Sunday, June 30, 2013

still life

Don’t look back. Look forward. I hear this message often. It’s decent advice. Yet looking forward occasionally includes looking back just to see how far one has come. Progress isn’t always immediately noticeable. A big long hard look is not always necessary but a little glance, a chance encounter with your own personal history.

Reminders of the past are stay with us. We cannot escape them, but we can learn to live with them. They come up unexpected at any time. One day I was looking for something to write about and I noticed my coffee cup on the table:

An empty cup rests on my coffee table left there last night after drinking tea. It is the first cup I bought after my separation. Every cup I owned had my husband’s name on it. This cup is nameless and covered with bright fruits in bold sweeping strokes. I stood for fifteen minutes at the shelf deciding to buy the cup for myself; not because it was expensive, the cup cost about two dollars, but since it represented the first decision to make on my own in almost twenty years. It is now a bit chipped around the lip and base. One day it may break. It has traveled with me and held many brews from warm milk with honey when sick to Lady Grey on a dreamy evening spent in solitude. It does not have a name on it and never will. I prefer it that way.

I shared this small stone of observance with some friends, and since I paint the idea arose that I do a painting of my cup. Old Dutch 17th century still-life with their subjects full of symbolism came up in discussion, and I decided to do a still life.

I won’t mention the symbolism in the painting and what it stands for, but my cup is there.

However unlike a painting of strawberries and a cup, life is never really still. Life moves on and the cup is now one of several with no name but which are mine. A painting captures a small moment to linger on, but it also helps to let it go.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

a night of shrink art

On a warm and dry Saturday evening MAKE studio opened the one night showing of Shrink art in the gallery.

About three weeks previously, MAKE Studio put the word out
for artists to submit small works of art for a one night showing: nothing should be larger than six inches in diameter. The response was enthusiastic, and about forty local artists submitted their works for display and sale.
paula bellgens

An eclectic mix of style and media were the result, and Yvonne, Bobbi Sue and Michelle from MAKE placed the artwork about the space with care and consideration. The gallery is small and soon overwhelmed. The call-out for small works was a wise choice, and quite possibly the only way to show forty diverse artists in such a confined space.
amy falkenberg

jessica molcan
The artworks were affordable and relatively inexpensive as well, which was a blessing for those in attendance wanting to buy. Prices ranged from ten to eighty dollars. (I did not buy. The piece I wanted sold before I could claim it but I understand it went to a good home so I'm happy) 
rodney corraini
The small digs got a bit cramped at times but did not dampen the mood. The energy flowed as smoothly as the wine and conversations. It was a chance to meet some old friends and make new acquaintances.This was the first time showing of work for a few artists.
Overheard was the remark that Nanaimo needs more of these events showcasing local work. A worthy comment but as with all events it takes organizers up to the challenge; it takes effort to pull together such a show within a short time frame. I hope for Nanaimo that the debut event will also not be the last. New ventures are always a learning experience, and kudos must be given to Yvonne, Bobbi Sue and Michelle for showing initiative and providing a venue. We as a community are richer for it.

Make Studio, 55 Victoria Rd. Nanaimo BC

Sunday, June 16, 2013

creative intent

I love synchronicity. I love when after voicing an idea that same idea seems to be in other people’s thoughts too. Last week I queried about the intelligence of the Universe. I wondered if the Universe created like I do a short story; only having a vague idea of how the story is going to go and what type of characters reside within it. In other words, the universe having a vague intent, going through the process but being uncertain about the final product. I prefer the word Universe to God because to me it encompasses all energy and matter and is limitless. The word God carries with it too many social and cultural expectations and prejudices and I want to avoid that as much as possible. Everyone seems to have preconceived ideas about what God is. I want to broaden my expectations and remain limitless.

The other day I came across a video talking about grand design and intent. As to whether the Universe had a purpose. The video has been around for a while and I had seen it before, but it struck me as funny that the video came up again just as I queried the same thing. Also this time I had a definite reaction to it whereas last time I shrugged it off.Neil DeGrasse Tyson suggests it is highly unlikely that the Universe has a purpose since we lack empirical evidence to the contrary and uses mathematics to justify is point. 
More specifically he uses probabilities.I am highly amused by this tactic. Yes the odds seem high against an intent, but Tyson's thinking seems very human-centric (if there is such a word) and oddly narrow when regarding the nature of the question.

There is a saying “How can we know the mind of God?” I think this can just as easily be stated “How can we know the nature of the Universe?” We can’t. Yet we have used physics, math and geometry to help explain some of the past puzzles and continue to use it to explain the present ones.So I will try to use math in a similiar manner.
If we think of the process of the Universe on one side of the equation and intent being on the other it could look something like this:

Process of the Universe = Intent

We don’t fully know the processes nor the intent but all mathematical equations tend to want to resolve some intent. It is the steps in the process we don’t know, we may never know, but would like to learn.

Now I am no Scientist and I suck at math. (It fascinates me but I suck at it.) Yet I’ve often seen examples showing huge equations with brackets and more brackets with little steps and processes going on inside them that must be calculated first before going onto the next.I've done smaller ones and they hurt my brain. The process has a logic. I am familiar with this logic I just get lost among the steps. To explain the connection between a math equation and the processes of time and universe, think of the period of dinosaurs being one step in the calculations and Humanity’s time on earth is just another step in the calculations. Then it makes more sense. These time periods are just mathematical procedures within brackets that are part of a bigger formula. We can’t see the formula because all we can see is within the confines of our bracket or brackets. All these little procedures are necessary calculations that need to be made before the final intent can be realized.

