Since my abdominal surgery on December 8th I have been in a “retreat” mode. Laying down all day in our upstairs attic growing the skin back together and reattaching the muscle has been my main focus. But it is interesting to me to see how as I gradually got better, I yearned to start creating. At times I got ideas or visions in my opiate induced dreams. The visualizations were not unlike the works that I already create. That was in itself an interesting discovery.
I pushed myself to get the submission done for the Penticton Art Gallery’s upcoming show purposed to enlighten the public about the impact of the Olympics on the arts funding in the province. Writing the artist’s statement was more difficult than actually creating the work. My ability to craft words was impaired by my physical state. Using the computer to generate digital images, however, was simple and direct.http://www.galleries.bc.ca/agso/
Today I will take my work “Tunnel of Time” to UBC-O to donate it for the Art on the Line fund raiser. http://web.ubc.ca/okanagan/publicaffairs/mediareleases/2006/mr-06-001.html The work incorporates a photograph that one of the residents in my neighbourhood gave me of the last ferry ride across the lake before the construction of the bridge. She is sitting in the backseat of the car with a large bow in her hair and distinctive puffed cap sleeves with a peter pan collar on her little dress. I have layered the picture with an upside down image of the lights in a tunnel on the Coquihalla highway. The piece is in sepia and golds and speaks of systems of transportation.
Once I am no longer experiencing so much physical pain, I look forward to painting more inspirational door stops. There is an upcoming show in February 6th at the RCA that is one of a kind, hand made items and I want to have my handmade cards and the collections of white laquered, colorfully painted door stops for sale. I must venture out to take work back from the Summerland Gallery that I submitted for their Christmas sale. http://summerlandarts.com/ At the other end of the valley, I have works on display at the Kalamalka campus of Okanagan College that must be retrieved as well.http://www.galleryvertigo.com/
Restructuring is what my life is all about right now. I have cleaned out and thrown away items from our three junk drawers, the pantry, the hall closet and the home studio. Today I am very tired so I will only have the energy to take the Tunnel of Time up to UBC and go to the doctor to have the fluid drained from my surgical site.
I am toying with the idea of creating more handmade books for sale in February because I enjoy making them so much. Upcoming as well are two of my classes at UBC-O. http://web.ubc.ca/okanagan/continuingstudies/welcome.html One is Writing for Children and the other is Digital Photography: From so-so to stunning. I have a potential class at the RCA on the 18th of February. The only other class that is booked for certain is the March class at Gallery Vertigo: Making memories. I teach scrapbooking techniques to make cards and handmade books. It is such fun and people from the age of four to sixty have been fully engaged and joyously creative.
My goal is to get all of my works that are out in the world rearranged. I have some in a showhome on the Westside, some in a show home at Wilden, some at Coldwell Banker and pieces at the Bohemian Cafe. Tomorrow I will go to the Cafe and collect the work that is hanging there.
Restructuring and expanding are important. I have currently submitted to a competition that has as its prize a artist’s residency in New York. The theme is treated self-portraits. While the public can vote on line, one of the final judges is Steve Buscemi which is amazing. Just having someone of his stature seeing my art is well worth the effort. To vote for me go to the link below. You can revote every 24 hours.
No one ever talks about the tedious business of marketing, inventorying, recording expenditures, organizing shows and display opportunities when one becomes an artist. Some who paint are not particularly gifted or technically proficient artists but they are geniuses at marketing. Some are amazingly talented but have the type of personality that keeps them small. Robert Genn swears in his newsletter that if you just work on your technique and vision long and hard enough, the world will discover you. I am curious as to if that is true.
I know that my short fall is in not following up with people who have purchased my work over the years. It is one of the areas of organization that I must address.
But for this month of retreat-healing I have been mostly reflecting about what I am doing, how I am doing it, where I should be living and how I can make my life better. In some ways although I have been extremely frustrated when awake and not distracted by a level of pain that becomes the main obstruction to looking down the road. However, with hind site I realize that sometimes just taking a step back, going to earth can be very grounding. There is much to think about as I head into my 66th year of life. Art, Creativity, My physical home in all senses of that word, Moving beyond fear and restriction and living with passion in all senses of that word.
My art, I have discovered by being so hampered by pain and tethered by a healing body, is integral to my existence. I created over 10 pieces and submitted to four shows in the month that I have been re-cooperating. And it was a joy. The work calls to me.
What I am learning by studying Pema Chondron, Sonia Choquette, Judith Orloff, Thich Nhat Hanh, Eckart Tolle and others that I must pay attention to my body. I must maintain the conversation with the body and see when I feel joyful, safe, soft, loving. These are the situations to seek out. When I am loving to myself, the well is full and it allows me to make offerings to others. So while some may say I have not been working as I lay upstairs looking out the attic window at the gray sky with the occasional configuration of Canada geese shifting across the screen