Debbie E.

Making work distinctive

I have written so much down for week 7 of the course, it is fascinating reading and thinking about what makes work distinctive and what matters to me.

I was on a screenprinting course and people were saying oh you keep doing lines but I realise now I love lines, and this is me. I love fabric dyeing in so many different ways.

For the first time ever I have written so much down and have ideas and can also see this visually and it is all coming together with what I love being nature, feet walking on the earth, breathing in and views. We have been walking the south west coastal path in the UK and I wrote down the following

  • Walking coastal path
  • Views
  • Breathing in the air
  • See for mikes
  • Colours
  • Ever changing landscape
  • Shade of woods on a hot day
  • Dipping feet on the beach and lunch and a read of a book
  • Happiness, sun of your body
  • Feeling free and at ease
  • Huge sky
  • Sunsets
  • Warmth from the sand on your feet
  • Texture of grass through your fingers
  • Footprint on the earth
  • Tides
  • Rhythm of the waves
  • Sounds of birds
  • Tide changing
  • Patterns of waves

This then gave me visions of particular places and colours

  • Salcombe beaches and harbour
  • Start point lighthouse
  • Blues and greens
  • Shady trees 
  • Stunning beaches
  • Hills
  • Worn path from people enjoying it
  • Angle of the trees where the wind blows
  • I love it when we walk in Devon and go under trees that converge together from both sides and you get beautiful shapes

Would love somehow to capture this in my work using skills I have listed that I am better at. Knowing this is a huge love of mine I can feel this inside and want to work with it.

Karol K.

Yesterday, I spent some time on a four hour ride to be with our children for Thanksgiving reading through Lesson seven and brainstorming my next series.  I had a hard time narrowing it down because there are several themes and materials and methods I want to work with.  I am still not 100% sure what to focus on, but I do see the value of distilling the ideas and getting down to one area of concentration.  I rejected some themes because they are not “important” enough, even though they are of interest to me.  Like feet.  We stopped at a rest area, and I was intrigued by the footgear of many of the passersby.  So what is visually delightful to me, may not carry a meaningful message, and would probably not sell, and will just get added to the pile on the guest room bed.

I also considered what it might take to get the ‘tools’ needed for a particular area of focus.  I am interested in architectural details of old buildings, but I don’t travel much, so it would be tough to acquire reference images to work with.  Whine, whine, I want to go to Paris.

Also finding it challenging to steer away from what I have been doing because it’s what I love doing.  But realizing that I want to grow.

Anyway, I feel like we have gotten to the most important part of the class, and I am enjoying searching for the next great plan!

June M.

What do I care about? When I sat down to make my list it was a long one. Many of them are tangible like family, the Earth, nature, a walk on the beach, good food. Many were concepts or feelings like joy, peace, diversity, truth. This helped me understand that I want my work to present a feeling of peace, joy, fun. I don't want it to shock or be disturbing. Some artists do that well. It would not ring true for me, at least not fight now. How I achieve that is still a work in progress.

I'm still writing about the ideas that interest me. I haven't reached the point where I'm ready to talk about it. I don't know how to make my work distinctive... yet. I will get there, just not this week.

Carla D.

This lesson really hit home.  I have done a lot of writing and thinking this week and it has been good.  The sentence:  WHAT MAKES YOUR HEART SING?  keeps circling around in my head and won't leave me alone which is also good.  I know that when it stops circling, what I need to do will become clear.  It's already beginning to emerge.  I pulled out a book that I read way back in the 70"s, The Shape of Content by Ben Shahn in which he wrote:"Art has its roots in real life".  Reading that brought me back to the question: What is important to you? 

I went to an art opening this week to see a Surface Design Assoc. traveling show.  The work was wonderful but the best thingwas seeing a person who I had known and respected way back in the mid nineties.  I was able to see two pieces of her new work and I was brought right back to lesson seven and that word FOCUS.  It was evident to me that focus is a real must as is making art from your heart.  When I look back on the work I was doing twenty years ago, I see a pattern and what was important then, still is. For the first time in a long time, I am excited about making art again.  

Sue K.

