Found Art

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I’ve been absent from my art blog for quite some time. As some of you may know  I’ve created a bit of a side business for myself besides my full-time job and my art I am now a dog care provider. My business and I am called The Furrrry Godmother. It keeps me quite busy but it doesn’t keep me from my studio. I blog more about the dogs now than my art because it entertains me and keeps the parents of the furr babies informed.

I guess you could call today’s blog a guilty confession concerning my laziness in art blogging but not idle anywhere else in life.

I’ve been working steadily on the giantangles that I began last year in black and white. I’ve completed it and also one in teal. I am currently working on a purple one.

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I have one more painting in this series. It’s going to be red but you never know, it could turn out green or orange depending on my mood when I put brush to canvas. Each acrylic painting is 30 x 40 with the exception of the purple one which is 32 x 40. I bought the wrong sized canvas but just had to start painting what was in my head. I like to think that the painting demanded more space than it’s predecessors.

So, that is what I’ve been working on at the studio. At home I’ve been drawing zentangles of all shapes and sizes. I’ll frame some and not frame others. I’m not quite sure what I am doing with most of them yet. I had wanted to make cd case cubes but they are just too tacky for my taste.

In textile I have begun a new yarnbomb project that I hope you will all enjoy for a long time. It has to do with birds and rooftops. Stay tuned there will be a release party. I’m very excited about it.

So, I’ve gone to the dogs but my passion is still very much alive in the arts. I promise you, that flame will burn internally and eternally !

Now I want to share with you a found piece of art I stumbled upon today which prompted me to come and blog. I am of Ukrainian, Irish and British decent. I connect most closely with my Ukrainian roots for some reason. I don`t question it.  Today I discovered this gorgeous sculpture by a Kiev artist named Nazar Bilyk. It is simply called, “Rain”. I think its stunning…enjoy and ciao until I blog again.

Nazar Bilyk-Rain

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Seven Wonders.”

Khalil Gibran once said that people will never understand one another unless language is reduced to seven words. What would your seven words be?

Please may I have your attention. Thankyou for giving me your attention. Yes let us talk about our ideas. I see your point of view. You are allowed to believe that. We can be the same and we can be different. Balance is achieved this way.

Seven Wonderful Words

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singular Sensation.”

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Today I won 50 million dollars !

The blogs that would follow this one singular sensation in my life would outline the following activities:

  • Calling Janine Willis and asking her what she needs to continue her amazing work with Hearts for Africa in Swaziland for the next 3 years.
  • compiling a spreadsheet of all my family and extended family debt and paying them all off in full
  • creating a scholarship for young adults to study art in a foreign country
  • buying the dream house I just posted about on my facebook tonight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moOvt_3STtA
  • taking my entire family on a dream vacation..and I mean EVERYONE
  • study art and people world wide and helping where I can

There is not much more in this world that I want other than to be a contributing member to my tribe…the humans. Currently the fuel that drives change in this fabulous world that we live in is money. Many of us wish that the currency of change was kindness and cooperation and compassion.

REALITY CHECK!! The world really is not like that at the moment. But by jumping on the  “making a difference bandwagon” as opposed to looking out for number one, we can influence each person that we know.

humbly yours,

Justy

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pay It Forward.”

When the mundane job gets tough and I’ve had enough I generally take 15 minutes to just walk away and collect my sanity. I’m very grateful that I do have a job that keeps me fed, clothed and stocked up on paint and canvas but sometimes you just need a white chocolate, macadamia cookie to put things right.

And that’s just what I did. Went to the closest sandwich shop to get that cookie. I paid with a $10 bill, got my change and sat outside the shop to eat my cookie. There was a panhandler whom I see often on the street. I decided that once I was finished my cookie I would give him my change. but I needed to save $5 for bread on the way home. I would give him all my change.

