Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And they call it puppy love - Winnipeg Free Press

I read this story and just needed to give it more exposure, please, read on.

Maybe it was the body of a frozen puppy, with a living, breathing pup standing less than a metre away, oblivious to the carcass. Maybe it was the dogs with wagging tails that bobbed their heads for a friendly pat from the stranger in the RCMP uniform. Or the kids who'd tell the constable where one pup or another was holed up, homeless and hungry.
Before Christmas, RCMP Const. Gennifer Furkalo sent a letter to the editor of her local paper in Neepawa in an effort to save the feral packs of neglected dogs roaming wild in Shamattawa.
She said her letter sparked responses that overwhelmed her as much for the negative stereotypes they reflected as for positive offers of help.
"I'm trying to do a good deed. I didn't know it would be as controversial as it was," Furkalo said from the remote northern outpost. "I've gotten a lot of reactions. There are lots of people willing to help."
Seven people have offered to adopt dogs. "I've had responses from all over Manitoba, from across Canada."
Furkalo said the Winnipeg Humane Society has offered to fly in a spay-and-neuter clinic if she can raise $1,000 to pay for airfare for the vets and $25 per dog to be fixed.
She figures she's spent upwards of $2,000 feeding animals and deworming some of them. She's shipped seven dogs south since October at $80 per dog. "Max, a husky cross, went to Brandon. He was about four months old. Remi went to Portage. She was about three months."
Shamattawa is a fly-in Cree community 750 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. The population of 1,400 people has an average income of $15,000 a year, and less than 200 people have a high school diploma, according to Indian Affairs.
Furkalo said she's doing her best to ignore stereotypes that fill feedback comments on media websites related to her appeal for help.
"There is a lot of negative light shed on northern communities," she said, adding it is true attitudes towards pets are vastly different on First Nations communities compared with southern suburbs. "I can understand the community's point of view. The dogs are seen as a nuisance."
The 23-year-old was transferred to Shamattawa at the end of September, her second posting with the RCMP. Her first was Gillam.
"The first thing I saw was the amount of animals. It was saddening," she said. Dogs occasionally attack kids, but not often, she said. For the most part, the dogs are not vicious.
"These are dogs that are hungry. You see them sitting beside houses. They want to be part of a family and they're all over town. There's no doubt, definitely, there are hundreds," Furkalo said.
The First Nation keeps conducts routine culls every three months. It's not a practice Furkalo supports. "I have a soft side for animals. I hope this is a positive project for them."
How to Help: Anyone wishing to help Cst. Furkalo can reach her at Box 180, Shamattawa, MB, ROB 1KO or 204-565-2524.

And they call it puppy love - Winnipeg Free Press

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Doctors who dig art do better?

Yes, they do! An experimental course out of Harvard and a similar class being taught out of McMaster's is having impressive results in developing future doctor's observational skills, awareness of their own biases and being more emotionally attuned to their patients which, in turn, results in more accurate diagnosis.
The humanities has much to teach science, and science is really just beginning to get that.

Thanks to the CBC for this report.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

For the Love of Good Cousins

I just got back from my annual pilgrimage to visit my Mom. It includes a stop-over at my cousin's as my flights never link up and it always takes two days to get there. Anyway, these cousin's of mine are absolutely stellar people. They have to drive clear across the whole city to pick me up at the airport and take me back there the next day and they make me feel so absolutely comfortable it's truly like a home away from home.

I found out my cousin LOVES palm trees and I decided to do this original acrylic painting (painted on gessoed illustration board) in a format that would fit the frame she had bought for the photos she had taken while in Hawaii but didn't turn out. Soooo, I decided to surprise her and whip this up and mail it to her before Christmas. I just have to varnish it and it's good to go.

I really wish I could have painted this on location!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

2011 Official Color - Honeysuckle? Really - Honeysuckle?

Yep, here it is, the official color of 2011 - Pantone's 18-2120 TCX Honeysuckle. Now don't get me wrong, I am not against this color, in fact, it is a very vibrant, lively and can be, in small amounts, an uplifting and energizing color but this is not the color I would have chosen for this upcoming predicted year of more challenges. After the turquoise reminiscent of the 50's of last year (which depressed me I gotta say) I find this color choice is too forceful in trying to coerce a happy and vibrant atmosphere in the midst of such stress and strain. It offers no relief, and does not succeed in conveying true optimism.

A better choice, IMHO, would have been something like this healing ethereal spring green.

This beautiful uplifting color would have given relief to an over-stimulated and over-stressed society. We are being pushed to deal with many challenges from a variety of areas in life these days and what we REALLY need is a quiet healing escape that is rejuvenating and uplifting. With this then we could then re-enter the fray with renewed energy and and optimism.

So if you are having to have the first honeysuckle color in your home or accessories, to mitigate its possible over-exciting nature couple it with the above color which is in the complementary color to the vibrating honeysuckle. It's all about maintaining a balance or one is under or overstimulated and both can lead to lethargy, depression and rash irrationality. Happy decorating : )

Friday, November 26, 2010

I defended Jackson Pollock tonight to a ten year old art snob

Jackson Pollack's expressionistic abstract "Lavender Mist"

My acrylic expressionistic abstract "Gathering Forces"

Yes, I, actually defended Jackson Pollock tonight. I don't know which is more ridiculous: that, or that I was doing so to a ten year old arrogant girl who, with completely brazen confidence, stated that she could "...throw paint at a canvas and do it better than Pollock". Yes, better than Pollock. Ten years old and better than Pollock.

Okay, first off I have never been a Pollock fan. I have a tortured memory of studying for an art history class, where at 3 a.m. I read in my art history text, "Jackson Pollock was an artistic genius who exploited the drip.".  After a long week of classes, all nighters and deadlines, I almost hurled bodily fluids when I read that line. I shut the book, threw it across the room and went to bed. It was the last thing I wanted to read or see of Pollock. However, that was over twenty years ago and yes, I have changed. Changed from doing realism to a more abstract expressionism/impressionism, and have realized just how difficult it is to do well. In fact, it is the HARDEST thing I have ever tried to do artistically. Realism is easy in comparison.

So back to tonight, at the store where I have my artwork on display. There is a store wide anniversary event going on and there are all kinds of people and their kids there. Very posh, very upper crust. I am perusing an ecobook, and about two yards away I see two girls, aged somewhere between 9 and 11 looking at my large abstract. The taller girl scoffs at the price and then says impetuously, "Oh I could do THAT!".

I can't help myself, the die has been cast. I call over to her, "Really, you could do that?"
She confidently and without flinching strides over and states matter-of-factly, "Yes, yes I could.".
"Oh really", I reply, unimpressed.
"Oh yes, I could do it easy".
"You sound pretty confident about that", I calmly respond, even though I can hear the blood pounding in my ears. Her sidekick chimes in, "Oh yes, she's very confident".
Little Ms. Confident then blurts out, "It's easy, I could throw a bunch of paint at a canvas and be better than Pollock".

That did it. Better than Pollock?! I may have been no fan of Mr. Pollock back in the 80's, but I was young then. Fourteen some years older than little Miss Confident, but still too young to understand. It was at this exact moment that it crystallized, twenty five years later - I get it.  I get what it means to be an artist and to struggle to express the verbally inexpressible, visually. I may not fully appreciate the aesthetics of Mr. Pollock's work, HOWEVER, I get what he was trying to do as an artist. His struggle within and without, decades of dedication to his work while people criticized the vulnerable expression of his artistic truth. Better than Pollock, eh?

"So if you think you can do it then, where is your canvas, your paint? Come on now, show me, show me how you can do better than Pollock and don't copy either, something completely fresh and new from your head, right now".

"I don't have any canvas with me", she refutes the challenge but knows she's losing. Yes, yes I am winning a battle of wits with a ten year old!

"Talk is cheap", I calmly retort. A woman walking by, having overheard this exchange, lets out a laugh.

I continue the challenge, "Show me".

There's an awkward moment. Her sidekick tries to change the subject and "show" me some sort of ball thing that she pretends to conjure from thin air in her hand. I look over at her hand she has thrust out towards me. Little Miss Confident, then mimics her friend, in an almost sociopathic calm, and again, in her confident and arrogant way, thrusts her hand passive-aggressively towards my face, showing me, well, nothing. I look down at her, just because of my size mind you. She's shorter so, hey, I had to look down at her and her hand.

