Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category


January 2, 2015


pathwords - depaysement 001

Though  I could use the word “homesick”, dépaysement has a richer meaning. In French, it is technically used for “out of one’s country”.  But in an emotional context, it goes deeper.  In fact, sometimes it’s good news. It’s that feeling of being far away from home, butterflies in the tummy, too strange. Sometimes when I travel I get a sick feeling, wishing I was back home in my cozy little house again. Yet sometimes, I’ve been very far from home and felt perfectly at home. Castles in the south of France – yes, I’m sure I’ve been here in a past life. My first time in New York City  I knew my way around. Sometimes the very strangeness of a place thrills me. Yet sometimes, strangeness throws me into a feeling of despair, as if bits of myself have faded away, and I can’t breathe, can’t ground.

I like that there is a word for this, at least in another language. It means I’m not crazy, that this is a shared human experience.



November 19, 2014


pathwords3 001


Wordless Wednesday. Sometimes the words are silent.

Pathwords – Iktsuarpok

November 14, 2014


pathwords2 001


In this new bookart, I’m collecting interesting words from other languages to adopt as my own. Perhaps not to drop into casual conversations; that might appear a bit affected. But the English language suffers from not having an equivalent word for many things, particularly, I have found, words that describe our soul. Words shape our selves, our souls. They make us see and feel things in different ways. They connect us to other people by sharing parts of ourselves, if only by saying “I know that feeling!”

Ikstuarpok is an Inuit work meaning “to keep looking outside to see if someone is coming”.  I know that feeling too well. It drives me crazy. Every five minutes I’m looking out the window to see if a friend has arrived in my driveway yet, or down the street, if I know their car. Sometimes, it’s with restless anticipation, looking forward to an evening with friends.  Sometimes, as in a service call, it’s with annoyance. An entire day can be wasted in restless waiting, no matter how busy I keep myself, or how much I accomplish while waiting. My eye constantly drifts over to the window, every sound grabs my attention.

And a few times, it has been with crushing fear. Which I imagine would  be the case for the Inuit waiting for a loved one to return home on the frozen tundra, a blizzard, and whatever other dangers loom in their land. The horrible feeling that something has gone wrong. It’s a universal feeling,

The First Eco-Warriors were Artists!

December 16, 2012
The First Eco-Warriors: Artists!

The First Eco-Warriors: Artists!

Yesterday, at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, I saw a fabulous show on the Impressionists. And I came away enchanted as always. But I learned something new about these amazing artists and how much we owe to them. Their style, subject matter, their breaking away from the “authority” of the Art community, with non-narrative art which no longer had to include religious themes. Two curated comments I retained especially:
. The Impressionists were devoted Plein Air painters, but not simply by “copying” nature. They sought the feeling of the immanent life world. It is what I strive for. Monet’s painting “Impression: Sunset” which was featured in their first show (?) provoked the appellation “Impressionist painter”, a term of derision in fact.
.They were laughed at for just painting a tree. A tree? Where’s the Important People, the story, the merit, the moral? Yes, just a tree. They loved their trees so much in fact that they went out to bat for them, and overturned the on-coming destruction of the big oaks and magnificent trees in the Fountainbleu outside Paris. They claimed in outrage that would have nothing left to paint if the mighty trees were cut. And they won. And so we have our first Eco-warriors! Not the scientists, but the artists we have to thank.

And so I paint trees. And wonder how my painting of a tree or two could possibly affect the on-coming disaster.

Plein Air – Beauty Bound “Good”

November 27, 2012

The last page and the inside back cover. As the book comes a close, the meaning finally becomes clear. I’ve assembled a collection of my plein air paintings, some with added collaged elements, and some collage/mixed media pages. Side by side, the styles sometimes conflict, though I didn’t feel like compromising one or the other by bringing more unity to them. I found the key in the word “layering”. Collage artists in the States began calling themselves “layerists”, referring to the process of building up layers upon layers of imagery, meaning, textures. The strange word “palimpsest” came up more and more, like headstone carvers recycling old cemetery stones by sanding down the original inscriptions, and carving new ones, while never able to completely erase that haunting image of the other. That is the allure of mixed media to me. To me, plein air has that same attraction. As I work outdoors in situ and surrender to the flow, I eventually lose myself. And that’s when layers of the animate life world reveal themselves to me. Trees begin to sway and dance, I sense old stories of the ones who have gone before in this place, and I am no longer a simple observer. To quote David Abram: “To be fully human means being part of the larger world”.
The large gold “Good” has a double meaning for me. In virtue ethics, Iris Murdoch questions “what does it mean to be good?” and uses the example of the artist’s loving attention to beauty as a step in developing the good life. I did a lot of research on that for a philosophy paper on ecology.
But it’s also on the last page that the Prof scribbles “GOOD” on an “A+” paper. Yeah. I just patted myself on the back for a good job.

Cookie Box Art

November 15, 2012

Somebody criticized this work as being too “cookie box”. A nasty comment that hurt me to the core for some reason. It suddenly seemed “too cute” or frivolous and I never showed it in public. I shouldn’t have been so sensitive, I suppose. But artists are thin skinned about their work.
Meanwhile I starting noticing cookie boxes …. hum… there’s Van Gogh’s Starry Night on this one, and Renoirs show up quite regularly. Perhaps Munsch’s Screamer might turn you off what’s in the box, but a Picasso might add an interesting sales feature. I shouldn’t have felt so bad.
A good lesson learned. Never listen to negative comments if they don’t serve. Any thoughts?

One of my early collages that got me hooked.

January 18, 2012

Collage on lauan board. 16″ x 10″. Rice paper, gift wrap, onion bag, lace, paint skin, bark, magazine cut-outs, fabric, hand painted silk papers, modelling paste, beads. Golden fluid acrylics and mediums for gluing and varnishing.

I’m Back Again.

January 14, 2012

So here I am, back again. I started this blog in ’09 and quickly dropped it in frustration. The usual glitches and a very slow computer at times. I lose patience with anything that takes me away from the art. But finally,  during the holidays, I had a revelation (a dream, in fact)  that this blogging is a part of the Art. It’s sharing with a community of kindred spirits, being part of something very magical. Though now our “woods” is a large canopy that envelops the entire world!


October 1, 2010

I‘m back.  I’ve promised myself to post at least once a week, and upload some photos of art work, share some thoughts on art, and the magic in the woods.  Because it’s on a long walk in the woods that I get my best insights and inspirations for the art.