Sunday, May 12, 2013

Shall We Celebrate The 'Bad' Mother? (repost from 5/12/12)

It's the day before another 'taken-over-by-Hallmark' holiday - Mother's Day -  and I'm wondering if this goes across our world or is it just a 'North American' thing - but after going to that social network icon: Facebook this morning, (the ritual of coffee and pc that mornings have become) and reading all the posts praising the poster's mothers to the skies; I was left wondering : "What about those 'Bad Mothers' ?"
I have posted about my troubled and often brutal childhood with my own mother  and my book "The Other Side Of The Canvas" describes how many of my paintings were influenced by this tortured relationship, so we don't need to flog that horse any more. But I'm not the only person on this planet to have had a 'bad mother' and how do we honour this day? Well, perhaps 'honour' isn't quite the right choice of verb but you catch my drift. I am bouncing about in feeling an anger because I didn't get that kind of life ( yeah yeah, petty I know but I'm aiming for honest disclosure) and the other part that really forgives her and realizes that all that crap gave me this huge gift of painting the story - it all goes into the canvas - and recognizing her for that.  
And speaking of mothers : how about the Mothers who never became one? How about the Mothers who died in childbirth and are unknown to their children? How about the Mothers who are forgotten? And, closer to home for me: How about Mother's who abandoned their children?
As usual there are really two sides to everything. 
I'm half torn wanting to post a status update about all this but I think if any of you actively participate on Facebook, you soon come to realize that it's far too easy to inflame all around you by the rampant misunderstanding that occurs regularly with a seemingly innocuous  post. I've had to remind people that I'm being irreverent when I post or making fun or fooling around (except with Art) so stop taking everything so seriously.  
Speaking of abandoning mothers, I watched the BBC Classic theatre movie "Daniel Deronda" by George Sand last night. Interestingly, George Sand was a woman but due to the benighted misogyny of her day, had to use a man's name to publish her work. 
Anyhowfarwehaven'tcomeway, the story is of a young man in 17th? 18th? century England who has grown up as a privileged Englishman in an 'adopted' family and is searching for his roots (along with all sorts of other side stories, blaa bla bla) AnyColesNotesway, he eventually is reunited with his mother and discovers she is a famous artist of the day - a singer - and she tells him she was not a good mother because she wanted a career and not a child so gave him to her friend to raise in England. 
That was the part I was fascinated by. Is this the price you pay for being a woman who is an artist and wants that recognition? Certainly not having my children around me has lead to my success as an Artist because it left me free to paint. And before you judge me with any incensed feelings, may I point out that EVERY MALE artist has done this with impunity and is forgiven.
Ah, woman pays the higher price. 
And an Woman Artist pays the biggest one of all. 

The Painting: "Portrait of Rita" (1951) by Marla Thirsk. 
I did this from a memory really. Mom used to always be on the couch when I came back from school, so it's a memory of that and I used  collaged parts of some old photos of her I have. 
My fav part is the old coke bottle and she did like Coke. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Update: The Desk...The Desk

The title is supposed to be said in a kind of 'Monty Python-esque' way, which is about as lame as lame can be but I'm tired after my almost 14 hr stint at the advanced poll today and the next 3 days and it's about the boring-est job to do but needs must as they say, whomever 'they' be and thank the gods I'm creative as I am making myself a batch of my collaged business cards to have on hand for the show in Victoria next month whilst I sit there and keep the other souls entertained and, oh yeah, the desk - what can I say?
I'm possessed. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Idle Hands Are The Devil's Playground

Out here in the way-back-and-beyond, I may have mentioned that I am still on Dial Up service for access to the increasingly light-years-ahead-of-me Internet. The craziest thing about this scenario, apart from the mind altering 
S - L - O - W - N - E - S - S of it, is that 5 minutes past me down the highway, in the town, is high speed. The 'company' had to PASS by me (I live in a smallish subdivision just outside town) to install this service. There are @ 200 souls out here in the same boat.  Many have opted for the 'stick' or satellite service but all that means is excessive $$$ of which this artist is without. 
As you know, as an artist, I am worth more dead than alive. 
True dat.
Anybelabourthepointway, what all this leads to is that downloading/uploading any and all internet-ty business takes a 'patience of an angel' type of personality to get to what you're searching/looking at/ sending. 
I have never watched any U-Tube videos as one second means one minute download time to me. So for a 29 second clip, I would have to wait 29 minutes to download the thing before I can even see what all the fuss is about.  
SO.....that leaves me with an extraordinary amount of excess time to kill. 
This above is what happens when Marla finally and definitively gets truly bored with waiting. 
That is my computer desk, which is actually an Ikea table that I got for a kitchen table but due to the fact my hovel is pretty much smaller than a bug fart, and there's usually just me and I'll eat wherever (like sitting on the studio chair while looking at painting in progress), it was re purposed to  pc central. 
What happened was that I idly started carving my name into the top....and then I liked the feeling so much (oh, the ghosts of school and the old wooden desks!) I just kept going. The above is after 4 days. I coloured with permanent Sharpie pens, of which I have the 'mega' pack. That strange pointy thing is a carving tool, part of a bunch of carving tools I got some time ago for some project idea I had. But as with much I do, the original 'what and why' has drifted out to the Sea of "Left behind art ideas". It works a treat for carving the ever so soft pine wood (?) of the tabletop. Thank you Ikea for your cheap furniture.
Now this has become an art project. I figure with the amount of time I spend here - and let's admit it, we are now all slaves to the little magic screen - I should have this all carved in about 6 months....give or take. 
Then it can be put in an art show...or something. 
I'll tell you one thing for sure, sitting here waiting has become w-a-a-a-a-y more fun!

Friday, April 19, 2013

I Must Go Down to The Sea Again

...hmmmm...well, one month later. Did you miss me.....? Yeah, thought so. 
Allrighty then....Moving along....

This is what's been going on.




There is a thing about Life and famous last know, those ones that generally like to turn around and bite you in the ass. Or maybe they are just an Ian Flemming James Bond novel,  (Never Say Never); in any case these moments of 'put your foot in your mouth' comes flying around quite often in my artistic existence it seems. Let us witness the grandiose posturing by yours truly over painting coasty type landscapes. 
"Don't want to paint those"...she said.
"So Boring"....she said.
"My heart isn't in it"...she said. 
And then what do you suppose happens, oh faithful reader-if-you're-still-there?
Let's set the stage for all this, hmmmm?
Back about ...3 or 4 weeks ago after posting an old 'coasty' painting to good old Facebook (the painting the kids wanted for their wedding invite) and getting many 'likes' (y) (< THAT was supposed to make the thumbs up likey symbol as per FB - guess it doesn't translate to blogging) including 'Gallery Guy', I, in my oh put your face into the muck way, challenged him to a paint off. I told him I would paint 3 coast themed paintings and that to prove to me this is what sells, he would do so. And he accepted.
That bottom one is the first one I did. A bit 'feh, who likes it' but still not completely without merit. Except for the small detour while folks claimed they saw a giant sleeping in the rocks. (I repainted that part)
 Then came the middle one. 
Suddenly, something happened. I actually enjoyed painting that one. It got ....interesting to paint. It was almost abstracted. Bold shapes. Clean lines.
And when I finished that piece, I really was into painting the top one.
Now we are onto painting #4 - on the easel, and it's shaping up to be extra sweet too......and here I am with 'foot-in-mouth' - as stated.
Now what's seriously crazy about this, is, we are supposed to be painting those wild figurative works for my 1 person show at the Eclectic Gallery in Victoria> FAST approaching ......and I find I'm into these landscapes.
Ah boy. 
Make me CRAZY!! Loony Artist Mind. 
Other than being my own worst enemy.....the wedding invites got finished and are garnering rave reviews. Son says he thinks I could do this for 'other' people. 
Shoot me now. 
You think I jest. 
AND...we are stressing about outfits and looking good (weight) and where to stay and hair and nails...god love us all. It is enough to make your hair turn white. 
Oh, has already. 
This is how a month goes flying past. 

(for brevity's sake, I have refrained from the other crisis mentioning which was all the sewer pipe collapsing and having whole yard dug up with backhoe. The SMELL! GAH!)
 (No, really, take my life....please.)

PS...for those who wish to see: The Invitation



Monday, March 18, 2013


Then, yesterday, there was the man who stood in front of this sculpture and cried. I saw the tears. He said he couldn't explain why. It wasn't sadness but a feeling of profound peace this gave him. 

This is why I create. 
Not for glory or interviews or even money - altho' it would be nice to not worry over bills every single month on end - but in the hope what I make will speak to someone. 

We shall continue to strive to this goal.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Shot Through The Art

There are many times in an artist's life that you are smacked upside the head with someone or some thing's statement rejecting what you have created. This rather constant act of soldiering on with your vision despite the slings and arrows of all and sundry (art critics) is what often makes me claim we are the bravest people around; ok ok, arguable point if you compare us to those who risk life and limb but in comparison to soul crushing bravery, we have no second. How dare we think we can compare our work to the standard of Caravaggio or Van Gogh - altho' these artists certainly bore their own soul crushing moments when alive, which is somewhat ironic when you consider the statements. Perhaps this is just 'the way it is'. 
Let us pause for a moment while I gnash my teeth over that. 
I've been beavering away the last 3 days from early morning to late evening setting up the major art show that happens out here in my part of the planet. The show is most generously hosted by the local pre-eminent resort Blackrock - certainly one of the most beautiful settings this wild coast has to offer. Our little Art Society kind of moves in and takes over their lobby for 2 weeks while we set up and show and then take down over 150 pieces of art, 2D and 3D, including a kid's section ( you always encourage tomorrow's artists). It's a massive undertaking and mostly done by a small band of dedicated volunteers. The end result is a show worthy of praise, especially when you think of how small this place really is.