"That," looking at her empty hand, "is NOT impressive. "That", pointing to my painting, "IS!".

She was speechless. I didn't wait for a response, I just walked away.

You know, I have never been one to call my work impressive (there is so much room to grow), but I just had to, to make a point. That being that dedicating one's life to something so chided, so skewered, so publicly open to criticism and bracing against the slings and arrows of that criticism while continuing forward to find one's artistic truth, well, that takes pretty big cajones. Well, either that or a thick skull but I'll go with cajones on this one.

There were more artistic challenges to the evening, but I've highlighted this one in particular. Mr. Pollock, I get it, and I am sorry I ever bad-mouthed your work. Who would have thought I would feel a kinship with him, but I sure as heck do, and I would defend his work as strenuously as any other artists'. And amazingly enough, my own work as well. I have little Ms. Confident to thank for that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

When Smaller is Better!

I don't usually show a painting in the midst of the pangs of becoming but I wanted to share how a brief moment of insight can set EVERYTHING right.

I was having some trouble. I have been working on a large 36" x 24" painting that I wanted to convey the pure unbridled joy of creation. The sun and rays were great, and the river had some good work but the land masses were too hot.

Behold the small format miracle. As I had sat down, once again, in front of the large painting, wondering  on how best to work this, an idea, a visual came to me. I needed to sketch out the painting from scratch, small format. So, I resisted inertia, grabbed a 5" x 7" canvas board, some watercolor pencil crayons and manganese blue watercolor and did it. This above was the result!

So you can see, within one hour, I was able to solve the color and design riddle. I will put aside the larger painting, for now, and will work from the color study to create a new painting.

I love when I actually listen to that artistic guidance that whispers in my mind's eye and ear. Sometimes when something isn't working you have to let it go and try something new. I am glad I heeded the call.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The RIGHT frame

I just finished framing these last night and I must say, the frames just make this triptych SPECTACULAR! It costs more, to frame them then ship them BUT you have to be true to the piece and this piece, well, floater frames were MADE for contemporary art like this! Just compare them to when I posted them earlier on in the blog without framing. They look good but the frames just finish them perfectly.

They'll soon be on their way to Modern Country Interiors in Saskatoon, Canada, for display and sale. I just know they won't last long and, to be honest, it kind of hurts to let them go. They just GLOW. It's like having a fireplace sans fire. Oh well, they're on their way to their new home. Congrats on whomever gets them!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This won $50,000.00 Should it have?

This was the winner in the 2010 Grange Photographic Canadian and International Competition. It is titled, "Doorknob" and is a chromogenic print by artist, Mr. Kristan Horton.

What do you think, either way, and why?

As for me, well,  I had to really peer into it to see what it was at first. If that was one of the criteria, to engage the viewer, it did that. But I was studying to make sense of it, visually and subjectively. If that was another criteria then, check mark again.

Okay, Mr. Horton, I maybe missing some things here but it reminds me of investigative work, trying to see what the medium can do and that is fine, but not as a final subject. It reminds me of, and forgive me, but, kind of taking an image and going a bit crazy with photoshop.

As an artist myself I do hesitate to negatively criticize any artist's work. So this piece is not bad, I just don't think it is a finished work and still has some design issues to work out. That's my humble opinion. However the longer I look at it the more mesmerizing it becomes and I am not being sarcastic. You see, it's the artist mind, always inquisitive, looking more and more into things.

Well that's my take on it. What's yours?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Naked Dancing Women Fill Me with Joy (and snooty art critics be damned!) says David Miliband

The "offending" painting shown above the couple.

Who has the right to judge? News story on a self-proclaimed art critic's vicious attack on the middle class AND on artists themselves. Eloquent response from Mr. David Miliband, who would be labelled the middle class art appreciator. Either way, the artist, Ms. Michele Dovey wins, after she finishes applying bandages to the wounds torn open by the art critic. The exposure she has gotten as a result one just can't buy! Good for her!

This photo gained notoriety because the amateur photographer who took it won a contest as a result, but the art-critical vitriol that was heaped on both the couple and the artist who painted the painting shown was jaw-dropping.

