One: Biodiversity

“The single biggest heresy that allows us to misinterpret the scriptural tradition is individualism, revealed now in the problems we are facing with climate change, pollution, the loss of biodiversity, and the extinction of many species.”  Richard Rohr “Daily Meditations” 7 February 2020

Interdependent biodiversity

Current campaign from Development and Peace

We are so in trouble. The rampant individualism of our society is blinding us to the truth of our interdependence. Consequently, what happens to rainforest in South America is irrelevant we say. Climate change is just a hoax. Does every beetle matter? Who cares if another butterfly dies as long as I get my coffee? Biodiversity is not such a big deal anyway. Pick the best and get rid of the rest.

Biodiversity reigns in the Amazon

Since we have no idea what that beetle does to contribute to the balance on our planet, we have trouble picking. Which is the best? We have been trying to figure that out for centuries, justifying ethnic cleansing whenever it suited our agenda. We are at it again. Biodiversity reigns in the Amazon. Fifty percent of all living creatures, plants and animals live in Amazonia, an area about the size of Australia. It also produces twenty percent of the Earth’s fresh water which we are happily polluting with mines and oil fields. Do you know in which country most of those extraction companies are based? Canada.

Invisible guardians

Jeremias Oliviera of the Mura people, Brazil

As we relax in the comfort of our “better” half of the world, we can watch the Amazon burn. In the name of progress and the accumulation of more wealth, we watch. While those who guard and nurture the biodiversity of this unique place are being isolated, demonized or worse, killed, we watch. Thirty million people live in Amazonia, the invisible guardians of the forest. Like our own native peoples, they are standing up and saying “no” to the mass destruction of Mother Nature for profit.

Do our investments support biodiversity?

Yesica with some cocoa pods.

Maybe one thing we could do is to verify which companies our investments support, if we have investments. Money talks. At the end of the day what is more important? The dividend that helps us buy our box of chocolate or the biodiversity necessary for the sustainability of the cocoa tree? Do we want our great-grandchildren to know what chocolate tastes like? Maybe the pharmaceutical companies should get involved. Much of their wealth is based in the plants unique to the Amazon region. 

Other helpful doings

Donating to the cause, signing petitions and holding our government to account for their complicity, praying and supporting organizations which educate and empower the local people to defend not only the biodiversity but their way of life, might be other avenues of assistance. Perhaps together we will be able to repair some of our fractured world.

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One: Control

All it takes is one little germ. One cannot even see this tiny leveler of the mighty. I had it all under control last week. Until Wednesday. Then I disappeared.

Out of Control

Someone on Facebook mentioned she did not think I could afford the time to be sick. Quite right. I had not planned for this. I need four more paintings in less than three weeks. Make that two weeks. Sigh. I am definitely not in control.

Surrendering control

So how does one cope when the unidentified intruder comes in and messes up my metabolism? In the past I fought it tooth and nail. Nothing would be beyond my control. Those nice liquid cold pills work well, don’t they? Perhaps not. I looked at the past year and thanked God for all the wellness I had enjoyed. I decided to go the non-violent route to see how that played out.

Still managing control

control within chaos, neomosaic painting, semiabstract landscape,
Almost finished

Wednesday morning, I managed a conference call and I organized the paperwork for the Condo Board AGM that night. That seemed under control. Then, surrendering to my body, I went to bed. Slept all morning. My husband made lunch, I looked and the computer, surrendered again and went back to bed. We ate leftovers for supper before heading off to the meeting where I took the minutes. I wrote them up before hitting the sack once more and slept all night.

Surrender

Thursday morning, another conference call, feeling much worse and totally out of control. We cancelled all plans. I stayed in bed most of the day, watched a movie on television and reacquainted myself with the reason why we do not watch television. I had forgotten about commercials. Went to bed. I did not have the energy for anything but surrender.

Some improvement

control, ready to varnish, neomosaicpainting, semiabstract landscape,
Four ready to varnish

Friday, I had hoped would be better. It was, marginally. Considering my options, I decided I had enough energy to sneak out to my studio and finish off the varnishing for the first four paintings of the year. In between bed and eating, I did just that. Was it enough to regain control of my schedule? I will let you know by mid-February. One thing for sure, I was feeling much better. Saturday, I felt well enough in fact to put in a full studio morning. Just in the nick of time too. I start getting withdrawal symptoms when I leave my brushes idle for too long.

Back in control?

In summary, my choice to allow myself to heal proved to be wise. I regained control of my health in record time. Would I visit my granddaughter again if I could redo my week? Certainly. She is more important than my schedule even if she shares her germs. Do check out my latest happenings.

