Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go

For many of us, the start of a journey is filled with excitement and trepidation - you're never quite sure just what lies ahead - and I admittedly fall into this category. First of all I'm just not sure what the heckaroonies I need to bring with me - I mean, I have 9 boxes of 'arty' shit to keep me entertained ( as an aside, this will only work if I can forgo the great evil of cable TV which, if you weren't aware, I do not have in my abode. I don't have any TV reception actually, and only have one to watch movies, specifically animation, my particular addiction - oh, and 'Supernatural') :}
I find myself teetering between wanting to get the show on the road and feeling a tad overwhelmed by what lies ahead and wanting to go back to bed. I keep making lists of 'things to do before you go' and 'things to do when you're there'. 
And isn't that just typical for life, period. We're so busy planning 'what to do' and 'what will happen' we can forget the 'what's going on'. 
I think this can happen when you're an artist too. You get so wrapped up in the 'I'm gonna paint (sculpt,pot,weld,sew, etc) this amazing pic (sculpture, pot, metal,threads) and then the doors will blow open and I'll be discovered-fame-and-fortune' - and don't deny that's what you do 'cause I know how the creative head thinks - yeah, we get so wrapped up in that future thing we forget the journey of just creating is the point. I had a great 'head smack' about this when I was putting together a portfolio of work to bring with me. I've written lots about my particular dubiousness with what I paint because it just so isn't 'west coasty' and that I keep thinking I need to change to fit what everyone thinks I need to paint. Well, I really got a big head shake when I looked at all my paintings displayed in my portfolio and realized - wow! I paint really uniquely and frelling kick-ass! Why would I want to change that? 
So I'm pretty thrilled by what is coming up. Something is really cooking in the old soul and I can't wait to see what happens next. 
I'm also signed up for pottery classes. 

*and I'm getting a new pc when I'm away - thank you jeebus, as my son says. Hopefully I'll be updating from the 'road' if I can figure out how. 
Always something, huh?*

The painting: "Transform" by Flora Bowley. 
. . . . . . . . . . . . exactly.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Presents VS Presence

** I've heard said that English is the hardest language to learn and I'd guess that to be true, especially if it isn't your 'mother' tongue but what I agree with is the propensity in this particular dialect of communication to have words that are either spelled the same but mean different things or sound the same and are spelled differently. Such is the case with the title...I had to go to my trusty falling apart and held together with duct tape dictionary to get it straight. 
But I digress...

Now back to our story:
On Friday the group of dedicated souls of the Pacific Rim Arts Society (PRAS) of which I am the humble (ok roll eyes) leader, went on a field trip. This in itself is worthy of note because in the whole of the 42 years the society has endeavored to bring arts and culture to this wee bit of Canada, that has never happened before. 
Well, it was a resounding success as a group of 8 of the loyally devoted folks that make up the PRAS board convoyed across island to visit a prominent and hugely respected Canadian artist Ken Kirkby. It had been suggested by one of our members to do this as a way to acknowledge Ken and also a great way to mix art and pleasure. The weather was superb, the car resounded with laughter and the visit was just plain old fantastic. We royally dined at the local eatery run by Ken's lady which was chock-a-block full of art from locals. Then we hopped over to Ken's home and studio and spent 2 + hours yakking art and listening to Ken's stories and sitting right on the beach. 
SWEET, as the kids say. 
The highlight of unexpected-things-to-happen was when Ken turned to us all, looked at me and said "So, when are we gonna trade paintings?" 
Well knock me over with a paintbrush Emily Carr!
I stupidly reply "Are you talking to me?" (seriously, I am gifted with the witty response - not)
In my defense I say this because I don't consider my style to appeal to men, certainly not honored men artists painting landscapes of Canada. 
So what you see above is my Ken Kirkby painting. It now resides in my bedroom right where I can look at it when I fall asleep. 
I'm still feeling slightly '... what happened ...' about it.


