March 31, 2009

The longest winter

It's the last day of March but not the last day of winter. The weatherman promises us sun and warmth tomorrow. And then rain again. But for now, it was very beautiful today as Lila and I took a walk in the woods by the brook. We were making fresh tracks in the new snow. A neighbor and her four dogs (one of them a three-week visitor) joined us.




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March 29, 2009

A testament to the power of positive thinking

Last night I went to a wine tasting party in my neighborhood. It’s a yearly event—people bringing two bottles of their homemade wines, one for tasting and one for the winner. As I prefer beer, I brought myself a bottle of Danish brew. It was also earth hour at 8 pm so the room was lit with candles. When the lights went on again at 9, everyone groaned and insisted they go out again.

There were also door prizes. I mentioned to several people that I often win the door prize so be prepared. I’ve won a bottle of champagne, a signed edition of Allen Ginsburg’s Howl, and a tee shirt and golf balls. There were about six prizes and after four I began to wonder why my number hadn’t been called. At number five, it was. I won a big glass beer mug, the kind you put in the freezer to chill. Cool.

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March 26, 2009

Home after a long long day

Home! Finally, after a long journey. I saw the weather forecast before I left: a major snowstorm on its way to the Maritimes. So when I arrived in Toronto, I wasn’t surprised to find my flight to Halifax cancelled. Air Canada very kindly gave the stranded passengers vouchers for taxis, hotels and meals. The only reasonable way to get home the next day was to be redirected to Ottawa for the night, then on to Halifax in the morning. I met a lovely young lady from Victoria during the hour-long wait in line for the vouchers. We shared a taxi and dinner. By the time I got home, I was weary and happy, especially to see Lila again.

Too bad Aaron left Ottawa for England three weeks ago! It would have made the trip even better. But I will see him and Joanne in June when I go to Denmark for an exhibit. The plan is to meet there and then travel back to the UK with them, see their new home and poke around some.

Now it’s warming up here, the snow is melting and the suggestion of spring is in the air. Maybe no more snowstorms. I never want to see my winter jacket again!

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March 21, 2009

Some pix from the City

First, the St. Patrick's Day Parade:


Walking across 57th to the Art Students' League, I passed the Steinway store. A man was by the window carving an elaborate frame on a piano:


Spring in New York:


and in Penn Station:


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March 20, 2009

First day of spring, they say

No, this is not Nova Scotia. Before coming down here, discussing what clothes to bring, Tamar promised me it wouldn't snow. To my surprise, I woke up this morning to see big snowflakes coming down and making the trees and bushes all white. It's all gone now, and, even though I'd prefer not to see snow again for a long time, it was very beautiful.



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March 18, 2009

A taste of the Big Apple

I went into Manhattan yesterday to see art and visit friends. To my surprise, it was St. Patrick’s Day in the City. Lots of people dressed in green—green hats, green hair, green paint on their faces—and a big parade up Fifth Avenue from morning to evening.

I maneuvered through the crowds, to go first to the Museum of Modern Art—closed: Tuesday. So I went to some galleries along 57th Street. Not much too exciting there. A fairly decent Robert Mangold exhibit at the Pace. Mostly work on paper and not as appealing to me as his canvases. Then I met my friend Zoe at the Art Students’ League where she is currently enrolled. It was a fascinating place, students of all ages, mostly older, coming and going. People who at a certain age realized what they really wanted to do was make art and so they are.

Then Zoe and I went for lunch at a great noodle restaurant, a little hole-in-the-wall place with fantastic food. From there we walked to the Whitney Museum to see the Jenny Holzer exhibit—the museum was closed: Tuesday. We walked from there to the Metropolitan Museum and did get in.

After parting with Zoe, I went down to Soho to spend the evening with my friends Leah and Pedro who live in the loft building where I used to live. It was great to catch up. Pedro had spent three months in Venice this winter, Leah with him for one of them. Lots of stories to tell, to hear, talked till my jaw hurt.

Back home now with Tamar and Damian enjoying the quiet. Manhattan is a country of its own—loud, fast, exciting and tiring. As much as I love New York, being here, seeing all the art and culture and my friends and family, I appreciate my life in Nova Scotia.

