Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Winter is not a season
it's an occupation
- Sinclair Lewis
oh look! 
it's a snow storm!
So refreshing at this time of year...
(yes, i'm being sarcastic)
Schools are closed,
buses not running,
mall is closed...
(you know it's serious when the mall closes)
i may paint later on, but for now
i'll post what i painted last night.
you know you're at the bottom of the barrel
when you start painting money.
Our new Canadian bills...
super thin, plastic-like, & see thru.
Kinda like Hollywood's rich & famous.
not a masterpiece, but hey...
 i guess it was not my night...
started to paint this little bottle,
and then had the bright idea to use marker
for the shadow...
bad idea.
it actually bled through the thick paper
so i tried to fix it with white acrylic paint
 a thin coating...
then added colour over the white...
still not good.
it looked pretty bad
so i thought i'd try to fix it again
this time with using a dark colour for the shadow
and applying it with a sponge (instead of a brush)
when i accidentally dirtied the paper
(that vertical line just below the bottle)
Again - not good
Tried fixing it again,
by covering it with yellow & white paint,
dabbing with a bristle brush...
(if you can't erase it, cover it up!) ;-)
concluded it was just an "off" night for me.
We all get them, right?
So i saw this sign yesterday at a church on my way home from work
and it made me smile...
Please stop indeed.
I've been pressed for time lately,
so blogging less than i want to.
My contract ends in early May,
so i am currently counting days. :-)

Hoping you're all doing well
and finding inspiration somewhere in your day.
Keep your chin up.

Monday, March 17, 2014

how did something so smooth become so tight?

hello folks!
I've calmed down a bit since my last post,
now that i've backed up my work & photos... :-)
more time for painting
i started this out with the intention of staying loose...
using colors i don't normally use,
using my fingers rather than brushes,
trying to let myself go a bit...

making markings and wanting to keep things free...

and then this started to happen...
 and then before i knew it - this.
All of a sudden, i was thinking
what the hell?!?
When did THIS happen?
In my effort to stay loose
and NOT control things...
i end up with a very controlled & tight looking painting.
it all feels so aggressive somehow.
i am not afraid to admit that i like some of my paintings
but this isn't one of them.
i liked it more at stage 4 or 5,
when it was loose and without much detail.
Maybe the painting is teaching me something
about life...
and how sometimes,
things don't work out the way we plan
or the way we think they will.

this is a note my mother wrote in her calendar
only a month or so before she died.
We are of Acadian descent,
so we often jumble both french & english
in the same sentence,
and we even have our own dialect
which i'll share with you in a post soon...
Mom's note here translates as:
Chemo - last one - line dancing after.
And she did go line dancing after her last chemotherapy session.
That was mom in a nutshell.
Always making the most of life,
always making time for friends & family,
being a participant in life rather than a spectator,
especially after she knew her days were numbered...
I miss her...
funny, i miss her most 
when i see nature at its best,
like this clean snow drift on our back porch...
because i know how much she appreciated
the same beauty.

On another note,
Happy St-Patrick's day to all!
And in honour of the day,
and of mom's vibrant spirit...
check out the video
and dance if you feel like it. :-)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

snow, snow, go away...

oh, the SNOW!
we're getting hit with another storm today.
More like a blizzard actually.
Schools, universities, colleges - all closed.
No work for me either,
since the roads aren't even cleared yet
and it's 3pm as i write this...
Most of us are happy to see the snow at Christmas time...
everything is so pretty and white and clean and crisp...
a winter wonderland.
Then after a couple of months,
by early February,
we start looking forward to spring,
and by the time mid March rolls along, 
it's become a blanket of white crap
and most everyone becomes desperate
for warmer days and the buzzing of bees. ;-)

Still - i love storm days.
The chance to sleep in,
to read, to paint, to play,
the chance to stay in our PJs all day long,
and drink hot chocolate & chat...
and sketch things that i feel like sketching...
 even if they make very little sense...
 and take very little time...
i try now and then
to do more 'messy' paintings or sketches
but they always end up
far more polished than i'd like.
it's very difficult to let go of control,
isn't it?
to let go of expectations...
of WANTING something to turn out
this way or that way.
and mostly... to appreciate where it ends up
even if it wasn't at all
where we intended it to go.

This past Sunday afternoon,
i nearly had a heart attack
when my computer froze
while i was downloading an upgrade.
Then the monitor went black.
I unplugged, plugged in again.
I rebooted.
i tried reinstalling things.
I tried all my fancy tricks, but still, nothing.
Finally, it restarted, 
but when my screen came on,
there was NOTHING on my desktop
(and i mean nothing)
except the background.
The icons were gone,
my projects,
my art,
my book,
my photos....
omg, my photos.
Photos of mom,
photos of my son...
i literally felt sick to my stomach.

