Monday, August 14, 2017

Connection, Disconnection, Kerfuffles

Kay's Violets

Human beings are such creatures of habit. Good or bad we all have habits and routines.

My habit and routine is to write everyday, long hand cursive writing and online via my blogs. But when my internet is down, I go into the jonesing mode pretty darned fast.  This is what happened to me over the past two and a half days. I was headed for a kerfuffle.

It's so true, you don't know what you've got til it's gone.

We live in such a privileged world, where so much is taken for granted in North America. We're so busy thinking about ourselves, in our preoccupied, so called connected lives. This is what immediately came to my mind today, after not being able to access the internet and being faced with the question, "what do I do now?" So I went to my go to solution, writing, painting, out in the garden,  go for a walk, visit a neighbour.

I have lots of time and solace to pay attention to my creativity and inner reflection. But regardless, the internet is my guilty pleasure and yes it's my addiction and sometimes my diversion, and I can easily get lots of nothing done, and not do the things I need to do. I know I'm not alone in this dependency and diversion.

The recent collective experience of disconnection that took place in Nova Scotia. with the cell phone service providers, due to a cut cable in the remote woods, was a good example of how the majority of us are so completely dependent on this technical connection, and I don't think it's healthy, safe or secure. And so we have to find ways and means to make contingency plans for ourselves.

Most of us were affected in one way or another and in a real big kerfuffle for four days. There was chaos and confusion in airports, financial institutions and disrupted online banking and purchases. I'm sure there were probably other unknown residual effects as well.

I don't have a cell phone nor do I want one.  I say this not to be smug, but just to stress the reality of how dependent we all are on people, places, and things and how we delude ourselves in believing they'll always be there, until suddenly their not, and we find ourselves in some precarious or vulnerable situation.

I'm always so grateful to have my radio so I can listen to what's going on in the world. Same old stuff but undoubtedly is getting worse. Sadly I'm afraid the reality is, we've forgotten, or don't know how to have real human relationships with one another. I ask myself, are we losing our humanity? I refuse to believe this and in spite of world circumstances I remain hopeful.

If we could just have some down time away from our busyness and access to all our gadgets maybe our thoughts would turn inward, take an inventory, and prioritize what's really important in our lives.

In the small rural coastal community where I live people know what relationships mean and they remember how important relationship and connection with others is and this is reflected in many real and tangible ways such as community celebrations, gatherings and get-togethers, where people interact face to face, young and old alike. We feel a strong sense of belonging to one another.

Taking a walk up my country road to have an afternoon visit with my elder friends, to deliver a loaf of homemade bread, I listen to stories over a cup of tea and good conversation, always gives me a deep sense of contentment and belonging and I go home happier than I was before I came.

I don't have a really busy life in the sense of feeling overwhelmed with busyness and not having any time to myself. I've had enough of that in the past.
These days I focus on having a quality of life, that involves creativity, nature, critters and lots of Hygge, something the world needs much more, especially now, in these troubled times.
Hygge (“heu-gah”). The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.

Hygge happens when we commit to the pleasure of the present moment in its simplicity. It’s there in the small rituals and gestures we undertake to give everyday life value and meaning, that comfort us, make us feel at home, rooted and generous.

We all hygge – around a table for a shared meal, beside a fire on a wet night, making coffee together at work, in the bath with a single candle, wrapped in blankets at the end of a day on the beach, sheltering from the rain at a bus stop, lying spoons, baking in a warm kitchen, alone in bed with a hot water bottle and a good book.

In our overstretched, complex, modern lives, hygge is a resourceful, tangible way to find deeper connection to our families, our communities, our children, our homes and our earth. It’s an uncomplicated, practical method of weaving the stuff of spirit and heart into daily life without sentimentality then taking time to celebrate it on a human scale.

Hygge is a kind of enchantment – a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary.

Hygge is about appreciation. It’s about how we give and receive. Hygge is about being not having. ”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Not Happy?


When I’m unhappy humour always helps, always…

One thing about happiness, it’s got to be balanced with unhappiness. I don’t mean fifty/fifty all the time. But it’s impossible to be happy all the time. Sometimes our happiness or unhappiness is 20/80 etc. But if your mostly unhappy you have to find out why and how you can change that in the best way possible without the use and abuse of reality altering substances, because that’s only gonna “f’ you up, and I’m not talkin’ funk.

