Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Longing for Light

Longing for Light

Sometimes light breaks in where it is unexpected,
finding shapes in the darkness of shadow stones
my luminous finger flows across fault line crack.

A stampeding sky horse, I gallop as a mad stallion
eight legs flying across land and water, hammering
hoof-fall a mythical rhythm of skaldic visions now.

One-eyed Gods of poetry – nothing more than lust
licking with words, as high above winged laughter
mocks blind master free of memory, void of thought.

-Jim Larwill
Tiny flame within is fed with oxygen
and bursts into a roaring blaze
Suddenly all is made clear in the
burst of light

River Truths

River Truths

A spruce hangs clinging to frozen soil:
here at this river’s bend, winter weighs
heavy with – hazardous storms of truth.

Cloudy virgin ice mirrors and mocks this
spring-doomed tree with erect visions of
youth, still straight with heavenly belief.

Soon falling storms of snow will razor wash
face of lonely branches with an ashen beard,
roots cracking like old fingers anointed at last.

-Jim Larwill

Monday, December 3, 2007

Working with a Poet

Below is one of my paintings alongside one of the many beautiful poems that the Ottawa poet, Jim Larwill has written for my paintings. It is a humbling experience to work with a poet who can look at the paintings and reflect them back in words that reveal new energies within the images. I am able to see my work more clearly with these new revelations. The paintings are somehow more complete with his lyrical words framing the images. It is a joyful thing to share the creative process with an artist of another medium, we are presently working on putting a book of images and poetry together.


A quake threatens to tumble upon a tender
meadow with an avalanche of love as fall beauty
pulls upon fractures of a root tickled hillside.

Raspberry leaves, these wind licking flames -
a burning bush torturing this grey slate rock:
heart of the mountain beats hard and steady.

Cracked teardrop tongue of stone cries for sweet artist cut;
below her glass breath sky – hearts of granite skip-a-beat.
Everywhere at once a sentinel spruce sings free - trembling.

-Jim Larwill

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Coming Snowstorm

There's a snow storm coming, I can feel the stillness in my bones. There are blurry blends of warm and cool grays in the clouds, I can smell snow. Spent the day learning about glazing acrylics at the Visual Arts Center in Montreal. The glazing of acrylics intrigues me as a new medium to replace the toxic oils I am now using. I can't wait to get back in my studio and give the acrylics a try on larger canvas...have plenty of ideas brewing. Montreal Studio is a busy place these days since we have
the St-Henri Art Walk coming up and all three of us are participating. The studio is FULL of paintings, feels so alive in there!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Dancing and Breathing

Have returned from a week of breathing and yoga at the Kripalu Yoga Center in Mass. Heaven on earth. Doing yoga and breathing always centers me and helps me to remember my heart song again when I have forgotten the music and song that live inside. As long as I listen to the calling inside with complete faith I am alright but when I try to ignore it my life derails and becomes unrecognizable. Aside from the yoga, I was able to drum, dance, hike, breathe and rest...all parts of me that I had sadly neglected recently...I feel fully alive again and ready to sing my heart song with all my being.

Went to a very stimulating contemporary dance performance tonight by a group from Israel called "Batsheva" (founded by Martha Graham)I felt every cell in my body come alive as I watched this remarkable group of dancers move their bodies in such an expressive collective cohesion of movement. It felt as though the entire audience became a part of their dance just by watching. I can still feel their movements
flowing through me, hope to be able to express some of this in my next paintings.

