Saturday, September 19, 2015

ocean waves of sorrow and joy

hello everyone!
I have so much to share,
i'm not sure where to begin...
Let's start with the fact that 
it's still summer here!
We broke a 100 year record yesterday for temperature.
I was 30C (86F).
Hot for us in September.
Normally, by this time of the year,
we're pulling out the thick sweaters
and looking for our socks.
But this year, we seem to be
about a month+ behind in the seasons.
It's a strange thing,
the reaction we have to weather.
September here usually brings with it
a burst of energy for me
and a cozy feeling of cocooning.
Kids are going back to school,
some to university,
moms are getting the house to themselves... ;)
new beginnings.
But this year feels different.
There's this churning of creativity inside me
but when I notice it's still summer out there,
I wanna be out walking or swimming or kayaking.
(and on a good day, I usually am)
Because I know what's coming.
So I hate to admit it,
but I would welcome a rainy day.
And if the forecast is right,
we're getting one tomorrow. (Sunday)
There's a little story to this sunflower.
Earlier this year,
we decided to plant a few things.
(I don't have a green thumb).
So we planted a few flowers along the walkway...
but we didn't plant this sunflower!
Honest, we didn't.
When we noticed something growing,
we were curious to see what would pop up there.
At first, I thought it was just weed...
no, not the kind you smoke! ;)
but lo and behold - 
this beautiful sunflower pops up! 
The birds & the bees carried the seeds
exactly at the right spot. :)
So next year, I'm planting sunflowers.
This is Fluffy, my dad's dog,
and she loves to hide her treats in the carpet,
just in case someone is thinking
of taking them from her.
Cracks me up.
I did a quick little sketch of her
while she slept by my side on the grass.
This is part of my blue room...
I used to have my mac upstairs,
but finally brought it down here.
This room just feels right for writing.
I am sitting in the chair you see here right now...
I love this space...
You don't need a big, fancy shmancy studio
to make art.
It just has to feel right in your heart.
Some people use a shed,
the basement, the back porch,
a kitchen table,
Whatever works for you.
A few weeks ago,
we were awakened at 2am 
by the sound of helicopters just above our house.
By morning, we found out
they were looking for a missing man in the water.
A boating accident.
He and a friend were boating
when the boat capsized.
His friend searched for him in the water
for a half hour before making it to shore
to call 911.
They found the missing man days later - drowned,
only about 50 feet from the shore here.
42 years old.
Whenever something like this happens,
you always have the nitwits who want to give
their two cents worth about what happened.

"well, they had to be drinking!"

"who goes out boating after dark?"

"well, why weren't they wearing lifejackets?"

That's why it's called an ACCIDENT, you morons.
Cause it's not supposed to happen.
No one ever goes out on a boat thinking:

"I know! We'll put ourselves in danger
and then we'll drown!! It'll be fun!"

It angers me how quickly we are to judge
when something like this happens.
We all know what should have happened
to prevent this tragedy, 
but it didn't, and the man is dead.
Why bring any more suffering
to his poor family
and the friend who searched
for 30 minutes in the water for him?
They lost someone they loved
and this beautiful place
will forever haunt them.
Is that not enough?
I went for a walk there the other day
and saw this one lone flower...
and I thought of him.
 Then I picked up this book again...
and read this...
Funny how the same questions
have different meaning now...

I had ordered new cards from MOO
and they came in as the helicopters
searched overhead...
it made me sad
when i noticed my ocean paintings.
I can be overly sensitive about my surroundings,
so I usually try to paint or sketch something
as soon as i can,
to put the pain on paper
rather than keep it in my heart.
I started this painting thinking of water,
and ocean, and waves, and nighttime... 
(it's acrylic on paper)
Not sure where I was going with the pink,
but I just let it go where it wanted to go.
Added a bit of white...
still not sure if it's anything 
other than abstract.
Then I flipped it over
and saw a dragon and someone flying
and a moon and water and a heart...
These are closer to the real colours..
taken in daylight.
Looking at it this way just feels 
less scary to me.
Why a dragon would feel less scary,
I'm not sure.  ;)

I'm not sure if i mentioned anything in my last post,
but I'm working on a little something
with a few other artists
that we'll be sharing with you all soon.
I am thrilled to be contributing
to such a fun project
and I know that many of you
will be happy to
color along with me very soon!
(Yes, that's a little hint for you.)
As soon as I get the ok to share,
I will.
Hang tight.
In the meantime,
you might wanna
sharpen your color pencils!

This is how excited I am:

Friday, September 4, 2015

why should art be important?

I sometimes feel like what I'm doing
is not important at all.
That it's stupid to fill my days
with art and writing
when there is a crisis in Syria,
and drowned children
and parents who are so desperate
for a new life - a safe life -
that they will risk everything
for the chance of a new beginning.
All of a sudden,
my little paintings
seem pretty senseless.
And insensitive.
And so not important.
But I make art anyway.
Because I need to.
Because it's the only way
I know how to process
the chaos out there.
And then when I see things like this
popping up all over the internet...
 ...or this
I realize that I'm not the only one
who needs art to make sense of the world.
Art is a powerful thing.
It's how we face our own pain.
It is powerful for the artist
and powerful for those who see it.
 It makes us think...

