Wednesday, November 30, 2011


It's almost embarrassing to post this....bu-u-u-t then again, three times lucky.
Ok. I promise this is it. Tomorrow I take it to Reflecting Spirit Gallery in town and it's going up on the wall and out of my reach.
I hope.
Save me from myself......

Monday, November 28, 2011

One Quick Coffee.....

Ah....yes, that's just about all the time we have right now.......the Craft Fair was amazingly great considering the weather was horrific. The biggest winter storm to date with torrential rain and wind. I believe parts of the road out here were washed out, no less. It seems that absolute abysmal weather and the Craft Fair go hand-in-hand, traditionally it's been awful on this day. Mind you, it brings in the folks - what else can you do on such a lousy day?
 I spent 4 hours setting up 42 tables and about 100 chairs and getting all the fiddly bits attended to. That was Friday. Saturday, the actual day of the fair, (noon to 4) I awoke at 4 am with spinning brain about all the useless minutia of event organizing , got up, made more things (and coffee) and took off at 9 am to get last minute items and set up signage - which, because of the poopy weather all blew down after - ah, wild west coast - and to open the doors for all the exhibitors to set up. Which I had to do as well, as I also have my own display. Lots of people are cranky at this time of the day it seems. (and I wonder why....not really and I don't take it personally anymore) We had to reverse all this by day's end, d'accord, but at least there were more bodies around to help and it was done and dusted by 5:30.
I collapsed at 7 and slept until  8 the next day.
Then we needed to unload the car and could sort of relax but , I must say, I was doing things for the next round which happens today with setting up a small Art display of our donated paintings and prints from the generous souls in the creative world as an enticement for the Christmas Gala on Sat coming up.
Mother of all running around like a headless chicken, just writing that down makes me dizzy....and I'm doing it.
Soooooo, today we are thinking about what 'giving back' means......and admittedly there is a bit of 'pat on the back' there (you know it's so) but there is also the realization that by doing these kinds of things and by making opportunities happen, you are helping foster some more good in the world...and we all know it sorely needs that.
With a coffee break or two.
The painting: "A Quiet Moment" by Georges Croegaert. I just love they way these ladies are sitting there, just putzing for a bit but look! There's a sword hanging over their heads.
SO know that feeling!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No! Um...Wait! Here it is!

One of these days I will learn to WAIT for about a week and live with a painting for that time and make ALL the changes and fiddly-farts and etc BEFORE I take a photo and post it as a done deal.
And then I'll live with that one for another week.....
Y-E-A-H......and Jams will stop wanting to be on the computer chair at the same time I do.
SOOOO not gonna happen.
And just in case you can't guess what I've done.....check out the face. (yes, the face...shuddup)
Well, another little illustration of 'art-mind-at-work', boys and girls......tune in next week when we learn to dress appropriately.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 it is!

Almost forgot about this painting, huh? Well, in between those meetings and organizatings and ponderings.....we were still painting. One good thing about being single is that my time is my own and I can leave things about with gay abandon and paint until 2 am if I wish. Jams is very understanding.
Now....where were we on this painting journey.....oh yes some twelve posts ago, we were changing the legs and there were jugs and flowers etc in the background. Obviously those all went the way of those 'old' legs and we went the gold foil bird design - the pears are still in situ.....I like those pears.
Anyhowitcanchangeintheblinkofaneyeway, you can somewhat percieve the many alterations a painting goes through. It's a continuous process of refining until you see the vision your mind is holding made concrete on the canvas.
What an enjoyable journey it is.
Title: "PANDORA"
Acrylic with gold leaf 26" X 48".

