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What is your perfect day?

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How to decide on what is a Perfect Day?

What is your perfect day? A day where everything lands just right. Have you gone through the process? From the beginning till the end looking close to the things and actions that make it perfect. Your breakfast, your work, your day to enjoy the outdoors, the perfect dinner. All the things that take you into the world of the perfect.

Is this all there is- making of the perfect day? Are there not pieces in this perfection that speak to trying to achieve goals?

How do achieving goals become part of the “perfection?”

What about your goals? The things that make this perfect day work so well are the things you work towards. The radical goals; like making the world a little bit more meaningful, or making the world a better place to live in, helping others so the world is less bleak and blocked. This last piece seems to be the trend lately. The marching in the streets,  the call to action for change.

The last few months have made many to take pause. To reset and look a bit more closely at their life, goals, the  way time is spent and what their perfect day looks like. There is just so much energy in a day- so learning where to put this energy to achieve the goals is the first place to start. As we stopped, there is an assessment of what is important.  In other words, now is the time to think in the silence and feel what is right, feels good, and helps others.

To work towards a goal is to add to the perfect day.

To find this perfection- this place where we are fulfilled, challenged and working towards a goal of a place of idealism is always about the first step. The first step to change. As this step is taken, then the vision starts to become clearer.

Perhaps this is where things get tricky. What about the “universe” and its power to help you achieve this perfection. I am a believer in serendipity. The blending of the different people and events combine to make goals happen. When you take the first step, a goal is about to be achieved. As a result, perfection begins its journey.

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho has a theory about why this is the case: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

How have you pushed towards this better place?

In my small world of making art I have looked closer at the message of my art. The way the story invites the viewer to reflect upon their own life and how it firstly inspires and secondly empowers them. Two ways that keep you moving forward to finding your perfection.

In the painting featured, titled Sassy Girls, there are three cowgirls standing with an attitude and looking straight at the viewer. All of the pieces in this painting bring together the message of strength and making things happen. It is a piece of art that reminds you to be inspired and to not back down. Almost a way that so many of us feel today. Moreover it is time to step forward and take the action to achieve our days of perfection.

To see more art and prints see www.memoryartgirl.com

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Dreaming and Art Can Help

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Dreaming is like Art- it takes you Away

Art can help you escape. It is a way that we can be in a place that is not in the present. For many this time has been challenging, drawn out and challenging our patience. The Great Pause has also placed a pause on the ability to plan.

Looking forward to an event, a place to visit, a family gathering are ways that we look forward. Without this, there is a stillness, a sense that a paralysis has happened and there is no life. So how to combat this? How to step aside from the effect of a Pandemic Nightmare?  In fact there has been research that notes that dreaming enables us to manage crisis situations. That dreaming and sleep enable us the tools to withstand stress.

It’s the Little Things that have to be Marked

However dreaming still doesn’t answer to the need to look forward to something. So how do we deal with this?

Perhaps it is the little things in life that marks a moment. The cup of coffee in the morning, the sitting in the sun, the end of the day and being with your family or partner reviewing the good that happened that day. Little things that reminds you of the positive. It may not be a way to look forward to but it is a way to mark a moment and enjoy.

Dreaming is a way of survival of a time when events cannot be planned. Creating art with these dreams plays a role in this as well. The little bubbles of life, stories, emotion, movement that a piece of art brings a moment of joy. A moment of respite from darkness. A conscious way to be in a place that takes us away from not being able to look forward.

How Art can Help

The painting highlighted is such an example- an image that takes your mind and allows you to escape. To be in a place that takes your imagination to another level. Titled Sun of my Smile, this piece was inspired by an old  postcard of a motel. Doesn’t it take you to a place by the pool hanging out and enjoying a day of being? Of soaking the sun, sharing time with others, and waiting for a Pina Colada? Embedded within the piece are phrases from the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. Phrases that speak to withstanding adversity. Being able to say to yourself that you can make it through the day.

 

 

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Friendship creates memories.

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Friends makes us Happy

Having a group of women friends creates happiness and memories. Friendship brings out the lighter side of life and makes us realize that life is to be enjoyed. To not be taken too seriously and remind you to laugh a little at the absurdity of daily life.

