A happy memory that really stands out for me as a teen was a project that my mom and I worked on together. We decided to create a parade costume for my horse. That project expanded into 2 parade costumes and many, many nights of hard work. I loved riding with the costumes and the horse enjoyed it too. However, every year she had a young foal so you can see in these photos that she was often looking off in the distance, trying to get a glimpse of her baby. Now that I have horses again, I think about the possibility of making another costume and, perhaps, my daughter would like to be a part of that too.
Tomorrow is my last day in residency. It seemed to move so quickly and yet I miss my family. I feel that I have experienced each day to the fullest here at the Banff Centre. I attended music performances, artist talks, networked, and created. Below is today's work - devising a way for the pages of my 'testament' to link together. Tomorrow I will say goodbye to this space only as I bring my work home.
I am in a routine of studio work that I hope I can continue when I get home. There are so many more distractions at home - things of importance that I give in to and that seem to whittle away my most productive time. Of course one can whittle away time anywhere with as little as a scrap of fluff and imagination, but if a new habit can be formed then my body will crave the sense of organization and well being that results, not to mention the excitement of creating new work.
I worked more on my lacy rounds, but I also spent time working on this woven blanket. It is a digitally woven blanket from a .jpg file. The image is a combination of my paint strokes in the background and a vector drawing of the buffalo in the foreground. I am now applying beads to specific areas of the piece.
I have finished drawing a large portion of the pattern in Illustrator. A portion of the pattern was used in a public art call that I just completed today. I want to use it again in a different context. I really love the interesting secondary shapes that can be discerned when you look at portions of the pattern. I think I will print it out and do some colouring! I have some velum that runs nicely through my printer and a brand new set of pencil crayons. Very relaxing - at least as good as Yoga.
A number 4 Africana sable brush from 1970's USA. The 'Africana' company once provided high quality glazes, stains and supplies for the booming '70's ceramic industry. My parents had distribution rights for the products in the Grande Prairie (AB) area when they owned their ceramic studio. I used this brush to paint many small ceramic objects - then in the 1980's it took me through art school. In amazing condition, it is still one of my favourite brushes and will come with me to the Banff Centre in February (2015) for a visual art residency. I received word today that I am accepted into the Leighton Artist Colony - Gerin-Lajoie Studio. While at the studio I will focus solely on my art - (yes, someone else will do the cooking and the cleaning for me!) As part of my planned Education Leave from work, I have until the end of April to concentrate on my art practice. I feel a deep gratitude for this opportunity and plan to make the most of it. I shall keep you updated.
Here is a photo of my artwork hanging in the UNBC Rotunda Gallery. It's a digitally woven blanket with beadwork applied on the letters and some of the shapes and forms. I used a photo of 'Mrs. Gullion' (Athabasca Archives) and placed her within my own drawings. The text running along side her on the left is from a scan of the original Metis land scrip document issued to George and Margareta Gullion for their son, Franklin Gullion (my great grandfather). It says, "was the woman half-breed, indian or other? ....Halfbreed." I could go on about the derogatory meaning that is now attached to the label 'halfbreed' but in 1900 that was how Metis people were referred to. There is an excellent essay on the subject at this link: http://scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/exhibit_scrip It describes the process by which using land scrip Metis people were stripped of their aboriginal title to a traditional land base.
I think the blanket looks amazing between the wooden lamps. Thank you to the group who put together the show for the Aboriginal Women's Honouring at UNBC.
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to create. I can sit in my studio and look around with no game plan. For me it doesn't matter what medium or subject, it is simply important to begin. These are two drawings that came out of a session like that. I had scraps of deer hide left over from another piece so I began working on them. I love ravens and they occasionally show up in my art.
My son, now 18 attends the same college that I work at. We carpool and today we will be here longer than expected; over the lunch hour. I sent him a text asking if he wanted some money for food, "Yes!!!" was his reply. After I paid for his burger and fries, a modest $9 CAD...I thought about a time when my Dad had treated me and my friends to a donut during school hours. In high school we had a great hangout. It was the local bakery. If you were planning to miss a class, at some point you'd end up there. That's what had happened the one and only day I ever skipped class. My parents who lived 25 kms out of town just happened to show up at the bakery for coffee. As they sat down my Dad's eyes met mine. I could feel my face flush...he was a scary guy when he got mad. He walked over and asked me what class I was supposed to be in, "Record keeping" I said. He asked me what my mark was, "an A" I said. He pulled out a $5 billed and said, "This is for you and your friends to pay for your donuts, don't ever do this again." I was surprised and greatful. The $5 paid for 3 donuts and 2 coffees, and I never did that again.
I thought I'd share a couple of photos from our latest wilderness getaway. The family usually just packs up the camper and heads out. We sometimes have a general direction in mind, but we don't always have a place. We just take it as it comes. I find these outings to be very relaxing, recharges my creative abilities.
I have completed the work for my Master's degree over the past weekend. I began this 'project' in 2009 and thought two years looked like a very long stretch in front of me, but like most challenges the time when by quickly. Being incredibly busy helped. I was working full time, going to school every 3rd+ weekend and working on homework during most of my spare time. It was taxing on my family and I want to thank them for all for their amazing support. I am indebted to my knowledgable instructors, Dr. Celeste Snowber, Dr. Lynn Fels, Dr. Indrani Margolin, Dr. Yaroslav Senyshyn, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur and Dr. Vicki Kelly. As an instructor myself, I understand how much you give of yourselves for your students! Without my peers in the cohort, I would be nowhere. Your ability to encourage me kept me going. And finally I would like to praise God who was with me all the way. I will convocate in October and after that weekend I will officially have earn my MEd. Arts Education from Simon Fraser University. I learned so much through deep inquiry, I cannot imagine living any other way. I look forward to living in the beauty that the work has brought into my life. Below are a few samples of the artwork that I was making as research during the last two years. I hope you enjoy...
A warm drink on a blustery day to help me stay focused. I have just over a month to go in my master's studies and I am looking forward to completing the work. This last class is on aesthetics in education and I am enjoying the material. I am reading from Landscapes of Aesthetic Education by Richmond and Snowber. Celeste Snowber is the instructor for this class and I find her writing really resonates with me. I just read a poem of hers called Moist Manna where she refers to a child catching snowflakes on his tongue.
In it she asks:
I wonder why as adults, we forget to lie down in the textures of the natural world and behold the beauty of what falls into our arms.
I still feel as though I am moving through life too fast; barely looking up from the load I am carrying. At this moment I want to look up and wonder at everything that is around me, the ants at my feet, the leaves overhead and a warm mug in my hands. At this moment I have everything I need. At this moment, I am okay.
I'd like to show you the rest of the piece, but that would spoil the surprise. I really had a lot of fun working on this piece. My hands were just covered in the bright blue of soft oil pastels. I really get involved with these pieces. A mentor once told me that I 'beat up my canvases'. It just doesn't seem like I've done the work unless I push it. I'm sure you could find some DNA left on there if you had the right equipment.
You can see the entire painting this Friday at the show opening for Groop Gallery at 7pm in Prince George, BC.