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Wallflower Blooms

Last night, sometime during the boisterous supper meeting that I was hosting in my typical vociferous and genuinely goofy way as the 'new' Arts Society President, it occurred to me, as a formerly painfully shy wallflower - and I have to interject here because, anyone that knows me now will find this statement incomprehensibly unbelievable, this is the gospel truth - we have certainly come a long way baby.
Hopefully we haven't bloomed into a noxious weed, by the way, but instead have finally found our voice.
And Art did that for me.
It only took about 40 years to get to that place mind you.
The point of my rambling narrative is that what I have discovered is the truth of what gives you that voice is your authentic self - the one you mostly believe nobody wants anything to do with because it's so 'odd'. Well, it turns out that 'you' is actually the person people love best.
How strange it is that most of us live trying desperately to 'fit in' or 'be like them' or whatever the fleeping hello our fragile beings perceive as 'everybody else'. I ponder on this alot.
Anybeloudbeproudway, I guess it boils down to accepting ourselves with all the warts and craters as being worthwhile. I know in Art that the creative work that generates the strongest response is usually the one full of those 'warts' (so to speak). Certainly the most pleasing paintings to our eye contain odd numbers; the distinct planes of the painting is divided into 3s. You have top, middle, bottom and the corresponding left, middle, right and your image covers these planes in such a way that the bulk of the painting lies in one plane with the other two not as prominent or the 'focus' of the painting lies off center. Are you following my drift? In other words, we find images that do not sit dead center the most dynamic and interesting.
Just like people.
The painting is: "The Grecian Girl" by John William Godward, 1861-1922. I used this because she looks so shy but it's also a great illustration for what we're talking about. The focus is her face and if you divide the painting per my post, you will see it sits off center. As well, the bulk of the painting - her lower body and pillows etc. lie in the lower third of the canvas. There is also a 'color hook' that purple wrap catches your eye in the predominantly creamy rose tones of the rest of the painting. Nicely counterbalanced by her dark hair and headband.
But look at that skin! I swear you could touch it and leave an imprint it's so luscious!

Friday, November 18, 2011

It's a Gift to Be Simple

This last couple of months with it's seemingly endless amounts of meetings and organizing etc for the two large events I'm either in charge of or helping with as well as the new duties of being president of the Arts Society are making me feel a bit of 'mother-of-all-things-overwhelming' and decidedly cranky at times.
Today when I woke up and immediately sat down in front of the computer to deal with emails and updating of lists and duties I happened to glance over at Jams all curled up in her box with the old quilt right by the heater and was struck at the simplicity of happiness.
For her it's a warm place to nap and the knowledge she has food in her dish and me to give pets......ah, how 'nirvanic' that seems.
Anyhoweasyitsoundsway, this just has me pondering on what we do and what we need for happiness. No great insights here my would be lovely for any of us to effortlessly make our lives simple, full of grace and happiness but it appears we are caught in our own webs of endless desire that leads to these complicated journeys.
Maybe, just for this small moment, I will sit by the heater with Jams in my lap, surrounded by my artistic life and feel how blessed I am.
That sounds pretty simple.......doesn't it?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

6 Degrees of Separation

You are, I'm sure, being the erudite and learned souls that flock to this blog, well aware of the concept of 6 degrees of separation. The 'my-plumber-that-knows-his-postman's-wife's-cousin'-sister-that-has-a-hairdresser-who-does-Madonna's-hair' sort of thing.....had to count dincha?....implying that we are only six 'clicks' - if you will - away from anyone famous.
Well, I have a few 'clicks' of my own.
First off, my cousin happens to be Robert Thirsk the Canadian Astronaut that was Canada's 4th astronaut in the expanded space program and also spent 6 months on the orbiting space station. That should give some of you your own  position in this (silly) game. If you know of Bob. Or care. And if you're Canadian you should....but I digress.
However! And this is the biggie, at least artistically speaking, I actually got to see and be in the presence of a famous 'Group of Seven' work of art and was friends with the grandson of the artist when I was a young woman. We are not speaking in a gallery or anything here, but in some one's ordinary home. Like '3 inches away from my devouring eyes' near.
This reminiscence comes about from doing some research last night for our local 'Wild Pacific Trail Society' a very awesome and not-to-be-missed walking trail out here that hugs the coastline right along the rugged terrain we live in. They have recently added a part to the trail they call 'The Artists Loop' where they have put in some great bump outs and viewpoints with an artist in mind for sketching or painting at these locations. I happened to mention that they may want to add to this loop by adding plaques detailing the famous artists who have travelled here to paint. They emailed me asking if I'd expand on my topic  and so I did some trolling on the Internet and this is what I found:
Our most famous and BC born alumni of the Group of Seven - Emily Carr - came
up here (Ucluelet) often. As a matter of fact, it was the Nuu-chal-Nuuth people who
gave her the name of 'Klee Wick'. She painted watercolor sketches of the
original first nations village that was here and Matterson House has copies
of those on their wall. I believe it was her that introduced the others in the 'group'
to this part of the world.
FH Varley lived in Vancouver for many years and as such you can believe that
he would have travelled with his buddies Lismer and AY Jackson when they
came over here to paint. What you need to realize about artists is that they
don't always make paintings from their sketches or what they see. Who knows,
they all might have just drank themselves silly and gone fishing.
Arthur Lismer did come out here very often to paint and there are paintings
of his from around here. But his favourite spot was Long Beach. That doesn't
give this any less importance because all of them had to take the boat from
Port to get here and it landed at Whiskey Dock. I'm kind of sad the Park beach no
longer has 'Lismer Cove' as a name anymore.
Lawren Harris moved to Vancouver in 1940 but he went into painting abstracts
then. although he probably came out here because of his old ties with
Varley, Lismer and Jackson. Artists are a pretty close group.
AY Jackson was Lismer's great pal and he did go out on painting trips with
him. The paintings he did though tend to be of the north island - Prince
Rupert etc.
JEH MacDonald - not too much info on him and from what I see he tended to
mainly paint the east environs. Same with Frank Johnston and Franklin
Carmichael. I think what needs to be pointed out in the brochure is that
these great names of our cultural history did travel out here and they
walked on the dock and up Main Street to continue on to the beach or just
spend some time before travelling further.
I also went looking for their paintings to see which ones could be tied to this area. And when doing so found the painting that heads this post :
"Vera" by Frederick Horseman Varley.
That painting hung in the home of FH's grandson, Christopher, who was my - at the time - boyfriend's good buddy. We would go over to his home often. Anyway, 'Vera' always caught my eye and - being as I was a fairly naive and unhip girl - I was completely unaware that it was so famous. The actual 'Vera' was Chris's mom.
How close we all are to the breath of fame. I'll guarantee by mentioning this story you will have the person you're speaking to tell his/her own tale of 6 degrees.
Hands across the water, folks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa

Holy Shoodabincathlik Batman, I've been obsessing over the last post/confession. It pretty much boils down to ethical behavior and as an ex druggie/alkee/idioticbehavior person I am trying to keep myself accountable for the things I do and say. In this regard I'm reconsidering my action of donating 'copied' in : would I like it if it was my stuff way.
SO! (and let me don my hair shirt) I've scrapped using those pieces and am donating this very early starting-to-paint-in-acrylic piece, by me, titled: "Early Morning Light -Still Life." Acrylic 20" X 36" we can sleep.

Intro Poster by the dual husband/wife team of Joe Scorsone and Alice Drueding. Titled "Guilt". Is this not most excellent?! for some more awesomeness.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Giving and getting....

I get asked to donate to a number of local - and well deserving - events. And it grows as I get better known. I believe that for most artists with a recognized name this is a fairly common occurrance and as most people with a concience ( yes, ok, we could debate that statement especially for some artistic souls) you want to help when and where you can.
Therein lies the issue.
For most artists.....say around 95%.....selling your work is a 'few and far between' scenario and generally by the time you do sell something, the bills are red lining and the phone is on 'screen calls'. So when you are asked to donate, you kinda go through this 'why-should-I-donate-when-I-need-money-how-revoltingly-shallow-I-am' thought process.
How do I soothe my fevered brow at this time and still retain a sense of win-win?
Well, I donate my 'practice' work.
This is a fine line here kids and you need to follow along with my logic.
 I am self taught. That means in my case, I find paintings that intrigue me or offer an image that I'd like to paint I copy it. (oh I can hear the intake of breath from here) It teaches me new techniques and color choices and ways of painting I have not tried before.
There is nothing wrong with copying, by the way, it has been a time honored tradition artistically for students to go to galleries and reproduce the 'Masters' work to learn by trying to duplicate what they believe the Master has done. (And you can find many examples of famous artists having done this)
The thing that is WRONG about this is when you SELL that work as one of your own creations without giving recognition to the originator. As an example see my 'Self Portrait - after Egon Schiele' on the side bar.  I have copied lots BUT I have never gotten any money for any piece I've copied from another artist. Ever. And I ALWAYS mark the painting as being 'after so and so' (the original artist)
And these are the works I donate. The money they make goes to a deserving charity and someone gets a nice painting that is done by me.
I have discussed this practise with other artists and aquaintances and get a dual reaction. Some feel this is dishonest in a way....copying something after all makes it not original but it after teaching many many classes and having folks paint exactly the same thing, I know for a fact there is no such thing as everyone painting alike (let's just bypass forgers here because that is dishonest right from the get-go) your own hand is inherently unique. That point brings on the 'other' side of this debate, wherein that anything you paint can be claimed as yours. And you shouldn't feel that you can't take money for it.
Yes, well, that doesn't sit right with me personally but I know and have seen work for sale that obviously was a copy. Once even one of my students selling a piece that was done from an original of mine. (Imitation the highest form of flattery....)
Anyplaybothsidesway, this is a strange 'grey' area, is it not? I'd love to see what other people to weigh in on the debate?
The Paintings: Top - "Thinking of Summer", Acrylic 24" X 24"
Bottom - " Experiment in Abstraction - Maple Seed Pods", Acrylic 24" X 24"
Both after Ann Tuck.
 Donation to the Christmas Gala - raising money for Tofino General Hospital Extended Care Wing and the Forest Glen Seniors Center.

