Keirartworks's Blog

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Unplugged yet more connected

Story Cake first instalment is coming – never fear.  It has been delayed by some time-sensitive physical and academic tasks, which have taken precedence over all else:
I’ve been packing up the old and building the new.

To the point where I’ve got twenty days left here:

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during which I find places for all this house-ness,

and incrementally move my work here:

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Where I can collaborate with the lake, the trees, the critters, the rocks, and the folk who come to drink it all in.  There’s often wifi connection from across the water; I have some solar panels and a battery.  I have paint, paper, books and simple recording equipment.
What a great big enormous blessing.

It’s been a life-long dream, this.  Ever since I first read about Emily Carr and her cabin.

Postscript:  For the next three weeks some paintings from #Selfie and Five paintings at the River are available for a reduced price, fully instalment-negotiable.  Tomorrow I will post a list with sizes and suggested prices, and my contact information.

 


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Frozen Pipes, Day 15

We were told three days ago that the water will not run in our taps until the end of April.  I feel relief.  It’s good to know – that we are directly linked to the spring thaw, that we need to build the gathering and conservation of water into our daily routine, that we will forego the use of our washing machine and our bathtub & shower for seven more weeks.

everyone on our little street is in the same predicament...

everyone on our little street is in the same predicament…

30 litres of water does two sinks-full of dishes, makes a kettle of coffee, flushes a toilet four times, waters the plants, fills five large glasses at lunch and cleans the kitchen.

15 litres a day on schooldays, 30 to 45 litres / day on weekends. We fill these up at the Recreation centre, which is about seven blocks away

15 litres a day on schooldays, 30 to 45 litres / day on weekends. We fill these up at the Recreation centre, which is about seven blocks away

The value of water is now firmly established, and conservation methods improve daily.  As the days go by we learn the value of other things often taken for granted.

Offers for sleepovers have come pouring in (couldn’t resist), which has been heartwarming for us.  Strangers help me carry the 15 litre jugs to my car from the Rec. Centre hose, and offers of laundry facilities, beds, showers, bathtubs, meals, ready-made food (to conserve on dish-washing) are gratefully accepted and welcomed by us.  We learn to write our household chores into visits with friends, showers into dinner invitations…

Wine bottles full of spare water for little tasks & needs in the kitchen window

Wine bottles full of spare water for little tasks & needs in the kitchen window

There’s also something satisfying about boiling water on the stove and doing one’s own dishes in one’s own sink.  I stood at the sink in my housecoat and the pure pleasure of warm soapy water on my hands and felt – good.  A spring bird sang outside in the sun, which was melting the snow into drip music…

All of this white will turn to green, in a very short time.

All of this white will turn to green, in a very short time.

I value the warmth and generosity of our friends, this deeply compassionate community I live in, the inevitable passage of time, and simple things that feel good.

Spring comes, as promised.

 


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Thunder

Candles are lit at 6:22am.  They burn straight up with no flicker, and this mesmerizes me – that fire can be so still.

Stillness in fire, thoughts like a river that moves both swift and slow

Stillness in fire; thoughts like a river that moves both swift and slow

It has been stiflingly hot here for days – heavy sun from skies pregnant with this rain and well beyond term.  I played cello outside in it for two days at mid-day, felt like a solar collector.  In heat waves like these only Georgian Bay can help – but Marnie tells me the water is still only 8 degrees after our long long winter.  That’s killing temperature.

My new back yard is shaded by trees that are hundreds of years old - oak, walnut, spruce, ash.  I feel perfectly small out there swimming in all the wet green

My new back yard is shaded by trees that are hundreds of years old – oak, walnut, spruce, ash. I feel perfectly small out there swimming in all the wet green

Four candles with perfectly still flames – they take me inward, to rich marrow thoughts.  I find my Dad there and pause, drinking him in – so honoured to know him as my father.   My two Aunts – so different and so strong – Pause, Bow. drink.  My Mother, who I found in my left hand yesterday, which was mush after long hours of solo playing – she squirms as I bow, but I bow nonetheless, deeply.

My sister.  My neice and nephews.  Vita Cooper who was levitated by colour in Iceland.  My kid, who was being born 18 years ago today and is now in Japan, resonating.  Pause.  Bow deeply.  Drink.

A perfectly still flame, for Canada.  I have great love for thee.

Red and white.  A perfectly still, thought-full flame for Canada, with great love.

The thunder is a rumble in my belly and bones, stirring up things that have long lain dormant.  Lightning zaps them with renewed energy and in this way July 2014 comes.  There is a great deal of richness out there, calling-to-meet, and meet I shall, without question.

Sometimes an hour can last for days.

Canada Day, 2014.

 


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#Selfie 15: You get what you need

I once played a minor (non-musical) part on a Rolling Stones Tour – ‘Steel Wheels’ in the ’80s. I have a tour jacket, even, that boyfriends past have happily worn… and torn and stained. This comes up now because I wrote the blog title first.

It's true.

It’s true.

It’s still a good jacket, and I keep it to remind myself that I was there in my 20s, watching them play Sympathy for the Devil when Mick (atop a 20-storey stage tower) forgot the words…  I asked myself in that moment – Really? Really? How can you forget the words to THAT song?