In the past two weeks, a lot of life happened and more or less put a stop to any studio time. However, during this time I have made progress putting my studio back together, and within a week or so it will again be usable. While doing other things, for other people (gladly, I should say) I have done a lot of thinking about ideas that I have been collecting and recording during this course and before. In September, on my “mining for content” list, I had made a note to “go back here later” so I did, and I revisited other entries in my notebook. I noticed that I had visually emphasized certain ideas in my lists and labeled some of them as “persistent notions”. I have determined to start with these ideas, in planning my next projects.

The persistent notions are LAND FORMS, GEOLOGY and GEOGRAPHY, related topics that are fertile ground for exploration, so to speak. I am looking forward to doing some free-association exercises that will help me flesh out these possibilities, and help me focus on a theme...I have to start somewhere, and this seems to be a good place. I will make another list of ideas I’ve had for methods to express my inner visions. I plan a series of studies, small pieces that explore the subject matter and processes. This will be my next order of business, and I have promised myself the time to do it - as soon as I get my space re-organized and the holiday is behind me!

I hope that all this will bring me some insight into how to make my work distinctive.

I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving, if that is in your immediate future as it is in mine.

Vernon S.

AN ARTIST-MAKER'S GARDEN OF ARCHETYPES

The process of  making is not

to be undertaken lightly

no matter what the stars can or cannot foretell

when jupiter aligns with any other ARCHETYPE

pay close attention 

for big things are afoot;

his influence is generally positive, but remember there can be too much of a good thing;

with juno or Ceres (Mother Earth) 

it can be a struggle to maintain control as is often the case where the ardfhetypes are natural allies;

with Mars there may be pain;

don't let the voices of the Committee tell you that there is no gain weithout pain, it is simply not true;

with Venus/Aphrodite you may become infatuated;

don't let anyone tell you that it is a natural result of the process for you to have a donkey's ears;

with Neptune be aware of illisionsand mirages or bgelieve anyone who tells you that Dali painted reality

with Mercury you may finddyourself at a crossroades pay no attention to the person behind the green velvet drapes aas

there may be deception nin the works, as Hermes despite his admomitiom, "ss above, so below," is also the patron of thieves;

with saturn beware of structural flaws and harsh criticism

with Apollo, follow  the rules, do not stray too far from the path;

with Uranus, inspiration comes from out of nowhere;

he is the patron of genius 

with pluto you may descend into depression, but all will not be lost as you can follow orpheus back to a happier place;

with Dionysius, there are no rules, and

you may become intoxicated

and lose sight of your goals

with Diana there may be a period of sterility but be aware that she is the patron of new ideas as her many breasts are a promise of rebirth

but the best advice is to listen to that small voice called Hope, when Pandora opens her box' 

heed this warning above all others, and you will want to throw caution to the winds; 

when you hear the lilting tones of his pipes; do not follow Pan into the woods.

Kris L.

I found Lesson 7 to be really amazing…and challenging in thought…. Am I being distinctive???  There is a lot to think about and consider.  I spent time writing down things I care about such as family, friends, warmth, nature, peace and the list goes on…my challenge now will be to “be still” and ponder, not rushing, waiting for the idea(s) to enter my heart with excitement. I love that! Then….to be so bold to share with my friends the ideas that I have…..I love nature... is this heart driven?  I think so and I feel a series will be developing.  I will be patient with my distinctive being....my uniqueness as its being discovered…  so much to ponder on!

Michele K.

As it was suggested in this assignment, I have taken time to think of what was important for me. I have made lists of words and chosen some words that were important or recurring and wrote more lists. Some more precise explorations are in front of me.

I have to work now on the visual elements I could associate with my words. For the moment, colour association seems to me more evident than image association. But it will come.

This method of work is interesting. It will require time to take roots but the main thing at the moment for me is that it allows me to push forward my idea. I am accumulating elements, I don't know what I will use, but I am happy not to stay stuck.

When I started patchwork 20 years ago, I didn't go for traditional patchwork. I got bits of piece of any material, often chosen because of their colours, and started to joined them, just for the pleasure of finding an accordance that was pleasing for me.

After a while, I started to give a title to each piece, but gave a title only after the piece was finished. I started to look for a meaning in my work and in a way, it was the end of the pleasure of spontaneity for me ...

