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How are your happiness levels?

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How do you feel?

How are your happiness levels? Do you self check on a daily basis to see how you feel? Is there a time, at the end of the day, that you feel you are OK and you had a happy moment that day.

I have this quote pinned to my wall;

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence (…) Happiness depends upon ourselves” – Aristotle

Happiness levels comes from a variety of sources; material goods, helping others, ego gratification when comparing to others and finally, searching for balance of previous three elements.  It is this last piece that seems to be the most distant and unreachable. The ultimate bliss. The sense you get up in the morning and be grateful for those who love you, in your achievements as a human being. Pieces that we can take for granted.

The little moments count the most.

In times such as these, there is a focus upon the micro. The little bits of events that happen that may be spontaneous. These micro moments, by registering them, seem to give a bit of a boost to the happiness levels.

So where does art exist in this happiness levels?

It has been found that art can create happiness levels in the hormonal level etc;

“A study by neurobiologist and University College London professor Semir Zeki found that looking at a work of art can actually have the same psychological effect as the euphoric experience of romantic love.”

So this leaves you with the antidote to sadness! Having art in your home increases your happiness levels. At the very least it may give you a bit of a boost that reminds you of colour, of life, of a moment to escape. A moment that you can register that you have control over.

This is the thing that seems to be important. The ability to control our environment. In a time, when we seem to not be able to, checking into our happiness levels is a piece that we can nurture and register.

It is time to search for the joy;

In the piece highlighted titled Time to Celebrate, this piece is part of a new series that searches for the joy in a moment. A moment of a party; dancing, laughing, and being part of life. Sharing in a moment that reminds us of our humanity and being.

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Look for Light

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Look for light as you go through your day.

“Look for light”, says my mom as I work through the realization that my life is so drastically different. Without art fairs to travel to in the US and events canceled in Canada, there is a coming to terms with the fact that the Covid effect is going deep.

Deeper than I expected.

Part of this realization is the fact that the mindset in dealing with this change is how to manage the stress, the grief and the loss. Of course to look for light is the goal.

To stay on point and be within the art, the creative and the purpose. When doing this there is a sense of “look what the light did now”. There is a sense of accomplishment and moving forward. Moving forward is a way to look for light.

The Fixed vs Growth mindset is the first step to growing.

At the basis of this approach is the fixed vs. growth mindset. The fixed mindset is the static. The place where we try to survive and defend ourselves in the understanding that maintaining a success is where we need to be. A growth mindset works to challenge, to learn, to take in stride our mistakes and grow from this.

Understanding this difference can help you meditate on the success. On the future, on the hope.

As we work our way through this Pandemic, with all of its ramifications there needs to be a discipline of controlling the mind to look to the good. Not to be caught up with the dark.

Look what the light did now

Of course, there is a need to register the loss. To grieve the loss of a job, or a person you know is part of this. However, survival has to be activated by focusing on the positive.

To step into the light, absorb it and use it to be productive,  creative and hopeful. Really is there any other choice?

To have a look at pieces that bring light into your home check out https://www.memoryartgirl.com

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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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Happy Place of Escape

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How to find your Happy Place?

Finding a way to salve your soul, to give you a respite from the tensions of the daily life is a way to survive. A way to make certain that you heal and take care of your mental state.

There are many ways to take care of yourself; get rest, take care of others, exercise, eat well, keep in touch with friends and family- and find a way to enjoy the beauty around you. A garden, blooming lilacs, watching children ride a bike, the sunlight on the lake, the warm wind on the beach. All things that take us into a place where lightness elevates our inner selves.

Finding Happy in art is a perfect way to be.

Of course art is the perfect place to find the Happy Place.  Being aware of how colours and story  can make you feel plays a role in elevating your mood. Finding a happy place puts a moment of lightness in your mind and gives you an escape.

Colours have been found influence us particularly; Blue makes you feel safe and relaxed.Yellow makes you feel happy and spontaneous. Red makes you feel passionate and energized. Pink makes you feel playful and romantic.

Surround yourself with colours so that you are reminded of a another space.  A happy place.

