Wednesday, August 30, 2023

I recently did a commission of a local forest painting for two brothers in the Netherlands. They are paying by donation to BC Conservation groups that I recommended. I feel SO wonderful about this whole arrangement that I decided to do a big sale of my work in support of my local Conservancy, which works very very hard to manage, preserve, and educate about our local wildlands. There's really nothing that matters more to the survival of humanity than protecting the ecology of the planet we inhabit, and the Bowen Island Conservancy works so hard to this end that I can't think of a better recipient for the proceeds from my work.

The painting that inspired this sale. It's a pair of landscapes for a pair of brothers. Together they make a forest, and the sun shines on them both. Kind of like this sale, which will benefit me (space in my studio!!) AND the Bowen Island Conservancy, whose work protects us all.

Please join us! Hopefully the rain will hold off, but if not, it's dry in the studio! Maybe you'll go home with a painting, photo-print, or a book! And because my studio sits just adjacent to my regenerative food garden, the first ten purchases will also receive a free plant or package of seeds (first purchase; first choice!) I'm very much looking forward to this day, and include below a few of the pieces whose sale price will most benefit the Conservancy.

Open Studio and Art Sale
75% of sale price of botanical paintings and 25% of other paintings will be donated to the Bowen Island Conservancy
Sunday, September 3, 10am--4pm
602 Collins rd, Bowen Island
Please no dogs, as we have chickens in the yard.
More info:

Cherry Blossoms 1, 2, & 3
Oil and graphite on 3 canvases totalling 50x30"

Thank you for sheltering me 2
Oil on canvas, 36x24"

Spring came early and surprised the bluebells.
Oil on canvas, 36x24"

It was in the time of dancing leaves that you were born.
Oil on canvas, 24x24"

There will be many other things for sale as well, including recent abstract works on canvas, unframed photo prints, and art books. Even a few SuperMAMA t-shirts, for only $30!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Smoke, Fire, Ashes, and covering everything with white.

I sometimes wonder why everything I paint recently, and somehow even the installations I do, gets a clouded overlay. It's oil paint, white fabric, soft white light; whatever. I keep washing everything away into a purposeful obscurity. (Except my portrait of my Ukrainian Grandma releasing her war trauma. For that I made the obscurity first, and she came out of it. That's a strange happening!) Recently I also found out I have cataracts, apparently caused by the various courses of prednisone I've been subjected to over these last 3.5 years of struggling with long COVID. Blah. Great. Not the news you want, as an artist! But even more recently I realized I might be replicating my own clouded cateract vision in my work. Huh.

Grandma Frees the Ptarmigan, 2023

I mean, part of me wants to embrace that (since the inflammatory effects of my long COVID also mean cataract surgery is not recommended), but part of me is still looking for a deeper meaning. And the white thing has been going on in my work for longer than I've had cataracts. I think I found my deeper meaning, during this current fire-season. It's self-silencing. 

We live in a world full of fear, watching homes and towns and futures burn and flood and life just get harder and harder. And the best comfort we can give ourselves is to wrap up in the status quo. Get a latte from a huge corporate entity and watch some non-reality on Netflix. We Canadians aren't even allowed to share the news anymore (Meta: Working to silence the world!) 

I've been passionately determined to change the status quo since I was a kid, but people get defensive if I talk about change. People write off my personal status-quo-breaking experiments (unschooling, regenerative farming, rejecting many popular conveniences in an effort to live sustainably) as impossible for most, or, even worse, "crazy". I feel so frustrated; so unheard, and so afraid of losing community support (and friends!) because my voice has been too loud; too radical. So I'm trying to shout my meaning while simultaneously silencing myself (!) Yeah. That's weird.

(I open my mouth and) Nothing Comes Out, 2016

Is it necessary? Do I risk being written off like Sinéad O'Connor and everybody else who just couldn't keep silent? Who tried to change us? Or am I getting desperate enough not to care?

Drink Before the War, 2019

I was so saddened by Sinéad's death that I got even quieter. Now I'm so infuriated with watching my province burn (the homes of family friends gone, family evacuated and praying they don't lose everything, and my own veggies wilting and dropping in the smoke) while so many continue their world travels, unnecessary purchases, and general adherence to the status quo. I feel like I've been shouting for change my whole life, and my voice is hoarse but still somehow no sound comes out. So today I'm going back to the studio and just see what comes out of my brushes, because I just can't not scream about it all right now.

I don't think I'll stop using white. It's also evocative for me these days of the smoke and ash that's now a part of our every summer. And the blindness with which we're going into the future. My blindness. But I'm going to try to stop silencing myself.