"Growing up in northern Manitoba my entire world was influenced by the Cree culture in which I was immersed. As a young girl, on one of many trips up the Churchill River, I saw my first pictographs drawn on stone outcroppings high above the waterline, and yet so far down from the land that sat on top of it that I wondered how anyone could reach that space to draw in our time, never mind thousands of years ago.
This place north of 56 where I learned to survive in the wilderness as part of my public education; where we came together to celebrate the Winter Carnival, racing in snowshoes, baking bannock, watching the dog sled races; where we were raised to nurture nature. I never wanted to leave.
And now, I have finally found a way to fill the hole left in my heart when I left the north. This work, each piece both a representation of and also physically a sacred vessel for me, is filled with the images, colours and symbols of my memory."
I'm adding the finishing touches to the final three canvases for my exhibit opening at Inglewood Fine Arts in Calgary on the weekend and, as tired as I am, I am having a great time. It's exciting to think of the work hanging in a beautifully lit space, exciting for me to see the body of work together. Before I head back to my studio I just wanted to share a lovely quote I read in the paper this weekend:
"My encouragement to people who move too fast and move without thinking is stop. Just stop. If you don't know what to do, do nothing. Don't try to work it out, just calm your heart. Calm yourself. And, before you know it, an idea will come. In the silence you might even hear the voice of God." ~ Maya Angelou
Great advice from a wise woman.
Recently I read that successful Canadian authors earn approximately $7-20,000 annually, which I believe basically translates to every one of the arts. Along with the overcast, cold, snowy weather these days I found that statistic to be kind of depressing. It continued to state that the bulk of a professional writer's income comes from other venues like teaching and other part or full-time jobs, like waitressing.
As my week rolled along, I began to realize that if that statistic is true then I feel especially succesful as I do sell my work and also my writing, do teach and am fortunate to hold the position of Art Program Coordinator at the local public library which means that every area of income for me is related to the arts. I'm also fortunate because my husband is the main bread-winner in this house so the amount I earn can be used for vacations, fun money and, now, continuing my education.
That's not to say it's all easy, because it's not. I do warn anyone who isn't in this 'gig' because their heart requires it, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere. When considering incomes in many other lines of work, the statistic is pretty pitiful, plus as an artist you certainly do open yourself up for criticism. It's hard to be so transparent and sensitive. And I do believe if you do work just because someone else is doing it and appears successful at it, you probably won't get very far. I also believe that if a person creates something that is special and meaningful to them, other people feel it, too.
This is hard work. It's good and rewarding, but hard. There is much time spent alone without positive feedback, which can be very difficult. But, boy, when you create something that resonates with you, it is absolutely uplifting. When you do what you do just because you want to and don't care how anyone else feels about it, that's a good day. So, in spite of the continual bad news about life as an artist, the depression, the high suicide rate, and this, I love what I do and feel blessed to be able to do it. I wouldn't live my life any other way.
I have decided to take part in the Diamond in the Rough fundraiser for the Womens Art Museum Society as I really, really want to see a Canadian museum dedicated to our extremely talented female artists.
After spending a few days in bed with a terrible cold, it feels good to get out and about again. Why does it take illness for me to appreciate every moment of every day instead of agonizing over the smallest things? Human nature, I guess. Though in my bed rest I did read another great book, this one by Michael Ondaatje (a favorite author of mine):
by Michael Ondaatje
It is often in those fleeting moments that everything changes. This novel takes place in northern California during the 1970s, revolving around a makeshift family whose reality transforms in an instant. Beginning on a rural property, the lives of three young adults are scattered both emotionally and physically after a violent incident which leaves them all shattered and yet they learn to live with their memories. Michael Ondaatje's writing is beautiful and fluid, his novels as lovely as his poems.
I also wanted to share an extremely simple and delicious recipe which my daughter made for me last week (yum!):
5 vanilla or chocolate wafers
5 mini jars (125ml or 1/2 cup)
1-8 oz pkg cream cheese
2/3 c nutella
1/2 t vanilla
1 c whipped cream (if you want to freeze this use Cool Whip)
Place a wafer in each jar. Mix first three filling ingredients together well and then fold in whipped cream. Fill jars, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours. Serve.
Option: Top with more whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
This week has been an exciting one with the opening of my new exhibit scheduled for November 3 at Inglewood Fine Arts in Calgary along with a couple of other interesting things happening in the new year (can't wait to share more). I'm really looking forward to the show as I have decided on a two-person exhibit with abstract artist Patricia Lortie whose work connects with mine in its colour palette and organic form. Not only does the work compliment one another but I tend find it easier to show with other artists as it seems to take the pressure off of me. Not that anyone places any pressure on me, I just tend to feel responsible to make the night enjoyable for everyone, like a host of a party. I'm really looking forward to this.
"For thousands of years
much of humankind has believed
that only special places
are infused with the sacred
and that you must get away from the everyday
in order to find it.
everything is infused with the holy -
from chairs to clothing to kitchen stoves."
~ Anthony Lawlor
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +