the weight of
my own actions
Monday, December 15, 2008
Howl wind Howl
Dark, interminable night.
Roar inside, Roar outside.
Snow becomes rain.
Love becomes hate.Cleansing of wounds
purges heart's desires.
a poison drunk
Starless space of
Moon fuels dark light,
harbinger of winter
brims with darkness.
Alone, a breath inside the forest
enshrouded by interminable night.
Howl wind Howl
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Last night I saw a beautiful silent film called Earth by the Russian director, Alexander Dovzhenko, 1930. In summary; "A village collectivises its agriculture; a tractor arrives amidst resistance from the serfs and the dramatic climax mixes revolutionary rhapsodies with mystical identification with the land." I was deeply moved by the silent black and white images of the people's faces, the intensity and poetical beauty of the whole work. I continue to paint the landscape but am increasingly drawn to the connection between land and humans. My ancestory is Mennonite for 8 generations (or more) back on both sides of my family. My great grand-parents all arrived in Canada from the Ukraine in the 1930's and I have always had a visceral attachment to anything that speaks of a peasant connection to the land. It is this "mystical identification with the land" that I wish to further explore. I have added a blog link to "Russian Films" as I continue to explore this connection in more depth.
Monday, December 1, 2008
These two beautiful, strong women are my studio mates, Vicki Tansey and Winnie Lafferentz. They are both committed artists, devoted to their art and process. Vicki is a dancer, performance artist, painter and a loving compassionate soul. Winnie creates figures on recycled materials that evokes a haunting and powerful image of the human soul in all it's poetic modes. She has a gentle and lovely presence about her. I love these two women and together we fill our studio with a vibrant, creative energy!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
This painting has about three other paintings underneath it, just like me, layers and layers of stories, but somewhere underneath the layers is my true Being trying to shine through. These other layers create a beautiful rich texture to work with though and I love the final result. Underneath is a forest, some rocks, moss and a lot of sadness. This delightful play of dancing light is what burst forth one day after the canvas had sat unfinished in my studio for months and months. It quite literally danced itself into existence!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging. The more times we traverse this path--feeling the loneliness or craving, and inhabiting it's immensity--the more the longing for love becomes a gateway into love intself. Our longings don't disappear, nor does the need for others. But by opening into the well of desire--again and again--we come to trust the boundless love that is it's source.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
There is a way
that's a shame
and a suffocation
and there's another
way of expiring,
a love breath,
That lets you
This human shape
is a ghost made
of distraction and pain,
Sometimes pure light,
trying wildly to open,
this image tightly
held within itself.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Friday, November 14, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Not sure where this one is headed yet but more red underpainting, maybe it's the bleak november weather that is inspiring this inner heat. Lots of new adjustments to my new life in the
city. Big full moon last night, so bright and beautiful over the city but oh how I miss the silhouetted woods beneath that moon. I love being able to focus fully on my paints but I am so lonely at times
it breaks my heart. Last night I painted all day, left the studio late and went shopping for food in the world largest Loblaw's where the florescent lighting set off a migraine that was like a freight train barreling through my head. Hurt all night, not much sleep but woke up
and it was gone, so grateful for pain free moments in life.
Having trouble getting started in the studio the other day, felt so stuck and sticky and clogged up.
Best solution for this is red, cadmium red, lots of it, seems to get the fire in me stoked up. I just love the result of this glowing red underpainting. Still a long way to go but the red warms me up just like a wood stove in winter.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Participated in the Montreal Art Expo this past week-end. Huge expenditure of money, time and energy for very little return. However, I think I am learning more about where and how I want to present my artwork. After having spent the summer painting in the earthy surroundings of the barn the artexpo was the exact opposite. Art as commodity and a full on business practice. I have always struggled with reconciling these two forces. On the one hand I want people to see my work and have the chance to respond or not to it but to turn it into a blatant commercial enterprise just turns my stomach, it's like putting your children up for sale. At the same time, the event allowed me to interact with other artists and meet several people who were drawn into my paintings and left with a part of them in their soul. The people who were drawn to my work almost always commented on the energy they connected with in the painting. This is more the direction I want to go, I want the viewer to feel what I am feeling deep down inside my own soul. The urgent lament of our earth. I realize that most of the people living in an urban setting don't connect to the landscape visually anymore because it is so foreign to them. I am starting to understand how important it is to me where the paintings are placed because the environment around them allows them to breath and speak or not. The barn was sacred space as such and now in the city, I must find a similar home for them or begin to work in a different manner...not sure where this art journey will lead me from here.
