Thursday, September 30, 2010

All Together Now

I woke up this morning thinking about being alone. My day-to-day life is actually pretty solitary....ok, Jams is usually around but being as her interaction is pretty much going to the door, coming back to the door, going to the door, coming back to the door, check out the food dish and have another nap.....well, interaction on a social scale is limited, shall we say.
Not that I don't see people or talk to folks, but that generally occurs when we slip into town to replenish the larder or hit the library etc.
And I'm pretty much ok with this - after all, Art is a solitary endeavor.
But every once in a while I feel the 'alone-ness' that my life is.
I do have good friends that I love and cherish - please don't think I'm completely without hope - well, not that way - but there are times when I put the brush down late at night and realize how much my life has become quite secluded; I just long for some late night hang-out with all the peeps just like Montemart used to be for the long gone artists from way back when.
Facebook just doesn't cut it.
Painting is : "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper - one of the most copied images of all time. Ed started out as an illustrator and then moved into painting. You can see that in how his paintings 'told stories'.

Monday, September 27, 2010

She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket. ~Raymond Chandler

Ah, Raymond Chandler I want to talk like you write.....

Ok, I'm up and somewhat about after 2 hours at the dentist today. This is my 4th visit since the huge fiasco two months back (July 9th precisely)when I snapped off my front incisor and had to make an emergency visit to the dentist up in Tofino or appear on stage to receive my Diane Farris Juror's Award with duct tape across my mouth. Now, for many of us, and I include myself here, trips to the dentist are not the high point of anything.....we tremble, we sweat, we anxiously sit in the waiting room blindly immersed in outdated magazines, etc. etc. etc. I've a long and mainly poor relationship with dentists over the last 44 years, starting in the early 60's when the dentistry practised left A LOT to be desired. That was when gas masks - smelly rubber gas masks were in vogue. From there we graduated to horrific needle jabbers and wrenching tooth pullers and one remarkable dentist that tore open my gum and lip with an over exuberant drill (true story) The last 15 years I'd basically ignored my teeth and just not gone. I blamed (ie: justified) this on being a 'poor' artist.
I have really bad teeth - being brought up with a mother who was Dutch and gave me chocolate sandwiches from an early age, well, not truly conducive to good dental hygiene.
So when that tooth snapped I was in pretty sad shape. I had had 3 molars pulled, (joke being that I was almost able to wear a bridle) 1 lost crown, obvious tooth decay, stained, cracked enamel and the Rolling Stones line from a song running through my head: "....toothless biddy hag..." , something I was certain loomed on my horizon.
Well, folks, I'm here to say that I have found the absolute answer to my dental prayers with my Dentist up in Tofino. Not only does he give the most unbelievably 'ouch' free needles, have the BEST dentist-chair manner, and calming demeanor; he has taken what was a shameful mouth and given me back a great smile. I LOVE my new 'teefs'!
Thanks Dr. Jamieson - more than you know.
The engraving is " A Visit to the Dentist" by Lucas Van Leyden, 1593 (!) And catch the 'assistant' there in the background......someone Kim is WAY better than!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2 Paintings accepted for the Sidney Show

Here are the two paintings accepted for the Sidney Fine Arts Show in Sidney B.C. at the Mary Winspear Center, Oct. 14 to 17th.

"BEGINNING" (at top) & "MANIFEST" (below)
Both are Acrylic with copying pencil . Size: 37" X 42".

I'm Too Perfect for My......oh stop.

Boy, does that sound a
Let's just move past my 'title-itus'.....a desire to appear clever and witty that oft falls flat on it's face.
Yes, ok, well, we have had a strange thing happen while laying out my latest painting. I have an intricate cloth design along the lower part of the painting, in which I needed to have somewhat 'wonky' (for lack of a better descriptive term) circles. And I couldn't get them 'wonky' enough until I drew them with my left hand.
What an odd problem to encounter. It makes me think about the old story of Da Vinci who, when applying for a big commission from the church elders way back, was asked why they should give the job to him; what made him more special than any of the other artists applying for the same job. His response was to draw a perfect circle freehand. He got the job.
Ok, I'm not putting myself in that esteemed category and I'm not certain that I actually draw perfect circles freehand. (but they did look 'too regular' for what I wanted.)
So where am I going with this.....I guess it's the idea that we sometimes need imperfection to be, well, perfect. Isn't it the quirks of each other that we find interesting and may I even say, the thing that touches our hearts?
Of course, there's a fine line between quirky and downright freak show.......and I'm pretty certain I teeter on that shaky edge at times. I did hear tell that folks were questioning my hair choice that we covered pretty fully here.
That definitely fit the 'freak show' category.
Ye-e-ah. Good to know I'm entertaining the townsfolk.
The painting: 'Circles on Circles' by Carol Marine. And if you notice, her 'circles' aren't perfect you think the painting is better because of this or not? I'm interested to hear what you think.

