Saturday, July 30, 2011

Past, Present and Future

Well, what a weekend that was! It covered all of the above and I'd like to report that I had about the best return drive - yeah, me the 'hate-to-drive' girl, is saying that I enjoyed my drive home.
Go figure.
First off, on Friday evening I attended the 'Artist's Evening' at the Sooke Show and apart from the mind numbing-unless-you're-getting-something opening bit, I enjoyed the walk around and looking. However I did come to the conclusion that unless I was a part of the 'you're-getting-something' opening bit, I will be attending during the week on the regular opening hours for the show from now on. For one, that will be easier to walk around without the horrific crush of hot bodies and really be able to see what is what. And to spend as much time as you wish doing so. I wasn't as 'taken' with this years show...well, that is not quite right. The art was spectacular and I'm always impressed greatly by the quality presented, it was just that - and by golly I'm going to sound like sour grapes here - I couldn't fathom why awards were given to the works they were given to. Now I am completely cognizant that in these juried shows, and the art world as a whole, it's all a great big 'crapshoot' ......all is colored with personal bias, can't be helped. It just seemed that some work was chosen for reasons other than 'uniqueness' ....but then again, what do I know. I'm very sure that if I was a 'juror' lots of folks would be questioning my choice as well. I still adamantly state that the Sooke Show is one of the premiere shows in BC. ALWAYS worth a visit.
Saturday I had to catch the 7 a.m. (first ferry!) out of town to meet up with my brother and deal with all the myriad bits that an estate engenders from a parent's death. This was the end as it's been a year for the Probate for Dad's estate to be handled so it really was closing this chapter of my life. LOTS of paperwork.
Anyyoucan'tjustdieinourworldway, what was the BEST part of all of that was being with my brother....who happens to be that sweet little man in the photo above. I think I may have mentioned that I LOVE my brother. I mean L - O - V - E this man who has travelled with me the longest in this life. My brother is one of the truly good souls and I am so lucky to have him in my life. He's not my 'real-by-blood' brother, he too is adopted, but I cannot fathom having a closer relationship to a sibling. After all the paperwork guff, Iain and I decided to put up a small plaque we had near where we scattered Dad's ashes last year when he passed away. And as we were passing by the area where we had grown up in Kitsilano, Vancouver, to get to Jerico Beach where we had scattered those ashes of Dad's, we took a side jaunt back to the old homestead.
Our house had..............shrunk!
No, seriously, we couldn't believe that this house that seemed so endlessly big and full of special places and lots of staircases and 4 (FOUR) floors was now just another old tiny Victorian character home. And the backyard too!! TINY!
It's rather disconcerting to have your reality shifted like that. What is it about childhood that skews our perspective so? OK, I know we are smaller but even so I think it's pretty standard to revisit a childhood home and be startled by how it has shrunk. Is it that our imagination is so boundless back then - before the universe imposes it's 'grown-up' limits - we are 'larger than life'?
Food for thought. Or to translate into a painting...... ok. From that bit of memory lane we went to have dinner with all the kids (my niece and 2 nephews) and - my favourite part!- went back to my bro's new apt where we spent part of the night in our pjs eating 'twizzlers', watching old John Wayne movies and blabbing. I had laryngitis next day.  Mind you I had to buy him an inflateable mattress so I'd have something to sleep on. But he cooked me breakfast.
And then it was back to the island and I had another first in my life - I bought a (new to me) sofa! I was pretty chuffed with that may I add. And, yes, it's pretty odd to state that at 58 I just bought my first piece of quality furniture but let it just illustrate in a small way how strange this life has been. And it fit in my BIG fleeping suv too....just about the only time I like that stupid beast.
AND Monday we had the most pleasant trip home with the beast full of the smell of freshly baked homemade bread and first thing I did after getting in the door was to have some toast with homemade peach jam (mm-mm!) and push 'play' on the answer mach to hear: "Hi Marla, this is the Sooke Fine Arts Show letting you know your painting ' Living The Myth-Down The Rabbit Hole' has sold."
Yepper.....a STELLAR weekend!!

