women’s art
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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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