In the piece highlighted, called Dream Lady, the blue brings an inviting place full of life and colours. This is a calm, meditative space that has a playful quality. Flowers and music are embedded and brings a touch of love and romance to the image. A couple kissing, inspired by a vintage comics from the 1950s, brings the story of love to this city. So many pieces which combine to create a Happy Place of escape.

Art is your constant companion.

Use art to make you feel calm. This is an easy solution. As it is not a screen (phone, computer, tv) it is always there. To be seen in a moment, glanced at as you walk into the door, looked at the first thing in the morning. So many ways it can remind you of peace, of story, of another place and time that is full of happy.

 

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Brighten Someone’s Day

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Think Beyond Yourself

How do we brighten someone’s day as we progress through The Great Pause? During this time we are reminded of the essentials of life. Family, friends, safety, kindness and freedom.  We are reminded that we must have the ability to step outside of our own plans and be in the moment. To trust that the future will return.

There is a great sense of loss, on so many levels. For so many,  this loss becomes about ourselves.  Although, the phrase “we are all in it together” has become somewhat trite- yet it speaks to the sense that loss has been shared by everyone. The question becomes how to combat this “woe is me” feeling. To step outside of the personal grieving of loss and empathize that there are others who are struggling as well.

Your Mother helps Your Sanity

The journey to find the end of this dreary time is the challenge. How do we equip ourselves to keep going on a daily basis? How do we get up everyday and step into some time of routine. How do we find the space where we can contribute to the healing and stopping of the Pause?

For me, my lifeline has  been my mother. Her voice at the other end of the phone, or to see her face on the screen, has been a calming influence. She has “brightened someone’s day” by just being a calm voice. Just by asking if I am OK.

As a mother myself, I have taken this sensation of calmness and tried to share it with my son and daughter who are both dealing with the anxiety and uncertainty of today. Just by saying it is going to be ok. We will get through these times. This will pass. Be angry, be sad, but be aware that life will return. Words that must be repeated and understood to keep the journey going.

These little moments of sharing is really what it is about. Step outside of yourself and brighten someone’s day.

The journey has included the making of the home as a place of perfection. Baking cakes, hanging out, are pieces where time is shared and peace seems to prevail. They also brighten someone’s day as there is a moment of distraction. A moment of escape.

Dream and life will Return

As an artist, mother and creator of visual stories, I have seen my contribution as not only one who maintains some kind of stability, in a time of chaos, but also to give people the channel to dream.

To dream of a time of freedom, to dream of escape, of happiness, of being in a place that we share the optimism and light. All pieces that will be pervasive again.

The glimmer of light is there. It just takes a moment to reach out and brighten it. To remind them that life will be good again and the sense of loss will evaporate.

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Postcards of Paradise

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Special Messages of Love

What is in a postcard? Really the question should be asked; when is the last time you received a postcard? A short message, with a great picture and a sensation that someone, somewhere took the time to think of you. They took the time to write a note, put your address and stamp on it and put it in a mailbox.

Usually these postcards have photos of wonderful places. Places we can escape to in the moment of receiving this message. Our mind travels, every so briefly, and is there with the person enjoying the view. Of course, you soon think that the message is not irrelevant as the person has moved onto another place. The mail could never follow as quickly as social media.

Now we have an instant experience- we can look at social media and see the place, the moment of personal reaction to the place they are visiting. The consumption of the imagery is monumental. The reception of this image does not celebrate the personal sharing of a memory. In fact, there just is no connection. There is observation.

Postcards makes us feel special

When collecting postcards from the past, there is a real sense of humanity. A consistent messaging of celebrating events in life and travel. Always a message of “wishing you were here”. The sense of absence is pervasive. Even though the postcards come from 60 years ago, the messaging is often the same.

When receiving a postcard, there is a quietness, a sense of being in a space and sharing the moment that the sender is trying to convey. You think of the person being in that space. You are there in that moment- with them.

It is this sensation that the latest body of work looks at. The moment we imagine what the image says about the sender. Is it just another pretty place? Or is there a real emotional space that the sender was in when sending this postcard? When creating a painting, such as Phenomenal Woman, there is a deeper message than the image. The layering of a feminist story, played into the image, makes for a piece that  is a deeper space. A political space.

