One: Abundance

abundance, mindset, learning, neomosaic,
Potato Tower

Abundance is a mindset. One I tend to dismiss. I mean it is so much easier to believe in the misery of the world and dwell on all the mishappenings thwarting my progress and interrupting my peace. After all, the bear cold facts tend to be negative, don’t they?

Easier to wallow

abundance, mindset, learning, neomosaic,
Abundance everywhere

Given that it is easier to wallow in the worry, work to change may be involved. One of the best ways to move into a better frame of mind is gratitude. For example, when I look at my garden. I remember what it looked like last year and marvel at the abundance of this years planting. July has not even arrived yet and everything is bursting with life.

Studying possible alternatives

Family get-togethers

Almost all of the changes in my garden came from a determination to discover a better way to plant. I studied a few new ideas on Pinterest. In addition to placing the seeds in a grid rather than a row, I avoided the plot where the ant nest used to be. I had chased them out with an abundance of borax and sugar and I don’t remember what. As a result, that particular section struggles to support any life. Even the weeds have a hard time. So instead of planting seeds there, I constructed a potato tower. So exciting to see it grow. We will see what harvest brings.

Interruptions in abundance

Finger painting

Another area in which abundance has a hard time to flourish is my attitude toward time management. Like most human beings I tend not to like change. Due to some unexpected drains on my time this year, my working schedule has taken a beating. While I may not be following my usual timetable, things are getting done in spite of my tendency to panic. Maybe all I need do is trust the five-minute slots add up to an hour. However, the key to continued excellence requires more than five minutes.

Abundance planning

Solving design challenges

Consequently, I have renewed my commitment to my studio hours for July. In addition, I have added a repeatable phrase to counter my bad habit of calling myself down. I am a competent, committed, powerful woman. Indeed, there is nothing I cannot do with a little help from the One who made me. As a result, abundance comes in five-minute slots as I walk through the rest of my day setting priorities as I choose. Life is good.

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One: Demise

demise, blog, cocreation, mixed media, semiabstract, neomosaic,
Good beginnings

The demise of one of my paintings is a rare occurrence. Usually I have put in enough planning to avoid most problems and those that remain are often fixable. I wish to avoid making errors because the underlayers demand untouchable status.

Untouchable first layers

Not sure

By untouchable I mean the luminosity of the first six or so layers of paint cannot be disturbed without killing the light. As I work around the rivulets of colour and the texture shapes I am careful to leave the under coats showing at least to some extent. The dance and the flow of colours create the spirit of each piece. Any changes in composition or value patterns must remain minimal.

Delight in the play

demise, blog, cocreation, mixed media, semiabstract, neomosaic,
Liking some parts

As the painting developed, I rejoiced in the visual loveliness of the sky and the background trees. Not too fussy about the shore line I delighted in the colours depicting the sand upon which the driftwood lay. Demise was far from my thoughts at this point.

First hesitations

Fixes don’t work

Laying in the logs I encountered my first real hesitations. I experimented with different colour schemes. Since the logs were already covering the underlayers, I could play with various options without trying to preserve something already lost (the luminosity). Dissatisfied with the second attempt I reinstated the first. Still not happy. Demise tickled my conscience. 

Demise is inevitable

demise, blog, cocreation, mixed media, semiabstract, neomosaic,
End of the line

Perhaps developing the middle ground would improve things. Not so much. I turned my attention to the logs once more. They just did not read well. I created an imaginary cutoff on the largest of the trunks. It helped. Sigh. Finally, I consulted some friends of mine, other artists, who confirmed my worst suspicions. The changes needed required a major revamp of the composition. Demise became inevitable.

Choosing a gesso mix

So, taking my brush, I considered which of my gesso mixes I would choose, the darker one or the lighter one. Picking up the first container I noticed its weight was lighter than expected. The second one weighed in much heavier. More is better in this case, the lighter one it was. Choice is not always about colour intensity. Unfortunately, demise is costly. The most costly part of the exercise is the time spent trying to work with an image that refuses to work. 

Demise is a new start

Demise also offers me another chance to improve on what went before. I will leave it for a while although I have chosen a different schematic and the notan study is done. There are other fish to fry for now.

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One: Something

something, blog,
Life is an amusement park

“Pentecost in not an abstract mystery. We are asked to accept the spirit of our actual lives. When we do this, then we no longer belittle our own lives but know that even with all our inferiorities and frustrations, we are something.” Ron Rolheiser “Reflections” 7 June 2019

Spirit of my life

Embracing the spirit of my actual life is sometimes difficult. Hence believing I am something can be beyond my capacity. Yet the truth remains true. Identifying the spirit of my life, naming it and yielding to it is the work of a lifetime.