Friday, September 17, 2010

8.2 Lives and Counting.

It occurs to me I haven't posted a 'Jams' story for a while, so let me catch you up on the feline friend.
Before I left on my jaunt down island to deliver the artwork, Jams really did a number on herself. Jams continuously does numbers on herself; part of the 'bitchy' calico personality she embodies. I figure her 9 lives thing is pretty much on par with the 'doomsday' clock. (Look up the Doomsday Clock to get what I mean....but only if you are prepared to just want to crawl under the couch and stay there - kinda like Jams) She is extremely territorial and will take on any and all comers. Much to the detriment of her body. So far her eye is skewed, she is missing part of her tongue and a tooth, has a scar running through the eye across her nose, she's missing 4 claws, has a wonky hip and her tail has a pronounced kink in it (from when she misjudged a leap and got her claw stuck and wrenched her hip out of joint)
Anystupidfurrybrainmovesway, I have the bedroom window cracked open just wide enough to offer Jams egress to the home fires, or should I say, cat dish, whenever her little ol' heart desires. This has been working fine for many years of our cohabitation until recently. About 3 weeks ago I was reading in bed late with the Jams curled up by my feet when I heard a rustling outside the window. I looked out to see two shinning eyes staring back at me and I leaned forward and smacked my book against the window frame, thereby scaring off the would-be intruder. Jams just snored away, completely oblivious to what was going on. I thought no more about it. Then about 6 days ago, very early in the morning, I was rocketed awake with Jams launching herself out the window growling mightily. The screams and yowls carried on for some 5 mins outside then all went quiet and I fell back asleep. The next morning I couldn't find her and went up to the upstairs flatmate's apt and saw her curled up on his couch. When I went to pick her up to carry her back downstairs she yowled in pain and hissed at me - pretty clear she was one hurtin' feline. So I just let her be. Later that day she sort of hobbled in the back door with her tail at half mast and obviously had put her hip out again as she couldn't settle with the pain of trying to lay down.
Well, that's how I had to leave her when I took off for Sidney on Sunday last but USFM (up stairs flat mate) took over the care and feeding and when I got home she was back to normal -at least for Jams. Mind you, she has a decided lurch to her back end now.
And I used believe fixed females were ' benignly calm'.
Not this cat apparently.
Painting is: "2 Cats Fighting" by John James Audubon, 1826 - I guess his bedroom window was open too.


And this a.m. in the email box:

Dear Marla, Congratulations! I’m happy to tell you that you’ve been chosen as The Artist’s Magazine’s October 2011 Artist of the Month. As you know, your painting Disconnect was chosen as a finalist in our 27th Annual Art Competition, which is how you came to our attention. I’ve enclosed a questionnaire (AotM Questionnaire.doc) so we can get to know you and your artwork better. Also enclosed is a contract (Artist’s Agreement.pdf) that permits us to reproduce your artwork. We’ll also need a digital file of the artwork. The digital specs are 72 dpi/resolution with a size of at least 500 pixels high or wide. The image can be emailed to me. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by any of the means listed below. We prefer e-mailed responses if at all possible. Sincerely, (etc.)

Mind you I can't open the questionnaire doc.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Just in the email box:

On behalf of the Community Arts Council of the Saanich Peninsula, and the Sidney Fine Art Show Committee, I would like to thank you for your participation in the 2010 Show. More than 1,200 entries were submitted for adjudication. Over two full days, our three jurors - Brent Lynch, Jean Pederson and Andy Wooldridge - selected 388 works to be displayed in the Show.