It's a long time now that I am trying to translate ideas or sensations in some artistic realisation.

I went through various phases, not liking anymore what I used to make spontaneously but not liking either what I was trying to make, and not knowing which way to take.
For about 2 years now, I am thinking that I am loosing myself, and wasting my time, being in the middle of too many informations, books, techniques more or less acquired. I want to work in a more fruitful way.

What is important for me is to bring to the surface something inside me, a way of seeing things or events, a way of feeling, which are underneath, and to realise that in a way that is satisfying for me.
One very important word for me in that lesson is the word "focusing". Focusing seems difficult to me, and I need to increase my ability to concentrate on a subject.

So, here I am now, happy to be helped to experiment that type of work , having the sensation that things might find their place little by little, but still not really knowing where I go. 

Sharon C.

Mining Content

I worked for many years as a writer and editor with several agencies of the Federal Government.  The experience I gained in both composing topics on demand and fixing other’s writing was in some ways rewarding but could also be tedious and stressful—especially the having to come up with something on demand.  I’ve read comments from writers who are always concerned about their ability to produce when they start a project.  I would often have to call on my creative side when putting together an article or composing an award nomination with very little information or perhaps figuring out how to best word a publication that Congress would see.  Lots of different ways to approach the task.  What that means is that the bulk of my experience in writing or composition was “topic” driven.  Yes, give me something to write about and I can produce.  Writing on demand.  

I have much less experience, however, in free association or journal-style writing.  Such writing is difficult for me.  Apparently I lack the discipline to keep a journal and except for diaries I kept as a teen and one I kept when I was first married, I have rarely been able to sustain a book of daily thoughts—typically feeling as though I needed a topic.  

I know my skills and because of that I’m often drawing on what has worked in the past.  For example, I get great inspiration from all things visual, and once I get an idea in my head I want to try and accomplish it.  I recall another CST participant post a comment about feeling herself a “jack of all trades” and how she kept searching for something to lock onto (my words) but continued to simply go from one thing to the next.  I could totally relate.  

Early on in my life, being creative and having a curiosity about all things artistic and/or creative was often seen as the inability to focus rather than being something positive.  It’s the kind of input I frequently received during my marriage of 20 years to someone I obviously thought smarter than me.  A good example of his negative feedback was when I went back to school during the marriage and decided to major in anthropology—and frequently heard from him what a waste of time and money for me to take such courses (because, you know, where can you find a job?)—a subject I thoroughly enjoyed and did quite well in.  And possibly because of that kind of negativity, I have been hesitant to explore to a fuller extent what I felt my strengths to be as well as my talents.  I could go on all day about this, but it probably belongs in a therapy session so I will stick to the part that applies most to free association.

What that all boils down to is that although I was stung early on by a creative bug, the harsh realities of “fear of failure” crept into my thinking and I tended to simply dabble into numerous artistic endeavors.  I have “dabbled” with sketching, watercolors, pastels, oil pastels, and acrylics, along with writing short stories, poetry, and essays.  Sewing and quilting seemed to be a constant.  I never really latched onto something longer term until I got into two things—the first, digital design and the second, making art quilts.  My excitement flourished as I learned more about surface design techniques and printmaking and dyeing—areas that I now frequently want to incorporate into my digital work.  I discovered I had a talent for textiles and color and composition—without knowing how I did it.  It just happened, all kind of magical, and as the saying goes, without having done the hard work.  For my writing and editing, I feel as though I’ve had to work at it some, but some of that—like my textile work—felt intuitive and magical.  Words just came easy.

So, that being said—“Mining content” is extremely difficult for me, and I am very self-critical of anything my pen might put to paper in journal style, feeling that there must be a reason or a purpose—you know, topic driven!  

Part One

1.  Thinking.  I can do a lot of things well, but love most the energy I get working in a class or with like-minded quilters.  I tend to “think” visually anyway, so one idea easily flows to another and before I know it, my head is filled with “wants” or “should try”—with the top few winning out.  I’ve tried writing them in a sketchbook and drawing various ideas in a book, but often by the time my motivation takes hold, I’ve moved onto new ideas and inspirations.

