Woman's Work::Jean Parker
"I have a story that moves through being the only woman in the room as a CFO, adopting a child on my own and shifting gears to teach (mainly in Airdrie!) to have time for my Molly, to coaching and now growing as a painter. I have worked in many industries and always pushed the envelope- supporting women and opening space for creativity in the business world, in the classroom and at an individual level." ~ Jean Parker
CASA Art Centre
In fall I will be heading to Lethbridge to give a talk and lead a printmaking workshop with a fibre arts group at the CASA Art Centre. I have loved carving block prints for my daughter to create her own fabric for her dressmaking designs. With inexpensive muslin and eco-friendly cloth, she has been able to create the most beautiful items. To view her work, please visit her website here. I'm also looking forward to sharing my method of creating layers of pattern and colour in my paintings.
Then there were 12...
When I get to this stage in the process of a new project, where there is a grouping of paintings, this is when I begin to settle into it. Prior to this I tend to judge my idea and my work quite harshly...something I wish that wouldn't happen, but after the first time I got past that feeling, I have come to recognize it as a part of the process so I try not to give it too much weight. So far there has only been one project that I gave up after a month but it was also one that I hadn't been really connected to from the beginning. It was an idea that someone else had suggested and so now I have learned to give myself several months to percolate an idea which means that not all the projects have a January to December working time. The 'Nasty Women' project of 100 portraits in 100 days took place from March to May and 'Wunderland' consisted of 30 portraits in 30 days during the month of June. I do prefer painting 52 portraits in 52 weeks from January to December, though 'The Grandmothers' ended up being 60 in that period of time. I definitely like definitive timelines and a year-long project works well for me as it gives me time in the months leading up to it to plan and prepare (I usually begin in late summer, early autumn) and accountability in the weekly creation and sharing of it. Because of mentoring and university courses, this year's 'Woman's Work' projecgt didn't begin until March and, because I am still requesting collaborators, I'm uncertain as to the final number of portraits I will create, though I have decided to finalize the project at the end of December. I find that, though I tend to prefer more rigid structure, this year I have decided to be more fluid about this particular project. Also, as I will be taking more university classes next year and plan to travel a bit, I may give myself a year (or 1/2 a year) off before embarking on another project for awhile. We'll see how that goes. :)
Woman's Work::Sara Zampa
"I had been working at a software company since 2017. While the company was headquartered in Edmonton, they'd bought another company based in Calgary, and that was where I was working. I don't think it was doing too well, because in the year before my layoff, they had sold the original office building and moved everyone into a WFH/coworking situation, and also laid off a handful of people. I'm not even sure if the round of layoffs I was a part of were caused by the pandemic, or if they just used it as a handy excuse to cut some costs.
Anyway, they sent out a message on the morning of April 1, 2020 (I still can't believe that date). 15 minutes before quitting time, I received an invite to join a meeting at 5 PM. I immediately knew what it was, especially after I asked the rest of my team if they'd received one and they said they hadn't. I was the only web designer not in Edmonton, and I also had the least seniority, having joined the last. It made sense to give me the axe.
I was able to take the entire summer off, thanks to the CERB program, and honestly it was pretty great. Felt like I was back in school, not worrying about anything. I found another job in August 2020...which I got laid off from exactly a year later, in August 2021. I'm at a new place now, and I like it well enough, but if it lasts a year I'll be genuinely surprised.
If there's one thing I've learned, it's that designers in the tech world are pretty expendable, and are also in high demand (this might apply to workers in general, come to think of it). It's been pretty easy to find another job very quickly. This fact has made me pretty apathetic in general towards the idea of work: I do the best job I know how, but I don't work a second of overtime, and I don't think about my work when I'm not on the clock. Work is work, and I don't think I'll ever be the type of person to let it take over my life and burn me out. My employers have certainly shown that they're only paying me for my skills, not because they feel any loyalty towards me, and I return the favour. If a better offer comes along, I'll gladly take it. My first loyalty has always been to myself, and so far selfishly guarding my own sanity has worked out pretty great for me." ~ Sara Zampa
New Work at Bluerock
I had a perfect day to travel to Bluerock Gallery in order to drop off paintings last week. That space just gives me so much peace and joy...and it's the best place for gifts. The mini hearts were running low so I delivered a few more of those as they're popular for weddings and anniversaries and I was able to bring in these 8x10 framed canoes as well. If you haven't had a chance to pop by or visit their website, I highly recommend it. They carry the work of some of my favourite artists.
I've finally created an online shop here on my website to share my mini courses. After some challenges with youtube, etsy and my former yahoo email address, I have moved everything to this platform which will make my life so much easier. I can't believe it's taken so long. Anyway, I had to re-film my CityScapes workshop (Painted Hearts is coming soon) but everything else is finally up. To view the courses, which include downloadable PDFs and video(s), please visit my eCourses page.
