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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

THE TRANSITION

One of life's constants is change and I am presently going through a transition precipitated by me. I finally left my day job.

Subsistence income derived solely from sales of artwork is a rarity for many artists.  Most have other jobs. The up side is that beyond demonstrating extreme versatility, artists are constantly learning new skills and acquiring seemingly unrelated knowledge. Invariably cross-fertilization feeds perceptions and affects creative output. 

Like Hindu gods and goddesses with propagating arms multitasking on a spiritual plane, I have soaked up experiences that nourish Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi-like flow and personal growth.  Be that as it may, clots occasionally block the stream of creativity.


The Teacher

In the past, I sometimes felt frustrated, as though there were two of me, one side free, uninhibited (to a degree), and the other side stuck within the confines of business decorum, rules and regulations.   

Two of Me

The day job required attentiveness and active listening.  I couldn't let my mind wander.  Switching mindsets as I entered the studio became increasingly challenging. The artwork became smaller in scale and I was compelled to learn new tools that didn't require a change of clothes or set up time (digital apps and software).

I am now free to create at will but remain unsettled at some primordial level.  Adjusting will take time, it's only been three and a half weeks.  I spent the first one painting like a madwoman to meet the deadline for a recent show.  Creativity under pressure is a given once the invitations have been sent.

Weeks two and three and a half were spent adjusting to a series of home improvements involving loud noises, spreading sawdust, and shopping for upgrades. I also kept coming across other things to do (not art related) that involved sorting, organizing and cleaning.  

A couple of nights ago, I took the bull by the horns and played with a new mouth atomizer.  I ended up going to bed way too late because it was so much fun. I blew hard, sometimes nothing came out, at other times it the ink or paint flew everywhere.  Still have to get the hang of it but interesting things are beginning to happen as I combine mediums.  

I guess it's all about being patient as I realign the egg yolks!


Vaudreuil Yolkscape

Sunday, 15 February 2015

THROUGH THE ARTIST'S EYE - PROCESS

The choice of an inspirational object becomes the impulse for creating three works that reveal an artistic process.  My object is the fried egg.

The exhibition Through the Artist's Eye asks the following questions of participating artists:
  1. What do you see that others do not?
  2. How do you experience it?
  3. How does it manifest itself as you create your art?


I began a study of the fried egg last summer and decided to continue this exploration for the exhibition using principles of analogical play.   

WHAT DO YOU SEE THAT OTHERS DO NOT?

Question 1 is particularly difficult to answer since I don't know what or how others see.  I use as many senses as possible when creating art. 

Before painting a fried egg, I must fry it.  For me seeing is in large part experiential, I paint from the inside out.

HOW DO YOU EXPERIENCE IT?

Frying an egg involves getting the temperature of the pan just right so both the white and yolk are cooked to perfection (no rubber egg will penetrate my parted lips). I hear a lovely crackling sound as it connects with the surface of the pan while a discernibly healthful aroma infuses the air.  Some might add salt and pepper to their eggs, not me!  I love mine fried "au naturel". A gem to behold, it's shiny, colourful, almost too beautiful to eat.

HOW DOES IT MANIFEST ITSELF AS YOU CREATE IN YOUR ART?

It's an egg...from a chicken.

I think about all the types of eggs that exist in the world including those that were once inside my own body. Associations abound but there is little time to wallow in fanciful thoughts.  I have to eat this sucker before it gets cold!  The yolk runs as I pierce it with my fork or perforate it with piece of warm toast. My mouth waters as it gently slips down my esophagus.  

What does it remind me of?  When two eggs are on a plate, the yolks look like eyes. They stare at me emptily.  Using my "eye pad", (sorry...bad pun), I place photos of my breakfast atop a picture of my face. The ensuing image in turn, becomes my 2015 Happy New Year's card. 





This playful thought process inspires my second painting.  I block out the eggs and sketch the face in caran d'ache. I discover that I really like painting fried eggs.  Those little specks of white are particularly delightful as they create the illusion of light reflection.  



I don't really want a toothy grin in this painting and paint juicy red lips.


