Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Informed Creative Leaders

 I've been without my internet for three days and finally got it back this afternoon. I felt lost not being able to write my blogs. So I played Solitaire and Pin Ball. I'm not sure this helped with my creativity, but it was a good distraction from my frustration.

 My technical problem was a simple matter of not knowing one of the cables to my router had been accidentally disconnected, and then I re-connected it, but didn't do this correctly.

 Thank goodness for computer technicians. Sometimes as artists we can feel like technophobes and just don't 'get' technology, and this can be frustrating, which I think is a good thing really. When we come up against a technological problem as a creative person, most of us see this as a creative challenge to solve.

 There may just as well, be technologists that feel they don't 'get' art. This got me thinking about art and technology. There are those of us creative types that believe, and know that there is a complimentary balance between art and technology. The kind of interdependent balance that Robert Persig talks about in his book Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

I found this video of John Maeda's TED talk about how art, technology, and design inform creative leaders to be very insightful.
To me creativity is not so much about the finding the answers to our questions, but more about the questions we ask along the way, during the creative process.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Disposable Youth - Henry Giroux

Henry Giroux's Spur lecture given in Toronto Ontario, and based on his book Disposable Youth he speaks emphatically of the crisis within North American society that has an ever increasing philosophy of a punitive police state, more concerned with controlling youth, as opposed to understanding.

This is the second time I have listened to Henry Giroux speak on the CBC Ideas program. It is even more compelling to me now, considering the present state of the world. I have grievous thoughts about the kind of future legacy being left for our children and the future that is ahead for them.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A Rare Breed

Canadian Heritage Horse - Oil on Canvas - Catherine Meyers, 2010

I was excited to hear an interview this morning about Canada's National Heritage Horse being featured at North America's longest running Agricultural Fair in Nova Scotia, the Hants County Exhibition, which first exhibition began 250 years ago.

The Canadian Horse was in Canada before we were actually a country. It is still endangered as it's numbers have declined. Canada owes so much to this rare breed in the establishment of our great country Canada.I have been a passionate fan of our Canadian Heritage Horse since I first found out about it in 1994. 

The video I have included is of Lacey, that belonged to Pat Garland at Cosyland Farms, and demonstrates the beauty and majesty of the breed. One of the best I have seen.Very sadly Lacey is no longer alive, and Pat's breeding farm was sold as were her beautiful horses.

In the past I've loved making the Canadian Horse my subject matter for my oil paintings because I am so passionate about the what is affectionately called The Little Iron Horse, due to it's endurance, legs of steel, good confirmation, intelligence, being an easy keeper, and gentle loving nature.

 The industrialization of agriculture has helped in lowering the cost of food, however the cost is much greater now, being the consequence of extinction of many breeds in livestock and animals.
 In order to protect the future of our entire planet, we must honour, preserve and protect our rare breeds and all animals within our world and delicate eco-systems.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wade Davis " Catalogues of Culture "

Wade Davis

I've been listening to Wade Davis on a number of the CBC Radio Ideas program. So practically educated and visionary, he has so much to say about culture, language, and story telling. He states politicians follow, but story telling changes the world. The Catalogues of Culture lecture I think is the best I have heard. It is so rich the depth and breath of wisdom I'll listen to it again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Anna Shoub - Home Is Where The Hat Is

Anna Shoub

What I love about rural Nova Scotia is of course the beauty of the land, the expanse of the sea, and the real sense of community and traditional values. It's a place that truly does inspire and nurtures creativity and why I chose to live here..

A friend of mine posted this article written in a blog about our area. It is a great post I think, and very aptly describes where we live and why. What especially excited me, was to find out about Anna Shoub who lives in beautiful Lunenburg, Nova Scotia and writes a blog. She is an artist, a hat junkie, is what she calls herself. She practices the fine art of both practical and functional old fashioned millinery, with great attention to detail. Her hats are Canadian hand made quality, that reflect vintage styles, and are made using a swath of fabrics.

