One: Opportunities

opportunities, greeting cards, Merry Christmas
Christmas Card 2019

Just when I think it will be a quiet year, opportunities abound. My work will be showing at various locations throughout the first three months of the New Year. All is conceived if not complete. I still have the ten paintings to do before March 1st. Two are well on their way.

Opportunities teach

opportunities, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape, mixed media
Autumn Doubloons 1 making progress

Recently, other opportunities have given me insight into my process and what makes me happy or unhappy. Every artist is unique. Flow happens more easily when we discover our personally preferred method. Testing out various systems sheds light on the mystery within. Being a reformed night owl, I find myself working later and later on the computer these days. This does not bode well for early morning rising. I have yet to find an efficient way to deal with paperwork.

Limiting opportunities

opportunities, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape, mixed media
Autumn Doubloons 2 also making progress

In my studio, however, the muse is amused. While not allowing myself to panic with regard to impossible deadlines, I have chosen a very inspiring and pleasant path of creativity. From the many opportunities, my choice is restricted to about three or four different centers of interest. Among my pressing obligations, I find taking a break instead of pursuing one subject relentlessly helps me focus longer and with more clarity. At the moment I divide my attention between the ten paintings for March, the Christmas cards for Christmas, and the “Urban” painting for Tuesday.

Abundant choice

DDK, throwing paint, abstract landscape
Throwing paint for Urban

Once the cards are complete (out of my studio yet not necessarily sent) I will add another project. Perhaps some more 8x8in daily paintings or the design for next year’s Christmas card, or some all occasion cards.  All linocuts for the cards. Perhaps it is the shift within the opportunities that renews my spirit. Linocuts require quite a different thought process than neomosaic. Throwing paint and contrasting geometric with organic phenomenon pulls me in a different direction as well. I get excited just thinking about it.

Coming events

Do check out my events page so you might choose from the various opportunities to take a look at my work. With all the local venues, one may be more convenient than another. Don’t forget the shows finishing soon in December as well.

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One: Scams

Some times it is difficult to see the forest for the trees. Scams are tricky.
Where is the forest?

Occasionally I receive an email stating a desire to do business with me. To date none of them have been legitimate. Scams abound in the art world. Most are easily recognizable.

Scams: language

First of all, the language scams. The name of the sender is usually of British origin. One would think the message would be written in the language of the sender. Indeed, the attempt has been made, however, the turn of phrase, spelling or flow of the paragraph contains certain jarring elements. A good attempt, evidently the first language is not English.

Scams: content

The second tell-tale indication is the content. Usually with these scams there is a long explanation about a surprise birthday or wedding anniversary. The fellow would like to delight his wife with one of my pieces because she discovered me on the internet. How lovely. Then comes the dissertation on how, although they live in Texas at the moment, they will be moving to Guam or some other place requiring shipping costs for which I will be reimbursed. Dream on.

Scams: the cheque

Then the cheque story scams. The potential customers would like to pay by company cheque to cover the costs of not only the paintings but the shipping as well. Unfortunately, the amount on the cheque does exceed the sum required to do the same and they would like the artist to forward the change to such and such address. This is annoying to the banking institutions as well as to the artist as by the time the cheque bounces, for it is always bogus, the change and the paintings may have already been sent. Not a great outcome.

Scammers make errors too

Every once in a while, I receive one that inspires a belly laugh. Again, the fellow was British, William, I think. The content rattled on about a new company investing in art for somewhere in Africa. The English was not perfect but much better than usual. Signed Robert. Scams like these are amusing. I might wear out my delete button one day.

A business proposition

The latest missal has to do with a business deal the sender would very much like to discuss with me. There is no mention as to purchasing any paintings. I suspect he wants to sell me something like website services or advertising in a book or brochure. Scams have one thing in common with this proposal, the artist pays. I must admit some tardiness in answering. When the premise involves purchase of paintings, I refer them to a gallery which would love to handle the details. It ends the discussion forthwith. This time I will answer directly to verify my suspicions. I can always say no.

More pleasant affairs

On a brighter note, do drop in on one of the four venues showing my work at the moment. Check out the details here.

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One: Last Minute Challenge

Part of my solo show "The Veil", #neomosaicpainting, #semiabstractlandscape, mixed media, last minute challenge
“Wading Waters” 12x12in mixed media on gallery wrap

I am quite familiar with the last minute challenge. Usually it saves the day. There is something about a looming deadline, suddenly upon me, that quickens my pace and helps me focus. This time the last minute may be too short to accomplish all I need to do. 