I began to adjust my change purse and my wallet when I realized that the cashier had short changed me $5. As I set to standing up there she was at my side, apologizing for making a mistake and handing me the five dollars. At the same instant another woman was offering to buy the panhandler a sandwich. He stood up and walked toward the shop passing me. I handed him the five dollars.

It was a very sweet moment. Not more than 10 seconds had passed since that $5 bill had been given to me in an act of honesty and kindness and I knew that I had to give it up to the man in need.

It felt so natural and real and the only moment of that day that I treasure.

Naturally Flowing Kindness

Retreat Results

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Retreat Results

Each year I embark on a full day personal retreat along the Ottawa River. It became a tradition when I was searching for energy and inspiration as an artist around 2009. But now I am blogging this confession. I have not been on one of these retreats for 2 years and I have not been to my studio in 2 months. I’m stuck, blocked, dead in the water.

Last weekend I decided that I MUST go on my retreat.  I deduced that I can’t expect energy from the concrete jungle. I needed the same energy I got from spending 4 days in Westmeath. I realized that I didn’t go last year because I was just too tired and the planning usually took me two weeks. I would research different retreat ideas and incorporate them into a full day schedule. Seeking that creative nectar from the bosoms of Mother Nature should be structured after all …nes pas? (insert sarcasm of the highest level).

When I finally made up my mind that I was going and my back which had been wrenched for two weeks finally jerked back into place,  I also chose not to structure this retreat. I just packed a lunch and headed toward Quebec. Yes, I cross the creek from time to time but mostly for the cool trails that eventually lead me to solitude. Don’t get me wrong, Ottawa has the same trails but I prefer to start in Quebec and bike my way back to Ontario.

My good friend Mimma had suggested that I check out Recycle D’art along Montcalm. I absolutely did that and was impressed with the creative welding that I witnessed. The coolest piece for me was the odd looking all white cyclist and the creepiest one was the fur teepee with a face. I liked the tv fountain and really adored the multibreasted fairy along the water. It was a good start to a long day

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I made my way from this exhibit to the trail that leads to Park Mouffette. About half a kilometer into it I realized how out of shape I am and remembered how many freeking hills this trail has. I came up the fourth one and stopped at an old railway bridge that was no longer in use. I used to live close to this bridge in Ottawa and always promised myself that I would cross it one day. Now was as good a day as any and I sure didn’t want to take on any more of those hills in this heat.

I was immediately rewarded with a landscape of graffiti and birds. The two seemed to go hand in hand and lived in harmony. The squawking of the islands full of sea gulls and double breasted comorants gave life to the expansive bridge from Quebec to Ontario. It was all rust and urban art. Every inch of steel was harmonious and alive. My multicolored yarnbombed bike really stood out! I came across two teenagers just before Lemieux Island. They were jumping off the bridge and swimming in the river. Such bravery ! Then I came across another couple who were taking pictures from the bridge and smooching. At one point I heard male voices in the bushes and I became a little afraid. But they just smiled and lifted their beers as I walked by their private bush party. Phewf!

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I thought of my dog Ellis who used to love these trails too. I wished he was with me on this one. He always gave me courage, strength and love. Just thinking of him made me smile. I moved on with him in my heart and knew exactly where the next stop was going to be.

Remic Rapids has always been a source of energy for me and for many, people. John Ceprano is the man behind the sculptures there and I remember fondly the first time I met him on my first retreat along the river. When we met he filled me up with optimism, love for my fellow man and artistic appreciation in the first ten minutes of our conversation. I knew he would be a friend for life. And , six years later it is his hug I look most forward to when I bike along the river.

John really has a connection with nature and humanity. He’s fun to watch. As I approached the sculptures at the rapids this day I was disappointed to see he was not there. A young couple had crossed the taped off barrier and were checking out his work when all of a sudden one of the sculptures came crashing down. I was mortified and felt so bad for John that his work is so easily destroyed. I also felt bad for the couple that accidentally knocked it down.  Then out of the corner of my eye I see John strolling toward the couple with a smile on his face and an “oh well, shit happens” swagger. He didn’t even blink an eye and was immediately putting the sculpture back into balance. The young couple stayed and helped him and it was their wedding anniversary. What a great gift for all people involved. As it turns out the young man is an American Italian like John and they had the most wonderful conversations. I realized that I was on this retreat to listen.