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others"'

from The Life and Work of Martha Graham [1]

Friday, November 16, 2007

Swamp Healing

I have been receiving daily radiation treatments to my left breast for the past 5 weeks. I have worked on this painting of the
swamp the entire time. It has seen me through many uncomfortable, sad, exhausted moments. I feel this
painting holds the balance of my healing in its quiet stillness. As I walked the streets and parks of Montreal
I saw many yellow maple leaves on the ground covered in large black blotches, the trees are sick. After having
spent every week day for a month in the oncology dept of the Montreal General Hospital and seeing the pervasiveness
of cancer, it's hard not to compare the sickness of the maple leaves with the sickness
of our own bodies. Our great mother is in distress and I can feel it in my own body, a microcosm of the macrocosm?
Perhaps we are more connected to her than we like to believe.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Raven Stealing the Sun

Have closed down the barn studio for the winter and moved to a great shared studio space in Montreal.
It is an old factory warehouse converted to artist lofts and a terrific working space, a complete switch from
the barn. I am now in the middle of an industrial urban center, I wonder how this will affect my painting.
I love the space and the only painting I have brought with me is this Raven, whom has become my totem
in the last few months. I love his dark trickery and his passion for seeking and stealing light. I start my radiation
treatments in Mtl on Monday and feel that my new studio is just the haven I will need while I sleep, paint and
heal. Not much time for the computer which will also be an interesting change for me. Lots of time to paint
and explore the city.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I think this one is finished. I am letting it "simmer" as is for a while anyway. I am extremely happy with the results,
I love the balance of warm and cool colours. I like the way the painting feels alive with movement and reflects the
energy and struggle that went into it's creation. I don't know what other people see when they look at this work but
it has become more and more important for me to feel a certain harmony and balance with the end result and not
worry about what the outside world is seeing. The only way I can truly paint these days is from the inside out, this means
allowing the brush to move intuitively and trusting all the years of work I have put into studying techinique and observation. Now all that input has settled inside my bones and can flow out of my brushes with joy and passion, unhindered by self-conscious restraints. Painting has become such a dance of joy for me and I love it and need it as much as the air that I breathe. Today I bought more canvas, I am overflowing with new ideas for paintings and can't wait to get started on the next piece!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fire Mandalas

Here's a great shot of the fire mandalas that are on the barn wall outside.
There is something so complete and wholesome about working within a
circle. Today was the first day that it was too cold to work in the barn.
It was actually warmer outside, where Michel and I built a fire. I dragged
a smaller easel outside by the fire and started working on a smaller piece.
Also primed some boards with modeling paste to create texture for the
next paintings that are brewing inside.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Work in Progress

Here's today's work, I am having so much fun with this piece. The leaves are abstracting into little birds flying
right off the canvas. Starting to get colder in the barn but still working in the glorious sunshine.

The Barn as a Studio

Painting in the barn has been so healing for me this summer. The 150 year old building itself is a work of art, situated on a high profile road en route to Mont-Tremblant, yet
set back into the woods far enough that it is a quiet and pleasant work environment. People who come to visit are transformed the moment they enter the barn by the beauty that surrounds them. Nature, art and history embrace
them as they slow down from their busy lives and wander through the humble studio/gallery that makes no lofty claims
about what art is and allows the viewers to approach the work on their own terms. Eventually the barn will become too
cold to work in and I will have to move to warmer digs for the winter but for now I am relishing every moment in this magical

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Progress of a Painting

Been fighting a migraine for the last few days again.
Always a drag when it interupts my flow of work. Here's the piece I have been working on for the last few weeks. First
an underpainting of transparent oxide red.

Next I started to add some colours and more cad red fire in the underpainting of the forest.

The canvas is large 72" x 60", I had to have help stretching it and it's still not as tight as I'd like it to be. I have to use
a step ladder to reach the upper section which makes the actual painting very physical. It feels a lot like dancing once
I am totally engaged in the play of colours, shapes and movement. Hopefully I will be able to work on it more tomorrow, as
usual there seems to be a struggle between light and dark going on within the work.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Water Receiving Sky

It's been a while since I've posted. Lots going on for me on many levels but it all feeds my art which is evolving
in leaps and bounds! Saw the Renoir Landscape show at the National Gallery in Ottawa and loved it, this is
the piece I did immediately after and during recovery from my partial masectomy. Painting heals me, the barn
as my studio for the summer has been heaven sent and I spend as many hours as I possibley can there.
Will try and post more of the work I have done over the summer when I get some time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Art, Passion, Life!