Last minute challenge history

From the series "Eve", Results from a last minute challenge,
“Secrets” 40x56in mixed media on gallery wrap canvas

First of all, a little history. Just ten years ago I was in the midst of a challenge: paint seven paintings in seven weeks. Previously I had managed, perhaps, one or two paintings per year. Although I thought the task impossible, I loved the idea and decided to engage. The fact I had undertaken a new series “Eve” and the paintings were averaging four feet by five, was of little consequence. No last minute challenge for me, I plunged right in. In the end I stood amazed at what I had done in just six weeks. It marked the beginning of my professional career.

A short last minute challenge

This year I had anticipated painting thirty paintings for my solo show in November. Constantly plagued by unexpected events I managed twenty-two. I had set a personal deadline, the end of September, knowing the devil is in the details. The last minute challenge would not have sufficed for the poetry, printing a poetry book, varnishing, photographing, archiving and wiring. Not necessarily in that order…

Unforeseen challenges

Furthermore, at the time, I had no idea my September shows would be moved to November. Nor did I anticipate my involvement in the miniature show for CAVA, nor teaching during October, nor the thirty day, one painting per day challenge for DEVENIR. Putting ten paintings together for the miniature show in a couple of weeks proved to be exhilarating. Mind you, they are small. Varnished, wired and archived, I delivered them on time during the last minute challenge.

Too short last minute challenge

As the month unfolds, other surprises surfaced. Apparently, we have another opening reception this week. Someone else likes the last minute. Unfortunately, this last minute challenge is really short. I already have several major commitments including finalizing the details for a special mass at our church celebrating all artists. As coordinator I oversee the different groups: music, liturgical dance, visual presentation, etc. I am delighted with our team. We have our final meeting on Tuesday, the same day as the reception and there is no time to advertise.

All challenges met

last minute challenge, St. Cecile, special mass
Classic St. Cecile-my source photo

While I appreciate my last minute, I have trouble accommodating another’s last minute challenge. I will send out some invites once the time is announced. Tomorrow is definitely the very last minute. In the meantime, DEVENIR has an opening at WAM on Thursday evening and DDK is part of the All is Bright celebration on 124th Street on Saturday. Should you wish to practice your French do drop in at Paroisse St. Thomas d’Aquin on Sunday, November 17th at 11am for a very special celebration. For more details on my expositions, click here.

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One: Dialogue

The Veil, Dialogue, separation, beauty,
One half of the diptych.

Dialogue serves to bring disparate groups together. Yesterday my husband and I attended one where the participants were Muslim and Christian. We have also attended others aiming to reconcile different expressions within the Christian faith. Yesterday was delightful.

Dialogue between family members

In other contexts, we are using dialogue to reconcile members of our family who express different opinions, often diametrically opposed. Discussion is essential. The components of discussion, however, must include listening. By listening, we create the safe space where another might dare to share or question.

Rules and a peace pipe

On occasion, dialogue requires a mediator. So, yesterday we enjoyed the leadership of a wonderful woman who gave a lovely decorated stick to the person wishing to speak. She clearly delineated the rules: whoever holds the stick has the right to speak without interruption. As we became more familiar with one another, we began to share personal stories and ask questions. The peace pipe’s importance diminished as we created a safe space.

Dialogue between religions

Between religions, dialogue is opening a space where we may recognise our similarities more easily. The process allows us to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Apparently, the renewal or reformation of religion occurs naturally about every five hundred years. We are living such a period of necessary disruption today. People are no longer comfortable with the too confining status quo. They are seeking freer expression and a safe place.

Sharing my vision

Dialogue opens space. During our discussions yesterday I had the chance to share the foundation of my latest series and the intent behind my solo exhibition “The Veil”. I was pleasantly surprised when the senior member of the Muslim group at our table expressed a rather excited support of my idea. The crux of the matter is we live in an illusion of separation, the veil, which we must remove in order to see the ever present beauty beneath. It is time to stop creating barriers.

Finding something new together

dialogue, separation, isolation, neomosaic
The invitation

So, less than two weeks away, “The Veil”  offers a premise for dialogue. How do we remove our preconceived ideas and our narrow points of view? Can we open a safe place to be for ourselves as well as others? How can we love better? Together we may discover something new, a new way of being. May peace be part of your blessed week.

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One: Uninspired

solo exhibition, invitation, neomosaic
An invitation

Perhaps I am just tired. It has been a busy week. Nonetheless I remain uninspired as I turn my hand to writing on this lovely long weekend we have dubbed Thanksgiving.

