Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Willie Baronet - Artist

I heard about this artist a few months back on CBC radio and found this article today about Artist Willie Baronet who has taken on a project called, We Are All Homeless that he began several years back and has continued since 1993, which morphed into a poignant documentary about homelessness.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Michael Gaudet - Artist

I wanted to post this interview from  LIT Happens, a Shaw Cable Systems cable broadcast from Saskatchewan. The interview is with my dear old friend Michael Gaudet. We knew one another at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax during the 70s.

Michael is not only an amazingly talented artist, but is a remarkable human being, with a big loving heart, and has a great conviction and passion to and for life and his art. I am proud to say he is my friend.

You can find Michael's blogs at the links listed .

Lovers Lane - Michael Gaudet

Serene Path - Michael Gaudet

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ralph Nader - Told You So

This morning I listened to a rebroadcast of the Current. There was a special segment called Project Money. Ralph Nader was talking about minimum wage. I admit, have not read anything by Ralph Nader, but have heard him speak several times through the media, and have always found him to be a highly intelligent man, and a compelling activist, and what he has to say, makes an enormous amount of sense to me. Terry O'Reilly also had a great interview with him many months ago, talking about his book Told You So.

Most artists struggle financially, as do the majority of people globally, and live daily with the fear of financial insecurity and poverty.

 Chris Hedges on the site Truth Dig, and Nation of Change, quoted from Ralph Nader and it demonstrates the injustice, and disproportionate wage gap between rich and poor, comparing it to medieval times.

“ How much political courage does it take to stand up for guys making $7.25 an hour while the head of Wal-Mart is making $11,000 an hour?” Nader asked. “What medieval period had that kind of wealth disparity? " - Ralph Nader

This got me thinking about what Ralph Nader thinks about creativity, and I think I found quote that encapsulates his thoughts, from the site focusing on the film about Ralph Nader An unReasonable Man

 " The students are not learning. They're not learning citizen skills. They're not learning how to practice democracy. They're not learning the creative force of their personality, and idealism and imagination.  Maybe if we started talking about citizen globalization, civic globalization, instead of corporate globalization, the world will move forward!  Let not future generations look back on us and say that this was the last generation that refused to give up so little in order to achieve so much."
-- Ralph Nader 

I think this quote indicates how Ralph Nader sees a direct correlation between the educational system and how our economy is run. I think he is of the same mind set as Sir Ken Robinson who believes that there needs to be a paradigm shift in the educational system.

When I think about students not learning citizen skills, it makes me think about B.F. Skinner, who rewarded, and punished rats through his behavioural modification method. Firstly, we are not rats, and are not always rewarded for good behaviour, nor punished by our bad behaviour; and it often it can be the opposite situation, where we are rewarded for bad behaviour and punished for good..

 Oh yes, we can become good citizens even politicians, however often, too many simply learn to manipulate the system, but makes for lousy human beings. I would suggest it isn't enough to learn about citizen skills, as we are in desperate need of learning how to be better human beings.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Photomatic - Traveling Tintype Studio

Karen Stentaford was one of my photography teachers at Mount Allison University. She is a very talented artist, a fabulous teacher and a hard worker.
 If you are in the Eastport Maine area check out Photomatic Traveling Tintype Studio!

Vivian Maier - More Complicated

I found an updated article in Hyperallergic Newsletter about Vivian Maier today, which leaves us with a lot to think about.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Suzanne Heintz - " The Playing House Project "

Suzanne Heintz

I think Suzanne Heintz's is a remarkable and perceptive artist. She was recently written about, on the site, 22 Words by Jake Johnson. It is a very well written, comprehensive article, from an exclusive interview, that provided insight into the artist's background, and how it has influenced her, and The Playing House Project that has evolved from her photography project, entitled Life Once Removed.

I hope you will take the time to visit Jake Johnson's interview article and Suzanne Heinz's site. I think you will find it very worthwhile.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

" Every life is a story... A story can change the world! "

 After twenty years of sobriety and being an artist, Carl Jung has become an vital part of my world as a recovering person, and as an artist. Today I saw this picture above, and got to thinking, I wanted to do a search for women artists, who are also involved in creating art reflecting Jungian philosophy, and his ideas. Well I certainly did, and what I found is very exciting to me!