We are pleased to tell you that one or more of your entries have been selected for display in the 2010 Sidney Fine Art Show. We know that you will be anxious to find out the actual results, and are giving you TWO OPTIONS to do so.

la-de-bla....and so forth letting me know I can be there in person TODAY (after I drove 5 hrs back here yesterday...idiots) to find out which ones or wait for the snail mail notice.....sheesh.

You Can't See Me....

Just back after another road trip down island to deliver work for the next juried art show - will hear via email on Monday if we made the cut - anywhatnowway, as I was tootling about down there ; and as an aside may I add that I DROVE in rush hour traffic from downtown Victoria back out to Sidney and handled it all with great aplomb and I am not a fan of driving in any way shape or form - ok, yes, as I was saying, I was travelling and walking around quite a bit over the 3 days I was down that way and I realized that I have become invisible.
Some many years ago I recall reading a book about a 'mature' (oh hem hem, how enigmatic of me) woman who realizes that her age has rendered her unseen to the vast majority of the public around her.
Well, it struck me that that was what was going on around me. I found that as I strolled about the streets of busy downtown, people's eyes sort of glazedly passed me by.
I felt decidedly odd at first and then it became enjoyable as I could openly people watch without a second thought. Not that I ever garnered undivided attention from all and sundry in my youth but most women are quite aware of being 'checked out' by men and/or women as they walk about.
Until we reach those odd years of moving into old age.
And don't dismiss this, because, if you think about it, we are all guilty of just passing over older folks and dwelling on those lovely (or perhaps questionable) visions of youthful human splendor. Certainly this reflects our culture's fixation on youth-as-god. In any case I'm not into this whole youth/ageism debate right at the moment. I'm just bemused at my realization that I am getting matter how we like to fool ourselves into thinking otherwise.
Now I admit that I am visually unaestheticly pleasing currently, but that's my own relentless battle with myself. Let's move on shall we?
So from now on I am going to make a concious effort to look at older people and let my eyes tell them that, yes, I do see you. You have worth in your being here.
And you look pretty good too.
The painting: "Old Woman at the Mirror' by Bernardo Strozzi - 1615

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Proud Mar---la

(ok bit of a play-on-words there, being as the real song title is "Proud Mary" but envision me belting it out just like Tina Turner....and having her legs. )

Yes indeed, we ARE proud. My eldest son Aren, who inherited the artistic gene, has just SOLD OUT his show in Vancouver this Friday.
Now, how cool is that. And, yes, I am biased, but this young man's talent was evident from an early age when at 2.5 years he drew an amazing picture of me, his father and his new baby brother - along with a duck (artistic symbolism, fer shure). Being as my boy is now 34 years old, I have lost the original somewhere in the mists of time....well, that and 22 + or - moves.
Let me try to describe this awesome early work.

He had drawn, in black marker mind, three circles with eyes etc., representing his dad and me and him in the middle of the paper. Now that sounds pretty typical of a young child, but Aren had astounding detail included wherein he had drawn a circle around his dad's mouth to represent Carl's beard. I had circles around my eyes for glasses. Then around us all was another circle with a line leading up to the right hand corner where he drew another smaller circle to indicate his brother and he had a tuft of hair on his head just like Shaun really did. I think he wanted to say that he understood this new being was part of the family but he was reserving judgement on the inclusion to the inner circle for a while. (I would like to state that Aren and Shaun are the closest of brothers to this day, so I guess the reservations went by the wayside)
And down in the lower right hand corner was this odd shape that made me ask Aren, "What's this, honey?" And he replied, "A duck."
I thought it so fine that I used it as our Christmas card for that year.

Yeah pretty sweet.

So I'm basking in a great feeling of 'proud mother' right now - a sweet sweet feeling when our progeny do something over and above the usual 'we love you no matter what'.
It's also cool to think of the artistic thread that weaves through the generations.