Uninspired in Calgary

Thanksgiving is probably the reason why so few people showed up for the interesting talk given by Areum Kim. “Earth”, the Alberta Society of Artists traveling exhibit, opened Saturday at the Calgary Central Library. It will grace the second floor for another two weeks. With their spouses,Jack Blair, a talented photographer and Robyn MacKay, an experimental printmaker greeted the public. They actively invited those interested to join us downstairs with Areum. Most proved uninspired to do so. Yet, one young couple and their children did participate.

DEVENIR 30 Day Challenge

Having arrived home earlier than expected I turned on my computer to find only two of us had managed a painting. DEVENIR is in the midst of a thirty day challenge: one painting per day for thirty days. By early November we will have accumulated one hundred and fifty paintings between us. Always fascinating to watch as we develop our skills in this intense exercise. Saturday was an uninspired day apparently. While the photos may be lacking in the immediate time frame, they will be forthcoming shortly. In any case, five paintings will eventually show up on our Facebook page each day.

Inspired in my studio

Back in my studio, my muse is anything but uninspired. I seem to work best under pressure and with multiple projects on the go. DDK (Doris, Danièle and Karen) are in the midst of finishing a thirty by thirty inch painting. Created together, for our show at Lotus Gallery in November, it approaches the end. Trusting our creation to one another is a great exercise in letting go of control. Exciting results are in the offing. As well, DDK has a group exhibition in the works involving abstract creations on paper and sculpture, a next year’s project.

DEVENIR again

DDK is organising a sneak peek at DEVENIR’S latest adventure in the WAM. Located on the second floor of Cité francophone, the museum will host “Stitched Time” through November to mid-December. VASA approved DEVENIR’s application so we show in in March next year. My contribution: eight new paintings. At the moment, I remain uninspired.

Upcoming solo and uninspired details

uninspired, solo exhibition, VASA, mixed media, neomosaic
Last of the veils

Although uninspired I have managed to write yet another blog! The small details for my solo show in VASA next month are coming together. The advertising has begun. In addition, I have finished the veils, the poetry and the book is at the publishers. Check out the latest events here. In the meantime I wish everyone a very peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

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One: Emerging

emerging, abstract painting, urban realities, neomosaic, collaboration, cocreation,
A new project by DDK

The word “emerging” is usually associated with visual artists fresh out of school or newly engaged at any age. Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale Arizona cautions coupling this word with the artist as it implies the work may be inferior due to lack of experience. I can see his point.

Emerging as in unknown

emerging, abstract painting, urban realities,
Waiting patiently for months.

Emerging has taken on a new significance, however, with the latest category found in the extensive list of exhibition opportunities from the Federation of Canadian Artists. In fact, emerging is quite exciting. The premise centers on the unknown of interactive mark making. Unfortunately, my present work will not be available in time to submit to this competition. Or, at least, I do not think so.

Re-engaging

Having been distracted for some time with other responsibilities, it has taken me a bit of time to readjust to creative studio work. That is not to say I am finished with the other distractions; it just means some time is available. Consequently, I have re-engaged in a collaborative effort with Doris Charest and Danièle Petit (DDK) called “Urban”. Emerging is what it is all about.

Emerging excitement

emerging, abstract painting, urban realities, neomosaic, collaboration, cocreation,
So far so good.

The first bits of masking tape adorned the watercolour paper a while ago. I gazed at the pattern and decided it was appropriate. Now what? The first two in the series proved to be too controlled. Some accident, not a lot. Less than satisfying, the result seemed a long way away from what I usually do. Therein lies the key. What I usually do is throw paint. So as I watched the drips and drops mingle on the surface, an emerging excitement took hold.

Following my muse

emerging, abstract painting, urban realities, neomosaic, collaboration, cocreation,
Graphite on paper

Due to the success of the first layer, I decided to continue in this vein and added some circles. Big ones. Interlocking. Grabbing a pencil, I renewed my acquaintance with graphite on paper and filled in one circle. Love it. The next circle called for something more robust: acrylic pen in blue. Yes. Emerging patterns and exciting happenings abound. What will it look like in the end? Who knows? I may take a wrong turn and end up scrapping it. Such is the danger and the hype of this process.

Busy month or two

DDK will be showing in Lotus Art Gallery during November. DEVENIR presents a wink at their new project “Stitched Time” in WAM at the same time. VASA is hosting my solo show “The Veil”, as well, in November. And “Earth” is in Calgary at the Central Library until October 27th. Learn more here.

