Friday, December 23, 2016

Beyond Blue

A new painting that was begun at Vermont Studio Centre where I began exploring the color blue. I just finished this piece in the Montreal studio a day after Solstice.

Beyond Blue, acrylic on canvas, 36" x 48" 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mourning Light

An exhibition of recent paintings by Holly Friesen at Les Mots Tremblant 

- Opening Friday, December 16, 5-7pm -
Mont Tremblant, QC 

exhibition continues until January 21, 2017 and closes with a Brunch from 11-3pm

"The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you arrive there."
~Patti Smith

This exhibition is dedicated to Walt Pascoe, the love of my life, whose passing from the earth on the solstice of last year has been mourned in the sweetest light possible.
The only way my heart could survive this loss was to paint my way through it.  After having mourned his absence for a full year I find his presence in everything I see and touch.

Read More at Creative Thresholds

Monday, November 14, 2016

Inspiration Soars!

The Vermont Studio Center is a magical kingdom for artists. I have just returned from filling my inspiration cup to the brim and am now overflowing with gratitude for the time and space spent in this unique artist-in-residency program.

The main building where we eat and gather is in an old red mill

A short walk over a bridge and through the town of Johnson brought me to my studio building, The Barbara White building. My studio, like all the studios was big and bright and inviting. I had the bonus of two windows that looked out over the Gihon River.

Over 60 artists and writers from all over the world are selected every month to come and share in this marvellous experience.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alive in the Moment!

I continue to find my way through the clouds of grief that follow and envelope me everywhere. Oddly the grief has become a constant in my life, almost like an unwelcome companion that I am starting to get used to cause it just won't go away. I have started to make peace with this unwelcome companion.

The one place I feel my strength return is hiking in the Adirondacks. I can't always find someone to hike with and so I have been going on my own, or rather, with my unwelcome companion, which has made the silence in the woods roar in that special way it does when you are alone in the forest with your grief.


 The stones emanate a strong presence, the wind animates and the trees have never felt like such dear friends.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What's Going On These Days

It has been a busy Spring/Summer so far. I have had the privilege and honour to install many of my larger paintings in beautiful locations. One of the perks of being an "indy" artist, is meeting fabulous new people, sharing stories and traveling to new places. Here is a glimpse of some of the paintings that have gone out into the world this season:

 Luminous Ground / triptych 24" x 72" in Manor Tremblant, QC

 Into the Forest / 60" x 48" in a private Equinox condo, Mont-Tremblant, QC

 Reflecting on Then and Now / 60" x 48" in a private Equinox condo, Mont-Tremblant, QC

 The Red Line / 36" x 72" in a collector's home in Grande Isle, Vermont

Recently I was part of a wonderful new collaboration between my studio building, Complexe Canal Lachine and the Montreal Folk Festival. 

For our annual Open House this year I curated and organized an exhibition that was open to all Montreal artists entitled CADENCE. Artists were asked to create a piece inspired by music of their choice. From the seventy entries that came in thirty paintings were selected and hung in our building's gallery, Centre d'Art E.K. Voland as part of the Open House celebrations.  The exhibition was then moved to the recently renovated Salon 1861 in Griffintown where it still hangs until June 30. Check it out if you get a chance!
The Open Studio was a lot of fun this year with a variety of musicians dropping by to make music in the studio!

Ray Sealey

Sophia DiGeronimo

Ellie Young

In the Adirondacks this summer I have two paintings at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake as part of an exhibition entitled "Seeing the Forest and the Trees"

You can also find my work at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts Main Street Gallery in Lake Placid.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ponderings from the Palm Coast

Grieving is like an altered state. Reality shifts in imperceptible ways. Memories and imagination trip over each other in the mind. Four and a half months ago Walt died. I still can't believe it when I type that sentence. I still hold out hope that he will be coming home any day now. 

Last night I dreamt that I spotted Walt in a crowd of people. I called out to him, he turned around and told me, "It's over." and then he started to run into the crowd. I panicked and ran after him. I continually lost and found him until I realized that he didn't want me to catch up to him. I stopped & I woke up. I felt very sad, depleted & empty.


I have been traveling a lot these past few months. Traveling helps me to stay present and live in the moment. When the comfort of our quotidian lives are stripped away we are forced to stay sharp and notice more around us. This focus keeps me feeling connected to the earth and the landscape. The landscape is where I draw my life force from. This connection is where the paintings come from. Walt knew this about me and now walks with me in the various landscapes I find myself, particularly beside the ocean, I feel his presence everywhere. 

What is it about Walt that I miss so much? His companionship, his wise council, his patience, and his enthusiasm for art and life. Walt inspired me to be all that I was, he inspired me to evolve into a better human being and make the greatest art I could. He did all this without saying a word rather he encouraged me to unfold in my own unique way by holding a sacred space for me to become. He never wanted me to be anything other then who I was. He gave me the room I needed to move through space and time fully and completely as myself. Walt didn't do this just for me but for every human being he encountered. Walt was an old soul, his deep brown eyes with their penetrating gaze told me so. We often spoke of how long it had taken us to find each other. He spoke of searching for me for thousands of years and I used to laugh at this idea. Now I am not so sure and I hope that we will be able to find each other once again in the vast eternities of the universe. However what is time when compared to the ancient rhythms of the ocean.

