I find myself in an unfamiliar place – although I have visited here on occasion it remains foreign somehow I thought my life was heading full speed ahead in one direction only to be halted, paused quite unexpectedly in such a way that I find myself strangely idle – and this is an unfamiliar place – It’s not like I don’t have anything to do, I can’t even imagine that, it’s just that there isn’t anything that needs doing, seriously nothing – all the considerable household chores and obligatory duties on my to do list have been successfully crossed off –
As unexpected as this time/space opening is, it is welcome, I am grateful. It gives me permission to rest, to disengage and to disappear into the studio to do a deep dive on a piece that has been in limbo for months.
Life it turns out, is an exercise in making choices, letting go, moving on – strings of days and decades – mapped in our memories, they become reference points for caution or optimism, a guide – dots on the map of our journey moving through this world – And so I begin work on some preliminary sketches about the choices we make and where those choices take us in our lives –
I start with today – the same date 21 years ago that I returned to Calgary to live – and move through my timeline to follow the choices that paved the road that took me to where I am today – on a voyage of discovery and revelation led by a curious mind and an open heart –
Where does your today take you on your timeline? What has been your journey? What do your choices reveal about you? About your life? About where you’ve been ? Where you are going?
I want to start by saying thank you to Jan and her team at Skyline for working with me on a new website, It turned out to be a much longer and more involved process than initially imagined. Grateful. I’ve added more images of paintings from previous series, photos from Emma Lake, some new writing, a bit more about me … It’s better organized, easier to navigate – Let me know what you think
I don’t usually think of September as summer, especially here in the foothills of the rocky mountains. September typically signals fall and school and harvest – somehow it always sneaks up on me – one day its summer and the next it’s not – but technically it is still summer. seasons – divisions of time and space
It has been a summer of strangeness on so many levels – between the extreme heat and the never ending smoke from the BC fires sending us all indoors for days at a time – indoors in the summer, in Canada! It was insane! It was balanced somewhat – somewhat – by the relaxing of COVID restrictions. Celebrations and connecting again made it possible for us to see peoples faces and smiles, hear unmuffled laughter, hug our family, our lonely friends and isolated seniors. At least for a short while there was relief, a sense that maybe COVID would finally be subdued –
My garden suffered greatly in the intense heat, cooling down the trees, washing off the ash, keeping everything watered was a full time job in this season of virtually no rain. A devastating hail storm long after hail season, topped off all the crazy climate of the summer so far. All of this just a micro moment in my part of the world, a small example of intense weather events happening everywhere, challenging us all somewhere in our lives.
Studio work consisted mostly of writing, going through collections of things collected – everything from paper napkins to pay stubs – I know!!! Organizing ideas, gathering materials, experimenting with techniques – incubation – waiting for the cortisone shots in my hands to kick in and a dedicated period of time when I can dive in without having anything else to do – more difficult these days as caretaking roles and household maintenance of all kinds have increased. The art work always on my mind, percolating in the background of daily life.
The biggest project I’m currently working on is my future and what that is going to look like. In 2001 when I moved from Vancouver I left behind a 1500 sq ft studio, which among many things allowed me to work on more than one project at the same time. In Calgary I’ve had 400 sq ft in a shared space. It was big down size which I found challenging for sure. Over the years the changes I made to try and find a balance never really worked. It was like trying to fit into a pair of shoes that were too small, no amount of stretching would make them fit. I have been looking for a studio space for the last 4 years, without much luck, now it has become a priority.
Ok so now its September 13th and I am days away from a bathroom renovation being completed. The transformation is beautiful, but more importantly new plumbing, insulation, a shower that’s to code, everything updated – and I might add in under 4 weeks in the current climate – pretty amazing! So grateful to all the trades that worked to get it done.
More than most months September is for me a month of memories – almost everyday a vivid or poignant past memory attached to the present day – some very sweet, happy days – but mostly it’s a month of remembering loss and celebrating freedom, ironically sometimes at the same time.