For many women, working, taking care of kids and parents, having a partner are so many pieces that have to be balanced and nurtured. Much of our time is spent insuring that everyone is good. Having friendship with other women is just too much. It takes time to be engaged. To reach out and celebrate each other. A piece that often get lost in the demands of taking care of others.

Yet by not doing this, by not taking care of the personal, the resource that gives so much is not renewed. That resource is You.

As an artist, I spend a great deal of time alone. I’m not lonely. I just don’t talk to people much. It takes a bit of effort and time to understand that by doing this I am not renewing the resource that produces the art.

Art can remind you of the joy of Friendship

Looking at vintage photos of women walking together, striding in laughter and fun, reminds you of the joy. This image tells you to stop- listen to your inner voice and step into taking life a little less seriously.  This is an important piece.

How can art play a role in your happiness?

This is a question that I often consider when creating a peice of art. What messaging does it hold that takes you to a place that reminds you of joy, reminds you of escape, reminds you of love? Pieces of happiness that are critical in our well being.

Creating images of women walking together plays into this realm. As an artist it is an image that reminds me of the value of my friendships with women. Women who share my frustrations with relationships, hopes for my kids and advice for my career. Pieces of shared moments that cannot be taken for granted.

Make certain you surround yourself with reminders of laughter.  This gives you so much more than that moment.

 

 

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Small Art can Make a Big Statement

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Small art in little boxes. There is nothing like a small package.

The receiving, the opening, the discovery of a small little moment that says “love”. Really nothing like it.

I know you are thinking about the diamond, the bracelet, the pair of socks. I’m not talking about that. I am talking about the handmade little painting that tells a story. 

Why is the small handmade painting something you should really think about for a gift? Well for a couple of reasons.

First off, the ability to give a gift that has a statement is always the goal. We all want to share a story. Make an impression. Find a way to say”we love you” in a different unique way. Small art does this. It is just like a small moment that can make a big impression.

Secondly, small art doesn’t take up alot of space.  It doesn’t overwhelm. It isn’t an emotional over powering moment. It is a painting that tells the story of you and whomever you are giving it to.

For this reason, the show 25 days of minis, is a perfect little art show for the end of the year gift. A show that has 42 professional artists that will reveal their art every day beginning Dec 1. Every day a new selection of paintings will be revealed. How do you see these paintings? Just subscribe to www.25daysofminis.com and you will get the email with a the link to the new selection. An easy way to find small art that can shipped right to your door. Sounds too good to be true.

I will be participating in this online show with an entire new series of small 6×6 paintings. Little pieces of story that will be revealed everyday. Once per day starting Dec 1-25. Each piece comes wrapped in a small box with a gift card. A perfect, thoughtful, present to celebrate the season.

Pieces will be available on my shop at www.memoryartgirl.com beginning on December 1.

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Where do Ideas come From?

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Past Images can Inspire the Ideas

Where do ideas come from? Nothing is original. You may disagree with this, but it is true. Everything spins from something else. A piece of music, an old photo, a place that reminds us of our younger self; all are triggers for ideas. Ideas that I can use to make my Art.

As you know I work from the ephemera of memory. Vintage advertising, old vinyl record album covers, lyrics from favourite songs, old photos, classic films all play a part in the germination of an idea. A piece of art that defines who you are. Most importantly, this brings me to the most important piece of finding ideas; having  defined parameters of the story. The themes of the story can be in the realm of “escape”, or  “empowerment” or the internal story of the “home sweet home”. Each area brings to mind its own type of images which speaks to your personal experience.

How an Idea in a story can Remind You of You

Since I have made art for over two decades, I have told the same story many, many times. Throughout the retelling I have found that my ideas flow best when I use themes of settings. For example, images of a city from the 1950s. The painting featured titled La La Land is Los Angeles from the 1950s. It can be recognized by the old department store of Bullocks, which was bought by Macy’s in the 1970s.

When I showed this piece in Palm Springs recently, many woman told me stories of their connection with this store. It’s glamour and uniqueness was part of the beginnings of their lives. Some worked there. Spending all of their earnings on the beautiful clothes. Others remember shopping there and feeling overwhelmed with the beauty of the building. The inside of this department store was 1920s art deco and its elegance was part of the shopping experience.