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One: Managing

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Bringing down the show at the Three Sisters Gallery with lovely Nicky.

Many do not like to be managed. Managing deliveries and pickups in different locations requires managing people. To avoid conflict, I house this process in different language like offers of help and opportunity. 

Managing the end of shows

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Loaded and ready to return to Calgary.

DEVENIR approached the end of our weekly Skype call when the subject of collecting paintings came up. Our show in Salmon Arm had just ended and two of our group of five were at the closing reception. Following a pleasant afternoon, they packed everything up to bring it back to Calgary. Of course, any artist worth her salt has little or no storage room for other artists’ work. Managing storage space becomes a significant challenge as one’s practice matures.

An opportunity

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Unpacking

All sorts of ideas floated around until I mentioned I would be in Canmore the following week to pick up my own solo at the Three Sisters Gallery. Not sure any of them believed I could bring back my own work (over twenty paintings) as well as the work of two other artists in the same load. After all, mobiles take up a lot of room. Not to mention another two paintings I intended to deliver to the Alberta Society of Artists for their upcoming traveling exhibition beginning in Calgary. Managing it all in one trip is ideal.

Managing changes

Plans were set for Wednesday until the email came . The organizers schedule take downs for Thursday instead. Arriving in Canmore at nine thirty in the morning requires an overnighter somewhere. Since one of our members lives half way to Canmore (a little exaggeration) I asked if she could accommodate me. Managing my other appointments proved to be simple although I have yet to reschedule two of them.

Reloading

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Forgotten in the living room.

Upon returning to Calgary to pick up the second set of paintings and mobiles, I decided to unload. It proved essential. While I had loaded the first show horizontally, a vertical format better suited managing the number of paintings available. Except for my four foot square. Setting it up in the middle of the van, I was surprised it actually could sit vertically. Not at a perpendicular angle, certainly. Nonetheless, vertical enough to accommodate the other artwork.

Forgotten items

Managing shipping, protecting paintings, collaboration
Ready to deliver to ASA.

Patricia loaded the last piece when we remembered the other two in the living room. The ones with special packaging to protect the pieces while traveling. And to make life easier for those receiving the work, easy in and easy out. Thankfully a little rearranging allowed us to put them in the back, just managing to close the door.

Other shows

Besides “Earth” opening in Calgary on October 12th between 1pm and 3pm, three other shows open closer to home in November. Do check it out.

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One: Caring

caring, Amazon, Development and Peace,
Starts in my backyard

Development and Peace, the NGO organized by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1967, has just launched its fall campaign, caring “For our Common Home”. In the fall workshop this last weekend we learned about why the Amazon is so important. We also learned why turning it into an eventual desert in the name of profit may not be the best idea.

Caring for the Amazon

caring, Amazon, Development and Peace, ecology
Soon to be stored.

The Amazon is the largest equatorial forest in the world due to its position along the equator. The prevailing easterly winds bring in the moisture off the oceans. The Andes capture and redirect it. Consequently most of the South American continent benefits from this arrangement. What I did not know was how much of the rain is actually created by the forest itself. I also learned this function diminishes as each tree is felled so that rainforest becomes savanna, an irreversible process. Caring for and maintaining the present irreplaceable forests is essential for global health.

Canadian funded destruction

caring, Amazon, Development and Peace,
Time for a rest

We learned how we might contribute to caring for our planet. Own backyard or community garden is a place to start. Even a small plot of land yields a wealth of knowledge about the balance of nature and how to maintain or enhance it. Holding our mining companies and our government to account is another. Through them we have a hand in the destruction and the demise of indigenous peoples who get in the way of “progress” . One Canadian funded mining company is part of the intimidation forcing local inhabitants, the Mura, to vacate their land. Furthermore, the Canadian government has signed all kinds of international agreements for the safeguarding of peoples and places, except those which are legally binding.

Caring is our responsibility

Caring for the abundance and the diversity of our world essentially means survival. The smallest contribution towards a healthier planet becomes significant when multiplied by many hands. As we store the few tomatoes and the last of the zucchini away, we can be thankful for the plastic packaging we avoided. When we go shopping for Hallowe’en, we can refuse to buy certain treats. One company in particular does much to harm the Earth and its peoples. 

Our consumption is the problem

We, the peoples of the northern hemisphere, are responsible for the overconsumption driving the pursuit of bigger profits. Carefully choosing what we buy and how much would go a long way in caring for our common home. Informing ourselves about the business practices behind the labels on our clothing or examining our food sources may lead us to look at locally produced goods and a simpler way to live.

