Wednesday, September 24, 2014

art, war and the world...

We can all be so self righteous sometimes...
I know I can.
I am so certain of what works for me,
that I assume it has to work for everyone else.
While talking with a good friend the other day,
I heard myself telling her that
if everyone was able to express themselves thru art,
the world would be a better place.
She replied, with kindness:
"that's because you're an artist".
I wanted to scream:
we're all artists!
Some of us have just forgotten.
And then I thought: are we really all artists?
Does it matter what we call ourselves?
Isn't the real purpose of art more about
how it makes us feel vs.
what it looks like, in the end?
Art is about more
than just pretty pictures.
Think of the therapists who use art
as a way of communication
for children who were physically abused.
Most of these children
are too traumatized to speak.
So they draw with wax crayons
and much of the artwork is far from pretty.
But the expression of art itself
is the pathway to healing.
When I sat to paint earlier today,
I was not in the mood to paint anything happy.
Sometimes I am, sometimes not.
So i painted this sad looking orange man.
But it felt good to paint it
and I felt good about it after I was done.
It's not about pretty for me - 
and it saddens me that so many people
stop themselves from making art
because they don't feel good enough.
Because they don't feel their work
measures up to others.
Comparing kills creativity
as well as the spirit.
If you happen to love painting pretty flowers,
or beautiful birds,
go for it!
Paint that.
But if you get a day where you just want to paint black,
let yourself paint black.
Or blues.
Or grays.
Picasso's mood was obviously different
from this painting:
to this one,
during his blue period.
When I was in high school,
in Western Canada,
one of my best friends
was from Ireland.
His name was Eamon.
We were talking about our hometowns one day
and he listened more than he talked.
When I finally asked him about what it was like
to grow up in Ireland in the 60s & 70s,
he quietly replied that he and his siblings
spent a lot of time in the house -
to avoid the bombs outside.
He talked about the fighting
between religions
between soldiers,
and languages
and cultures.
And suddenly,
I felt very small...
and selfish
and sad for so much of the world.
Even if the fighting in Ireland
had nothing to do with me.
I wonder sometimes,
if Eamon had made art,
what kind of art would it have been?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

the genius and sadness of Robin Williams

You're only given a little spark of madness.
You mustn't lose it.
- Robin Williams
When I first heard
of Robin Williams’ death,
my first thought was:

can’t be.

I’ve always loved Robin Williams.
His genius was palpable.
People like Robin
are few & far between.
When someone like this dies
and so many people feel the ripple of sadness,
you just know the world lost
an important person.

A few things stayed with me
when I heard of his death,
but in particular, a comment I heard
by his good friend, the famous David Letterman,
where he said this about his lifelong friend:
I’m sorry, like everybody else,
I had no idea that the man was in pain,
that the man was suffering.
That’s it, isn’t it?
That’s the point for someone who is battling 
serious depression.
Not letting it show.
Not wanting others to know.
Not letting the world see the sadness.
The darkness is too much for them to bear
so why would they want to share it?

If David Letterman, who was a true friend
and had been for so many years didn’t see it,
how could anyone else see it?
With depression,
it’s not about how many friends you have,
or how many people love you,
it’s about how you feel inside.
Robin Williams was loved by millions.
He had countless, profound friendships
and relationships
with people all over the world.
And yet…
he felt alone.
I am nowhere near understanding depression,
but I still believe there are many people out there
who are using depression (or mental illness)
as an excuse to get attention
or sympathy,
or a week off work.
A disgrace to those who struggle with the real thing,
day in, day out.
Like Robin did.
It makes me sad to know
that so many out there reach the point
of no return.
I am sad that Robin saw this
as his only way out.
Sad that he got so good
at hiding it from the world.
Sad that the world lost so much
when he decided
to leave…

Monday, September 15, 2014

Did I miss the memo?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
- Leonardo Da Vinci

I want to live in this house.
Or the one below.
Huge homes don't impress me.
We moved around a lot when I was younger.
My dad was a builder, 
so he'd build - and we'd live in it for a while,
and then he'd sell.
And then he'd build again - bigger,
and we'd live in it for a while,
and then he'd sell again.

The size of a home is so not important to me.
Actually, it is important, in the sense that
I much prefer a smaller home than a big one.

If I won a million dollars,
I would still want to live in a small home.

I think we're so swayed by our surroundings.
Since when are these considered shoes?
Not too far off from Chinese foot binding, if you ask me.
...and since when are these the only legitimate purses
on the planet?

or these bracelets the only jewelry worthy of being worn?