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March 16, 2009

Hanging out in NJ

Plane connections went smoothly yesterday and it’s great to be here now with Tamar, Damian and Dan. Today Tamar and I spent the morning being girls—trying on clothes, doing lunch and then buying groceries. Neither of us are fond of shopping so it was much more fun together.

Tonight we will hang out, cook a good meal and maybe watch a movie. Tomorrow I head into the Big Apple for a couple of days, see friends and art. The weather is being cooperative, above freezing, a blessing.

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March 15, 2009

On the go again!

It's a beautiful sunny day in Nova Scotia and I am spending most of it in airports. Right now I'm waiting for my flight to Montreal and then for my flight to Newark. I'm on my way to visit Tamar, Dan and Damian and also to spend a couple of days in Manhattan with friends, see art and have a good time.

It's warmer there and no snow on the ground. I've seen enough snow for this year. The dirt is beginning to reveal itself in my yard but there are still big piles of snow and ice hindering easy access to strategic points such as my composter. Last Friday I slipped on the ice three times while trying to clean the snow off my car. One time I found myself almost halfway under the car. No injuries, just surprise. The snow was covering the ice that was everywhere.

Perhaps when I return in a week it will all be gone. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to being with Tamar and her family. It's been a while--since last August. We talk frequently but there is nothing like a real live presence!

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March 11, 2009

Good news!

Just when I was beginning to fret about my personal economy, things turned around for me. Expecting to make a living as an artist is a faith-based life. I was starting to question that faith, question the livelihood part, the part that makes it possible to continue making art—buying art supplies, shipping out paintings on consignment, traveling for an exhibition, paying for shelter, eating, things like that—when I went to my mailbox yesterday and discovered a letter had been there for a couple of weeks (yes, the mailbox is out of my usual route and a nuisance to get to) informing me I received a Nova Scotia Arts Council Grant. What a relief.

At times like this, when there is a lot of fear in the world, it is hard not to be affected. I find myself wanting to turn the radio off sometimes when the news is so down-turned. It’s too much. I try to shy away from complaining, yet I was starting to wonder if it was better to say things are tough and hope for a positive response or not to say things are tough and then they wouldn’t be. After all, so much is how you think about it. I sincerely think external events are a reflection of your inner thoughts. But to stay positive . . . sometimes that is definitely a leap of faith. It’s great when it pays off!

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March 06, 2009

Hearts on my sleeve

A couple of weeks ago I went to a jazz concert given by students, from middle to high school, in after school ensembles. One of Yoko's students was performing and we took two other students of hers. Some of the music was really good, especially the older kids.

When we were walking through the lobby towards the auditorium, I saw the panel I had worked on for the Visual Arts Nova Scotia collaboration, Canvas. I had neglected to bring my camera that night and had wondered where it was.


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March 03, 2009

Thoughts on play

For the past few weeks I’ve been torturing myself with thoughts—am I repeating myself, am I getting the painting that I want, what painting do I want, does the work look as spontaneous as the small black and white pieces I did, etc. etc. etc. On and on and on. Yet. I continue to go into my studio, change my clothes (and shoes), put on my mask, and paint. I don’t think I have completed a painting in weeks, but I am coming close, maybe.

My niece, who plays in the Rome Opera Orchestra, wrote me recently, after reading my post on being a woman artist. I had said I thought artists are all working with a mind of play. That is what crosses the sexual barriers. She replied:

I have to remember to enjoy the play in the playing. It is easier for me when I am teaching small children because everything they do is play. And so we play with music and violin and sound but it is always play for them. It is harder for me when I am at the opera, but I do enjoy the sounds and that I make together with my wonderful colleagues. It is just hard to keep the spontaneity and joy. I wish I had time for more of my own play/playing—that is my first relationship to it all and I suppose, to myself. In which case, necessary.

Now I have to remember that the major relationship to my work is with myself. I do this, painting, because I have to. As I told a friend recently, it’s not that I can’t do anything else, it’s just that I can’t do anything else. This is what I do. Paint. And the paintings teach me, help me grow and learn about things, nonverbal things, I might never come up against without this play that I do. So ultimately, there is no right way to paint, as long as I continue to paint. And eventually we will see what happens.

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