Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 30th 2009

I have received two lovely awards in the past week - thank you Mary Ellen and Mel. I feel so honoured! I have been working on my picture, taking my time and enjoying it. I do a little every day. I have my sewing machine out and have gathered some fabric and trimmings to make some little bags. I like lots of variety in my creativity and am looking forward to doing something different.

I spent Sunday feeling sad, frustrated, angry and just about every other emotion you can think of. Talked to both of my daughters and woke up Monday feeling like it was all over and I had moved on from the upset of the weekend. Moved on. I will be there for my daughters if they need to talk but I am finished with that part of my life. It will always be there but it doesn't have the power to upset me for any length of time.

All during December, January and February I had this terrible sense of forboding, I had no idea why and I was feeling rather frightened by it. Now, five months later I feel my life crashing around me yet again. My most important relationships are changing, I have no idea where they are going and it's pretty unsettling, however, I feel stronger now than when my life has crashed around me in the past. Change! Always change! Where will it take me this time?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 27th 2009

Today was the scattering of ashes of my ex-husband. I decided not to go because there was really no reason to go - I felt no need of closure, that came years ago. It has caused a lot of pain for my two daughters and his three daughters from a previous marriage that, because of circumstances, I have never met. It amazing how choices you made forty-seven years ago can come back to haunt you. Amazing how a death can open up a huge can of worms and bring forth new information that is both validating and eye-opening and can make you shake your head at your own youthful naivety and sense of trust of blind trust. Fortunately, I have done enough emotional work that it is not affecting me only minimally but I feel sad for my daughters and his three daughters for what they still have to deal with. It's amazing how much pain and destruction one person create in their life-time.

Myself and two of my neighbours held a yard sale today to make some money for our social club. We did very well and had lots of fun. There were many people on the seawall today and they stopped to peruse our wonderful bargains and chat. A dog-walker with six afghan hounds, who had been walking the seawall with his dogs for many years, came by and we got to pet the dogs and some people took photographs. We had a cut little school desk painted blue and purple and a lady came up and said "I don't believe this." Apparently she had painted the little desk her daughter's favourite colours and when her daughter ourgrew it she sold it in a yard sale. So was so pleased to see it in this little serendipidous moment.

We were having so much fun we stayed out until after
four when a cold gusty wind came up and it was time to go in. It was really great to connect with neighbours, visitors from Ontario who bought some of my photo cards and strangers from who knows where. A very enjoyable day.

The neighbour I have been helping since she went into hospital two weeks ago gave a me a gift cerificate for $100 for flowers from our neighbourhood shop, so I can go in throughout the next few months a get flowers. Each time I will think of her, as she is moving away in August to live with her son. I will miss her.

I haven't done much creatively but have prepared a canvas and chosen a picture to paint so I will be working on that over the next two or three days.

My last art journal - shown above - is of a tattoo I have on my inside left arm just above my wrist. I did the entry to re-affirm my quest for a free spirit. It didn't photograph very well, the colours are actually very pretty. The wreaths are hung on my door and I change them on the solstices and equinoxes as my way of celebrating the change of seasons. My small pagan ritual.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

June 24th 2009

Well, the critic finally caught up to me. I kept way in the background for two weeks and then there it was. Looking at other people's blogs, at their creative destruction of their journals and all the beautiful art and decided that my art is childish and uncreative and my journal wrecking is boring and unimaginative and I have just came to a standstill.

In addition to this, my ex-husband's ash scattering is this weekend and I, for some unknown reason, decided I would go. This opened a can of worms that would have been better not being opened and it also opened some of the wounds from my time with him that are always there but way in the distance. The wounds are healed but the scars seem to be there forever it seems.

Along with helping my neighbour and getting involved with the newsletter and the social club in the building I have become a little overwhelmed and uncentered. So, today I need to get myself centered again and finish the art journal page I started the other day. I liked the background and didn't want to cover it up and sat for a couple of hours trying to decide what to do and couldn't decide on anything because the critic was there trashing everything I thought of. So, I am just going to go with something today and that will be it.

My destructive inner critic has controlled my creativity for so long I will not let it win this time.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

June 20 2009

As tired as I was last night, I made this picture in my art journal. I started it about 10:30 and it didn't take long which pleased me because I usually dither and fuss. The was quick and effortless and fun. Nice way to end my day.

My neighbour came home from the hospital yesterday but she is not feeling well and is talking of moving to be with her son and daughter-in-law in another city. It is so difficult to have to give up your life as you know it, at the age of 86, and go to fit in with someone elses life and be dependent on them when you have been staunchly independent all of your life. I dread the day that may happen to me. Speaking of change, it can be so hard sometimes and the past fifteen years of my life seem to be about loss and moving on to something different, when you don't know what that different is and your options are limited, it can be a real challenge to stay positive about life and not become bitter and angry. It is not in my nature to be bitter and angry and I do not want to give it room in my life, so I will continue to paint and journal and create as a panacea.

I have a lovely book call Gardens Of Our Souls that consists of letters written between two friends who have a love of gardening. One of them wrote about bitterness: "The very word is like something that is spat out, a nasty taste that must be eradicated before any other flavour can be admitted or savoured."

".....mental pain, misery, resentment, virulent feelings, harshness, sharpness and piercing cold. Bitterness is like a scream unscreamed, something acrid and sinister blocking the throat. Yet this powerful emotion is essential to our lives, pleasure is all the more real and wonderful the memory of how it felt to be bitter and miserable."

"Sometimes being a woman makes it harder to deal with bitterness. We've been raised to avoid confrontation, to keep the peace, placate and offer compromise. Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, an analyst and storyteller writes: 'There is a time when a woman has to make a decision - possibly the most important psychic decision of her future life - about whether to be bitter or not.' According to Estes, once we have given voice to all the old hurts, acknowledged the disappointments and mourned them properly then we can return to our instinctual core and move on."

It seems to me this is an on-going challenge from day to day because the one thing we can count on in life is change, loss and disappoinment. Many things have changed in my life sinces last September. The death of my estranged brother, the death of my ex-husband and father of my children and major changes in some important relationships that have been very hurtful. And so the challenge is to fill my life with laughter, beauty, and positive change on a daily basis. Like CREATING EVERY DAY!

Sorry to be maudlin and depressing but it really helps to put it down and out of my head and heart. I think todays journal entry will be about bitternes and hurt and moving on - something like that.

Friday, June 19, 2009

June 19 2009

I have done another art journal entry and even struggled with that. Inspiration is just not there. Oh well, tomorrow's another day. My neighbour is coming home from the hospital tomorrow so I am going to pick her up at 10:00 am. I hope she can manage on her own still.

I threw my Wreck This Journal under three different buses before I got it right and the whole thing got run over. I was surprised and a little disappointed and how little damage occurred - just some indents where the rocks on the road stuck in. I found lots of circles for the circle page and had fun doing that and colouring outside the lines felt pretty rebellious. Just trying to play these days and relax a little before I start on my canvasses again.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

June 17 2009

I just did an art journal page today to take the pressure off and just play. I also put modeling past on five canvasses in preparation for some more creative endeavors.

I went up to the hospital today to visit my neighbour and then went and watered her plants and throw away stuff from the fridge. She doesn't know, yet, when she will be home. Growing old can be very difficult sometimes. Her son lives up in the interior, all her long-time friends are in nursing homes or have passed away. There are quite a few people in this apartment building who are basically alone in this world. It is very sad when they need help and there is no one to advocate for them. Neighbours are very good about helping out and doing what they can. Good health and family are such blessings. My neighbour's son and daughter-in-law sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers for helping out. It is lovely - I so enjoy having flowers in my home.

I am going to write a monthly newsletter for the building to try to revitalize our community spirit that got stifled by our new property managers. The man who used to do it has lymphoma so is no long able to put it together. My lovely daughter, Roxane, has offered to print it for us at her work for a nominal sum. This kind of fits in with the Creative Every Day theme of sound. The newsletter gives a voice to the residents of the building. We print photos, poems, writing, etc. It should be fun.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

June 16 2009

It has taken me a few days to paint this one. I went to the hospital with my neighbour at 4am on Saturday morning and have been visiting her every day since. I find when I have disruptions in my routine like this it takes me time to get grounded again, although I only missed painting on Saturday. This is a picture that I drew and did a rough watercolour of a few years ago and so enjoyed doing an actual painting of it. I consider all these pictures as practice and I am sure my skills will improve over time.

I am behind about four days on the 100 x 100 challenge and I am disappointed about this but am happy that I have completed as many pieces as I have. I usually get about two thirds of the way through a project and then give up because it's no good or I don't know how to finish it. So this is a great breakthough for me and oh, horror of horrors, I am not perfect! Gasp!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 12 2009

I have been wrecking my journal and enjoying it and squirming while doing some of the things I have to do. I am not used to doing 'silly' things. I was in the coffee shop drinking my latte when I thought "this would be a good time to put coffee on the page". I sat there trying to figure out how I could spit some coffee on the page. I was near the end of it when I held the book up and spit on the page, hoping no one - including the man sitting right beside me - wouldn't notice. It didn't do much so I held the book up in front of my face again and spit again. I closed the book and then realized that the coffee was leaking out the ends and dripping on my light beige pants. Furtive looks around while I got up to get a napkin!!! When I got to the end of my drink I poured a little on the page and closed it again, coffee dripping out again but this time I was prepared. I don't know if anyone saw me but I was feeling a little daft but also chuckling to myself.