For more information

New additions

Do drop in on the Development and Peace website for more information.  You may wish to explore previous campaigns. They all have the same motive at heart: caring for creation. Check out my events page for the latest news on my upcoming attempt to announce the same message.

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One: Marketing

Marketing, finishing touches, ceiling mirror,
Writing in the poetry

Putting together the last details of a solo exhibition always takes more time than planned. For my upcoming solo in November I decided to create my own deadline: I will finish all paintings by the end of September. October provides the time to complete the finishing touches on the work (edges, poetry, varnishing), sending the necessary information to VASA, the host gallery, archiving, advertising and marketing.

Marketing on Facebook and Instagram

marketing, Bible verses, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape
Writing in the Bible quotes

Part of my work is learning how to promote it and sell it. Lately I took the opportunity to listen to several different presentations on how to use Facebook and Instagram as the primary vehicles for marketing. One of the webinars suggested better results come with multiple images not only of work available but some of the artist as well. The trick is to have enough engaging photos so the viewer must click to see more. Videos are by far the most popular.

Videos and multiple photo presentations

Marketing, video, technical challenges,
No longer a moving video…

This week I discovered how difficult it is to produce a video with my iPad. Taking a selfie with this device is also challenging as the button for the camera is nowhere near my available thumb. They designed cellphones for this purpose. Why choose an iPad? Well, if I wish to put up more than one photo at a time on Instagram the iPad is the unit that provides the marketing opportunity. Perhaps I am just technically challenged. Taking the photos directly from Google Photos (where the pictures from my phone and my camera are stored) only allows one at a time posting to Instagram. My husband suggested I ask him to take the videos. Next time.

A book clients can hold

neomosaic, semiabstract landscape, mixed media
One of the last few

Another marketing tool I am working on for this show is a poetry book. Often the poems created for each piece do not appear beside the paintings. On this occasion I am testing out a little poetry book that people can take to the paintings and read the poem with the artist notes. Cost is prohibitive. Nonetheless I took the time to design something on Word. Shortly I will be taking it to some publishers to see about binding possibilities.

Hiring for marketing

Marketing is all in a day’s work for any artist who wishes to a viable enterprise. Learning curves are expected. Time spent hopefully converts into a growing bank account. Instead of doing the work myself I could hire. That depends on sales or cutting down on materials. Every decision entails a price and a benefit. Keeping a balance is essential. Deciding to have fun helps. 

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One: Fire

fire, relaxing, burning unwanted deadwood
Relaxing next to the fire.

Having pyromaniac tendencies, I welcome the opportunities to enjoy an evening around our fire pit. Camping, beach parties as well as an occasional backyard bash, all contribute to relaxing moments amid busy schedules.

Fire in the Amazon

fire, destruction, burning our planet's lungs
Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

While watching flames devour unwanted deadwood sooths my soul, flames in the Amazon inspire quite a different reaction. Rather than calming me, passion fans my protective instincts. The “lungs of the earth” require protection. Hence, smoking is bad for them. Instead of solace, feelings of powerlessness feed another fire.

Beyond greed

Perhaps the fire burns so deeply because of my association with the organization of Development and Peace. Background information gives me a heads-up as to why someone set these fires. So little action to prevent them or douse them has the same source. Yet, the foundation for the current situation finds its roots beyond immediate greed.

Changing our worldview

“Our theological tradition has been shaped within the worldview of a static universe… It was assumed that human beings were the center of the universe, that Europe was the center of the world, and that the Earth and its resources were immense and without any obvious limits. By contrast, we are told today that the universe began with a cosmic explosion called the Big Bang, … and that we are intimately linked with the health of the delicately balanced life systems on our planet.” Denis Edwards, Jesus and the Cosmos (Paulist Press: 1991), 3-5. (Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations)

Preventing fire

Shifting our worldview from limitless exploitation to responsible management requires a major effort. We live in a limited world. Presently, on our planet the demand for more palm oil and feed lots increase every day. The lure of economic profit tightens the stranglehold on leaders wishing to remain in power. Small farmers respect the land and its rhythms. They stand against the rich and the powerful. So setting fire to the Amazon is not part of their repertoire.

Hope

fire in the soul, hope for the future
Possibilities for the future

As a result, Development and Peace offers a webinar to discuss and formulate a better future for the Amazon and for our world. Together, we the small people, can make a difference. Maybe we will not only douse the flames but prevent fire in the first place.

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