeks that finally comes to an end you just don't have anything more you want to say about it. Just saying that I'm not suppressing, I just don't want to talk about it!

What I do want to say is a huge thank you to those sweet friends who read my gabbling and for all the kindnesses shown to me this week namely Christie, Ted, Lesley, Britney, Amanda, Rebecca, Paula, Leah, Eva, and Betsy.

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Ettiene De Grellet

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Supression Repression

I am working on my final project for my Open Media class. As I was in the photo finishing room looking at photos I had taken of my journals I had dug out of my old antique box and spread them all over the floor in my hallway of my house, I thought to myself, what does this all mean, this project I have decided to undertake.

I headed to the colour photo room and started the scanning process of some the journals that have more significance to me and writings that belonged to my late husband.

While I was finishing this up, a friend came in that I really don't know all that well, but I somehow feel I have known her all my life because I deeply sense she is a very compassionate human being. She asked me what I was working on. I began to briefly attempt to explain what it was I was doing and about the project. As I talked, I found myself beginning to get emotional because this project involves a story, my story. Everyone has a story to tell. I am grateful and fortunate I have my journals to tell me mine and I can share them with others. She listened intently to what I was saying and then we both found ourselves getting emotional. I suddenly realized why this project was important for me.

I learned in the past the difference between suppression and repression. I got an early start at suppression which eventually turned to repression. Writing for me is like peeling back the layers of repressed feelings mostly around grief and loss. There are many reasons I write but I think for me this is the most relevant and meaningful.

It's strange and serendipitous how life and circumstances happen. When we least expect a lesson, we learn one. It takes us by surprise most of the time, this is the way it works usually for me. I was always fond of the saying, when the student is ready the master will appear. My master appeared today and lesson learned. Thank you Paula.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Am Not A Zombie

One good thing about not having wheels you walk a lot more! However not my idea of a pleasant jaunt for 45 minutes in a raging snow storm!

I spent the night in the No Tell Motel and in the middle of the night I woke up thinking oh crap do I have enough money to pay the bill? Fortunately I did and then some.

If I can get through the next 14 days back and forth to school I will definitely consider myself a walking miracle!

I am grateful to be alive! Think of all those people who are dead, and some of them are walking upright. Zombies I call them.

Burnout is nature's way of telling you, you've been going through the motions your soul has departed; you're a zombie, a member of the walking dead, a sleepwalker. False optimism is like administrating stimulants to an exhausted nervous system.” - Sam Keen