Keirartworks's Blog

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

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#Selfie 8: due diligence

There’s a subtle art to avoidance – one can accomplish a great deal when motivated by discomfort with a project’s requirements:  Go work out – more often.  Coach at GBSS’ annual music clinic; play at elementary schools in Bruce County for GBS.  Go see Art of Time’s Cadmium Red with Aruna; wander introverted and happy through Toronto; visit an old friend & musician colleague in Guelph; rehearse for and perform at Kiwanis Music Fest with my cello kids; teach. Rent an electric cello and test drive it in a bar with two groove-great acoustic guitar players.  This past week:  Wed to Fri rehearsal & performance for the Georgian Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra with Owen Sound’s Choir that Rocks.  Two shows to packed houses in a beautiful old church which is now an arts building/soup kitchen.  We raised the roof both nights, and the kids are on fire.

Photo of Friday's show by John Fearnall of Goodnoise photography.  I love his work - well worth a visit to

Photo of Friday’s show by John Fearnall of Goodnoise photography. I love his work – well worth a visit to

Yesterday Larry Jensen and I played an impromptu set at The River Cafe at 1pm before my big paintings came down off the walls there.  The Mayor dropped by, and 20 or so others, to help us say thanks to Karen Rosalie (River Cafe Queen) for her hospitality.  I could have played all day long, despite my impairment from celebrating until 4am …

This one was still drying when we hung it at The River in January.  It's good to see it again.

This one was still drying when we hung it at The River in January. It’s good to see it again.

It’s easy easy to swim in the big wide river of life here.  On the same night as GBSYO & The Choir that Rocks, Don Buchanan played excellent, tasteful jazz at The Frog Pond and there was a live 60’s revivalby great players at the Legion, along with other events I couldn’t possibly list.   Last night, a classical concert with Eric Osborne (organ), Sebastian Ostertag, Joachim Ostertag, and Syl McIntosh, and Open mic at The Bleeding Carrot.  This little tiny town is buzzing with arts activity – what we can’t get to will be seen by someone, and photos posted.  Thanks  John Fearnall & Goodnoise; thanks Amber Brown; Richard Mascall; thanks Trev MacKenzie, Tara MacKenzieJim Ansell & the Bleeding Carrot; Kelly Babcock and Andree, Kimmer, Steve Zamin, Mossy,  – these are some of the folks who keep the place spinning at a healthy clip, and hold up a mirror for us to see ourselves. We’re lookin better and better all the time.

Another by John Fearnall of GoodNoise ( The Choir that Rocks Owen Sound.

Another by John Fearnall of GoodNoise ( The Choir that Rocks Owen Sound.


Today I come home  – to the work I love more than I love myself, as Elizabeth Gilbert would say (go Here for her recent TED talk).  This is like rest.  Away from the madding crowd, the interaction, the sharing of experience and joy, the assertion of identity within the crowd or tribe of people, I can soften my gaze and look inward and outward at the same time.

Hip Cello, from 2008, recently come back to me.  I've missed this one.

Hip Cello, from 2008, recently come back to me. I’ve missed this one.

I see the cup on my desk I shared scotch with in a long yesterday afternoon (lovely time, L & C), and I think of performance and introversion, the sweet fragility of both artist and audience when they come together in music.  I see tulips on my piano, paintings that have returned to the place of their birth, music stands and microphones, and I feel comforted by the rhythm of time.  I see the patches of sun on my floor, and feel my heart beat, steady.


#Selfie is requiring due diligence from me.  Early on I knew that my intolerance (see #Selfie 1) could lead nowhere but back to my own insecurities and blind spots – sure enough, it did (see #Selfie 2, then #Selfie 3, in which I confess my internal shock).  Predictably, I reacted to my own shock by going abstract again (#Selfie 4 (I prefer my hands), #Selfie 5 (mirror), #Selfie 6 (Mask)), and then #Selfie 7 (Easter) referred to, but did not describe the quite intense process of self- discovery, self-pruning, self-clearing I’d experienced that weekend – I chickened out, and that will not do.

So – to rectify.


#selfie 9 will go direct.  See you back here after I’ve done some digging.

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What I get to do

Last Friday, I was part of a packed house at Georgian Shores United Church, listening to the Concert Choir sing Mozart’s Requiem.  This mass is one of my favourites – I’ve spent long long hours painting to my recording of it over and over again.  It’s a difficult piece, by any standards, but especially challenging for an amateur choir.  But This Choir, conducted brilliantly by Regan MacNay, sang it with dignity, joy, and good honest grit.  I was so moved I cried through the entire performance. I was glad to be there.

Last night I rehearsed with another musical family – I’ve been playing with them since I was 13, initially because Edouard Bartlett insisted that it be so.  Of course he was right – over the years I’ve been able to learn and perform beautiful, challenging works by Mahler, Beethoven, Strauss, Dvorak, Brahms, Bruch, and countless of other composers both classical and contemporary.  My playing has stretched and grown with the musical direction of GBS conductors – most recently my dear friend John Barnum.  The other players in the orchestra are like a family to me – deeply loved, eagerly met each time I’m able to join them.  I’m a lucky girl.

This April 28 (in 2 weeks and 2 days!!) is our 40th anniversary concert for the Georgian Bay Symphony:  Manitoulin  (Premiere), by Richard Mascall; Piano Concerto No.3, by Sergei Prokofiev – with our own brilliant Kati Gleiser; Symphony No.5, by Dmitri Shostakovich.  We’ve never tackled such tough music – but at rehearsals we’re doing well & sounding good.

I do encourage everyone who can to come – Kati is worth seeing and hearing WHENEVER you get the chance – I’m eager to hear her performance of the Prokoffieff.  Richard’s Manitoulin is big and fun and OURS – it’s not often you get to play a premiere of this stature.  The Shostakovitch is complex and brilliant – I recommend the pre-concert talks so you can hear it in context.

I also work with the GBS Youth Orchestra every Monday.  We are playing movements from Beethoven I, VII and IX (all at breakneck speed); Faure Pavane; The Death of Ase;  the Bruch Violin Concerto and the Rachmaninoff Piano concerto – all very difficult, all very fast.  This orchestra takes every corner on 2 wheels – they’re extremely exciting to play with.  Come and see us – May 30 @ Georgian Shores United (used to be called Division Street Church) in Owen Sound.

This is what I get to play this spring.  I also travel to see Yo Yo Ma and the TSO play (late May), and to Mississauga for John Barnum’s final concert with the Mississauga Symphony on May 5th.

What an incredible music season!