Monday, April 28, 2008

New Paintings in Library's Children's Section

"Our library is more than a repository of books-- it is a place where minds and imaginations have a chance to soar.  "Library in the Valley" is a merging of my stainglass style and my recent explorations of mandalas.  Using the mathematical repetition of numbers, and by carefully chosing colours and forms, I have tried to create a striking and harmonious picture that will engage viewers of all ages for a long time to come."

"Because Libraries are such central points in a community, they have been centers of knowledge, culture and art for centuries around the world.    It is a honour to be able to contribute my art in this venerable tradition, and even more so in our own small town."

 "I think its a wonderful tribute to the vision of the library, our local sponsors and the community that art is being incorporated into our public library to be enjoyed for decades by a large cross section of the community.  The incorporation of art into cities or spaces-- be it sculptures, architecture or image-- is a time tested and venerable path to making it a great place."

See also the news story on the Smithers Art Gallery Site

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion

Here's a recent small painting in my simplified landscape style by the name of "Reflection No.2"

I have just put the painting up on eBay as an experiment.  This could be a great chance to get one of my paintings for much less than it regularly goes for!  

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Could the limitations of age be an illusion of the mind?

Port Clemens - Queen Charlottes

Nice.  My coffee, the day, the journey, the dream.  Here I am living a dream -- cycling the Charlottes.  It is on list I created a few years ago of "top things I would love to do".  And here I am.  Breathing it in deeply-- as one must when smelling a garden rose that you cannot take with you.

The day is incredible.  Blue sky, sun, a little breeze off the ocean.  The terrain is flat and the landscape magical.  Off the highway, eagles sit perched on totems and majestic trees.  
They look down like ancient sentinels on their kingdom far below.  Towering spruces and cedars line the roads, blessing the passing cyclist with shade and shelter.  Early this morning we passed a naked woman getting out of her outdoor bath and sauntering back across her mossy lawn to her doorstep.  "Only in the Charlottes!" we said to ourselves.   

Andrew and I met a wise old man on the ferry.  A veteran of countless cycling kilometers he had insight after insight to share.  His bike was a holy testament to the art of packing, traveling and cycling.  Photos were immediately taken of his marvelous handiwork.  To most eyes, untrained in such arts, the bike might appear a most 'unslick' hand-made cockney of bike add-ons.    To our eyes it was a wondrous series of ergonomic and practical solutions to countless cycling packing and traveling challenges that we ourselves had long pondered.

He shared his great wisdom to us young travelers just on the outset of our journey.  He was on the beginning of his own-- his second cross Canada traverse.  Here's the whopper... he was 76 years old!  According to his doctor, if he continued on with carefully managed diet and heart-rate conscious cycling, he would only age one year for every two that passed.  We managed to do 120 kilometres that day.  He did 246!!!

Could the limitations of age be an illusion of the mind?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Water Bottle & Me Frozen on the Beach

I woke up this morning feeling like the contents of my water bottle -- frozen.  That night Andrew and I had made camp on one of the Queen Charlotte's eastern beaches, near Skidegate. 

However, the trying conditions were more than overwhelmed by the view as I grudgingly pulled myself out of my tent.  In a pool of aquamarine sky, the sun was rising like a ball of liquid fire over the ocean horizon.   The stones, sand and sea weed glistened in the golden glow of the first rays of the rising sun.

To resuscitate my frozen corpse from I attempted a shivering and frantic jog back and forth across the beach.  With my circulation revived I attempted a lurching series of downward dog yoga stretches.  To the by stander (fortunately there were none!) it must have looked a new variety of epileptic seizure.  At least now I now what it feels like to awake from cryogenic hibernation!

The yoga, the exercise, and the sunrise were a great consolation after the frigid awakening.  My key realization this morning:  I must return my sleeping bag.   Its -7 C rating is a definitive marketing ploy!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Notes from Point C

After an initial bout of frustration and existential exasperation with the universe's thwarting of well laid plans, Andrew and I decided to make do with our lot in life.  And what a lot it turned out to be!   Point C ended up being quite the point indeed (see previous entry "Point C not Point B").  

With three days to spare before the next ferry to the Queen Charlottes, we decided to set off on a bike and hike down a small coastal road.  The costal road soon came to an end and we continued down the CN rails.  The spectacular route, meandered along the lengthy, mountain and cliff strewn mouth of the Skeena river as it flows into the ocean.  

Our hike took to the beach when the terrain and tides were right and the rails when things got too tight.  We made our way to a an outcrop we had spied on Google Earth with old growth cedars, wind swept rocks, black beach and a sweeping panoramic vista of snow capped mountains.  We set up camp.  Wind and weather conspired to two frightfully cold nights.  Our consolation however was the full moon rising above the mountains, reflecting in ocean at our door step.

Yesterday, we set off again down the line to an a ghost town/cannery abandoned at least 80 years ago in the middle of nowhere.   Rusted steel pipes, sprockets, and mammoth boilers poked out of the moss and sand like mangled idols of some ancient tribe.  

I supposed in a way the metaphor isn't too far off.  This machinery was the heart of incredibly isolated operations and communities of men and women processing the salmon and the timber of this verdant coast.  The community living and camaraderie must have been intense.  The rotting planks and discarded machinery are the last vestiges of their life and mark on this place.