It was a fun-filled week-end with art, music, friends and sunshine. The artists of the group all got to know each other a bit better as most of us worked on different projects side by side. Visitors were slow but steady and some sales were made. Our high visibility promoted us more than we realize as I have been receiving enthusiastic questions and comments from the community ever since. I am in the process of setting up a studio in the barn that I hope to work in throughout the summer.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This is the logo for our newly formed group, I love it!
A circle of gesture and energy!
A group of 6 women and 4 men,
8 painters and 2 sculptors.
Our launch, "Passion, Art and Life", is this week-end outside an old barn that we have taken over
in front of the Grand Lodge Hotel, beside a lake and en route to the Mont-Tremblant ski resort.
Lots of traffic makes this a high profile spot but the barn is actually set back off the road and
somewhat in the woods so the setting is relaxing and condusive to creative exchanges with the public.
Our vernissage tomorrow night will be complete with wine and live jazz preformed by one of our
members who is also plays in a jazz band. Looking forward to a fun week-end spent with artists and art.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Flowers Everywhere

Haven't painted much this week, that biopsy threw me off and I've had a lot of low grade migraines plaguing me. But today was clearer, the pain eased up and I planted flowers most of the day, walked, picked wild flowers and went back to the studio refreshed and re-energized. This painting was done earlier in the spring and is called Flower Walk, not sure if it's finished yet.

I've been noticing the intensely green ferns everywhere lately, they are just begging to be painted so I have started in my head, here's some photos of the ones I have in mind and that keep asking me to paint them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Slipping into Light

Yesterday I had a biopsy done on my left breast and the bleeding wouldn't stop for many hours so as I lay there holding my bleeding breast I wrote this poem in my head:

Slipping into Light

I slip so easily from this spell of darkness
into a poem of soft tender wings
lifting me effortlessly
toward the light of the sky.

Wings secretly nourished by death and decay
surprise me today as I rise up and take flight.

I look down and see my old life disappearing
as I fly beyond the tears and pain and struggle
that brought me to this bright and light-filled sky.

I throw away the dark, tattered cloak
that enveloped me like a cocoon
and watch it glide down to cover
the past and devour all the fear and lies
that were woven into its cloth.

In one gentle movement they are all gone.

I have had a challenging year that has expanded my art and my heart all at the same time. Something happened to me in that hospital room, I let go of a lot of stuff that I was still holding onto from the past year. As I felt it all flow away from me an incredible sense of peace and release filled my body. I am still savouring it. The other day a friend said to me, "I am what I leave behind" I like the idea of releasing as I grow older as opposed to accumulating.

Poet's Presence

I've met a poet who can see into my paintings which means he can see into my heART.
This is a strange and beautiful thing. I have been painting nonstop these days and he
has been feeding me poems which reflect the paintings back to me. I'm not sure what
to make of all this except that I think I have found another artist to work closely with. The past
year has been full of discovery and expansion in my artwork but I've been plagued by
self-doubt and uncertainty about the direction my work has wanted to take. No more, by
having it all mirrored back to me in poetry I can see it all the more clearly and it is starting to lead me to places I never dreamed of.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Raven Dreams

I dreamt of ravens last night and painted this one today.
I feel so alone today, surrounded by blue.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spring Energy

Colourful Forest - Mixed Media on paper
These are fun and fresh to do. The watercolour feels so light and free like the spring air. I feel like I have come through so much darkness lately that the new spring light seems to illuminate everything around me with a new vividness. Just drove home from Ottawa in the golden shimmer of the setting sun, extraordinary light washing the landscape all the way home.
Met lots of talented artists and great people at the Festival. Didn't sell a single thing but lots of positive feedback on my "Falling Water" pieces. Exhibiting my new work gave me confidence in the authenticity of the direction I have chosen. I feel strong and centered in my painting and full of new ideas and enthusiasm. Can't wait to get back in the studio tomorrow.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Longing for Light

