Monday, January 24, 2011

River Reverence

Today I returned to my Montreal studio after spending a week wandering along La Rivière du Diable in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. I have painted this lively river for over twenty years and feel a strong kinship. Having moved away from her presence to live in the city I didn't realize how much I carry this river's presence and soul deep inside me. When I returned to spend a week exploring her wintery shores I felt a reverence for the river that verged on mystical. I could feel her silvery song filling up the neglected places within my own soul that cried out to her. I felt fed and nourished just being close to the river's presence. A new vitality seemed to seep into my bones as I listened to her frozen stillness reverberate through the forest and snow which surrounds her. When I entered the studio today, I started to play with some sketches but I had forgotten the many reference photos of the river at home and had decided to start a painting of something else entirely. Only once the brush touched the board, everything changed. I was not painting, the river was. I just let the memories of her sounds, textures, colors and forms flow through me and this delightful painting appeared all by itself. The river painted a self portrait while I stood by and watched in fascination. I am not so sure who is painting whom anymore.



River Reverence 16" x 20" acrylic and collage on panel board


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Friday, January 21, 2011

Late Afternoon River Reveries

A gift of winter days filled with the rare & precious light of January, daylight is short in it's reign during mid January and so seems more golden.  I am drawn to the light outside like a moth to a flame, irresistible.

Today I carried a sad heart with me into the forest and walked with my head down, lost in thought, when I finally looked up from the path this is the first sight that greeted my eyes. It was such a breathtakingly loving image that I stopped in my tracks and physically felt my heart soften and melt into the warmth with grace and gratitude. 


The light continued to hold me and led me, steadily to the river's edge.


Where the rhythm of the river's sounds slowly soothed my breath.


Snow, ice and water; all various forms of the river, vibrate at different intensities.


An old friend stands by her side, listening closely.


Punctuated with the most ancient of calligraphy.


A small discovery creates a joyful ripple through time.


A longing for the light to return even before it's gone.


To live near the river always, to follow it's flow of seasons. I want to paint the river's portrait.

Tree language, a story of branches and limbs.  

The sound of feathers falling on blue water is the source of language.

The way the light caresses a curve resonates in my own body as a vibration of Love. Peace holds my soul for a moment.



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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sketch & Study for Tides of Eternity

My dreams have been flowing in a steady stream of powerful images every night, perhaps because I am reading "Alchemical Psychology" by James Hillman and stirring up the unconscious realm? Whatever the reason, I am carrying these images with me throughout the day and especially as I paint. I just start to mix the colors or dip the brushes and I am flooded with the previous nights dream images. If I just ignore them and don't try to grasp or understand them with my head but let them speak through the colors, movement and shapes they become even stronger and emerge from a more visceral level. A few nights ago I dreamt of a man eating from a gleaming oversized, silver dish. The dish was writhing with luminous lines all tangled and twisted into one another. I realized that he was eating a living snake. The next night I dreamt of this same image, a mandala of writhing lines, all moving and flowing into each other but this time there was a woman behind glass and she was singing the sounds of this mandala. I went behind the glass, opened the back door and saw only her empty bed but woke myself by screaming, "Mama!" Lots of juice in these dreams but what keeps returning in my waking time is the movement of those lines which my body responds to deeply. This is a sketch and a painting that I began last summer but that was practically screaming for me to finish it by painting the movement that I could feel swirling down my arm into the brush. I don't pretend to understand any of this, because I don't, but my body does and that is where I paint from. 

Tides of Eternity / acrylic / 18" x 24" 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Painting 2010

A full year of intense painting and exhibiting. Last winter, up north in Mont-Tremblant I managed & operated a gallery of artists, reopened the "Art Barn" for the fourth summer season, had a solo show in Montreal "The Wilderness Within" and presented my paintings as part of an environmental conference at the University of Mount Royal in Calgary. I make my living from my art but sales are very low in the current economic climate and it has been a difficult year financially. Oddly enough, the painting is thriving in unexpected ways. I am constantly tempted to paint "what people may want to buy at any given moment" but whenever I do I fall into a depression that kills all inspiration so it appears that I must keep painting "the earth paintings" as they seem to want to be painted more than anything else!
Of course the present painting on the easel is always my "preferred" painting (whether it is driving me crazy or soaring me to heights of ecstasy!).However, these are the paintings that stood our for me this year as the pieces that spoke most clearly and showed me what I needed to know in the language of form, shape and colour. I am back in my studio today, this first day of 2011 and feeling grateful for a new studio, new love, new energy and a burning desire to paint all the pulsating life that sings, cries and dances it's way into existence through the brushes but only if I manage to stop the incessant "mind chatter". Mine is a visceral approach and the less I think and the more I dance the better the work is! My head constantly interrupts with new ideas and concepts and egocentric suggestions but as long as I turn up the music and dance all the babble stops and the paint flows in ways I never could have "thought" of.

Green Man, Earth Angel / acrylic on panel 48" x 60"

Singing Rocks, Howling Wolves / acrylic  on canvas 54" x 72"

Rocks Attending River / acrylic on panel 18" x 22"

Rocks Listening to Moonlight / acrylic on panel 18" x 22"

The Edge / acrylic on panel 16" x 22"
Poems from the Stones / acrylic on panel 16" x 22"

Wild Earth / Diptych 72" x 48" acrylic on canvas

 Weaving Roots of Time / Triptych 48" x 72"

Forest Qualia / acrylic on canvas Diptych 72" x 48"

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