Visual Artist, SCA
There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on Earth. Does that inspire you with wonder and awe? The dark night skies offer us endless opportunities for fantasy, mystery and new discoveries. It seems that anything is possible when we look to the stars. And these days, science is stepping up with new discoveries that make science fiction seem more like reality than ever before. Amidst the darkness, there is light, hope and wonder. As humans, our potential for change and growth is limitless, just as the night skies appear to be.
Working with acrylics and oils, on canvas and on wood, I find myself immersed in the moment when I paint so that everything else disappears and it is the energy of the universe that flows through me to create the magic. The process of becoming one with the universe is something that I have experienced on an emotional level, and have sought to convey in my artwork throughout the years. May you look up to the luminous night sky and be inspired.
Spring has arrived and with it a sense of renewal and hope. That’s what I’m supposed to tell you, right? I want to spread joyful thoughts, I want to be optimistic, but I think I’m probably not alone in feeling this undercurrent of anxiety. Just when we thought we were turning the corner, here we are again, facing another lockdown. Yes, the tulips came up. Then the rabbits ate them. I guess that’s life and we are being challenged to rise to the occasion, to deal with it calmly and rationally. But gosh, it is hard!
I wanted to scream: ‘Enough is enough!’ Instead, I called a friend. I shovelled dirt into the garden boxes. I took out the drill and saw and worked on my dock project (a disaster) and then I went into the studio because I can splash paint around and make a mess and somehow, in the end, something beautiful will grow out of the process if I stick with it long enough.
So that’s where I’m at, processing emotions. Release, transform, renew. We’re on this rollercoaster ride together. I hope that whatever you’re enduring, you have someone to reach out to, a way to release your emotions and set them afloat on the waves or the wind.
Be well. Breathe deeply. Look up to the stars.
For several years now, I've been offering a workshop at Art Lab Studios in beautiful Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The workshop focuses on Creating Powerful Abstract Paintings, but many of the principles are applicable to any style of painting. And besides that, it's a fantastically fun and inspirational weekend experience. This year, it will be 3 days, Friday, June 25th to Sunday, June 27th. Three full days of painting, playing, great conversation and company are available - for a safely set up, in-person workshop. If you're interested, please reach out with any questions, or visit the Parrsboro Creative link for registration details.
There's an interesting thing that happens when I share my skills, teach techniques and inspire others to explore their own creativity: I realize that I know more than I thought I knew. I'm reinforcing what I've learned over the years, things that have become 'intuitive' are the result of years of play and practice. Experience is a wonderful teacher, and passing it on to others cements that knowledge and helps us grow. When I offer workshops, I often have 'Aha!' moments, the sudden realizations that I've got a technique that I didn't know I had, that comes to me because I've been asked to explain how I do what I do. And sometimes, the participants share their own wonderful ideas. That symbiosis is really exciting!
I'm a task-oriented, project focused person. As much as the process of play in the studio is fun (and infuriatingly frustrating at times), there’s nothing better than working on a project to make the juicy colours flow onto the canvas. It’s like planning a trip; the research that goes into the planning can be as satisfying as the actual vacation turns out to be. As they say, ‘it’s the journey, not the destination’, although I’d like to believe that for a split second at least, the final painting project, the culmination of the exhibition pieces displayed together, is at least as satisfying as the journey the process of creating it took me on.
This has been a perplexing year. I’ve had more time to paint, but because I haven’t had any big exhibitions planned, I haven’t really produced as many new works. I was searching for something to get my 'Mojo' back. I turned to oil paints, and night skies. I'm still exploring that. But I need more. I reorganized my studio (again) and bought a really cool new table. I rigged up my own version of an easel that works better for me. I did a series of lessons via video, and then . . . I wondered what was next.
It looks like my Mojo has finally knocked down the door and burst in to announce that she’s ready for some serious productivity in the studio. So what was it that brought her calling?