The Goal is to have the Ideas connect to your identity.

My goal is to bring a deeper sense of self for the viewer by reminding them of their history. This is important for all of us to do so we have a strong connection to our identity. Therefore, everytime I create a piece, I think of how the image can make the viewer escape into another place. A place from the past that defines the present “self”. It is an amazing experience speaking to clients when they recall their lives from another time. I feel that we are all very similar. Many times, these memories align with my own experiences. When a painting, a piece of art, deepens a person’s connection to themselves, then my job is done. My goal has been achieved.

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It All started With the Word No

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There are No Women Artists

As the 2019 International Women’s day approaches in March, I am once again reminded of where my creative voice started.

It started with the word NO-

No you can’t do this because you are a woman. The message was that because I was a woman I would be paid less, be a target for violence, and be expected to expect less. These ideas made me angry. After finishing my first University degree I realized that my goal was to make art that could help cultural social change. In other words, make art that would change people’s minds.

It was to change the vision of women and make a living from it. This may sound like a naive idea. How do I make social change through Art? My answer? Just make the work and put it out there.

However the word No was loud in my head as I looked to using Art as a way to make people aware of the woman’s voice and experience. My theory was that by doing this I could make the viewer realize that women should be honored and respected.  I soon realized that “No” I can’t make a living in art because there aren’t any other women out there to look at.  In the late 1980’s there were very few women represented in the private galleries and public museums. Looking around I saw little representation or role models.

Lessons my Father Taught Me

When I was a child, my father told me I could do anything I wanted. However this was not the message I got when I was completing my first degree in Carleton University in media theory. I soon realized that, through typical “consciousness raising” feminist education , that it is a uphill battle for women. The lack of representation in museums, galleries was being highlighted by women art collectives. For example, the Guerilla Girls was drawing attention to the fact that very few women were being exhibited in major musuems.  In addition,  there was also the push for the National Women’s Museum of Art in Washington DC.  The voice was slowly finding its way to the surface. Yet there was, and still is, a systematic lack of representation of women in Art distribution channels. Art was being made- it was not being shown.

Yet I could not accept that the public- people like myself- did not want to have women’s art hanging in their home. Artists that peppered history such as Mary Cassatt, Emily Carr, or Georgia O’Keefe were out there. The issue was not that there were no women artists. The issue was the distribution. The male voice permeated through the levels of jurying and  the acceptance into the galleries. Selection did not highlight the woman’s voice. So how do I bypass this gatekeeping structure? How do I get my work shown?

Find the Collector, Find the Voice

My solution? To bypass the selection process. To go directly to the client and find my collector. Above all,  let the public decide for themselves. Over the past three decades I have worked with over 20 different galleries. Every gallery was managed or owned by women. I was able to get into these galleries by first proving I had a buying public. I had found my own client and I convinced the dealers that they could capitilize on my work. It was a sharing with the gallery. The way I did this was through competitive art fairs.  These marketing outdoor events gave me access to the public.  I could sell directly to the collector who came to these events and I could convey my message and voice one on one.

Message has to be Subtle to have an Effect

This process also gave me a clearer vision of my message. I soon realized that to be political and feminist was not a selling point. In the early 90’s the public was not ready for the feminist voice.   I became aware that I did not have to describe the woman’s situation. I had to be authentic and convey what IS the woman’s voice. Who am I? What do I do? I am a partner, a mother and a strong woman. Three elements that have developed in themes in my work. Themes of Cityscapes (which is the setting for romance and partnerships with my husband), Women images (strong vibrant dynamic images) and finally Home Sweet Home (images from the domestic space) My belief is by portraying these stories, the woman’s voice is empathized with by the viewer. The collector sees themselves in this art and renews/reaffirms their own belief systems.

So Where are We Now?

Now we are in the age of social media. As a result, more women can use the tools of media to amplify their voice. The museums still do not show women’s art except through a token few. I am often amused when colleagues mention to me to see a particular woman’s show at the Art Gallery of Ontario, as though this is the representation of many. Imagine if you walk into the National Gallery and the entire museum has women’s art hanging and only one or two male artists. Imagine what that would look like. In October the Tate Gallery in London said they were doing this courageous act. If only for a brief period of time. It does give us the thought that eliminating 50% of the voice does not represent our culture. It does not reflect who we are.