P.S...and here's the future bit:
 I've just found out I'm.....going bald. Of all the frelling getting old bullflacky crap to hear. Sheesh. I have visions of extremely colorful headgear....scarves?? Perhaps wigs ala Elizabeth Taylor. Apparently this is a genetic thing and since part of my genetic history is a mystery - who is my 'real' father - not something I can do much about. Well, drugs are available but side effects are really really really frightening.
The future is decidedly bizarre in my world.
Ah, Vanity, thy name is woman. What I'd give to be 'black' right now....I'd just sport a shaved head. VERY 'arty'.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heading Down The Highway, Hope You See Things My Way......

Well, we're on our way down island to the Sooke show tomorrow.......and, boy oh boyo, sure wish the wheels looked like the photo! Some cool that! I might even actually enjoy driving - which I don't. Never have. I should've been born in NYC where no-one drives. Not that I'm a bad driver - far from it. In the 38 years I've been at the wheel, I've never gotten a ticket or been in an accident (and let's just do every superstitious move to diffuse the evil eye here, shall we?) But the act of driving is extremely stress filled for me. I do not relax. The only place I like driving is out the winter....when no one else is around. Then I feel safe. For crying out loud.
Anywellherewegoway, I am off to attend the 'Artists Award Night' - sadly without an award to sweeten the mix but I AM looking forward to the treat of seeing some excellent artwork. I am seriously in need of a creative 'shot in the arm' so to speak. With so little sales happening, I'm feeling rather artistically, that's a wee bit harsh....more like I'm floundering in the sea of directionless inspiration. I need to get some charge about what is hot and exciting and the unarticulatable (wow, what kind of language is that?!?) charge inspiration can give. I shall be attending on my lonesome - I've exhausted the interest threshold of my 'dearly loved' - and who can blame them - but I am looking forward to strolling around as a single entity. And eavesdropping. Which is enlightening and hilarious all at once.
So if you are down in Sooke Friday night @ 7 p.m. c'mon by one of the best local art shows you'll ever see.
I'll be the lone figure in disguise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hear No. Speak No. See No.

Interesting thing has happened and it has me wondering if suddenly I've been transported to a repressive society or that my fellow citizens think Canada is actually 'Iranada'....
Let me start at the beginning.
I mentioned already that I've taken on a job with Census Canada - "The Government Job" - as I often refer to it. It certainly has opened my eyes to what working with bureaucracy is like and for a person such as myself that lives in a more 'creatively free' way, shall we say, certainly has me wondering just how 'anal' can you get.
As an illustration of the aforementioned I offer the fact that I receive emails from head office instructing me on the way to pack an envelope.....I kid you not.....and it will be sent back to me if there is even 1 small item out of order.....your tax dollars at work, folks.
Anyhowrepressivecanwebeway, this more than unbelievable job is coming to an end soon and I have been given a 'feedback' form (of course it's a form) to fill out. It actually has a identifying code number.
Now, I've been making note of the daily ridiculousness and phenomenal errors (due to the 'left hand not knowing what the right hand' etc) that have occurred whilst doing my daily entering of stats and data into the Government Official Site for entering stats and data.
The form provides a 1" X 1.5" box to fill in your responses to the questions on how you - as an empolyee of StatsCan - have perceived the working of the system and how you think improvements can be made.
I have attached extra sheets of paper to my little form.
Because there is so much stupidity going on that needs to be rectified. And yes, I can tell lots of stories but it will suffice to say my daily mantra for the last 6 weeks has been: "We work for Monkeys" (and apologies to monkeys but you catch my drift)
So, in my long and convoluted tale way, I was waxing rhapsodic about doing this form and how I was writing about all the dumb ass shit I've encountered to my friend in town and she looked at me and said, "You better not do that because they will flag you and you'll be marked out for a tax audit. That's what I hear happens to anyone who questions the government."
Excuse me..?  I'm completely astounded that she said this and even more astounded to have consequently heard it repeated by other acquaintances.
 Did I leave Canada in some strange alternate universe? I was under the impression we are a  democratic know, free speech...and just how paranoid are we becoming? Is this how most people hide their heads when 'our' VOTED FOR leaders do something that we as citizens feel need changing and/or don't agree with?
That worries me even more than the idiots running StatsCan.
Oh, and good luck on auditing me.......