We were counting down the minutes to the end of 2020, hopeful that this New Year would bring a bright new beginning that would replace the turmoil in our lives. Purging the worries of the past year, making room for healthier and happier times ahead - that was the plan. It may be starting off a bit rocky, but I’m still hopeful that we’re on the right path. Patience is a virtue that I’m still trying to cultivate. J
In keeping with that trajectory, I’m making room for new things to come into my studio, new ideas, new art materials, new themes . . . literally. Here’s what I’m clearing out:
Old paint clothes that are beyond crunchy
Paintings I’ve definitely outgrown
Tubes and tubs of paint gone sticky or smelly
Rags, way too many containers and bits and bobs I’ll never use.
(SEE STUDIO TIPS BELOW)
Have you noticed how many people are turning to long forgotten crafts these days? I see rug hooking, knitting, sewing, baking and other crafts making a sudden resurgence. My goodness, even macramé is coming back. By Spring time, I predict we’ll see a lot of tie-dye T-shirts. So what’s going on?
We’re filling our days with the things that soothe our daily lives, activities that bring us comfort and wash away distress. We are learning to take care of each other and ourselves and . . . making some really awesome stuff!
As the Holiday Season approaches, you have many options for the gifts you choose for your loved ones.
There are few things in life that are absolutely certain. But, we quirky humans are capable of great adaptations. We find solutions. We are logical and intuitive, strategic and ingenious, especially in times of greatest turmoil. We embrace surprises, cope with unexpected challenges, and learn to move on to the next phase of our lives. Change is constant, and it is also necessary for the survival and growth of a creative life.
To be sure, this year has given us an extra large dose of uncertainty, and if you’re like me, a fair amount of discomfort with not knowing what lies around the bend. Making plans to see friends, family, travelling, where and how to work . . . it has all become unpredictable. Some of us are better than others under these circumstances, but honestly, I’m sure we’re all at the point of ‘enough already’. We’re eager for the freedom we once had to plan our lives, but that may have to wait a while longer yet
There’s no doubt we’ve all had big adjustments to make in our lives this year. The rollercoaster of emotions has been difficult to navigate at times, but it hasn’t been all bad. We’ve found new ways to connect and realized how important those connections are to our daily lives. We’ve learned to appreciate the present moment because the future is so unpredictable. And that focus has helped us to learn new things about our environment, about ourselves and those we love.
Here in the Atlantic provinces of Canada, we’ve been luckier than in many communities. Our low infection rate, so low in fact that we have been designated ‘the safest place in North America’, has been, at least in part, because we have a strong sense of community. Caring about the wellbeing of others comes naturally to Maritimers. We live with an attitude of WE, not just ME. That is the key to a healthier society on so many levels, from the food we share to the care we take to repurpose and recycle. (If you live in Nova Scotia, you know about Guy's Frenchys!)
From time to time my artwork is rented for TV shows and movie shoots. It's always fun to imagine someone watching a show and seeing the artwork in the background. The work is rented through a gallery that represents me, then usually returned some time later for sale.
This is painting is one of the works that was shown in a Christmas Special for 'This Hour Has 22 Minutes' a couple of years ago and it's now back in my studio. Because artists aren't told in advance when the gallery rents it out, I didn't know until I received messages from people across the country who recognized my style, people who follow me and collect my work. Imagine...they knew before I did! (smile)
How does one become an artist? If you’re not one of those who went to art school and followed the direct line to becoming a famous artist (how many of those exist?), then the journey is probably more convoluted.
‘Believe in yourself, and already, you have your first accomplishment.’ I was 16 when I wrote that neatly in my diary. Then later: ‘Be true to yourself, and the light will brighten the path you need to follow.’ It took some time, some twists and turns to get here, but the path is pretty well illuminatedt these days.
When I was young, I thought I’d be a writer, live in Paris (how romantic!), travel the world and be an agent for change with my words or projects. I did travel, but then I came back and worked again so that I could feed my escapist habit. Travel, photography, writing and art making were always calling. I just had to find a way to support the habit.