Spent the day framing, touching up frames and deciding which paintings to take to the Ottawa Art Festival. I think I've managed to create an actual body of work without even realizing it. Just loaded 16 new paintings into my car and they fit perfectly. This is a group of paintings that has evolved over the last 8 months through a diffiuclt and dark period for me. Painting saved my life! The works show a definite progression from darkness to light, that is why I call the group "Longing for Light". As my friend Doug said, "without the struggle you couldn't have come to the understanding of darkness so necessary to capturing the essential nature of light."

I have emerged into a new and fresh place now, surrounded and filled with light. I'm off to Ottawa bright and early tommorrow morning to attend the Ottawa Art Festival for the week-end. It will be exciting to see the paintings all hung together.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Growing a Group of Artists

It is Spring and I feel so alive today! The air is warm, life is stirring everywhere and my paintings are pouring out of me. I'm working on several pieces at once. I go outside and listen to the water running through the forests and the sun warming the earth and I can't help but paint what is happening to the landscape. I can feel joy running through my veins again and after a long, dark, difficult winter it feels delicious.

I am fortunate enough to be part of a strong group of artists who have come together out of their solitary lives of creation to form a group, Artistes de Mont Tremblant. Living in a municipality where the ski hill dominates can create a vacuum when it comes to the arts. We are ten dedicated sculptors and painters, a diverse group of artists all committed to making art a vital part of our lives and sharing this passion with the community. It's been an exciting time getting to know each other and watching our group grow and form itself. We have planned several events for the summer season and intend on making our voice heard by bringing art to the community in an innovative and sensitive manner.

As much as I love my solitary moments in the forests and studio I also love to bring my work to people and share my discoveries. If I am able to shift someone's attention from the outside world to their own inner world, if even only for a moment, I am elated and feel I have done my job as an artist. I can't do this when my paintings are hanging in galleries with their pseudo sacred hush. I think having galleries represent my work takes all the human interaction away from the artist and totally bewilders the public when they are looking at art. This is why I enjoy the idea of creating more of an event or party like atmosphere for exhibiting my work, after all the long, solitary soul searching is done I feel like celebrating! This is what our group intends to do...make participating in cultural events memorable and FUN!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Another Mylar watercolour sketch done in the forest. Drove to Montreal today to pick up several larger pieces I had framed. I have built quite a body of new work around me over the winter months and now I'm ready to move them into the world. It feels good to be working on lighter pieces with my watercolours and working outside again is heavenly! The river is rushing, the earth is warming, life is stirring everywhere. After a long winter of inspiration and inhilation it feels like a huge exhilation, I feel exhilirated and vital again! My colours are brighter and I'm working faster and freer than ever before with my watercolours. Working into the wet pigment with pastels and watercolour pencils as well, lots of fun and fully engaging...thinking of working some words, poetry and text into the sketches.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A painting a day for the month of May

Today I spent the day nourishing myself in the woods after a five day blow-out migraine! The pain is hard to remember when it stops but so all consuming when it is in my body.

Spring day, alizarin crimson buds make the hillsides shimmer in pinks and mauves. The first stirrings of tree life, silent and strong. The forests are gently waking up, found a tiny double violet all curled in on itself to keep warm.

I want to try and do a painting a day in May, these are the first two. I painted these small watercolours on pieces of mylar. This is the first time I've tried this and I love the results. The water sort of floats on top of the mylar and then I can work into it with wc pencils, very sensuous and flowing to work with.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Heights & Depths

Here is the latest in the Falling Water series. This one is literally a leap off the cliff for me. I did a sketch for this piece about 8 months ago just before I felt the world crumble away from under me and I fell (or was pushed?) from a great height into the depths of emotional despair. The subject matter comes from inside rather than outside and it begins in the light of the moon, with well defined patterns and shapes falling down into the depths of a darker place.