Today I was feeling a little isolated, a little lonely, a little sad, and bored with myself really, which also left me feeling pretty unmotivated and longing for ice cream. I tell myself that makes me feel better, but it’s only a temporary measure, because I’m an emotional eater.

So, I decided to take some creative action, which is always the antidote to worry or sadness for me that works. I got out my drawing tools and continued working on a painting I started last week. I felt better.
Then I got some really bad news, and then felt much worse.

 I noticed a friend posted this youtube video of Johnny Cash singing “Hurt”. I’d heard this before, but didn’t see the video. It made me reflect deeply, about how we all experience love, loss, regret, consequence, great happiness and deep sadness in life. And besides all that, no one gets out of here alive. But we’re all on the same ship together so we may as well enjoy the ride for as long as we can until it’s time to embark upon the shore.

Then I remembered listening to a rebroadcast of an interview earlier today, with Sheryl Sandburg from Face Book who’d suddenly lost her husband Dave Goldburg. She wrote Lean In and after losing her beloved husband, and was left with two young children to care for, she had a really rough go and eventually wrote her new book, Option Two.
I felt better.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Crisalida - Salvador Dali and the Game Changing Drug

Dali's Crisalida Installation

 Like most folks I'd never heard of the drug Miltown, and was never aware of a Salvador Dali painting entitled Crisalida that promoted this drug.

The pharmaceutical name is Meprobamate  invented by Frank Berger in the 40s and marketed as Miltown by Wallace Laboratories and Equanil by Wyeth including many other companies. It was the most popular minor tranquilizer but was replaced by the benzodiazepines, and all the others existing today such as Zoloft, Valium,  Flurazepam, Clonazepam, Diazepam just to name a few.

What was very curious, was that Salvador Dali's wife, Gala, frequently used this sedative/tranquilizer, and  was coined one of the many "Miltown Wives". She came up with the idea of approaching the pharmaceutical company, urging them to commission her husband Salvador to create a painting championing the great advantages of using Meprobamate to cope with anxiety.

I found this information today after listening to a compelling CBC Radio Summer series "On Drugs"hosted by Geoff Turner. The episode was all about a drug called Miltown. This drug dramatically changed the face of North American culture by normalizing the regular use of pharmaceuticals in order to find relief from the malaise of anxiety and sleepless nights, etc. Needless to say there was a load of profit made and continues to be the case with big pharmaceutical companies, that have become like legalized drug pushers.

After listening to this interesting program On Drugs today, I went on the big Google hunt to find out about this elusive painting by Dali and came across a blog site by a book collector of Salvador Dali's art work.

Aldous Huxley once predicted that in the future there would be many chemicals developed  "capable of changing the quality of human consciousness." This may be true but unfortunately in my opinion it hasn't been generally, for the better.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Advocate Harbour and Sam Shepard

Advocate Harbour , Nova Scotia, Canada
Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia Canada, some might say, is at the end of the world where we have to come out of the woods to hunt. It does have a few claims to fame, home of the Mary Celeste, the highest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy, with lots of sailing ship and local history, but truthfully those aren’t the most significant things it really has to offer.

Scenic world vistas are second to none and has a beauty embodying the true definition of the over used word awesome, that elevates, inspires, providing solace and comfort to the soul.

The way of life here is simple. People welcome the stranger, are very friendly and humble folk, who work hard. We know how to make our own fun, and it’s a tight knit community, that truly cares about one another.

Once a person discovers this piece of heaven, you’ll never forget it, because your spirit will be touched in ways that will change you, and somehow, in someway, you’ll connect to a power greater than yourself.
This is I believe what happened to Sam Shepard, who during the 60s and into the mid 80s lived in Advocate Harbour, where he’d purchased a home on the coast of the beautiful Bay of Fundy.

I always knew this fact, as did most people here. During the 23 years I’ve lived in the area, I know there were some who didn’t know just who Sam Shepard was, nor did most people in the larger world have a clue where Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia was, let alone knowing Sam Shepard lived there.

Hearing recently of Sam Shepard’s death, I learned about the kind of deep thinking individual he was, though a very private man, he’d found a way to shield himself from the superficiality of Hollywood, and I’m certain this helped to keep him sane.

His plays were often about dysfunctional families and Sam Shepard grew up in an alcoholic home himself, something I understand personally, being a child of an alcoholic.
After reading more about his life I felt a spiritual affinity with him, and wasn’t surprised to find out he was very involved in the philosophical and spiritual ideas of Gurdjieff and shared this with his life long friend and ex-father-in-law Johnny Dark.