I photograph my companion with a towel wrapped around his neck to analyze the folds. Elements start coming together. 












I add hair to the top of the head, develop the background and transform the towel into a blue garment. I add stripes to create texture.


I flesh out the lips.  



Shadows are adjusted and more pattern is added to the background.  Additional refinements are needed but I put the painting aside to begin the next work.

The idea of having egg on one's body carries through into the following piece. I plan on painting the iPad sketch of the Woman on a fried egg blanket.  I develop the face but decide to postpone this interpretation.





Instead I paint out the face and leave a multitude of fried eggs on the background.  I ask myself another question: "what if egg shapes were to cover the entire body, like a disease, perhaps "Egg Pox"?  I rummage through my model drawings and find a gesture pose that reflects my state of mind and I block it in on my egg filled canvas.



I add eggshells.





Egg shapes and multiple curves reproduce.  The figure is covered and surrounded with fried wonders of every size.  I consider turning the figure into a bird hybrid but after painting a couple of feathers, I axe the idea.

Refinements ensue, he now wears a black fedora and holds an oversized egg at his knees.

The work is riddled with incongruities but my brush is now possessed by the Demon of Inconsistencies.

My figure appears contemplative, guilty, tormented, his skin is transparent in parts and one can perceive a suggestion of bones.

Voilà!...the birth of a masked bandit obsessed with fried egg thievery (conceived of a runaway mind).




Final works!

The Facial



The Bandit

Monday, 2 February 2015

FRIED EGG IN MY EYE

I'm in furious painting mode at present, finishing one more piece for the exhibition below (must have 3 works).  My choice of subject is the fried egg.  I've been asked why I didn't stick with the bird...well, the fried egg excites me way more. 

What follows is info about the show.  I look forward to chatting with you on the 15th!








Media Release  January 27, 2015  

galerie de la ville 
centre des arts de dollard centre for the arts 
12001 boul. de Salaberry , DDO, que, H9B 2A7 
514-684-1012 ext. 298, www.centreartdollard.com 


Galerie de la Ville presents in February/March an exhibition of works in various media entitled Through the Artist’s Eye. 

Artists endeavor to interpret their physical or emotional experiences visually.  The way each artist sees and interprets their subject matter makes their work personal, unique, and often mysterious. Intrigue, mystery, emotion — the intangibles are often what connects or perplexes the engaged viewer.  Often the process the artist engages in to create a work from its concept to final work is shrouded in an air of assumed secrecy to the viewer. 

The exhibition Through the Artist’s Eye invites the viewer to connect and to see the "how and why" in the artist’s personal image making process. Each artist, chosen to demonstrate their personal process from the beginning to the end result, responded starting with their choice of subject; interpreting how they best want the image to be represented on its support, and their ultimate response in the form of a finished image. The artist’s finished work or works are exhibited alongside their subject, and their process is evident.

Branka Marinkovic, Diane Collet, Georgia Priniotakis, Joseph Dunlap, Nada Kyriakos, Janice Poltrick Donato, Jacinta Ionno and Roxanne Dyer each work in a different medium with personal and individual brushstrokes, emotional involvement and appreciation of their subject matter. Their individual eclectic response reveals a cross section of the professional painting community. 

The opening reception for this exhibition will be held on Sunday, February 15, 2015 from 1 to 3 pm. The artists will be present. A free, bilingual guided tour on Sunday March 1 will begin at 2 pm

The exhibition will run from Saturday, February 14 to Sunday March 15, 2015, at Galerie de la Ville, located in the lower level of the Dollard Cultural Centre, at 12001 de Salaberry Boulevard, in Dollard-des-Ormeaux. 

Opening hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12 to 4 pm.; Thursdays and Fridays from 2 to 5 pm., and Saturdays and Sundays (except opening Sundays) from 1 to 4 pm. 

For further information, or to arrange free guided tours of this exhibition for your group please call 514-684-1012, extension 298. Please also consult our web site: www.dollardartcentre.com/gallery

Source: Bev Wight, Guest Curator 



Communiqué de presse Le 27 janvier 2015 

galerie de la ville 
centre des arts de dollard centre for the arts 
12001 boul. de Salaberry , DDO, que, H9B 2A7 
514-684-1012 ext. 298, www.centreartdollard.com 


La Galerie de la Ville présente en février et en mars une exposition d’oeuvres en techniques variées intitulée “À travers l’oeil de l’artiste”. 

