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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 the postcard 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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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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Power of Original Art

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The power of original art is everywhere.

We are surrounded by an enormous amount of imagery everyday. Images through social media, tv, streaming, news  all seem to blend into our minds. So what stands out? What makes an impression upon us? The power of original art is to make you stop, look and think.

When you look towards original art you should stop.  Think that these are One of a kind pieces of art that had time and thought put into it to create it. Remember that the image you are looking out was made out of NOTHING.  A person took a tool, and used a surface and made something from nothing. And what they made was about something. It had a statement about your life. It’s purpose was to register a moment that you take for granted. In many ways, artists are visual philosophers. They stop time and translate it into a visual moment. So stop the scrolling and register.

This moment is put in front of you and you are made to register.

As a viewer, and consumer of this imagery, you look at it. You think “what is this image and how does it relate to you”. On a broader scale what does this art say about the trends in our culture.  If it’s a piece about nature, the use of color, the brushwork, the technique capture the light and image. If it’s a figure, there is sense of  person, the story and the identity.

This is where my work exists. It sits in the realm of creating a story about the people in our life and world. They may have come from the past, but their influence is still existent in the present. Whether it is an image from an old family photo, or an image from an iconic figure that is well known, then the story evolves to relate to who we are today. The beauty and elegance of Audrey Hepburn inspires us. The iconic power of Marilyn Monroe is transformed into our own persception of female empowerment.

Slow down and stop. Be Mindful of what you look at.

The highlighting of this creative moment makes you stop and register. That is what I am trying to make you do. To slow down and absorb.

In our daily life of the saturation of images we just dismiss. We don’t stop. We just consume. We scroll past and not think about the time, the idea and what the image says about you at this time.

 

 

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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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Know your history to know yourself.

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Know your History

Learning about ourselves, to know your history,  gives us deeper understanding of who we are. Knowing ourselves with the knowledge of our past, with the understanding of where we come from, can enable our lives to grow. Looking back at our ancestors, the people in our lives who made us, give us a clearer assessment of where we are today.

This should go without saying. However, too many times we often forget where we came from. At least, in my life, I always seem to push forward. To keep setting goals. To keep moving forward. Yet sometimes, it is just good to stop and look back. To look at where it all started.

When I was a Child

My father was an artist. I grew up with the creating, selling and constant marketing of art. It was a a childhood of setting up shows, and watching my family survive from the art made by my father. Today, I am not far from this childhood. Although I create my own art now, my goal is to market and send out information about my creativity everyday. Social media has come a long way from distributing thousands of postcards door to door which my father did.

The value of Stories

Some say holding onto the past means not looking towards the future. I don’t believe this. In fact, I truly believe learning the stories of our families gives us a starting point for the present and future;

“The goal of yesterday will be our starting point to-morrow” Thomas Carlyle

As we look at images of our past, like old photos of your parents walking or weddings or family gatherings,  or little pieces of paper of birth announcements, or postcards written and saved, the life lived becomes apparent. The lives before you, from where you came from inform your present. It should’t be underestimated the value of these stories.

What would we be without knowing about the challenges and courage of our ancestors? We would be floating through life without an anchor. Without an understanding of who we are today.

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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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Memory and Forgetting

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We are all a String of Memories.

We create our identity by experiencing moments.  Every moment is a memory as soon as it passes. I often think of a moment in the past and put myself back at that time.  Like trying to remember my daughter at the age of two walking for the first time.  We remind ourselves of who we are when we remember. At least that’s what I thought. In fact,  this is not true. Several studies have shown that the act of remembering a particular moment can be interpreted differently. Most importantly, the more you remember a particular event the less accurate the actual event becomes.

Every moment is a Memory Sensation

As soon as reality happens, the memory changes. The truest memories are those that are not recalled often. This fact is difficult for me to accept.

How can I not remember the first kiss I had with my husband? I seem to remember the place, the time and the sensation. So I did a bit of an experiment. I asked my husband if he remembered our first kiss. He didn’t. Sure he remembered the general time and place but his memory was more about the “feel”. That brings me to the most important piece. It was the sensation that was remembered. Not the detail of the time and place, rather, the connection.

My Work is Created from the Past

It is this fragment of a moment frozen in time that I try to find in my work. Many ask me if I create images that are my personal memories. No. I don’t use personal references. I use items that have a “look” of memory or are sourced from things from the past. Old photos, classic films, vintage magazine images all are references that reminds us of another time. With these little pieces of ephemera, I try to create a sensation of a memory. Not an actual event- rather a familiar image that reminds the viewer of a piece of nostalgia.

Nostalgia is defined as a sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period. The yearning is the important piece. However, I am not looking to put a piece of an event. Rather I am trying to create a sensation of a person, or an event and this creates a “yearning” for the viewer.