PS* After a timely comment from a reader, I have contacted the artist to ask permission from the artist to donate these 'practices'. This is the smartest thing to do. Thanks again to P.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not This (wo)Man's Best Friend

I have something to confess. Something so awful, so heinous, you will gasp with incredulity.

I am afraid of dogs.

Ok, that's a wee bit exaggerated...maybe....but I have to think that this particular phobia is viewed by many people - and most certainly by dog lovers everywhere - as being akin to having a very disfiguring disease. It seems incomprehensible to this sector of the human race (doggie aficionados) how anyone in their right mind could be so, well, idiotic.
And, yes, I concur.
However in my own defense may I say that after being bitten (twice!) (in the face!) by the 'family-wouldn't-hurt-a-fly' pet waggie-tail, I am really really really super cautious around them.
I am also amazed at the reaction that my confession to people-who-are-gaga-about-dogs creates.
First of all they ALL claim it must have been something I did. (I was 8 years old and petting the 'nice doggie')
THEN they ALL say it would never happen with their dog. (well, yes it can)
AND then they make me physically interact with their lovely pet. (and by then I'm so intensely freaked/angry/scared, that the animal is convinced I am the enemy....and growls thereby insuring my terrified response)
And by all that is furry and bright do I EVER wish I wasn't like this.
I have many cherished friends who are dog pals. One who, whenever she sees any four legged soul, will run to it and gush with torrents of love. And where I live it seems there are more dogs per square inch than grains of sand. And they are not just dogs but BIG BLOODY HUGE dogs.(ok yes again with the exaggeration) The saddest thing of all is that I actively search out ways to ensure my interaction with friends and acquaintances with dogs stays to a minimum or happens without a dog around.
You want to know the craziest part of all this?
I actually have had my own dogs.
It defies description.
Anywhatastrangephobiaway, all this came about because the lovely friend who has done my hair forever has just gotten a Japanese Tosa. For those of you who don't know this breed, it is a 'Mastiff' that has been specifically bred to be a fighting dog. (sport in Japan...and many other parts of our world may I add) A dog who is written up as being fiercely loyal to his own family. (my italics) And after voicing my query about if it was considered as a good and gentle dog with others, I have created a very touchy situation with her avidly avowing that this dog is right beside Buddha in temperament.
Perhaps so and I'd love to believe that but I am looking for a new hair salon.

The painting....and I LOVE it altho' it actively makes my heart speed by JOEL REA who paints a lot of these 'big dog' paintings. This is EXACTLY how it feels to me. EXACTLY.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11 - 11 - 11

The photo that I have as my featured pic is a photo of a fallen soldier but not of our Canadian forces. He was from the Royal Netherlands Army corps and I do not know his name. This was my Mom's boyfriend before she met my father who was part of the Canadian forces that liberated Holland. This young man gave his life in the fight for freedom from the Nazis occupation of his homeland and also as part of the war against their bid to overtake the world. I often think of the twists of fate that have a hand in the way our own lives are played out. If not for the sacrifice this young soldier made I would have had a very different story to tell. War affects us all in more ways than we realize.
I came across this when I was organizing my mom's effects after her death 25 years ago. I didn't recognize the face and asked my Dad who it was. He's the one who told me it was her boyfriend that had been killed during the war.
How removed most of us are from the devastating repercussions war brings. I try to put myself in my mother's place back then, a young woman in love with a handsome young man with the future shining bright and then everything, literally everything, you know and believe and dream about changes.
Today I sat in a beautiful resort restaurant with the sun glinting off the crashing waves right outside the windows. Eagles were soaring by and it was peaceful and calm. This is what those brave young men and women gave their lives for us to enjoy.
The least we can do is pay attention to their memory for a scant 2 minutes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Those Fifteen Minutes

