Posted on April 19, 2017
spring finally arrived
and this happened
My work is featured in the summer issue of Artful Blogging Magazine. Whole lot of gratitude to Shawna Lemay for the writing prompt. Her blog is always so thought provoking. This beautiful publication, reads more like a book than a magazine and it’s chock full of wonderful inspiration. Happy to be in the company of such talented people. Kind of a dream come true.
speaking of inspiration and dreams
The lovely and amazing Kelly Ishmael turned me on to this gorgeous book – Floret Farm’s Cut Flower Garden by Erin Benzakein with Julie Chai. Photos by Michele M. Waite. All about growing, harvesting and arranging seasonal flowers. Wonderful information and the photos are to die for.
How sweet is this??
Even Mozart was impressed!
Chloe Lemay is an art student at Sheridan College, soon to be majoring in cartoon/animation. She did this adorable image of Mozart and I just love it! He will be appearing at the end of each blog post from now on. You may view more of Chloe’s wonderful, whimsical work HERE. Word is that she will be doing commissions this summer if anyone is interested.
I’ll leave you with these beautiful words found on Calm Things a while back.
Wishing you all good stuff!
“The Monk Manifesto: Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention“ by Christine Valters Paintner.
The Monk Manifesto
- I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.
- I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.
- I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
- I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.
- I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.
- I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.
- I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.
Posted on April 12, 2017
of a different kind..
My son’s VLOG got me thinking about how we often develop a skill set in one area but end up using it in new and unexpected ways. In life, in work and in our creative endeavors, our experiences are somehow all inter-connected.
My talented friend, Linda Murtha, immediately came to mind as her work is a beautiful marriage of art and photography. She very kindly agreed to share her experience, her thoughts and her amazing art with us here:
I was about 9 years old when my mother came home one afternoon and found me painting a winter scene with white house paint on a red floor tile left over from our basement renovation. I can still see my vision for that painting and I can’t imagine what she was thinking when she took a cloth soaked in Varsol and wiped the tile clean. Afterward, she apologized, saying she didn’t understand what I was doing, but it was a long time before I showed anyone anything I’d created again.
When I was 7 I’d painted a watercolour of tulips in a garden as an Easter gift for my grandmother. I remember not wanting anyone else to see it. Even as a child my sense was that my art was safe with my grandmother but no one else understood my need to create. More than 50 years later, a lifetime since I’d even thought about it, I found that little painting among my mother’s belongings. It wasn’t anything special but my grandmother had kept it her entire life and so had my mother.
In high school I excelled in art and not much more and I begged my parents to allow me to enroll in an art program. They left me in the academic program, and I simply painted on my own through my teens and into my 20’s but I often asked myself, that age old question…What if?
When I married and had three kids in 5 years I put the paints away but sewed and felt that too fed my creative urges. I didn’t turn back to painting for many years. When I did, my own critical voice had grown very loud. I studied for several years with a talented landscape artist who increasingly showed frustration with the faultfinding I heaped on my own work. In a moment of exasperation, she said to me, “If you want a painting to look exactly like a photograph, why not get a camera?” The seed would take a while to germinate, but she had definitely planted it.
For a while I worked on trompe l’oeil (fool the eye) paintings and found great satisfaction in that. I’d proven to myself I could, in fact, make a painting look ‘real’. And then, shortly after this stage of growth, I was gifted with my first camera.
Two images I took on my first roll of film hung on the wall of my husband’s office for years. I felt accomplished, acknowledged, and creatively happy just taking pictures for my own pleasure, much the same way I had once enjoyed painting simply for the experience.
In time though, that same creative bug that had bitten me so many years earlier, started to nibble again. More and more I wanted my photographs to look less and less like photos and more and more like paintings. It was another season of cross-pollination and I was now flying backward.
I experimented with textures and layers, with off-lens photography, Lensbaby and with intentional camera movement, all in an effort to make images look like paintings. And I found great satisfaction in that garden of creativity.
And then most recently, after dabbling just a bit in encaustics over photographs, I found myself longing to paint again, and have been trying some techniques with acrylics and alcohol.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. I still hear that old voice muttering something about none of them being ‘note-worthy’ but now I can laugh and just go back to it and enjoy the process. Who knows what I may learn here that I can take somewhere else. Who knows as we cross-pollinate our experiences, and our attitudes; our criticisms and our praise, what the end results will be?
I’m proud of my work. I’m proud of the journey too. As each chapter unfolds I feel a hunger for the next and the next.
I started this adventure relatively early when I tired of crayons and colouring books and staying in the lines, but I’m thrilled to think the story may never end. There’s always something to learn from those who are also cross-pollinating their love of art with other skills they bring to the garden.
Thank you for bringing so much beauty to the garden, Lynda!
More of Lynda’s work can be found HERE.