The breathing of the ocean is soul soothing. The waves come in and the waves go out. The tides flow in rhythm with the moon. Every minute the view changes in colors, shadows and textures. The patterns in the sea foam shift, the light sparkles and plays with the salty sea. The wide open space allows my being to expand and soar. Sometimes I become the sea, sometimes the sky.

I am listening. I sit or walk by the ocean every day and she whispers and roars her ancient sounds to my grieving soul. Sometimes I take notes of these sounds in watercolor sketches.

I read, I walk, I float, I think, I feel, I breathe.

Life has been unalterably changed for me with the loss of Walt. 
His presence lives on in the great beautiful mystery.


Where do we go when we die? 
When will I see you again?
What is it like on the other side?

Walt and I were both fond of the following words from Rainer Maria Rilke and they remain pinned to the studio wall beside Walt's photo:

"...try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

New Beginnings - Montreal Group Show

Radiant Absence / 40" x 60" / acrylic on canvas

I am thrilled to be part of the inaugural group exhibition of Galerie Erga entitled
"New Beginnings"

The gallery is located in Montreal's Mile End located at 6394 blvd St Laurent and the party starts at 5pm on Saturday, April 23rd! 

This will be an evening not to be missed with all of the artists in attendance:

Ilinca Ghibu, Nicke Gorney, Detlef Gotzens, Holly Friesen, John Marok, Susan Porter, Devon Reid, Darlene St Georges, Demetrios Papakostas & Theresa Passarello

Exhibition Dates:  April 21 - May 18, 2016

Tel. 514 886 8827

Friday, March 25, 2016

Radiant Absence

Radiant Absence / 40" x 60" / acrylic on canvas / 2015

Upcoming Exhibition:  Radiant Absence

Galerie Espace
4844 Boul St Laurent
Montreal, QC

Vernissage: Thursday, March 31 / 5 to 7pm

Exhibition continues through to Sunday daily noon to 4pm
or by appointment.

The truth is I would rather not be exhibiting right now as I feel raw and vulnerable from the recent loss of my beloved Walt, however I am unable to cancel the show which was scheduled a year ago. That being said, a "radiant absence" fills my days and this show will be a reflection of this profound transition and transformation at work in my paintings and my heart.

Monday, March 7, 2016

In the Heat

Here I am in Costa Rica! Wow! Not even quite sure how that happened! I took a leap and said YES! Before I knew it I was here in this magical land of heat and color, sound and movement. The jungle meets the ocean and my senses have fallen under their spell. The place where much of this wonder happens is in a pink tree house in Nosara.

I am here with the most fabulous group of divine women. Most of whom I am only meeting for the first time but it is one of those groups that was meant to be. I love our energy together. We are all over 50 and well into the "heat" of life! We are the heart and soul of Baba Yaga! We are all remembering who we really are when stripped of our outer world identites and responsibilities. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Part of You Flows Out of Me

 Part of You Flows Out of Me 1 & 2 / 30" x 24" each / acrylic on canvas

These two companion paintings were the last two I was working on when Walt was still with me in the Montreal studio. He loved them when he saw them first taking shape, unfortunately he never saw them finished. 

I wake up every morning and listen to my own breathing as I look at the empty space beside me in the bed. I feel Walt's presence with me everywhere I go and I still expect him to show up somewhere. He does show up sometimes, in small ways and gestures that warm me from the inside out.

The first month after he died I mostly sat in his chair by the window and stared at the world going by outside. I was frozen with pain and sadness. Slowly I am beginning to unthaw though the sadness lingers with me throughout the day. I tried to go to the studio where Walt's energy is the strongest and at first I couldn't bare it there for more then a few minutes at a time. Slowly I was able to start pushing some paint around half heartedly on the canvas. I was terrified that painting as a way of knowing had left me completely. 

Then one day I realized that by NOT painting I felt I was staying loyal to Walt. If Walt could no longer paint then why should I be able to? This seemed terribly unfair to him. Finally a friend suggested to me that I ask Walt for help with this. I pulled out his jars of premixed colors, a palette I know well from painting beside him for many years. I started to paint with his paints and slowly the warm flow came back. I could feel Walt's gentle hands guiding mine. Now when I paint I am filled with the warmth of Walt and feel embraced by his Love. 

These are the two most recent ones that emerged and they are coming from a deep, quiet place of Love for all that was and is Walt. I look forward to seeing what else will emerge from my broken heart. For a broken heart is an open heart.

River Flow / 10" x 10" / acrylic on wood

Slow RIver / 10" x 10" / acrylic on wood

Monday, February 8, 2016

Saying Good-bye to Walt

2015 was an exceptional year in so many ways. Most importantly it was the last year in the life of my love and life partner, Walt Pascoe 1958 - 2015. Walt had been ill for the past four years but we managed to live those four years fully and with great enthusiasm. 

Evening light as we enter Grand Tetons National Park, Wyoming
Wild beauty in the Montana sky and open space.
Walt chose to focus on living Life rather then on his impending departure from Life. When you know the man you love doesn't have much time left on earth everything sharpens into focus. Small ordinary things become extraordinary and beautiful. 

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