I've absolutely no doubt living in Advocate Harbour offered Sam Shepard solitude, peace of mind and the serenity he was searching for and needed in his life, as many of us do whether we know it or not.
He was very much liked by the folks in Advocate as he was fun, humble and seemed to love people and nature. It’s where I’m sure he had more than a few spiritual insights.

I’m sorry to know he’s left this mortal coil, but I’m sure he’s found an even better home and a more peaceful shore.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Safe Talk About Suicide

Recently I became aware of the grassroots community organization called CAST ( Communities Addressing Suicide Together) when attending and co-facilitating a segment on creativity, within a day workshop about Self-Care. This lead to learning about an internationally recognized program called Safe Talk, which is an educational training program that addresses some of the reasons behind suicide and what we can do to help others and hopefully prevent suicide.

Having been a Youth Care Worker for over 20 many years, I've been deeply touched by suicide working with youth. As well, I've personally experienced the loss of loved  ones who have taken their own lives. I've also seen the change that can be had by taking a proactive interest in encouraging youth to express themselves in creative ways and having someone present in our lives that we can trust to care enough to listen to what it is we are are saying especially if we're having thoughts about suicide..

Of course there is never one sure reason why someone would take their own lives. But one thing is sure, we can never prevent suicide by not talking about it, and talking about suicide doesn't cause people to commit suicide. THIS IS A MYTH!

I was disturbed to learn that within our educational system throughout our Cumberland County, Safe Talk is prevented from being presented to students over fifteen within the schools. I've been thinking about this in the weeks that followed after taking the three hour Safe Talk training in my rural community, and it has weighed heavy on my heart ever since.

And so today I decided to see what I could find in regards to why and if there was some sort of critique about the Safe Talk training, in order to determine for myself if these criticisms are founded, substantiated, and why. These criticisms of Safe Talk in my opinion, don't make sense to me.

It parallels a scenario that I'm reminded of, when I was working with youth at risk in the city, and there public was an outcry in an article written in the paper by a conservative religious group. The person who wrote the article strongly implied, if sex education was brought into schools, suddenly it would result in youth proceeding to engage in sex. This attitude was completely unfounded and not based on common sense or reality, no matter how well intended.

The link below is addresses the criticisms about Safe Talk.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Things Fall Apart and Are Reassembled - Bill Morrison

Director Bill Morrison attends a photocall for 'Dawson City: Frozen Time' during the 73rd Venice Film Festival at Palazzo del Casino on September 5, 2016 in Venice, Italy. (Getty Images)

Artists reflect and mirror our culture back to society's past, present, and future.
Bill Morrison has been referred to as a Film Archeologist. Besides being a creative master artist of his craft, he is a sort of visionary, capturing the past in his archival films, enabling us to consider our present and future.

After listening to Bill Morrison speak about his latest film Frozen Time this morning and watching the video of him talk about his work gave me a glimpse into a great artist, with a deep sense of integrity, and what I would say is very close to a spiritual philosophy even though he doesn't explicitly state this during his interviews.

"Morrison’s movies feel like half-remembered reveries formed from memories you can no longer consciously recall. Hovering at the intersection of reappropriation, preservation, history, music, and art, any one of his works will haunt you for the rest of your life. Dawson City: Frozen Time is no exception."

Monday, July 31, 2017

"Alike" - Daniel Martínez Lara, Rafael Cano Méndez

One of those fortunate kids, I grew up in a home where creativity was honoured and encouraged. Once I got into the school environment, this was the exception, not the rule, when my family back to Nova Scotia from Ontario, where we actually had art teachers in school.

Children don't need much encouragement to pursue creativity because they are born creative, but the more creativity is honoured and nurtured by adults, the more a child is empowered to be who they are, not what others expect them to be, and in this way they will more than likely find their own path to living a creative life.

This sweet little film conveys a simple, and silent, but very important message about creativity.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Ribbon Cutting - " forever Young " - August 26th 2017- Michael Gaudet

The mural "forever YOUNG" faces the busy #2 highway just south of Young, SK. Photo Credit - Michael Gaudet

There are three attributes in an individuals personality that I believe to be essential in life in order to not simply survive but to thrive. These attributes are persistence, trust, and prayer.

I have a friend, who is a very gifted artist, whom I've known from many years back, when attending the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in the 70s. In my opinion Michael Gaudet strongly and consistently demonstrates the attributes in his personality that I've mentioned.

