Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Demon Conquerd

34 X 36

Painting this picture has made me crazy - mainly, I think, because I was trying to paint something from a 'should' perspective. The Gallery wanted some more of a 'coasty' feel added to my work. Uk. 
I absolutely HATE this piece right now.
That's the moment I'm in. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Keep Moving Forward (Walt Disney)

I've been working on a painting for more than a week now - and it's making me slightly want-to-hit-something-violently feeling; but we are persevering. (Also why I'm late posting a tale to the blog-go) Somewhere in the midst of countless scrubbing off of this large canvas in the bathtub  ( yes you can wash off acrylic as it actually takes a good 3 or so weeks for the paint to actually adhere into the painting surface - only the top skin dries immediately) ( just full of little gems, hmmm?) and redrawing/painting, there is a great vision trying to be realized. 
This 'a-a-a-k-k-k-' behaviour stems from me wanting to paint something that will still be 'in my style' yet be more 'west-coasty' because the peeps want to hold an Art Show titled "Painting your Place" and I feel left out from the theme as I told them which they all 'pooh-poohed' but still. Vibrant ladies aside, hugely colourful and detailed backgrounds of flowery leaves and birds doesn't immediately bring the Pacific Rim of Canada to mind.
..... L.A. maybe? 
Anywhatthehellonowway, this has me thinking about stubborn tenacity in the face of all odds and how small things can change your direction on the road.
While waiting for the paint to dry so that I can add another color over - don't ask - I am roving cyber-space once again. And I found a great article from The Guardian, which I'm pretty sure is the UK's major news rag , all about what artists do to keep the roof over and food on whilst (god that's such a fine fine word) whilst staying true to the Creative Soul. 
Now I am hugely grateful that I have  a situation that affords me the gift of basically painting every day and not worrying (excessively) about roofs and foods but still I do occasionally have to bow down to the demon $$bills and accept some odd work.  Latest being that comedy of idiots job with Census Canada but I must say there is something that makes me relieved I don't have to do some of these 'jobs' my fellow arteestos have had to do. Witness one lovely soul that had to dress up as a condom......0*0..... or perhaps the fellow that worked as an attendant for a severely disabled man with a need for sex so the artist had to drive him to a prostitute and then wait outside the car while needs were met. Apart from the empathetic sadness for the disabled gentleman this situation creates, it is a bit 'oogie'. 
All of the above is mainly to say that whatever our hurdles may be, the best move is forward, ever forward. You just have to keep on keeping on whatever life is tossing at you - weird jobs, fitness issues, paintings or driving a long way. 
The painting: "County Road" by Don Gray. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Oogie Is Strong In You, Little One

I, along with a vast army of fellow beings it appears, share a decided aversion to the species Arachnid. I think I mentioned this in a previous post when talking about my 'Phobia' Series. 
Anyeightleggedway, what's brought this skin crawling subject up is my latest posting on that cyber-space party-line telephone : Facebook. I had a nightmare a few nights ago about tidal waves washing away the forest (and that brings up even further disturbing reactions but carrying on...) and I woke up to find a large spider of the Wolf variety creeping across my ceiling. My posting the story of the ensuing battle I waged with removing said invader by applying my broom to it's self - and it made a 'thump' when it hit the floor I kid you not - and the using a couple of rolls of toilet paper to pick up those mortal remains and flush it into a watery grave via the porcelain coffin (toilet) made for some lively responses. 
I had my lovely spiritual acquaintances telling of the mythological powers represented by spider and it's significance in life.
 OK. Very cool.
I had my honored eco buddies giving me tips on how to remove the intruder in a safe involves dust mops.
 Not happening. Not in my world.
And I had all these treasured people telling their own tales of their encounters with this small yet mighty beast. 
Yay! Sharing!
Each and every response was from a woman (excepting one from a guy who - in the most male way - played into our fright factor.  "It can JUMP and it's coming for you-u-u-u..... )  
We've never left kindergarten......sigh.
The thing about all this that has me intrigued is this almost universal aversion by women to these 'wigglers'.....a strange thing if you take a moment to consider. Now why is that? A genetic code imprint for females to react in horror to spiders? Was it something way way back for us to make double sure no 'crawlies' were near the kids? And in hot countries where we all came from (Africa -true story- each and every one of us can be genetically traced to there) (but I go off as usual) yes, ok, the thing is spiders can be very dangerous. And well worth having some caution around.
Out here in remote land wet coast, we have WOLF (as I said) spiders that are actually benign but they seem to grow to the size of VWs - a bite can be painful but not fatal. However the other species we have is the BROWN RECLUSE and that little sweetie CAN be very dangerous indeed. 
In any case I will remain ever vigilant at this time of year when these critters appear and seem to want to move in with me. 
And I now sleep with my broom by my bed. 