Darker but somehow more honest, emotionally.
This is a turbulent and dangerous place I have entered but necessary for the time being. I like the feminine quality of the piece and feel I have moved into richer, deeper territory. Often the painting is ahead of my mind and I don't want to disturb it's natural unfolding with too many thoughts yet.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Falling Water

This is another progression of a series of images of "falling water". The first one is a small oil done about a year ago. The second is an acrylic where I just felt like splashing and dripping paint on the canvas out of sheer frustratation and the last one is a combination of watercolour and liquid acrylics done on paper.

This is one of my more recent pieces of "falling water" that I worked on for a long time. It's smaller, 36" x 24", than I usually work and I spent more time on it than usual as well. I started with drippy liquid acrylics and then began to apply layer after layer of oils, scraping back and destroying and recreating over and over again. I like the end results, the colours are stronger and the application of the oils is more expressive of the turbulent emotions I feel roaring inside. I love the slashes of light that offer so much hope amidst all the dark, tumultuous shadows.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Roaring Inside my Head

I get awful, roaring, debilitating migranes. I am in the third day of one and can't do much, let alone paint or write.

Monday, April 9, 2007

This is a watercolour study of rock textures and colours. I like to play with these studies in between paintings or when a painting just isn't working for me. I move from place to place in my studio playing with different mediums and ideas.
Today I am considering working with some clay just for something new.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Expansion of an Idea

These are two watercolours of my favorite chunk of Laurentian Rock that I have painted over and over again. These rocks are part of the oldest mountain range in the world, they are ancient and powerful. They are constant and patient in an ever changing world. I love to be near them and feel their slow, steady vibrations.

This is one of my transitional oil paintings. I love the lucious, buttery paint but I want more energy in the brushstrokes to convey the rock's essence and energy.This is what I am working on now, a 40" x 60" canvas with an acrylic underpainting. This work is in progress and I will post the results after I have applied the oil layers on top. I love the drips and hope to leave bits and pieces showing through the oil paint to develop a multi-layered feeling to the rocks. I am now painting without reference photos but from memory and emotions. I want the painting to describe "rocks" as filtered through my emotions, imagination and perceptions about them.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Painting with a Tribe

I have been driving into Montreal once a week to paint with the artist, Harold Klunder at the Visual Arts Center. This has been an exciting and stimulating experience. The group that paints with Harold is an inspiring and dedicated group of artists whom have become like a inspirational family. Harold himself has been a gentle guide who has helped me make the transition from painting by observation to painting from the heart. I have learned so much with this group. This is the painting that is in the current student show at the Visual Arts Center. It is one of my transitional works. I started with a reference photo but did the painting from a drawing and left the photo behind.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Painting from the Inside/Out

I have been a representational painter for over 20 years, mostly watercolours. I have learned so much by observing and painting nature. However, it is no longer enough for me to paint from the outside-in. I now have a great need and desire to paint from the inside-out. This is a painting I have been working on for the last 8 months. It is unlike any of my other paintings and has transformed itself numerous times. I listen to music and allow whatever wants to come out of me to appear on the canvas. Sometimes it is just colours and shapes but two days ago this figure made an appearance. I enjoy having this ever evolving work beside me in my studio. I paint it just for me and will continue to paint over it time and time again. I like to know that there are hidden stories underneath the current image. It is very liberating not to focus on the results but rather on the process, internal and external.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Break Through and Break Down

This is me experiencing a roaring inside my head and heart. It is in this very photo that I made a tremendous break through in my painting. After 20 years of working as a watercolour artist while raising my two daughters, I finally started to paint from my heart which lead to a complete breakdown when my two worlds of mothering and painting came crashing together.

Now my art compels me to move deeper into my heart and
my heart compels me to move deeper into my art...I continue to expand as an artist and a mother.

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