Keirartworks's Blog

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

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In Christmas

It’s the 18th of December, one week before Christmas day.  I’ve rehearsed and planned and delivered and engaged, I’ve painted and written and talked and sang and posted, I’ve cooked and sorted and laundered and cared-for and now all of a sudden on the eve of my first day off in what feels like centuries I’m hearing the call that maybe only dogs can hear, that no other human around me seems to acknowledge but nevertheless has got my full attention in this moment…

…. stop.

Not sure why this image. Something to do with Christmas I think.

This feels correct to the moment just previous to the moment I turned off my Christmas engines.

Basil Johnson once said to me, “Simple, and good – that’s all you need.”  We’d been talking about art, and what makes it resonate with human culture in the short, medium and long term.  As I remember, I’d been talkative and keen then – about socioeconomic indicators of health and growth, artists in the workplace and some utopian ideas around the political value of the arts as a generator of individual authenticity.  In 2004 I was Cultural Capitals Coordinator for my town of 22,000, doing my best to imagine and then somehow impossibly manifest a bridge between national and local, micrososm and macrocosm, embracing all issues visible and audible under the sun. I’d been given my rein, was impossibly curious, – a single artist-mom on the eve of a lifelong marriage that would only last a decade. I was provocative, insistent and intense, flailing.

“What kind of painting do you do?”, he asked, in a pause I’d left open.

again, no articulate explanation for this choice

My answer was long and exhausting.  He listened and gave me two words in exchange.

I heard them enough through all that noise in my head to swallow them whole and keep them alive in my belly.  They sing to me now.


I love these ladies with all my heart. This was a gig we played at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery six days ago.

I love these ladies with all my heart. This was a gig we played at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery six days ago.

The planet, the politics, the migrations of people and animals; conviction, passion, intensity, art and music; friendship, hurt, joy and the passage of time….  our response can be simple.  And good.

It’s a choice, to live and work that way.



I choose therefore to fill my tomorrow with simple rituals.  Instead of a phone, a computer, a list of errands, I will make a breakfast, a burning, a giving-away, a silence.  I will listen to what lies under all the Christmas noise.

This is good.  Thanks, Basil.  I can feel you smiling.


a-yurting we go, into 2012

Here we are now, ready to ‘clean the slate’.

At the very end of the calendar year, we’re both steeped in peace like chamomile tea.  We’ll pack the truck this afternoon and drive to McGregor Point where our yurt awaits (not really winter camping, just a canvas cabin to sleep in for two nights – we will take the crock pot and the rice cooker, and leftover curry from last night’s excellent meal).

But it is Away.  A way through, possibly. Certainly it seems to be one good way to take the ideas of New, time, renewal, friendship, family- and Pay Attention.

Neither of us wants to leave this marvelous house, but we shall go anyway into the great whiteness, surrounding the fire together with good friends we hardly ever see.  We’ll sing in this new year – so loaded with Mayans, Carl Sagan, with change and challenge and difficulty and promise.

We might even make a song with all that stuff loaded into it, so we can bellow it out to the sleeping chickadees, who will undoubtedly think us ridiculous.

They’ll be right.  tee hee.


I miss having Vaclav Havel alive in the world.

In the spirit of where we find ourselves on the eve of 2012, I’ll leave off with this:

The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness* and human responsibility.

Václav Havel


* he is using the word ‘meek’ in its original Greek sense, meaning ‘willing to work, uncomplaining, resourceful, proactive, gentle, humble.’  I’ve also seen it defined as ‘strength under control’.


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My favourite

Just finished a gig with my dear friend Donna Steinacher, who taught me suzuki violin in grade 4 @ Sydenham School. That was 1972. Playing with Donna is one of the great joys of my life – after 15 years of gigs, we share a room together in the great musical brain.

Thanks Donna, you’re my rock, As Time Goes By.