I wanted to share this post because I greatly admire my friend Michael, for both his talent and ability to thrive as seen in his blog post about his endeavors and accomplishments in life.

This stunning photo shows the massive scale of "forever YOUNG" as the panels are installed. Photo Credit- Michael Gaudet

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Getting To Know Beach Glass - Andrea Cormier

Photo credit: Félix Bernier

One of the best things I experienced returning to University at 56 years of age was meeting and becoming friends with a number of young women.

 Without children or younger sisters of my own I found myself seeing these young women as little sisters and I came to love and care about them. To see how they struggled, and at the same time having a sense of maturity and wisdom to follow their hearts and fulfill dreams, heartened me.

One such young woman is Andrea Cormier, a kind, creative, talented and thoughtful young woman. She recently gave an interview about herself, her creative process, and debuting her first EP, Beach Glass  published 24th July 2017- Words & Questions: Jamie Downes in  A Lonely Ghost Burning.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Swans and Mythology

 The Ugly Duckling -  Egg Tempera - Catherine Meyers



H. D. 1886 - 1961

Where the slow river
meets the tide,
a red swan lifts red wings                                    

and darker beak,
and underneath the purple down
of his soft breast
uncurls his coral feet.
Through the deep purple
of the dying heat
of sun and mist,
the level ray of sun-beam
has caressed
the lily with dark breast,
and flecked with richer gold
its golden crest.
Where the slow lifting
of the tide,
floats into the river
and slowly drifts
among the reeds,
and lifts the yellow flags,
he floats
where tide and river meet.
Ah kingly kiss—
no more regret
nor old deep memories
to mar the bliss;
where the low sedge is thick,
the gold day-lily
outspreads and rests
beneath soft fluttering
of red swan wings
and the warm quivering
of the red swan’s breast.

I was sent this beautiful poem today written by Hilda Dolittle. She had a deep interest in Greek literature and Mythology. She was born in 1896 and died in 1961.

I entitled Leda, this poem sparked my love and interest in mythology and symbolism of swans, such a creature of indelible beauty.
I saw the word "plucky" used to describe the behaviour of swans. However in spite of their graceful, serene and idealized appearance of beauty, you might even have the impression they are not aggressive or threatening. I actually learned several years ago after watching a nature documentary that swans can be extremely aggressive and will drown the rival swan by entangling their neck around another and forcing their heads underwater. That said, every story and everything has elements of light and darkness.

Through my study of Mythic Tarot I've become familiar with many of the embodied images and the stories of Greek Mythology which has been an interest since I was a kid.

The myth of Leda, the Aetolian queen of Sparta, describes how Zeus rapes her when he disguises himself as a beautiful regal swan, after rejecting his amorous advances toward her.

Leda was already pregnant at this time by her husband King Tyndareos. She had two eggs she bore by her swan-lover. Out of one egg were hatched two mortal children, Castor and his sister Clyemnestra. Out of the other came two divine children from Zeus, Polydeuces, and Helen whose beauty was so great that the Trojan War began because of her. I certainly am not the first nor the last to have a fascination with swans or with Greek Mythology. The story of Leda was often very popular subject matter of post-classical and ancient art in the form of paintings, sculpture, poetry, fairy tales, cultural legends and myths.

I don't know if there's such a thing as a red swan, but here's an interesting sacred story about one.

 Red Swan

Three brothers, who were hunters, once lived together in a forest. They were very skillful and always returned well laden from the chase. One day they all agreed to go hunting. They were each to kill the animals that they usually killed, and then see who could get back to the lodge first and have the game cooked. So they took their finest arrows, and off they went.

The youngest brother, whose name was Odjibaa, had not gone far when he saw a bear. Now this was one animal that he was not supposed to kill, but he forgot his bargain and shot it. Then everything seemed to grow red, and he heard a queer noise. He followed it, and as he tramped on, the noise seemed closer. At last he came to the edge of the lake and there, floating on the water, was a beautiful Red Swan. Every once in a while it uttered the queer noise he had been hearing. He shot an arrow at the bird, but it flew past her. He shot another and another. They all fell near her, but she was quite unharmed. She swam around in the water, bending her head and arching her neck and not even noticing Odjibaa. This made him want her more than ever, so he shot the rest of his arrows. Still she was untouched.

