Sunday, January 30, 2011

She's Done ...I Think...

I spent another 3 or fours on my egg tempera painting and did some serious reading up and learned some important pointers. I am pleased with how it is developing and well don't think I'll be doing too much more on this painting unless I am feeling compelled, which could happen. I think egg tempera is another great lesson for one wanting to develop patience or if you happen to be OCD it's a great outlet! I am anxious to get on with the next project which will be very small in comparison to this large 4'x3' monstrosity I foolishly decided upon. Next few pieces will be not more that 1.5' x 18" no bigger than 18", which is the recommended maximum size. So I spent enough time that I think I am finally beginning to understand the actual painting process of small minute crosshatching which is very similar to the drawing technique used to indicate volume, and it allows for a transparency and luminosity.

I wasn't certain I'd really like egg tempera once I realized how fast it actually dries much like acrylic paint, which I have never much enjoyed because it does dry so quickly. I have been a dedicated oil painter for many years and never foresaw that changes. I loved the fact that oil for the most part was long in drying and the paint could be worked up to continue laying in more colour. The wonderful thing about tempera is you can really work up to the effect you want and even remove what you don't with a sharp tool as long as you don't remove the gesso.

So now I am a convert to egg tempera and I don't foresee myself going back to oil any time soon.The wonderful and exciting thing about creativity and making art it is always changing much like ourselves nothing stands still. Working with egg tempera is much more economic, making your own paint. I'll have to hit my neighbour up with fresh eggs!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More Crone Painting

I've spent a total of twelve hours on this egg tempera painting. It's a large undertaking as without much forethought I chose a large piece of masonite to paint on. Note to self, don't choose such a large surface for egg tempera paintings. This large piece I can continue working on I know, without fear of overworking it. The more an egg tempera is painted the better it gets in time. A blessing or a curse depending on the how one approaches it I suppose. My painting professor lent me a wonderful book entitled, The Practice of Tempera Painting, Materials and Methods, by Daniel V. Thompson, Jr. Published by Dover, New York, 1962 unabridged republication of the work originally published by Yale University Press in 1936.
I find it a little disheartening and sad that it appears there is no one available to teach me the skill of this fine tradition in a University that once was no doubt, full of students that were very familiar and skilled in the medium of tempera painting. So for now I glean the information of the book I am reading and this is where the web becomes a very useful tool as well.

I'll get at this painting again tomorrow. I must head off to the store ...I'm out of eggs!

Is This No Longer Relevant

I don't have any time for this serious shit today...just wanna laugh it up.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today's Blog - Art Seminar

I have chosen to examine artists Eric Fischl, whom I greatly admire and Damien Hirst, whom I find his art generally unappealing and will proceed to give an explanation of my position.

Choosing an artist I admire and respect is both enjoyable and simplified. Deciding on one that I dislike, is rather complex, in that there is usually something to discover, that is attractive in some way, without doing so within the context of political correctness, and to clarify, I am not interested in being, when it comes to artists, the making of art, and creativity.
Eric Fischl states he is,”trying to find a way of re-engaging the public", through figurative work. Eric Fischl says, “ You have to come up with something where the purpose of life, which is also one of its greatest pleasures is refining your consciousness. He sees figurative realism as being the most powerful tool in communicating with an audience, which he cares about this greatly. Eric I think is a kind of psychological story teller using his painting to examine the stuff of life and providing inner types of guide posts, reflecting and sharing his life experience. This approach engages the viewer in a way that provides depth of meaning and purpose within the framework and function of the painting process and subject matter.

Fischl comes out of the what he describes as being the decade were, “ painting was dead and figurative painting was really dead”, and art schools defined the art world. This premise unfortunately, I believe, is still generally being taught in many present day art schools and today the art world has been circumvented by the define the art market.

The art market is a reality, whether we agree with this or not. The difference between Eric Fischl and Damien Hirst I believe, is a matter of personal integrity, and they have appeared to be diametrically opposed to one another in philosophy and art practice.
Damien 's preoccupation with death and dead animals, appear to be about shock and sensationalism. It epitomizes the premise of most conceptual artists, that art only exists within our minds, and any thing is art.
Damien Hirst has in many ways become the “ it boy”, and a persona, perhaps even a victim of his own persona, that represents all that is superficial, shallow, capitalistic and self-absorbed and dishonest within the art market. In light of accusations and legal charges made against him, being accused several time of art plagiarism, including the public controversial comments he has made, leads one to seriously question his scruples and integrity. In many of his public statements his lack of integrity is evident, “ I can’t wait to get into a position to make really bad art and get away with it. At the moment if I did certain things people would look at it, consider it and then say ‘f off”. But after a while you can get away with things.” Julian Spalding, The New York Times 2008