2.  Writing.  Having done writing and editing for a living, as I’ve mentioned, I tend to respond much better to topics.  Writing for this class is also topic driven but when it gets down to free association, I tend to do it in my head or on the computer as one thought feeds and blends into another.  This class has admittedly been cathartic, and I’m realizing some things about myself and how I work (which, by the way I’m mostly comfortable with).  

3.  Cultivate and Embrace.  Yes, I like going with what sparks my interest.  For example, as I’ve mentioned, I like to put together what feels to me interesting digital art and then print and use.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how I wanted to create an entire piece made exclusively from digital prints so last week I collected images (or created) black and white with some yellow thrown in—a bit of an outgrowth of another quilt I intended to do it with but that turned out differently.  I considered this black, white, and yellow an experiment.  I quilted it today. (See photo)

4.  Prioritize.  With the exception of my Depression era quilts I discussed last week, I’m not good with series quilts and although I’ve done several in a row that could perhaps be considered as such, I did not plan for it.  They just seemed to happen.

Part Two

I tend to work in my own little world—deriving great pleasure and satisfaction experimenting with ideas on the computer or putting fabrics or colors together, so I think this section might be best for me to accomplish with someone I can share with or talk about a topic.  Perhaps I might try this at a later date to stimulate more ideas but for some reason I like to go with what comes to mind rather than what I see as “forcing.”  So, even after all these years of thinking what my skills are and how to use the, I’m very good at focusing.  

So does it boil down to my work being distinctive?  In many ways, I think it is and I try to remain true to myself and my ideas.  I want my work to stand out and feel that it does especially when I use my own designs, which I seem to be doing more and more.

Vernon S.

 knowing

 

  Question of the spirit often arise

  In the internal, infernal dialogue

  A conversation within us

  That we believe is inaccessible

  to anyone else

  because  it is unspoken            

  we also possess another sense

  that is unnamed exists;

  some call it knowing;

  others call it nonsense

  but everyday we are surprised

  when we suddenly know

  what was never spoken or predicted.

  it is more than intuition,

  but we are loathe to admit

  its existence for fear of ridicule;

  but we welcome it when it appears

  because with it we survive

  without we might be lost

  it is a part of us, not something alien    

  and if we embrace it, 

  we become one with that 

  which is not and we receive

  answers to questions

  we dare not ask

  and as we make our path through

  this life we learn of the mistakes

  of a long distant past

  and we hope not to repeat them

  such is the nature of karma

  it shows no preferences

  plays no favorites

  makes no deals

  it is your karma

  and yours alone.

  Get to know it,

  it knows you.

  You can pay it all at once

  if  you follow the path of a Boddhisatva.

Vernon S.

FORGOTTEN

 

    The kiss I desired

    came swiftly yet hesitant;

    Lips touched mine sweetly

    as love that would not be was borne

    by the pressure of lip on lip

    and I wanted more,

    but it was over almost as soon

    as it began, and as we saw

    each deep into the other

    we were gripped by a fear

    unknown, one which remains

    unexplained even, years after

    and though I yearn

    to return to that moment

    that I may savor that sweetness

    just once more, yet I know that cannot .be

    All that remains is an imperfect memory

    And I am thankful for any sense

    a touch, a smile, a brief glimpse

    that will make it live once more;

    And I want to disbelieve what

    I know to be true;

    that nothing remains,

    perhaps it was only a rumor.

Vernon S.

CHILDHOOD'S END

 

 

    WHAT DOES  A CHILD KNOW OR DO

    THAT  IS ANY DIFFERENT

    FROM ITS'PARENTS;

    TRUST.

 

    WHY DOES A CHILD DO WHAT

    THEY  MUST DO;

    LOVE.

 

    WHEN DOES A CHILD BECOME

    NO LONGER A CHILD;

    WHEN IT LEARNS

    TO FORGIVE

 

 

    HOW DOES  A CHILD DISCOVER

    THAT FORGIVENESS

    IS POSSIBLE

 

    WHEN IT REALIZES THAT IT

    HAS BEEN DECEIVED

    AND TRUST IS LOST

    AT THE HANDS OF LOVE.

