Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

And More Weekend Fun...

Total wrong colour background - it's actually white.

How I Spent My Weekend

Crooked, off centre & wrong colour, but this is the general idea.
It's actually a black and white relief painting from Laura's facebook profile pic. (can you tell?! can you tell?!)
The giant undefined haha, melon shape in the lower left is her husband's head.

Sunday Morning 8am...

It's just me and the girls home this weekend. There's something so delicious about sometimes hanging only with girls.

My oldest daughter graduated Friday night. She was a vision in a cherry blossom coloured strapless Cinderella ballgown. I watched her come down the stairs of her friend's house (which perfectly, are like the stairs in the plantation Tara in the Gone with the Wind)and had a rush of emotion so strong I had to hide behind my hair. A bunch of us moms had arrived early to take pics of our daughters pre prom. I was surprised that all the moms weren't a sloppy mess at the sight of their grown up daughters in their glory. 'It's a symbolic moment!' I wanted to shout. 'Let's all cry together!' No one else got quite as worked up as I did...


Yesterday, because I could, I indulged myself in painting for 12 solid hours. No one asked me for anything - it was rare, next to amazing, and perfect. Today I need to find my way from the otherworld, but a day like that every now and then is a gift.

If anyone ever tells you art isn't work, they don't have a clue what they're talking about. It's every bit work. And ack, constant rework because something isn't quite right. An eyebrow arch, a chin the wrong shape, scraping off layers of dried paint to redo something, and the utter dread that you'll wreck the whole thing in the process, or that someone (you) will inadvertently slop coffee on your work in progress...

But then there's that moment, when you hold your work up for inspection, asking tentatively, fearfully, like your entire self worth depends upon it, 'Do you know who this is?' And as they look, you're suspended in time & dread they won't see the person you've thrown your heart into, trying to capture - but they exclaim, 'That's so and so!' And the entire universe begins singing.

(Well, that's a little melodramatic - but you get the drift.)


I'm going to a funeral this week. It's been casting a collective dark veil over a community of us. Young man, well loved, tragic end. I'm so saddened. Death is such an overlooked reality in life. All of life races toward it, and we're so ill equipped to deal with it. ]



Well, I can hear my 15 year old daughter and her overnight girlfriend guest rousing in the next room. If I was a real mom, I'd whip out the bacon and eggs, cut fresh oranges & melons and indulge them.

But I think we'll just hop in the car and head to MacDonald's. The food's better there.

Happy weekend.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Saturday Morning Ramblings...

One day last week, a few minutes early for an appointment, I reclined the seat in my car, stretched out, ahhhhhhh, and observed the ceiling.

And because this is what most people do prior to appointments, while reclining and gazing up at the ceiling of their cars, I imagined I was Michelangelo, painting the Sistine Chapel. I reached my arm up to begin a background colour wash to and could feel the immediate strain of gravity. The colossalness of someone being so inspired to paint from upside down backwards is incredible.


I'm looking at the world differently - and I'm not sure my inner conversations would be very relevant in the real life. (hence i blog them) Everything I see is singing, springing into a translation of colour & texture. I watch the clouds and analyze light and shadow and glow. I drive my car and imagine holding a paintbrush to capture a curve in the road and the subtle colour variations of pavement (pavement!) - and think, 'omgosh! how would i capture wet?'

I'm bubbling over with discovery like understanding it's all about learning to see. If you examine the details of something closely, how to reproduce it begins shouting at you. That you 'flatten' an image, and then pull it back toward you with light and dark. That it's easier to begin with, to paint from real life than from imagination. That the type of brush and the angle you hold it, completely determines what it will create. Astounding, actually.


Oooo, and art history... When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel, he was something of a novice painter, compared to his contemporaries. His love was actually marble sculpting and he resented (!) the commission of Pope Julius II, but couldn't of course, turn down the Pope. So he began the 12,000 square foot ceiling, fearing his work would be compared unfavourably with that of the other guy, you know, just Leonardo DaVinci.

Just the planning of the project was gigantic. Scaffolding had to be invented. A story line was imagined and drawn from the bible. Full size drawings were rendered & transferred to the ceiling. The paint was made specifically since you couldn't just zip down to the dollar store for acrylics in those days. And so his monumental work began to come to life.