A postcard can be more than a postcard.

In reality, no image is just an image. Every image relates to a story that can be interpreted in a way of intent. Taking the image of the postcard of being by a pool is a perfect platform for another meaning. Layering the poem Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou does such a thing. It puts a deeper meaning than escape or holiday. It puts the meaning of celebrating women and celebrating beauty a prime message. Two messages which makes this work, and this series, a fun and relevant body of work.

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Resisting Delay of Creativity

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Resist the voice that says No.

What does it take to create? To make something- a piece of art, a piece of music, a new business? The making something out of nothing takes an enormous amount of initiative, motivation and perserverance. Most of the effort is the resisting of creating that seems to envelop us.  Making a piece of art is no different. Having the ideas is one thing. It is thinking through the process that takes a n amount of time to understand and go through. As an artist I make plans. I think of an image, then initiate the process. However when doing it I have to let the painting, the piece of art take its own magic. The first step is the most important- initiating the work.

Life and Making of art are similar

Many of us live our lives this way. As we get older, we have our work, our families and we are busy. Focused on the creating of things around us. Then suddenly there is time. Time to think and time to share. Time to be. What to do with your time? There can be a tendency to resisting the risks. To take initiative and be adventurous . Take life into our hands and make it a piece of art. Travel, volunteer, play golf, play bridge- all things that use our minds and expresses what we love to do. Yet there are many of us who stop ourselves and say that we just can’t do this or that. That we do not follow through and grasp onto the piece that makes us happy.

Art and Stories about reality.

The choices we make as we live our lives can go through so many levels. The first is always- what do I want to do? What do I want to create? For me, it is what do I want to say about my vision of life. Many times I am confronted with the “resisting”. The action of not taking the time and effort to create.

Stories are my favourite focus. To put together images that relate to our own place of authentic experience is the core to my work. The connections to my family and partner, the experience of adventure and release are at the core of my narrative. As I create these pieces, I try to find the Universal message. That my experience is your experience. That my exploring the dimensions of living life, and creating an image of it, is something that you will look at and be inspired to do as well.

As in the painting highlighted, Weekend Glory, a piece of art that embodies the release. The celebration of the moment and inspiration of life. Two things we should think of on a daily basis. Two things that we can move with into our world and move through without registering that word No.

To see a collection of inspirational prints see www.memoryartgirl.com

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Is Art Dead?

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Is the power of art dead?

Does art still have power that it used to have? Is art dead? Do we care about the handmade or the one of a kind? Does it have the same power that art had in the 17th and 18th centuries? Although it does not have the same power as these times, art is very much alive. In fact I would make the argument that art is even more important because it is it is so pervasive and accessible.

Although the handmade item seems to be disappearing, there is still the focus upon the uniqueness of the idea. We are now in a time where we look towards how the digital transforms our ideas and puts them in a new context.

Digital creates a new concept.

In fact, in this digital age, the translation of the image into different types of materials actually puts another layer of meaning on it. For many years, I was all about just the Original. Anything that was printed or created on another substrate, was not, in my opinion, as valuable as the original. I’ve now changed my mind. I have reproduced my work on acrylic glass and it takes on an entire whole other layer of meaning. Respecting new materials, understanding how a print can be valuable in its uniqueness are now part of the landscape. It is using the same idea, but translating it creates another way of understanding the image.

Power of the Original

That still leaves me with the concept of the Original. This piece of creativity will never lose its power. The way the piece is made, the magic of the moment of creativity by the hand of the artist. The signature of this creativity are critical pieces to the power of anything reproduced by the artist. It is at this moment of the “original story” that makes the depth and power of the piece. It is never to be underestimated.

In the piece highlighted, Let the Sun Shine, the magic of the moment of sun and escape is apparent. What makes this pieces so unique is the way the viewer can contemplate the moment of peace. The moment of escape and the beauty of the light. The same idea works on the original and the print level. Of course, knowing that this piece was touched and created by the artist makes this one of kind. However, it still has the power of the idea. The idea of escape, the idea of the past and the idea of seeing a unique idea.