Seriously now, that's pretty impressive.
(that's only a small section, by the by) 
Anylookattheprettypicturesway, all that work culminates in an opening night reception with the artists and the assorted invited guests convening into Blackrock's lobby for the first look and welcome to the start of the Art Show. It gets pretty loud and is exciting and everyone seems to enjoy themselves except for the person who never came to help but brought in artwork the last moment before show opening - to hang! - and then proceeded to tell me all the wrong places things were hung - but I digress. 
In the midst of this revelry, the somewhat local (Victoria) TV station roving reporter crew arrived to do a feature piece on the show. Wowzers! That was unexpected and cool. But here's the thing that has given me the point of this post - in my usual long winded-I'll-eventually-get-around-to-it way. When these folks originally arrived, they asked the organizer of this event to point out some Artists for them to interview. "Well," says S. "Marla here is one and she is very involved in the Arts Society and Show as well." "Great!" responds the Reporter, "What is your work?"
In the attempt to streamline this tale, let's revert to first person version: 
I took "Reporter" to my large painting. This is it:

Oh that's nice - was the response - do you paint koi from someone's pond in Tofino? 
Well no, says I. 
Oh Reporter intones, Well, we actually only want to interview Artists that are influenced by this area.

*   *   *   *   *      (this is the f*&#$ing gobsmacked moment   *   *   *

Now mostly when weird did-that-actually-get-done-to-me moments occur I generally go into some weird space that files the event in a handle-that-killing-shot later space. I went around and got together a bevy of great local "influenced-by-the-area" artists for the interview and went around being all 'listen to this!' to assorted people and laughed the whole thing off but really? Really, underneath the 'tough-little-know-it-all-bitch' exterior I project, the little artist is bleeding. 

Paintings: The first one is Judy Chicago "Feminine Rejection" - yes, it's blatent but it hit the spot for me.
The second photo is the Artsplash Art Show at Blackrock Resort in Ucluelet, B.C.
and the third is my painting "Water Music Number Two" Acrylic 24" X 48"


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Not THAT Kind Of Mother

In all our lives, there are, without a doubt, certain EPIC moments that we go through. Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce etc etc etc and many more depending on our own journey and definition of 'Epic'.
For me, apart from the oft times jaw cracking weirdness I seem to inhabit, there are these moments too.
My youngest son has proposed to his most lovely and beautiful girlfriend, just after Christmas and, aside from catching us all off guard, plunged the extended and myriad members of this family in to feverish delight with the ensuing marriage hoopla. For me (who is truly over the moon happy 'cause I adore his lady and excited beyond normal), it brings up the awkward topic of : 'what to wear'. 
Now, out there in cyber land are countless sites slavishly devoted to the provisioning of tonsorial extravagance to the 'Mother Of The.....' (insert correct gender definition) 
However, and this is where my path really goes off the regular one, it seems that these outfits, gorgeously lavish though they may be, are meant for, well, more, um, decorous ladies than the Artist I am so firmly entrenched in being. Seriously, wearing something that would make me feel like going to tea with the Queen is just not my thing. (although I DO love the hats!)
So I'm in a dilemma. The thing about being 'one of the Mothers' (and there are 3 of us: me the biological, J. the step mom and the actual Bride Mom) is the undeniable fact that all eyes will check you out. Now normally I would just go blithely on my way and not give a tinker's (oh the Brits and their colloquialisms), but my son has a bit of a button with his 'oddish' mum and as such, I don't want to make him fret on what is going to be a day of enough stress for him as it is. 3 mothers for god's sake.
Well, praise the Creative Spirit and all she stands for because I actually have found 'Art Wear' and there are some phenomenally beautiful dresses that fulfill my arty soul yet provide the glamour and photogenic decorum all could wish for. 
There is a catch.
 Of course.
They seem to be only available in Italy. 
.....*sigh*......we will continue to search. I have until Sept. 
The Painting: "Grandmother Knitting" by Edmund Charles Tarbell (I'm not even a Grandmother like this)

So, other than endless hours spent looking at fashions for the odd and square-pegs-in-round-hole types, I have finished my BIG paperclay sculpture:

"The Sound Of The Ocean Is There In My Dreams and I Sail and I Sail and I Sail Away"
Paperclay (home made recipe) Acrylic Paint, Impressed objects - Face = Air Dry Clay
32" High X 10" Wide (15.5" with tail) X 15" Deep