I have to say, much of the behaviour and attitude exhibited by Damien Hirst was a result of abuse and use of substances and one needs to take this circumstance into consideration when judging his work and who he is as a person taking into account that he no longer is the same person as he was in earlier years. That said, the body of painting has produced more recently, I appreciate and I would conclude he has more to contribute as a painter.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

“I do have a fear of chaos and a strong sense of the fragility of civilization.” - Alex Colville

In one of my recent Canadian Art History classes, we were covering the work of Alex Colville, and we were asked if we liked his work. One of the class members was very emphatic that they did not like his work stating it was even rather misogynistic and another adjective that was very critical that has escaped my memory right now. I will have to refer to my Professor and ask her, and update this blog entry in order to address the criticism. I expressed that I loved his work as a matter of fact I greatly admire it and am thrilled to know that he once studied at Mount Allison and taught painting. It makes me wish I had known him I would love to have been a student of his.

I may be mistaken but I think some subjectively and reactionarily judge artists like Alex Colville based on misconception or misunderstanding or simply because they don't think the tradition of what has gone before within the art world is important to their own practice.
I am very interested in egg tempera, which is the medium Alex Colville often worked with to produce his paintings. I remember the first time I actually saw one of his paintings, Seven Crows, at the Owens Gallery. I was awe stuck, because it was a scene very Maritime to me, where I live, in the place I love . I felt it was almost a spiritual experience. Perhaps this was the magical realism I was experiencing, the term that is often used to describe Colville quality of style. There is a timelessness and atmospheric essence in this painting, and in others I have seen, simultaneously one is acutely aware that time and life pass. All the more reason to savor the present moment and to be live life in a mindful way.

Egg Tempera - a slow process - Alex Colville Transcript
I wanted to be able to work for a long time on one image, that I couldn’t achieve the kind of thing I hoped to achieve in a short time. This is a kind of limitation in the …you know a great Chinese painter of the great period does something and it’s done, it may be done in a matter of minutes actually and it may, he may do, you know, thirty of them and one of them seems perfect. It’s a kind of gestural thing, it’s more in a sense like dancing or something in a way. My stuff, it’s a much more plodding procedure. Incidentally I should just mention extremely boring to watch, you know, that is a person would be just bored to death if they could watch me work. Far from it being interesting or exciting as some people think.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Photography, Rare Breeds and Heuristic Teachers

I had a wonderful experience this morning of meeting a visiting fine-art photographer Andrew Danson Danushevky. I was auditing this class though normally at this time I would be in my my Open Media class, but asked permission to attend this special lecture and presentation. I am so grateful I got to attend. I was rather dumb struck by his presentation of 35 years of amazing work. What an honour and privilege to meet such an artist of his talent and caliber.

This experience helped to clarify why I seem to have had an ongoing love-hate relationship with photography, especially since coming to Mount Allison in 2009. When I first enrolled in Professor Thaddeus Holownia's class, part of my intention was to of course learn about photography, mostly however this class would be a means to an end, in that, I would hopefully learn how to take good photos-in turn enabling me the skill of being able to document my art work, which is primarily painting. I was soon to have my eyes opened to deep discovery. This discovery I believe is the direct result of having a teacher and mentor like Professor Holownia. I hope he is not a dying breed of photographer and teacher but he certainly is a rare one.

Not unlike Professor Holownia, Andrew Danson Danushevsky clarified this struggle of discovery for me, that I have been trying to resolve and understand. Photography is a conduit to energy that is about a path to understanding self, and life, in a profound yet simple way. It does not mean that this is in any way easy. In fact it is difficult, very difficult. This struggle I think for me, is directly related to my love-hate relationship with photography.

Over the past year and a half, I have asked myself, why do I continue to take photography when it seems to give me so much anxiety, grief and stress? I think it is all about the struggle. It is where the growth lies under the creative skin of life, that you can come out the other side, somehow a better person and a better artist.

Andrew Danson Danushevsky was able to put this into words for me and my vision is becoming clearer. I can feel myself going through a metamorphosis of change, getting to a deeper level of my own commitment, and my creativity, as an artist. I think really, it is personal integrity that is imparted by those who can teach. I am so very grateful I am in an environment where I have the opportunity to learn from those who are heuristic teachers. This kind of learning, I believe is not unlike the way First Nations people teach their children and those lessons stick. The lessons I am learning are finally beginning to stick.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tired Again.