Les artistes tentent d’interpréter visuellement leurs expériences physiques et émotionnelles. La manière avec laquelle chaque artiste voit et représente son sujet rend son oeuvre personnelle, exclusive et souvent mystérieuse. Intrigue, mystère, émotion - le caractère intangible est souvent ce qui engage ou crée de l’incertitude chez le spectateur attentif. Fréquemment, le processus dans lequel s’investit l’artiste pour créer une oeuvre, de son concept au produit final, semble enveloppé d’une ambiance secrète aux yeux du public. 

L’exposition À travers l’oeil de l’artiste invite le spectateur à s’intéresser et à voir "le comment et le pourquoi" dans le processus personnel de création d’image de l’artiste. Du commencement jusqu’à l’aboutissement de leur processus personnel, les artistes sélectionnés ont répondu à leur thème en commençant par le choix du sujet; interprétant comment ils veulent représenter de leur mieux l’image sur leur support et leur réponse ultime sous la forme d’une image finale. L’oeuvre ou les oeuvres achevée(s) de l’artiste est (sont) présentée(s) en exposition aux côtés de leur sujet, et leur processus est flagrant. 

Branka Marinkovic, Diane Collet, Georgia Priniotakis, Joseph Dunlap, Nada Kyriakos, Janice Poltrick Donato, Jacinta Ionno et Roxanne Dyer travaillent chacun/e avec un médium différent et des traits de pinceau qui leur sont propres et personnelles, faisant preuve d’une implication affective et d’une appréciation de leur sujet. Leur réponse éclectique individuelle révèle un échantillon de la communauté d’artistes professionnels. 

Le vernissage de cette exposition aura lieu le dimanche 15 février 2015 de 13 h à 15 h. Les artistes seront présents. Une visite guidée bilingue gratuite sera offerte le dimanche 1 mars débutant à 14h

L’exposition se déroulera du samedi 14 février au dimanche 15 mars 2015, à la Galerie de la Ville, située au niveau inférieur du Centre culturel de Dollard, au 12001 boulevard De Salaberry, à Dollard-des-Ormeaux. 

Les heures d’ouverture sont les mardis et mercredis de 12h à 16h, les jeudis et vendredis de 14 h à 17 h, et les samedis et dimanches (sauf celui du vernissage) de 13 h à 16 h. 

Pour d’autres renseignements, ou pour organiser une visite guidée gratuite de cette exposition pour votre groupe, veuillez téléphoner au 514-684-1012, poste 298, ou visiter notre site : www.centreartdollard.com et cliquer sur l’onglet Galerie. 

Source : Bev Wight – Commissaire Invitée 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

THE SUBMERGING ARTIST

Here is an interesting article in the online journal Bmoreart about how to define the different stages of an artist's career.  Three labels pop up time and again: emerging, mid-career and established.  According to this article, I have probably been emerging for over 35 years.  

I'm like a worm stuck in clay.  The stuff is packed down so damn hard that it's difficult to squeeze through, no matter how wet and saturated it is.

I'm leaving my day job in a few days.  It's a time of great, exciting turmoil, a passage riddled with calculated risks.  My business side is transforming.  As an artist who can now produce art "whole hog", I am possibly fated to a life of crass, shameless self-promotion.  Interestingly, I've been coaching others on how to do this for almost ten years, helping professionals who have lost their jobs market themselves to find hidden opportunities.

Ah how easy it is to preach!  Now I have to put my money where my mouth is.  Yikes!

The art market landscape is changing, appears to be more democratic. People are actively peddling their wares on the web to make a living, often disregarding galleries or the grant systems in place.  According to an excellent article in The Atlantic, artists are becoming far more entrepreneurial, although in so doing, inadvertently changing the definition of what an artist is.

I have a lot of thinking to do.  Forgive me while I submerge for a while.




