When is creating art “work”?

Today I finished the image for submission to the Penticton Art Gallery’s show in protest to funding cuts to the arts and various other “human friendly” organizations. The first stage was to revisit the image that I created and make it more easily visible on a 10 x 13 format. Financial considerations must drive so much of what I do. This size allows me to use an already purchased frame that I hung in the Show Home for Homes for the Holidays. It also allows me to create the image on the printer in my studio and not have to pay to have it printed on canvas over a stretcher frame.

With Glowing Hearts: Quo Vadis $175

With Glowing Hearts: Quo Vadis $175

The snow plow has scooped up funding for various organizations in order to clear a path for “the games.” My submission involved research as well into various sociological terms and texts that helped to formulate my artist’s statement.

Quo Vadis

From Wikipedia

Bread and circuses” (or bread and games) (from Latin: panem et circenses) is a metaphor for handouts and petty amusements that politicians use to gain popular support, instead of gaining it through sound policy. The phrase is invoked not only to criticize politicians, but also to criticize their supporters for giving up their civic duty.

In modern usage, the phrase has become an adjective to deride an infantilized populace so defined by entertainment, instant self gratification, and personal pleasures that they no longer value civic virtues and the public life (not necessarily accomplished through deliberate pacification by politicians but through the popular culture itself). To many social conservatives, it connotes the wanton decadence and hedonism that defined Rome prior to its decline and that may similarly contribute to the decline of modern society.
Hofstede’s 1993 “Cultural Constraints…

  • Power Distance
    The degree of inequality among people which the population of a country considers as normal: from relatively equal (that is, small power distance) to extremely unequal (large power distance).This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.

  • Masculinity
    The degree to which tough values like assertiveness, success and competition, which in nearly all societies are associated with the role of men, prevail over tender values like the quality of life, maintaining warm personal relationships, service, care for the weak, and solidarity, which in nearly all societies are more associated with women’s roles. Women’s roles differ from men’s roles in all countries; but in tough societies, the differences are larger than in tender ones.

The government’s attempt to bulldoze a path to the Olympics by cutting funding to create, to educate, and to care for citizens will leave an economically costly swath behind. Caring gestures and gentle intersessions provide enormous financial benefits.

All of my working life I helped teenagers in distress. Project Overcome was a US pilot project that took bright teenagers on probation, living a basically hopeless life and taught them art and music. They saw the power, the joy of learning and of expressing themselves which saved society money in probation officers, court time, counselors.

A decade spent in the North allowed me to work with some living in unconscionable conditions. By experiencing the rewards of disciple, they learned the satisfaction of putting on a play, or playing in the school band. They were lifted above and beyond the boundaries that were defining them. Cutting school programs to the arts will cost society money.

As a video making, acting and creative writing teacher in Rutland Senior Secondary I witnessed the arts allowing the student to conduct a very necessary examination of value systems, to see the importance of an individual assuming responsibility for his or her choices. Through the arts, they began to forge a more knowledgeable and more personal sense of being in the world. The results saved society money.

Glowing Hearts Bulldozer: Quo Vadis

digital photographic print, limited edition print with certification of authenticity by artist

framed 17 ¼ inches by 14 ½ inches

ink jet with archival paper and ink


After completing my entry and sending it off into the world of air and hope, I tottered out into the world in order to mail christmas cards. I felt so fragile and unprotected. I could only hobble and crossing the street seemed eerie and strange after being in bed for eight days. I purchased three flowes, a vitamin drink, chocolate pudding, a gossip magazine and shakily climbed the stairs to regroup.

After dinner, I found through face book that Salmon Arm’s Art Gallery is having a post card show, so I snuggled into my down covered nest of pillows and worked on a post card which has as its topic :Wish You Were Here.

here as in a joyous place of energy and creativity

here as in a joyous place of energy and creativity

Creating art is healing and energizing. I felt quite content to sleep after my adventuresome day. It is so very quiet in my isolation that I can hear my own drum.
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What Does Christmas Mean To You?

This year I experience a pastiche of images of Christmas which are as sundry and disparate as random ripped pages from a magazine. Still in bed after abdominalplasty and a reattached stomach muscle, I have a vision of the dead “helicopter” seeds on the Maple tree out my window. My two granddaughters like me to designate them as such. The seeds beige to browness hang almost plastic in the tree. Almost too enervated to fall, these last ones. All night the wind howled out my windows but these seeds are determined to hang on until Spring when they can complete their encoded mission.

doorstop for sale on etsy

doorstop for sale on etsy

The sky is a sickly white with a scattering of snow on the rooftops that I can view. I have been moving little after my initial burst of enthusiasm. Four days of migraine, vomiting and horrible pain let up and I continuing to be unwise and a “busy body” decided to watch three movies on the couch and trot up and downstairs a couple of times. The evening of my folly found me sobbing into my pillow in agony. Taking more opiates than I had all day, finally got me into a strange, fibrous, drug induced sleep.

I pay homage to the great guilt God by remaining in bed the last two days and finally I slept without waking up sobbing with nightmares. I awoke in the full steam ahead playing out of a musical in which I starred. Taking the centre of the shot in a beautiful park, I spread my arms and sang gorgeously. Waking myself up with the sound of a croaking, dry throat that was not producing any “song” per se but rather random words, I decided that perhaps more time was needed to heal my body and get myself out of the drug induced world of pain killers.

from knox december

from knox december

I am reading Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel again in lieu of actual physical freedom. While his use of language is pleasing, intellectual and deft, I do find him to be rather lachrymose. He is so British in his dampened appreciation of life’s pleasures.

