Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Seeds

More than any other time of the year, there is no other season I love and cherish more than Easter, for so many reasons. Perhaps my Celtic heritage runs deep through my blood, or the remnant part of unconscious memory of my soul, Equinox, Spring, and new growth all contribute to my love of Spring.

I am always anxiously awaiting the chance to garden, and get my feet and hands deep into the soil with the warmth of sunshine.

It makes me think of many fond memories, of times spent with my mother, who played the organ in Church while I was in Sunday school. Every year just before Easter, we went on the hunt for the traditional Easter Bonnet. I loved this activity so much and it's something I really long to do again. Not an easy thing trying to find an Easter Bonnet these days!

I remember reading a wonderful story in The Telegraph  newspaper, about some women in Nova Scotia  who had "hattitude". I wrote a post about this on Easter Day, April 24th, 2011 .
These beautiful women loved to wear their Easter Bonnets, and see it as an essential tradition at Easter.

Of course, I am always so anxious to get gardening. I love to peruse Vesey's  Seeds catalog, that appears in my mail box around February. I sure look forward to some serious gardening, a wonderful meditative, and reflective activity, that contributes to my creative process as an artist.

The seed is a remarkable living thing. I found this song by one of my favourite country artists, Kathy Mattea. The lyrics describe how we are all like the seeds in God's hand, a great analogy for this wonderful season of Easter and Spring.

Speaking of seeds and growing living things, recently I have become very excited about permaculture. I first heard about this a few years back and now I want to learn all I can applying the tenants and principles of permaculture philosophy; Earth Care, People Care, and Fair Share.

There are several sites to be found on line, but the one I am most fond of is  a complete and comprehensive, creative resource, that offers courses on line. Personally I learn by doing and being able to apply what I learn is vital. Permaculture for me, is a life style that has the potential to make things right with ourselves, with others, with the earth and with the greatest artist of all, The Great Creator.

 “The most remarkable feature of this historical moment on Earth is not that we are on the way to destroying the world - we've actually been on the way for quite a while. It is that we are beginning to wake up, as from a millennia-long sleep, to a whole new relationship to our world, to ourselves and each other.”
 ~Joanna Macy

Happy Easter friends. May you always care for the earth, care for one another and give your fair share. If you can find a great Easter Bonnet you'll be lookin' good too!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Creativity - Be Patient...Just Because...

As a little girl I was taught by my mother how to crochet, as was she was taught by her mother and my great, great, grand mothers. I wanted to learn, and fortunately she was able to teach me, patiently. I'm sure it was a pain staking process for her at times trying to convey the intricate workings of a crochet needle, how to hold it, along with the numerous single, double and triple crochet stitches I struggled to make.

 When I was a student art teacher, part of my practicum was to teach art of course. I can attest to knowing how patience is a much needed virtue to possess when teaching and learning how to crochet. It will certainly let you know in a hurry how much patience you have or lack. I found this out when on one such ocassion I had the lovely opportunity to teach little girls how to crochet at Sacred Heart Convent, which was then a private girls school, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The girls and I both learned important lessons about patience together.

I haven't been painting the past few weeks and I have been a little critical of myself for that which I needn't be. Just because I'm not painting right now does not mean I am not being creative.

I often crochet when I stop painting. I find it a meditative activity, and it gives me this generational connection with my mother and grandmothers on both sides of my family, when I think about why I love to crochet. The threads ground me to the cycle of life, and I'm bonded to my family tradition of being creative, in whatever form that takes. Writing, sewing, drawing, painting, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, cooking, baking, gardening or just paying attention to life in a creative and open mindfulness gives a person the opportunity to experience creativity.

This is what I love about being an artist, because it really is an attitude toward life, and not always, simply or even necessarily  an aptitude or talent.
So next time you think you aren't creative just because you can't draw, paint, and all the other misconceptions people have about art and creativity, I suggest to you  that it is a way of life, an approach to life, accessable to everyone, any where, and at any time, if you pay close attention, be patient with yourself, keep an open mind and an open heart.

I have been working on this crocheted project over the past month. I made this cotton top without a pattern, just because I wanted to, and I can't help being creative, and it's what I wanted to do...just because. Now I have a practical wearable art piece!

There is a vast array of youtube videos online that I'm sure can help to teach you how to crochet, but I suggest you find a patient individual to show you how to crochet you might not learn how to do it, but I guarantee you learn about patience, and you can pass it on to another. I am very fond of looking at the Vogue youtube crochet clips because of the beautiful designed creations and here's one of my favourites of a spectacular sequined shoulder wrap. Oh I love this!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Higher Art Education

Over the past months since my graduation, I have been seriously ruminating about, what now? I'm not the typical young graduate, is taking off for unknown parts in order to spread my wings, sow my oats and the like. No, I am a soon to be a sixty year old crone, which I am happy to be, however my situation causes me to carefully consider the pros and cons of my next steps and the direction in which I choose to head.

I've been thinking about returning to University my old Alma mater, NSCAD, where I first started my art education, in order to pursue my Masters of Fine Art. I have been asking myself all the questions, and make statements to myself that perhaps many would ask them selves, when considering this kind of rather daunting decision.

Mainly my biggest concern is monetary. I don't expect to be a better artist upon completion of an MFA, as I don't believe this is what makes or breaks what it means to be an artist. The bottom line is that I love going to school and life long learning.
According an article I read in the Huffinington Post the unofficial and unscientific research done on this matter seems to be is quite clear, receiving an MFA degree doesn't assist or enable an artist more exposure in galleries or give more opportunity for employment.

 This is an interesting debate and ARTFagcity has lots of opinions regarding important factors to consider what may or may not help me to come to a conclusive decision about obtaining my MFA.  After reading lots of posts on this topic online, I am much further ahead in deciding, but I do know I will have to turn to prayer in seeking my answer.

I would very much welcome and appreciate any feedback, comments or opinions surrounding this subject.

Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day - Joyce Wieland

                                                            Joyce Wieland 1930-1998

"The problem is to go into oneself and find out what one is and to suffer what it is to be oneself. Go to the darkest parts and the brightest parts and find out what you like and want, and to validate that...It's not just a question of art and finding out who you are and to make this wonderful thing happen out of yourself but it's the responsibility to the society and to care about other people...A lot of people think art is to be separate, but art is to embrace others - whether to convey something difficult or talk about light -  work comes from spirit, journeys into spirit are what we need now. Spirit has always been in art."  
                                                           -  Joyce Wieland

I just finished reading reading Artist on Fire by Jane Lind. It is the wonderful autobiography of Joyce Wieland. She referred to herself as being the foremost artist. Others described her as being fearless. She was also I believe to be the most influential Canadian feminist artist.

The quote from Joyce Wieland summarizes for me much of what best describes what it means to be an artist regardless of your gender or feminism. She was a kindred and inspiring spirit to many women.

Joyce followed her inner visions and the legacy she left to those for us to follow was to listen and find our own voice, an act of faith in the face of fear. She created art because she loved it and believed art was "given from a divine source of love".

Art was not about theory for Joyce Wieland but about creating from the inside emotion of who she was, and making the personal political. She was in that category of women who created from their inner voice and vision.

I highly recommend reading this book, to anyone.

"To read this absorbing account of the life and art of Joyce Wieland is to enter again the magic circle that Canada's most original artist created in her life and work period. She remains unique. We are again enriched by her whimsy, her passion her zest for life, her contagious vitality even while we are saddened by the burden of pain she carried and by her tragic and untimely death. "
                                                                                                             - Doris McCarthy

Joyce died on June 27th 1998 of Alzheimers disease at the age of 68. She was greatly loved and admired.