I got 'turned on' (oh, puh-lease) to this book by a young friend who travels to Wells for the annual ArtsWells festival. She knew of my past history as part of the early incursion of Hippies up to Wells and wanted me to know there was a book out and she bet I was in it. 
So I ordered it off the Internet site. 
Imagine my delight to get it and have the flood of memories rekindled from the tales within. 
Was I in it?
Well; and here's where I'm going to sound like my ego is the size of the Sistine Chapel; I get 2 little mentions and both without my full name. Eesh. 
I guess what is so disillusioning  about this  is that one of the main characters interviewed in it for their stories was my old boyfriend at the time - the one I built the tree house with, the one who brought me up to Wells actually. Did he ever talk to me about this book or wanting to be involved? Nope. Did he make any allusion to me being special in his life at that time? Nope again.
I feel really ridiculous for letting this bother me! Who cares really - most of the folks who will buy this book will either know me or not and what does it really matter if they do or don't? 
* * *
I am too sensitive for my own good. 
And somewhere down in that murky place I carry around inside of me, lies the little kid who feels left out and not worthy to be included in the sandbox - ah boy. Cue the wah wah wah soundtrack. And bring on the box of cookies with a carrot cake chaser. 

OK - the Ken Kirkby painting came without a title. I call it "Inner Landscape" just because it seems to take me down all sorts of pathways of though while I look at it. Jeez, what a gift!
The Book is available from Harbour Publishing

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vision Quest

"What a long strange trip it's been"
...Grateful Dead lyrics

Ah, those words could just about sum up my generation I think. Certainly ones, as I am entering my 6th decade of life and what can be viewed as the 'winter' part of this journey, I am inclined to parrot. Lately I feel that I am on the edge of that 'ah-geez-here-we-go-again' path; you know, the one that portends a transition of change.
Arguably the life of an artist is full of change - vis a vie:  your style, your technique, your medium, your vision.
And bless the Creative Spirit this is so as I believe we would stagnate with the curse of only doing one thing one way. I often wonder if, for those artists that reach the pinnacle of recognition globally in their style, they sometimes wish they could go back to being able to try the any old thing of discovery before they became locked into the particular subject/genre they are recognized for. 
Oh, give me that problem, huh?
Anywhatathingtocomplainaboutway, I am about to embark on a personal 'vision quest' soon. I've booked time away and put myself into some therapeutic discovery classes in order to deal with the remaining vestiges of my addictions and childhood traumas. 
Heavy stuff. 
But I find myself quietly excited to get into this time. To finally face the demons that keep me in fear - the fear of believing I am good enough - the fear of success - the fear of living large. 
My life is safe here in this little piece of paradise- I am well known; I live without having to worry about shelter; I have a great comraderie with all here. 
But, but but but. 
I'm stuck.
 It's obvious the art scene here is very proscribed in being geared towards all-beach-with-an-animal-or-two and, as is most evident, I don't paint like that. And why should I change what I find hugely satisfying and is my own? And it's evident my work sells to folks from away.  
So, off we go to see the wizard, who is actually ourself. 
Who knows what this journey will bring. And isn't that the intoxicating thing about change? Yes, there is a fear but oh, the doors you will open! 
And Life is nothing if it isn't an adventure.

The painting: "Addiction", mixed media with found objects oil on canvas, David Brady.
I've posted lots of pics of artwork here and that would generally mean I have a particular draw to the work but I gotta say, this one is freakin' brilliant. Brilliant! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Try To Remember