Yesterday, I spent too much time trying to dis-spell the loneliness of lying in the 300 feet of our upstairs retreat… unable to descend and un-willling to entertain my husband’s sad, gentle inquiries as to my condition which is improving beneath the pain, I am sure. I was on facebook and checked my email. It exhausted me.

Today, I didn’t even open the beast of a computer until noon after three naps. What a pleasure to see that Jason Woodford had put a lovely image of my donation to the Okanagan Film Festival Society on his site.http://okanaganfilmfestival.com/ I am awaiting news as to who purchased it so I can give them a certificate of authenticity. Too done in by the operation to complete that task, I left it for another day.

tari's amazing christmas cookies


My friend Tari informs me that she had made her spectacular Christmas cookies again this year and asked the artists of the RCA to her house for a luncheon. She mentioned ice skating on Shannon Lake with her friend. Now I hold two lovely, traditionally satisfying pictures of Christmas in my head thanks to her email. I wrote to her, “You can always make me laugh. I just pictured you eating while ice skating. A turn, a flourish, the hand raised and at the top of the spinning wonderment a cookie which pops into your mouth at the last moment. Beautiful. ” http://www.misstari.com/

Finally, the image of my granddaughters was soothing to me upon awakening suddenly with the shooting pain in my side. Rhane so business-like, abrupt and non-nonsense requested a cleaning set so she could clean her home sparkling clean, “If some people would let me.” When I asked her if it was a toy set, she paused in impatient disgust then informed me that it was in fact a real set. Stupidly, I had thought her to be trivial or playing simply because she is four years old. Tegan on the other hand is mainly concerned that the star on top of the tree doesn’t sparkle. She is a leo/monkey and knows the importance to bling in existence. Without shimmer, life is dull.

magic of little girls

magic of little girls

Judith Jurica continues to work her magic and sent through an email publicizing my show at Kalamalka campus even though it is “the holidays”. She is another who creates a very real shimmer to the existence of art in the valley through her works.http://www.galleryvertigo.com/

So these snippets of life create images. Along with the unfinished kitchen wall that has yet to be re-enclosed after the new electrical service was provided, the pile of unfinished christmas cards that I had anticipated having the strength to send out by now.

Instead, I am floating upstairs with a plastic bulb draining out of my stomach. Looking out of the window at the dull day hanging without the energy to deliver snow. Laying under my blanket thinking about another nap before I return with Alain to the Lake Country and Wordsworth is the reality of now. Transition.

transition moving from one state of being to another

transition moving from one state of being to another

How do you Beat the Kelowna Blues?



Some days are cold, some are cloudy. The shrivelled leaves are caught in the trees. Seemingly, they don’t have the energy to fall all the way to the ground. We don’t have snow. The sunshine is intermittent and catches us by surprise rather like a sudden light being flicked on in a dark room. We raise an arm to cover our foreheads and venture out. Blinking at first, we decide to go for a walk or putter around the yard. These moments lead to contact between neighbours and exchanged greetings on the Mission Creek Pathway or on the road up Knox Mountain.

hand made card class

hand made card class

But many people I know are sick. Cameron and I have been entertaining a low grade infestation. Just enough of an illness to not feel well and some days waking up to a serious case of the blahhhhs. I am not a winter person although I have chosen to live in Canada since 1972. Most of the winter goes by in a kind of depressed funk. I feel like some English Victorian in a cold moldy house in the country that sits by a feeble light and attempts to write but all is dispirited at best.

christmas wreath 08

christmas wreath 08 image for sale

My house is not moldy and it is wonderfully cozy but still the lack of light coming through the windows and the cavelike aspect of winter existence create a decidedly gothic ambience.

Every day, I say to myself that the answer is to get exercise. But for a semi-depressed person to find motivation is difficult. Each morning my intention is to shove off of my couch and briskly move through the cold knives of air.

I remember our lovely cat who has passed on. The first blast of cold was hysterically funny. She, who had a fear of and an attraction to the out of doors would run like a bullet to the opening between our legs out the door. Sudden shifts in the weather to truly cold would catch her like a wall. Her back legs would continue running because of the velocity she had achieved but her face, neck, chest would collapse into one another as if she had hit an obstruction. Her front legs would plant themselves and her rear would keep going. She would mound up like a slinky toy. Not only was she horrified by the unwelcoming air but now she was humiliated by our laughter. She would attempt to flatten out and turn in a slow dignified manner and then run like hell for a bed with blankets to try to soothe herself from experiencing the horror of winter air.

Perhaps we laughed so deeply because we identified with her.

I have my surgery on Tuesday and will be pretty much down for a while, so the chance to get out and walk should be calling me. But I look out the window and the dullness does not beckon.

Basically, most people in Kelowna turn on the weather network to deal with winter depression. It is rather like someone with arthritis looking at a neighbour with a wooden leg. At least, we don’t have to put up with that, we say in a smug voice.

catching a few rays in our new bathroom

catching a few rays in our new bathroom

I need to feed my Etsy sight and write Christmas cards today. Wish I felt more like doing things. But it is as it is. The stomach, ears, throat, chest, neck pain, headache all are whining and complaining. At least I am not as sick as some of my friends. We seek solace in comparisons. The deluded mind is well conditioned.