Next to winter waking up to spring, summer shifting into fall is one of my favourite seasonal cycles. I just love autumn – the colours, the smells, the light, the air, the breezes, natures’ signals telling us it’s time to reap, to gather, to celebrate, to be grateful. But until then its still summer, the smoke has abated, the heat moderated, plants need dividing, carrots need digging, time yet to enjoy it all.
To those of you I know and to those of you I don’t – wherever you are in the world – thank you for showing up and showing interest – May the harvest of your year – however strange or tragic or disappointing it may have been so far – include the fruits of peace, compassion, love and respect –
Shortly after posting I found out that for the third time this year my work was selected as a finalist in a See.Me competition, this time for the exhibition ‘Journeys’. ‘hai’ lights : Great Sadhill Dunes was playing for the duration of the exhibition in Brooklyn, NY at The Invisible Dog Art Center from September 28th- October 10th. If you missed it, you can view it by clicking on the link below and read the blog for that installation here:
As an artist, appreciation and recogniton for ones’ work, ones’ vision is always welcome. This year in particular I feel especially seen. Grateful to all those who have come forward to assist in this.
Is there anything better than spring? That season of promise and petals and greens of every shade – warmth from the highest sun, the smell of earthworms after a rain – soft rains, warm rains, rains that clear the way for fresh everything !
The garden in the spring is my refuge after a long winter of hibernating, especially this winter – it’s my outdoor studio and inspiration – everyday it reminds me of what’s real and true and miraculous. I knew that replacing the lawn in the front yard to create a garden instead would be a commitment, however I came to understand that it’s really a relationship, a mutual agreement, time and tending exchanged for beauty and connection. I like to think that my plants are just as happy to see me as I am to see them waking up after their dormancy to find sunshine, warmth, and a grateful gardener to greet them. It never ceases to amaze me that they show up at all especially after our harsh winters – somehow it motivates me, challenges me to do the same – show up no matter what, be beautiful and share – It will be a while yet before I can really get into the garden and begin spring clean up. I’m looking forward to being outside in the sun playing in the dirt, spending time tending to what gives me joy.
Just a quick announcement / good news for those who may not have heard, I was a finalist in an international competition earlier this year. My video ‘hai’ lights : labyrinth was chosen and is currently showing at Ki Smith Galley in New York until March 31st. You can find out more by clicking on the link below. If you find yourself in New York you can book a viewing time, as well as drop by.
Here’s to spring being sprung and all the anticipation and promise that comes with it. At the start of this new season, this ‘new’ year – some would argue the ‘true‘ new year – may anxiety be replaced with anticipation, and uncertainty with the promise of life continuing to show up no matter what.
To all of you that I know and to those that I don’t thank you for showing up and showing interest. Grateful
Please Join us atKi Smith Gallery Harlem712 West 125th Street, New York, NY, 10027From March 17th to March 31st. Art Takes 2021 features the work of emerging and established artists; it represents the artistic motivation and spiritual rebirth a long hibernation can bring. Join us in celebrating 31 painters, photographers, videographers, and mixed media artists chosen from a highly competitive international field by our esteemed jury panel. Their work explores the painful and hopeful themes of 2020 and 2021 including culture, justice, equity and fantasy. Limited capacity, reservation required -1 hour slots, following Covid-19 protocols. Wear a mask and keep social distancing during the visit. Artists featured: Grand prize, Runners up:OOOPStudio, Jessica Alazraki, Tamary Kudita Finalists:Brit Bunkley, Fan Luo, Hezron Henry, Andrea Alkalay, Ivan Iliev, David Freeman, Patrick Webb, Louise Pagé, Andreas Glikeriou, Alexandra Borovaya-Belilovskaya, Martha Posner, Maria Paula Suarez, Alejandro Borges, Jason Engelbart, Adam D. Watkins Honorable Mention:Jun Kim, David Chalk, Krzysztof Strzelecki, Cynthia Oswald, Emily Roynesdal, Hannah Thomas, Stephen Linsteadt, Aeneas MacRae, Magdalena Vasko, Maryse Ronel, Sergey Savenko, Frank Bayh and Steff Ochs, Ryan Eccleston, Ivan Tkach We may not be out of the woods yet, but the air is fresh and there is new growth underfoot!