I finally added this year's Word-of-the-Year to my banner which was inspired by Tibetan prayer flags which hangs over the drafting table in my studio. Seeing this every time I walk into my studio makes me so very happy and reminds me of why I chose previous words and is also a reminder to keep them all in mind because there is a reason they have been so important to me. Strangely enough, this project began several years ago as a way to use up an unusual shape of canvas that was left after another painting project but has become very important to me. To read more about my word selections visit this post, and to learn about the process of creating this banner, read this post.
Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married socialite and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother's unbridled womanizing—something that prefigures her own later situation, though she would experience less tolerance by others. Vronsky is eager to marry her if she will agree to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official, but she is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, the moral laws of the Russian Orthodox Church, her own insecurities, and Karenin's indecision. The novel explores a diverse range of topics throughout its approximately thousand pages. Some of these topics include an evaluation of the feudal system that existed in Russia at the time—politics, not only in the Russian government but also at the level of the individual characters and families, religion, morality, gender and social class.
This week I have basically been painting, packaging and playing (in my altered book) but I've also begun a university psychology course. It's all of the above that really fills my soul, so the more I can do any of this, the better I feel and happier I am which is why I will remind myself to do more of this as a focus rather than fitting it in around every other obligation in my life. I'm learning more about myself as I grow in years, realizing that when I put these things last, both my heart and my health suffer. So, my hope is that everyone get to experience a weekend of play!
So many great things are happening in my life...though it seems that this is often the case in this creative life of mine. I'm looking forward to so many wonderful opportunities over the next few months:
- a project with The Naked Leaf tea house in Kensington
- another inspiring project with AirdrieLIFE magazine
- small workshops at the Jubilee in Calgary
- an exhibit with the City of Airdrie
- a demo at Evanescence Gallery in High River
- a small workshop with a Sorority
I really am fortunate to be able to be involved in an interesting variety of great things so often...many things that I feel so blessed to be able to contribute to as an artist. Though one part of my life is ending, this change is already allowing me to devote my time and interests elsewhere which is a real blessing. Throughout the years I have learned that there is a time for everything and everyone. I know that even though change can be difficult, especially for someone like me who craves familiarity, it is necessary. At every step along this journey change has been necessary in order to push me outside my safe little box and has allowed me opportunities to make public presentations and to be involved in the creation of so many positive changes in the arts. It has also allowed me to share my passion with others and, hopefully, to inspire them to follow theirs.
I'm beginning a psychology course as part of my Bachelor of Fine Arts program and am, once again, both nervous and excited. I don't remember being this afraid of the feedback from professors when I studied Art & Design in Red Deer College in the mid-1980s but that may be attributed to youth and the sense of fearlessness that was attached to that age. And yet, this is what I have always wanted. The past few weeks have been bittersweet in my life as I gave my notice at the library and have decided to focus on my education and art. I love contributing as a member of our community but at the same time my shoulder isn't healing like it should and the parts of my life that I absolutely love have been a bit of a struggle as I've been trying to fit everything around my commitment to the library and it's definitely taking its toll. I'm excited that my last day will be hosting a paint night at the library...something I'm really looking forward to. So, here's to an interesting future and a new journey ahead.
In a remote Hertfordshire village, far off the good coach roads of George III's England, a country squire of no great means must marry off his five vivacious daughters. At the heart of this all-consuming enterprise are his headstrong second daughter Elizabeth Bennet and her aristocratic suitor Fitzwilliam Darcy — two lovers whose pride must be humbled and prejudices dissolved before the novel can come to its splendid conclusion.
I've been working in my altered book once again after a long hiatus. I realized that this particular book had me stumped because I wasn't playing with colour and pattern like I usually do, which I absolutely love. The original theme of this book was art in some respect, but as I look through the images that I had included it seems more like things that are important to me. Both things that I've been involved in (such as the first Mural Mosaic project) to things I love...like my home and creativity.
Working on an altered book is where I really get to use a variety of media - stencils, stamps, paint, pens/pencils, collage, ribbons, pockets, etc. - and it makes me so happy. It's slower going but exciting just to allow happy accidents to occur. This is really how I enjoy my mixed media...this and artist's trading cards. The beauty of altering books is that I can salvage books that might otherwise end up in a dumpster. I love reclaiming items in this way, to give them new life as an art form. And because I love literature so much, this is a perfect fit. I hope I can teach another altered book workshop soon.
From time to time I am asked how I make time to create every day. What I believe is that I don't make it, I take it. Being involved in some sort of creative activity on a daily basis has helped me in more ways than one...being both a contributor to my physical health as I move around so much from working on the floor to the drafting table to standing while I work on my feet, and to my mental health as it is really the one time that I am totally present. There are a three ways that being creative every day helps in my life:
1. REFLECT... I find that practicing any creative act, from sketching to painting to mixed media, allows me to focus on what is important to me. As I work, I often reflect on what is happening in my life and find it easier to make decisions while using my hands in conjunction with my brain...hand-eye coordination which also seems to connect to my heart. I even sketch out the clothing and other items I plan to pack for a trip or a workshop or talk and that simple act of doodling solidifies and clarifies things in my mind.
2. PLAY...Art, though at times it can feel like a serious business, is really play. This form of play tends to help my mind make connections that it might not otherwise. Play is good for the heart and soul and allows me to sort things out without trying too hard or worrying. It also improves my skills.
3. DOCUMENT...The act of creating allows me to document my journey in this life. As I look through journals or series of work, I begin to see patterns which help guide me in the direction that I should take. It also reminds me of where I've been and where I'm going as well as what I have accomplished along the way. Plus it's always great to see improvement along the journey.
Being creative on a daily basis doesn't need to be difficult, it just needs to be accessible. I keep a journal beside my bed to take notes and to sketch, and another small sketchbook in my purse to jot down ideas and doodles. I always keep a pochade (paint box) ready to go should I decide to paint anywhere from my living room to a cafe. And I have made space in every single place I've lived in order to paint...from a writing desk with drawers of pencils in my youth to a plastic bag lined dining area in my first apartment and, finally, to a small studio in my current home. The art supplies are handy so that I'm always ready to begin.