These days have been happily busy - painting, delivering paintings, reading, and meeting with interesting artists because of the Airdrie Artists website my friend Michelle & I created in order to support the artists of our community. I've been on many Boards and always had the intention to support and encourage the local arts community - creating a kind of artist's online 'hub' has always been a goal and finally a few months ago we decided to just do it instead of keep waiting for someone else to do it. And I'm so glad. Not only because I think it's important to support the arts but also because it is absolutely wonderful to get together with other artists and have these creative conversations. I'm quite a homebody and would rather not add another 'job' to my list of day-to-day responsibilities, but I already feel that I've received more out of this endeavor than I've put in - which has actually been a lot...it's almost become a part-time (unpaid) job. And tomorrow I've been asked for an intereview by our local radio station (AIR 106.1) because of my work as the Art Program Coordinator at the public library and also because of my role in the arts in this community. What an honour. Believe me, there are days I want to walk away from everything, to move to northern Canada into a rustic log cabin with no access to much of the outside world because I get so tired and at times discouraged, but I really, really am grateful for not only being able to do what I get to do, but also because of the support I receive in return. I know I am lucky.
I've been busy working on more minis and a commission while at the same time interviewing a local artist - a dream my friend Michelle & I had when we started the Airdrie Artists website. We're hoping to introduce a new artist to the community every month. The fabulous thing about this is that I feel like I'm going to be able to connect more deeply to my art community and to get to know these people who I admire a little better. I've also been contacted by the local radio station for an interview regarding the art programs at the library. All so exciting and quite validating for me as both a professional artist and a supporter of local arts. And finally I've had the pleasure of learning more about the fabulous artists in the 50's & 60's in reading books about the Abstract Expressionists and was touched by a quote by Jackson Pollock, "Painting is a state of being...Painting is self-discover. Every good artist paints what he is." As I look at my own work, I definitely see myself in it - my need for silence and solitude, my love of colour, in my canoes my love of the north, and, of course, in my interiors my absolute love of books.
Alone in the Classroom
by Elizabeth Hay
I just finished reading Elizabeth Hay's 'Alone in the Classroom' and was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it even more than 'Late Nights on Air'. I really enjoy Elizabeth Hay's writing but tend to prefer stories that are set up north being a northern girl myself. This story began with a young teacher, Connie Flood, helping a struggling young man named Michael Graves learn to read in a small Saskatchewan town in the 20's. Her neice, Anne, is fascinated by the life of Connie and so begins to learn the questionable history of Parley Burns, the principal of the prairie school, and follows the story of Connie, Michael, and Parley through their early years in Saskatchewan and their time in the Ottawa Valley over the following decades. The writer shares Anne's challenges while she is exposed to obsession and opens the doors to the need to heal childhood sadness and misunderstanding in order to move forward.
I have so much to be grateful for:
I am grateful for the wonderful people I've had the privilege to meet over the years and that I get to spend a lot of time with my daughters. This has been a wonderful Christmas season and I'm looking forward to the year ahead.
My first canoe is on the poster for Art in Motion which I mentioned yesterday and I'm really pleased with the variety of the selection of work for this initiative. We've been enjoying the most beautiful weather in this neck of the woods and despite the wind warnings I've been enjoying my time outside. Yesterday evening as I was walking I came across the word 'LOVE' spray painted on the pathway and awhile later the phrase 'be yourself' stenciled onto a fence - I wish I had my camera with me, I guess I'll just have to go back. I know this may be considered graffiti but I think if the message is positive, how can it be bad? It brought a smile to my face and the couple I passed who were walking in the opposite direction stopped to look and smile, too. I want to see more of that - not necessarily spray painting but positive art around my community. I dream of a place with painted seats everywhere where anyone can choose to sit and rest or visit or dream, of sculptures and sidewalk art, of murals and banners. I want colour in this place that is grey so much of the time when the branches and grasses die off for the long winter. To that end, I have asked a friend to paint a mural on my garage door in spring - I know it is in the alley, but why not add colour everywhere? Wouldn't it be lovely if back alleys were interesting instead of filthy and cluttered and dark? There is a wonderful Saskatchewan artist named Wilf Perreault who has created a series of paintings of alley ways in the most beautiful colours. Now wouldn't it be lovely if our world actually was like that?
I like to reflect on accomplishments over the past year just to remind myself that I actually do something with my life :) This year was another lovely one, I think they usually are, and I like the idea of focusing on gratitude: