memories
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Memory; Reality or Lie?

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Memories as a Reality

Memories as a reality? Are our memories truth or a lie? If it is a lie- can we rely on these memories to truly define us? Confusing questions, to be sure. But I am interested in how this relates to Art. My art. Memories are my inspiration, but I interpret the moment. A moment that is a trigger for you. So the ‘memories as a reality’ become more about the sensation of a moment in time. It becomes a doorway through which you can enter and enjoy the memory of a particular time and place.

Everytime we remember an event, it is different. Memory is not a reality, it is an interpretation. Much like a piece of Art. The transformation of reality into an interpretation is the reality. I find this difficult to accept. How can an event change, in your mind, when it actually happened?

I remember one thing. you remember another . We were both at the same event, the same place, but you remember it differently than me.

The memories we have of a certain time period of our life can be wrong. It may actually be a lie. How often have you had a conversation with your partner about a prrticular event and the stories are different? One’s perception of that moment is not the same as the others. Although I don’t know if this is a lie as much as an experience of reality through different eyes.

In the article Why are Memories so Different from Reality;

“A memory isn’t a perfect stored representation of the event. It’s not a photograph, snapshot, or movie of our lives. When we encode something we store salient aspects, things that stand out and things we find important. What those things are also depends on you, your past experiences, and your knowledge. Different aspects stand out or are important to different people.”

Impression becomes the Truth.

Following this, then the impression of the event becomes the most important feature. Much like a piece of art. It is the impression of the idea that comes forth in the painting. The bits and pieces that are put together to create the image are a transformation of an image through my eyes and mind. Much like a memory.

In the painting highlighted, titled Fairytale Escape, this piece goes into the realm of the adventure. I remember piling into my father’s car, as a child, and heading out to the campgrounds. Cooking outside, sleeping in the camper, the sounds of the woods surrounding us. It had such a comforting adventure. The reality, though, was a bit different. The weather, the breaking down of the vehicle, the fighting with my brother- all things that seem to wash away when remembering these excursions.

This painting is part of my Home Sweet Home series. A series that looks at the home as place of idealism. Impressions of the home that tell the story of the “home”. Each place conveys both comfort and isolation. We remember our home in particular ways- a place of love, of connection, but it is also a place where we are lonely and isolated. Two pieces of memory and identity that are critical to our well being.

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Enjoy the Everyday Sounds of Life

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Sounds of everyday life can be taken for granted.

When my daughter was young, she would wake up everyday with a song. Singing in her childlike voice I would listen as I wake up and revel in this moment of happiness. Just to stop and listen. The other day I asked  my 14 year old daughter if she still wakes up with a song in her head. Yes she said. There is always a tune in her head. She dances through her life. The sounds of everyday life permeate her world and she registers this moment.

In fact, when she was younger, she would dance after dinner. Everyday. At home and when we went out for dinner. I called it the Dinner and Show time which was an inspiration for a whole series of pieces that focused on dance.  My daughter doesn’t dance after dinner anymore, because the music is still within her.

I don’t wake up with a song in my head. I wake up with a list of things to do. Not that this is a bad thing, but I have to remind myself to stop and enjoy life a bit more. Like my daughter.

Melody in Language can be Art

Recently I listened to an interview with the musician Meklit Hadero who finds melody in everyday language. The composing of music from language, repetition of sounds to make a song takes the everyday and makes it into art. But then that is the role of the artist- to highlight the taken for granted and elevate it. To walk into the ordinary and create a  piece that makes you stop, listen and look.

Designing Joy into your Home

Most importantly, this concept of registering the beauty of everyday relates to the healing power of beauty. Our homes, our places of refuge,  are the places that we retreat to and recharge. To ignore this place does not help you move forward in your life. In other words, it heals and gives you the strength to keep going. Yet the sounds of everyday life can take us into the pleasure of unnoticed.

Importance of the Circle

In the post by Ingrid Fetell who speaks to how joy can be designed into our surroundings, she speaks about how our homes and workplaces have to have a conscious awareness of healing and comfort. She highlights how the circle plays a major role in this design.

What does the circle do? How is it powerful? Many of my clients question my use of the circle and my repetition of this element in my work. I have always responded that I use circles as a way to elevate the feeling of the piece. However, this use goes much deeper. In fact, as Ingrid states,the circle has a psychological healing piece to it. It creates balance, a sense of wholeness and comfort. Sharp angles, rectangles and squares, have more of a sense of discomfort. Not surprising that this is the case. There really isn’t anything like polka dots.

Painting with Circles

In the highlighted painting titled Floating Fragrance, the use of circles is repeated in the structure of the piece. The end result is the sensation of these women walking on air. The repetition of the ladies, in a pop art style, gives a contemporary vision of a cityscape. Layers and the ephemeral light makes this piece full of life.

In conclusion, the goal is to look and listen at your world. Stop and look at a painting in your home. Listen to laughter and music and be aware of how it feels. Above all, register the joy that surrounds you daily!

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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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How to preserve memories?

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How to preserve memories? Memories that happen in a glimpse of time that we experience and take for granted at that moment? There are many moments that we try to recreate through a photograph, a short film, but the actual sensation can never be recaptured.

As the holidays descend upon us, many are recreating traditions in the hope of experiencing a moment from the past. Food, gifts, gatherings are become a way to recreate the bonds that families have. These moments of the past can never be recaptured. They can never be re experienced because of age, loss of family name and just time. As my family gets older and my children become young adults, I find I grieve the loss of their childhood. This time of year has reminded me that those moments when they were young were precious and brief. There is no way to go back except to share stories with them about the “remember when”. This is the closest I can get to reliving the memory.

All of these moments of trying to understand these feelings of loss are entwined within my work in the studio. As an artist who works in the realm of nostalgia I try to understand the layers of meaning behind an old photo. Who were these people who stand so straight for the camera? What kind of lives did they have? The object of this image has a different meaning to me than to the owner of this image. This is the tension. This is where I try to find a way to communicate the sensation of this time through my own artistic interpretation . This body of work looks at the nostalgic in an very personal way. It looks at the peons moment of experience.

In an article looking at the role that art has in memory, there is a discussion in the challenges that artists face in trying to find a way to capture a memory that honours the sensation of the moment.

In the featured painting I show, titled Flying Like a Butterfly, this piece brings to mind the vintage postcards of the waterskiing shows from the 1950s. The looking at the moment of time. One that was glamorous and fun and full.

 

 

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