I got home late again. After eight hours of class I headed over to photo for four and a half hours. I thought about what Karen said to me after helping me with my test strips., "It takes patience. " That's an understatement. I thought about my grade nine geography teacher how she would say under her breath, "Patience is a virtue." That was just before we drove her off the deep end. That's what photo's like. You could end up in Edge City if you let it get to you. Ah yes, a great character builder it is! My patience paid off, I got my four photo's done for tomorrows class presentation. I'm pretty happy with them too.

I had a great day. Truly, I'm not just saying that. I did manage to inadvertently get a parking ticket. All I have to say about that, is summed up below.

Monday, January 24, 2011


What a long day but a very good day.
I went to see John Dickson speak tonight at the Owens and was very fortunate to get a studio visit with him. He's a lovely man and a great sculptor. We had an engaging conversation, during the studio visit.

His presentation was at 7:30 I couldn't stay any longer than 9 p.m. I just got home made my lunch and set the coffee for the morning. I'm bagged! I can't write any more. It was a very productive day. My friend Jill called me yesterday to tell me Thaddeus Holownia was on Live At Five tonight. I missed it but I hope I can catch it online. Off to the fart sack! Six a.m. comes too early. Crap it's cold out there, freeze your granny's preserves!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

"I paint to tell myself about myself"

I painted for 8 hours yesterday. I'm not finished but sure got a lot of it done. I have to say in my opinion this is the most peculiar and strange painting I have done. It is not done from life but from my imagination. The subject matter was inspired by by Eric Fischl's painting, "The Artist as an Old Man", my painting is a self -portrait of myself, " The Artist as a Crone."

Eric's studies of nudes are often put in ambiguous situations, often depicting suburban lifestyle, placing the viewer in a somewhat voyeuristic perspective which can be uncomfortable, disconcerting and even shocking. This is not why I admire his work, but it is an very important element in his work.

He said," I paint to tell myself about myself". This appears to be a simple message statement, nonetheless it is also a complex and philosophical one on many levels that says a lot to me about his art practice, and who he is as a person and an artist. He has been peeling the layers of an onion, and involved with self-discovery. The fact that Eric Fischl has engaged himself in this process is most compelling for me personally and why I admire his work and him as an artist and a man.
He has been long involved in this process of introspection and emerged from decade of the 70s when the ,"Death of Painting ", which was the prevalent attitude within influential art institutions such as Cal Arts. When he arrived at NSCAD he was afraid to paint realistically but struggled with what he said was, " the weight of modernist discourse he had to shrug off when he attempted to own the tradition of narrative realism."

My piece is for third year painting class. We were to do a research project based on an artist we liked. and then produce a painting that reflected the artist's style.

It was a process that was a little unsettling. I have no desire for anyone see me naked as an old woman, God knows not even me! Fortunately because I was using a completely new medium, egg tempera, for the first time, I was absorbed in this process, as opposed to thinking too much about my portrait of myself as an old naked woman.

Normally when I work, I need to have a connection with what it is I am painting, I call it being in love with the subject matter. Without having to be too psycho-analytical I can't help observing my reactions to being the subject. I don't want to think about this too long! I am attempting to distance myself, suffice to say, I think there is a kind of cathartic experience to be had, delving into, and facing the fear that comes with growing old and losing one's looks. Acceptance makes it palatable and even liberating. We are more than what we look like. This is more of an issue for woman, as we have lived in a world that has long objectified the female body.

When I was a student in the 70s up to the early 80s I supplemented my living expenses by modeling for life drawing classes. Some people may think that to be a good model you need to have a ideal body type. This is a misconception as artists want and need to be able to render all kinds of body shapes and sizes. When I modeled, I had a variety of thoughts and beliefs regarding my own body image and self-esteem many that were not very healthy, which I did not fully comprehend until many years later in my adult life.

Doing this self-portrait has once again given me the time out to be introspective about my own beliefs about my own body image, now as a crone.
When I reached the age of fifty there was a shift in my attitude. I developed a "I don't give a shit what people think". It' s an ongoing process and it is my experience when a woman gets to be a certain age she becomes more comfortable in her own skin and really begins to accept and love herself not in spite of who she is , but because of who she is. This is liberation!

Portrait of the Artist As A Crone - 2011 36 cm x cm Egg Tempra

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Writing, Painting, Procrastination, Motivation, Masturbation

I have just finished writing four large pages in my brand new sketch book. I had been putting off writing in it. Daunted I suppose once again by the white, blank page. It's just like the white blank canvas. I have a completed drawing waiting to be painted on a large piece of primed masonite.