Whenever I hear about those who make hats, I think of my mother's stories about how there were millinery shops and every woman wore one, when she was growing up, and how she'd taught herself to make them.

I love hats, and I remember one of my fondest memories was going to a millinery shop with a friend in Fredericton.  That afternoon we spend about an hour having so much fun, trying on all these magnificent hats, fantasizing that we were different people, living in a period of time, when women looked beautiful, feminine, and even glamorous in hats.

Every year around Easter, I get this huge hankerin' for finding an Easter bonnet, but I haven't found one yet. Now that Fall is soon to be upon us with Winter ahead I'll make it my goal to find one come next Easter in the Spring, my favourite time of year. Until then, maybe I'll find some handmade hats to tide me over in the meantime!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Apple River Monday Morning 'Uptown Funk'

The Very Funky Ben Caplan - Photo Cathy Irving

There's not a whole lot of up town funk goin' on usually in Apple River, except for this Monday morning, and here it is. I love music, and living in the Maritimes is such a wonderful place to hear a mesh-mash of cross-cultural, traditional, celtic, blues, hip hop and everything in between.

Not many musicians can do real good cover songs and make them their own, but I've got to say Ben Caplan and Chris Luedecke and the others in the band sure go above and beyond  in breakin' the mold when they performed this in Halifax CBC music Studio 211. It will funk you up. This is the way it's done in the Maritimes!

Chris Luedecke Vocals, Banjo, Guitar Joel Hunt Vocals, Mandolin
Ben Whiteley Vocals, Bass                      
Ben Caplan Vocals, Guitar, Keyboard
Donald MacLennan Violin
Taryn Kawaja Vocals, Keyboard
Jamie Kronick Drums
Ron Hynes Bass

     Production Credits
     Reuben Maan Producer
     Nick Bonin Engineer
     John MacLean Assistant Engineer
     Ron Skinner Mix Engineer
     Dennis Chan Video Production

Sunday, September 20, 2015

" But One Day I Know It Will Be Otherwise"

I love it when my two blogs intersect. It's what I most love and why I am passionate about what art does. It intersects, compliments life and all learning.

Yesterday I wrote a post about the wonderful poet Jane Kenyon, and today in my Tarot blog, http://applerivertarotreadings.blogspot.com I wrote a post about the Four of Pentacles, that focused on finding order out of chaos and attaining serenity within the storms of our lives.

There was a comment left by a Tarot deck collector and who studies Tarot and has over 300 decks. This blogger has three blogs, is an artist and an avid reader, and writer. This posted picture of the Ten of Pentacles is a card of hope and stability, in a world that often seems hopeless and without a stable foundation. This card is from the Animalis os Fortuna Tarot Deck by artist Megan Weber.

The quote along side of this card, is from one of Jane Kenyon's poems entitled, Otherwise. I think it is simple, beautiful, and poignantly full of gratitude for the day of simple pleasures in life. I relate very much to this poem, because it is so relevant to what I've been thinking a lot about lately, in our chaotic world that seems to be collapsing in on itself.

Otherwise - a poem by Jane Kenyon

 I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Jane Kenyon - Poet

Jane Kenyon - Poet  1947 - 1995

"Tell the whole truth. Don’t be lazy, don’t be afraid. Close the critic out when you are drafting something new. Take chances in the interest of clarity of emotion."

"Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours."

                                                          -Jane Kenyon

I'm a big fan and follower of the site Brain Pickings. I find so many educational articles, especially about creativity, artists and about writers.

One thing I have noticed in the many articles I have read, is how frequently artists and writers suffer from mental illness. Perhaps this is not unusual. Mental illness is common, having friends and family members being affected by this illness and people are talking more openly about it.

Jane Kenyon, who I found out about today, was one such person, a gifted writer and poet, that allowed her vulnerability and emotion to deeply resonate from her work, which I think was a beautiful thing.

