Thursday, March 31, 2011

Here comes the sun

What a beautiful day it has been.  The moment I got up this morning I knew it was going to be different, the clouds in the sky had that look about them like it was spring or something.  After work I set up a small 10 x 12 oil I worked on the last time the sun shone and did some refining to reflect the kind of afternoon it was.  It is melting like crazy, I hope the crews working on the berms by the lake aren't have to rough  time of it.  They are trying to keep the lake from flooding the shore side developments by building up the shoreline.  Good luck with that.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And now...something totally different

While out walking the other morning, the last time the sun was visible, I had a peculiar experience.  So that I could enjoy the sun's warmth better I turned my face in its direction and just enjoyed that sensation for awhile.  I began to see this curious shape, complete with the colours of the above painting, floating before my closed eyes.  This pastel comes close to what I saw but it doesn't quite match the experience.  I really like the colour combination's and would like to try this in an oil, large format.  Maybe this is what Rothko saw in his minds eye?

Monday, March 28, 2011

High Winds, Bright Sky

Looks like I am going to a Bruce Cockburn concert on April 3rd.  I haven't seen Bruce live in a very long time, I was still in my late teens when I heard him play at the University of Winnipeg.  The title of this painting mimics a favourite song of mine written by Cockburn for one of his earlier albums. On another note for those of you who are interested or who will be in the area, I will be showing some of my paintings in Vancouver at the Haiku Inspirations show in the Federation Gallery on Granville Island April 12th to May 1st.  I am also showing at the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre in Kamloops April 9th to the 17th.  I do have some friends and relatives out that way, pass the word around and go have a look as judging by the caliber of the artists involved both shows promise to be outstanding. What say you to that Scott, Michael, Nick, Chris, Suzanne? 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

To those that aspire to lead

We in Canada are about to undergo yet another federal election so we should be wary of much bad behavior by the aspiring leaders.  This poem by the ancient Lao Tzu comes to mind when I envision all the rhetoric that we Canadians are about to be bombarded with.
It is better not to make merit a matter of reward
Lest people conspire and contend,
Not to pile up rich belongings
Lest they rob,
Not to excite by display
Lest they covet.
A sound leader's aim
Is to open people's hearts,
Fill their stomachs,
Calm their wills,
Brace their bones
And so clarify their thoughts and cleanse their needs
That no cunning meddler could touch them:
Without being forced, without strain or constrain,
Good government comes of itself.

I wonder what is required reading when you go to Political school (Is there such an entity)?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lao tzu

Life has an amazing way of being.  Last Saturday Crystal and I met with Leisel, the daughter of our dearly departed Angelene Tysseland.  We had the opportunity to go through some of Angelenes books and papers and keep or borrow what we liked.  I came across a number of books that resonated with me, one of them being Lao Tzu's "Way of Life".  For those who are not aware, this man lived around 604 BC and his words resonate with a profound relevance in this day and age.  I have since re-read it twice and intend to continue doing so because his message speaks so strongly to me and clarifies so much that seems murky about life today.  Please read this small poem as an example.  I appreciate that it might not mean as much to the next person at this time as it does to me.  Nevertheless, it is a profoundly simple and strong message.

As the soft yield of water cleaves obstinate stone,
So to yield with life solves the insoluble:
To yield, I have learned, is to come back again.
But this unworded lesson,
This easy example,
Is lost among men.
                                                                                                               Lao Tzu  604 BC
I am amazed that this man, who lived 2615 years ago, possessed such common sense knowledge that the majority of the earths inhabitants lack today.  Why is this so? All of us are so out of touch with life, with life as it should be.  The great events happening today can be a lesson on the right way to live. Thank you, Angie, for the book.  I know that you read it many times, judging by all the footnotes I have come across and I now know that your latest Cantata "Labyrinth" had its roots there as well.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Great News

I received word via email that my painting "Black Poplars" has been accepted into the annual Federation of Canadian Artists Open Show in Kelowna, BC this April!  These shows are pretty much my only opportunity to show current work in Western Canada so I am quite excited about it all.  The other artists showing are all exceptional painters, I am honored to be included with them.  On another note, I stumbled upon this watercolor in a drawer this afternoon.  After having not seen it for some time I realized that I kind of like it.  It is a whimsical portrayal of a swamp back at The Pas, MB, around the Rosie Mayne Trail where I used to enjoy walking. I remember there being quite a few Great Blue Herons nesting back there and felt I was in a special place when near them.  I love these birds.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Abstraction in Wax

This painting is an abstraction in encaustic wax.  I was able to achieve the linear marks with a "kystka," which is the traditional tool used to make marks with molten beeswax on Ukrainian Easter Eggs. (Pysanka) I am getting a kick out of using these implements from my past in these current pieces of art and looking forward to exploring the theme further.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Running away screaming

We had some good friends spend the weekend with us, little 3 1/2 year old Phoenix, Angelena and Peter from Regina.  Its always nice to have visitors, we seem to get a lot since we moved to this part of the country.  Had a great time visiting and catching up.  I showed them my studio and they didn't run away screaming so I took that as a good sign that I'm doing something right.  Peter commented that I seem to have a lot of interests and styles, which I can't argue with.  I explained that I have many interests and a relatively short time to inhabit this earth.  The painting above is an example of a "style" that I have been interested in for some time now and the inspiration for it came from the neighbours back lane fence.  Go figure.   I have a number of these paintings under various stages of finish.  I have used encaustic waxes and oil paint along with various inks to get it to this point.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Full of Beeswax

My Dad used to say I was full of beeswax, as well as other people I won't mention here.  If only he knew how right he was!  I went for a long walk this morning, starting down my back lane, and that is where I discovered a tree with maple seeds hanging on it.  After taking a few photos of them in a back lighting situation, I had the bright idea of taking a few of them back to my studio and seeing if I could create something new with them.  The encaustic painting above is the result of that idea, tell me what you think.  I signed my name with twigs, a first for me and I like the look of it.  Many years ago my brother Richard took a great photo of a similar scene, I still have it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Seeing things

I have been doing a few encaustic paintings these days.  Basically I have just playing with them, like I used to when I was a young Kloppisz  (slang for an innocent young boy and probably not spelled right) making Ukrainian easter eggs with my Baba at her kitchen table.  Man, that seems like it was just yesterday.  I love the smell of Beeswax, nothing like it in all the world. Working with wax is for me a meditative practice.  This piece is an experiment and I'm not sure where I'll go with it, but it has some interesting possibilities.  Personally I see evidence of humans in it, maybe its me trapped in there.  Maybe I'll call it "The Bear Dream", and go from there.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Three Stones

This painting started out many years ago as some lichen covered stones on a forest floor in Northern Manitoba.  It has now been painted as three water washed stones on a late winter afternoon somewhere in Western Saskatchewan.  Such is the privilege of the artist, we can take God's creation and do some recreation.  I am kind of building up a gallery of these images, any takers?  It is a 12 x 14 inch oil painting on board with a small amount of gold leaf to boot.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dreaming of Winters Passing

I am a hardy soul and I like winter but........... minus 40 Celcius for the first of March?  Maybe there is a reason why human migration patterns have shown that there has been a definite move southward over the eons, a good chance that Mexicans were once Inuit.  Anyways, I have posted a painting of cherry blossoms and water just to bring a little bit of spring into my studio.  Hopefully this weather will break soon and I can bask in some warm sun without having to go to Mexico.