Then he remembered that, in his dead father’s medicine sack, there were three magic arrows, so he ran back at once to the lodge and took them. When he again reached the shore of the lake, he put one in his bow. He took good aim and shot. It came close to the bird. The second arrow came closer, and the third went through her neck. She did not fall into the water, but rose slowly into the air, and flew away towards the setting sun, with the arrow still in her neck.
Odjibaa waded into the lake and picked up the two magic arrows which were floating on the water. When he reached the shore again, he set out to follow the Red Swan. He was a great runner, for when he shot an arrow ahead of him, he could run so fast that it fell behind him.

So now he ran at his greatest speed. But the Red Swan was already out of sight. On he went through the forest, across streams, and over the prairie. At nightfall he reached a town where many Indians lived. The chief made him welcome and let him stay the night. In the morning, he set out once more, and by night he had reached a second town. He stayed there till morning and then continued his race.
By the next night, he had reached a lodge where a magician lived. The old man treated him very kindly. He made him sit down by the fire. Then he spoke a few words, and a metal pot with legs walked out and stood by the fire. He spoke a few more words and put one grain of corn and one berry into the pot. At once it became full of porridge. He told Odjibaa to eat this, and when he had done so, the pot became full again. It continued to do this until Odjibaa had eaten all he could. Then the magician told the hunter to lie down and rest, and in the morning he said to him:

“My grandchild, you are in search of the Red Swan. Be brave and travel on, and at last you will be successful. When you near the end, you will come to a lodge of another magician, and he will tell you what to do.”
Odjibaa thanked the old man, and went once more on his way.
When he had gone some distance, he shot an arrow ahead of him and it fell behind him, so he knew that he was still going his best. He went on for some days and at last saw the lodge of the magician. This second old man was as kind as the first and treated him in much the same way. He gave him food from a magic kettle exactly like the first, and then bade him stay the night. Then in the morning he said to him:

“My grandchild, you are following the Red Swan. Many a hunter has done the same and has never returned. For she is the sister of a great chief. He once had a wampum cap which was fastened to his scalp. One day some warriors came and told him that the daughter of their chief was very sick. She said the only thing that would cure her was this cap of wampum and that the sight of it would make her better at once. The chief did not like to lend his cap, for if he took it off, his head would be bare and bloody. But he thought again of the sick girl and at last gave it to the warriors.

“That is many years ago, but they have not returned the cap yet. They were cheats and are keeping it to make fun of it. They carry it from one village to another to dance around it, and at every mean thing they say, the old man groans with pain. Many young men have tried to get it for him, but all have failed. He has offered many gifts to the one who gets it, and even the Red Swan will belong to the successful one. She is a very beautiful maiden, and for her many young men have risked their lives. You are very brave and will face great dangers. Go as you have come, and you will be the one to win the precious wampum.”

So Odjibaa travelled for several more days. At last he saw a lodge, but before he came up to it he could hear the groans of some one inside. Coming up to the door, he knocked, and a voice bade him come in. On entering he saw a very old man seated in one corner. His face was withered and his head bare and bloody. He seemed to be in great pain.

The young man spoke kindly to him and asked him how he lost his scalp. Then the old man told his story: how the young men had cheated him, and how they were abusing the scalp now. Odjibaa looked very sorry, and when the old man saw this, he began to coax him to try and get it back. He promised him blankets and many other things that make an Indian rich. But he did not mention the Red Swan. Odjibaa noticed that a wall divided the lodge into two parts. He guessed that the Red Swan was behind the wall, for he thought he heard her dress rustle. After he had talked with the old man, and had learned many things about the unfriendly Indians, he said:

“I shall go in search of the cap. When you hear the noise of a hawk, put your head out of the door, so I may put the scalp on you quickly.”
Early next morning he set out, and before the day was over had come near the Indian village. As he drew near he could hear the sound of much shouting, and in a few minutes could see hundreds of warriors dancing and yelling around a pole. On the top of this pole was the scalp. He changed himself into a humming-bird and flew by their heads. When they heard the soft, humming noise, they said, “What is that?” He flew on, until he came near the pole. Then he changed himself into a blue butterfly and fluttered up to it. He took the scalp in his mouth and lifted it from the pole. A mighty shout went up from the Indians when they saw what was happening. But they could not reach the butterfly, as it was so high up in the air. It began to float slowly away with the scalp. This was hard work, and the load was almost too heavy for Odjibaa, but he hung on until he was safe outside the village. Then he changed himself into a hawk and flew rapidly away. When he came near the lodge of the old man, he uttered the cry of the hawk. The old man put his head out, and with a great blow Odjibaa clapped his scalp on. The old man fell senseless and lay very still for a long time.

