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This is Your Brain on Abstract Art

This is Your Brain on Abstract Art

If you don't like or feel confused by abstract art then this blog post is for you!  Straight from the burgeoning field of neuroscience, some compelling reasons to spend time with abstract art have emerged. It seems that abstract work may offer viewers some neurological advantages. I want to help you take advantage of these benefits.

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Getting Ready for the Riverdale Art Walk

Now that all the painting is done, I'm enjoying writing far more then the million things I should be doing to get ready. I am super excited and nervous about this show. This one feels very different from my usual. First of all, there are a lot of artists in this show, over 150. Many of them are artists who I have admired and secretly worshipped from afar. Okay, maybe not that secretly or that far... To be sharing my work at the same venue as them is an incredible honour.

The other element that makes me both excited and nervous is the large amount of people traffic that typically attend this show. (I won't mention car traffic - because when I visited the show last year, on a glorious sunny day, I had no problems finding a parking spot... Just sayin'!) Getting to meet so many people is really exciting and a bit of a scary. Anyone who comes up and says hi, will have no clue (unless they are reading this) that I am anxious in these kinds of social situations. I love people and connecting with others once I am in the moment, but the days and hours before I wonder if I'll remember my own name or say something incredibly stupid. Oh wait, I made a sign with my own name, so it's just the saying something stupid part I need to worry about. 

Thank you vista print for an amazing banner!

Thank you vista print for an amazing banner!

After I finish writing this, I will get to all the things on my to-do list for the next 4 days... Things like sanding and painting edges,  buffing paintings, attaching hanging hardware and then packing my paintings in these envelopes...

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I made some fancy painting envelopes. Some were made from insulation (bubble wrap in silver foil....) and some out of flooring underlay. The big ones needed the heavy duty insulation but I think the smaller paintings will be okay with underlay... 

I may have neglected to mention that I've been creating some new works for the upcoming show. I am always influenced by the seasons, and come spring (well sorta Spring) I have begun working with brighter colours.

Calling this one "This City is For the Birds"  It is 36x48 and will be at the Riverdale Art Walk...

Calling this one "This City is For the Birds"  It is 36x48 and will be at the Riverdale Art Walk...

Also been working on a series of 12x12 square paintings. 

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You can see how messy my studio is these days. Household chores have become an all or nothing thing lately. Once I start cleaning I won't stop, and then I never get any painting done. So I have had to give up cleaning. : ( And I feel guilty (no joke) and uncomfortable about it. But I am realizing that when I share the mess, I don't feel quite as bad. So here  I am embracing the mess and my bright green crocs. Absolutely embracing those too. I love love love this quote by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

“I’ve seen women insist on cleaning everything in the house before they could sit down to write... and you know it’s a funny thing about housecleaning... it never comes to an end. Perfect way to stop a woman. A woman must be careful to not allow over-responsibility (or over-respectabilty) to steal her necessary creative rests, riffs, and raptures. She simply must put her foot down and say no to half of what she believes she “should” be doing. Art is not meant to be created in stolen moments only.”
— https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/901977.Clarissa_Pinkola_Est_s

 

Buddy has also been getting the cold shoulder. Between me being so busy and the weather being so... crummy, he is getting shorter walks then he would like... He follows me around the studio, staying in my view no matter where I am until I finally take him out... Here he is photobombing me again.... 

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I would love to see you at The Riverdale Art Walk, this is the link with more information including a site map of where to find me. Remember booth 21 11-6pm inside the community centre.... Riverdale Art Walk Event Info

Mothering the Artist

Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest, forever changed my perception of what it means to be a mother. Fortunately, my own mother, was no Joan Crawford. Instead, she was a rigorous advocate of my art, and cheered on all my creative activities. She was momentarily playful and unencumbered when she participated. She loved to sit at the table with me, and while I painted she doodled and sang. 

My mom as a child in costume. I am guessing this photo was taken in 1933.

My mom as a child in costume. I am guessing this photo was taken in 1933.

On a very tight budget, she always managed to have money for art supplies. She let me turn the kitchen table into my own studio, which she quickly cleaned up before my father got home and she even encouraged me to paint murals on the bedroom walls of our semidetached home. During my teen years, as Cancer, then Parkinson's, and finally early onset Dementia began to erode her mind and spirit, her support and encouragement faded. I didn't realize until recently how this unintended withdrawal impacted my youthful decision to not pursue art as a career. Between the ages of 15 and 30 I rarely picked up a paintbrush. I just stopped thinking about art.

Me and my mom. I'm guessing 1995.  

Me and my mom. I'm guessing 1995.  

When my mother passed away in 2007, I was 39 and already working in Interior Design. I had taken courses at the Toronto School of Art, and was slowly beginning my journey back to myself. Since I had lost her to Dementia a long time ago, I was surprised by how deeply her death devastated me. I was equally surprised by  the flood of memories I began to slowly unpack. The memories of her singing along in the kitchen while I painted, her letting me bake a Strawberry Cake all by myself, and then how she splurged on an expensive cab ride, because I had taken too long, and we would be late for the Baking Contest, if we took the bus. I remember how proud she was, when that Strawberry Cake won a first prize ribbon and a hardcover copy of Laura Ingalls'  The Little House Cookbook. I also remembered her stories about growing up in Romania, some charming, and others so sad.  

When she died, I  grieved for her and for myself. For the nurturing that I'd lost when I was 15 years old. However, going back to those memories at that kitchen table brought me back to my easel. To that place, once upon a time, where I had unconditional love and support. While creating art, I found that I was able to nurture myself, and eventually turn my grief into appreciation, gratitude and joy. My mother's nurturing voice never left, I just needed to listen.

Early painting that incorporates an image of my mom.

Early painting that incorporates an image of my mom.

Going to classes, joining artists groups, making friends with other artists resulted in another discovery. That there are so many wonderful, kind and supportive people in my life who nurture my artistic spirit. Becoming an artist, meant finally finding my tribe. There have been art teachers and mentors who gently encourage me to push myself further, friends who cheer me on, students who explore and play with me, family members who come out to every show and of course, my husband and daughters who help with the physical demands of each show. And also the art buyers. Individuals who believe in supporting local artists in their community, who believe that what artists do is important and worth recognizing. These people all nurture my spirit and motivate me to keep on going.

It's because of my mother that I left art. It's also because of her that I came back. And I sincerely thank her for both of these things. The seeds were planted and I believe, are blooming at just the right time. When Mother's Day rolls around I think of my mom, I think about how she passed on her caring ways, which I strive to share inwardly and outwardly.  I also think of my dear teachers, mentors, art students, friends, family and the wonderful lovers of art I have met. Thank you for nurturing me and loving my art. For feeding and nurturing my passion. Although I am not my mother, and these wonderful people are not my mother, they have mothered me in the most important of ways. It is to them and you, that I am most grateful for this Mother's Day.