Saturday, 17 January 2015

BRUNCH

I don't have any pets.  

The only ones allowed to share my life as a child were cats.  My mother didn't like dogs. 

I dressed my pretend babies in doll's clothes, placed them in a miniature carriage, and wrapped them snugly under warm blankets. They objected to my intense mothering and leapt wildly out of the carriage in no time flat, claws blazing, after which an an energetic pursuit by me ensued. In retrospect, it offered a novel way to get aerobic exercise.

After years of exposure to felines, I decided when I became a mother, to let my kids care for (ha!) a variety of pets; cats naturally, dogs, horses, rabbits, turtles, guinea pigs, and hamsters. 

Then about ten years ago, I had an "aha!" moment! 

NO MORE... 

  • picking up pee and poo, 
  • vacuuming hair balls, 
  • purchasing rolls of tape to lift unwanted fur off my black dress pants, 
  • expensive designer food,
  • vet bills and kennel fees, 
  • aromatic smells of ammonia and crunchy bits of litter on the bathroom floor that stuck to my bare feet in the middle of the night after a visit to the loo.

I often muse that if aliens from outer space were to observe our relationships with pets, they just might wonder who runs the show around here. Dogs in particular wear stylish outfits. People walk them, make certain they evacuate, bend over, pick up and put the precious doo-doo in little bags.  Yup, we love to serve!

My needs for animal companionship are met in other ways. Mammals and amphibians continuously pop into my life regardless of my pet-less desideratum and require little or no commitment on my part.  I have had many encounters with various species over the years but last weekend's was particularly memorable. 

My partner and I were invited to a rather eventful brunch. 

As we crossed the threshold, the first thing we heard from our host (let's call him Robert) and hostess (let's call her Claire) was that a mouse had just been seen scurrying about the kitchen. Wow, I thought!  Imagine that!  A mouse brave enough to venture out during the day!  (At our house, we have had multiple penetrations by field mice, the cute ones with large pink ears, but they normally sneak into the kitchen at night when it's dark and quiet).

I thought for sure that the said mouse would not be seen again given our vibrant conversation.  But lo and behold, the beastie suddenly appeared, a peculiar little thing, torpedo-like, almost black, with a rather stunted tail.  A loud female shriek bounced off the walls (not mine) and the mouse made its way across the living room floor to hide under a toasty radiator.  




Our host wanted to find the invader and prepared his gear for battle. Particularly well-equipped, he donned gardening kneepads, thick black suede gloves, and what looked like a miner's light atop his head.  I secretly thought that perhaps he was a tad overprotected but the old adage "better safe than sorry" probably served him well in this case.



Robert crawled about on all fours and hunted for the mouse.  No luck so we continued feasting on croissants, crusty bread, various cheeses, and cold cuts.  We figured our dark visitor had probably disappeared for the day but I still glanced at the radiator every so often.   

I suddenly noticed a dark, gray sausage shape behind Claire's chair and nonchalantly mentioned its location to everyone.  Carried away with the wind of an EEEK worthy of any horror movie scream, Claire found herself on the other side of the wall while "Tiny" turned around in circles before disappearing for a second time under the radiator. 

Another search was foiled once again.  We tried to keep eating but by now my head kept flipping back non-stop to see if the mouse would grace our presence once again.  We stood up and I went to examine Robert's rodent hunting gear.  

Suddenly we saw the mouse slip under a nearby cupboard door and Robert finally managed to catch it in a clear plastic container.  We soon discovered that it wasn't a mouse, but rather Northern short-tailed shrew

have heard of women being called shrews but were you to ask me what a real shrew looked like or why it was bad to be a shrew, I would have been at a loss to tell you.  I have now learned that shrews have elongated pink noses, stunted tails, and rather nasty characters.

Why are women called shrews?  Beats me!  Initially, the term applied to both genders but eventually we got stuck with it.  Seems these varmints are really aggressive AND their teeth are venomous.  YES IT'S A VENOMOUS MAMMAL!  Whoa!  

National Geographic has a fascinating video of fighting shrews.  

I think the term is not a particularly nice designation for anyone.  








Thank goodness Robert wore those gloves.  He tried not to hurt him (her?) but unfortunately the shrew either suffered from shock or got accidentally whacked by the container.  

Now I ask you, who needs pets when life hands you a venomous shrew?


Thursday, 1 January 2015

THE MOMENT

Excitement!  Joy!  

Discovering and learning often bewildering yet spine-tingling digital tools in 2014 opened up the possibility of keeping up with my racing mind (almost) and stimulating or documenting (sort of) a deluge of wild ideas. It all bodes well for the upcoming year although it would be the height of absurdity and incredibly naive to make plans or predictions.  


Ergo, I have no clear resolutions for 2015; I revolve in the spirit of "NOW", zigzag like sperm with crappy motility; climb mountains of texture with cameras and emboss tools; clone like a frenzied scientist enamoured with sheep; split wrinkles and patterns into harem veils; collage, smudge, add splatters of colour and blow gusts of wind! 

I write in the present, wallow in a potent bubble bath of peace, sing with wailing cats in heat.  I'm in Québec...can you hear cold wintry gusts penetrate the silence of this early New Year's day?  Feel my icebox feet as I type these words?  It's positively hypnotic. No egg-spectations!  Have a wonderful year and thanks for reading my blog.  I"m off for a hot cup of lemon tea.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

FESTIVE WISHES OF A SORT

Happy holidays!

"Anticipation"

In the spirit of this celebratory season, I wish (in the immortal words of beauty pageant contestants) for "world peace"...as if peace on our planet could ever be possible.

Is my derisive side showing? I usually try and squish surfacing cynicism; who needs all that negative energy?  


It's just that things don't seem to get any better when it comes to achieving peace, regardless of how enlightened and educated we are. The idea of a global village sounds great in theory, but we are a tribal bunch. If Joe wears pink shoes and Bob doesn't, which one is weird?  Depends on what their respective tribes wear. 


When viewing Chris Hadfield's stunning photographs of earth taken from space, it quickly becomes apparent that we are not especially important, merely infinitesimal specks on a dazzling grain of sand in one of countless universes.  

Tribes belong in a parade.

Drip, drip water blue,
rinse the blood red rage adieu.







Monday, 22 December 2014

KING ARTHUR

His name is Arthur, pronounced "R-ture", a sizeable, declawed, yellowish-beige cat. 

I always thought that clawless cats were at a disadvantage when left to roam the wild blue yonder, but Arthur and his cohort, Oreo, a black and white mouser (also clawless), wander the neighbourhood in wild abandon with no negative consequences. 

Arthur and Oreo aren't mine, they belong to a neighbour.  Felines being felines, they really couldn't care less that technically speaking, their home base is next door.  They have a "mi casa su casa" attitude and wait patiently at my entryway to scoot inside at the first opportunity. Once across the threshold, they scrupulously examine every corner, nook, cranny to ensure that there has been no recent invasion of field mice....OR lay at my feet writhing "pet me, pet me"...OR seek out the most comfortable chair in the house for a 10 minute nap.  

It is said that dogs have masters and cats have staff.  A few days ago I was busy painting in my studio and highly focused!  My mind was oblivious to the outside world and actively problem solving; things were really coming together!  

Arthur slipped in when my friend opened the front door.  Did the cat think it wise to request HIS attention? OH NO!  Puss was way too happy to come and disturb me.  As if wound up on a very tight spring, he undertook a frenzied rub against my left leg, then turned over and plopped his entire body weight atop my feet.  After no reaction from me, (I tried to ignore him in the hope that he might take a hint), he used his very hard head as a heat seeking weapon to repeatedly bump my right shin.  It was all I could do to keep myself from falling!

Meanwhile any semblance of fine brush control I had summarily disappeared. I could no longer paint unless Arthur, like Elvis, left the building.  I suggested very gently, and then more forcefully, that he might want to visit the other resident of the abode to fulfil his needs.  But King Arthur had another idea and was quite adamant that I should be the one to make him purrrrrrrrrrr.