Posted by Holly at 5:35 AM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Rocks Listening to Thunder
Rocks Reflecting Lightning
Rocks Reflecting Lightning
Two of my latest paintings, both have already sold, which is a bit overwhelming since
I am usually attached to work until I have moved on to newer pieces. Still it is great to have people purchasing the work, it seems to instill a dynamic energy into the whole painting process. Having viewers who respond with genuine emotion and then wanting to live with the painting is a moving experience for me and one I would miss out on if I was working through a gallery. I feel the painting is incomplete until a viewer completes the cycle and resonates with something he/she feels or sees. This
recognition is often on the nonverbal level but leaves one with a sense that something meaningful has transpired between the artist and the viewer.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Here is the "mariposa" (butterflywoman) that Luis Paniagua sculpted and I collaged, painted and constructed the rest of the piece. I feel as though she is announcing
the end of a long period of inner turmoil. My heart is open and I stand naked and free,
ready to take flight. Learning to love life in all it's "anxious beauty". I still have unresolved questions in my heart perhaps I always will, it is the questions themselves that I am learning to love.
I am learning to love.
To love myself and others
in all their struggles
to be human.
The morning after moonflinging, Viviane shot this photo of whomever was hanging around at the time. Left to right: Rachel, Bruno, Matt, Neema, Doug, Willow,?, ?
bottom: Margo, Holly, Fraser, Moe, Viviane and of course, Elsa! What a magical blend of people, the poets, painters, sculptors and musicians who are not in the photo
are there in spirit with us!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The moon rose like a glowing sphere of magic from behind the silhouetted spruce trees and spilled it's sparkle down around our barn. Moonlight, fire and torches outside.
Paintings, sculpture, poetry and music inside, a night of pure beauty as artists shared
their creations with each other. Singing, incantations, instrumentals with a forest as a backdrop. Children, dogs, people, life and love overflowing. The poetry walk lit up in the darkness with strings of tiny white lights, created an ambiance of mystery and ceremony as one walked the path to read the poems. The music filled the barn with sacred sound and filled the hearts of everyone who came to this magical evening.
I await the photos from Vivian to post on this blog.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Have been drumming every Thursday night at the barn with a regular group of people
led by Marc Seguin, an accomplished drummer and wonderful teacher. My daughter
Amy has been coming to the sessions and last night my younger daughter, Georgia joined us too. Fun to have them both there. The drumming is so grounding and mind
clearing. It takes a lot of concentration to follow and learn the rhythms but once you
get them they just flow out of you. I loved grooving with my girls last night.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
I love to paint, I love the feeling of the brushes and knives swooshing the colours onto the canvas. One colour becomes another as they fuse into layers on the surface. I make a mark and the mark evokes a response from somewhere deep inside which produces another mark. Sometimes words come into my head when I am working on a painting, sometimes a whole line or sentence of words will appear out of thin air, I often use these words in the title of the painting. The words are echoes of the colours, shapes and textures. There are times when I can taste the shapes in my mouth as I paint and I can feel the rhythms and movement of energy flowing through my whole body when I am working. I am growing more and more confident in my work and as I let go of preconceived outcomes for the paintings the more the painting reveals itself to me from a deeper source. This connection is vital for me and it is the only way I know of to dance with angels.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Here is the latest painting, River Revelations...I have hung it high up on the barn
wall as a companion to Cloud Spill, they are in complete contrast to each other,
yet they both are inspired by the same river. I have now started a smaller study
of the shoreline rocks which continue to whisper their essence to me through
their shapes and textures as I row my canoe by them. I LOVE painting so much,
it is like a prayer as it is the closest I feel to God when in the process of painting.
I feel like my whole being opens up and all my gratitude for existing pours out onto
the canvas. It is a way of praying for the earth and all her gifts and when people come
into the barn and are made aware of this incredible spiritual presence that permeates all living things I feel I am twice blessed.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I love our barn, coolest place on the planet for exhibiting art. Yesterday I finished another large painting from the river series I have been working on since spring.
It feels good to be working on a series, helps to keep me focused cause my mind is
always overflowing with ideas, one thing just leads to another, continuously.