It is the deep, hippy go lucky conversations, the long flowing talks that keep me coming back year after year. I listened, watched the ducks and geese and water and listened to these people connecting. I watched John teaching the young man his skills as they pieced the tower of rocks together again. I then knew that I was looking in the wrong place for answers and it was to him that I asked once we were alone,  “What do you do when you are blocked?”  “Well,” he replied, ” you just have to wait for it to pass. It will pass. You just do what you can do to get through it. It happens to everyone no matter what you are working on.”What a relief it was to give up the guilt I had been imposing on myself for weeks and weeks. I had to hear it from fellow artists. I’ve since heard the same thing from several artists. My mojo took a vacation. I don’t have a choice but to wait for its return. I could possibly take this “creative time-out” to just listen and learn new things. There are a million things I could do, or I could do nothing at all. It is truly up to me. I’m thinking I need a mentor and the other side of me doesn’t think she needs no stinking teacher. I giggle as my twins and crab battle it out inside me.

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These are the results of my retreat. I left my home at 10 a.m. and I returned home at 8 pm. I promise myself to not skip any more annual river retreats. And….the unstructured version works best for me.

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What is your secret to balance?

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I am often perplexed by how busy my life gets at times. And even more baffled when I find myself doing absolutely nothing for days. It’s a case of feast or famine with me usually and I’d like to find healthy ways to balance out my life. It’s not easily done when you have three people living inside you. Don’t get it twisted, I mean the zodiac personalities that reside in this shell. I was born June 21st so I am Gemini and Cancer. A set of twins and a crab can sometimes be a little daunting to deal with. I imagine that has something to do with the feast (twins) or the famine (crab inside her shell) aspects of Justy. But I know I am more than my zodiac. In Chinese zodiac I am a rabbit. So you can clearly see how sometimes I am going at 100 miles per hour and the next minute hunkered down inside my shell just sleeping. That is how my world is balanced.  With such opposing signs I wonder if I should even dream of having an even keel lifestyle.

I began gardening back in April and it seems to have consumed my every spare moment. I keep telling myself that I need to divide my time between garden and studio. I shouldn’t be spending so much time at home, being all domestic and redesigning my living spaces. Then I remind myself that I shouldn’t “should” myself and continue on my contented merry Suzy Homemaker way.

Today I am asking myself, am I avoiding the studio or is this cycle of being home bound something natural. Is this a natural cycle of renewal and domestic appreciation?  I’m growing suspicious of myself.

I work during the day, in an office with very little creative outlet. When I go home at night I am instantly drawn to my balcony full of greenery and flowers and then to the rooftop to tend to my vegetables. I’m not a very good gardener. I think I ate four salads from my garden last year. Things just didn’t grow as well as I expected. I learn more every year. Last night I gave my mother two new radishes from my garden. I grown radishes mainly because I know my mother loves them. I ate a strawberry from my garden and chatted with a neighbor who was planting flowers with his little dog Winston.  Back to my apartment to cook dinner and muck about cleaning here and there. This past weekend I actually spent the entire time cleaning my apartment and sorting my spare room where everything art related gets dumped. I still have much to do there.

What is keeping me so anchored to my apartment? How can I balance me (and all my personalities), my job and my art. I haven’t painted since March. I’m a little suspicious of me.

How do you find balance?

My absence is a signal

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Well it’s been some months since my last blog. Sound the alarms!

I am sure I am not the only person to look at the world and scream “FUCK YOU!!”  As a matter of fact I just uttered the same phrase to my keyboard that insists on switching to French anytime it gets a croissant moment. This is the definite starting point of machines taking over. I’m serious yo~!