Like seeing an image of a woman riding a bike from the 1940s. Many look at this image and it reminds them of their mother riding a bike. The freedom and release reminds them of a special person who taught them to enjoy life and be free.

So even though this piece can reference a particular person, it is the sensation of the memory that is important. It is this sensation that makes us who we are. Not the little pieces of the actual events of time or place, rather the entire feel. Every moment is a memory and a sensation. It is this sensation that is the meaning behind my work.

To see a full Selection of  available Original Pieces click Here

 

 

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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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Just Show Up

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Show Up

“Just show up”, she said.

What does that mean today? What does it mean to be there, to act, to react, to give, to take and to be? It means that being in the moment and acting like you are producing and contributing is showing up. That being part of life, sharing your vision, honoring your talent, and giving it to those around you is showing up. Finally it means that making what ever you make becomes part of a wider world.

Working in the Rabbit Hole

As I work in the studio in January, I often feel like I am in a Rabbit hole forgotten by everyone. I have very busy days producing with0ut any conversation with anyone other than my husband and daughter over dinner. It’s  a life of isolation and speaking to myself. For many, this would be impossible to live with. I know that my husband and daughter would go a bit crazy if they didn’t have someone to speak to all day. For me, it’s different.

The creative life is just this. It’s about ideas, using materials to bring those ideas out into the world, and having conversations on another level with those ideas. The photographer Robert Frank said ” Look outward to understand inward”.  He produced the phenomenal book The Americans which looks at mid century life. Many images are about looking from the outside and trying to understand the inner truth of an intimate moment. A girl standing in an elevator with figures around her can be just an image. Yet this black and white image, with the dark figures surrounding her has a loneliness surrounded by people. An image that is is at that moment but is still timeless.

Searching for the Truth

So this concept of searching for the “truth” is a my goal everyday. Creating work that has a nostalgic approach brings in the memory component but it goes deeper. Certainly it speaks to a brief second of truth. The application of paint, the use of colour, the simplifying of detail all speak to trying to find what the “truth” is. Where is the story and how can I reveal this in this painting? Above all what is intimate moment am I trying to find and reveal to the viewer?

In the piece highlighted titled “At Last I Found a Dream”, the story is familiar. A romantic encounter watched from a distance. The old photographs embedded into the image bring to mind the black and white memories of other couples. Snapshots that reveal a truth of that moment. The couple hugging was from a vintage advertising for an insurance company. Taken out of context, this image still holds true.   Finally, by bringing pieces together to create a story that was not intended but is therefore the mark of a great piece.

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Surround Yourself with the Good

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Surround yourself with the Good

What does this mean? The “good” is the positive energy we get when we look or experience the positive. How do we introduce the positive into our life? We surround ourselves with good people. Mentors who tell us that we Can Do It. Most importantly we should make our environment enable us to have hope. That’s where  my Art comes in. Surround yourself with the good things of  the lightness of colour, the ideas of generosity, the beauty of the image into your home.  All things that inspire our view. All things that reminds us, on a daily basis, that life is Good.

As life throws us challenges we are often in a place of discouragement. The pushing through to activate and make things happen takes on more effort. The voice in our mind that “it’s just not worth the energy” to keep going is constantly there. How do you battle the negative? How do you push away these thoughts that there is no point to keep pushing? Discouragement is a motivator of inaction. If you just sit on the couch and not engage then nothing will happen. Your life is one of action so it is imperative that you create a life that is full and rewarding.

Build a connection to What Makes you Happy

Certainly activating change takes energy. You must first identify what is lacking in your life. I often go through my days, like a hamster, just producing and making things. At the end of the day, I summarize my list and look at what was finished. This makes me happy. Being a self employed creative person means that self discipline is a cornerstone piece of mental health. When I delay and procrastinate I have guilt. The feeling that I failed. So to avoid this, I have to make certain I look at my list and just check something off.

However, this does not address deep happiness. The stuff when you are hanging out with your partner and having a laugh. The stuff when you drive your teenager to school and have a moment of being let into her life with a funny story about a friend. Little things that I register in a moment. The things we take for granted. That taking the time to share a moment will reward us to be happier.

How Your Home Makes you Happy

My work brings clients that share personal stories. I have had several clients who want my work to remind them to be strong, to be active in their change in their life, and most importantly, to improve their happiness. Consequently, they see that they need change and my Art draws them to this need. This type of visualization is the key. Above all these clients look at my paintings and it brings them a moment of where they want to be. To be positive, to be resilient and to be satisfied.

In the painting highlighted, titled Into The Daybreak, the woman cycling is full of life. She rides into a world full of energy, hope and love. These small details of beauty creates an image that makes the viewer stop and register. That’s what is important. Look at your Art so you can  judge whether it inspires you. If it doesn’t then maybe it’s time for a change.

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