Read further to hear the vicious attack and Mr. Milliband's eloquent response to it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Am I the Only One in Love with the Moon?

Every now and then I just have to paint her. The moon. This year there was what was called a super harvest moon. I gazed up upon her from my 19th floor balcony. She was spectacular! Big, bright, beautiful.

So in honour of her I again, paint her,  a 4" x 6" oil on canvas board titled "Moon Mountain Water". She is such a part of a woman's life. Think of it. Our cycles use to be set by her before the days of electricity. She is the Yin to the Sun's Yang. Think of how different our world would be if we no longer were able to gaze upon her at night, to have her light our way, to rise our tides. What a dark world it would truly be without her to warm our nights. The sun may be the super star of the day, but the moon rules with a loving hand, the night.

Friday, October 22, 2010

9 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Cancer Risk

This is from the Environment Working Group website, an excellent resource!
Four of every 10 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, and two of every 10 will die from it. Beyond talking to your doctor about lifestyle changes that are known to make a difference -- stopping smoking, reducing drinking, losing weight, exercising and eating right -- there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
Here are some simple ways you can reduce your exposure to potentially cancer-causing chemicals. Follow the link to learn more!

Posted in honour of breast cancer awareness month. 
And remember if you are on birth control pills, some can actually cause breast cancer with long term use. Wendy Mesley, on "MarketPlace" on CBC found this out on her investigative report on breast cancer. She had been diagnosed with it and had been on birth control pills and found out that the ones she had been taking had a warning about this in, I believe it's called the Merck Manual, a huge tome that includes all pharmaceuticals and their effects.

Oh and I apologize for the multiple posts of this post, I am still, ahem, a little blog illiterate. : )

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

REVEALED the "Reason between Passion"!

Here she is in all her glory, the beautiful original acrylic triptych "Reason between Passion"! 
Each panel is 10" x 10" so the paintings are ten inches high and thirty inches across. This triptych can't help but be the center piece of any room but I see it doing especially well above a fireplace (to match it's glow) or mantle, or, God forbid, behind the couch! Yes, I am more than happy to have my art match the sofa if that is what the viewer is looking for. This piece oh my, she will make a star out of any room!

Viewed from right to left, here the sun is behind me as I shoot. You can see the richness of the colours, the variety of shades of each hue. They have depth, luminosity and brilliance!

Here's a closer look at the red "Passion" and yellow "Reason". 
Note how brilliant the colors are, how they sing out from their backgrounds, the red has deeper reds, and varying depths of dark crimsons around it to set it off. They yellow has deepening golds, orange ochres and burnt umbers to push forward the yellow. It has a clarifying effect on the mind and a mediating effect between the red and green which are natural complements and might fight for dominance if just the two were left. The yellow is the unifier of the series.

And the now refreshing green, to cool the fire of the red and balance it. The green heart passion panel has both warm and cool greens so it refreshes as well as stabilizes. It's representative of the green heart chakra passion.

Now I shoot if from left to right, with the sun to my right (that is why you can see some glare but I shot it this way on purpose so you can see the iridescence at work). The iridescent parts of the painting are revealed, which is over the large maple leaf of each panel. As you move around the painting it's colours shift from saturated brilliance to iridescent luminescence. 

 Here is a close up of the red - the primal passion...

      Then the middle panel of yellow - the reason between them...

and the last panel of green - the heart love passion.

And there it is my friends! Yes, it was a lot of work but well worth it. No leaves were harmed in the making of these paintings! I used what the trees released and when the leaves are gone then I am done these series of paintings. These pieces would look FANTASTIC in black floater frames so that is what I am going to do with them. However, if someone wants to vie for them without frames that can be done as well at this point. Just let me know.

Okay, have a great day people! I know I'll be dreaming of rich reds, bright yellows and sweet greens tonight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Reason Between Passion

May I introduce the "Reason" between the "Passions" of this triptych. This illuminating yellow/gold panel is the optimistic and effervescent moderator and peacekeeper of the series and sits in between the other two panels. It's yellow/gold focus aids in creating an optimistic view and strengthens the mind's clarity and ability to reason while the gold ochres and deep forest browns support and strengthen this position. Truly, this panel in the triptych keeps diametrically opposed passions from overwhelming the work!