...and rethink
and sometimes, it makes us feel
like everything's gonna be ok.
Like we're no different
than anyone else.
Like we all have the same fears.
Cancelled dreams.
Who hasn't felt like this
at one time or another?
Like you were on the wrong path,
or things were just taking
too damn long to finally become REAL?
There are changes happening around here lately...
I am gently closing the door to some things,
and slowly opening the door to others.
They may not be permanent doors
and they may not be profitable doors,
but they are exciting doors
and interesting doors
and doors that look like
they could be filled with balloons
and sparkles
and unicorns.
So fuck it.
I'm going in. :)
Sometimes, we just need to give space
for something else to have room to grow.
I painted this (above) a few nights ago
in about 10 minutes flat.
I was surprised by how much
i liked it when it was done.
I used oil pastels for the black & white,
and acrylic paint (on paper) for the rest.
It captures the energy I was feeling
at the time.

Then a few fun doodles

in my little Moleskine book...

blue Sharpie pen on paper.
 and a tiny Buddha illustration. :)
I had coffee this week
with a wonderful person
who I consider a friend,
despite only seeing her in person a few times.
The lovely St├ęphanie Guimond
at Creative Living Experiment
who I'm sure many of you have met on-line.
She's taking a bit of a break these days...
but still has loads of inspiration on her blog.
She's a fabulous artist
and an even more fabulous person.
We talked about all things & art,
and the dry spells we all encounter as artists.
The walls we hit.
I don't know of any artist
who hasn't questioned why they make art
at one point or another in their lives.
My days can flow into one another
with doodles & paintings & creativity
and everything is right with the world.
And then, something happens
somewhere in a far away land -
like a drowned little boy,
and I question my whole reason for doing what I do.
That's usually when I pick up this book:

and see things like this...
 or this...
or this...

And I remember that the reason I do what I do
is because it's who I am
and I don't know how to be
anything or anyone else in this world.
When I look at the work
of Maira Kalman,
I know she doesn't know 
how to be anyone else either.
And that makes everything ok, somehow.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fear and loathing in eastern Canada

hello everyone!

Well, summer is almost over here,
so I'm enjoying every last bit of it.
As much as i love summer,
I love the fall even more
so at about this time of the year,
I begin to look forward to brisk morning walks
and cooler nights.
The weather here has been hotter 
and more humid than usual (for us at least)
- in the high 30s with humidity -
so one had to be either in the water,
in the shade, or in the house. 
My 2 brothers came home on vacation for a week
and stayed here with us.
They left a few days ago (last Sunday).
I loved spending time with them,
but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward
to having my own space again.
It has nothing to do with my brothers
or their families
and everything to do with 
having 5 extra people in the house
for an entire week
and no time to myself.
For someone who values alone time
as much as I do,
this was no easy task for me. :)
Having relatives visit
for extended periods of time
also makes me realize
how set we are in our own ways.
We were raised by the same parents,
and yet,
we are all so different from one another.
But despite the differences,
by the end of the week,
no one was insane,
and no one was murdered,
so I guess it's all good. ;)
It kinda made me sad
that so many of us spend so much time
on social media.
I almost regret not setting a rule
when they first arrived:
I feel like we lost precious time together
because so many had their faces stuck to their screens...
scrolling for the next post on Facebook
or texting someone
or watching the next talent video on YouTube.
At one point, I wanted to scream:
I don't care who's fucking talented on YouTube.
I don't care who's getting married
or divorced
or who ate what for dinner.
We did a lot together in one week,
but it just seemed like as soon as we got home
and there was down time,
even if only for a few minutes,
everyone would reach for their ipad or phones.
I remember a time
when we would engage in conversation,
or tell jokes,
or pull out the guitars to play music together.
Today, it seems like everyone's in their own little bubble.
It just made me sad.
So after they were all gone,
and the house was quiet again,
I did what I normally do
to feel grounded again.
I went to Frenchy's (2nd hand shop) 
and browsed the used books.
I picked up a coffee
and drove to the wharf to drink it
and watched the seagulls fight
over a piece french fry.
I wrote.
I listened to music.
I read.
I painted.
I watched a documentary the other night
on the life of Ralph Steadman called:
For no good reason.
Obviously inspired this piece.
Well, that and perhaps some of the
underlying frustration I felt.
Johnny Depp is in this documentary,
interviewing the artist (Steadman).
That was my reason for watching it. :)
Steadman is a British artist
who collaborated on several projects
with the infamous Hunter S. Thompson -
a journalist to some (gonzo journalism), 
a deranged idiot to others.
He put a bullet through his head in 2005.
I enjoyed the documentary,
but be forewarned:
it can seem a bit strange to some.
Steadman's art is nothing like the man himself.
Just as we say "never judge a book by its cover"...
well, never judge an artist by his or her paintings.
He comes across as a kind & generous man.
He is gentle.
And his paintings look like this:
(self portrait)

and this:

and this, his tribute to his friend, Hunter Thompson.
Years ago, I had read Hunter Thompson's book
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,
and I came away from the book thinking:
"this man is not well in the head". ;)
But I loved the few illustrations throughout the book.
Ralph Steadman's illustrations,
so I knew I had to look him up eventually.

One last sunset before I go. :)

a Tshirt I plan on getting for myself. :)

My book find from Frenchy's...
and this little story,
from Brian Andreas' book.
I love this.