Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Camellia's for mum

Camellia's - oil on canvas - 30 x 30" - $900
"On-wards!"  
That is an expression my mother used all the time!  She would say it after a cup of coffee & the newspaper, while hoisting herself from her chair, she would say it when she jumped out of bed in the mornings; she summoned it loudly and joyfully!  I came to know that it meant she intended to go forward in some way to tackle a project or the day or the next few minutes with renewed vigor.
This painting was languishing in my studio for the past few weeks needing some sort of resolution.  I was all out of ideas for where to go next with it.  I kept procrastinating for two reasons, one was a good one, it needed to dry before I worked into it again, but that only let me off the hook for a week or so...the other reason was I really didn't know what to do next! 
That's when I realized that I was totally missing the point.  Painting is not always about knowing what to do next.  It's about allowing the play to begin, and trusting it's enough,  finding my way for a few more hours or minutes or whatever my heart thinks is right for now.    I squeezed out my paint.  "Onwards!"  I could hear those words plainly in my mind's ear.  It will be my mother's birthday tomorrow, she always liked the fact that she and the Queen were born on the same day (2 years apart).  My mother would have been 92!
 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Emily's grave

Peace - oil on panel 'en plein air' - 9 x 12 - $250
Emily Carr's grave site in the Ross Bay Cemetary is very close to where my daughter Holly lives in Victoria.  
deer wander freely
in the Ross Bay Cemetary




When I was there in March I took these photos of the grave site markers.  She is buried with members of her family there.  It is a peaceful place; and lovely to see the humble little art curiosities and gifts that are frequently left leaning up against her grave.
 



When we were out walking in Victoria along St. James street on Good Friday, we happened across the family home of Emily Carr, where she spent her childhood.  It is a museum now, and it was closed on the day we were there, but the gates were wide open to the property.  Jeff and I were curious and went into the grounds to explore it and peek into the windows.  I enjoyed imagining what it would have been like growing up there.  



As we came around the yard, there was an old grey shed-like building in disrepair quite close to the old house.  We opened the unlocked door to reveal all sorts of artists paraphernalia jammed inside, alongside a small bed-shelf and other items of living.  

inside ' the Elephant'... brushes, photos, etc.




It dawned on me that this was a replica of "The Elephant", which was the nickname that Emily gave to her trailer that she would camp in when out painting in the woods.  I wonder if it was one that was created to be used in the movie 'Winds of Heaven',  perhaps left with the museum to be used for display afterwards.  It seemed odd to me that it was so exposed to the elements;  there was a large hole in the wall next to the open door, where rain and animals could easily have gotten in.  Whatever the reason it was there, it was like finding a treasure, albeit a faux one.
Canada is currently working a new paper bank note that will feature a 'prominant Canadian female figure'...I hope it will be either Emily Carr or another favorite Canadian artist Pegi Nicol McLeod.