Painting is : "SPEAK OUT" by Robert Wolverton Jr.
...nuff said!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Winning at Juried Art Shows

I've found this following article at a fellow artist's blog and I'm reprinting it here because I think it captures the whole spirit of what entering these juried show are for.

"Winning an art prize, regardless of its status or worth, is a major event in an artist’s life. Not all artists are interested in entering an art prize for a number of reasons. Some feel their work is simply not good enough; others are overwhelmed by the standards demanded, while there are those who don’t like having their work judged. Many artists choose simply to sell their work locally and/or produce their work at their own pace.

Entering any art prize puts your work ‘under the microscope’; you are judged by your peers. On the plus side such judgements give you credibility and status in the art community not only with other artists, but with the general public.
To enter any art prize you need to have produced artwork that is extraordinary, not ordinary. This has to be the best you can do (at the time). You need to have respect for the medium you are working in, show a strong grasp of technical excellence and aesthetics. Artists need to be fully aware of the nature of the prize they are entering, who the judges are and what is popular with patrons. This doesn’t mean that you paint for a particular market, it means that you make sure that your work is noticed.
There are many definitions of “winning”. Firstly, being selected for exhibition in any art prize is a ‘win’, your work was considered good enough to be hung with all the other selected entries; well done, you are a winner! Not all work that is entered is always chosen. If you don’t meet the selection criteria, your work will be confused. Always carefully read the selection criteria before entering any art prize. Don’t forget to get your entry form in on time!" (Richard Kleko -

Now, apart from wishing I'd written that, it's pretty much nailed what juried art shows add to an artistic career. You DO sweat about what you create and when I stand in line waiting to have my work received before the whole juried process even starts, I look at what my fellow creative spirits are entering - and, yes, I do run 'my own' judging process (......we never leave high school, sadly) and weigh my chances in regards to getting in. And, may I add, it's not a 'given' with my work. I entered 3 works this year and only one made the cut....and not even the one I thought would. There you go.
 But when you think about it  - it's a great act of bravery for artists to take what they have worked on from their soul and put it out there to be accepted or rejected by their peers. It takes a good strong belief in yourself to be an artist and carry on. I still say we artists are the bravest people around because we are willing to pursue our art no matter how many times we fail or are judged harshly........and I also will add, how long we wait for recognition or even to sell something.
This must be the 'truth' about finding your 'passion'. And at the risk of sounding (and believe me I will) fatuous, that this passion becomes the definer, the soul quest, the very essence of who you are.
Money, Fame etc. be damned.

* accompanying painting today. It's impossible to find one that is themed 'winning' and well, it behoves me to say, ALL art is a winner in my book.

Friday, July 1, 2011

And The Winner Is......

....not what I expected at all......
There you go, the minute I can second guess this whole 'art' thing, I'll be a millionaire! Had an initial heart freeze when I downloaded the PDF file to find out the accepted artwork and couldn't find my eyes got all teared up for cryin' out loud....literally. Anywhatafragileegoway, after I realized I was flipping through the pages before they actually downloaded completely....there I was.
Am I disappointed with the result?
I'd be lying to not admitting I was hoping all 3 would get in but considering over 1300 works have to be winnowed down to just 375....having got in at all is grand indeed! we gear up for the actual show and the anxiety of hoping to sell and garnering some recognition.....end of July for that.
Next Show......Sidney Fine Arts Show in Oct. with the entry date in Sept.
No wonder my hair is turning white.