It was a busy weekend, beginning with the Airdrie Volunteer Awards where the Soul of Airdrie Award was received by a deserving gentleman who began Airdrie Angel and who is currently building a house for a family in need. Then I had the great privilege of meeting Will Ferguson who won the Governor General's Award for his wonderful novel 419 - what a funny and interesting man! On Friday the library had another full house for the second author visit in the series...Lyndon Penner was also humorous and extremely informative. It was great to hear so much more about the plants I spent a year painting in my last 52 WEEKS project. And, on Sunday my husband and I celebrated our 28th Anniversary with a lovely dinner out with our daughters. Even after a great weekend that was a definite highlight. Next week I have a Teen Art Studio and then Jr and Teen/Adult Art workshops ahead of me at the library. It's been a busy few of weeks and I am looking forward to slowing down for the summer to focus on my studies and painting once again.
I couldn't paint a year long series of women without including Frida Kahlo, especially since I visited the Georgia O'Keeffe and Emily Carr of the Carr, O'Keeffe, Kahlo: Places of their Own exhibit many years ago in Vancouver (the book of the exhibit is also available and very interesting). Actually when I first learned of her work I wasn't particularly enamoured, until I visited this exhibit. The fact that she overcame constant physical pain due to an accident as a young woman in order to continue her work amazed me. Her father built her an easel which hung over her bed so that she could paint while bedridden and I do believe her art saved her. She was strong and beautiful and did not allow anything to stop her from doing or being anything. Now that I have had a small taste of life with chronic pain her tenacity amazes me even more.
This evening I am looking forward to the second visit in this year's Author Series with CBC garden guru Lyndon Penner. He'll be reading from his latest book which focuses on native plants to grow in our Chinook region, and I love native plants. Also, Blue Grass Nursery will be giving a presentation and sharing gifts as well. Last night I was thrilled to meet author Will Ferguson (Governor General Award winner) and hear him speak about his latest novel 'Road Trip Rwanda' which is a humorous and sad story about his travels. It's such a fascinating story as he speaks of the genocide and how it still affects the country but also how they are overcoming the challenges. On Sunday my husband and I celebrate our 28th anniversary and my baby girl is home from university for a few days so it will be a fun weekend as we always enjoy organizing and attending events together.
Tonight is the City of Airdrie's Volunteer of the Year Awards and I have been so honoured to be nominated for the Soul of Airdrie Award. Unfortunately I have a previous engagement so I won't be able to stay long but at least I can pop in and congratulate all of the those who have been nominated in a variety of categories...so many people I think very highly of...and to see the venue. It's going to be such a great night and I wish I could be at two places at the same time.
I'm also excited as my daughter is coming home from university for the weekend. This is a difficult year since she's taking summer classes so we won't get to spend the summer with her but thankfully she's hoping to come home for occasional weekend visits. Tomorrow is the Airdrie Public Library's Author Series visit with CBC garden guru Lyndon Penner and I'm so glad she'll be helping me out. We always have fun at events together.
In college I was often called the flower lady, which is odd because I had never really thought of painting flowers but I enjoyed the exercises we practiced using them as our models. All of our drawing and painting at that time was from life (other than learning to paint by copying the masters) and one of my favorite exercises was taping four large sheets of newsprint together and, while working on the floor, using our entire body to transfer the flower that was dropped in front of us onto the entire sheet with charcoal. It was messy and oh so much fun. There are days that I wish I had a large space like those studios in order to play like this once again. Maybe I'll find someplace once my shoulders have healed (and they are slowly coming along). By the way, the image on the top (the red columbine) was the painting I began during the live jazz night at Inglewood Fine Arts last week...it's finally finished!
It's so exciting to see that my book is now available to borrow by anyone with an Alberta library card (www.tracpac.ab.ca)! After much encouragement to create a book that included everything I have learned from the most generous professional artists and gallery directors through the years and many months of writing and re-writing (thank you to everyone who has shared feedback and suggestions) it is so great to be able to share it. First of all I want to thank all of those who purchased a copy (over 60 copies have already found new homes - it is available for purchase here) and I really, really hope that what I have shared will encourage others in their creative endeavors because I do believe that everyone is creative, that creativity should be shared, and also that creativity can be learned, it just takes practice, kind of like riding a bike.
I remember learning about Marie Curie as a young girl and then enjoying watching my daughters learn about her in their childhood. What a role model! She was not only the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, but also the first person to win it twice...one for physics and one for chemistry. She developed mobile x-ray equipment during World War II, she was the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris, and also founded Curie Institutes in Paris and Warsaw, two major medical research centres still in use today. Though she struggled with depression early on, she still managed to assist financially in her sister's medical education, who then in turn assisted in hers. When she couldn't afford tuition, she educated herself through books and letters while working as a governess. It is this kind of tenacity that has been encouraging for me in my continued studies with another year behind me in my pursuit of a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Though on paper I have two more years left, I know it will take longer with part-time studies and I'm okay with that...in fact, I am grateful for this opportunity.
Another great evening at Inglewood Fine Arts! The jazz was fantastic, felt like we were in a club, and so many people stopped by. It was great to see friends and to meet new people and so amazed that hundreds of people have now stopped by to see our exhibit. Such a privilege. My painting is about three quarters complete but my shoulder is begging for a rest so I'll share it at some point when it is complete. And also I want to share a special 'thank you' with my friend Heather for this photo as there are many times when I am in the zone that I don't notice anything around me...it was a lovely surprise.
I am so excited to be working on a great collaboration through the Airdrie Public Library with the Airdrie Writers' Group and local area visual artists. It's such an interesting concept, with a group of writers partnering with artists to create works that are inspired by one another. First, a writer views a piece of artwork created by the artist with whom they are partnered in order to be inspired to write 250 words - whether that be poetry, fiction, non-fiction, essay or whatever. At the same time the artist will be inspired by a piece of written work to create a visual art piece, whether that is two or three dimensional. The process has begun and will be unveiled during ARTember at an Open Mic event at the library in September. I absolutely love collaborations...it's like you can just feel that creative energy. Can't wait to see what comes of this!
It's ladies night in Inglewood tomorrow night and I'm very excited to paint at Inglewood Fine Arts alongside Patricia Lortie while listening to live jazz. I love live painting as it feels similar to being at home in my studio but I actually get to see and speak with people. Please introduce yourself if you stop by and share your thoughts and comments as I love hearing feedback and it's always a privilege to meet someone new.