Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hidden in Plain Sight

I love mystery. When I create a garden the path leads around corners where surprises lay hidden. I am delighting in the direction my painting is leading me.  I have a small idea where we might be going and then, on the other hand, I may know nothing! Today I just followed and found faces among the splotches and blobs. There is excitement in the air as I discern the conversation. The theme has been born. At one point I just stopped as I felt a certain tension and frustration within me, an occurrence which surfaces when I have been out of the studio for too long. Three weeks is too long. I stepped back and told myself to just listen. Gaze, listen and relax. The act of contemplation, letting go of results and submerging in the pleasure of texture, colour and rhythm, often opens doors formerly closed. This moment of being, just being, is so necessary for our wellbeing in all walks of life. I am fortunate to pursue a livelihood conducive to wellness. Life is good.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lesson Plans and Learning Curves

Life gets in the way sometimes. I am so far behind I can see my tail! Studio withdrawal is setting in and there is no end in sight… One of these days I will pick up a brush just to relieve the tension. Part of what I do as an artist to pay the bills is teach. At the moment I am involved with two schools, one as a consultant and the other teaching senior high students something about art. It is a work in progress as I learn where the holes are in their education. Both groups are fun. It has been about thirty years since I stepped into classroom responsibilities. Learning how to use Smart Boards is fascinating. Developing modules and evaluation systems has taken up a lot of time. I am rusty…. I also have a two-day workshop in Redwater on March 26th and 27th on painting a landscape in acrylics. That should be fun too. I will post a link next week in case you are interested in attending. Life is full, life is good.

Monday, February 16, 2015


In the midst of experimentation it is the relationships between one colour or intensity against another that makes or breaks the harmony. The allowing of colours to flow fluid across a surface produces a certain translucence which permits other colours to peek through creating a lovely vibrancy. I chose to add some opaque colours or neutrals juxtaposed to the delicacy of movement and discovered a discord rather than a harmony. This too is the case when we are building relationships with one another. Carefully chosen words expressed in love and transparency lead to lasting, trusting communions of souls. Camouflaged, opaque expressions intending to hide something underneath undermine. However not everyone can be trusted. Not everything can be transparent. Although I do not like the initial ambiance created by my choice of opaque I will continue to explore in other areas and decide to open up later or leave it alone. So much fun! Life is good.

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Process

Centring prayer has become more important in my life lately. It is an ancient form of prayer something similar to the Buddhist practice of “emptying” I was told. The idea is to get to a point of communion with God in that space within each of us where he dwells. Sounds easy… I find if I do manage to quiet my mind well enough to listen I tend to fall asleep! Sigh… In any case contemplation has been a part of my painting process for a very long time. With the various experiments I am in the midst of performing I am now at that point of contemplation: where do I go from here? Is it finished? Now what? I imagine it is something like sitting on an egg. The excitement is rising as I am beginning to see the next steps. There is a hint of tissue paper in the air with colours I do not have on hand: more mess! So much fun! All of that is on hold until tomorrow though. I have lesson plans to make and lessons to teach, people to meet and places to go. As I grow older I am better able to go with the flow. Life is so good.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Another part of being a professional artist that is usually not considered very creative is bookkeeping. I beg to differ. Over the years I have developed numerous ways to simplify my bookkeeping process. It is quite complicated as there are more than one businesses involved. Lately we have narrowed it down to two. When it comes to inventory I have several sheets, one lists the materials I have on hand for my creative work, one for framing and another for student supplies. At one point I created a list of available paintings and subsequently discovered that in order to make the list useful for our accountant I would need to have each work assessed individually. Needless to say, due to exorbitant fee issues, the task was never completed. I did find out the cost of replacing canvas and framing without considering the paint tallied in the neighbourhood of almost seven thousand dollars. This year is a little different from the previous two or three years as most of my supplies have been in boxes over that period of time. Rather than actually opening the boxes and counting I had chosen to guestimate. This time, since I am finally unpacked, I went to the trouble of numerating everything. It is not quite complete. Only one inventory list is finished: the professional supplies total around $28000.00. Sigh. This is an expensive business. I am addicted. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a painting come to life. Life is so good.