Quite a re-set. Lessons of all kinds presented this past week, ready or not – a rigorous grinding up of any remaining naivety I’d been clinging to. My heart strained, my privileged white flab exposed, my ego pummelled. React? or wait. Breathe, then respond..

I extricate myself from a two month web design contract gone astonishingly sour on the 18th ‘soft-launch’. Company A is given the opportunity to show their character by offering me a full refund (rather than going through the Mastercard dispute I have grounds for – good to know they’ve got my back).

This is Awful, on all levels. I’m angry, panicked, gaslit, ignored and in despair. Also miraculously rescued by a developer I trust who knows exactly what he’s doing. Impossibly, blessedly, the site will be ready for July 18, with no fuss and no fight.

Cup, Saucer, Spoon, from Reconstruction II – with holographic effects, here. Stillness emerges from chaos.
(oil pastel, chalk, watercoloud blocks, acrylic paint, graphite, watercolour and silver ink on print paper)

I drive twenty-one roaring, open-windowed hours (no air conditioning) while maintaining friendly relations with all other passengers in my little Honda Fit. Integrate and unravel what I can of the knot in my belly while camped out in the bedroom window on the 19th floor of a hotel with my morning coffee.

The first collaborative ‘disruption’ of the Conversation Pieces project happens – with five people, after a long game of Catan. Feels like drawing graffiti on my own work – not at all comfortable. Which is exactly the point.

Reconstruction I, Disruption I.
While it happened, a great conversation about the state of the world and our souls, after lockdowns.

We explore a partially re-opened Ottawa, where people emerge still under the shadow of collective pandemic trauma – starved for connection, talking across tables and cultures, other people just there to watch people. We explore the Capital, one week before a Canada Day that is cancelled by dark, grisly revelations of indigenous children stolen and murdered, by the thousands, at Residential Schools.

I land on the other side of the long roaring drive at the cabin where there’s a new roof against the rain, and a gentle lake. This place dissolves every vestige of mental push and strive I have left; I melt into the forest both grateful and bewildered. Wasn’t there an urgency, just last week?

Four days later, on the day that is canceled I drive the final three hours south to Hamilton, through orange shirted gatherings in front of catholic churches – flags at half-mast, no white and red anywhere. Grief and anger is heavy in the air that blows through my opened windows.

I wake this morning at 3:12am, which is the same minute on the same day my funny, smart, wise, beautiful daughter was born, twenty-five years ago. That, all in itself, is quite a thing.

detail, 4 Cups, Tray from Reconstruction I.
dry media & acrylic ink, graphite, acrylic fluid paint and watercolour on print paper

The July 11-18 Conversation Pieces show is ON. It’s quite an undertaking, to build this online gallery and show in a way that’s meaningful and connective, and not just another dry virtual piece flapping in the wind. We have all had quite enough of those; I’m trying for something different here.

There is much more to come through with this show in the next three weeks – here on this blog, on instagram, fb, twitter and Linkedin – aiming for a video platform too & will announce that when the time comes. The deeper dive will come via email, and will feature other artists’ pandemic response work that I’ve found fascinating.

detail from Saucer, Spoon, Time, Reconstruction I.
(media as above)

For the deeper dive, performance links, previews and special little miracles for Conversation Pieces via my email KAW News, subscribe here.

Thank you so very much for your love and support. In times like these, it actually, truly and genuinely does mean the world to me.