No offense to Pandora bracelet lovers
but i'm not one of them.
I'm not a fan of anything that smells like a fad.

ok, so when I see this face,
I see peace.
Not so with this face...
Sorry Donald, but you're not on my 'favs' list.
I'm weary of anyone who loves money
as much as this guy does.
There really is something to be said
for meditation.
I'm also becoming weary
of many athletes lately -
in particular, NFL players.
Charges of child abuse and spousal abuse
and drug addictions
and violence here & violence there.
Why do we still have these idiots on pedestals?
Wealth or being able to throw a damn ball
shouldn't give anyone such privileges.
But it does, clearly
and it makes me mad and sad and frustrated
that we haven't evolved more.
ok, now that i got that off my chest -
on to more inspiring things!
 acrylic paint on paper
I didn't like this one at all
while I was doing it
adding the dots and a few lines here & there
made it a bit better in the end. 
Still not great. 
But even when i'm painting something I don't like,
it's still time well spent.
It's kind of a meditation, isn't it?
 You know what i'm talking about, right?
 My 1st acrylic painting on wood!
Bought these cute little 4" x 4" wood panels
and i just LOVED the feel of painting on this.
Do any of you out there paint on wood?
I think I may be painting on wood a lot more.
The finished piece,
taken in natural light the next morning. 
a boy and his marbles.
And this fabulous collage by
a new artist i just discovered, 
OMG... love his stuff.
David Fullarton. Check him out.
I feel like this guy today.
Happy week everyone!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Harvest Moon

Yours is the light by which my spirit's born:
you are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.
- e.e. cummings
In honour of tonight's harvest moon...
 A bit of art from the weekend

As I was posting these,
I noticed the heart shape
at the bottom left side of the page.
While I was painting it,
I never saw it.
Even here (below), where I outlined 
the heart in black paint...
I never saw it
while I was painting it.
(otherwise, I probably would have followed
a path of hearts for the painting!)
Isn't that strange?
Something that can be so obvious to me now,
but so NOT obvious at the time.
It's funny how sometimes,
things can be right in front of our eyes -
but we don't see it.
What I'm currently reading (again).
I read some books more than once 
and usually get something different
out of them every time.
Depends how I feel and
what I'm open to hearing.
Or seeing.
I love this poster by Lisa Congdon
as much as I love the wise words by Anaïs Nin.
I think we all need to hear this now and then.

And to finish off the evening in style -
a little song called Harvest Moon.
oh, and for the record,
it's so nice to be back here with you all.
I am so behind on reading other blogs,
but i'm getting there.
So many of you are doing such beautiful things...
Leaves me speechless.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Here, my friends, is the Chocolate River...

Officially the Petitcodiac River, in New Brunswick, Canada.
(derived from a Mi'kmaq word meaning "bends like a bow".)
 Years ago, this river had one of the world's largest tides...
And then in 1968, some genius decided
it would be a good idea to build a causeway
to stop (or slow) the flow of water.
No one likes to admit it,
but it was a battle between french and english.
The english wanted a pretty blue man made lake for their boats,
and the french ended up with muddy water...
Until April 2010
when a committee was formed
and the decision was finally made
to do the right thing and open the causeway gates.
Before the construction of the causeway in 1968,
the river had one of the world's largest tidal bores,
which ranged from 1 to 2 metres (3.3–6.6 ft) in height
and moved at 5 to 13 kilometres per hour (3.1–8.1 mph).
With the opening of the causeway gates in April 2010,
the river is flushing itself of ocean silts,
and the Bore is returning to its former glory.

I took these few pics this summer of the brave surfers,
trying to ride the wave as far as they could.
The length of the river is 80 kms (about 50 miles)
It may not be the prettiest thing to look at now,
but eventually, it'll become what it used to be.
Not a half assed, choked up river - but a RIVER.

Here's what the river looked like in 1954 and then (sadly) in 1996...
anyone interested can read more about it here:
The world is filled with injustice, isn't it?
But it's also filled with good people
who want to do the right thing
and this is a minor injustice compared to
everything happening all over the world today.
My faith in humanity is shattered
and restored
on a regular basis. 

I am making art these days,
so all is well again.
I got the image from a vintage book i have.
Love vintage photos.

and then a quick sketch of Einstein...
I like doing quick scribbly sketches now and then.
I tend to hold my pen a lot looser
for these drawings.
I used a Uniball JETSTREAM black ink pen for this one.
Love the smoothness of the ink.
and the squiggly lines... :-)
Then a little acrylic on paper
 this is only about 4 x 4 inches
I love doing these little ones,
because they take so little time
and I tend to keep things more simple with these.
I rarely title my paintings,
but if i was to title this one,
I would call it:
(Five "s", as in:
Plus, there are 5 seagulls,
and 5 points to the starfish.
It was all planned. 

I may have already posted this song,
but here's what i'm listening to 
this lovely Sunday morning...
thanks for being here everyone! xx