 

    THERE IS A SIMPLE LESSON    

    THAT ALL CHILDREN LEARN;

    LIFE IS FAIR, 

 

    IN ONE ASPECT ONLY

    NO ONE IS IMMUNE

    FROM DEATH.

 

    WHEN THIS DISCOVERY

    COMES  EARLY; AN ARTIST

    IS MADE.


Maria S.

Making Distinctive Work

First of all I found Jane's description of the manifestation of ideas very interesting.  It really hit home.  A good idea is nothing without heart/ passion.  And then committing to it by speaking about it.  I also could relate to the over talking about an idea and ruining it.  This has happened to me too.  Good words.

Next, I did a bit of mining for content.  Well, I actually have a main theme that I have been working to for about 4 years.  It has to do with people, the portrait and emotion.  But lately I have hit a point where I feel it's not working anymore and I need to restart.  So I made lists.  What do I care about, etc.  Surprisingly, I found that I am still very interested in my theme of people/portrait/emotion.  From this starting point, I again did some mind mapping and came up with enough ideas for maybe 4 more series.  I am happy about that.  I've usually been able to come up with an idea by writing about it.

I think my big problem, especially lately, has been the doing.  I believe I could find a way to work out these ideas if I had more time.  As you said, Jane, and I've heard this over and over, you have to make many to have one special piece.  By doing many pieces, I hope I will figure out how to portray my portraits!  So I will have to engage my rebel to find some more time to get me on my way.  In the meantime when I have only one hour, I will do my daily portrait practice.  If there is no time for anything else, then at least that.

Vernon S.

ALIGNMENT

    

    The spark of  the divine, dwells within all

    Yes, even in you, despite your denial,

    But trust is required before it can

    take its seat in the diamond  which lies 

    In the fertile crescent, in the fecund chambers

    of your heart, which de leon called sephiroth

    and others call chakras.

 

    There is but one god, but her names are many    

    And just as there  is a Garden, called Eden

    where your soul is conceived;

    there is another garden called Gethsemene

    Wherein it's measure is taken,

    in preparation for the final ascent

    of  the hill called Golgatha.

 

    In each garden there is a tree

    Some call it the tree of life,

    and some say  it is the tree of  knowledge

    while  still others say the tree of sacrifice

    where All Farther hangs upside down                

    And an other is transformed.

 

    And at Eleusis an ear of corn is  elevated,

`    And worshippers fall into a trance ,

    from which they emerge refreshed and renewed.

    And some would call this poet apostate,

    But  like the butterfly, he just is.

    And dancing with Shiva ends the slavery.

    of  ignorance, and  I am content 

    "to find splendor in the grass

    and glory in the flower."

Vernon S.

memory                                   

 

    Speak of memory

    and you will discover

    that it is fluid and flows

    like rain dripping from rooftops,

washing into an arroyo of unseen canals

    and like a flash of light

they disappear 

    swept into muddy puddles whose     

clouded distortions like        

mirrors in a carnival funhouse

    offer a modified v]sion that is     

different every time the ripples

    made by playful breezes clear

    So do mot rely upon memory

    for like dreams,

the grest tricksters,

they will rob you

    of the joy you have known,

if you have not saved them  

in the chambers of the heart.

    For a heart may be broken

    but it will never deceive

Vernon S.

    memory                                   

 

    Speak of memory

    and you will discover

    that it is fluid and flows

    like rain dripping from 

    rooftops,washing into an

    arroyo of unseen canals

    and like a flash of light

    they disappear 

    swept into muddy puddles whose     

    clouded distortions like        

    mirrors in a carnival funhouse

    offer a modified v]sion that is     

    different every time the ripples

    made by playful breezes clear

    So do mot rely upon memory

    for like dreams,the grest     

    tricksters, they will rob you

    of the joy you have known,

    if you hsve not saved them    

    in the chambers of the heart.

    For a heart may be broken

    but it will never deceive

Jean D.

Week 7

Part 1 Thinking
I have a few weeks of time now at home to make time and think.

