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Choose to bring the Joy in your Life

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It is Your Choice to be Happy

Choosing the joy in life can come in many ways. It can come from walking your dog in the morning as the sun comes up. It can come from just sitting at a cafe and enjoying the last few moments of warmth and sunshine before the winter descends upon us.  It can come from having dinner with your partner after a tough day.  Or similarly, it can come from going to the Theatre and absorbing a moment of beautiful classical music by the symphony. Most importantly,  it can come from looking at beautiful piece of art in your home that impresses upon you the celebration of the moment.  Art reminds us of the beauty- the moments that last briefly but can imprint upon our minds indefinitely.

Art reminds us of the Joy

Many who look at my work are engaged with the celebration of the Joy.  This is due to the fact that people walk into my booth at an art fair and remark on the stories that I create as part of my work. Yet every story is about the positive. The looking toward the brightness of the day. The place you can walk into and revel in the colour, the patterns and the beauty. In the piece highlighted titled “She Walks on Pink Roses” a story is created about a cool day watching the world go by. The flowers are embedded in the figure and give the story a place of softness and comfort. A place to remind us to be in the moment and enjoy the day.

Counter the Negative

For a long time I thought that this type of work was too sentimental. That it had a shallowness that we see in our pop culture. Well I no longer feel this. In fact, I see my art as a counter point to the negative. We seem to now live in a culture full of the negative. Certainly there is an overwhelming amount of combative and the critical debate. Of course for social change to happen we need the critical.  We need the empowered and the fearless to step forward. I am the first to support these actions. Yet what are the effects on our psyche?  How do you insulate yourself from this?

Choose the Joy! I know this may sound trite. In fact, it is not. Most noteworthy, surrounding yourself, and engaging with art that is beautiful,  makes us happier. In fact, studies have found  “that looking at a work of art can actually have the same psychological effect as the euphoric experience of romantic love.” Now don’t we all want to feel that romantic high? Above all we want the sense that “joy” is part of our daily life. It may comes at less of an impact with a piece of art that you look at daily. Or it may remind you, when you least expect it, that life is  good. 

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Commission a Painting and Preserve a Memory

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Commissioning a painting creates a family heirloom.

Commissioning a painting from me preserves a special memory. The client often realizes the importance of their family, and the experiences they had as they were growing up. The question becomes how do they represent these past moments?  Of course, a wall of photos or a mantel piece with special images recalls memories. But does this give them an emotional sensation that can be read by those who haven’t been there?

By selecting special photos clients are being proactive in preserving fleeting moments of their past. The result? Anyone who was not part of the “memory” can experience the identity and moment cherished by the one who commissioned it. A family hierloom is created and can be passed down through the generations.

Memory recall is also a “creative re-imagination”

Summer has always been my favourite time of year because of its preciousness. Since being a child I have celebrated this season and tried to create memories that will be with me for a lifetime. I am an avid sailor, as is my family,  and our time on the water are moments that I try to imprint upon my mind. In fact, through my life I have taken moments and consciously imprinted them. So I can revisit them. But this isn’t enough.

In fact, studies have shown that every time a memory is recalled the event changes. In the article titled The Human Memory, the act of remembering changes the event. Different contexts are added to the memory and new information gets incorporated into the original memory. One way to register the fleeting moments is by commissioning a piece of art that uses materials and images from family experiences and adventures.

Preciousness of memories can be preserved with a commission.

As an artist, I have the ability to create, interpret and preserve a memory of a precious time. As our children, or alternatively our parents age, there is a loss of what was.   Collecting old photos of my young children takes me into the time when their world was full of discovery and adventure. Compiling these pieces I look back at these memories and remind my self of the moment.

Collage of photos can recreate a special memory of family.

In the piece highlighted, Fun Adventures, there is a collage of old photos found in a family albums. The placement of these images together with a focus point upon one image of the two sisters puts the life of these girls in a context. A piece that reminds us of their journey together. The found photos are of children posing and the car reminds us of the family vacations. Each piece of this painting puts together a story that was momentary and beautiful.

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The Meaning of what I Make

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The meaning of what I make?

Often there is a question about the meaning of what I make. What is the message and how does it relate to the viewer’s world? My work has a self evident message with the use of nostalgic imagery.  As seen in the painting highlighted titled Turn It On, this images brings to mind a fun party atmosphere with flowered paper, patterns and light colours. It seems to be self evident in that I work with found images from mid century resources and rework them into stories about our present world. Seems simple. However, when I create pieces I often think how the colour, the patterns, the transparency of materials also convey meaning. There is a deeper meaning. One that you don’t realize is part of the work at first, then it seems to become more important.

Message of materials

At times I use fabric patterns- the tissue paper with map making lines and text of Butterick printed on it. People who look at it have a moment of thinking about their childhood and how their mother sewed their clothing. It is a use of time that many no longer do. Yet when the painting is looked at- the message seems to change. It isn’t about a street in Paris. It is about the materials that make this image. In the painting Parisian Love Letter, there are handwritten letters, book pages from a romantic french novel and fabric patterns that layer onto the surface. Each piece builds the story about romance that the pop cultural image of the couple emanates. Each piece brings in the viewers alternate reality and experience. It has a depth of meaning that is not seen at first. It just builds as the viewer takes in the different pieces of materials.