Flagging energies

Something, blog, collaboration, Devenir, mastermind, mixed media
Sharing ideas

Part of my life as an artist includes meetings and AGMs. Having just finished three grueling days back to back I find my energy low and my enthusiasm diminished. I just want to be in my studio. My spirit is flagging. As a result, I need a fix. 

Believing I am something

Something, blog, collaboration, Devenir, mastermind, mixed media
Making decisions

Because my life spirit is so wrapped up in the creative world of visual art, the only way I can function well is with regular injections of isolation within my sacred space, my studio. While I do maintain regular hours and can usually manage a minimum of ten to twenty hours per week, life does get in the way occasionally. So it has been lately. Although I may not attain my goal of even ten hours per week this time, I will steal the hours later. My soul will renew and I will take flight again.

Something beyond my control

Something, blog, collaboration, Devenir, mastermind, mixed media
A beginning

Something beyond my control is the aging process. Bouncing back is not as fast as it used to be. However, I have found if I allow the time necessary to recuperate, my body responds with gratitude. Rather than insisting on the preconceived timeframe of twenty or forty years ago, letting go allows me the space to rest. Also it is part of believing I am something worth the time to care and nurture.

Stopping for tea

Life is like any amusement park. We cannot remain on the roller coaster forever. Occasionally we need to stop for tea and something nourishing. At the moment I receive my spirit and coddle it in my arms knowing a little love will cure much. Tomorrow we set out on another adventure, creating something splendid. Life is good.

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One: Pathways

Pathways, blog, choice, forgiveness, gratitude, letting go
Where am I going?

Restlessly we seek that which might satisfy our hunger. Many pathways lead upward yet we cannot see the whole distance. Beyond the top of the hill or around the corner remains a mystery.

Imperfect pathways

Some pathways are safer than others. Occasionally they are blocked. Every path can, however, by dangerous. Earthquakes or falling rocks can destroy perfectly good highways. Despite the disruption we wish to continue.  We may find a plank to place across the gap. Having travelled a little way, we discover our plank is sagging and wobbly. Many turn back. Some move forward. A few have enemies who push the would-be bridge into the chasm. We fall.

Falling

All of us fall at some point, losing our footing and our way. At the bottom, once we have regained our equilibrium and our eyes have adjusted to the dark, we might spy a crooked, narrow path leading up or another leading down. The downward path leads into deeper gloom and some require the intense darkness to see the light. Others begin the climb again. Still others remain where they are waiting for someone else to carry them. A few need carrying for everything is broken. Only gentle kindness can heal the wounds. Healing allows another attempt to climb the crooked path. And the path is narrow, crooked and steep.

Forgiveness

The pathways of love invite us to forgive those who have pushed us into the chasm. Love demands we help those who are too broken to move. She also insists on letting go of hurts, taking responsibility for our own lives and choosing anew. Sometimes Love requires we move away from those we love to give them enough space to find themselves. For indeed, the darkness teaches lessons we need to learn. One such lesson reveals the fruit of blaming others. Only by letting go of blame can we be open enough to receive and embrace what pain has to teach. Then can we be thankful for both the good times and the bad. Certainly, both pathways lead to good eventually.

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One: Opening

opening, exhibitions, cocreation, recovery
Caged off

Opening receptions require a lot of planning and expense. Tensions mount when things beyond our control block our efforts to welcome the public. Things like the city deciding to put in a new roadway leaving a deep pit right in front of the door to the gallery.

The boardwalk

Oblivious

Quite oblivious to the tension I arrived at the gallery just on time to solve the problem of parking in the labyrinth of cement blocks. Apparently the city workers had installed the temporary entrance just an hour before guests were to arrive. Whew! As I bounced toward the door I made a mental note about plywood: half inch is not enough for the shed flooring. I live a varied life!

Excellent wine and wisdom

Opening to talk

As usual, the wine and cheese were excellent, the company divine. Old friends and new wandered through the door. I chitchatted with the other artists and welcomed anyone who was interested in discussing the motivation behind what I do. I gave an opening to Mike Holden to delve into the thought processes behind his interesting work. He had filled in for another artist who had withdrawn from the show. My granddaughter, not quite fifteen months, particularly liked the wolf head Mike had created. Its eyes light up and every time she went by she growled her approval.

The wolf head

Genocide

We shared some thoughts on spirit led creations. One of Mike’s paintings depicted an old prophesy about a black snake gobbling up all that native people held dear. I suggested it had certainly come true. Taking the opportunity I told him upon my return to Canada after thirteen years in Australia, I attended the University of Saskatchewan to study for a teaching certificate. One of the seminars I attended had been on native history where the prof had introduced the idea of genocide. I was horrified then and continue to be.

Chitchatting

Healing

Looking at my own experience in overcoming trauma, I told him it had taken me double the time to find the balance in my life than it had to destroy it. A two-hundred-year-old wound cannot be healed overnight. I expressed my desire to help and my frustration with how little I seemed to be doing. Mike glanced over at my work and told me I was helping already.