This week I spent time with a friend and maker who is a giver, talented and supremely creative. She is a definite on my committee, a fantastic role model.
She saw what I was doing and gave encouragement. She said what I wanted/needed to hear. 'The small pods that you are making are good. Look beyond, go bigger, make lots, develop.'

2. Writing. What do I care about?
There are 2 lists here for me a) as a creative and also b) a social being. Of course they overlap.

Open landscape
Big skies
Space
Light
Abstraction
Shape
Architecture which reflects the above
Surprise in art and created spaces
Developing > pushing the boundaries > striving for something different.

Family
Friends
Garden
Home
Order
Positivity Belonging
Fear of exclusion Being proactive

Order, positivity and the desire to be proactive should also be in the first column but can be problematical....areas I have to work on.

3. Cultivate and Embrace

I want my work to
Stand out as something original,
Interest, surprise, amuse the person who sees it.

4. Prioritise
A larger 'architectural' piece comprising many smaller parts with elements of surprise within these.

Thank you for reading Jean

Theresa F.

What do I care about - oh so much, so much - there is no shortage of things, stuff and ideas that I care about - from interest, curiosity, love and passion.  I feel very much like a renaissance woman - I find everything interesting, sometimes fascinating.  Hehehehe... The first sentence in part 3 resonated with me - feeling conflicted ( for me it's a clear cut fear) about making a choice , about risking missing out on an opportunity.  HA! that s me - I become stuck, and am unable to choose and unable to make a decision.   

And that's my challenge.......

Mining content:  working through the exercise I came back to some ideas that had been ruminating for the longest time with me - and that have had previous tentative steps taken to explore them.  The exercise has helped to galvanise my thinking and given me a more disciplined approach to working with the idea.  

Part of stream of the consciousness writing revealed a commonality around beginnings, basics and fundamentals - kind of an obsession with 'building blocks' in all their widest and broadest contexts.  The ideas that have been ruminating for some revolve around elements like fire and ice - so this is where is I am starting - a series about the elements.

So to translate and say something about the elements - in textiles - that's now percolating.

Thinking and planning - I've got the beginnings of the visual elements - tentative words/ideas, I have started to think about the tools and equipment I could use and what is needed.  At this point I'm thinking that I could actually produce some samples and play with the ideas with what I have now - on hand and the colours are fairly clear cut - although as I was thinking it through - I realised that while blue and white are associated with ice - equally they can be the colours of flames  - and this connection is interesting to me.

This exercise has been brilliant to undertake as I have been able to retrieve a 'stalled' idea and have now had some steps to help me take it forward. 

Lisa C.

Mining Content

What really spoke to me this week when I read the Week 7 Notes was the concept of the Heart Chakra.  I think it should be the images and experiences that appeal to your heart that drives your art.   This course has made me finally write down my ideas for series that have been floating around in my head for years.  But like Cheryl C. (her comments really resonated with me – thanks for articulating this, Cheryl!), I recognize that I must focus my attention and energy deliberately.

I have always had an interest in gardening.  I obtained my Master Gardening certification when I retired (one of my bucket list items) and loved every minute of it.  When my husband joined me in retirement, we moved to a small town in southwestern Ontario, Canada.  One of the reasons we bought our historic property is the very large yard with its amazing mature trees.  Just outside my studio window, there is a larch tree that is at least 100 feet tall.   I watch its bare form in the winter dotted with small cones on the branches, the bright green needles that emerge in the spring, followed by the yellow needles that fall off the branches in autumn.   And there are many others – a redbud with its branching network enveloped in a cloud of pink blooms, a dark red Japanese maple with fluttering leaves, a huge white spruce whose skeleton can be viewed standing beneath its canopy, a blooming chestnut tree with bees swarming around it.  These trees just capture my heart.   

Then my “aha” moment occurred.   The piece I critiqued last week is the first in a series.  It includes a vignette is of a maple tree that I can view from my studio in winter.  I have four additional tops pieced that have been pinned on my studio walls for the past two years while I await for the inspiration to complete them (Photos 7-1 to 7-4 ).  This train of thought made me think I should continue developing this series with a portrait of each of my favorite trees that reside in my yard.  I can already visualize the larch tree portrait – its distinctive winter form defined in thread and French knots representing the cones, and maybe some bright green hand-stitched needles.  Not sure yet what additional surface techniques I will use but I finally have some focus with distinction!