Tonight I decided to burn the page. I held it over the sink and lit the edge of it and blew it out then brushed it with my hand. When I had the edge burned, I thought it would be creative to burn a hole in the middle of the page. It held the match under it and all of a sudden it blazed up and there was quite a fire burning, I blew and nothing happened. Fortunately I had a wet cloth handy and managed to put it out. This is really a weird experience.

The other two pages are ones I did in the coffee shop.

I painted all afternoon but haven't finished the picture yet, will probably finish tomorrow so will post it then.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

June 9 2009

I'm back and made 2 cards (the same) and painted a picture. I dithered about for quite a while and realized if I don't have a clear picture of what I want I can't make a dicision. There are so many things I could do but I'm not clear on anything. Once I got started I was fine. So, here it is midnight and I've just finished after starting at 11 this morning. I enjoyed myself and stopped to watch So You Think You Can Dance. Great show - amazing dancers. Brandon is my favourite, I was so disappointed when he didn't get through last year.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 9 2009

I'm just in the dumps today and didn't do anything. Hope I will be feeling brighter tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

June 8 2009

Not a good day today. Dithered around for a long time not knowing what to paint. Slipped into the old thing of not being able to decide and almost did nothing as a result. Then I decided to just go for it. I'm not thrilled with the outcome but here it is. There is copper on the leaves at the side, the other design and the three dots on the left but it doesn't show up. I'm still one behind for the eighth day but I'll catch up on a day when I feel more inspired and higher energy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7th 2009

This is yesterday's picture, I just finished it. Didn't know what to do with it so left it for today. Will have to do two things tomorrow to keep up and that's okay.

I have had a problem in the past with getting pictures or projects about two-thirds finished and then getting very critical of them and not wanting to finish them. I seem to have got past that with this challenge, I just carry on regardless of how I'm feeling about what I've done because I have given myself permission to do bad art. I feel that I am free of the old voice that beat me up and then I would get angry and frustrated with myself. It was a vicious circle. I am really not so concered with the outcome, more just interested in finishing.

A friend from out of town called me today and we met for coffee at Granville Island. Had a very enjoyable visit. She is one of those wonderful friends who is always the same and is so accepting and without judgment. I really miss spending time with her, so it was a real treat to pass the time with her in a beautiful setting. The weather was warm and it got sunny later in the day.

On the way to Granville Island on the little Aquabus, we saw a seal. You don't often see much more that the tops of their heads and within a few seconds they are gone again. I love seals and am always reminded of Clarissa Pinkola Estes story Sealskin, Soulskin. The mythical story of a seal who is captured by a man, who steals her skin anf hides. The seal becomes a woman without it's skin and they marry and remain happily married for a few years. She bears him a child and when the child has grown she needs to return to sea but she can't without her skin. She begins to shrivel up and die. She eventually gets her skin back and returns to the sea. I can so relate to this story, hence my feeling of kinship with the seals.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 5 2009

This doesn't quite feel finished but I don't know what else it needs. Maybe it will come to me in time or maybe it is really finished.

Friday, June 5, 2009

June 5 2009

I completed my fifth picture today but the paint isn't dry yet so I can't scan it so I will post it tomorrow morning. I didn't realize until after it was finished that it is a recurring theme for me, a bird flying to the moon or a sun. It's a few years since I've done one similar. I am going to do something different tomorrow. It's the first day of the Wreck This Journal and I haven't looked at it yet.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

June 4th 2009

I wasn't going to paint today but this one was sitting half finished so I went for it. I really like palette knife painting because of the texture. I have only done six other knife paintings so I'm not great at it yet but the more I do the better I'll get, hopfully. Today I learned that when I use left over paint to base coat canvases I need to write on the back the colours I used because when I have gone back to them I can't remember. I need to learn how to mix the colours to get the values better. I have improved a little but there's still room for much improvement.

I'm still enjoying the challenge and have ideas for a couple more so am looking forward to tackling them.