So as a little addendum, here's my tale: I once had a cat that actively hunted for spiders. The vision of 'FooFee' with wiggly legs sticking out of her mouth keeps the 'oogie' strong in me. 

The pic is from a website by Rob Dunn and I just love the whole 'fear factor' horror show about it. I was looking for a painting of spiders but it appears that makes for 'kitch' or really bad or botanical reality. 
And that has me wondering too.....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

This life gives you a vast menu of choice during your wobbly travels....well, I speak for myself, of course. But it does hold true that we go through a few transitions along the way. Youth to old age, ignorance to knowledge, amature to professional. Et-cet-ura, et-cet-ura, et-cet-ura, as they say. Transition is pretty much a constant force; you have your raw ingredients which you transition by cooking and then by eating that is transitioned into the things your body needs to survive and so on to get really carried away. Same with creating I would say. You have a vision and with the ingredients of canvas, brushes and paint , they transition the vision into a finished painting. (Or whatever your medium of choice is.) There does seem to be a starting point and then the passing of time to bring you to the end point. Sometimes it's a smooth change and other times, well, it seems to carry on for a lifetime. 
Anyisthereanythingyoucantalksensiblyaboutway, what sparked all the proceeding blather is my current 'transition' from blob artist to fit and buff artist. I am not a lover of physical fitness....and taking into account the fact that being a painter pretty much is a sedentary action - maybe if you painted very large flowing abstracts that would not hold true but I am not sure since I don't- I have been a 'couch/studio potato' for some years. Suffice to say that my personal canvas has been expanding at an alarming rate and is, without doubt, my biggest hurdle. (ha ha) This has been a decade of unending battle with all the attending woes of diets and idiotic binging behavior leading me to this point in my life of realizing that this is my last chance. I need to restretch the canvas and get it back to original dimensions or I'm for the scrap heap.  I think what frightens me most is that I am almost 60 now and I'm really just starting to get known artistically (because I wasted a lot of years being an addict, more fool me) and if I don't want to be wheeled into all the art events coming up, I'd better pay attention.
So! To this end, I've engaged the services of a personal trainer and am going every other day to the Gym to be whipped (verbally) into shape. She is really fantastic....however....
Torture. Everything hurts. And I'm exhausted. And I'm so losing any last faint glimmers of dignity when I am butt-in-the-air-red-faced-and-sweating-flailing-around-limp-whale-style while the town passes by the gym's big windows. 
But somewhere in all that is this feeling of accomplishment and self congratulatory glow for finally getting to the start of this transition. It will be a long road....which I have to keep reminding myself is just the way of it. Instant gratification desires must be quashed.
So here's to us art folks who battle this demon of fitness because, truth be told, you are usually 'discovered' later in life when those years of taken-for-granted-svelte-body has passed on by.....and you can't believe how fast that happened. 
The only way out is through.

The painting: "Transitions" by Nick Gentry. Recycled art from old cassettes and DVDs. 
I like this - and the fact he has transitioned 'other' things into art is cool. 
By the way, the title "Transitions" seems to be an extremely popular choice. I think I got around 3,000,000 hits - seriously!- with typing in that search term. 
A shared experience for sure.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012


The Pacific Rim Arts Society asked me to design this year's poster for the Summer Festival so here we are. The coordinator requested a Mermaid then a couple of days later she asked for an Octopus.....we aim to please. They want the image applicable to T-shirts and other marketing apps so considering the final poster is 16 X 26 inches, the small yet visible clarity of this posted image bodes well.
The Festival showcases Canadian/other talent in Music, Visual Arts and Performance Art including First Nations and Children and International. It's pretty sweet. July 1st to 15th out here in various locations in the park, Ucluelet and Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Well worth a viz! 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shall we celebrate the Bad Mother?