Unity

Opening my heart to the Spirit in my life and my work unites me to the world and the universe. Artists enjoy a special capacity to be one. We are on a journey together and hope reigns in the union. Life is good.

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One: Angst

angst, exhibitions, gallery, mixed media

When I looked out the window Friday morning and saw all this fluffy white stuff again, I must admit to some angst. We had just managed to move the mosquito shelter to the centre of the yard to dry and now it lies in a dismal heap waiting for attention.

angst, blog, exhibitions, harvest
Waiting for a melt down.

Delayed

Attention is in short supply these days. My husband assures me it will warm up again when we can hopefully get the garden harvested. I am sure the farmers are as unhappy as I am when it comes to harvest. In the meantime, a few other things are getting done.

Delivery made

Having put the finishing touches on two new paintings, I popped them into their protective sheaths before loading them into the van. Twelve paintings with eight extras were delivered to CAVA on Friday afternoon. The image list, the business cards, the blurb sheets with the poetry, image and bilingual description were ready in a folder. I did not include the blue tack or the image list for the extra paintings as the gallery directors may or may not use them. One thing done.

angst, exhibitions, gallery, blog, harvest
Cake ready to slice

Friday eased angst

A special celebration at church with the Knights of Columbus on Saturday afternoon required a cake. Knowing what Saturday’s schedule included, we ordered it for the day before. Picking it up, we delivered it to church, stopped at the post office and the library before heading to the gallery. Four other things done.

Angst, celebration, exhibitions, harvest, blog
Installation

Too many events

Consequently, my angst about Saturday eased. The 22ndday of September was everyone’s favorite day. We curtailed an all-day workshop with Development and Peace. Grabbing a sandwich as we went by, we left for a funeral on the other side of town. Coming back across town we witnessed the installation of the District Deputy at church and celebrated with the KCs Joining a younger set for an impromptu sharing session on our Colombian experience, we finally fell into bed after midnight. There is only so much one can do in one day. We had turned down another funeral (four hours away) and at least two more invitations to different events we would have enjoyed attending.

Angst does not help

Angst does not ease the situation. The pace will slow. The snow will go. All I need do is breathe. Tomorrow is another day and the latest painting is coming along fine, the start of a new series. All is well and all will be well as Julian of Norwich concluded.

P.S. Sorry for the delay in this week’s blog. The system supporting my website crashed. Glad to have it up and running again.

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One: Juggling

juggling, exhibitions, creativity, art, abundance

Juggling is my main activity these days. My focus is on how to accommodate three concurrent shows over the months of August/September/October. Suddenly, I will have lots of storage space!

Juggling differences

First of all, the possibility of not having enough work to fill the walls of three galleries, may have occurred to me when I accented to the dates proposed. Actually, I endeavoured to space things a little. And what has saved me are the different locations, different requirements and different spaces.

Decisions made a year ago

Many factors converge in accepting an opportunity to show. Usually there are options provided, such as several dates. When the application is made the organization often requires an artist to specify unavailable times in the coming year. Submissions are regularly posted a year in advance.

Things get difficult

Throw in a personal life and things get complicated. Families do not ordinarily plan so far ahead. The last minute is a common timeslot. Schedules are changing, however, as my calendar fills more quickly these days. For example, finding dates for our annual family campout and a get-together with my Mastermind have proved difficult for 2019. I know I will not be booking anything more over August/September.

juggling, blog, abundance, creativity, exhibitions
Red Deer is organized

Painting on the loose

So, in the midst of pulling inventory to fill the walls, I discovered I have a painting on the loose. I suspect I know where it is. Not sure. I need a secretary! I will check it out this week. Wanting to finish at least one exhibition, the smallest one, in Red Deer, I switched paintings. Done. The list of work is due within the next two weeks. Having corrected my entries, I feel more or less under control. Juggling can be fun.

juggling, blog, abundance, exhibitions, creativity
Making progress

Still on the table

Now, for the other two. Both are substantial shows required enough canvas to cover fifty-three (Glenrose) and thirty feet (CAVA) respectively. The first one allows work no more than five years old and new to the gallery. It will be a mix of “Wildwood” and “Sacred” with some new work thrown in. The second also requires new work from the last year. Much more difficult. The main item is still on my table awaiting some attention.

All will be well

There is a kink in the madness of this moment. I will be out of the country when the Glenrose show is due to be hung. Two good friends of mine will fill in for me. In the meantime, I will stack the paintings in different piles, labelling them well, with all required documentation before I leave. Juggling is fun. In the end, all will be well. Good friends, good organizational skills and a penchant for working under pressure will ensure a good result. Life is good.

Upcoming

Check out my event page for the latest details.