I am taking on the challenge of egg tempera. I have all I need now to start. So I have done all the writing I've needed to do for the day with the exception of this last blog entry.I have no excuse to procrastinate on this painting.
There was a fellow on CBC radio that has a book about procrastination and motivation and. I must get this book as soon as I get around to it!
A good friend once told me this. "Procrastination is like masturbation, the only person you screw is yourself!"

What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the deferment or putting-off of an action or task, usually by focusing on some other distraction. It derives from the Latin words pro (a prefix meaning "for") and cras (meaning "tomorrow").

Procrastination can be a persistent trait in some people, known as chronic procrastinators. In these people, it can be a self-destructive state where the procrastinator can get nothing accomplished on time, resulting in serious career struggles, persistent financial problems, and diminished quality of life.

Natural Law #1
procrastination naturally occurs when faced with events that are unpleasent, complex, lengthy, or uninteresting - regardless of the priority

The mnemonic device for procrastinate is:


When you procrastinate about things that take over 45 mins you should break them down in to smaller pieces and then set dates for each piece.

Natural Law #2
- we change our lives by changing our attitudes and perceptions we become most what we think about ourselves.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Joyce Wieland Being A Woman / Artist

Joyce Wieland Menstrual Dance 1987

Joyce Wieland Untitled

The noted Canadian artist Joyce Wieland, I never had the privilege to meet but certainly would have been honoured to have done so. I relate to why she never wanted to call herself a feminist. I always was concerned and involved in women's issues but never wanted to call myself a feminist. I don't much care for labels, though I do understand why we have them, as being the discourse we use whether we are artists or not. I am grateful to her and women like her that have gone on before as trail blazers for other women.

Today found a few websites that I see are related to the work Joyce Wieland was doing, particularly her love of and involvement in fine needle work . I have posted some photos and the links to these sites below. These are inspired by woman writers. This is based on the work of Emily Dickinson. I think they are just beautiful and amazing works. Willow also embroiders illuminated manuscripts. She has she produced a book cover entitled "Blue" inspired by the work of Artist, Cliff Eyland.


Cliff Eyland Self Portrait Blue Manuscript
This blog is beautifully written along with photos that are sure to touch the spirit.

"I think being an artist is about following your own way, and having the courage to be who you are and what you are. To have self-knowledge ... that deep, dark discovery of self, part of which is maturing, part of which is creating wholeness." - Joyce Wieland

Joyce Wieland Video Transcript
Orphaned at only nine years of age, Joyce Wieland found solace in her drawing and painting, which would eventually become her career. She was ahead of her time; she used traditional crafts like quilting and embroidery. Nor was she afraid to deal head on with the issues of the day. For the sixties, her art was refreshingly new. Yet her struggle with the art establishment was won when Joyce became the first woman to have a major exhibition of her work, staged during her lifetime, at Canada's National Gallery. Joyce Wieland dislikes being called a feminist. She says she takes it for granted. But she's convinced that men and women create art that, as she puts it, comes out differently. Here is an interesting article written in the 1980s about Judy Chicago and Joyce Wieland From The Women's Journel

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm Not Stuck

I was very happy to get back to school today. Got my student loan in the bank, the hatch back window put back into the car, oil delivered to my tank, picked up some fur underwear , and no dust sandwiches for a while. This is the life of an art student.

Our Art Seminar class was a good one. We had a lively discussion about the Art World, the Art Market and the myths that are perceived about artists and what it means to be one.

In my Canadian Art History class today, we covered Garry Kennedy and Gerry Ferguson from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. I don't have anything I want to write about that, suffice to say, I couldn't wait to get out of that lecture. Being a NSCAD student all through the 70's I was exposed a lot of conceptual art, however many students were very involved in painting and drawing, in a traditional way, either inspite of the conceptual art ideology or perhaps because of it.

In my painting class I am preparing a presentation on Eric Fischl, who was at NSCAD when I was a student. It was a great revelation to me to find out after all these years that I was conflicted about conceptual art and figurative/representational art in much the same way Eric Fischl was. It was very re-affirming and comforting to me find this out.

In my Art Seminar I am doing a presention choosing two artists, one we like and the other not so much. Needless to say I am reading and learning all I can about Eric Fischl. It is so much easier to study an artist you love. The one I don't care for is Damien Hirst. I have read some material online about him much of it negative from a particular group of artists that call themselves Stuckists. My impression of this group is, it is somewhat tongue in cheek, but as with so much humour and satire comes, the critic ,which I believe is a necessary person to maintain a balanced perspective. I have included the link below and you can see for yourself the opinions they have regarding Stuckism, Conceptual Art and Damien Hirst and decide for yourself.
Charles Thomson the Founder of the Stuckism Movement concludes that Damien Hirst himself is a Stuckist.

Damien Hirst's rejection of conceptual art and his advocacy of figurative painting is yet another vindication of the ideas promoted for the future of art in the manifesto issued by the Stuckists ten years ago. He is not a formal member of the movement, but in art historical terms, Damien Hirst is a Stuckist.

1999 It was a revolution waiting to happen. The latest daring group of artists ... says that painting is the best thing ... calling themselves the Stuckist movement
Dalya Alberge, The Times, 26.8.99. 2009 I always thought painting was the best thing to do.
Damien Hirst, Financial Times, 16.10.09
(quoted from No Love Lost book, p. 63)
2000 artists who want a return to tradition ... The Stuckists"
The Times, 4.3.00 2009 what now counts as radical is a return to tradition. Hirst has been painting.
Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times, 14.10.09.

1999 The manifesto of the Stuckists ...
says that they want "to advance the cause of painting"
Dalya Alberge, The Times, 26.8.99. 2009 I think painting’s back
Damien Hirst, Bloomberg, 14.10.09

1999 The Stuckist is not a career artist but rather an amateur ... who takes risks
The Stuckists manifesto, 3.8.99. 2009 it's not really about ability, it's about guts
Damien Hirst, The Daily Telegraph, 13.10.09.

2000 art is ... about addressing the shadow and making friends with wild dogs
Stuckists Remodernism manifesto, 1.3.00 2009 I find painting cathartic
Damien Hirst, The Independent, 14.10.09

1999 So what is Stuckism? The group's manifesto proclaims it "bitterly opposed to ... conceptual art, minimal art"
Rose Aidin, The Sunday Times, 1.8.99. 2009 Conceptual or minimal art seems a bit dead
Damien Hirst, Time Out, 13.10.09
2002 the Stuckists ... on Thursday, they will proclaim the death of conceptual art by staging a funeral procession in which they will carry a coffin to the White Cube
Dalya Alberge, The Times, 20.7.02.

1999 The Stuckists ... pillory "any art which features dead animals or tents" ... which has "shown itself to be lost in
a cul-de-sac of idiocy"
Dalya Alberge, The Times, 26.8.99. 2009 Conceptual art, abstraction, they're total dead ends.
Damien Hirst, The Observer, 6.9.09
2000 the Modernist school ... declined into formalism and abstraction
Stuckists Handy Hints manifesto 11.4.00

1999 So what is Stuckism? The group's manifesto proclaims it "bitterly opposed to Brit Shit"
Rose Aidin, The Sunday Times, 1.8.99. 2009 You start thinking ... why are you making more of this shit
Damien Hirst, The Observer, 6.9.09

1999 Against ... hedonism and the cult of
the ego-artist.
The Stuckists manifesto, 3.8.99 2009 I definitely believed I was going to live forever ... you've got to get off the table and stop shouting "yeahhh".
Damien Hirst, The Guardian, 13.10.09.

1999 The Stuckist is opposed to the sterility of the white wall gallery system
The Stuckists manifesto, 3.8.99. 2009 You get a bit bored of putting art in contemporary art galleries, it's just a big white space isn't it?
Damien Hirst, Daily Mail, 13.10.09.

2002 I'm mainly talking to people who
aren't yet born with my work
Billy Childish (Stuckist co-founder), The Observer, 24.3.02 2005 in a way you make art for people who haven't been born yet
Damien Hirst, The Independent, 16.10.05
2006 you’re working for people not yet born
Damien Hirst, Time Out, 20.11.06

2000 The painting of pictures has endured since the Lascaux caves
The Stuckists, An Open Letter to Sir Nicholas Serota, 26.2.00. 2009 there's an unbroken line all the way back to the cavemen
Damien Hirst, The Daily Telegraph, 13.10.09.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Happiness Project

I didn't get to class this morning.... waiting for my Student Loan to arrive in my account which has resulted in me being flat broke with bills up the ying yang and things I need like the back window I busted out of my hatch back over the holidays.

I ran out of gas last night on the way back from University. Fortunately I am blessed to have a good friend along the way who had some gas in the jug and lent me twenty bucks to get to town to put some fuel in the tank, to get home and make another trip to town as soon as I got my dough in the bank. Bla Bla Bla. We all have shit to complain about. Shit happens, that never changes but my attitude that can change!

As I do everyday every morning I listen to CBC Radio with Jian, ( I love you ), on Q, had a lovely intelligent and erudite woman talking about her blog , The Happiness Project, which she has now based her new book with the same title.