Stay tuned for the complete unveiling of the trilogy. I must say it is one of the most visually impressive and luminescent pieces I have ever done. It truly is a thing of glowing beauty.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sneak Preview of the NEW Tryptych!

This is the last panel (10" x 10" canvas) of the trilogy, or rather, tryptych called "Reason between Passion". I just wanted to get it up tonight and see how she looks and oh my, she is a beauty! Another equally fitting name would have been "Autumn Jewels" but there is color method behind the art choices. Green here is the heart passion, that of love, growth and renewal. I also used shimmering green iridescent paint and leaf printed it over the vibrant green. The greens shimmer and GLOW! Who would have thought green could be a positive passion, but it is.

Stay tuned for the rest of the series and I promise, it's worth the wait!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Introducing Healing Hues Art - Positive Paintings for Healing and Meditation

UPDATE:  August 2011 - The Healing Hues Art website will be up in 2012 as I work to create a new art inventory for it as well as now having to move to a bigger and better art studio! This will be happening September 2012. So it looks like I need to change that website forecast (stated below) a wee bit, but, when it arrives, it's going to be beautiful, with a great inventory of healing and gorgeous paintings, helpful information for clients and visitors, some great demo videos, a forum to chat about all things healing and share information on that, a guest book and links to other healing sites, both art and health. Soooo, there's lots to come. Now if only I were at least 3, no, make that 5 people!

This is now the official blog for "Healing Hues Art - positive paintings for healing and meditation". The official launch of the website, will be in fall 2011, HOWEVER, this blog will follow it's development and what is truly needed is YOUR input. What colours attract you? What colours create aversion within you? Do you know why? 

As you can see, I am currently on a GREEN kick. Summer is over and I feel like I just didn't get enough of the healing from nature this year at all. I think I will be doing many more green inspired paintings. I need the restoration and healing that comes from being in nature, being surrounded by the sounds, sights and smells that come forward from Mother Nature's green abundance! I feel a deep need to see green - to be enveloped in it. Stay tuned for more of these healing, restorative paintings and if you are in need of some yourself, just contact me. Many more to come my friends. It's going to be a looooong winter but these paintings will give me sustenance!
I will be building a whole new website based around this concept of Healing Hues Art. As mentioned the official launch wont' be till the fall of 2011 but you can be a part of it so please send me your color stories, what you love, what you hate and what you would love to see! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh NO it SOLD!

I was just informed that my little original acrylic "Dreaming of New Mexico" sold today and I can't believe it made me cry? Yep, just a little bit. I guess I was expecting to have my dream come home, but, I then thought that it was my dream taking flight - that someone else had seen in it what I poured into that little painting, a dream, a desire, a hope and that realization made me smile.

I'll miss her BUT I am happy she is out there now. Another one of my children took flight away from the studio nest today out into the big, beautiful world. God speed little One and may whomever took you home have much joy from your presence. : )

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

And here is where I'll be, the artist in attendance this Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 3:30 pm for this year's St. Clair Art Walk! I am the featured artist at Ecoexistence (located at #103-21 Vaughn Road) so if you're in Toronto drop in and say hi! There's also some great deals on eco-products to tie in with the event. See the posters above for more info!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

And the Winner!

Yep, me. I just received word that two of my paintings have been accepted into the National Canadian art show, Connections 5, hosted by the Abilities Art Festival and is to be held in Toronto, Canada at VTAPE - 401 Richmond St. W. from September 24th to October 24th. A maximum of three works could be accepted and they accepted two from me ("Wide Open Spring Skies" shown top and "Orange Sunset over Turquoise Waters" bottom). They are going to look stunning the gold guilded wooden frames I have ordered for them. I can hardly wait for opening night : )

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reality vs Fantasy?

I knew they retouched beauty magazine ads and cover shots but I had NO idea they retouched almost ever damned celebrity related shot that's ever taken?!  Thanks to for this side by side shot of what the individual looked like in REAL life at the celeb event and what we we see in the magazine/print/ and blog/online presence media. It's a FANTASY and what a fantasy. I didn't know they could do better makeup by machine than I can do in front of my mirror and whoa, where did her chest freckles go?  Man I wished someone could have done this for my passport photo *shudder*.