It's so hot here right now, I feel really tired, not used to the heat as it's usually very moderate here. It's a treat to have nice weather, though, so I'm not complaining. The last two Springs were very wet and cloudy, so this is great.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June 3 2009

Day three of my commitment and another painting done. I think I will do something different tomorrow, not sure what yet. I used stamps today and water soluble oil pastels. I learned that you shouldn't try to paint over oil pastels. The white on the dandelion seeds is holey handmade paper. I also discovered that modelling paste doesn't take paint so I will have to gesso over it next time. I haven't completed paintings so quickly before so I am happy with what I have done the past three days. I haven't fussed as much as I usually do. Thanks to all of you for you supportive words and for coming to see my creative endeavors.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2 2009

I wrote the Haiku on this one but the picture is too small to see it.

golden ginko leaves
bearers of hope love and peace
drifting on the wind
June 2nd 2009

Another fun day creating. The Gingko leaves are actually gold leaf but it didn't show up in the scan. I was so wired last night thinking about the paintings I am going to do, the ideas were coming and I wanted to stay up and create but I knew I would be tired this morning if I did.
I am so thrilled to have completed two paintings in two days and using methods I haven't used before. I got out my Cloth Paper Scissors magazines and I am going to try some new techniques. I haven't felt this excited about creating for a very long time.

It was very hot today, for here, and I walked to Granville Island taking some pictures of flowers along the way. I always carry my camera with me now. Will post a couple if they are good. It's 11:45 so it's too late to download now.

It's very warm here tonight - not good for sleeping.

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1 2009

I completed my challenge today, finished one of the pictures I started (one of the 8x8 canvases I was working on). I would never have finished today if it wasn't for the 100 in 100 challenge.

I have been giving a lot of thought to the questions HybridJ sent me for my interview and now feel ready to answer them, so here goes:

l. If you could go back int ime, which year/era would it be and why?

This was a difficult question to answer because in all the years and eras I could think of there were negatives. I decided on the 50's. These were my teen years and I feel were good years because we were in the aftermath of the great depression and the second world war. Our lives were beginning to improve with the rationing of sugar, butter and meat over. Although there was the underlying fear of the atomic/hydrogen bombs people were generally better off. It seems to me it was a gentler time, people had good manners, children respected adults, we were not absorbed in TV yet (it was pretty new then), and records were just coming out with Stereo sound, not so many cars, families were intact. When I watch movies from the fifties it just seems to be a more romantic time when sex was portrayed in more subtle ways and you had to use your imagination.

I would like to change a few things about the choices I made at that time of my life, if I could have been wiser, more assertive and brave at the time and stood up to my parents and the school counsellor when they told me I wasn't smart enough to go university to be a teacher. I was two years ahead of the students in my class because I had skipped a grade and started school at the age of five because my birthday is Dec. 30. This decision completely changed the course of my life. I wonder how different my life would have been had been encouraged to go to university. I did finally go to university and graduated at the age of 53. I graduated after the first two years with a Diploma In Arts with Distinction. So, not so dumb after all.

2. What lesson(s) have you learned as a woman that you would want to impart to other women?

The most important lesson I have learned is to not give your power away when you are in a relationship. Woman so often give up their own lives when they get into a relationship and when they are raising children they don't make time to take care of their own needs and pursue their own dreams. Also, have the skills to support yourself before you get married so you are not trapped by your financial dependence on your partner. Your partner could leave, your children will leave eventually and it's imperative that they don't take you with them when they leave because your whole life has been about them.

3. What was your favourite game/toy when you were a little girl?

I don't know that I had one favourite game or toy. I liked playing dolls and dress-up in my mom's clothes and drawing a house on the road in front of my house in chalk. Playing Peggy under the street-light after dark and once the boy next door made pathways all around the dirt pile left from digging the earth out for the foundation of a new house. We played for hours running around those paths. We had plum eating contests and whoever ate their plum the fastest won a plum for a prize. I loved climbing trees. I loved to draw and colour.

So no real favourite.

4. What is the significance of your art projects to you?

It is a way to express the way I feel about things, the way I see the world and to play with colour. I love colour!!!

5. What art object or artwork would you make from below items:

Multi-Colour Post-It Notes - a collage with notes to people I love.

Maple Leaves - I once made a collage of large maple leaves with a spider web over it in silk thread. I use maple leaves and other leaves to decorate candles and also use them to make cards.

Electric Cables - I don't have a clue.

Candles - I drip beeswax over six-inch candles, tie raffia around them and attach star annis and cinnamon sticks. I used to make candles, molding some in sand and some were made in plastic molds. I sold them on a market stall in England.

Paper Clips - Sorry don't know what to do with these either.