It's been c-a-a-a-razy over the last while. The weather has been amazingly HOT - which is not that normal for this coastal seaside town. We generally have fog roll in to keep the temp quite balmy - and lets you sleep in comfort, may I add - but when it was 80 last Wed at 9:30 in the evening, after a blazingly sunny day, we-e-e-ell, you knew it was not business as usual. 
I've had company too - an old school chum came for a viz and it was great! I played tourist in my own town and rediscovered what I love about this place through her eyes. (also, it didn't hurt to have hugs and smoochies from just about everyone we ran into that knows me and that seemed like the whole darn town to my friend - what can I say?) It's funny how those of us who live somewhere-everyone-else-who-doesn't-and-wants-to can get so blase about the features and attractions of that place. We just seem to take it all for granted. In any case, all that had me musing last night on summers of the past. 
My memories seem to be kindled by smell and sound. The first thing I recall is that 'chuck chuck chuck' noise the old hand pushed rotary lawn mowers made. I used to hear that evocative sound as I lay in bed at my bedtime - and it seems to me it was still real light outside - and then that is followed my the memory of the smell of freshly cut grass. Wowzers, is there a better smell? Well, unless you have allergies and that particular smell makes you stuff up like a turkey at Christmas. Add into these memories the seaside beach days that seemed to me went on all day - as I was lucky enough to be so close to the Ocean growing up - that comes with the soundtrack of screaming kids and waves along with hot dogs and fries. And stubbed toes as it seems I could never wear flip-flops without that happening. HOT slides! YEEE-owch! Sunburns before we knew the danger of that - peeling sheets of skin off... ok, yukky sounding, but I remember how satisfying it was to get a really big piece off before it tore.  And the smell of hot canvas tents from those long gone days of family camping. I still long for that particular olfactory experience.
Didn't it seem that summer was so much longer then? Certainly more magical......
Ah, memories.
Ah, childhood!

The painting is "Soaked" by John Cox. Don't think I could have found a more perfect illustration to this piece. It makes me recall doing just that with my-bestest-friend-forever-and-ever, Marilyn (hi hon!) I remember the sun sparkling on the waves just like that too....sigh. 

PS> Apologies to all for the tardy postings lately - I have to admit that it's time to replace the old pc but have to wait until I make a trip to the big smoke next month. Meanwhile I try to limit what I do on this old horse as it is becoming increasingly difficult to load pages and upload data etc. Hang in there with me my friends - I promise this too shall pass.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

...and besides sleeping with make believe Princes...

We've been painting. (If you're wondering about the title to this post, see the previous one.....all will be revealed.
I have long had the thought of trying to incorporate my 'ladies' into a 'beach landscape' what with living here in 'beach side splendor and that's all the folks want' place....I think I blathered on about this before. It has certainly taken up my mind with the wondering about how the hey-o to make it work and anything previous to this painting just went flat on me. And I admit that this one too was making me go splah about 1/3rd of the way through. But, gods and goddesses bless us with a stubborn streak, we persevered and it finally jelled into this. 
I'm not disappointed with it and actually am thinking of carrying on with a series. Here's a close up of the hand stamped words:

Tonight we relax. 
OK, lie. I'll be looking through my collected pics to start formulating a new piece BUT! we just got the whole 8 disc set of 'EUREKA' and by golly! we're looking forward to sweet and sour chicken wings, beet salad and toasted pita and some quality sloth time watching the 16" screen. 

The painting: "The Sound Of The Ocean Is There In My Dreams"
36 X 40 
Marla Thirsk 
Aug 2012.

It's just one vowel short to make a full Haiku. What's that - a 'Hai'?
 I'm certainly the 'Ku'(ook).
Really, I am a one girl party.

OH YEAH! This marks my 400th post
I should have a contest to win something. I'll post it next time!

Stranger In The Night

(The title refers to the old crooner Frank Sinatra's song "Strangers in the Night" and not my tendency towards becoming decidedly odder than usual in the wee least I hope that's the case.)