Art cannot change beliefs. Media cannot change beliefs. However, art and media can affirm, it can give confirmation and it can inspire. In conclusion,  all things that can change culture start with the voice. Therefore the voice has to be allowed to speak in order for change to happen.

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Art Has a Power.

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Art and its Power

Can the power of art change your life?  Can art change the world? It’s a question that many have asked and answered. Art, in its many forms, can reveal the power that we can acquire through the engagement and understanding of the stories behind art. For this reason, just filling a space in the wall with an image that has no meaning to you undervalues the power and impact that art can have. In fact, the power comes from you taking the risk to surround yourself with Art that inspires you, makes you feel the power that art can have.

“Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.”

No one wants an empty life. A life lacking in colour, in drama and in story. This time of year can be a time of paralysis. Winter descends and the cold tightens its grip. Hibernation seems to be the best alternative. This is where the power of art becomes integral to moving forward. Dreaming of another time and place is integral to survival. And survival is where this year has began.

It’s a New Time;

Recently my teenage daughter mentioned to me that this was the most important time for women. In her opinion, there had not been a previous time as changing or life altering as the past year. I tend to agree with her. In my experience, of being a feminist for the past 35 years, I have not seen such a voice.

Movies, live theatre, literary and the music industry have all revealed that women are stating their case and choosing to be heard. Whether it’s in the media, or on the political stage, it has been women that have taken the lead to state their cases. Women artists led the charge with a loud voice of making their mark.  The art they have made, the stories they tell, all come together to collectively state their view of dismantling of sexist power structures.

I  believe I heard it state that this was a “tectonic” shift. Perhaps it is.

Paintings that tell the Story about Change;

There are times that I create art that sets a clear truth, a story of women together, walking, striding to the same goal of recognition.  The Empowered Series is an integral part of my artistic vision.

The painting highlighted is titled “Dance with Abandon“. A piece that brings to mind a story of admiration. The crowd beneath the girls dancing, (who are screenprinted onto the surface) watch in awe. This image of this crowd is from a 1960s Life Magazine photograph from the first NASA launch. It seemed appropiate to place this crowd with the outgoing dancing women.

We are at a point in our culture that we watch as young women take hold of the mantel and run for office. Although women have had a voice, their stepping up to take hold of the political dialogue through social media has enabled them to try to make change. There is a sense that being quiet and not acting is a form of apathy. Considering my 15 year old daughter’s voice, I don’t think that this is a option any longer.

 

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The Business of Art

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Selling of Art has its Challenges

The business of art is challenging. First of all its not just the making of the art, but being able to market, distribute and sell it. Finding collectors that love and support my art is the ongoing uphill battle. Many artists choose to use galleries to sell their work. I have done the same track and just don’t have the patience. The waiting for the Sale is not compatible with paying bills. Therefore the business of art for me is in the spirit of the Independent artist.

The artist that finds places to exhibit in outdoor art fairs, pop up spaces and smaller local galleries.  My ability to sell my art makes the experience of buying one of my pieces so much more satisfying both for the collector and for myself. Most importantly, I can control the supply of the pieces and be more closely linked to the people who buy my work.

How the Creative process is effected by the Sale.

The ability to meet and see where my work ends up is critical to my creative process. The exchange I have with people who love my work in art fairs also plays a critical role. The dialogue and the conversation makes for important feedback thereby solidifying the thoughts behind the work.

I have been creating and selling my work since 1995. Seriously developing ideas behind the creative process seemed to mature about 10 years later. For those first 10 years I learned a great deal about what sold. This body of work was romantic and very traditional. Impressionist and full of texture, these pieces were just about learning about the paint. Stories delved into the European cafe culture and romantic connections. The business of art was about surviving and creating work that could pay the bills.

However, in the last 10 years, things have changed. Now, my art has a clearer idea about its goal. Therefore the understanding about memory and the creation of imagery that delves into this theme became the driving force. Consequently, the work increased in  its depth.  Its gotten deeper in both its message and the use of materials. Above all, I feel that I  have a clearer understanding of the motives and direction of the voice.

Bringing the Art to Market is the most important part of the Business.