 

 

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Is your Children’s Art enough?

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Children’s art in your home does not help your children.

Can your home just have your children’s art? Is it enough to hang the naive, lovely, personal pieces of art that your kids make in your home?

A few weeks ago I was invited to a beautiful home in Seattle. The people who lived here had two middle school aged children and I was a guest for dinner. Their home was on Lake Washington with a spectacular view. Modern lines, big open walls and tastefully furnished. They had a fireplace with a big empty wall. There was a couch with a big empty wall. No art. I asked the reason as to why they didn’t have art in their home. The woman said she hangs her childrens art upstairs. She only decorates her main floor with seasonal decor. She was very proud of her children’s art which I thought was wonderful. However, since this conversation I have been thinking as to why she does not see the negative effect of not having art made by professional artists in her home.

Teach your children the value of creativity.

This maybe controversial, but just using your children’s art may in fact do damage to your children. I know what you are thinking- that this is a ridiculous statement. But it stands to reason. We learn by imitating. Being exposed to new ideas, new creativity and then incorporating it into our homes teaches us big ideas. Children look. They may be dismissive and walk by the art you have with a lack of engagement and understanding, but in reality your kids see.

They see the art on the walls as a validation of creativity. They see the stories, the thoughtfulness of your selection. They see the different uses of materials. They understand the sophistication of thought which is far developed from their own. As a parent, you can speak to the reasons why you like it, what it says to you. How it reminds you of a part of your life and outlook. Small pieces of information that go into the bucket of reasoning when your child makes their artwork, or writes their stories and essays. It therefore makes them think of bigger ideas than their own.

Make their world bigger

So with this perspective, it stands to reason that hanging your child’s art is great self esteem builder, it may actually make their world a little bit smaller. It gives them a narrower view.

So take a risk- buy a piece of art that speaks to a deeper, mature voice. It will enhance your world, and it will make your children’s art better in the long run. 

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Art in the Digital Age

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Art and the digital question.

Is there an “aura” to art that that doesn’t appear in a digital form?

Or is it the idea that is the main value of the piece? In the age of digital reproductions, there seems to be a dissolving break between the “original” and the “print”.  Is it important that the piece is “handmade”? Does it give it more of a “soul”? Or do you react to the image, on its own merit, consider the idea behind and enjoy it for what it says to you as the viewer. At the basis of this difference is the idea. The idea of what makes this piece so unique.

In a famous essay by communication theorist Walter Benjamin,  in the ground breaking book “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” he describes that “authentic artworks have a certain indefinable “aura” about them” and makes them great. His opinion was that mechanically reproduced images miss the “soul of the work”. This theory, first written about in 1936, still carries a great deal of weight. Many artists don’t want to feel that they are being replaced by the machine.

Images are more important than the materials.

We are now in a different time. Images flicker in front of our eyes to the point that we  can just create our own with a click of  a button. So what makes an artists work different? It’s all in the idea. The idea of intention and result. Although the materials used play a role, ultimately it is the image that attracts the viewer.

In my work, the layers of vintage wallpapers, and paint carry an element of uniqueness. There is a scarcity to this material. So yes this makes a difference. However, the use of the materials is just part of the piece. I also use digital prints as part of my process. Capturing images from Classic films, old magazines, vinyl album covers, and old photos are manipulated digitally and then transferred onto the canvas.

Does digital mean no “soul”?

So where is the “soul” of the piece? Recently I had a series of pieces printed on acrylic glass on a large scale. The depth and quality of the print is as good as the original. The piece takes on a contemporary feel with a clear reflective quality to it. Although the materials changed the image it still has its power. It has the message, the colour and the feel. It does not have my hand as part of the actual piece, however, the message was clear. The “soul” is in the message.

However, the making and creating the piece has its own energy. This added piece of “aura” gives depth that cannot be found in a print.

Ultimately it is about how you want the piece to exist in your home. The feel of the handmade can be a priority. Or it can be the message. Either way the story of the art is the important piece.  In conclusion,  the ideas make the impression. This is the most important piece of seeing the art.

 

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