I called a technician,
explained what i was doing at the time of the crash,
and he confirmed my fear (based on what i had told him)
that all the data was gone
and that nothing (including the photos)
would be salvageable.

me to me:
why did i not back up my work??
what the fuck was i thinking?
why wasn't i backing up my photos?
fucking idiot...
i can't believe i did that.
why would i do that??!

I tried (in vain) from 3pm to 10pm
to get things going again - but nothing worked.
I went to bed with such a heavy heart
thinking of all that was lost.
The work i'd need to re-do.
The art i had scanned before giving away the originals.
The book i was writing.
emails i had saved.
i barely slept that night,
trying to put things into perspective
and tell myself that it was not the end of the world.
But in a strange way
i felt like it WAS the end of part of my world...
like i had lost some of my history,
and so, some of myself.
(crazy, i know)...
Then the next morning, on Monday,
i woke up, resigned to the fact
that everything was gone
and before going to work,
i tried turning on the computer
one more time,
just in case some of the icons 
would have returned,
by some magic spell during the night.
and then...
one by one,
my icons showed up on the desktop.
My work.
My art.
My writing.
My photos... of mom...
I rushed to the phone to try and reach my nephew again,
(who happens to be a genius with technology...) ;-)
and lo & behold, he was there
and he walked me through what i needed to do
to make sure everything was the way it should be,
and before i knew it,
I had my old desktop back
and i was back in business, baby.
Do i need to tell you
how quickly i did a backup,
A backup extraordinaire,
of everything,
including photos.
especially photos.
Of all the things i thought were gone,
the ones that caused me most grief
during that long sleepless night,
were my photos and the writings.

Do you backup your work, your art, your stuff?
You'll save yourself some grief
if (or when) things go sour... ;-)
take it from me.

Wishing you all
a great weekend ahead.

Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen

Monday, March 3, 2014

art in the real world

They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
- Leonard Cohen, First we take Manhattan
I suspect we all share similar life experiences -
at least in our day to day grind...
I wake up (already luckier than some!)
i go to work
(at a job that does little to inspire me)
run errands,
rush home,
prepare meals, 
do housework,
and carve little bits of time where i can
for some sanity
which for me - includes
music, painting or writing.
The 9 to 5 stuff is just filler.
Stuff that pays the bills
and does very little for my heart.
Sometimes, i feel like the "filler"
is taking up far too much of my time
and there is little time (or energy) left
for the good for my heart stuff.

but then, i read a passage in a book
that lights a fire up my ass

and I am reminded that many of us
are in the same boat...
many artists are doing something other than art
to make a living
and it's all ok
as long as you're finding time somewhere
to make art anyway!
Once in a while, i need to remind myself
of the importance of art in the world.
In my world.
Once in a while, i need to remind myself
that what i love most about making art
besides the process of creating itself -
is the sharing with the world.
With all of you...
But it took me long to get here.
It took me a while to get this comfortable
with sharing my art (and my world) with strangers.
(Of course, many of you are no longer strangers, 
and many still have become friends. xx)
So i fully understand the fear 
of putting yourself out there,
but it is oh so worth it.
The passage i read was this one:
(from the book THE VIEW from the Studio Door, by Ted Orland)

It may not matter in absolute terms
whether you play to an audience of one,
or an audience of everyone,
but until your art reaches out
and touches someone,
it's like the proverbial tree 
falling in an empty forest...
Simply put, the things that matter to you -
the stories you have to tell -
exist to be shared.
So the questions arise:
Who is the real audience for your art?
Where would you hope to find your art ten years from now?
In art galleries?
On magazine covers?
In your family scrapbook?
Engraved in the memories of people you've never met?
If you hope to make art that matters,
the first question to ask is:
Matters to whom?
To God?
To the world?
To the Art world?
To your friends?
To yourself alone?
 Ponder on that one for a bit...
Aren't these words wonderful food for thought?
This passage just makes me happy
because it brings me that much closer
to understanding why i do what i do.
I want my art to be engraved in the memories
of people i've never met.
That's why i make art.
A few years ago, I sold a painting on ETSY
called Soul Sisters...
(you can see the print here)
The woman who bought it sent me an email
to tell me she was buying it for her sister,
who had cancer, 
and who was undergoing chemo treatment at the time.
She had the print framed,
and a few months later sent me a photo
of herself and her sister,
with my framed Soul Sisters print.
My heart melted.
And that's when i fully understood
my reasons for making art.
It's all about connection.
It's all about making a difference, somehow
even if only for ONE person.
And on that note,
if this one person wouldn't have bought me
this beautiful little journal book -
I may have never been inspired
to fill its pages and share them with you!
(thank you to my good friend, Lucille)...
And now, I begin a new one! Yay!
(is there anything more exciting than a new journal?!?)

Thank you all for being here with me.
Wishing you a wonderful week.