So the next time you feel crappy about yourself for taking a less than stellar photograph just remember, you are really just like everyone else sans the hours of photoshop retouching. God bless ya!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Earthquakes now RIOTS?!

Truly the end times are upon Toronto. Last night a friend of mine had to forgo Herbie Hancock at the Toronto Jazz festival because a group of anarchist sociopaths who have a penchant for black apparel decided it would be great fun to set police cars on fire and smash out dozens of shop windows in the downtown Toronto area. All transit was shut down and no one could get to the downtown core. This was the first time in history that the police have EVER had to use tear gas for crowd control in Toronto. Ever.

Toronto is a world-class city. It is the most successful at integrating almost every type of culture into itself. We don't just tolerate, we embrace and celebrate our diversity. We look ahead to the future and are environmentally aware. We believe in democracy, peaceful and creative protests.

Whatever the REAL protesters had to say at this G20 meeting was completely overshadowed by these assarists, oh, I mean self-declared anarchists. What was their message? Who knows? I couldn't hear above the wailing of sirens, the sounds of crashing glass and I couldn't see through the plumes of smoke coming from the police cars set on fire. This is not how things get done in Canada.

THIS is how things get done in Canada.

We take action but discuss things in a relaxed manner.  This is a REAL Canadian demonstration - a guy with a knapsack that has hemp snacks and Arizona green tea in it, and he'll share too.

There have been hundreds of arrests today and police located a good group that were hiding out in the University of Toronto residence facilities. They found black bella clavas tossed into the bushes just outside the residence. Pure tactical brilliance. I watched as it was being broadcast on tv, police leading the arrested in handcuffs. It looked more like parents coming to collect their unruly children who had too much to drink the night before as they shuffled out of the building, handcuffed and hung over.

Ah kids, will they ever learn?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today I woke up to my bed shifting back and forth. I wondered if my cat had gotten herculean strength to get me out of the bed to feed her. Nope, my first earthquake ever. Wow. Freaky. Luckily it was only a 5.5 but being from prairies where NOTHING happens, this was a waker upper. My cat was fed pronto.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Now I'M in a "Fire" Treasury!

And now I'M in a treasury and it couldn't have happened to a nicer piece - artwork I mean. I LOVE that painting and currently it is showing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but maybe not for much longer? Thanks again to Ms. Sofia for generously including me in this collection. Check it out : )

Saturday, June 19, 2010

What a Goddess Wants, what a Goddess NEEDS!

I just HAD to put this treasury together - I want all of it! Thanks to all the Etsy store merchants who stock such high-quality, high-skilled produced pieces of craftsmanship. It makes wading through the not-so-great stuff tolerable. Thanks!!! Mwah!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

In Honour of Orange!

I just listed this image on Etsy - it is a fine art giclee print. The oiginal sits above my alter and I just can't let it go! *laughing* There is something about it that is so healing, so necessary that I have to keep the original, for now. I used professional golden and winsor newton paints and iridescent and bright gold. For the leaf motif I use an actual leaf I found. 
This painting was inspired by those, shimmery summer early evenings when the sun is heading towards the horizon and catches the dust particles just so and everything around you becomes ensconced in the most beautiful, most ethereal warm golden-orange light. There is something so nurturing, relaxing, calming and energizing about that.
Maybe one day I will let the original go but not now. I need it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Maybe it's a visual reaction to the year's color turquoise but I don't think so - my whole being is craving orange!

It doesn't matter where I go. At the greenhouse I was trolling the foliage-lined isles looking for orange in all it's shades. I managed to find a lovely carnation in a knocked back shade of orange, with a most beautiful scent but a true-blue orange I could not find.

Later in the week I was at my grocery store and on my way out - there it was! The ORANGE! I believe it's a hibiscus and the shade of orange with the sunlight illuminating it's fragile petals creates a luminescent orange of heavenly beauty.