I finalized and put up the "poetry walk" today, it took way more time and energy than
I had expected but it is well worth it, it looks beautiful! I can't wait to see how people
respond to it. The first woman to see me hanging the poems on the trees was a poet herself and she thought the idea was amazing. I am so happy to have finally completed it and I dedicate it with all my heart to the poetman who created it with me, Jim Larwill.
Meeting Jim was a turning point in my creative life and otherwise, he is one of those once in a life time people that you meet and they change your life forever.
I am ever so grateful for his presence in my life and look forward to future collaborations together.
I would post photos of both my newest painting and the poetry walk but my camera
seems to have died and I am imageless for this post.
On another note, we have a baby groundhog, a fox and a racoon that share the barn with us, not so sure how long that baby groundhog is going to last with the other two but it's kinda fun to have them around, as long as they don't eat the flowers!!!
Friday, July 25, 2008
A dream within a dream within a dream.
Hermia dreams a serpent
is eating out her heart.
Cadmium red blood
awakens her intuition.
Helena chooses enmity
comes between their
shared art of heart.
Confusion reigns supreme
in this midsummer night's dream.
Deception veils eyes
Truth is hidden with lies.
Helena wears proud
armour of denial,
admonishing the heat of Hermia.
Advising cool restraint of emotions.
Valkyries rise up
with denied passions.
Hermia's heart heaves
as she awakens
to discover she was only
dreaming she was dreaming.
Her art pounds
with fierce red
Thursday, July 17, 2008
I am so thrilled cause I entered this painting in an exhibition in Montreal for the International Conference on the Study of Dreams. Paintings inspired by dreams
was the theme of the exhibition, and I won 2nd prize for this piece! This work is
a special piece that reminds me of the heights of clarity and joy that come from plunging into the murky depths of dark waters.
A month before being diagnosed with breast cancer I had the following dream:
I know I must descend into the depths of darkness but I also know that I will be able
to retrieve my drum, which has fallen to the bottom of this dark valley. I am afraid to leave my position on top of the mountain bathed in the luminous light of the full moon but know that I really have no choice. Somehow this descent is connected to my journey
as an artist and as I descend I am also in the process of creating a colourful collage of red hearts.
The following poem was inspired by the same dream:
The veil slips away and there you stand,
luminescent and glowing.
I take one look and know you,
just as you are and always have been and always will be.
You are my reflection,
only you don't know this yet.
Do not be afraid to claim this beauty as your own,
It belongs to you, you have earned it.
You have fed in this swamp long enough
It is time to take this dark nourishment along
with my hand and rise up to the light
where we will sing healing songs of the earth
with the rhythm of our heart drums.
We both thought we were alone in the darkness
when really we were guiding each other home.
We meet where the shadows are deep
and the light is dim.
I recognize your soul, dripping with the
mud and sludge of the swamp
that we both have been soaking in,
afraid to move for fear of drowning or worse
for fear of surviving in this foul, festering pond.
I discover that this swamp is the Source.
All beauty arises from here like a silent mist,
surprising us as she spreads her veils wide open
with the splendors of the Light beyond.
I claim my swamp self and wrap it around my glowing heart like
a warm comfortable blanket that keeps my light safe.
Monday, July 7, 2008
The launch of the "Barn" this year was a joyous celebration of art and music!
In spite of pouring rain all day, the rain stopped just in time for our festivities!
This year we hope to incorporate more live music, a regular drumming circle on Thursday evenings and a "Poetry Walk". I just love this barn as a venue for exhibiting paintings as well as a magical place to work for the summer, as I can be inside/outside at the same time. I love the atmosphere of the pine forest plantation behind the barn. This spring I began working two days a week with Northland, a local landscaping co. which has reawakened the gardner in me. I am presently building the "Poetry Walk" and take great joy in raking the pine needles into a winding path through the forest...I want to integrate other physical aspects of the land, such as stones, moss, ferns, etc. with time. Once the physical space is created then comes the preparation and installation of the actual poems, I am very excited about this project and love to be a part of it's unfolding.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
There are two men in my dreams
They keep trying to meet
but are never successful.
One man is young and often
associated with the colour
blue or white.
The other man is older
and more serious.
They continue to almost
meet each other but
prevents them from
an actual encounter.
