Welcome to some shameless self-promotion. That's right—SHAME FREE. My paintings will be hanging at Northern Quarter (1724 Douglas St.) from October 7th until November 17th, the art opening for "Portraits 2016–2018" being THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11th from 5:00 pm–8:00 pm. At 8:30 or so there will be live music, but more on that later.
First I'd like to write about MYSELF.
I've been pondering my relationship to art—what it means to me and why I do it—and not only so that I can finally complete the ABOUT page on my website. I switched from a double major in Psychology and World Religions at Concordia University into Visual Arts in 1986 with a kind of "what the hell am I doing?" feeling. Of course, I'd had that feeling with my first choice of study as well. I was the first person in my family to go to University so I didn't get a lot of guidance on the topic, and was more or less feeling my way. I had my interests and obsessions, so I at least knew enough to go with those.
Decaying monoprints in oil in my sketchbook from art school
I got A's in both my academic and art courses, which as we all know guarantees success in life—or at least, I seemed to think so at the time. One of my art teachers told me that I "could be the next big female Canadian artist" (or words to that effect) which of course sounded impressive, but ultimately meant nothing as I understood not a thing about The Art World or what I might want to do within it. I was not particularly ambitious, and I was prey to the kind of "magical thinking" that leads you to believe that because you are so wonderful and talented, everything will just work out. Won't it? There were no courses offered on "Life After Your Bachelor of Fine Art", which I guess didn't help matters. After moving from Montréal to Victoria we had a kid, bought a house, got jobs... and things stayed like that for quite some time.
Fast forwarding 25 years or so (and grossly glossing over the psycho-emotional reasons for not committing myself to art): in March of 2015 I participated in The 100 Day Project by painting 100 faces in ink from Marco Anelli's Portraits in the Presence of Marina Abramovic, and I've been painting faces in ink ever since. I can't really account for any of this—I had never painted portraits (apart from the occasional self-portrait I'd attempted), and I'd only recently started experimenting with ink. It simply came to be. So now I'm an artist? Okay, I'm an artist. But the label isn't as important to me as understanding its significance to me, and why the hell I'm doing it.
Which—I admit—I don't fully grasp yet (and maybe never will). But I know it has to do with spirit. (I hesitate to use that word because it has various connotations, not all of which fit the bill, but it's the best I can come up with). The spirit in the people I am painting and in people in general, and the spirit in the physical artwork itself. And my spirit, and how much more at peace it is now that I am more dedicated to painting. I looked up various definitions of the word "spirit", but I want to share the word's origin: "mid-13c., 'animating or vital principle in man and animals,' from Old French espirit, from Latin spiritus 'soul, courage, vigor, breath,' related to spirare 'to breathe'." What the Oxford Dictionary calls "the non-physical part of a person regarded as their true self and as capable of surviving physical death or separation". What my friend Neil would call "the ineffable". People are so much more interesting to me to paint than a landscape or anything else could ever be—that much I know. I reckon I want to honour the ineffable inherent within them.
Now I'm painting vintage mugshots, and don't ask me why. I found that when I worried too much about the "why" of it, and whether it was "valid", well I didn't paint at all—and that ain't right. So my new motto is just keep going... all will be revealed in the fullness of time. What I really love is hearing what other people see in my paintings when they feel compelled to tell me, and how varied the reactions are. And how different they are from how I see them. And of course, you really have to see them (or any painting, for that matter) in person, and not only because they are tactile objects with nuance and textures and the hand of the artist apparent all over them. Also because they have a spirit all their own.
Mugshot No. 6 - ink on paper, 20X24 inches, 2018
So... THE ART SHOW. Please come on down! The art opening goes from 5:00-8:00 pm on Thursday October 11th, and at 8:30 there will be live music—The Songs of Hank Williams as Performed by Three Davids: David P. Smith, David Chenery, and Dave Harris. It's a great show, and it will performed the following night at Northern Quarter as well (Friday, October 12th).
Hank Williams - ink on paper, 18X24 inches, 2018
The winner of this month's draw is Rachel Amelia Erin! Or at least, that is what she's called on her email address. I don't know who this is, but she's about to get a congratulatory message from me.
Thanks for reading—
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