I got thinking about happiness, which I too, have spent many years figuring out just what it means and how to get it. There was a time when I thought happiness was for others and until I began the inner journey, of finding out what it means to be myself, and learning to love and accept who I am , then happiness wasn't so elusive to me.

I have a good life long friend who once told me, she though I was resilient. That's a good thing to be and it made me feel great to know she saw me in that way.

That said, sometimes in life things happen that you have no control of and there isn't anything you can do to change it. You can be resilient but that doesn't mean you don't feel tired out, stressed and even overwhelmed. During these times I've found it best to simply withdraw yourself from the situation if you can, in a way that is positive for yourself, in order to rest whether it be physically, mentally or emotionally. Some would call it listening for the small quiet voice, or being still, quite reflection, or maybe just laying around, like a carp waiting for time to pass, if that's all you can manage to do. I have decided to do this today because there wasn't anything else for me to do. This always helps me and allows me time to re-group and practice mindfulness. Happiness, in the form of contentment seems to seep into my spirit before I know it and things have a way of righting themselves again. It was serendipity that I heard Gretchen Rubin this morning and I am grateful because she has certainly added to my happiness and has enabled me to opportunity to add to my own.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Art Exchange - What is an Artist?

Rather strange thing I heard on CBC Radio Q tonight about art work being sold to clients as shares like the TSE. Here's the link.

Thought I'd include this great You Tube Video a freind shared with me. Got me thinking about my Open Media Class. At the end of class we were asked to give thought to the question, " What is an artist?" Our Professor said one of the most common statements she hears is, that
" Artists are crazy. " I shared with a friend I had not heard any one say that directly to me but I have heard, " You artists all have a look about you.", and, " You're different."

Well we may look and act differently than the norm, heck may even be disturbed or disturbing but we aren't crazy! Here's some food for thought on the question.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Oh Shit Blue Monday Blog

Another Monday, a rather blue one. Not that I have any thing to complain about, I don't.
I'm just wanting to rant. Please bare with me here, I won't be long.
Awakened early, 5 a.m laying in bed like a carp, thinking to myself why can't I just sleep until it's time to get out of bed?
Fact is, I should have gotten up then because by the time my feet hit the floor at 6 a.m the power went out. Dark, cold, no coffee made but looking on the bright side I knew exactly where my underwear was and remaining clothes, I had put out the night previous and I had bought new candles for the next power outage. I may never be organized, but I strive to be prepared, it's a daily struggle sometimes.

Out into the dark morning and it's cold enough to freeze your grannies preserves. I head half way up the road realizing oh s _ _t! I forgot my lunch, and I'm broke! I carry on and pick up a cheap coffee at the Irving (don't get the Hazelnut Vanilla). I gum on my cold banana.

My first class, Open Media, which was very productive for me as I delegate Christian to assist me and I document some more of the ongoing process of the transformation project, which happens to be one of my soft sculpture projects from last term , 2010. It is the knotted rope ladder. I have unraveled it, ( thanks Christian for your help), and now have copious lengths of thinner rope. I may very well unravel that. It's a perfect project for the compulsive obsessive. Pictures will be posted within the next few days the document the transition. I love Open Media, regardless of not having a clue what I'm doing much of the time.

Post Script

Glad to arrive home from school, very hungry I made a bee line to the fridge and being so tired, thought briefly about hittin' the ole fart sack but instead turned on CBC Radio and heard that January 17th is considered to be the most depressing day of the year...really is Blue Monday! I feel so much better!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Art & Life

I read an article today for Canadian Art History, entitled, "How To Get Indians Into An Art Gallery, " by Candice Hopkins. There was a statement she made that really struck me in relation to how art has always being a community based activity in Native culture.

"Art was never seen as something separate or distinct from life itself."

This statement may not be profound to some, but it is to me. I have believed this for a long time but I want to remind myself often because I think from time to time, I have a tendency to forget.

Joe Average

Listening to CBC Radio as I do every morning and crawling out of bed, I heard an interview being done about an artist named Joe, Joe Average. I wondered if that was his real name. As I listened, I learned, that he had been making art to support himself after being given a diagnosis of HIV 27 years ago.

He was determined to make a living solely through his art.
Now a days he was living pretty much like a recluse. The reason being was that he'd been struggling with the side effects from the various drug cocktail he had to take in order to fight the HIV.