For many artists this is the biggest obstacle.  Sure they can make fantastic work, but where do you exhibit? How do you find the person who will purchase the piece, hang it and look at it everday?

With the advent of digital media the art can be spread out through social media. The artist has more power than every before. Much like musicians, artists can use Instagram and FB targeting to find the art collector. The biggest issue is how to use it effectively. Posting the images, finding followers are all part of the social media pressure. But the goal is to really connect.

The online approach is the most effective but the most mysterious. Apart from the social media having a website to purchase art online is critical. Without this online storefront, which I have with www.memoryartgirl.com, it is impossible to build the online experience. For many artists, who are not part of the Tech generation, this can be the greatest challenge. One that needs to be presented and taught in a simple manner. It’s a big “levelling up” of skill set that is confronting many creatives.

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Finding Her Voice

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Finding Her Voice

Sometimes a painting such as the piece highlighted titled Still I Rise, inspires a collective reaction of celebration and empowerment.  Finding her voice is a goal that every woman has. There is an assumption that with the #metoo movement women are allowed to speak and to stand up, but I don’t think this is the case. In fact, there are many messages that young teenage girls receive that say that they just aren’t good enough. That their voice, with its brightness and loudness, is not acceptable.

Awareness of the Subtle Messages

For the past eight years, my daughter has played hockey. This sport is not based upon the construction beauty, or how they look, but on the initiative and motivation on the ice. Two traits that I try to teach my daughter. I expected that the coaches would promote these values along with the respect that girls need to be able to express themselves. The value of being able to speak, to be themselves is especially important as young women enter into early teens. The ability to express their power, in turn, makes for a girl to withstand intimidation either from school, friends and eventually the workplace. But what do you do when your daughter is in a situation that does not allow her to speak? That she must be quiet, to accept and allow the Coach on the team to bully and be intimidating. The reason for not speaking? She is accused of being a trouble maker. Watching your daughter struggle with the personalities of fellow players, and the Coach staff was difficult. At the end of the season, we left with the knowledge that we both tried to assert ourselves and still enjoy the game. We both knew that this sport did more damage than not.

A Painting that Reminds Us Of Freedom.

Painting images that have an empowered sensibility reminds us that the images we have around us are important. In an article by J. Francis Davis titled “Power of Images: Creating the Myths of Our  Time”, stated that “myths are the ideas and stories that motivate daily behaviour.” Myths comes from images and if we surround ourselves with images that state it is Right to be Free then that in turn makes us stronger.

It is important to keep affirming that a young teenage girl has the right to speak up. For me, this painting and the group of pieces that I have created in my Women Series strikes at the core of being a woman- one who has the right to speak and be herself.

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The Handmade is the perfect Gift

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As you know, the handmade, one of a kind gift is the perfect choice!  The question is why?

Your Creative Voice in Giving

As the search for the perfect gift comes upon us for the holiday season, we are struggling to find the present that speaks to our own creative voice. This creative voice, which can also be know as the “original voice” speaks to our own creativity. This may seem a bit abstract, but I have often wondered why we are so attracted to finding the maker of the piece of craft or art. With a culture flooded with products, the search for uniqueness is a premium.

My discovery of the concept of the “original voice” came about from reading Arthur Lessac’s article “The  Quest for the Original Voice” The article is interesting in that it defines that our own inner environments This is a voice the creative voice we are born with. This references  authenticity, uniqueness and is genuine. It advocates feeling, not intellect, to activate the creative visionary within. The article mentions that this inner original voice can disappear due to the demands of the outside world. The inner creativity is stifled by the daily routine of life.

As I create and make work in my studio, I often think that the production of these unique pieces, out of nothing, is ridiculous. It has an element of fun that seems self fulfilling and not part of the world that prioritizes mass production and money. Yet as my clients buy my work, and hang the Art in their homes, I find that the self fulfilling aspect is not so selfish. In effect, I serve a need. The need to find creativity in all of our lives. To remind ourselves of our “original voice” is to help people discover their own inner creativity.

The Importance of the Handmade

So where does this leave you for the perfect gift? It begins with understanding that buying an item that an individual has made, or designed, is actually an extension of your own needs. That of finding a place to share your own creative vision with others. This is actually the gift. Or as the painting that is highlighted titled Moments Shared

 

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