Woman's Work::Cindy Zampa
"I am excited to see what next year holds for all of us artists! Your project sounds so interesting, and timely. The pandemic has brought with it many losses, but also many opportunities. It can be easy to get lost in the stress and misery of it all, but I do like to look for the silver linings in challenges I am facing….
Besides having our entire year long Studio 52 project, ‘2020 Vision’, de-railed we lost the chance to wrap up the year with our Studio 52 Show and Sale. Gone too were art exhibits, social connections, and earning potential…
Many artists were able to pivot to selling their work online, but it was all I could do to haul myself out of the state of creative paralysis I was in for some time.
I’m attaching a document describing some of the impacts felt. It’s called 2021: Renascent, Art of Healing - which is what I focussed on during this year." (see below) ~ Cindy Zampa
Art of Healing
A Studio 52 Project
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” Twyla Tharp
Like many others, I spent most of 2020 at home. The pandemic has been a double-edged sword, causing a sense of loss, while also inspiring gratitude for many things previously taken for granted.
It took me a while to understand, then accept, that our ‘2020 Vision’ project had to be shelved. All the excitement of plans to travel within a 52-mile radius, the anticipation of making connections with people and places in our community, and so many creative possibilities…. Everything had to be put on hold. Released. Grieved.
For many months, art making ceased for me, as my attention was fractured and strained by the external stressors in the world. Deep down, I knew it was a normal reaction for me, given the circumstances. I knew it was merely a phase that would end, but still - I could feel my anxiety rising as I struggled in my mind, body and spirit to find balance and health.
I recalled some of my training as an art therapist and counselled myself to be patient. Eventually, I learned that being still and exercising self-compassion was the path toward healing. When I did return to creating it was as a type of mental health therapy, to release anxiety and as a means to calm my mind. A pattern emerged: be still; release; grieve; repeat.
Now that 2020 is truly hindsight, the new year is calling me forward to continue along my healing path. My curiosity has returned, along with some courage, and for that I am grateful!
A sense of hope began to infuse my work in the last couple of months and I began a series of paintings called ‘Looking Up’. I have the urge to experiment, play, learn and explore.
Now, the cycle is: be still; release; grieve; give gratitude; repeat.
Creating art is a healing act. Yes, it requires courage, but it is worth all the benefits it brings to nourishing a healthy state of being. Connecting with others, collaborating, engaging in conversations, sharing struggles and successes… all are important factors in the journey towards healing. Now, more than ever, art is important!
I do hope you will join me on my healing journey. Perhaps you will even be inspired to create some of your own ‘Art of Healing’ in 2021?
With a full heART of healing wishes for all,
Altering a Book
There are two reasons I love altering books...the first is that I get to save a book that would otherwise be thrown out and the second is that I get to explore a variety of media - it's all about play. Whenever I select a book, typically from our public library, the first thing I do is to remove any damaged and loose pages. In order to reinforce those areas, I adhere the two opposing pages together using matte or gel media. On occasion I will also glue in ribbons or use bookbinding tape as well. Inside I incorporate drawings, paintings, gesso, craft paints, anything that is matte and won't stick together. I also create a theme and this time I used the title of the book which is 'To Be Where You Are' and because that phrase reminds me to be present in my life, I have decided to incorporate drawings and paintings that mean something to me, mostly something from my immediate environment. As I work, I also like to incorporate tags and ribbons as I love items popping out the sides of the book. The funny thing was that initially I was going to create a black and white book, but it didn't happen (surprise, surprise) but I already have a plan for the next one. :D
The Trading Post
It's been awhile but I'll be joining a group of writers and artists in Airdrie to create a new collaborative work. Initially, an artist is paired with a writer who each then trade a piece of work. The artist will create a new piece based on the artist's writing and the writer will also create a story based on the painting. My contribution this year is titled 'The Trading Post' and measures 20x20 inches. I can't wait to see what comes of this year's collaboration. :)
Woman's Work::Heather Patterson
I am an emergency physician, photographer and most importantly, a mom and a wife. During the pandemic, life was busy for my husband, Kip - who is also an emergency physician, and I. With our two children, Quinn and Hannah, at home, we alternated caring for our kids at home and working in the ER. We supported at-home learning, focussed on family activities like walks in the forest and card games by the fire, completed household tasks, and worked clinically at the hospitals. In addition to working in adult and pediatric emergency departments I photographed the pandemic response in Calgary. It was a privilege to meet and photograph health care workers, non-clinical support staff, patients and families. Through my photography, I was able to see with more clarity the role of each person, and their kindness and compassion. The pandemic revealed the heart of those caring for the sick and reminded me about the purpose and privilege of being a physician. I have shared my work on Instagram and through local and national media and have spoken to leadership and clinical groups in many locations. I will be publishing a book with Gooselane Editions this fall. It is an honour to be able to celebrate our successes and to bring a human perspective to the pandemic through the stories of patients and families.
~ Heather Patterson (original photo by Leah Hennel, AHS)