One: Mission

creative, collaboration, dreaming, events, VASA member show,

“If science, like art, is to perform its mission truly and fully…its achievements must enter not only superficially but with their inner meaning into the consciousness of people.” Albert Einstein, opening of 1939 New York World’s Fair. Cited in “World of Tomorrow”, National Geographic p.19, March 2020

Missing my mission

Perhaps that is what is lacking. It seems I cannot express my mission well enough for its inner meaning to enter into the consciousness of those viewing my work.

A new cosmic story

We live in a fractured world. For one thing, we have lost a vision beyond our puny self-importance and the immediate satiation of personal desires. Our outlook has diminished to myopic insecurity. As Thomas Berry suggested, we need a new story. A cosmic story could carry us beyond ourselves into a new world of possibilities and mission.

A selfish mission

Fractures began to show up with the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. They were tiny at the time. Almost impossible to see. However, slavery officially ended as more people saw it for what it was. Yet it shows up today, covertly, in the form of human trafficking. The powerful continue to exploit the poor in their mission for more wealth.

Corporate mission

Fractures grow wider with each passing year, month, day. Climate change, rabid exploitation of natural resources, extinction of numerous species and the plight of migrating populations seeking peace and a livelihood, illustrate a few of the obvious fractures. There are others. For example, the quiet escape of methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from the melting permafrost. I recall having read an article about how dangerous chemicals and hazardous waste have been safely stored in the cold for decades. Now what? Might be a new mission for corporate producers.

My mission

mission, neomosaic, semiabstract,
“Evolution/Évolution” 36x30in on gallery wrap canvas $1728.00

I record random fractures in my images. My mission is to disturb. Most evident in the skies, the fracturing disturbs the pristine. The warning touches the soul and misses the consciousness. Consequently, few notice the implications. While we disrupt the natural balance of our world, we deny responsibility. As a result, we move closer to a point of no return. Change must happen for us to survive. So too, millions of other life forms depend on a well-functioning planet Earth.

A circular economy

Thankfully, a few with power are responding. No, I don’t mean the politicians. I mean scientific solutions proposed by major companies such as those supporting publications like the National Geographic. At least their ads suggest a new mission promoting a brighter future and the promise of a circular economy. “The End of Trash”, Susan Goldberg, editor. 6 March 2020. 

Science leads the way

Yet hope springs eternal. I hope the meaning behind my art touches the hearts and minds of those who view it. May they be inspired to act, to take on a new mission, a new direction. Furthermore, may science provide a path of healing for our fracturing world. In addition, our leaders may engage in a cooperative effort to create a new sustainable vision for future generations. In any case, the planet will evolve with or without us. And all will be well.

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One: Props

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“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

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“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

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“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: 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: Titles

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“Cracks/brisures”, a particularly appropriate title

Selecting titles for my paintings is not a precise science. Poetry has more to do with it. Because I wish to create some mystery, dropping clues here and there about what the work is saying, I spend a lot of time with titles.

Titles often come from poetry

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“Backwaters/dans les coulisses”, my husband helped with this one

First of all, the selection remains one of the last tasks in the production line. Occasionally I am inspired to write and find myself whipping off several poems in a row all on the same theme. Usually, titles hide inside poetry. While this may be a fun exercise, I find the paintings do not always fit what I have written.

Usually titles come at the end

“Errant/divergence”, is going to show in Salmon Arm

Consequently, I leave the poem until I have finished the work. At the moment I have a painting awaiting a title. For the most part, titles come easily. Inspired by the image, the poetry flows and amidst the words of the poem the gem resides. Not so this time. In fact, I have a backlog of poetry to do.

Sometimes the muse delays

titles, blog, cocreation, mixed media, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape,
“Higher Ground/exemple”, definitely inspired

Forcing the muse is not a good idea. Rather than insisting on a completed painting immediately, I turn my attention to other things, like a new coat of molding paste, or beginning another image. I trust, in time, what I have sought will show itself when the moment is right. Perhaps all I need do is sit down and allow myself to connect for a while. Titles inspired by the Holy Spirit are the best. I could try getting out of the way….

Help comes in more than one form

“Illusion”, now showing at St. Joseph’s College

In addition to my muse, I must admit to some rather important help from my husband. When I do finish a poem, it is written on a scrap piece of paper and placed on his keyboard where he will be sure to find it. Often, he has excellent suggestions to improve the wording and thereby better titles.

Not all titles are necessarily good

titles, blog, cocreation, mixed media, neomosaic, semiabstract landscape,
“Spirit Dance/l’âme”, one of my favorites

Nevertheless, not all my titles are good ones. Some are too mysterious or cryptic. As much as I would love the Spirit to move me all the time, this is not always the case. Practical is good too, just not inspired.

Upcoming exhibitions

Besides titles, my world approaches another time of exhibitions and therefore some publicity preparation. DEVENIR has a show in August in Salmon Arm and I have a solo in Canmore at the end of August. As well, St. Joseph’s College in Edmonton has offered me some walls to display my work for an extended period of time, very useful for freeing up space in my storage unit. And one never knows.  Check out all my upcoming events here. Have a great week.

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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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