And all kinds of crazy normal things interfered - like rain/dampness and the fresco plaster not drying & moulding, like wars that resulted in him not being paid, like sickness & emotional instability - and the constant firing of assistants, since he was apparently quite exacting, odd & tempermental. And not necessarily well liked either. He was considered arrogant by some, had unusual social decorum, slept in his boots, and perhaps was gay.

The really crazy thing is, I get all that. I can completely envision the inspiration, the preparation, the process, the not quite feeling at home in the normal world, the insecurity - and the final dissatisfaction & doubt about whether a project is worth a rat's ass in the scheme of life.

And yet when Michelangelo's completed chapel was revealed, Vasari (an art historian/biographer) said,

"The whole world came running when the vault was revealed, and the sight of it was enough to reduce them to stunned silence. '

Stunned silence. Imagine...


Well, I've pretty much stunned myself silent now too, so I guess I'll pull myself from this otherworld and back to reality...

...I love this other world...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I did this this morning too...

Click the link below the pic.
Little girl gives herself a pep talk
Little girl gives herself a pep talk

This is what...

I've spent Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday doing.
The colour's a little off, but you get the picture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's remarkably easy to pass a day not recognizing that this is it. This moment, this heartbeat, this opportunity to appreciate life & the people in it.

I'm reminded today to live well. To love now. And to remember the very fragility of everything I take so for granted...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Everyday Miracles

So I just came back from the Dollar Store. I was on a paintbrush run, stocking up on some cheapies before dropping the $200 bucks for the few good basics. The funny thing about dollar store paint brushes is that right on the package in bold gold lettering, it reads, 'Artist Quality!' Any real artist quality paintbrush costs upward of $20 a piece. These are 2 for $1. My painting teacher (an eccentric wiry fiery tiny woman, who raises chickens & dogs in the back yard of her residential area home, but omg can she paint) used to bark, 'What?! Do you think you can paint a masterpiece with these shit brushes?!' I love when people just tell it like it is...

While I was at the Dollar store, I had a great conversation with the lady at the till. She was wearing white church gloves to work on a Saturday. I know her well enough to joke round, and she's the type of person who tells it like it is too - so I commented, 'Lovely gloves.'

She whipped her gloves off and held her hands in the air for inspection. 'Eczema!' she protested. 'Feel how hot my hands are!' She grabbed my arm and held on too long, and her hands indeed were burning. 'Don't worry' she assured me, 'it's not contagious. I got it 10 years when my mother was dying of cancer. They said she had six days to live, BUT 26 DAYS I TELL YOU it took for her to finally die! I was so stressed out, I drank beer from 8 in the morning til 10 at nite! And I don't even like beer!'

I nodded in understanding. She continued, "AND, while I was there, I developed the worst stress related eczema because IT TOOK 26 DAYS FOR MY MOTHER TO FINALLY DIE!, right here on my face, by my mouth!' She pointed to the corners of her mouth. 'Then the pharmacist showed up one day and told me, 'Don't use cortisone on your excema - USE VAGISIL! OR CANESTEN!'

'You're kidding', I queried. 'OH YES! she expounded excitedly, 'And VAGISIL is excellent for cold sores, too - because at the centre of every cold sore, is a tiny pocket of yeast - and that's what VAGISIL kills - yeast!'

'I'm going to go home and blog this!' I told her. 'This might end up being an everyday miracle for eczema and cold sore sufferers everywhere!'

We smiled conspiratorially, picturing men everywhere purchasing vagisil for their faces...


You know, it doesn't take much to hunt down an everyday miracle. People are full of them, and in fact, are them. Today I'm remembering that:

And so does every tube of vagisil.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I visited a little art gallery in Maple Ridge yesterday. It's been a long time since I've been to an art show. I used to go frequently, and in my very distant past, reported on Cable TV for a gallery just outside Vancouver. I didn't realize at the time tho, how much I actually liked art & artists - I just thought it was cool to be on tv...

The interesting thing about art in any form, is that it's a reflection of how someone sees and interprets the world. And how we see & interpret the world is so amazingly varied.

Have you ever looked across a lake when sunlight reflects upon it, and pools in the wavy dips like brush strokes, or looked at clouds in the same way? That's how the landscape artist, Steve Amsden sees Alouette lake.

Or here, Jackson Basin in bold Picasso like abstractism. I've never looked at a mountain like this, ever before...

Art and imagination in all it's forms - love it or hate it, opens your mind to the miracle of seeing something through someone else's eyes.

Einstein said, 'There are two ways to live; you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle'.

I'm going to spend this long weekend miracle hunting.