Mythic Journeys  is a site I found today after I did a search for artists who were basing their work in Jungian thought. On this site I found out about the artist Ann McCoy and her introduction to Dr. Patricia Ariadne's book entitled, Women Dreaming into Art: Seven Artists Who Create from Dreams

"Coeur de Lion" by Ann McCoy

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Leonard Cohen - " So The Day Does Not Go Down In Debt "

" [Writing] begins with an appetite to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt. It begins with that kind of appetite. " - Leonard Cohen

I so love this quote of Leonard Cohen's. It can be applied to any kind of creative process. It's not motivated by any thing else, but the creative process, in and of itself, and to discover that self-respect and redemption of the day, and having that creative appetite. It makes so much sense to me. To others it may seem very impractical, even delusional, particularly from a monetary perspective.
 I see it as a kind of letting go of the outcome, but continuing to work hard, through to the final outcome of the creative process.

Yesterday, I took a trip to a near by village where there is a new Art-Lab-Studios & Gallery  that has recently opened. I had a chance to drop in and speak to the artist on duty. We had a good heart to heart chat, about making a living or supporting yourself as an artist, the difficulties and struggles that you face. Regardless, we continue to pursue our creativity and art. I do believe is it because of what Leonard Cohen states in the quote above.

This week most gratefully, I was able to sell some of my work and I felt wonderful about the remuneration I received from a person whom I know, is very appreciative of my work as an artist. What a great feeling to firstly have someone truly appreciate my work, in supporting me morally, and monetarily. More often than not this is not the case, but it is vital that I not devalue what I do, by asking for less than what I know the work is worth. This is directly related to self-respect and not allowing " the day to go down in debt " in more ways than one.

I am certain, Leonard has known, like many artists, in a very personal way, how the days have gone down in debt, myself included, and today I choose not to let that happen.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chuck Close - " A Portrait In Progress "

A few years back I had the wonderful opportunity to visit NYC with my fourth year University class at got the chance to see some Chuck Close paintings. What a fantastic artist, very engaging human being, and such a beautiful soul. Here's great interview on Eleanor Wachtel On The Arts.

"Inspiration is for amateurs, and the rest of us just show up and get to work."
 - Chuck Close

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Separation and Friendship - Mr. G and Jelly Bean

Sometimes I have days when I think oh Lord, what am I going to write about today? I have been regularly writing this blog for six and a half years now, and have learned to let go of concerning myself too much with what I am going to write. I keep my ears and eyes open, simply trust my intuition, and let synchronicity happen, exactly what happened today.

This morning I came upon a post in a blog called Dragon, that I subscribe to, a compelling blog of great interest, on a variety of topics. Today's post was from the Guardian about photos from Frida Kahlo's personal photo album that I also wanted to share. The photograph's are of course in black and white, and I think they capture the essence and the strength of her soul, and are so intimate, beautiful and profound.

 There are many reasons I think I feel such an affinity with Frida Kahlo, and I'm certain if I had ever known her, I would have loved her very much. I can't however, exactly explain why it is, she never seems to be far from my thoughts. It's a odd thing that happens, when you feel such a bond with someone you have never met. I do know there are and will be, more women to come, who will identify with Frida Kahlo, as I do, and feel the same strong kinship with her regardless of having never known her personally, because of who she was, what she experienced in her life, and in spite of her death, her spirit lives on, because she lived her life to the fullest and thrived, not in spite of, but perhaps because of what she suffered, creating powerful, amazing art, and her legacy continues to mean so much to others.

Earlier this morning I found this same kind of meaning, after listening to an interview with Rebecca Solnit for a second time. She was talking about the death of her mother, and her most recent book The Far Away Near By. It is a book about suffering, and stories and a whole lot more. I have not read any of her books, but I certainly will now, after learning more about this talented, gifted, intelligent, wise and creative woman.

One of the many things that struck me during the interview repeated today, was when she quoted from French philosopher, Simone Weil, about experiencing separation from those we love through death or some kind of distance. When I reflected on this, I thought what a perfect explanation, embodying  the perfect definition of friendship, love and separation. This quote also gave me some insight into understanding how you can feel friendship with those you've never known, other then through what they have left behind, in the form of their creative work, or still feel deep connection with those we are separated from. Here is the quote.

" For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation."  - Simone Weil

Another quote I found about friendship is from the writer I deeply identify with and love, Henry David Thoreau who was a naturalist, poet and philosopher.

" The language of friendship is not words but meanings." - Henry David Thoreau

I have come to the conclusion that we are all much more connected than we realize regardless if we have ever met and regardless of our distance for whatever the reasons. It's a comforting thing to know and gives our life meaning.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

" Aging By The Book "

This past weekend we experienced  in the Maritimes, a tropical storm, the remnants of Hurricane Arthur, a name that sure sounds innocuous enough, but it packed quite a wallop, and there are still many throughout Nova Scotia and New Brunswick without power, due to downed power lines as a result of numerous fallen trees.

The storm arrived July 4th weekend and at the same time a group of life long friends, and myself, got together for our annual WW ( Women's Weekend ). Fortunately where we had our weekend we did not loose power. We ate, laughed, danced, and had a great time engaging in some heart to heart conversations, on a range of subjects about art, creativity, kids and grand kids etc and generally got caught up on where we are in our lives. I would describe it as relating to each other, our present life stories. There was an overall focus on life long learning, and we shared with one another what  books we have been reading.

Getting together with old friends is a very satisfying thing to do, because we know one another's story, and it is a good thing to stay in touch, because we can catch up, reestablish our connections, and bonds of friendship, and even meet new friends, these all help to reinforce who we are, and it all gives us a sense of belonging. Our shared life stories I think, help us to understand who we are, and the aging process.

One of my friends gave everyone of the women a gift of copied original art works in the form of magnets in envelopes with a quotes. The quote on my envelope was from the poet Emily Dickinson.

" We never know how high we are 
     Till we are called to rise;
   And then, if we are true to plan,
   Our statures touch the skies. "

Yesterday I heard a rebroadcast of the Ideas program, Aging By The Book  which I thought was a very poignant, inspiring, and relevant to me and my life long friends, that I have know for so many years.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mount Allison Cancels Free Tuition For Seniors

Judith MacCheyne (right), Kate Cober (centre) and Lucas Cober (left) were all attending Mount Allison University. MacCheyne may not be able to complete her degree after the university decided to terminate its policy of allowing seniors to study for free. (Tori Weldon/CBC)
 Recently I turned 61 years of age. I can  now, officially consider myself a "senior citizen ". I'm not having a difficult time get used to that. What I will never get used to, is the cost of education.  Returning to University at the age of 56 was the most significant decision I'd ever made in my whole life. I am well below the poverty line but being determined to achieve the goal and dream of finally finishing my Fine Art Degree, in spite of the cost, I certainly do not regret  returning as a mature student. As a matter of fact, it was one of the most rewarding and productive times of my life, that will remain with me always, in numerous ways, too many to count.

This is why I was very dismayed by the decision made at by my Alma Mater to change the policy regarding Mount Allison University to cover tuition costs for senior citizens. Though this does not affect me directly as I received my degree, graduating in 2012, but because I know, and fully understand how important it was for me to finish my degree, and what it meant on the day of Convocation. I strongly identify with  Judith MacCheyne who's story was on CBC today. She began her studies at Mount Allison, at the age of 65, and now will be unable to afford to pay for her education. I believe this to be a shameful, heart breaking travesty, from a University that promotes life long learning.

Finally after Judith MacCheyne had raised her family, working hard all her life, as a working mother, she decided to enroll, having the wonderful opportunity to go to University, with her tuition covered. She'd never been able to afford to do this without this policy in place, at Mount Allison University, providing free tuition to seniors, and now in her second year, her dream of graduating has come to a crushing halt. This is so wrong and outrageous on so many levels.

Mount Allison University has the second highest tuition in Canada. It has become next to impossible for those students, without financial help from family, to obtain their secondary education from Mount Allison, without going into crushing debt for the rest of their lives.

I've always been of the opinion that education should be free to all, let alone the mature student or senior that wants to receive a higher education. After some research, I found this online, and it frankly surprised me. It is a Treaty from the United Nations General Assembly entitled International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Adopted by the General Assembly of United Nation on December 1966.

This is part of the text referencing the right to free education.

" 2. The States Parties to the present to the Covenant recognize that, with a view to achieving the full realization of this right: primary education shall be compulsory and available free to all; (6) secondary education in its different forms, including technical and vocational secondary education, shall be made generally available and accessible to all by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education; (c) higher education shall be made equally accessible to all, on the basis of capacity, by every appropriate means, and in particular by the progressive introduction of free education; "

What want to know is what the heck happened to this right?

My hope is that there will be a great social media out cry for Mount Allison University to recind their policy and allow Judith MacCheyne to finish her degree tuition free.