Teaching the message of Art

This past week, as I was about to participate in the Cottonwood Art Festival in Dallas TX, I volunteered to present a demonstration of my work to a group of middle school kids. I realized as I was speaking that many create images without really thinking about the bigger picture. Media literacy is an important piece of education. The understanding how images convey meaning in a variety of ways is critical in being able to be a person who can critically think about their surroundings. Art plays a role in this. Imagery relates to advertising which in turn can relate to manipulation of reality. Things that we need to understand to get to the truth.

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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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Calling all Art Lovers!

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Wonderland Calling for Art Lovers!

This morning I met a woman who’s first words were “I am an art collector”. She hadn’t bought a piece from me, but I was struck at how proud she was that her home was filled with art. She didn’t care whether the art was seen as “good” or “bad”, rather, she loved that she had collected art made by artists who came into her life and expressed how she felt about her world. Now, she is an art collector for her kids and makes Art a special gift that gives them the “colour of their life”.

Being an art collector of others can be challenging. How do you know what to give to someone who is just getting married, or has an anniversary, or is moving into their first home? In my opinion, I don’t think it really matters. The gift is from your own perspective. You see the colour, the life and the story. The person who receives it knows that this gift comes from a place of understanding and relating to your world.

For the past three decades I have been making and selling my work to thousands of people. Yes- this may sound a little over the top, but I have kept records of everyone who has purchased from me. In the last few years, I have realized that in order for this to happen, our world needs people, like you, to love art. To look at it as a necessary part of your world that reflects back to and expands the your vision.

Recently, the founder of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, Murray Koffler died. He was 93. Over 50 years ago, he created the best Art Fair in Canada. His vision? To provide a place to enable artists to show their work without the galleries, or independent gatekeeping that happens in the art world. The best part of this art fair is that it enabled the public to SEE artist’s work. It may not be in a white walled gallery, but it provided a fresh way of being exposed to work by bringing the artist directly to the public. A disruptor ahead of his time.

I have been a Director on the Board of the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition for the past 5 years. This art fair show cases over 300 artists at a time. It is a direct reflection of a culture that realizes that Art is an integral part and important part of our city. Buying Art, and giving it to either yourself or to those who are important to you, supports and elevates our experience and thought. It’s important to do.

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How Art can make you into a Better Person

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When a piece of art reflects what you feel, it can give you a stronger sense of who you are.” Jean Huble

There are times when I am at an art fair, or at an opening at a gallery that I wonder about the purpose of all of this work and presentation. The business of art can be draining, and the disconnection between the creating of the piece and the final presentation of it can be a far distance. And then there are moments that there is a realization that my purpose, as an artist, is to make the world a “better place”.

What does this mean? In an interesting article by Jean Huble, titled How your Appreciation of the Arts makes You a Better Person, this question is addressed from the perspective of the appreciator. It’s not a far leap for the artist to to understand the benefit of “appreciation”. My purpose is to create Art that makes others recognize their experience. It is a form of creating an outlet for empathy. By looking at my work, the hope is the viewer will redefine and experience their own life in a deeper more resonate way. So when your daily life takes you in a moment of stress, art can be there to show the bigger world. The place that is larger than the immediate demands.

When placing artwork in my client’s homes, I am always struck by how my work becomes separate from me in another context. It takes on the meaning of the owner. My painting is no longer about my own interpretation of the image, rather, it relates and becomes the owner’s world.

In the piece highlighted, titled Floating Love, the couple is part and apart from the environment. They are on top of the world. A sensation I often feel with my husband. At the end of the day, there is a sense that we move through life, day after day, separate but together in our experiences. It is my hope that this story, this sentiment, becomes part of someone else’s life and lets them look towards the future in a positive, rewarding way.

 

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Why buy art?

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Often people ask themselves “what is the reason to buy art for their home?”. This is a normal question as Art is not a “need”. It is a “Want”. It isn’t food, shelter, or clothing. However, it is part of self care. It is part of making certain we retain our identity and reminds ourselves of who we are.

This past month has been waves of news that can spin our world into the depths of depression. Combatting the negative that surrounds us takes extra vigilance. It takes a decision to look towards brightness and life. Yes, we grieve the loss, the damaged and the destroyed. However, the goal is to keep going. To choose happiness over depression. Everyday  I go to the studio, I have moments of questioning my purpose. I imagine many people feel this way. In the last few days I have once again affirmed that my purpose in this world is to create Art that reminds us of the goodness. The place which we can find a bit of sanity and love.

In an article  titled 10 Reasons to Buy Art in the Huffington Post, the authors list simple reasons to buy handmade original paintings. They mention that “Happy walls make happy people”. I think this is true. Placing a piece of art on your wall reminds you to think of the bigger picture, the long game. The place in our world that has no fear, no hate, and reminds you to be good and loving.

When creating art, the goal is not to be sentimental in a trite way. Rather my work is about creating a story that reflects a bigger picture. One that is about connections and comfort. The desire to celebrate life in simple ways. In the piece highlighted, titled All Their is to Know, the story delves into yearning. The desire to be part of the story, the drama and the love as captured by the romance graphics from the 1950s. These Great Romance comic books were viewed with disdain by parents of the young girls who read them, but they were a place to explore stories and identity. To live a life of drama and romantic intrigue. What better way to spend time?

 

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