"I love reading your email newsletters. I always enjoy them, finding them grounding as well as innovative." J.H.
During Valentines’ month we see hearts everywhere, a shape recognized as the symbol* for love. The heart has taken on added associations this year as it is linked to support for frontline workers as well as a reminder to be kind to others and to not take our pandemic frustrations out on innocent people.
For the past several years my paintings have been reproduced into giclee prints (pronounced “gee-clay”) by Rob Lundquist who lives in Merville. The first painting I asked him to scan was the 4’ x 5’ Every City Needs One with it’s giant red heart over the city in 2012. Rob did not balk at the challenges of scanning such a large painting and he has been producing my giclees ever since.
This August I embarked on an adventure – a rafting trip on the upper Alsek River with Canadian River Expeditions. I had saved for this trip for a few years as a 50th birthday present to myself but then Covid struck and everything was cancelled. However, on July 31st Yukon opened its borders to B.C. and NWT residents so the rafting company put together a custom trip for locals that stopped short of the Alaskan border. Within a couple of weeks I had to wrap my head around the fact I might actually do this.
We are currently in a historical moment, witnessing some large shifts in society that will affect our lives into the future. Even though sometimes I feel like I am watching from some far off distant corner of the world, separated by water and in my little art studio, I know that I am still part of it all.
Reflecting on this (Robert Davidson) quote again, I think “the knife edge” between the past and future is where true creativity lives. Some think creativity is only painting, drawing, dancing or making music, but I think it is really also about living.
As many of my students have told me, their lives seem richer because they are seeing better and seeing more. It’s helpful to remember that we don’t teach reading and writing to produce only poets and writers, but rather to improve thinking. Betty Edwards in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain.
This painting is loosely based on a view of the Comox Valley, perhaps from Cumberland or somewhere in the Beaufort Mountains. It describes the place in a mountainbike ride or a hike you enjoy after having done the hard work of getting there. Here you may have a snack, sketch, take a couple deep breaths or take a nap. You may be with others sharing light conversation or a meaningful moment.
This December I had my dream experience of spending two days, mostly alone, at our National Gallery in Ottawa. I have been asked several times what my favourite piece was but I don’t really have an answer. Actually I think what I enjoyed most was the process of looking.
A weekly planner has been part of my daily life for over ten years now. There are countless ways of keeping track of life’s commitments; such as in a wall calendar, computer or phone. I enjoy being able to write on paper and getting an overview of a whole week at a time. Once the year is done I have a record of this time in my life in one little book.
Every time I visit the place I grew up – Pt. Holmes on the windy tip of the Comox Peninsula – I still feel very connected to the smells, sounds and sights. It feels like visiting an old friend or relative.