In 2018 I was chosen by the CCACS (Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society) to receive a generous grant of $1000 towards Individual Artist Development. I had been researching German Art Academies for a while and kept coming back to the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste in Kolbermoor, Bavaria. It just really liked the vibe of the institution and the high quality of their teachers and programs. So, off I went. A one week art intensive with 16 other artists, half of them full time artists. My goal was to focus on simplifying my often very complex paintings and I think I succeeded and some interesting new possibilities opened up for me in my creativity. Below are some impressions of my work space as well as videos of a little one day excursion I made into the "Art in Motion" world, which is action painting of dancers.
Summer is always a very busy time, being self sustainable I spend a lot of time in the garden and the growing dome. Always planting something, harvesting something or weeding something. I love it but it means most of my days are spent outside and not in the studio. But summer is over, it has been for a while here in the more northerly parts of British Columbia. The first hard Fall frost brings the death of the garden with it and it is always a double edged sword for me, one part is happy that gardening season is over, the other part is sad that the garden season is over.
Even though we are still getting some very warm days lately, summer is definitely over, and being creative has begun, although this time it is ceramics that have me in their grip. As a member of the Williams Lake Potters Guild I attend their Raku nights and gas firings and I am busy preparing pieces for those firings. I managed to buy a small Skutt kiln last December, it came in my Subaru Forester together with Bitsy the cat and part of Josh's drumset from Saskatoon in -35. I have done two bisque firings and one glaze firing in it so far. Right now I am working on getting another bisque load ready.
My preferred method of working with clay is handbuilding like pinching and coiling. I am intrigued by ceramicists working on large vessels or sculptures that are coiled, and it is my goal to be working large as well but for now I still need to learn all the do's and don'ts of pottery and that is just easier with little pieces. If a small piece cracks because I did not let it dry slow enough or the clay was too dry when joining or the join was not performed in the right manner, I don't mind if the small piece cracks.
Even though I could easily spend my days working with clay, I am also starting to prepare for my trip to Germany next week. I am grateful to have received a grant for professional development from the CCACS, the Cariboo Arts Council, and I am spending it on attending an abstract painting art workshop at the Academy of Arts in Kolbermoor, Bavaria. So, I am slowly shifting my brain from 3D clay to 2D painting again.
WHY AM I CREATIVE? It is like an urge, a need, a desire, if I ignore it, I suffer. When I close my eyes I see images, colors, shapes, lines, that are asking me to express them in this realm. There seem to be two states of being when I am most creative, they are on the opposite end of the scale.
When this dense reality is exerting pressure on me, I feel the need to be expressive and the more I am bothered by this density the looser the strokes are, the bolder the colors are.there is a power and a dynamic in the painting process that is fueled by this struggle, It is like a mania, the inner critic is being ignored in moments like that, it is about getting it out. It feels like screaming when I paint in a state like that. Layer upon layer I work through whatever it is that is putting pressure on me until there is some relief.
Then there is creativity in the times of harmony, when I experience a oneness with nature and my surroundings, and my soul is begging me to put the joy and the bliss on paper or canvas. Nature is asking me to capture its playfulness and abundance. The flow of creativity is a different one in this state of being, it is a constant stream of beautiful images presenting themselves to me, the connection between my hand holding the brush and my heart is direct and it feels like meditation.
Being creative is like soul searching, the analytical mind is shut off, all I can think of is what the next layer should be. I never plan my paintings and often change the story according to what I am feeling right there and then. I still have trouble going back into a painting after some time, because I feel my paintings are snapshots of my soul at that moment.
Show at the Station House Gallery Williams Lake: Repose and Awakening - Collaboration with Mo Hamilton
Exciting times ... Spring is coming, I won't dare say it's here yet, but it's definitely trying hard. Last week was the opening of my first public gallery show. A total of 30 paintings in a variety of media centered around the two polar states in nature: repose and awakening.
Even though the theme is relating to the natural world, to me it also is representative of the human nature. Times of being inward and solitary and times of reaching out and connecting. One can't exist without the other, for me anyways.
Below is me and two of the more symbolic oil paintings in the show.
There are days where art becomes like a bad day at the office, nothing seems to work right, the colors don't work together, the ground on the canvas is fighting back, it doesn't feel right what I am doing ... and the harder I try, the more it is getting frustrating. I guess it just is part of the process, being an artist can't be eternal bliss, I get it. If only I could accept that fact, embrace it and continue on until I hit the big wave again ... but easier said than done. Maybe it is the ego, maybe it is the little voice in my head telling me that unless I produce something that might sell, I have no right to be wasting a whole day or even a whole week (which yes, has happened before) in the studio.
But as always, there is the moment, where all of a sudden while seemingly in the middle of the fight, the light at the end of the tunnel starts shining through and once I am over that hump, things just fall into place, the colors work together and my color choices that seemed off yesterday actually do work, shapes are starting to form an image and my happiness returns and my wave is back again ... until next time. Hopefully I will remember to just keep going and to accept that it is just part of the process.
Winter is here … a snow storm and a cold snap are on their way. On cold days I cannot work in my nice and bright studio because it gets slightly too cold with all the big windows. It’s then that I work on my desk in the loft on smaller, less messy watercolor paintings. The wood stove right below the floor makes it really cozy in there, but it also feels restricting because of the head height. I guess it forces me to behave when I am painting. And actually I am looking forward to working a little more delicate for a few days …
This is a photo from last year ...
A great article by Venta Rutkauskas for the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake and Area:
If you have never heard of Williams Lake ... it is in the Carioboo region in the Central Interior of British Columbia, where cabin fever hits just about anybody, wolves, cougars and bears are not an uncommon sight, most people own a cowboy hat, and there seem to be only two seasons: rubber boots and flip flops, nothing in between.