Saturday, February 14, 2009

Life Model watercolour sketches

Last Tuesday we had an exquisite model, she was a dancer and radiated pure grace as she sat for us. The model's energy can make such a difference in the results of the drawings. I particularly loved all the beautiful red, silk cloth that she provided. Returning to work with the model is pure joy for me, for three hours my head empties completely, I think of nothing and become fully present in the moment. The time just flies by, I am always surprised when the 3 hours are finished. Drawing from the model reminds me of the similarities between the human form and the landscape. I want to explore this more. I am particularly enamored with the female form at the moment.

Encountering Persephone in my Beloved Studio

Wow! so much was happening last week, then I went and got one of those killer migraines that takes me into the depths of darkness for several days and nights and obliterates life for me, anyway, I am back!
Here's a couple shots of my studio at night, I love this studio. It is a huge industrial space in an old Simmons mattress factory filled with other artist lofts. I share this space with two other women artists who are rarely there the same time as me but when they are, it is great to share their creative energies. I can see the Montreal skyline which is particularly beautiful at night, as well as part of Mont Royal behind two big beautiful green copper church steeples. The Lachine canal is beside my building which is a wonderful place for walking or biking for miles. There is a farmer's market within walking distance and the "hood" is colourful and interesting with lots of beautiful parks and mature trees. Even in the winter I will break up painting sessions with a walk along the canal or to the market just to clear my brain and move my body.
My two Persephone paintings are side by side in the top photo. I have had them moved up north for the upcoming Eros exhibit and to make more room for the other paintings that are still inside me just bursting to come out onto the canvas. I have just exploded with ideas revolving around the figure. Yesterday I started five new small pieces integrating the figure into the landscape, just experimental for now but it is so exciting to feel this much potential bubbling up, God how I LOVE to paint!!! Everyday is a new adventure.
I've decided to title the two paintings up above, "Persephone's Descent" and "The Return Dance of Persephone" because somehow the two pieces are related even though they are quite different in execution. Both pieces speak to me of the divine feminine and the results of her repression in both myself and our culture. How the "feminine" is in all of us, male and female, and how undervalued her qualities are much to all of our detriment. The innocent girl, Persephone descends into Hades every year to be nourished by death and decay and ravished by the king of the underworld only to return refreshed and renewed every spring as a powerful, sexual woman who walks the earth with confidence and strength...a cyclical balancing of light and dark. Embracing our shadow sides and releasing all that carefully repressed energy into bold, bright colours and whirling shapes. One of the line's in Louise Gluck's poems on Persephone says that Persephone doesn't even know what winter looks like only that she is the cause of it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Have been working very steady in the studio the last few days. Yesterday I think I managed to finish all my big pieces, including the Gypsy, for the upcoming group show entitled Eros. This theme has given me lots to think about and new subject matter to work with, it has also brought me closer to my intent of integrating the figure with the landscape. I really like the challenge of working with a theme that forces me into new territories. Eros is about sexual love but also about the life force and creativity, as well as sensuality. The love story of Psyche and Eros is filled with mythical archetypes that are rich with meaning and metaphor. Eros has provided a wealth of material to work with, from poetry to myths for creating marvelous images.
The myth of Persephone has returned throughout my life, the cyclical descent into the dark underworld only to return to the earth's surface after being ravished by Hades and eating pomegranates holds particular poignance for me. The poet, Louise Gluck
writes several poems from different perspectives pertaining to the Persephone myth that I have been reading over and over as I paint in my studio. That is why I think I will call the Gypsy Queen painting "The Return of Persephone" or "Release and Return of Persephone" any comments or suggestions re the title?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Premio Dardos Award

This morning I received the The Premio Dardos Award from fellow blogger Patrice Danielson The prize is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.  These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.
The rules:
1)Accept the award by posting on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her log.
2)Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.

Here are my five choices:

beautiful textural imagery and ponderings by collage artist Leslie Avon Miller

a massage therapist, Cyndee Greene, who courageously shares her inner journey through
her daily musings and images

gorgeous gauche paintings by Morgaine of women integrated into the landscape in a magical, mystical way

JB Krost's authentic, honest paintings with a darkness that adds to their beauty and connects them to all of humanity

a poet, Becky Harblin and a photographer, Judy Andrus Toporcer share their talents on one blog

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gypsy Queen

While painting landscapes the other day, I suddenly wanted to paint this image, as a matter of fact she was very insistent on being painted. The first attempt (bottom image) felt exciting but I was disappointed with the results. I let her sit for a few days and then yesterday she called me again...the clothes were restricting her, she needed more fire and movement around her. She needed to become the dance rather than perform the dance. I like where the piece is going now, I painted a circular wooden moon that I have hung above the piece, perhaps I will include it, perhaps not but it seemed right to have it there while I paint this image.
About a year ago I had a powerful dream that I was celebrating an inner marriage of sorts. My paintings were hanging on cliffs all around me, there was beautiful sculpture filling a green meadow and all my artist friends were there. There was a huge fire, flowers everywhere, musicians, drummers and suddenly the drums started to play, I couldn't contain myself, the life force inside just pushed me up and I started to dance with such joy and love it was undescribable. I was naked in the dream but at the same time when I looked down I could see multi-coloured veils swirling around my feet. When I awoke, I said to myself, "THAT, is what I want!" This Gypsy Queen embodies that energy.

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