In her poem called, Happiness in this link  encapsulates her thoughts and feelings so very well.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

I have never been an artist interested in conceptual art. Attending an art school such as the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design all through the 70s, I often felt like a fish out of water, in a school that was mostly oriented around conceptual art. To say I regret attending, I certainly don't, as I was exposed to so many wonderful artists, along with a variety of art genres during a very unique period in time, at an amazing school.

I have to say exposure to artists throughout history who were women, was something that was critically lacking at this time in my art education. Having had very few teachers who were women, in a male dominated educational environment was very problematic for students. Fortunately we actively protested against this situation for change.

When I returned to University at Mount Allison University, to finish my degree 30 years later I was thrilled to see how many things had changed. It was exciting and affirming. Finally there were Art History Professors that were women, more studio professors that were women, and all with a feminist perspective.

There is still much work ahead in that in spite of the fact the majority of students studying art are women, there is still not enough representation in galleries and within the art world.

What I felt and still feel most passionate about is the art created by women artists.
And so finding this article about Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and how she influenced conceptual artist Marcel DuChamp, is such an interesting find and a must read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Study On Grief - Jean-Marc Vallée

Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty ImagesDirector Jean-Marc Vallee from "Demolition" poses for a portrait during the 2015 Toronto

 A recent movie premiered at TIFF  by Canadian film maker Jean-Marc Vallée that I haven't seen. I am somewhat familiar with the other films he has written, but truthfully I haven't had the chance to see any.

I love film but I am very picky about what I choose to watch. There has to be first, an excellent script that tells a compelling story, with consummate good actors, all elements that convince me as a story or as metaphor for life.

Jean-Marc Vallée honours the script, the story telling, the actor, and what he calls the underdog, who is 'trying to find their own happiness.' More than seeing this movie, I am more curious about Jean-Marc Vallée. The his interview he gave with Shad on CBC Q really struck me, because of the subject in this movie, his description of it, and being what he says is a study on grief.

Everyone grieves in their own personal way. It may not be acceptable to others expectations who don't understand this fact. It may be easy to sit in judgement of how another copes or doesn't cope with grief. Expressing our grief through creativity can be the vehicle that helps us to connect with our feelings and artists find their own medium and way to do this.

We live in a society that is in denial about death, and we leave all that it involves at arms length. Our family values and beliefs are the antecedents to our behaviour, and society perpetuates a culture of denial around grief and death.

I believe Jean-Marc Vallée  has used his own personal experience with grief, imparting the importance of humanity, humour and humility to convey his own feelings. He gives viewers an opportunity to relate and connect to their own feelings through his art as a film maker that touches humanity through the power of story telling.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Franke James - Banned On The Hill - The Art & Censorship

Frankie James

The last month of an election campaign is gearing up here in Canada, before we go to the polls again, after a long almost nine years of the same government.

In our last election only 38% of the population turned out to exercise their democratic right . We now have a fear mongering government controlling a country, driving it into the ground environmentally, and economically, hell bent on security, involvement in a war never to be won, and the muzzling of truth telling scientists or of anyone who criticizes.

Those of us who chose not to vote where not muzzled. We elected this government through sins of omission and we got just what we asked for. A governing scenario that glaringly reflects Stephen Harper's controlling personality which is well documented by those who work under this government.

I was thinking this morning about what Steven Harper could learn from artists, when I came across Canadian artist/activist Frankie James, whose art was censored and her art grant revoked for criticizing Canada's ruling Conservative Party. It's a real eye opener. You can watch the video here.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Home - Poet - Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire

To say I am frustrated, and very disgusted by the Canadian government for countless reasons, is to put it mildly, and way beyond an understatement.To date the lack of Steven Harper's compassion toward refugees defies my ability to describe how I feel in my own words. and so today I am relying on poetry.

I am no poet, but I so love that fact that poetry can express for us, what we can't put into words ourselves. One such poem I heard today deeply moved me, written by Somali Poet Warsan Shire, she calls Home. This poem profoundly encapsulates the dire situation refugees are in world wide.You can hear this poem read on CBC Radio Sunday Edition.