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: "Le Cattiv Madri" (The Bad Mother) by Giovanni Segantini. 
Now this is a highly disturbing/interesting painting. If you can, click on it to enlarge it and you can see the infant children's heads in the tree and the one crawing across the snow and the female figure who is turning away from the child at her breast. Disturbing indeed. What I could glean about the back story is that the artist painted this as a comment on women who practiced infanticide. (and we can go rocketing off on a tangent here to delve into why women of that time did so, but let's not) The thing is, it has caused much speculation and worth a read about if you're so inclined to Google it. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Just Beavering Away.....

Acrylic with Derwent 'Inktense' Pencil
30 X 36

Friday, May 4, 2012

I Weep.....

Now, I realize that as an artist-y kind of soul and a member of the human race, that not everyone shares my love and somewhat sketchy -( bwhahaha - oh that was so punsical!)- knowledge of the art world but truly I have to weep at times for the decided lack of any idea of what is important history of our world...well, my part of the world which is Canada. 
Anylet'sfillinthebackgroundway, I went into the local Credit Union to attend to business of the monetary kind a few days ago, which was mainly paying bills ...sigh.....but I was also correcting a mistake on my new cheques I had ordered. (my name) (again) (for crying out loud) 
  The cheques company that my CU deals with also offers a choice of images you can have added to your cheque face to 'pretty' it up, I most certainly doesn't make the task of cheque writing any pleasanter... and I chose the "Group of Seven". 
Now, let's take a small aside here to talk about the group of Seven. Those of you who are Canadian reading this should - I fervently hope - know who they are, but for my visitors from other parts of the world....and apparently there are (ZING!) I will add a bit of background. 
...and to make my onerous typing task easier, I paste from Wikipedia (and if you could see my 2 finger style, you'd agree):
"The Group of Seven — sometimes known as the Algonquin school — were a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933, originally consisting of Franklin Carmichael(1890–1945), Lawren Harris (1885–1970), A. Y. Jackson (1882–1972), Frank Johnston (1888–1949), Arthur Lismer (1885–1969), J. E. H. MacDonald (1873–1932), and Frederick Varley(1881–1969).
Two artists commonly associated with the group are Tom Thomson (1877–1917) and Emily Carr (1871–1945). Although he died before its official formation, Thomson had a significant influence on the group. In his essay "The Story of the Group of Seven", Lawren Harris wrote that Thomson was "a part of the movement before we pinned a label on it"; Thomson's paintings "The West Wind" and "The Jack Pine" are two of the group's most iconic pieces. Emily Carr was also closely associated with the Group of Seven, though was never an official member.
Believing that a distinct Canadian art could be developed through direct contact with nature, The Group of Seven is most famous for its paintings inspired by the Canadian landscape, and initiated the first major Canadian national art movement. The Group was succeeded by the Canadian Group of Painters in the 1930s, which did allow female members."
So these guys pretty much put Canada on the map art wise. Before that, Canada was considered a benighted backwater lacking in any talent or culture whatsoever. Their paintings grace numerous things - like my cheques - which brings us back to the story. 
Seriously, in my life, nothing goes straight from A to B......but there you go. 
As I was making the corrections to my cheques (my name) (again) (for crying out loud), I was bantering with my young teller. She noticed the paintings and asked if they were mine. After being taken aback and my desire to say yes - who wouldn't, flattering as that is - I said "Well, no, that's the Group of Seven.....don't you recognize them?" 
And she admitted she didn't even know who they were.
To say my jaw dropped is putting it lightly.....actually I think I put on a performance of being astounded by that news. (loudly exclaiming 'WHAT!?! YOU DON"T KNOW WHO THE GROUP OF SEVEN ARE !??!' is more like it) (poor child)
Now in her defense, I blame the Educational System that relegates all ART to the back burner of importance and leaves it out of our history. 
Even so....I weep for the graphic illustration of how little art means to the world in general. 
The Painting: "DHARANA" by F. H. Varley, 1932 Oil on Canvas.

ps...appologies to the folks who have already viewed this post before this final version...3? 4? corrections later....I'm still learning the new system and what you see on your draft version isn't always what comes up in the finished version....and, ok ok, I'm impatient and load it up and skip PREVIEW.....eesh. 
Then again....maybe it's just me.....