I'm a sucker for a pretty face so I stopped what I was doing and yes, pet him for about 10 minutes.  After that, he grabbed the chair I like to sit on in my studio and took a satisfying nap.  I am convinced that Arthur is not just another demanding cat, but rather a frustrated alien artist from outer space determined to sabotage my efforts.  


HA! Take that Arthur!



Sunday, 23 November 2014

LOOKING AT EINSTEIN

I like to plan. It perpetuates the illusion that I have some element of control over what happens in my life. BUT when unexpected incidents wreak havoc on my forecasts, a surprising emotional whack of anxiety shakes my tired psyche into reality mode. I am forced to ponder why I am arrogant enough to believe that I have command over anything.

A bit of wisdom should be starting to pierce my brain cells. I imagine a minuscule syringe filled with the liquid of experience and knowledge. Penetration has to be done under a microscope as the needle is way too small to be seen with the naked eye. 

Frustration grows with the collapse of anatomical parts and failing memory.  Gatherings with friends and family become a festival of complaints. This is something we feel an urgency to share.  We clamour in unison, "Hey, what's happening here"?




Will physical pain and emotional anguish dominate our verbal exchanges for the next twenty years (assuming we all live that long)?  I am hopeful that intellectual/creative stimulation and exposure to new things will be key in avoiding this continuous loop of vagrant exploration.  Right now though, explore I must!

When my father reached his eighties, he went through a subtle transformation, from a vibrant, opinionated man to a quiet philosophical soul who no longer seem to worry about much of anything.  The clock kept ticking and eventually a young woman had to come to the family home and help him bathe.  As little strokes continued to whip him with greater frequency over the subsequent two years prior to his death, he became increasingly dependent on strangers to meet his needs. Ultimately, he couldn't avoid the institutional experience.

A large poster of Einstein hung in the corridors of the hospital ward.  My sister and I would push his wheel chair along the circular trajectory of the hallway.  We repeatedly passed Albert, and every time, dad became very animated.  He could no longer speak but his eyes grew big, awash with energy, and his lips spread into the widest of grins as he pointed at the poster.  Einstein made dad happy!  My appreciation for the acclaimed scientist grew for reasons other than his achievements in physics. 




As the mind and body deteriorate, an intriguing thing happens.  Every uttered thought is perceived to be new, spoken as if for the first time, even though a particular chain of words may have been voiced in exactly the same way minutes earlier.  Perhaps as our bodies begin to fail us, we transform into beings that exist in a state of perpetual wonder, ready to discover Einstein and Bach time and again. 

The optimist in me is looking for the good things that happen during the aging process.  I see subtle changes in those around me and within myself.  I keep reciting Mad's Alfred E. Neuman mantra, "What, me worry?"

Yeah I worry.  My 100-year-old mother is now in pattern behaviour, repeats the same things, asks the same questions again and again because she doesn't remember the answers I gave her in an earlier breath.  She remains alert and lucid, but her short term memory now resides in a parallel universe.  With a bit of input, she still manages to permanently etch some memories for speedy retrieval during a later exchange. 

Someone washes her everyday (usually a man), meals are ready on a regular schedule, and she burrows into a warm bed with clean sheets for long periods of time.  She feels safe.

So what about plans and planning in general?  Revisiting priorities on a minute to minute basis would be a heck of a chore.  Although it's cold outside, I'm going to open a window, throw out all my plans, and enjoy looking at Einstein.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

BEIGE



I kick them, kick them hard, then harder still, over and over, and all they do is rustle with laughter as they fly through the air. The imps lie in piles, inviting me to fall on their beds of prickly beige, a colour I hate for its blandness. What would happen if I let them seduce me?  They might lull me to sleep, to those beige dreams that inevitably end up as nightmares. 






Their dried up skins enthral. "Come lie on us.  We will wrap you in dryness and caress you with the sweet smell of death." 


November is "le mois des morts", the month of the dead, a gray month with spots of beige.


















A neutral colour ceases to be neutral when it ends up looking like this.


"One never tires of beige," my mom always said. (I've got news for you mom!) 

"He is beige (meaning boring)," a friend often repeated.




Soon there will be frozen leaves. 
Maybe beige isn't so bad after all.