Canada often holds itself up to the rest of the world as an example of a very welcoming country, with a commitment to compassion and an open armed acceptance toward refuges and immigrants.  Unfortunately this is a myth, that many either don't know is untrue, or are in denial about as part of our historical legacy and past. This attitude is still born out today in the way First Nations are treated and others who are marginalized groups that are either coming to our country or are presently in the system to become Canadians. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Education Through Art - September 11th Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

On this date of September 11th 2015 so many of us remember this day all over the world, and especially those who were directly affected. This tragic event changed lives and our world for ever.

There are good things that come out of every tragedy and the 911 commemorative memorial which is educating youth through art is one of them.

I never knew of these related sites until today, when I found out about them on another wonderful art site I belong to, called Tondo.

You will find an amazing amount of art created by numerous artists commemorating September 11th at this site 911 Memorial Registry.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Wendell Pierce - " Not A Superficial Thing "

Listening to CBC Q today I heard such an inspiring interview with actor Wendell Pierce who grew up in Pontchartrain Park, New Orleans. His personal life story and the profound points he made during this interview regarding how art empowers, and sustains life itself makes it obvious how he is not only a wonderful ambassador for New Orleans, but more importantly he also demonstrates how he and New Orleans are a compelling an example for the rest of us in showing the world how to be a dedicated purveyor of art and culture, as an example of how art and culture have an inseparable connection to life itself.

" The role of art is to be what thoughts are to an individual when we lie awake at night and contemplate our lives - where we've been, where we hope to go. We declare what is important to us, and then chart a course of meaning and purpose in our lives. That is what the communal nature of art should always be. And what's happened is we don't teach our kids art's importance in their lives and how it can be life changing, life-affirming. It is not a superficial thing."

Wendell Pierce

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"I Did Not" - Art For Change - Mark Vallen

The artist with his parents at Disneyland's Tomorrowland, 1959. "We're a happy family, me mom and daddy." Photographer unknown.

I don't think there is anything more that I admire in an artist or in anyone for that matter, than those who have the courage of their convictions to follow their social conscience. 

As the artist and activist Mark Vallen says in his blog, Art For A Change post, I Did Not to "be more than a witness", or what Thomas Merton talks about in his book Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander. As Dr. Cornell West says we can advocate, have empathy, and even protest but we need to organize and take action. 

I really appreciated Mark Vallen's post that was a chronological history of his life as an artist and an activist. He's a man who truly has the courage to live his convictions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"The Healing of Nations"

The Red Road -  Coloured Pencil, Catherine Meyers 2006

Monday, September 7, 2015

Adam McLean - Painter

adam_escorial2008.jpg (241×275)
Adam McLean - Painter

I've been looking for fellow artists that create art for Tarot decks. You could say I'm a little preoccupied, ok maybe a little obsessed with it being that Tarot has been the main focus of my work, as an artist, and a Tarot reader.

Artists and Tarot seem to go hand in hand for many of us, and there are numerous artists that create there own Tarot decks, because they consider Tarot as art.

Recently I found a really fascinating painter Adam McLean who is also a dedicated collector of Tarot cards and art. He has a huge, compehensive data base of published, and unpublished Tarot decks and cards. The limited edition art tarot works are really quite beautiful and fascinating. He is actively seeking artists who would like to have their Tarot art work published. If you have a passion or interest in Tarot art work you'll find Adam McLean's website very unique.

The Empress -Egg Tempera on Porcelain Tile - 2015 Catherine Meyers

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Michael Gaudet The Movers Are Here!

  My dear old friend Michael Gaudet has finally completed his BIG mural project! Very impressive and congratulations on such a fantastic job! You've got more stick-to-it-ness than super cement!

The Art of Michael R. Gaudet: "Premiere Van Lines" Pick up Mural Panels...: Yesterday was a big day in my world.  About a week ago, I scheduled a pick-up with SGEU  for " Premiere Van Lines " to come from ...