I saw them last night again,
Two men in a forest,
one in a blue jacket
with his hands in his
pockets, quietly following
the older man through
I watched through a window
as the older man
by slipping into
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Prayer for Mother Earth
Tangled curl of lichen dry branches outside the window
in exchange for dry dust of broken hearts.
Sun warmed rock with it's cool moss shroud
for deep inner strength tempered by humility.
Turbulent night of lightning and thunder
for heat of passion released in full expression.
A whole field of sun-ripened wild strawberries
for one long lingering kiss.
Curve of distant hillsides bathed in moonlight
for tender caress of vivacious flesh.
Offerings of the earth in exchange for love lost
I bow low in reverence and remember:
"There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."
Monthly blood offering to the Great Mother
given lovingly back to it's source.
I honor this mother with all of my life,
curl into her arms and ask that she hold me
as I howl into her breast of the death inside
and water her moss with blood and tears.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Frozen in timeless dark
choking on thumbtacks
lips being pierced with poison
I fight and bite and kick.
I find his eye sockets and dig
my fingers in hard, still he pins
me to the ground forcing poison
into my lips.
I manage to escape his grip
and start to dance on the street
with two blue scarves spinning
the freedom of sky around me.
He throws beer bottles that shatter
at my feet
and laughs as my dancing feet turn
red with blood.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
River series - this group of paintings was inspired by an afternoon canoe trip down
the Devil's River with my daughter last fall. The joy of just going with the flow of the
river and being surprised by every bend in the river as it unfolds before you.
Sometimes there is faster water and you have to work to stay on course, sometimes
you are surprised by a rock or a deadhead, sometimes your breath is taken away by
the awe and beauty that appears before you. I love working on this series, each painting is brimming with revelations.
I am learning so much about and through painting. It is my way of connecting to the earth and everything around me. I need to just let go and flow with the river and my paints. Ultimately it doesn't matter where I end up as it is the beauty of the journey that sustains me.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
This painting has a dozen under paintings and stories that are all part of the
almost finished piece, the under currents of a river, a life, an emerging truth...
The Truth upholds the fragrant Earth and makes the living
water wet. Truth makes fire burn and the air move, makes sun
shine and all life grow. A hidden truth
Find it and win.
Stay true to yourself. Let your voice ring out, and don't let anybody fiddle with it. Never turn down a good idea, but never take a bad idea. And meditate. It's very important to experience that Self, that pure consciousness.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
work in freefall
she jumps, and your heart
floats like a lost tri-leaf,
shuddering on fall winds
valkyrie cries slash icy air,
flap of wings unfolding,
flames fill burnt heavens
cliff face glows iridescent
black white droplets burst
radiant splatters of blood.
This is a piece I have worked on for months and months. This is the first time I have integrated the poetry of Jim Larwill into a painting. You can't see the words in this photo but they move down the silver-blue line and up the red flame. I like how the words invite the viewer to come closer and move into the work's movement of vertical heights and depths.
It is most appropriate that this is the piece that I am including in our group exhibition entitled "Transition". As I learn to get out of my own way and paint more from intuition and heart, strange and sublime archetypal energies are released. I don't want to scrutinize this piece too much cause it says what it needs to say in image, colour, movement, texture and poetry. I can tell you that my own cancer and the cancer scouring our planet is a big part of this piece, as is the so called healing through burning and radiation.
As the beat poet John Giorno says, "You gotta burn to shine".
One of the definitions of Transition is:
Physics - a change of an atom, nucleus, electron, etc., from one quantum state to another, with emission or absorption of radiation.
CHANGE, passage, move, transformation, conversion, metamorphosis, alteration, handover, changeover, segue, shift, switch, jump, leap, progression; progress, development, evolution, flux.
I started this blog as a way to reveal some of my journey and process as an artist. I am never really sure who reads this but am always pleasantly surprised when I learn that someone has.
I have met new friends who were inspired by things I have written and reconnected with old friends who have been able to follow the thread of an evolving story from these brief, sporadic entries.