Having a good imagination is probably a requisite mien for an artist but there are times things happen to me that even my twisty little head just could not have dreamt up. 
Witness the other night. 
My bedroom is small, I may have mentioned. It is the verifiable width of the length of a queen sized bed. It is kind of cool, as it makes for a feeling of an alcove by placing my bed so that it is against 3 walls. And close to the 'end' wall is the window that for the sake of Jammie's midnight excursions ( and 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.) I keep ajar. Also, I like fresh air. 
It does, however, also make it possible for 'other' not-so-much-wanted visitors access. I wrote about the raccoon that appeared one evening and the ongoing battle I wage with those denizens of the creep > spiders.
But the visitor that appeared on the night in question was really a surprise. 
Now, I'm seriously near-sighted. Without my specs (and thank you Ben Franklin for inventing them!) I can see clearly for about 10 inches,  give or take depending on what I'm viewing. Add to that the bonus failing of night blindness and you can agree that I'm most decidedly not the gal you take on a romantic midnight stroll. Well, unless your plan is to make me fall (read: stumble ungainly) into your arms. Or on my ass, which is the more likely scenario. 
Moving right along from that particular imagined spectacle, there I am, snuggled up in my bed asleep when, true to the fact of aging, I awoke. I turned on my light and for some reason noticed a dark 'bump' down at the foot of my bed. Close to that window opening - remember me mentioning it? It wasn't 'spider-sized' so my heart didn't automatically ratchet up into the stratosphere and  I sort of shook the covers trying to move it. It didn't move. "Hmmmm," my befuddled early hour brain thinks "that's weird, maybe I'll put on my glasses"
Now Life is full of disappointments, on that we can agree, but may I say that the one I find most letdown about is the fact there is no soundtrack playing. This would have been the BEST of a time for cuing the tweeky violin sound, as I leaned closer towards the dark 'bump' at the foot of my bed.
Imagine my complete dumbfoundedness (and if that isn't a verb it should be) when the bump revealed itself to be a little tree frog. 
I gently put my hand over it to place it back outside in a much more genial environment than my bed - I guess that depends on your viewpoint as Jams seems to like it; as for human thoughts...yes, well
Anylet'snotgothereway,  I can still recall the feel of it's moistly cool and infinitely soft body in my hand. How awesome a visitor was that! Baring it turning into a Prince, it was still pretty magical.

The digital illustration is I'm not sure by who knows who. This is the problem with trying to find accompanying art to illustrate the theme of my posts. Occasionally I find some work that has no acknowledgement of Artist or even title or link to where the image came from ( and yes I know I don't post links but I do acknowledge artist and post title. )
If anyone has a clue please let me know. If you're the artist, I really like your work!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sunny Side of the Street

Ah, don't you love how the moment you make some definitive statement, life intervenes to kick your a** ?
Perhaps it's just me (and that certainly points to perhaps changing my operating manual in this life) but it does happen that oft times we are brought up short by something happening that goes completely contrary-wise to what we have been stoutly claiming as the be-all-and-end-all-amen-exclamation-point.
So here I am taking my big foot out of my mouth yet again and wearing the sheepish grin akin to the lovely lady in the pic above.
After my grizzling woe-is-me blither in the last post, just guess what happened....ah, yes indeed faithful reader - we sold, not one but two paintings. 
sigh bloody sigh
Mind you, it was not completely smelling like roses as the first painting was bought by someone who had seen my work at UKEE DAYS that I had listed at an abysmally low price because the-wolves-were-at-the-door and I needed that filthy lucre. Ethically I didn't feel it was right to charge more so I let her have it at said minuscule price. Then I found out that this person was actually very well off and could have bought 5 originally priced works without blinking an eye. 
Well, bad word loudly said.
Then my Gallery Guy phones to say that he sold another painting BUT- and proceeds to rap my knuckles with vigor -  he had to come down in price drastically because of the prices I put on my work at UKEE DAYS.
sigh bloody sigh
Who needs enemies when I can kybosh myself much easier.

Other than that > we are finally enjoying a spate of excellently sunny days here in Ukee and I am inside painting. That's ok by me as I'd much rather be painting than anything and lying in the sun feels good for about 5 mins then I get antsy and want to DO something. Also my skin is still pretty unwrinkly at almost 60 so it's true what they say about broiling yourself. Add to that my slight phobia about tanning due to my mom dying from the very rare and horrific disease 'Scleroderma' and she baked herself to the color of a walnut . 
But all is not lost as I'm working on a whole new style of painting - it took me a good week of experimenting and research to figure out how to do what I was envisioning but I'm pretty excited to see what is happening. This came about by trying to figure out how to join -so to speak- my ladies with my 'old' style of landscape paintings. 
Sneek Peak at the layout sketch:

The black line is because I reproduce this on transparent film for my overhead projector - the best tool I've EVER used.
Can't wait to get back at it!
And now, to close: how Jams deals with the heat of the day:

That's her lying in the striped shade cast by the gauze curtain I have hanging in my doorway - keeps out the bugs and still lets in the air - makes for a great photo, huh? 

The pic at the start is an Art Doll by Lesley-Anne Greene - isn't it brilliant?! She's a Canadian girl too!