This weekend I finally completed the second encaustic piece on reclaimed wood for the HOME & HEARTh exhibit at Evanescence Gallery. When I think of home at this time of year, I begin to think of a fire in the hearth, Christmas songs on the stereo, and decorating the tree with my girls. In this piece, I began with plaster and etched in words pertaining to how I feel about a tree in nature. This process of layering, including the addition of beeswax and oil sticks really appeals to me. I've also been enjoying listening to Cheryl Richardson's The Art of Extreme Self-Care while I've been painting and love her list of questions to remind us of how to take care of ourselves:
Who is my support?
Who should I avoid?
What does my body need?
What commitments do I need to reduce?
What should I avoid?
How should I nurture my faith?
What comforts me?
How do I express myself?
What object focuses me?
How should I take a break?
I find the second question one that I need to be especially mindful of as my self-respect and inner peace is can definitely be altered by the people with whom I surround myself. And now, I need to rest as I received an injection into my shoulder joint to try to alleviate this frozen shoulder with which I've struggled for many, many months. I hope it works.
Yesterday I spent a wonderful day with a friend at another friend's acreage to gather inspiration for future paintings. The watershed project I mentioned recently was inspired by this acreage, by the idea that the land, and in turn the water sources that we rely on for nourishment, need to be protected. We spent time walking past a natural spring, past moss-covered rocks, down through the dogwood into the cattails in the marshland created by Nose Creek, photographing and then meditating at the top of the coulee. It was so refreshing to hear the silence of nature, birds swooping nearby, a horse grazing on the next acreage, following the footsteps of a deer, and seeing the area that inspired the beavers. And as I felt the blessing of the warmth of the sun on my face and the sweet sounds of the birds in the air, I was reminded of these lovely words:
"A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song."
~ Maya Angelou
A number of years ago I was planning on taking an encaustic workshop but was informed that the media was quite toxic. Now that I've done more research and have inherited a pile of reclaimed lumber, I thought that this might be a good time to experiment. This piece is looking very interesting, it's a creation for the Christmas show at the Evanescence Gallery (as long as it turns out :) I also had a wonderful weekend at the Calyx Exhibit - it is so good to be surrounded by creative friends. The weather was absolutely beautiful - I love autumn. And finally, our eldest daughter asked each of us in this family to write a list of favorite songs, these are mine:
At Last - Etta James
Northern Girl - Terri Clark
The English Patient - Gabriel Yared
Our Town - Iris Dement & Emilou Harris
Overnight - Amy Grant & Sarah Chapman
With or Without You - U2
Landslide - Stevie Nicks
Ricordo Ancor (Pelagia's Song) - Stephen Warbeck & Russell Watson
La Vie en Rose - Louis Armstrong
Get Me Through December - Alison Krause
Delibes: Flower Duet - Elizabeth Schwarzkopf & Jeannine Collard
It has been difficult for me not to share what I'm working on these days - but I can share a book that I'm currently reading. It's title is "Your Creative Brain" and speaks to the value of creativity and the seven different brainsets which the author has coined CREATES:
Every once in awhile I google my name just to see where I show up and this morning I found this photo of myself painting at Inglewood Fine Arts during Calgary ArtWalk recently. I met a lovely gentleman who was taking part in the ArtWalk with his camera...what a great idea. A visual journal of sorts.
This week I'm still happily plugging along on my commission. I'm getting closer to done and getting excited to share it. The patron has decided she doesn't want to see it until it's finished - she doesn't even know the size of it, just gave me a dollar amount and asked me to create as large a piece as that would cover and just specified that she wanted it horizontal rather than vertical. Now, I have to say, this is a fun way to complete a commission.
This is the piece I created in response to a call for work inspired by the watershed. My husband re-built our deck and we've been wondering what to do with the old wood and scraps. Because I've been thinking of working with recycled material for some time, I thought that this was a perfect opportunity and worked very well with the theme. We used to live in a home that backed onto this creek...I really miss it, especially the hawks, herons, ducks, and occasional fox that roamed through the wild grasses. I'm not sure how to hang this piece, though it does sit beautifully on a shelf I'm currently leaning towards a sawtooth hanger as it is a solid piece of wood and I'd like it to hang as flat as possible. Any suggestions?
And on another note, though I really don't care for email forwards, I recently received this one which I'd like to share:
"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us."
~ Author Unknown
Since I cannot yet share a commission that I'm currently working on as it's a gift (and a piece I am very excited about), I wanted to share a publication that will be released in March 2012 by an inspiring artist, Seth Apter of The Altered Page. I have had the priviledge of working on a mixed media project with Seth as well as a few other fabulous artists a couple of years ago on the Inner Works Collaborative. I'm also very pleased that he has chosen to include me in this publication. Thank you very much Seth for being such an encouragement to all of us creatives.
In spite of everything else in my life this summer I spent quite a bit of time working on smaller pieces which are currently for sale through the Evanescence Gallery in High River, Inglewood Fine Arts in Calgary, Saffron Gallery in Cochrane and Federation Gallery in Vancouver, as well as through Calyx Distinctive Arts on Sunday, October 23. I've also been reading a ton - it's amazing how peaceful life can be when you are forced to slow down as I was with my arm in a sling. I'm glad it wasn't my painting arm, and also glad that there are so many great books out there. A few books I really enjoyed were "The Gargoyle", "The Navigator of New York", "The Help", and "The Swallows of Kabul". As this summer has been one of challenge for me, one line in particular from the Swallows of Kabul really stuck with me:
"Take things as they come; don't turn them into a drama.
You're not piloting the ship, you're following the course of your destiny."
Very good advice, I think.
**Please be patient with me as I continue to learn this new manner of blogging - I'm still trying to add more links to my inspiration' column as there are so many who inspire and encourage me on this journey. It seems that whenever I add someone, someone else is deleted somehow. Oddly enough, it may be a user error :)**
This is my contribution to the Altered Shoe Exhibit at the Grasshopper Gallery in Irricana, Alberta which I'm excited to see next week. I had originally planned to alter the form more but then decided that it would be nice if they were still functional as wearable art. It is a collection of women’s shoes that have been altered by artists to be reinvented into unique sculptures and the exhibit runs until mid-November. Since it was taking place around halloween I thought that Edgar Allen Poe's 'The Raven' would be appropriate. Finally found a use for the black tube of paint that I feel guilty attempting to use in my paintings (my first art teacher's adage to work only with the primary colours - red, blue, yellow & white...NEVER black!).
I also want to say 'thank you' to so many wonderful comments and suggestions on this new blog - I'm still a bit sad that I lost the previous one but I am glad to move on. Thank you for not only taking the time to see what I spend my time doing and to respond to it, but also for the encouragement I receive in this work of my heart. Finally I wanted to share a wonderful little poem that was created in response to my work - thank you very much Joy, it warms me to the depths of my heart:
"- butterflies flutter over colors
- making decisions on where to land
- sparkles like diamonds in sunlight blink and shine
- and soon
- another canvas is finshed
- it is time to curl up in that inviting chair.
To dream, to visilze, to slowly fall asleep
- tomorrow is another day."