But it is more than just the trees.  I discovered that I have a little ecosystem just outside my door, and my interactions with it capture my heart.  Last summer, I brought a clump of Italian parsley that I plunked into a jar of water on the kitchen counter and forgot about.  After a few days, I noticed some bare stalks on my parsley, and on closer inspection, I discovered a caterpillar feasting on my parsley.  Thought it was a Monarch but after a quick internet search discovered it was a Swallowtail caterpillar.  I named her “Gwen”.  I watched Gwen turn into a cocoon and emerge as a beautiful butterfly a few weeks later.   What a magical experience to witness firsthand!  I didn’t know this at the time, but the wing patterns are different for male and female swallowtail butterflies.  It turns out that Gwen was a Glen! Not sure it will become a series, but I am thinking about doing at least a “before and after” of Gwen.

Just last week, there was a young crow perched on one of the planters on my patio.  Tried to shoo him away but he didn’t budge and looked so frightened.  Upon closer inspection, I discovered that he had injured his wing and might not be able to fly (Photo 7-3). I didn’t have the heart to see him suffer, so I called the local vet who put me in touch with a gentleman in town who would capture the bird and put him out of his misery.  He came to the house and captured the crow in his net.  Taking a closer look, it appears his wing was not broken but the tip of his wing was damaged.  He figured it was a baby crow that might have fallen out of the nest as there is a large spruce tree adjacent to the patio.   He let him loose on the lawn and told me to call him back if he was worse for wear the next day.  Did a little search that evening and could find no sign of him on the lawn.  After several days, we discovered “Calvin” (yes, I named him) sitting on one of the lower branches of the large spruce tree where I suspect his nest resides.  I am a little cautious of doing a series on crows (since many more talented artists have explored this idea), but a portrait of Calvin might be in order!

Calvin

Calvin

One of the things I love about living in this small town is that you can drive less than five minutes in any direction and be in the middle of SW Ontario farmland.  I am so intrigued by farm architecture that I drive past - their shapes and lines and texture have a lot of appeal to me.  This one will have to brew for a while – need to take photos and do some research before I am ready to pull the trigger on this series!

Sam C.

Making Work Distinctively My Own

I really have trouble with that statement because it represents the major block I face when it comes to making art, it is what stops me from doing……

So, for week seven I started out writing the meanderings of my thoughts based on the concept of ‘what so I care about?’ My purpose was to see what my random thoughts might reveal about me! I seem to spend a lot of time thinking about others and not really taking time to consider my own position. I think that it why last week’s getaway resonated so deeply for me.

It is now week eight and I am finally writing this piece up to submit.

Revelations –

I care a lot about people. People are what I get passionate about. Where others go to new places to see the scenery and landmarks, I want to learn about culture and the people. I hurt when others hurt, I cry with them, I love them easily, even the unlovable, and I am genuinely interested in listening to them.

For week seven I went to a life drawing class, which is the first practical class I have been to for years. I was a lot out of practice but that was part of the challenge, to stop watching the telly and go and do some art. I have an artist friend who is interested in helping me be accountable and she told me about the group. It fitted right into those meandering thoughts I had had in the beginning of the week.

I had a secret desire to create a portrait or work that would be worthy of selection for the Archibald Prize, which is a prestigious portrait prize here in Australia. In the past two years that desire has been fading and I’m not sure why. Except to say that I can hear that committee voice of self-doubt and skepticism speaking softly in the recesses “Who would want to buy portraits?” and “You can’t make money out of that unless you’re famous or you know someone famous.”

I started a business two year ago with a vision of creating unique garments, wearable art, made from fair trade fabrics and using ethical practices. So far it hasn’t evolved much beyond the vision, mainly because I am studying and I need an income because I don’t have enough money to be self-supportive while I grow a business.

Now I reflect of these two very different desires and I ask how do they relate to one another? Do they relate or even have to? Should I be trying to choose one over the other? I really need some help and answers here because I keep coming up against this and the struggle I have in trying to balance them, failing to and then I feel that I have blocked myself again….does this make any sense?