As for Eric’s vlog…I posted it on Facebook where it made for some fascinating conversation. It seems our education and knowledge, skills and life experience never go to waste no matter what plans the universe has for us. It all counts.
I’ll end this with a thoughtful take on cross-pollination from Kim Mendenhall Stevens
I’ve been thinking a lot about it throughout my day…the comment that struck me the most was the last comment to the question in regards to what she thought about pollination…and she says the bees, they are dying. And while the bees aren’t dying from their job of pollinating, they are dying because of the actions of mankind, and well, the inaction as well. I know he was talking more about cross-pollination when it came to our experiences and things we’ve learned and translating that to subsequent jobs and experiences, but I began to think about it more on a humanity level. If and how we decide to cross-pollinate with each other on a personal and general level, means a great deal for our own survival….because in many ways we are the bees.
Posted on February 1, 2017
2017 started out with some changes, some new additions and some happy surprises
Our exhibit at The Bradley Estate turned out wonderfully
Met many talented, inspiring people
Loved the sharing of ideas
(a portion of the exhibit will remain on display until Valentine’s Day)
I was contacted by a magazine editor
my photos and a short article will be published
in their May issue
Will share more details soon.
And last but certainly not least
we adopted this sweet boy
(yes, he is a genius)
All was good
until it wasn’t
and the world began to crumble
you already know the story
so much so, I’ve had to distance myself from social media in order to retain some sense of sanity. I’ve never been comfortable sharing personal issues, religion or politics online, it has mainly been a platform to share photography and friendship.
I don’t live in a bubble. I read, I watch the news shows, I have lengthy discussions with my close friends and family members in the “real world”
And when I’m done with all of that, I go out with my camera. I climb on my raft..
“Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don’t see a different purpose for it now.”
― Dorothea Tanning
I float, if only for a few moments.
Posted on January 6, 2016
a bright shiny new year
a clean canvas
a new start, maybe?
I remain hopeful
I never make resolutions, I’m not into choosing a word for the year
but I came across this letter recently (thank you, Shawna), written by Sol Lewitt to the artist, Eva Hesse
I think it could apply to any type of artist –
“Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, itching, scratching, mumbling, bumbling, grumbling, humbling, stumbling, numbling, rumbling, gambling, tumbling, scumbling, scrambling, hitching, hatching, bitching, moaning, groaning, honing, boning, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piss-trickling, nose sticking, ass-gouging, eyeball-poking, finger-pointing, alleyway-sneaking, long waiting, small stepping, evil-eyeing, back-scratching, searching, perching, besmirching, grinding, grinding, grinding away at yourself. Stop it and just DO!
…If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety. And stop worrying about big, deep things such as “to decide on a purpose and way of life, a consistant [sic] approach to even some impossible end or even an imagined end.” You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty. Then you will be able to DO!”
“Don’t worry about cool, make your own uncool. Make your own, your own world. If you fear, make it work for you – draw & paint your fear and anxiety…”
my new mantra for 2016
Happy New Year!
Posted on March 11, 2015
Every year at this time, I find myself in need of inspiration
I usually pour through art books but after being so cooped up this winter
I decided get out and head to the nearest art museum.
It was a quiet Sunday afternoon and the museum had only a handful of visitors
So nice to be able to linger and take my time. For the first time, I began to notice not only the beautiful artwork but how each room was arranged.
As I wandered, I started looking from many different perspectives
A lonely chair beckoned to be sat on
while eyes watched every move from the wall
As I moved around the Modern Art wing, I was struck by the juxtaposition of each work. From one perspective, I saw Kiki Smith’s ceramic statue, Girl with Blue Dress, with what could be a later version of herself in the Alex Katz portrait, Ada with Sunglasses.
As I viewed this young girl from behind, I saw innocence in the face of violence (The Hull, an oil painting by Hyman Bloom). Striking, disturbing and evocative.
There were many other instances like this as I moved through each room in the museum. It fascinated me and left me wondering how I never noticed this before.
Before I left, I came across a still life painting by a little known American artist, John Frederick Peto, appropriately titled Still Life with Books. This intrigued me, not only because I love old books but because of the unique way they were arranged on the edge of a table. Something so simple yet it stirred some feeling of nostalgia in me.
When I returned home, I gathered some of my favorite old books, placed them on my mother’s old antique table and had fun attempting to recreate this painting with my camera.
Peto was apparently a master of trompe l’oeil, arranging the subject matter in a shallow space using shadow to suggest depth. It took me many tries to get the right amount of light and shadow in my image. With this painting technique, objects were rarely cut off the edge of a painting but I obviously cut the books off in the right hand corner. All in all, it was a fun experiment and I enjoyed trying something new.
Turned out to be an inspiring day in many different ways. Just what the doctor ordered.
Tell me, do you ever feel a strong need to create something?
What inspires your work?
Are there times you feel the need to break away from the norm?
I would be interested to hear your thoughts.
(Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts)