After a little more than a week away, I'm so happy to be back in my studio. Currently I am preparing for two paint nights, kids' art studio, two local exhibits and a workshop which are all taking place within the next week. Nothing like jumping in with both feet! For some reason I can't seem to do things slowly. But these blissful hours in my sacred space after an amazing time of rest and inspiration is just what I needed. So, I am looking forward to the week ahead with excitement and trepidation (the usual) and also more fun over the next two months.
I have the colours and patterns of Mexico on my mind and I can envision a possible series of totem paintings that feature the animals that inspired us while we were there. This trip was so inspiring to me as I have, in the past, considered a series of paintings that reflect my Mennonite heritage to include the handwork and home made foods that were prevalent in my youth though I could never really connect with that idea. On our travels I realized it was because I was looking more to the place my extended family currently resides which is more reflective of my husband's past than mine. My family is from South America, so this trip felt very 'at home' for me in the experience of the music, culture, food and mannerisms. The clothing, humour, colour and even the scents of the place filled me with memories. It all brought back my past, even though I grew up in the north. This is the family history that I need to reflect in my work. This is the missing link I was looking for and I am so grateful to have had this time to remember.
While we were away enjoying the balmy weather in Mexico, before arriving back home to snow, I enjoyed two amazing books by the ocean. The Break by Katherena Vermette was a haunting and difficult story set in Winnipeg (where I was born) which ended up so extremely hopeful. It is a story that revolves around a tragic incident involving a young girl and is told from many different perspectives and though it is difficult, it is told with compassion. I picked up The Disappeared by Kim Echlin at a fabulous second hand book store in Bucerias because it was a previous Giller finalist (those are always good) and absolutely loved the writing. The story begins in Montreal but takes place in Cambodia after the genocide and is a story of heartbreak but ultimately a story of love. Both are beautifully written novels.
Our family just returned from a wonderful trip to Bucerias, Mexico where we celebrated both our daughters' graduations. It was an incredible vacation as it's been exactly half my lifetime ago that my husband and I travelled to the opposite coast and I was reminded once again of my rich cultural heritage. We saw baby turtles hatch and head for the ocean and a mother turtle laying eggs as well as iguanas of all colours and sizes and monkeys and parrots. But the highlight of the trip for me was visiting a ceramic studio in town and getting to paint my own pottery. It was a magical experience to sit outside with the sound of the ocean lapping against the shore while creating something so vibrant. If only the glazes that I used to use were this colourful, I think I'd still be creating pottery. Perhaps there is something new on the horizon for me...
In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Recently I have been asked to lead a few paint nights in Airdrie, which I'm very excited about as it gives me an opportunity to share my love of art in a very fun way. These events are great fundraisers and also a wonderful introduction to paint and materials that many people have not had previously. Because many people have had bad experiences with art growing up or feel inferior or not creative, my goal is to create an inviting environment that is open to conversation while still sharing a few lessons that could possibly be carried forward for anyone who is interested in practicing further.
Lately I have spent many hours in reflection, though it seems that is how I spend much of my life. There have been a few changes in my life recently with more looming on the horizon...all good, mind you, but change is difficult for a gal like me. I just want to hole up in my studio and paint. Those are the best days. And yet, I would miss out on so much if I did only that. So many wonderful relationships and opportunities have come my way that I know this is all good for me but it can be hard to push this crab out of her shell (I am a Cancer after all). Plus, everything I experience in my life does find its way into my work at some point in some way, which is always a good thing.
Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most popular, and most puzzling, play. It follows the form of a “revenge tragedy,” in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks vengeance against his father’s murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Much of its fascination, however, lies in its uncertainties.
'Honouring the Ancestors': Awesome Airdrie
AIRdirondack Art Project
'Counting Crows': Great Places Plan