Keirartworks's Blog

hmmm. hmmm? Observations, actions and connection points through art.


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The Sweet Ouch

Home to find the Shire bathed in sunlight and still buried in snow.  Three days home and yet another winter storm howls and screams at my north windows.  It’s mid-march.  I don’t feel in any way inclined to take pictures of this weather.

But oh my studio is warm warm.  Full of echoes left from hours of cello practise:  Faure, Brahms, Bach, Schubert, Dvorak. Endlessly gratifying workout-studies.

Every muscle hurts.  Including my heart.

singing, now....

singing, now….

Paintings all leapt ahead and comparing their new selves – mirrored across the walls, watch me move, see how I am, now.

More more more.

Wires like the promise of further connection:  1/4 inch to loop pedal to Soundboard to speakers.  xlr from MK40 to board to speakers.  These wait on new arrangements written in the car, on the road, in waking moments – and time…  after the meetings, the rehearsals, the photoshoots, the graphic design, the lessons, classes, visits….

Tonight.  Tomorrow, and then the tomorrow after.

my friend's house

my friend’s house

I’m bigger somehow, since I’ve been away.  So is the world.

Didn’t think I could love more than I did when I left.  Turns out I can.

To achieve great things, two things are needed;  a plan, and not quite enough time.


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Lip service

One month:  Corelli to Handel to Brahms and Faure to Jensen to Patootie to sereda to Kurt Cobain via Drew Wright.  In between some work re-arranging songs by JTaylor, Norah Jones, Kris Delmhorst and other specials for cello and voice.  Or just cello, or just voice.  And thumb piano (note to self:  revive and nourish friendships with sweet tasteful drummers).

Our Band, Catchpenny, somewhere in Toronto, sometime in the 1980s.  Aruna Handa, Frank Klaassen, Michael Klaassen & me

Our Band, Catchpenny, somewhere in Toronto, sometime in the 1980s. Aruna Handa, Frank Klaassen, Michael Klaassen & me

This sounds urgent, but it’s not.  It’s more like breathing.  Or working out, with the intention of finding muscles that haven’t been used for a very long time, and… using them again, even if it takes a rebuild.  And yes, yes, all that about pain and gain, too.

wild carrot

wild carrot

I believe it’s important to Do the thing that you feel compelled to do.  There’s a reason you feel so compelled, after all – you can probably trust it.

If there are obstacles to your Doing of the thing, don’t waste time blaming them, just remove, or find a way around.  Complaint and self-defeat have never once written a song or painted a picture:  dump them.  You’ve got better things to do with your time.

swimming-dock

St Lawrence River.

Jump in.  Do the work.  It’s warm.

Oh, and if you see someone else who’s doing the work, love them for it.


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Saturday morning, 4am

Yesterday was requiem day as I worked in the studio, which seemed fitting, somehow.  Every layer of grief and joy is expressed and exposed in them – the Mozart, the Brahms, the Faure, the Rutter.  Outside my windows there raged a storm that tore hydro lines and uprooted trees – for a while my phone and my internet was dead, and I was startled that this made such a difference:  me utterly alone with my grieving, raging, joyful, impossibly beautiful requiem (Mozart at that point).  Some deep internal things happened then that were very good indeed – thank you Bruce Telecom, Mozart, and the Storm.

falls2_October2013

My work continues to go well – barring another major dharmic intervention, two very large paintings will be finished by the end of Sunday Nov 3, which is also the day of an eclipse of the sun.  We will rehearse another requiem (the Popper, for 3 celli and piano), I will get some deep practise in, and the weekly routine will dance on.  For me, though,  there will be a rich, indescribable difference, thanks to the Storm, the Requiem and Bruce Telecom.  I’m humbled by it, actually, in an empowering sort of way.

a yellow christmas cactus that I raised from a wee thing.  Blooming like mad in my eastern window...

a yellow christmas cactus that I raised from a wee thing. Blooming like mad in my eastern window…

The tectonic plates beneath us are shifting.

Can you feel it?  There is an air change, a sea change, an internal change wherever you look, if you look for it.

How wonderful it is to be alive.

 


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No straight lines

I dig into the Brahms E minor cello this morning and find myself swimming strong in a strong river – a great deep and fast and roiling that collects and contains a watershed of stories as it carves it’s way through the land.

Why, Mr. Brahms.  It is good to meet you here from across the centuries, far far off the page.  Shall we immerse ourselves together?

His piece curves and bends around it’s internal themes, climbs great hills and tumbles from impossible heights.  Its landscape demands constant, intense commitment, even and especially in the pianissimo sections where the piano commands the melody line.