I’m reaching around many things in my mind these days about my social status. And I don’t mean where I stand in my career and financial blessings. I mean, where do I fit in this community and do people associate me with one thing or another and…..where do I want to be if anywhere at all? As of late, I’ve not wanted to be around big social events surrounded by people that I “should be” networking with.  I haven’t felt generous at all and have grown weary of giving away my art to charity.

As a matter of fact I’ve not wanted to be with people at all for the past 2 months. It’s nothing about you…it’s all about me so you can exhale. I’m hating my bloated body and acne scars vehemently lately. I know once I let go of my attachment to such self defeating thoughts I will be fine but it has really rocked me to the core recently. I blame it on the winter. You see, I’m a summer solstice baby and nothing makes me more angry and depressed than snow, hail, sub zero temps and general miserable weather with very little or no sun. I have a legitimate “out” when I’m being a royal C U Next Tuesday. And, deep down, I know that I shouldn’t be let off the hook quite so easily but I can usually persuade people to leave me the fuck alone quickly.

I’d like to apologize to those that I’ve fluffed off and left hanging because I couldn’t get my shit together. I won’t promise it won’t happen again because it probably will. I’m prone to winter blues and I’ve accepted that for some time now. I tend to loose a friend or two during the winter but those are the people that don’t know me well enough yet and have not invested heavily in forming a friendship or getting to know me. If you read this and want to stick it out…it’s all good, just be ready for the wrath of winter.

But spring is………….almost……………here…………I think.

Last week I attended an art conference with a very good American woman who consistently feeds me with opportunities to grow artistically. She’s a silent art ninja and can sometimes coax me out of my cave. It was a well organized and intimate event in Carp. It was informative, interesting and I learned quite a bit about stone masons (the history and traditions of stone masons is uber cool), copper printing and social media.  Each expert gave a one hour talk.  The final speaker was Jesse Stewart who really amazed me with his mandalas, his collecting everyday articles and actually using them in large scale, impressive audio and visual masterpieces. I would do this conference every spring for sure.

Afterward we went on a little tour of Almonte. I recommend this town to anyone living in Ottawa. It’s a little gem that reminds you that simple is simply delicious. Big, bold and shiny is great but sometimes humble is necessary.  Lo and behold we found one of Otown’s brilliant artists, Cynthia O’Brien in Almonte. She was exhibiting the experience of her residency in Australia at General Fine Craft and Art . I was automatically impressed and envious. I dream is to do a residency in a warm climate…it will happen..until then…I am and will be envious. Cynthia always makes me investigate every inch of her sculptures. She’s a clever artist and I look forward to everything she does.

We then mowsied down to a tiny little gallery for the vernisage of my art ninja’s relative. She was also a speaker at our Art Conference in Carp. Her name is Barbara Gamble and I was most impressed with her dedication to artists’ rights and to preserving endangered species of Canadian flora through her art. I think her encaustics are stunning!

That lifted my spirits so much that I went straight to the studio for a week straight. I’ve begun work on the second zentangle and have plans for two more. Then I will begin work on smaller pieces. I have an idea for a show and I want to have enough pieces to pull it off. Stay tuned on that one. Send me some steel balls and a bowl full of gusto too would you? This is a leap for me.

Even though spring and summer are hesitating like mofos I’m going to pursue gardening and acrylics for the next three months. Please be patient with my constant declinations to your invitations to be consistently drunk and dancing this summer! I might dip in once in a while but this summer is all about my art. To quote our Madonna, “And I’m not sorry, It’s human nature, and I’m not sorry, I’m not your bitch don’t hang your shit on me.”

But seriously, don’t take it personally,  tee hee .

Back in January I began my journey with Zentangle. I am so enjoying this trip. Here are some teasers from my “giantangles” as I like to call them. Stay tuned for the complete collection this fall.

   bw      bw2     bw1

turq3    turq1     turq2