Odjibaa entered the lodge and sat down to wait. At length the old man opened his eyes and arose. But he was no longer an old man. Instead there stood a handsome, young warrior. He reached out his hand to Odjibaa and said:
“I can never thank you for all you have done for me. See, you have given me back my youth and strength. Now I shall never grow old. You must stay and live with me and I shall make you a great chief.” Odjibaa replied:

“No, I must go back to my brothers. I shall leave early to-morrow morning.” Then the magician began to get ready a bundle for Odjibaa. He put blankets, beads, feathers, and paints in it, but he said no word about the Red Swan, and Odjibaa did not like to ask him. The next morning the hunter said good-bye to the magician and prepared to go.

“Wait, my friend,” he said, as he opened the door in the wall. A beautiful maiden stepped forth. “This is my sister, Red Swan. She is to be yours, as you saved my scalp.”

Odjibaa was overjoyed at this. He thanked the magician again; then taking the maiden by the hand, they set out for his home.

The Seduction of Cygnus -

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Harold Stevenson and Andy Warhol


Harold Stevenson

Harold Stevenson was Andy Warhol's friend and mentor. I got a kick out of what he said about his close friend Andy Warhol. It really made me think about art and business.

I won't give any spoiler alert because I'll let you hear for yourself. Suffice to say it gave me pause to think about those who are great artists and those who are great marketers, and those who fortunate enough to have a good balance between both.
Today I listened to a great podcast that featured an interview produced by Sarah Geis in 2013 with artist Harold Stevenson.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tom and Will Forrestall - Master Class - Parrsboro Creative

Tom's drawing over the front door at the Art Lab he rendered spontaneously Sunday afternoon.

As mentioned previously, I promised to write a post about the egg tempera Master Class with Tom and Will Forrestall on July 5th-9th 2017.

 I was pretty much in a fog this morning and am slowly recovering from an accumulation of five days without enough sleep at night, because I was in an unfamiliar bed, away from home, combined with the excitement of knowing I was going to be painting all day with Tom Forrestall and his son William.

It's an understatement to say it was a surreal experience for me, because I could hardly believe I'd been given such an opportunity, and it was a real eye opener, giving me the tools really needed to create the best kind of egg tempera painting possible.

Tom and William were so generous with their vast knowledge, expertise and skill. They sure make a great team and their working relationship was a joy to observe as father and son, keeping us well entertained with lots of laughter everyday.

Our great group of nine students were varied in their level of skill, and only a few of us had worked in the medium of egg tempera. One individual had never painting before and created some great egg tempera paintings in the class.

To witness the amount of enthusiasm, especially at the end of the five days, was palpable when Tom asked what we thought of egg tempera. The majority of us wanted to continue painting, using this ancient egg tempera paint medium. Tom was very happy to hear this, as was I, having been a convert to egg tempera since after seeing a retrospect of Tom's amazing paintings at the Owen's Gallery, while I was attending Mount Allison University.

Okay that's enough gabbin' I'll post some pictures, but before I do I would be remiss if I did not extend a huge thank you to Krista Wells, Michael Fuller at the Art Lab Studios and Gallery, Parrsboro Creative and Robert Moore. Your kindnesses are so very greatly appreciated. I also want to thank all those in my class for all the great conversations, laughs, knowledge and kindness you shared so generously. It was a wonderful five days I'll never forget. Lastly a very special thank you to Tom, for his prayers.

Tom's India Ink Under Painting Example ( That "you have to sneak up on from light to dark")

We all did underpaintings with India ink, painted studies using the egg tempera paint on paper, and then preparing our individual untempered masonite panels, getting them ready for the traditional mixture of rabbit hide glue and calcium carbonite to make the gesso for our panels to create our final paintings.

William Forrestall liberally applying the gesso mixture.

I documented the process and these photos are a compilation of what we did over the five days of this amazing Master Class with Tom and William Forrestall and nine students.

We used tracing paper to go over our image and then etched with charcoal to transfer our images onto the gessoed panels.


Tom and William Forrestall had an exhibition in the adjacent room and gave a great talk about egg tempera, art and their work. There were some engaging questions asked by the visitors on Sunday, and it was a wonderful wrap up to a fantastic, unforgetable, five day learning experience.

Taz, the very cool and creative, local Downtown cat.