Thursday, April 17, 2008

Point C not B

Well, sometime you just don't get where you are going. This little blog is being typed from a hotel in Prince Rupert. Outside it is white, wet and windy. This morning my friend and I were headed to the Queen Charlotte Islands for what looked to be an extravagant bicycle trip for the next few days. The forecast calls for clear and sunny skies on the normally rainy island, for the next several days. Alas, a series of small, seeming innocent and insignificant delays, at the outset of our departure led to us being no more than several colossally frustrating minutes too late. In case you didn't know, 15 minutes before departure, on this particular BC ferries route, the manifest is called in, and no more passengers can be taken aboard.

And that's that.

We managed to make it over to the Museum of Northern BC-- where incidentally I am supposed to have a show in July. I came across this nice little nugget on an artist statement:

"It is my experience as an artist that time spent engrossed in making is the most vigorous conceptual lubricator"

I feel like doing some art now! Maybe it can aid me in processing my emotions concerning my currently conflicted relationship with the beneficence of the universe.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life - Unsweetned

This past week I have tasted the unsweetness of victory.  Typically, victories are sweet, but this time... successfully living a week without sugar, has been the opposite.  In an attempt to consciously consume no refined sugar, I have experience the consciousness of sugars prevalence-- in everything.

 I noticed just how sweet my chile sauce was.  I noticed the high ranking of "sugar" in my spaghetti sauce's ingredient list.  They even put the stuff into smoked bacon!  The interesting thing is how cultural sugar consumption is-- from gifts of chocolate, to birthday cakes.  Alas, I must confess that the last two, resulted in me caving into cultural pressure and a small but sweet defeat!

Its interesting how consciousness is inspired by denial and absence.   I became aware of how much I appreciate honey in my tea, syrop on my pancakes, and an afternoon nanaimo bar or cafe treat.  Thankfully, t was not nearly as difficult to forgoe these things as it was my week of coffee abstinence.  In fact, given how unhealthy refined sugar is, hopefully I can do a better job perpetuating this denial!

Next week:  No Movies.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

De broma en broma la verdad se asoma

A friend who bought a painting two weeks ago, kindly included this postcard with his check.  The first quotation made me laugh out loud.    Maybe it was because I was just really happy to get the check.  Maybe it was because the first painting reminded me a little too much of my abstract work.  Or maybe it was because its actually true that I put kids (non-handicapped!)  to work to do my art!  

As the spanish title says, jokes are funny because there's a little truth to them all.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Orbital Morning Vignette

A sigh.  A new day.  The trickle of water the aquarium tickles the silence.  The clock beats its mechanical heart.  Time is passing despite best efforts of the morning's stillness.

A wine glass sits idly by the sink.   Its stands elegantly a reminder of the evening past.  It has been filled with water.  Someone's best intentions to start the wash without doing any work.  The light of the morning illuminates it, just as the stillness illuminates me.

The trickle of the aquarium continues.  I suppose it shall forever-- just like the clock.  Just like the rushing orbit of the Earth around the sun as we spin inexorably towards noon and hurtle towards Spring.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tim Hortons: Giving Away Garbage for Free

Coffee mugs.  Made of paper.  Used once.  Thrown out.  Next coffee.  New cup.  

This strikingly linear cycle has always bothered me.  Sure, I've used my share of coffee cups.  However, every time, I am plagued by this insatiable sense that there has to be a better solution.

And of course there is.  You bring your own travel mug.  However, my simmering sense of cup unease, is set a blaze every year at about this time.  You see, Tim Hortons, Canada biggest coffee shop company, brings out is "Roll up the Rim" Contest in the Spring.  After consuming your coffee, you roll up the paper rim of your cup to see if you won some crassly materialistic prize-- an ipod or boat perhaps.

So that everyone has a chance to enjoy the fun,  in-store-porcelaine-mug-drinkers and coffee mug tooters, are given there own paper mug!  Yes... as a friend of mine recently said, its the one place were unused garbage is given away for free-- and happily accepted and trashed.

Or... ditched.  The thing is, Tim Hortons, among all the other fast food and fast coffee places, does not offer any way to recycle these cups (which incidentally are not made of recycled material).  Hundreds end up in the world around us.  As you walk along the streets and sidewalks of Smithers, you see a Tim Hortons mug every 20 yard on average-- I am not kidding!  Perhaps it is part of some sort of sinister marketing strategy.

I've decided to put my artistic powers into play to do something against this evil scourge of collective unconsciousness.  Watch out!  Mandalla Man is on his way!

To be continued....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Excerpt from Statement of Purpose

I believe that when we work together we can achieve beautiful things. 

 In this critical moment for  the planet and humanity, I believe that art has the profound opportunity to inspire and to lead through socially and environmentally conscious creativity.  I wish to explore within the context of an MFA at the Trans Art Institute collaborative, 'open source art'. 

Much like open source software, open source art sees the artist as the architect of collaborative art projects that involve numerous individuals creating pieces of a much larger whole.  For the last year I have been  exploring this process through mosaic, multi-media mandalas.  By inspiring the participation of many, the artist orchestrates a creation that is much more than the sum of its parts.   The harmonious and grand creations that result are a powerful symbol of what can be achieved by working together.   I am profoundly excited by the potential of this process to unite and inspire.  

For humanity to raise to the challenge of the challenges of our planetary moment, we must become more conscious of our interconnectedness to our neighbours, to nature and to the planet.    Mandallas are part of ancient spiritual traditions in raising consciousness.  They are a uniquely poised medium to assist with the grand task at hand.