There are sections I have not internalized yet, where I am yanked back to the written notes, back into my technical head, back into training my fingers that “this is not contortion – this is easy…”.  It’s not easy, but it will be, once I’ve found the technical key and relaxed enough to repeat repeat repeat, repeat.  All the while the river flows on, steady and constant – I know I can immerse myself again.

horozontal_sun

These days on the brink of Spring 2013 seem to be deep with a tectonic level of unrest.  Old contracts that were seemingly set in stone are fracturing on their own, or being consciously, sometimes painfully re-negotiated to reflect a new set of boundaries, priorities and shared realities.

It’s both personal and political – US debates (!?!) over gay marriage and civil rights,  and indigenous peoples with the profoundly deep roots of Idle No More which support dignity, demand clarity and re-negotiation over native civil rights, and seek to work with respected settler allies to protect the land from the commodity boys in their banking suits.

This river we’re in right now is not like the Brahms’ E minor, no.  This river is clogged – with ice, with debris, with garbage collected over miles and years of mutual and self-perpetuated … abuse?  Is that the right word?

ice

This is nothing that the natural cycles of the planet can’t handle.  It will pass, and this debris will be flushed downstream to the filtering grounds.  The spring floods will recede and the landscape will be different – perhaps shockingly so, but there will still be life.

But we humans, with our cultural and personal tectonic shifts – puny in some ways, when you look through say, Commander Chris Hadfield’s eyes.  It’s telling, isn’t it, that we need to use terms like ‘the environment’, or ‘our natural resources’ to describe the planet, as though it’s outside of our bodies?

wide_blue

There’s a southeast corner of my house where the fig tree grows new leaves, framed by two windows.  The easterly window hosts a christmas cactus with pale apricot blooms and the southerly window an amaryllis with eight deep red bells, just opening now.  I can see them unfold as I write.  Spring birds are busy outside; our two inside cats are glued to the windowseats, quivering with fascination.  A slight spring chill reminds me that my feet are bare.

Over all of this there’s a great, vast, pulsing stillness.  I drink it in through my pores, breathe it into my lungs, feel it quiver on my skin.

 


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This morning’s texture

The rain on our tin roof keeps me dreaming past the appointed 6 am, then 7am, and even the waking realization of this isn’t jarring.  Now coffee’d and downstairs beside the fire, I gaze out the window where the cat uncurls into a stretch.  It really should be snow, but the effect is the same:  a deep deep heartbeat of peacefulness as the cat re-curls herself.

a rock-wall on Lindenwood trail behind our house

rock

There is sociology study all over the couch and table in front of the fire – it sounds like paper flip, <sniff>, pen scratch, blanket shuffle, paper flip, <breathe, sigh>, paper flip, pen scribble, <clear throat>, fire crackle, woodstove click-click, ping (as it heats up again).  The old fridge – Hazel’s fridge – roars its fan over this, but even through that I hear the rain outside.  There it is, through the big window – straight down rain as steady and familiar and comforting as day following night, the North Star, Orion’s Belt, the Milky Way.  The grass outside glows green – drinking drinking.

same trail, glowing green

moss

In my head a radio is always playing on low volume – is everyone like this?  I don’t get to choose the playlist – it can be anything from an irritating pop song, a Brahms sonata to God Save the Queen (all versions).  Happily my radio selection is appropriate to the morning – Sting’s version of  Gabriel’s Message, performed in Durham Cathedral.

same trail, same day

oak

The simplest of things astonish me today, at 8:20am.  I think I’ve been altered on a cellular level by the movie Life of Pi .

I’ve seen it twice now, so those incredible Ang Lee / Yann Martel images are now imbedded in me, to my everlasting delight and wonder.

Happy Tuesday everyone.


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Through the gate, I think.

I look forward to this shift to Schedule every year – a good time to set clear intentions.

Here goes 2012-2013, Part 1:

1. I will learn the Brahms by March.

2. I will learn the Faure by December, tape a performance and send it down to Guelph, for application as a Suzuki teacher up to Book 8.  Then I will take the courses which will enable me to really help teach all these kids here who need to play.

3. I will finish five paintings by December (shovel, axe, hammer, teacup 1, teacup 2).

4. I will send in my October 15 Integrated Grant App to OAC.

5. I will wash the floor every week (Studio and home).

6. I will learn how to use this blessedly complicated digital 4-track BOSS thing so I can record this music I have floating in my head.  (this may be a winter project).

7. I will write here every three days at the least, and never if what I’ve got is dull and repetitive.

8. I WILL plant lots and lots of garlic in October.

9. I will visit our beautiful new Y every other day (at least) for an hour of pure physical exuberance.

10. I will write one letter every month, with a pen, onto paper.  AND I will put each one of these in the mail.

11. I will apply to at least 5 venues for an art installation/ performance exhibit, by February 1.  Also some good jury shows.

12. I will get out in the kayak at least two more times before the snow flies.

13. I will put in the time required to finish the final bits of this house, so we can move our bed into our bedroom, clear the upstairs for house concerts, and have a PARTY in November.

14. I will have a Great Deal of Fun.

Ahhh, yes.  It’s going to be a good year.

I’m goin’ in.

The way through.