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Showing posts from May, 2015

Art and War(planes)

In this artist residency at Ricklundgarden in Southern Lapland, I've been writing a lot and painting and the days pass in a dreamy state of creativity. It's a disorienting place for the quiet and the beauty and the endless daylight. The sun rises shortly after 3am but it's never really dark so my body is unsure what time it is. It can't form a rhythm. And in that disorientation, I feel I'm moving as though in slow motion through another world where there is no time. I paint, I write and I sit dreamily watching the clouds slowly glide across the rounded snow-covered mountains beyond the lake outside my window.


This is such a silent place. Even though I live in the countryside in Ontario, this is a more silent silence. I am moving into it. Yesterday morning the sky was grey with heavy low rain clouds. I was painting in my studio when all of a sudden, a loud booming, rumbling sound came from the sky. I ran outside to see what it was. I couldn't see anything. If it…

What Does This Place Know of Me: Connecting with the Landscape

Here at Ricklundgarden in the little village of Saxnas Sweden in Southern Lapland, Rebecca Crowell and I have just finished teaching a 7-day painting workshop. It was an incredibly memorable week for us all, from a campfire in the Sami kåta to a hike in the snowy, dreamy, treeless landscape of Stekenjokk near the border with Norway, to working in the studio here at Ricklundgarden.


We saw late late sunsets that lasted long into the night, and early morning sunrises only a few hours later in this land so close to the Arctic Circle.




As a way of connecting to this powerful landscape, and as a time for contemplation and reflection, I asked the artists in the workshop to each find a quiet place to sit outdoors--a sit spot--where they would spend 15 minutes each day.  They were to return to the same spot each day at different times of day.  As part of that process, I posed a different question each day for them to contemplate as they sat in the landscape. Two of the questions were from Robert…

Artist Residency in Lapland, Sweden

I am currently at Ricklundgarden, an artist residency in Southern Lapland, Sweden where I am co-teaching a painting workshop with Rebecca Crowell. This is the view out my studio window: Kultsjon Lake with snow-covered mountains behind it.  It was a journey to get here--a long flight from Toronto, a layover in Munich, overnight in Stockholm, a 90 min flight up to Vilhelmina and an hour long bus ride to the tiny village of Saxnas. We are only one hour south of the Arctic Circle here, so the days right now are about 18 hours long.  But it is twilight until long past midnight.


There are five artists in the workshop, three from Canada and two from Sweden who are working together in the bright studio of the main building. I'm ensconced in the cozy Annex next door to the main building where I have a beautiful studio overlooking the lake and the mountains beyond. Paradise. 


There is much more snow here than we expected to find. There was at least a metre of snow outside my door when we arri…

Being a Juror for an Art Show/Being Juried for an Art Show

Yesterday, I was invited to be a juror for the Etobicoke Arts Group annual juried exhibition along with an artist whose work I admire, Warren Hoyano.  Although I have juried several exhibitions in the past, it has been a little while since the last time. I realize that all the teaching I have been doing has given me the clarity to be a better adjudicator and has given me the words to be better able to articulate my choices. The process also brought up for me, early memories of being on the other side of the jury process, as an artist whose work was sometimes accepted and often rejected from juried exhibitions.

Although we knew each other's work, Warren and I had never met.  In the time span of 90 minutes, we were to figure out how to work together and to choose up to 60 artworks from the 108 submitted.  As well, we were to choose from the works selected, 6 award-winners.
The task was daunting not only for the time constraint but for the excellent quality of the work submitted.  Ther…