I feel an artist has an obligation to reveal inner visions and struggles to the rest of humanity as a way of evolving and liberating our collective consciousness. This is not always easy and often feels like walking around naked in public. Sometimes I want to
write of events and people that affect me deeply but don't feel it is honest to disclose other people's heart matters in a public forum. The world of Art seems to entwine itself powerfully with the entire life of the one making the art. Both are affected by every nuance and shift within the artist's psyche and all is recorded in the work, some of which is seen by the public and some of which is not. There are times when certain works are too raw and close to be exposed immediately and there are times when one
joyfully shares what has danced onto the canvas in an explosion of colours and shapes.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
It was over a year ago now that I started the struggle to form this group of artists. It was a difficult beginning with many disappointments and what I considered to be "failures" along the way. As it turned out, those "failures" actually turned out to be small blessings that redirected my path and realigned me with my true intentions as an aritist. I am now proud to be part of this dynamic group of artists whom continue to grow and evolve as a group and as individuals with unique talents and qualities that we share with each other. Our upcoming exhibition "Transition" couldn't be more appropriately titled as all of us have undergone our own life challenges this past year and in my own case, Art has been my saving grace. I feel blessed to have this family of friends and artists to share in the struggles and joys of creation. We have all decided to put one piece in the show that is "in progress" to allow the viewers a glimpse into the world of the artist's process. This "process" is something rarely seen by the viewer of a finished piece of art. The sweat and tears that go into making art is extraordinary and I think it is important for people to know how much of an artist's soul goes into his/her work. Making art changes the way you see things and constantly challenges one's own assumptions and perceptions of the world.
"The instinctive need to transform experience into image is a mysterious phenomenom. Discussion of it must take place in the realm of philosophy or poetry for it serves no objective function. Forces are manifested in poems and paintings that do not pass through the circuits of knowledge. These forces, vital and inexplicable, pass through the circuits of the soul. They are responsible for the joyful sense of recognition, interior resonance and blissful confirmation that attends the sight of certain paintings."
Today my heart is full to bursting and I feel like crying all the time. In the past two years I have learned to not push this sadness away but to allow myself to feel it fully and it will take me to where my soul needs to be. So often we judge sadness as "bad" and happiness as "good" when really they are just emotions passing through the body and asking us to notice them and follow where they may lead. Strong emotions are our soul's way of getting our attention. I often get so busy in my head; organizing, working, coordinating events, playing out my many roles, that I forget to listen to my heart. I am learning to listen to my heart more though and it rewards me with profound truths that reveal themselves to me through intuition, emotions and dreams. The language of the internal world is rich with images and sensations that I have always felt a need to transform into images for the outer world. I am closest to this inner world when I am still, when I am in nature or in the presence of great art or other souls who are in touch with their own inner worlds. The journey of the artist is one of discovering truth and I am discovering truth can only be revealed incrementally and only when we have prepared ourselves and are ready for it's blinding light. For me, Beauty has always served as a compass for truth. When I can feel Beauty enter my body I know I am in the presence of Truth.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
"Longing, felt fully, carries us to belonging. The more times we traverse this path-feeling the loneliness or craving, and inhabiting its immensity-the more the longing for love becomes a gateway into love itself. Our longings don't disappear, nor does the need for others. But by opening into the well of desire-again and again-we come to trust the boundless love that is its source."
"In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest
where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art."
13th centruy Persian mystic and poet
In your beauty how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest
where no one sees you,
But sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art."
13th centruy Persian mystic and poet
Sunday, February 3, 2008
These two pieces are still wet and drying in my studio but they are finally finished. I have worked on Snow Vision for almost a year - constantly changing and playing with the light, the brushstrokes, the energy of the piece. I gave up several times and considered the painting a dud, one that just wasn't going to make it to the finished state. Then after setting it aside for months I added a few grays and the painting came to life and said exactly what it needed to say. Same thing with Fire Portage, after struggling for months with the orange, taking it out, putting it back in...I finally added some complementary grays and voila, the orange fire colour was suddenly able to speak it's firey message when surrounded by the solid neutrality of gray. I think I have fallen in love with gray, it's versatility, it's subtle beauty, it's ability to reflect and/or receive warmth and coolness. The winter sky is full of gorgeous grays that now speak of fantastic visions to paint. Isn't it remarkable how long it takes to remove our eyeglasses of assumptions and see what is directly in front of our eyes?
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Here is a series of small watercolours that has emerged in the last few weeks as "thinking pieces".
They are small (5"x7") and I just love to do them. I start with washes of complimentary colours which creates
warm or cool neutrals and then draw into the wet surface with a watercolour graphite pencil. I don't know
why I have such an affinity for rock but even when I try NOT to paint rocks, they just appear out of nowhere.
I like the last one in the series, it appears as though the rock is cracking open and a light is appearing.