Of course now I have to paint orange. But how? Well I am working on what is turning out to be an abstract of sorts, in acrylic, many layers, many values of orange and hues. I will post it as soon as it is done. However, now blues and turquoise must be expressed as they are the natural complement of orange. This whole creation will either be a diptych or triptych, we will see : )

I have decided to stop trying to control the process, to get out of the way and just be the midwife to the creations, to support them as they come into being. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

May 12th National FM/CFS and ME day and Frida Kahlo

This oil painting of Frida Kahlo by Frida Kahlo titled "Broken Column" visually displays some of what it feels like to have these illnesses. It is postulated that she suffered from both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia brought on by the horrific vehicle accident she had been involved in her earlier years. She suffered with horrific pain and crushing fatigue for the rest of her life. Here is a thoughtful and interesting write up on Ms. Kahlo her art and FM/CFS

The definition of ME/CFS from the National ME/FM Action Network website is that it is "an acquired illness that affects all body systems; predominantly the neurological, endocrine and immune systems. It can be severely debilitating." This means that almost all the body's systems and functions are affected in the forms of severe and disabling fatigue/exhaustion, severe disruption of the circadian rhythm causing long-term disabling insomnia, wide-spread body unrelenting body pain, chronic allergies (some times life-threatening) to food, medications, chemicals and environmental agents, irritable bowel, irritable bladder and urethral syndrome, dizziness, tinnitis, blurred vision, sensitivity to light and sound, inexplicable rashes and hives, severe post-exertional malaise which means that for most people when they exercise they recover after a brief rest and feel energized afterwards whereas for those with M.E and CFS they do not and, in fact, it increases their pain and fatigue. This is the shortened list of symptoms and effects of the illness. There is no cure and the cause(s) are unknown but the FM/CFS/ME has been known to develop after a car accident and/or trauma, post viral infection, long unrelenting stress and in the latest research in a controlled study the retrovirus (XMRV) has been found in a high proportion of those with CFS (over two thirds) and under 3% in the healthy subjects. It's interesting to note that as a result of this study the Canadian Blood Services has banned anyone with CFS from giving blood. This illustrates the fear that a viral contagion may be involved. The story can be found here

These combined illnesses are still being studied and the evidence is mounting but, unfortunately, a  large number or medical professionals are either unaware of or blatantly hostile to the fact that these illnesses are not "all in your head". Since a disproportionate number of women seem to be affected it shows the unenlightened bias that medicine still holds against females with illnesses that they do not understand. God help the men who are afflicted as they are seen as lazy and malingerers. There are some doctors, however, who DO believe that these illnesses exist and, in fact, either do ongoing research into the origins of the illness and/or dedicate themselves to helping alleviate some of the misery that those afflicted with CFS, ME, and FM go through. Suicide is sometimes the only release and has been documented. THAT is how BAD these illnesses can be and are. 

So today, I just wanted to share with you the reality of many millions of people in North America. Maybe you or a loved one you know has been diagnosed with these conditions? We are still in the dark ages with these illnesses. In time more and more things will be found to shed light on what the origins of these illnesses are and how they can be corrected. Until then we have to fight just to have them understood, BELIEVED and acted on. Remember, doctors thought it was ridiculous that bed fever was carried from delivering mother to delivering mother via their bacterial-infested hands. The doctor that figured that hand-washing could stop the infecting of and killing of these mothers was met with hostility and mocking ostracization by the medical majority of his times. Turns out, he was right, they were wrong and many died as a result of the this willful ignorance and arrogance.

The same thing shall be found with these illnesses and, unfortunately, it will be too late for those who have suffered the not only the negative repercussions of the disease itself but also the hostility and contempt of the unbelievers, sadly family, friends and the medical profession which has bee sworn to help the ill. It brings immense physical, emotional, financial, spiritual and psychological stress upon the individual who bares this illness.

So today I bring to you this information that you may know that such a thing exists and that, it is real. May we lessen the burden by understanding if we can not yet have a cure.

Thank you for taking some of your precious time and energy to read this. May we all be well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Air Canada says NO to pets this summer

I just found out, today, after I had already made all the arrangements to visit my Mom in long term care and bring her cat with me that Air Canada has a flight embargo against travelling with your pets after June 20th. Yep, that's right, if you want to take your pet with you on summer holidays or need to transport any animal for any reason that has to go cargo well you just can't do it after June 20th. They say it's because it is too hot in the cargo area for the pet's comfort. I think what they mean is that they are too cheap to air condition it so tough crap for you Joe or Jane traveller.

