Thursday, November 20, 2014

the new moon, the sun, and messy painting

So here's the thing...
I want to know more about the moon
and its effect on the heart.
The new moon comes in this Saturday
and I for one am relieved.
I've felt out of sorts for weeks now.
Many people around the world wait for the new moon
to begin new projects
to write that poem
to start that diet
to take that leap of faith.
Let's do it - this Saturday.
You and me.
It's a date!
This gorgeous photo was taken by Renée Belliveau,
a lovely young writer/photographer/artist
attending university near here.
Whenever i see photos like this,
I am blown away by the beauty.
Her father was a photographer.
She obviously inherited his eyes,
as well as his heart.
And I've had a few good days of painting lately...
I've been trying to loosen up for a while now.
(I used a paper towel here to remove the excess paint)
There's always that tendency for me
to have crisp lines, to clean it up, 
and I am trying hard to let go of this...
it just doesn't feel right anymore.
A bit less controlled than it normally is.
Still not great, but better.
I am noticing what I am drawn to in art,
and it's hardly ever the controlled paintings.
It's the paintings with splattered colours all over.
The paintings that feel messy and smooth at the same time.
The drawings with loose lines flying all over the place.
There are times in life for technique & control,
and then there are times for letting go.
i think i'm at the letting go stage of my life.
 Then I tried the same with a pencil drawing...
Sometimes, i like a nice, tight pencil drawing,
but these days, I feel like scribbling more than anything.
So I scribbled. ;-)
I did this in about 10 minutes first thing this morning.
It's supposed to be a facecloth on the table. ;-)
I forced myself to draw fast,
telling myself I had no more than 10 minutes.
I think I'll start doing this more often.
It's a good exercise to get the hand muscles going
and you know what?
It's not half bad.
For those of you out there who want to improve your drawing,
try this.
Quick drawings.
Messy drawings.
Doesn't matter what it looks like,
only that you get more comfortable with the pencil
and with the IMPERFECTION of the drawing.
It's not always about
how pretty it is, in the end.
It's about how you felt
when you drew it.

Maybe it's the kid in me, but
scribbling feels damn good.

Monday, November 17, 2014

an anniversary i'd rather forget

Two years ago today,
mom died.
It's always a sad day.
Plus, it's snowing today.
On her last days,
when she knew the end was near,
she wished to at least see the snow
one last time.
She loved the first falling snow,
loved the white snow in the trees,
and she loved Christmas.
She never did get to see the snow again.
So whenever I see the first snowfall now,
it makes me sad.
My brother got this tattoo made...
in honour of mom.
She loved music,
and this song in particular by ABBA,
I have a dream.
She had asked her 12 siblings 
to sing it at her funeral...
They did
and our hearts broke
into a million pieces.
And just yesterday,
I was sorting out some of my old cards
and found this one mom had given me
a few years ago.
I am choosing to honour her memory
by continuing to dream beautiful dreams,
even if it's sometimes hard,
even if i sometimes stand alone,
even if they may never come true...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

do we really have a choice? Yes Virginia... we do have a choice.

An artist must never be a prisoner.
Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner
of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation,
prisoner of success, etc.
- Henri Matisse

Every once in a while,
I struggle with the art I make
so this quote by the fabulous Henri Matisse
puts me back in my place
as an artist.
I jump from one style to the next,
one subject to the next,
one medium to the next, 
and when writing makes more sense than art,
I write.
While I'm making art,
I never think of why I'm doing it.
I just do it.

But every once in a while
usually when I start comparing myself to others -
I look at my messy art room
and all the paper everywhere
and different notebooks and journals
and all those paintings lying around -
I think to myself:
what am I doing with all this?
why am I doing all of this?

why don't i just give all this stuff away
and start at zero again?

why haven't I been able to sell this stuff?
Is it not good enough?
Am I asking too much?
Am I selling in the wrong place?
Is the work just too varied?

And then I hear Matisse's whisper in my ears...
An artist should never be a prisoner
of himself...
of style
of reputation
of success.

And it reminds me gently
that I do it for no one
but myself
because art is my way
of making sense of the world...
even when there is sometimes
very little sense to be found.
The world can feel like a huge mess sometimes
but I don't believe it's any different
than what it's always been.
The difference today is this:
we see & hear about everything
as it happens.
If we choose to tune in,
we get live coverage,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There were diseases all throughout history.
Killer diseases.
The great influenza of 1918
killed between 50 and 100 million people
in 6 months!
The black death killed 
a 3rd of the population in Europe
in the 1400s, and again in the 1700s.
Wars have existed 
since the dawn of time.
Those who live in war torn nations
have little choice but to try & manage the madness.
But most of us do have a choice.
We can look at all the crap around us
and see nothing but negativity
and become a paranoid society...
or we can shut off the damn news
and start to notice the GOOD in the world.
There are lots of good people out there
doing wonderful things.
Let's not lose sight of this.
Just this week, a young, brave woman
by the name of Brittany Maynard
chose to end her life at the tender age of 28
after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
You can see her story here.
We are so long overdue this discussion
on dying with dignity.
After having been dealt
such a shitty hand in life,
this young woman
chose this message as her last to the world:
The world is a beautiful place.
Travel has been my greatest teacher,
my close friends and folks are the greatest givers.
I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type.
Goodbye world.
Spread good energy.
Pay it forward!

Let's remember this, ok?

And on a lighter note,
this video of Henri Matisse
just makes me happy.
I hope you like it too.
Thank you all for being here with me.