His was a moving and very inspiring story. A testament to his determination, and loving kindness.
Photography is his mode of expression now as opposed to the very different work he'd done in the past that brought him a great deal of acclaim.
I thought I'd post the link to his site.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blog Brain

Beginning with this weeks entry , I am going to be blogging everyday. It's a daily discipline I have attempted and practiced for a number of years now. Usually, it is written in an actual journal not a blog. Lately I've spent less time writing every day.

Truthfully, going to University full time, does not seem to allow for time to journal every day. Perhaps it is a matter of focus but now my writing is within the context of my art practice for class and I think it will be easier to incorporate into daily routine, rather than periodically, as it is now.

Fortunately, I have Professor's that understand the benefits of daily discipline. We have been asked to participate in a daily practice of our choice, as being part of our Open Media class, so this expedites the writing process.. I do still have to do the leg work and that is the challenge always, however having developed a writing habit over the years it is a somewhat easier.

Journaling is something I have done since my early 20s. I came to take it seriously after being introduced to The Artist Way, by Julia Cameron, in which daily journaling is one of the suggested daily exercises, the other being the artist date, meaning you allot an amount of time during the week, when you do something that adds to your sense of well being as a creative person. The Artist's Way was a life changing book.
It's not so important what it is I write about, but more importantly, that I write, daily. The process allows for a kind of stream of consciousness, that is rather intuitive, uncensored and only needs to be viewed by you alone, unless you choose to share it.

Well I can't spend my day writing in this blog as I have a shit load of work to do. First things first.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I don't hate Michael Snow! "Shakespeare always said his plays should appeal to the beer-drinkers in the front row "

OK here we go. The entries to follow are for my the second installment of my Canadian Art History class - 1960s to present day.

We have been asked by our Professor, who is the best ever I might add; no I'm not looking for brownie points, just happens to be the real truth-to keep a journal, starting January 11Th, 2011, based on our classes and the topics we cover.

The first article hand outs were about Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland. Both of these artists were also covered in our first lecture.
At NSCAD Michael Snow was pretty much the "IT" boy the "ART STAR". I have to say I wasn't much interested in much of it.

The period of the 60s and 70s does have particular interest to me as I am a child of the 60's born in the 50's. Attending NSCAD in the 1972 right through the 70s gives me a certain perspective.

Conceptual art at NSCAD ruled during the time I was a student. I was 21, a tender age in some ways but I did have by this time a foundation of a core ideology however under developed and naive. I had a desire to work as a traditional artist, rendering figurative subject matter through drawing and painting. I was in for a rude awakening!

I had no idea what to expect upon my arrival into art school. The prevalence of conceptual art was confusing, disturbing, threatening, intimidating, distancing, gender specific and entertaining by times.

I remember on one occasion having Mr. Peanut give a presentation of his book; yes Mr. Peanut published a book! It had cut out peanut shaped holes through the center of the pages with a peanut in the shell snugly fitted into the matching shaped hole. Fascinating!

In open Art Seminar class at Mount Allison we have been discussing Clemet Greenburg, the acclaimed and infamous art critic. The juxtaposition of him as the privier of abstract expressionism, painting being the only relevant art form, the idea of pure art, along side of what Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland attempted, to re-define art that dealt with the ideas of what art is and examining what the process of making art is an interesting one.

I am not an artist that has ever been a really interested in conceptual , abstract or abstract expressionism, although I have explored it some in my own art practice. I am glad things have changed in the art world and that we are no longer subject to adhere to a particular ideology and discourse if we choose not to. The Avaunt Gard had it's on rigidity, as did other art movements.

I say we don't need to throw the baby out with the bath water. We need to hang on to and understand some of our past in order to understand our present and our future.

Thank goodness for change.

I had a wonderful painting teacher in my early years as a student at NSCAD by the name of Dana Loomis, who was an abstract expressionist-cum- surrealist painter. I learned so much from him, not just about painting but more importantly about myself and how it was essential to find out about my own ideology. He gave us a required reading Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Persig, one of those life changing books that had a profound affect on me as an artist then and continues to do so today.

I was very saddened to hear of his death a few years back after finding his obituary on line.

Painting Exhibit Honors The Work Of Late OU Art Professor

By Athens NEWS Staff

From the 1960s until 1990, Ohio University's art program boasted a nationally renowned abstract expressionist-cum-surrealist with galleries in New York City. Now, almost 14 years after Dana Loomis' death...

From the 1960s until 1990, Ohio University's art program boasted a nationally renowned abstract expressionist-cum-surrealist with galleries in New York City. Now, almost 14 years after Dana Loomis' death, OU's School of Art is holding a retrospective exhibit sampling the life's work of the artist.

Ron Kroutel, OU art professor and close colleague of Loomis, was instrumental in organizing the exhibit. He said Loomis' paintings won't just draw intellectuals and artists at the university, but will also appeal to the Athens community. ""I think the show is not only for the people in the School of Art, it's also for the wider Athens community,"" he said. "Shakespeare always said his plays should appeal to the beer-drinkers in the front row -- I think Loomis' paintings have that quality."

Indeed, Loomis' oil paintings do have a populist appeal. The crisp and stunning realism might leave even the most jaded art critic in awe, and the careful arrangement of metaphorical objects leave inevitable echoes in the subconscious.

Consider, for instance, Loomis' ""Four Ages of Man,"" on display at the OU Art Gallery in Seigfred Hall. The picture shows an open closet with an army jacket, a business suit, a university team pennant, and a baby's hat and pacifier. Each fold in the fabric and shadow on the shelves is photographically accurate, yet the angles and arrangement of the still-life objects follow the same composition used by abstract artists like Piet Mondrian -- the man who painted those sleek pictures composed of big red, blue, yellow and white tiles. Loomis, in fact, began his career as an abstract expressionist in the school of the famous American painter William DeKooning, under whom he studied at Yale.

Seigfred's exhibit samples Loomis' early abstract work as well, the most gripping of which is ""Group Forms,"" which he finished in 1961. This painting, though initially appearing as simply obsessive smears of paint, reveals itself to be an intensely sexual painting upon further examination. The swoops and scrawls of paint form the almost-figures of naked women -- or at least squirming and suggestive organic forms.

Kroutel said Loomis' paintings were not difficult to organize because many locals own Loomis originals. Many come from the private collection of his widow, Gloria Loomis, while others belong to professors or other Athens residents.

Kroutel also expressed surprise that the art school didn't act sooner to honor its deceased professor -- they simply hired a replacement. ""When he died, they didn't really do anything,"" he said. ""I thought it was odd that the school would act like a corporation.""

But Kroutel commended the school for its support when he brought up the idea of a Loomis retrospective, allocating money to print a color pamphlet for the exhibit. A graphic design student in the School of Art laid out the publication, and it contains reproductions of Loomis' work along with commentary from Kroutel describing Loomis' career. ""He and I were close colleagues for 25 to 30 years,"" Kroutel explained. ""(Loomis) was quite a bit older than me, but we shared the same attitude toward art.""

Kroutel's essay describes Loomis' transition to realism with works such as ""Pharos #1: Greece,"" which appears at the gallery. Loomis, in this painting, makes no attempt at realism, but he is beginning to use representation to convey his ideas while still retaining his abstract composition.

Most of Loomis' canvases on display, however, sample the artist's realistic work. Some of the most impressive are those that depict a carefully positioned canvas arranged before an open door or window. The paintings on the canvases complete the landscapes outside -- a quote from the surrealist vocabulary of Renee Magritte. ""Mirror Image,"" painted in 1986, uses this device, as do several other paintings in the retrospective.

Loomis' admiration of Mondrian is also a theme throughout the show. Works such as ""Formal Devices,"" ""Bloody Mary Morning"" and ""The Four Humors"" all have the same strong, linear composition and repeating planes of red, blue and yellow.

Anyone in Athens can see Loomis' paintings at Seigfred Gallery through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at no charge. Viewers should be prepared, however, to stand in awe.

I don't need to loose my ear!

Self Portrait With Bandaged Ear by Vincent van Gogh
Self Portrait by Vincent Van Gogh

It is my belief that practical business/ commerce knowledge and skills are vital to all artists to aquire.

More often than not, our work is undervalued। As artists we don't need to contribute to this by short selling ourselves or over pricing and perpetuating the stereotype of the starving and long suffering artist that lives in a garret!

As an artist, that has returned to university to complete my Bachelor of Fine Art, I am painfully aware of how students are not given the business skills regarding, marketing and selling their work etc.

This was even more so the situation in my early years as an art student at NSCAD in the 70s. Today in art school it is still prevalent, but fortunately art students have the opportunity to access commerce related information if they seek it out, and Professors encourage and reinforce the importance of having commerce as part of your education in art school.

Studying and understanding how to market yourself as an artist, I would dare to say is perceived as diametrical to what it means to be an artist, to the point of being a sacrilege. This is also a myth, making us victims of our own persona's in which we are perceived as never needing or wanting to seriously consider the material or monetary in terms of our practice or careers.

This is not a moral high ground nor should it be. I am certain no artist wants or chooses poverty as their lot in life, loosing an ear or madness in order to be an artist! Please, hang on to your ears!