This isn't new. Air Canada had decided a short while back that they weren't going to take any animals any more period. Well Canadian citizens said, "Oh yeah?!  Well screw you Milty, we're going over to Westjet". And guess what? Ole Milty, the C.E.O and Grand Poobah of Air Canada had a change of heart and animals were once again allowed on board.

Westjet is still the better carrier these days as it costs half of what it costs to take your pet on Air Canada. My problem is that where I am going there are no direct flights with Westjet and what should be a 3 hour trip takes about 9.

So incase any of you thought that you could just take your pet with your this summer and add them onto your ticket with Air Canada you had better check out the dates on that travel ban. After hours of planning I am now back at square one and have to redo all my plans. Grrrrrrrr.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I just LOVE this guy

Jonas Gerard is his name and every time I watch this video I feel like swigging some strong coffee and chompin' on a cigar as I paint and I hate cigars, the coffee I gave up begrudgingly.

If you are lacking in inspiration this'll get your creative mojo kick-started. Just click on the link above the picture. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Making the Unseen Seen - Art can do that

"All is Vanity" by C. Allan Gilbert. Life, death and meaning are intertwined.

I came across this pen and ink illustration a few days ago. Some clever illustrative skills Mr. Gilbert has, he does. I am not sure how old this drawing is but it must have been done somewhere in the late 1800's or early 1900's. What is true then is true now. 

This image struck me as I, once again, am relegated to my bed due to ill health. As I lay there, sick, with an exhaustion that is cell deep and then some, I can't help but think of death. I feel it. We who are chronically ill, we get a fair idea of what it must feel like before you die. You are so exhausted, so sick, there is no energy, not even for hope. 

I love the way art can convey this feeling, this haunting. As the "normies" go about their tea time (or whatever those women are doing in that illustration), distracting themselves with life's pleasant formalities death waits. Ever patient, ever enduring, death sits with hands folded, as we fritter away our life gift frivolously or utilize it in earnest service.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finding Lost Pieces...

I had forgotten about this piece. I did it as part of my entrance portfolio to an advertising art college program about 26 years ago. I was 18 when I did it. My cousin had seen it and asked if she could have it. I gave it to her and she framed it and I was reminded of it's existence on a visit to her and her husband's home last winter.

I only had a pocked camera to take a shot so that I would remember her. Funny, these images we draw, paint, conjure up. They have a life of their own once they leave our hands. Like our children they go out into the world and we have no idea how they are treated, talked about or where they end up. Just like people, in a way. Some attain great heights and are on display in a vaulted room with much attention and fanfare and others maybe remain in a corner, meaning to be put up, but never gotten around to. Who knows?

This one was on display, nicely framed and it was truly a wondrous strange event, being re-introduced to her again. Like an old, lost friend coming to visit for a but a brief time. This life is like that, a brief visit with those we remember from times past - like a memory in a cloud on the wind.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Florals are Easy and other Fallacies...

Here it is, my first still life floral - ever.

It all started innocently enough. I bought myself a spring floral bouquet and a couple of hyacinths as a reward for enduring, yet another, dental appointment. With half of my face still frozen I could hardly wait to get these beauties home and into some water. Then when I had them all set up I thought "I just HAVE to paint them".

So the next day when the freezing had well worn off and the pain from the needle that did the freezing was really apparent I decided to start the still life to take my mind off of the pain. I thought I'd be done in a few hours.

I had to rearrange my living room/studio, who am I kidding, it's a studio with minimal living room. The photo above was after about 8 hours I think. You can see the floral still life ontop of my much covetted red Dukabhor table that I have moved with me 5 times since I got it. I love that table.

At a certain point I was beginning to stress a bit then I looked behind me and saw this. Yeah, my cat sure wasn't stressing AT ALL. She had complete confidence in my ability. My ability to feed her that is. She's right about that :)

This gives you an idea of the color pallette I was working with. I ended up using another tray for glazes.

All in all the painting took about 15 hours. It was sealed with two glazes of sealer then varnished. The image continues around the edges so one doesn't have to frame it if they don't want to.

I now have even more respect for floral artists. It ain't as easy as it looks after all but it was well worth the lesson.