Studio Blog

learning to paint

It is wonderful that social media helps keep us in reach of our audience, but I admit to being somewhat torn about posting often; it seems contrary to the instinct of nesting, nurture and privacy that go along with developing a body of work.
I am at the beginning of a new exploration – one that is absorbing and which needs time to mature and form itself. I am researching and sketching, thinking and feeling my way into a new series.
I am also learning to paint. The last workshop I attended with John Luna at the beginning of August allowed me to at last feel that painting “is my own” even if it is feels unfamiliar and often awkward. It is a tremendous learning curve and one that at once challenges and nurtures my artistic instinct and mind.
Contrary to what is a very wise and useful approach- that of working on a number of pieces at once- these few weeks I have been working with one painting that I began as a part of a set of 3 at the workshop. It has filled my mind, with I and others, often thinking it close to finished but then it has asked more of me.
It occurred to me that this painting is like a mother- one that is teaching me a lot and allowing me to explore the problems of composition, colour, texture, narrative, abstraction and symbolism. I at once think it the most wonderful painting in the world and the most horrible thing I have ever seen!
The painting has been set aside now and the skills I have learned from it will inform the other two paintings I began at that workshop and even paintings I began last summer which have waited for me to gain more knowledge and confidence. Perhaps after a good rest, my eyes will be wiser and the painting will speak to me again as to what it might want, if anything at all.

father’s work

Art by my father on Fathers Day. The ancient Chinese described war horses as dragons in disguise. I see that in this small piece of art I have from my father. He was a blacksmith. Horses, the sound of the hammer and anvil, the black coal and flames of the forge and the steam from the red hot iron in water, were all contained in our tiny backyard.
This piece from my childhood was returned to me only last year from Australia, and while taking these pictures, I realised how much it has influenced my own war horse.

renew

As curator for the Stairwell Gallery I am absolutely thrilled with the work BOXCARSIX produced in response to the themes embedded in the Easter story.  Their work brings a depth of understanding and originality  to a time of year that like Christmas, can easily be taken for granted.
Read more about the work here, and follow BOXCARSIX on Instagram.

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ink and roses

The symbol of love, the rose is also the symbol of struggle and suffering; of being brave and facing the dark. Look how it is used as a motif in fairy tales- the rose that precipitates the dark tale of the Beauty and the Beast; the prince who wakes the Sleeping Beauty has to find his painful way through a wall of briar roses, the young price who wishes to rescue Rupunzel falls on a rose bush and is blinded; the roses that bloom red and one white at the very end of suffering in the story of the Wild Swans. In my reading about those who faced the fascist regime in Germany it also became a symbol of resistance.

a send off

As well as my friends Heather and Clare who came in to help with photographs and taking down high pictures respectively, ( thank you!)
I had one last visitor to the show.
As she was leaving a car with her husband in tow, we saw each other through the window and we smiled. I was surprised when she came to the door. “You had such a nice smile I just had to come and say hello……..We are going to the Vimy Ridge 100 year Remembrance ceremony.”
She asked about what was happening in the space and then looked up and saw the title of the show. “Oh….The Other Side of War.” She looked at me and with a sigh told me her father had fought at Vimy.
He was fortunate to have survived yet had been shot in the hip, an injury that caused him pain all his life even though he recovered enough to return home. He would cry out in pain in the middle of the night.
I am not sure entirely how we ended the conversation other than that we hugged at some point, and then, as she left to join her husband she blew me a kiss.
I felt blessed to the core.

artist pics

The artist Heather Barr visited my show and took these lovely pictures. ( The Other Side of War is showing at the Fifty Fifty Art Collective at 2516 Douglas Str. Victoria BC, Canada.)

installation and opening

With more than a little help from my friends, my first solo show was installed and my art brought into the world.
I will be at the the Fifty Fifty gallery ( at 2516 Douglas Street, Victoria BC Canada) from 1 – 4 pm tomorrow ( Sunday 12) , next weekend Saturday 18 and Sunday 19, and Saturday 25.
Appointments can be made too for individuals or a group as I have the keys!
There are other hours during the week but I am not sure of them yet. it depends on volunteer availability.

shelter ( mother and child)

It was lovely to have three of my works selected for Voices of Women Through Canadian History curated by Astri Wright for the International Womens Day exhibition in Victoria at the Bay Centre, shown from March the 2nd to the 12th.
Here is my statement about my work:
My three watercolour silhouettes are part of a series of spontaneous responses to war time photographs, and represent many women of that time. I have presented these pictures so they hang slightly out of the frame to represent history joining our present.
Through these pictures I am reminded of my mother and my grandmother. My mother had her first two little girls during WW2 in Holland; Canada’s role in liberating the Dutch moves me with deep gratitude. The third picture represents my grandmother who as a refugee from Latvia, just after WW1, fled to Germany and then lived through that country’s depression and WW2 experience. As an immigrant to this country I often imagine that my grandmother, who lives on in me, has somehow found peace here.

 

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