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Showing posts from October, 2009

Daimons and Myths

vas Hermetis: 1, 2 3 each 4'x6" encaustic on panel ©2009 Janice Mason Steeves

I've named this series, vas Hermetis, after the Alchemical term for the symbolic Grail, a universal vessel of transformation. I'm reading two books at the same time right now. One is The Grail Legend by Emma Jung and Marie Louise Von Franz. They say that, "in nearly all mythologies there is a miraculous vessel. Sometimes it dispenses youth and life, at other times it possesses thee power of healing, and occasionally, as with the mead cauldron of the Nordic Ymir, inspiring strength and wisdom are to be found in it. Often, especially as a cooking pot, it effects transformations; by this attribute it achieved exceptional renown as the vas Hermetis of alchemy." From the Jungian school of psychology, these two women present this legend as a living myth that is profoundly relevant to modern life.

The other book I'm reading is The Demon and the Angel, Searching for the Source…

Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF)

On Friday I  went to the TIAF with my artist friend Shirley Williams to spend the day at the Toronto Convention Centre and check out the show.  There were 82 exhibitors, mostly Canadian, many from Toronto and Montreal. There were several galleries from the US--New York, Chicago and Minneapolis--and a few international galleries from London,  Madrid, Paris, Vienna, Barcelona, and Antwerp.





I was surprised at the number of representational works in the Art Fair.  I haven't gone for a few years and I found the fair to be very different, not nearly as edgy as in previous years, although there was lots of abstract work as well.  I noticed that there were a good number of sales and when we asked, the galleries mentioned that it was  larger works that  were selling and they seemed pleased with the number of sales.  Is the recession over then? 

Here is some of the work that I liked:





Galerie Lacerte, Quebec City
Jean-Robert Drouillard
Le balle est partie vers toi II
wood and acrylic
63x28…

Writing an Artist's Statement

        Detail: River of Longing 824x80" oil on panel     ©2009 Janice Mason Steeves

How often have I rewritten my artist's statement over the years?  Endless times.  It's a work-in-progress.  As my painting changes, I have to rewrite it.  As I complete another grant application or apply for a residency or have an exhibition, I have to rewrite it. Although I enjoy writing, working on my artist's statement feels like a form of torture.  There is something about the process that is incredibly difficult. It requires objectivity to write it.  I paint intuitively.  I don't conceptualize the work or the project beforehand, which makes it difficult to be objective.

A couple of years ago, I bought an e-book from Alyson Stanfield called "The Relatively Pain-Free Artist's Statement.  It took me through a 20-day lesson plan.  It's step-by-step approach to looking at your art and your life, which is helpful for any artist at any stage in their careers. At the en…

Order of Canada

I was visiting my home town of Winnipeg last week and I learned that one of my good friends from University of Manitoba days, Susan Glass, was awarded The Order of Canada last July. The Order of Canada is an honour for merit. It is the highest such order administered by the Governor General on behalf of the Queen. Created in 1967, to coincide with the centennial of Canada's Confederation, the three-tiered order was established as a fellowship that recognizes the achievement of outstanding merit or distinguished service by Canadians, through life-long contributions in every field of endeavour, and who made a major difference to Canada, as well as the efforts made by non-Canadians who have made the world better by their actions. Membership is thus accorded to those who exemplify the order's Latin motto taken from Hebrews 11:16, desiderantes meliorem patriam, meaning "they desire a better country."

Susan's contributions have mostly been in the Arts. She is a weste…