The painting is: 'Mother Roulin with her Baby' by V. Van Gogh ......makes me think of Aren when he first arrived in my life. And that was a pretty stellar moment too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Mother of all female idiocy - SHOOT me the next time I EVER get the brilliant idea to color my hair to match my paintings.
I have now traded 2...yeah, that's TWO...paintings to my hairguru to FIX my head from the undeniable disaster my hair has become from dying it a deep auburny/purple to (cute!*NOT*) make an "arty" statement when I went down to Victoria to get my Dianne Farris Juror's award in July.
JULY, people, 2 and a smidge months ago. And I've been trying to get back to my 'normal' color ever since.
My hair is seriously considering packing up and leaving my head. As a matter of fact, it's so pissed, it's sending me bits of broken off ends to make a point.
I look like a very bad version of a Japanese Manga character, only not so skinny.
Right now my favorite accessory is a french beret pulled down around my ears.
......what did I say on the top of the blog in the intro? Something about an overactive imagination that makes me crazy?
Painting is "Bad Hair Day" by 'rockstar30'.......seriously, that's the name....
ps...I've just uploaded an old photo of self with the hair I like best (whydidIeverchangeit?!) in hopes it will keep me focused on the goal of a 'normal' head....

Monday, September 6, 2010


...and here's the reason for looking attractive when visitors drop on by.....


Acrylic with copying Pencil

37 X 42

This along with the other 2 : MANIFEST and BEGINNING, are going to be my entries into the Sidney Fine Arts Show - juried - in Sidney, B.C.
Hoping for a continuation on the success the Sooke Show engendered.


OK...I got 'caught' yesterday. Not by the 'authorities' or anything similar - although that may happen yet in my increasingly strange life - no, no; I had an unexpected drop-by caller.
Now for most of us, it's nice when good pals turn up at the door to say 'hi ya' or whatever but for me....not so much. This has to do with the way I paint.
When I'm 'on a roll', so to speak, I don't perform general housework tidiness chores or put away the laundry or put the reference books back on the shelf or any of that kind of thing. Nah, I have the detritus of creativity all around me as any available surface becomes laden with papers and etc., along with stacks of dishes, dirty coffee cups and a general 'hovel of total chaos' decorator scheme.
However, all this pales in comparison to my appearance.
When I paint, I usually tend to forgo the 'combed hair/washed face' good grooming rules for the more, um, 'crazy bag lady' demeanor, dressing in large stretched out pants with old tattered sweatshirt accessories. All generously covered in many paint splops and wipes. Forget make -up...and, even sadder, brushed teeth.
Tres Chic!
So when my friend in her kindness dropped by to give me her condolences re: Dad yesterday, I was caught looking like I needed an intervention of herculean proportions.
Ah well, another illustration of how fast we are slipping into eccentricity.
The painting: " Woman V " by Willem De Kooning
...and it captures me perfectly.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


IN MEMORIAM : FRANCIS WESLEY THIRSK Feb 22, 1920 - Aug 24, 2010
I laid my father to rest yesterday, so if you will indulge me, I'd like to write this post about what he meant to me in my life as an artist.
My Dad was an artist in disguise. For men of his generation, being 'an Artist' was anathema to an accepted 'masculine' career. So he poured all that frustrated desire into me when he saw I was headed in that direction at a very early age. I was encouraged at every opportunity to draw or paint or create by him. Instead of bedtime stories, my Dad drew pictures on my chalkboard. He was my strongest supporter; my harshest critic. Until he passed away, he continuously told me how and what he felt I should be painting. The highest compliment he ever paid me was when he told me that I was living the life he's always wished for - being an artist.
So tonight as I grieve for my Dad, I'm also thinking about foundations that are laid in our lives as creative souls. All of us have that special someone who 'blew' on the little spark of creating and made the flame of desire grow. For some of us, sadly, it goes out - and how often have I heard people say to me : "Oh, I used to love drawing when I was a child....." - but for the lucky ones it can grow to become an all encompassing passion.
So, thank you, Dad. Thank you for letting me draw in your University text books because that was the only clean white paper I found. Thank you for putting any and every art book you ever came across in front of me. Thank you for the pride you showed when I'd win an art competition. Thank you for letting me design your show windows in the store when I was 11. Thank you for always wanting to show off my work.
You are every reason I am the artist I am today.
You will always be there in every brushstroke I make.
I will miss you forever.
And I will love you longer than that.
The painting: "Count Lepic and his Daughters" by Edgar Degas, 1871