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One: Props

neomosaic painting, exhibition, checklist, finished
“Autumn Doubloons 1” 30x30in neomosaic/mixed media on gallery wrap canvas $1620.00

Our humanity presents us with certain limitations. I find as I am growing older, the tasks I used to do without thinking are getting more complex. As memory fails me or physical ability lacks, I have need to use props.

Props are essential

Props, neomosaic painting
“Autumn Doubloons 2” 30x30in neomosaic/mixed media on gallery wrap canvas $1620.00

Props have become quite essential especially when I am under the pressure of a time limit. The finishing stage of my process requires a multitude of little doings I do not always remember. To combat this lack of efficiency, I embarked on the creation of a checklist. And at this point, I must admit there are times when I love computers.

Props are easy with computers

props, checklist, complete, neomosaic painting, mixed media, DEVENIR
“Thistles” 40x40in neomosaic/mixed media on gallery wrap canvas $2560.00

My first attempt at the checklist contained about eight items or less. The reason I love computers is their capacity for changing lists. I do come from an age when ribbons needed changing on typewriters and one had to be one hundred percent accurate the first time. Never happened. Props, to be useful, must be accurate.

The checklist

Still room for more

With only eight items I could place three checklists on a page. Three paintings done. With the first round I printed a couple of pages. As I worked towards finishing a painting, I noticed I had forgotten a few things. I grabbed a pencil an inserted the missing items. Now my list numbered about twelve. My props were getting closer to perfection. As I continued, I added a few more.

Adjustments are necessary

As a result, things were getting complicated. In order to keep three on a page I needed to adjust the spacing and I may as well put them in order of task. Since then I have discovered my order of task varies with the situation. For instance, I may put a wire on the smaller canvases early in order to hang them on the easel. I have also discovered my props are very useful.

Props help the work get done

props, neomosaic painting, mixed media, deadlines, exhibitions
“Harvest” 40x40in neomosaic/mixed media on gallery wrap canvas $2560.00

Just yesterday, as I was photographing the four paintings I had “finished”, I noticed one edge had not been completed. Laughing I picked up my props to find out what else had been left out. Sure enough four other items. All is well as I turn my attention to the other four paintings I need for the show in March.

Check out the latest

Do check out my events page to see the latest happenings and read all the details.

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One: Doubloons

doubloons, neomosaic painting, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media
Declared done.

People have long valued gold as a means of trade. Doubloons were common until the mid-nineteenth century. Paper and metals of lesser value replaced them. Now we have plastic bills. We may render them redundant with virtual money. Disturbing in some respects.

Doubloons were made of gold

doubloons, neomosaic painting, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media
The first doubloons in paint.

Governments still use gold as a guarantee although we may question how true that is. Hidden away in vaults protected by the latest security devices, we humble folk see little of it. Thankfully, the kind of gold I value is available to everyone. Especially in fall. Doubloons tumble in abundance from aspen and poplar, lining pathways and collecting in backwaters.

Doubloons cover the ground in fall

Fall is my favorite season. Mostly I love the colour as the yellow hues tone the air with a golden majesty. Also the contrast against the ever deep green of pine or spruce takes my breath away. Stumbling along a creek bed I discovered some doubloons tucked among the rocks, treasure to be sure. The patterns warmed my heart and made my soul sing.

No doubloons, gold yes!

Gold is part of my repertoire. Lately, I have been using copper as well. Mostly on another project, I decided to vary the leaf colour with copper and save the gold for the trinity of circles at the end. Some of the leaf doubloons were painted gold as well. I have three different varieties of gold paint. Paint is easy. Metal leaf requires a bit of patience.

Applying gold requires patience

doubloons, neomosaic painting, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media
Fixing some doubloons.

As a result of many attempts using gold leaf, I have found I must wait while the glue dries overnight before I attempt any refining. Fortunately, copper is not as thin as gold and therefore more easily applied. I can actually hold it between my fingers. Once I removed the excess, I discovered a few doubloons needed additional coverage so I reapplied some metal. Scraps are excellent for this application.

Done is not quite done

I declared the paintings done on my Instagram account. Not quite. I have a sheet of about twelve items listed, so I do not forget anything, waiting to be completed. Because I need eight paintings done by March 1st (another show at VASA) I am pressing ahead with other canvases while I finish up my doubloons.

Worth more than doubloons

doubloons, neomosaic painting, semi-abstract landscape, mixed media
Not quite satisfied.

Do check out my events page for the upcoming shows over the first three months of the coming year. Since time is of the essence these days, I will be taking a break over Christmas. Wishing everyone a very merry Christmas. May 2020 be kind, fruitful and filled with gifts worth more than doubloons: health, peace and joy.

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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. 

A little 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 deadlines 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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