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One: Retreat

retreat, semi-abstract, NGO, co-creation

This weekend our retreat with the NGO Development and Peace-Caritas Canada included prayerful moments among the trees and along the water’s edge. The Mount Carmel Spirituality Centre peacefully hugs the Glory Hills just north of Stony Plain providing the perfect venue for reflection and rest. Judging from the state of my mind and body I could have done with a little more of the latter.

Visual limitations

Since the early morning sparkled with lively sounds of nesting birds and bursting buds in new sunshine, I took a few reference photos for later musings. A little while later, in the balm of red wine, we considered the challenge of visual limitations. How does one create an image to convey long-term, often invisible gains in the world of the underprivileged? Photos of starving children drinking milk from a cup have an immediate impact. The shot of a banner on the wall announcing the formation of a new civil action group does not carry the same emotional link.

Effective communication

Similarly, I entertain an ongoing ambition to make visible the loving presence of God in all things everywhere. Often, I feel my landscapes require something else to be effective. Perhaps poetry would carry the message more efficiently. Yet words have their limitations too. Within the limitations of both images and words lies an undiscovered solution, a third way.

Retreat 

Rather than forcing the new, I allow time for it to surface. Holding the tension in quiet waiting and openness is not always easy. In the meantime, as the incubation matures, I turn my attention to tasks at hand. There are commissions to finish and paintings to complete. Linocuts await the printing. And rest. Yes, tomorrow will be a day of rest.

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Different Strokes: Priorities

priorities, blog, semi-abstract, mixed media

Priorities may change at any given moment. Lately they reconfigure with what seems like complete abandon. I am still managing to meet deadlines and flow through the chaos. In the end I am left wondering if chaos shows up in my paintings for a reason.

The unexpected

I do love the unexpected. It adds that bit of spice to routine. Occasionally the spice is somewhat stronger than I can tolerate and panic besieges my peace. The disturbance usually emerges around the expectation of others: submission calls, advertising, website upkeep, in a word: bookkeeping.

Benefits and prices

At the moment my regular routine suffers from severe neglect in the area of computer work. I have chosen to focus on other priorities. People are more important than routines and schedules. Yet, every choice entails a benefit and a price. Last weekend had a benefit: I chose to support my family in a time of sorrow. The price: I lost an opportunity to promote my business in the art world.

Changing priorities

Sometimes the decision requires vigilant consideration. Priorities determine the outcome. My loyalties lie with the people around me rather than the pursuit of fame and fortune. It may be my downfall as an artist, or so the promoters tell me. In my deliberations over every choice I come back to the importance of relationship. Life throws curves requiring attention and care. The curves tend to change priorities.

Resistless flow

Over the next few weeks and months I can foresee several occasions requiring my time and energy. The unusual continues. Rather than resist I choose to flow. In the meantime, I seek out the five-minute time slots in which I can paint and keep attending to the immediate. Much to my amazement canvases continue to fill with lovely images and opportunities abound. I am also grateful for the help of many friends who are willing to be my hands and feet on occasion. It leads me to believe I have my priorities in the correct order.

Art Point

If you happen to be in Calgary during May do drop in at Art Point where I am showing with four other artists “Devenir+”. More info here. Until next time, life is good.

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One: Divine

divine, blog, cocreation, semi-abstract, mixed media

“To live nonviolently—both toward humans and nature—requires that we recognize God’s image in each living thing. We cannot be violent toward someone or something when we see the divine in them.” Richard Rohr, Daily Meditations, 9 March 2018.

My raison d’être

We have separated the Divine from every other aspect of life. In fact, it has been relegated to superstition or wishful thinking. We have not discovered the connection between peace and respect for all things living. La raison d’être of my work is to create an awareness of the presence of God (however one defines him/her) everywhere and in everything.

Process and message

Much as with most artists, my work has evolved from hesitant beginnings. While my skill grew I explored different possibilities. Having chanced upon a method akin to the Creator (I begin with chaos), I find the process endlessly challenging. Where to start? When to stop? How do I capture the essence imbued in what I see? Is there a way to invite everyone into wholeness?

Healing separation

Presently I am tinkering with the idea of setting my poetry in a more prominent position. As a result, I may have a new twist for a new series. Although I have not worked out the technical foibles, the idea is to convey a divine presence in whatever the image might be on the canvas. This presence may be visible or invisible, as the viewer chooses. The invitation is to heal the illusory idea of separation. Everything and everyone is included.

Divine presence

If we could believe in one God without defining him/her for someone else, perhaps we could begin to love ourselves and each other. If we could see the divine in the plants, the animals, the rocks we mine, perhaps we might treat our world with greater respect. If we knew the Creator as a suffering servant, loving and forgiving, we might move into imitation. From there we may begin to build heaven on earth, together, in divine union and peace.

Exhibitions

Don’t forget to check out my two exhibitions showing at the moment. Have a great week.

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