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Ah, Fame.....that elusive 'thing' we who create would wish for. At least I think we do. It's true that recognition for your work from the world at large is a sought after goal but what if Fame visits you for a completely different reason?
Let me illustrate with a story......
Last night I received an email from a reporter from the 'Chicago Tribune' saying they had found my blog from a cursory search and would greatly appreciate contacting me in person to do an interview about.....wait for it.......being perceived as 'unphotogenic'.
*    o   *      *   o   *      *   o   *      *   o   *      *   o   *
Now my first reaction - after doing a Google Search to authenticate said person - was to think, "...WTF? Unphotogenic? What about the ART, man?"  and then to laugh bemusedly about what I write about here that gets attention. (may I add my post about being expelled from school because of my earrings, has gotten the most hits to date....) Ah yes, the 'artist ego' takes another shot....and rightly so. Let's remain firmly planted in humility, shall we?
Anyswelledheadway, we have just completed said interview and the reporter was most gracious and I can't wait to see the finished article.....yes, we will post it here.
One part of me is greatly flattered to be in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE (!) but that other part is snorting derisively about being known as the-person-who-looks-like-a-goof-in-photos forevermore.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Queen of All She Surveys....

Well......well, well, well.
A few things going on in the 'always something' world of my life over the last week......I'm just trying to decide what I'll start blithering on about first.......and may I interject that it never ceases to astound me how things can go from couch-potato-slothingness to not-enough-time-to-put-on-socks around here. And, of course, seeing as I procrastinated about finishing the painting during those 'couch moments' I find myself itching to get back to it and no time to do so.
Yes, and have I learned anything yet....
So! Here's the run down of the Artist's List Of Things To Do/Been Doing/And Done:
Dealing with the poster for the GALA - this is my little 'thing' if you will, for our annual Christmas Gala that happens out here and it's a pretty awesome event where we gather together all sorts of cool items to auction off as a communities fund raiser for local well deserving charities...this year our Seniors and our local hospital's Extended Care Wing. We also have a great band and fabulous food and assorted fun things happening all in one night in an extravagant venue and everyone gets dressed up. Which, out here where the Gumboot reigns supreme, is a minor miracle to make happen. My part is to create the poster image and design and get it printed and all that, which can be a chore as I have a timeline and am always waiting to hear about last minute things that HAVE to be added to the poster. That often means a redesign of the poster so everything will fit. And being as we live in a small town, it details some amount of running around to get it printed because this place has a scanner big enough but only this other place a printer big enough to print and then the digital file needs to be sent to the other other to get tickets printed.
And I also have to gather together artists to graciously consent to donating work to the auction. That all needs picking up. Then there is the actual set up etc.....OH! And I have to hand make 2 trophies for Best Dressed. (we have to offer trophies to get people to submit themselves to looking nice) (sigh)
Christmas Craft Fair- I've been doing this event for a while - I may have mentioned that - for which I organize the names and tables and requirements of some 30 odd folks and making up a floor plan to fit everyone in and then putting out advertising and signage and setting up and taking down. Oh, and making my own things to sell.
Working the Town's Election -  Meanwhile I need cash - artist, artist, artist, need we say more - so I'm doing our local election which means a training day, the advanced poll (8 to 8) and the actual day of (8 to 8) but generally add @ 2.5 hrs to that time for set up and count and take down.
Meanwhile the van has to go in for the every-so-many-miles checkup (that's a day of waiting around except not so bad in small town where I can walk around to do stuff) (but not paint) (sigh); we need to go in for our own so-many-miles maintenance and, and here's the kicker, the actual point of this post and fairly major, I have stepped up to be President of The Pacific Rim Arts Society.

....and I'm working on the new site....

The Painting: PANDORA CROWNED BY THE SEASONS 1824 by William Etty. Why the date of 1824...who knows, but the Artist did deem it important. I like this as it captures that winning of a 'crown' (or title) with the folks happy for you and those others that are already disillusioned (those two out front look miffed to my eye) and the one who you know is going to question all you do. (guy with back turned) I guess I should be proud and humbled as I could've ended up like this poor gal:
Be thankful for small mercies.....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The "NEW" Book!

Well...this is the cover image at least. I just spent 1 1/2 hrs trying to 'copy and paste' the book cover with title etc to the blog but the only way I could do that was to add the little sidebar apps over there > and
down there     ( to which I cannot draw an arrow because the key board only has < , > , and ^ , which is totally inconceivable......are we not to look down...? Perhaps in the world of computer typing, this was considered...redundant....looking down I mean.) At the least the preview book at the bottom is interactive whereby you can flip pages and see the whole thing.
Isn't technology wonderful!?
AnyonlyIcanfindusesforunwantedthingsway, please avail yourself of the links to the BLURB site and the preview of the book.
Let me know what you think. Feedback is encouraged.
Thank you all for coming. Help yourself to the wine.