May 29, 2009

Birthday on the beach

Wednesday was my friend Gwen's birthday. Several of us went to McCoo's Island (in St. Margaret's Bay) for a surprise party. At low tide you can walk to the island.


It was chilly so we made a fire.


Lila enjoyed playing on the beach


and the deviled eggs!


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May 18, 2009

Travel plans

For a few weeks recently I was occasionally having twinges of anxiety. I didn’t know why. Nothing was on my mind that was upsetting. Maybe the travel, but I’ve done such trips before. Then as soon as the boxes of paintings were picked up (last Wednesday) and shipped to Denmark, I felt so relaxed. No more anxiety, just excitement about my travels.

I leave here June 1 and arrive in Denmark June 2. Aaron and Joanne will meet me there. The opening reception at the Galleri Saltum is June 6 from 2 to 6 pm. Do stop by if you are in the area!

Joanne has to go back to Exeter June 7. Aaron and I will hang around Scandinavia (no definite plan yet) until June 10. Then on to London to see the Queen (I actually did see her the last time I was in London, at the Parade of Colours). From there a few days in Exeter and surroundings, and then home on June 15.

In the two weeks before my trip, I’m just hanging out, gardening, reading, cleaning house, having lunch with friends. I’m beginning to want to get back into painting mode, did some work yesterday and probably will again. I need to order more canvas stretchers, start some new paintings. Fill up the (not too) empty corners of my studio.

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May 16, 2009

The big day

Friday I had lunch with a good friend in a Mediterranean restaurant, one I had never been to before. The food was great, the company the best. Then I went to Graduation Day for NSCAD University students. I sat in the middle of the faculty section and bathed in the thick artsy atmosphere. Everything in the ceremony was about becoming/being an artist, working in a field of creative process with no definite return other than the excitement of discovery. The graduating kids looked fresh and excited, ready for their next adventure. For the first time, most of the females wore dresses, and pretty ones at that. A delightful fashion show as a side bar.

Of the comments made by speakers, the memorable ones were:

Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Friendship is important.
It’s not about being the best but about doing your best.
Generosity is important.
Have lunch with friends.

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May 11, 2009

Packing up

Tomorrow Brian is coming over to help me pack up my paintings to go to Denmark. It will be good to see them go. I won't be able to fuss with them anymore.

Here are some that will be in the exhibit:





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May 07, 2009

An open book

I recently taught a six-week abstract painting class. I don’t know why I didn’t say anything here. Maybe because it was such a new experience for me. I’ve never taught nor been taught about abstract painting. That doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to teach it but that I needed to figure out how to teach it. I’ve been working in abstraction for fifty years. It was a commitment I made long before I went to art school. Non-representational painting just feels right to me. But I had to learn about it on my own.

My education in art school was not representational but process oriented, with objects for reference. Now, if you understand that, you can paint abstract! To translate, we studied how to create form with color (or marks of color) and the form includes the space the objects live in. I hope that makes sense. It is a difficult concept for young painters to understand. I’ve tried to teach the way I was taught but rarely find a willing student. It took me two months of struggle in art school to even begin to understand this way of working. So I thought abstract painting would be a more enjoyable subject for me to teach since it is my main preoccupation. It’s something I know a lot about now, after so many years of painting.

In the class I gave them lots of exercises that were taken from ways in which I approach a piece of artwork. There were times when various students expressed frustration with the exercises, with abstraction, with their work, my teaching methods. But in the fifth class, suddenly everyone in the class got it. A very thrilling moment for all of us. I felt I could eat the excitement in the room with a spoon. I plan to teach the class again in the fall, with a few changes, additions, and this time I’ll know it can be done.

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May 06, 2009


The paintings offered for bids at GPI Atlantic:




Posted by leya at 11:57 AM

Art and Jazz

Art and Jazz Salon
May 8, 2009, 4-7 Pm
GPI Atlantic
3008 Oxford Street, enter on Cork Street, phone 489-7117
Auction of
original oil paintings
Leya Evelyn
Jazz singing by
Arielle Legere accompanied by
J.P. Ellis
Slides and chats on GPI Atlantic,
the Genuine Progress Index, and
GPI Youth
Executive Director Ron Colman and
Youth Director Gwen Colman

This event is a fund-raiser for GPI Atlantic. "Founded in 1997, GPIAtlantic is an independent, non-profit research and education organization committed to the development of the Genuine Progress Index (GPI) – a new measure of sustainability, wellbeing and quality of life." I've donated three paintings for a silent auction. The paintings are on display in the GPI office.

Arielle Legere is a fifteen year old jazz singer who sang at the Montreal Jazz Festival. This should be a really good event. If you are in the area, do stop by!

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May 02, 2009

Tango time

I started taking tango classes again a while back. I lucked out this time: my class is gender balanced, equal number of girls and boys. The class that started last week is “close embrace”. It’s currently a popular form of dancing. I knew little about it before the first class. My memories of close embrace dancing are from high school, and those are the good memories.

Close embrace in tango, however, is another story. First, I’m not with a date; my dance partner is whoever is next in the line of dance. It could be, as it was last week once, someone I've never met before. Second, the position of the follower (or in this case, female dancer) is one of leaning into the leader (or male dancer). It means giving all your weight to your partner, trusting he won’t let you fall. It was, at first, very scary. But with practice, I got the hang of it, more or less. If I tensed up at all it was uncomfortable. So it is a good lesson in relaxation.

Meanwhile, I’m avoiding my studio. Except to go over the paintings I will be shipping soon to Denmark (for the exhibit in June) with a heat gun. As there is wax in the medium of the oil bars I use, I find it helps the many layers meld together. And it is definitely a good idea to send dry paintings.

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