"We're missing some data."

What is the final intent? My guess is as good as yours. My guess is survival. I’m in awe of natural selection. Over time calculations have been made to give species the greatest chance of survival. Over time some have been canceled out. We humans will eventually be cancelled out too I assume. The need for survival has created some ingenious adaptations that show obvious intent.

Some time ago I watched a video of a fish that has the ability to change it appearance instantaneously. It will look one way to demonstrate camaraderie and another to show aggression. If it is presented with a friend on one side and a foe on the other, it can divide its appearance exactly in half: friendly on one side, fierce on the other. To me this shows an intelligence that goes beyond natural selection. Natural selection easily explains bigger bills, longer necks and wider feet but dividing appearance in half shows intent for survival.

So it seems to me the goal of the Universe is to survive. Which seems strange because we as humans seem to be doing all we can to destroy it. All part of some bigger equation perhaps. To balance out operations in other parts of the galaxies? Who can know the mind of the Universe? We think like humans.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

love of life story

I am currently writing a short story. I don’t expect it to be good. My aim right now is just to get the words down, to get into the practice of writing daily a longer piece whose end is not immediately visible. If I achieve a beginning, middle and an end then I am happy. It is different than writing a stone or a poem. It is different than writing a blog post. I have only a vague idea of how the story’s direction is going to go and I may change my mind at any instant. Right now it is the story of Bert. He hasn’t met Marjorie yet, but I know one day I’ll write where the two of them meet and she will change his life. No, it is not a love story but a love of life story.
Is this how the intelligence of the Universe directs us? Does it have just a vague idea of our lives' direction and could change its mind at any instance? Possible. Details in my written story come up at a whim. They tend to do that in life too. The unexpected can change the story with an instance. We shape the story but it also shapes us.A short while ago I was asked by Rosemary Nissen-Wade if I would be inclined to share a piece of writing I did with Poets Unite (Friday, May 13th). Would I!! I was tickled to cotton candy pink. I am honoured to have my work recognized by dedicated writers creating a blog of quality. I willingly shared what I wrote. 

Yet there’s an interesting outcome to their acknowledgement of my work. My personal story changed with that instance. They changed the shape of the story I’d been writing for myself.For the first time I think of myself as a writer. I mostly thought of myself as a creative person who writes just as I thought of myself as a creative person who paints. There is a difference. To call oneself a writer or a painter suggests a lifestyle dedicated to those efforts. I’ve resisted that. A writer/painter life is one of uncertainty. I wanted more stability or at least thought I did.Yet deep down I knew it to be my goal—to become a writer and artist.

I desire to uncover what I am capable of, not because of any especial talent, but because I do not want to look back with regrets. That aspect requires accepting and being committed to the creative energy within. My goal is to live in such a way that allows the greatest possibility of producing and creating rather than consuming. It truly is a lifestyle that takes practice and effort and is still in it's infancy, but I am joyfully learning the middle-aged baby steps. 

I am pencils and erasers, a writer and painter: an artist of words and images. This is my life. 

There, I’ve said it. Curious how the Universe will respond.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

writing blitz

After the drawing blitz done last week and a bit I packed up the pencils. Not for good, I could never do that, but to lift up my head from the drawing board, do some writing and gain some inspiration. I ping pong between writing and drawing. Writing time allows me to get some housework done as well which is also good. Drawing is nice but living in squalor isn’t.When I draw nothing else gets done around here so the dishes pile up. So this past week I turned my attention toward writing practice learning about plot and character development with the goal of one day writing a short story.I also did dishes.

About a year ago one of the bookstores near me was selling a copy of The Making of a Story by Alice LaPlante for five bucks. New hard cover book on writing for five bucks? That was too good to resist. It is an educational read. The book is full of excellent advice and includes wonderful stories as example. Some of those stories changed my thinking for ever such as John Sack’s Inside the Bunker; a story on awareness, empathy and the intricacies of rhetoric written by a Jewish reporter visiting and speaking at a Holocaust denier convention.(The beauty of Google is that one can access alternate opinions and alternate views on the article.) I don’t know if LaPlante’s book is available online for sale but if you come across it I recommend it.

Sack’s article reminded me of a piece I wrote some months ago:

Slipping the dinner bun to his pocket,

the elderly man grabs my arm.

“Waste not, want not,” he states

gently letting go,

“We went through the war in England you know.”

He utters this while leaving

with a measured smile

slightly shuffling,

shoulders warped by time

I smile too

Contentment rippling through my belly

that an old English gentleman

deprived during war time

appreciates a leftover bun

from a German coffee shop 
baked in Canada

kept in his pocket.

I still do my daily writing in the morning. One early rising the bird calls were especially exuberant. What were those birds talking about? Were they having intelligent conversations or was it endless avian chattering reminiscent of cell phone banter?

 “Yes, I am in the Japanese Maple left of the Blue Spruce. I’ll be flying to the shaggy Willow next. Meet me there? “

“I just ate six worms for breakfast. Sorry! I know. I should have sent a picture. Me bad. “

“I really need some new feathers.”

“Tell me about it. He’s after all the birds in the neighbourhood.”

“The orange cat got her last week. Yes! So sad, but really she should have kept in better shape.”

“I’ll be so glad when the kids fly from the nest. Nothing but Mom this, Mom that.”

“Guess who just texted me?”

“Dude! I nailed those airstreams.”

“You up to dive bombing some squirrels?”

“Check out the new chicks on the block. Hey, I still got it.”

“Had way too many berries Saturday night. Feel like shit.”

“That hawk thought he had me but I smoked him. So stoked.” 

Its possible.