Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Giving yourself permission

A friend recently asked me to answer a number of questions relating to a paper she was writing for a university course on Artists and their motivations. I was happy to answer the 7 questions because it gave me a chance to reflect back on my life to the present and figure out indeed why I am an artist. How many of us actually think about how we got to where we are today, and does it help to reflect on that part of our life? Personally, I enjoy writing about my experiences with Art, thanks in part to Robert Genn of The Painters Keys. In his book, "Love Letters to Art", he states that quite often he will take notes on location as well as paint. He claims that doing this helps to solidify the moment experienced, and I totally agree with him. It is a common fact that the more of your faculties you use in any type of endevour the better the recollection later on. Back to Susans questions. She asked if I saw myself as always being an artist and I answered that I hope to be one until the day God takes me home. The artists way is one of respect for all of humanity and the physical world we all have been gifted with. To practice with that intent is to gain an even deeper respect and understanding of life. I am positive that all artists have a similar attitude.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I'm back in The Pas for a while, have to finish some jobs related to my actual income earning occupation of Carpenter then it is off to Manitou to begin a new phase of life. (again) I think there is a pretty good chance of finding gypsy blood in my roots if I took the time to investigate. I am excited about the move though because the community's of Watrous and Manitou are very welcoming and full of wonderful folks.

I attended the opening reception for the Artvisions 2008 show in Kelowna on the 25th of October and had a wonderful time. Has Kelowna ever changed since the last time I was there, which was some time ago. I remember it as a quaint beach type of town, now it is a blossoming city complete with high rises and high prices. Anyways, the show was a great success, I met some very interesting and talented artists and gallery owners and learned a little bit more about the business of art in the 21st century.

I haven't had much opportunity to work in my studio lately and that is going to change shortly, I have to get to work on my grant project in a serious way. My head is full of ideas and methods and it is about to all pour out in the form of gobs of paint!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Artvisions 2008

I am writing from my future home, the hamlet of Manitou Lake, Saskatchewan. I have been here for a week or so, busily building my new studio/workshop before the winter snows come. We have been quite fortunate with the weather, the tempurature has been hovering around 8 degrees Celcius. I was able to work in my shirt only the other day when the tempurature was 14 C. Extraordinary weather for this time of the year. A couple more days and I will have it closed in and out of the weather. I recieved some wonderful news the other day. I had submitted 3 of my paintings for consideration in the Artvisions 2008 show that is being jointly held at the ArtArk and Hambleton Galleries in Kelowna. The show is sponsored by the Federation of Canadian Artists, of which I am an active member. Anyways, I have had two works selected to show! I was flabbergasted by the news and did not sleep well for two days. I am going to take my wife Crystal to the opening reception on the 25th of October to see all the wonderful art that will be displayed there. I am anxious to get back in the studio, I have so many ideas and so little time to get at it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Artists Retreats

Its been awhile since I posted on the site, I had intentions of being more regular about that than it has turned out. Anyways, our annual Art Retreat in Shellmouth has come and gone and as usual it was a fantastic time for all involved. Most of us are already wondering when and where the next one is going to be as we usually get together again in the Autumn. What can I say about Shellmouth other than it is an intense week of Art making, socializing, eating and listening to great music by Jack and Sandra Hollenburg (Silk and Steel). I always manage to paint quite a bit, in the studio and out of doors. This retreat was particularly successful for me as I feet that I made a breakthrough with my paintings and I am quite excited about the direction I am going. I cannot seem to part with the paintings I created as I love looking at them everyday, in particular the painting I call "In the Forest". I hope to create a body of work, say 12 to 15 pieces, to present to a commercial gallery in Winnipeg or Saskatoon for possible representation.
In closing I just want to say again how much the Shellmouth retreat means to me. There isn't a greater bunch of people you will ever meet and they all have made a profound impact on my Art.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shellmouth Artist's Retreat

Well, I am counting the days now until the annual Shellmouth Artist's Retreat. This event is a week long time of meeting old friends and welcoming new ones, eating like kings and queens and of course, painting. Shellmouth is situated approximately 25 minutes north of Russell, Manitoba, and is a tiny hamlet situated in the Dropmore River Valley. It is a very picturesque setting for the hordes of artists that converge on the place every year. The only real obligation the artists have to live up to is to cook one meal for upwards to 30 people (and then clean up!) The Retreat is a non-instructional event where people are free to do whatever type art their heart desires. Of course there is much learning going on as everyone mingles about to see what others are up to, and this is a valuable learning tool in of itself. The art making reaches a feverish pitch by the weekend, at which point we have a public viewing and wind up party. We have been fortunate to have the organizers sister, Sandra Hollenburg and her husband Jack perform live music for us at the dance. They are called Silk and Steel and sound fantastic. Jan Layh, the organizer, has been putting the Retreat on for over 8 years now and it has not decreased in popularity at all, in fact there is a waiting list to attend. The energy levels at this Retreat are way off of the scale and the Art that is produced is a wonderful thing to see.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Carver

Yesterday my dogs and I took a drive up to Cranberry Portage to visit my carver friend Irvin Head. Irvin owns and operates an Art Gallery called Northern Buffalo Sculptures and he bides his time between there and his studio down by the lake. When I got to the gallery I found his wife Lisa running the place while Irvin helped some people take down a few teepee's to ship up to the site of the Guy Indian school at Clearwater Lake, where there was going to be a gathering. These two people were instrumental in organizing the construction of what is currently the world's largest teepee. It is a wonderful site to behold and an asset to the Canadian north. Already there have been numerous events held at this site and it is rapidly becoming a popular tourist site.

I wanted to see Irvin to get some photos of him and his studio as I am planning on doing a series of paintings honoring the north and its people. I recently received a grant from the Manitoba Arts Council to complete a project I am calling "Meditations on Northern Manitoba." Irvin is a wonderful carver and very sensitive to his materials and surroundings. He has begun to gather stone from the land around him and is excited about creating pieces that speak of their roots. For those of you who don't know, the rock in these parts is very old and hard and require quite a bit of labour to fashion. I am excited about his venture and wish him well.