There were many moments on the tour  (way more telling than that one) that turned me off the ‘Stones permanently.  For me it was like watching the end-play of 60’s dark side play out in industrial money-grabbing meanness – utterly devoid of relevance to the real world of human beings.  Hope you can forgive me all die-hard fans.  They’re a piece of history, granted, but I do not worship at that altar.

An almost-finished selfie painting of the waterfall I grew up with on the Niagara Escarpment.  I don't have words to describe for you how sacred this place is - not just to me, but ... just sacred.

An almost-finished selfie painting of the waterfall I grew up with on the Niagara Escarpment. I don’t have words to describe for you how sacred this place is – not just to me, but … just sacred.

Nothing worthwhile is accomplished without limitation, I believe.  This is not Protestant sensibility, but a law far older – we are not supposed to have every whim answered, every passing wish fulfilled.   There’s a muscle of ingenuity in the human brain that requires ‘lack of (……….)’ to work effectively.  Many folks default to complaint well before this happens, but if you can get beyond discomfort and engage ingenuity, you’re doing your job.

 

This is photo reference for "White", which is on the boards now

This is photo reference for “White”, which is on the boards now

#Selfie is a fine example of this.  I started the project as I was just entering the heavy spring concert season.  It was an impossible thing to commit to – fill the space at de Boer’s with art, write and hand-make a book, write and rehearse a performance art piece, and immerse my#self regularly in #Selfie online via social media.

…in 14 weeks, while working full time teaching, coaching, rehearsing and playing cello, planning 2 summer camps in art and music, and attending to those things not work-related, but oh so important…

I said yes because I knew I wanted to take a risk and do a show, and this was the only way to make that happen.  Ingenuity has had to kick in, big-time, especially in these past two weeks.

Photo reference for black canvas

Photo reference for black canvas

Here’s the thing, though –  throughout the 14 weeks, but especially in these last two, I have had great need for some things that could have stopped me in my tracks, were they not fulfilled.  No tripod, poor cashflow – a friend chips in half as a gift.  Low on essential materials only available in Toronto, no time to get there – Tim at the Colour Jar finds what I need in days.  Dangerously low on basic confidence and faith in myself some days, spinning my tires – someone says just the right thing (so grateful for this, every time) to kick my butt in a better direction.  I need pro help to sign on for the Performance piece, since we have next-to-no rehearsal time available – david sereda, Coco Love Alcorn, Kristan Anderson, Larry Jensen, Sandra Swannell and a few other incredibles say ‘Sure!’ with no hesitation.  I need social media ‘response’ material for the Book and the opening – eight people agree to put pen to paper and pitch in.  I’ve never even met some of them.

Here’s Brad Morely’s haiku, just in:

Narcissi beckon
in the light blue facebook pool
cam’ra bugs fly off

 

…you get what you need.

photo reference for Totem 1

photo reference for Totem 1

Paintings are due in three days.  They’ll get done.  Book and show have only next week – they’ll be fine.

See you there.


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Venezuela. Ukraine. Russia.

Venezuela:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-16/whats-going-venezuela-nutshell

Ukraine:

Russia:

Uganda:

Third-floor roof of the studio building.  Looking Southwest across the harbour

I did get up early today to watch the Men’s hockey team win gold for Canada.  Good friends, beer & breakfast & gold, then rehearsing for hours afterwards in all the sleepiness.  What a great morning.    I know Canadians who watched from mexico, Japan and France, and the roar we gave to the sky at each goal was like a great triple rainbow of joy.

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But I think of what’s happening in Kiev, Caracas, Uganda and the uglier sides of Russia, and the fact that news of these terrible situations (and others I know of through AVAAZ) is buried under Olympic glory in the conventional media, and so convoluted on the internet that it’s nearly impossible to understand what’s going on, let alone what to do and whom & how to help….

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…and I wonder how we will find a path out of these times that makes any kind of decent sense.

I send prayers up. Big like the glow of Northern Lights in the sky.

 


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Release

Every once in a while I see a bald eagle in the sky,  like poetry so beautiful and alive I stop breathing.

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We have entered the long cold of January.  Winter came early this year – two months ago –  to invite us deep inside where we can tend to the root of things, tune our eyes to the subtle colours of the great Hush.  This is permission to follow – slowly, slowly – a whispering line of thought down the long path, to pause at each wonder that emerges, then continue …

To walk on frozen water.

whouff.  I think that's the word.

An invitation to meet one’s Self, again and again in the cold and the warmth, in conversation, in music, in colour and in silence.  To introspect.

Positive and negative space; high contrast in the stark white days where eagles fly, fishing, the long nights where bears sleep under resplendent starlight.  This is when stories are found and told.  When songs are made and learned, paintings begun and finished.  When courage burns warm like a hearth-fire.

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The warm bustle of work begins soon.  Right now I find myself steeped and floating in gratitude.

 


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Every Year, December 1

Every year has different elements & configurations, but as of December first each year I look at my calendar in wonder and love my job all over again.  Who gets to do this?  Musicians.

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shorthand:

December 8, 12, 13, 14; Dec 16, 18, Dec 21, Dec 22  (I believe that’s 8 for 19 days?  2 years ago it was 5 for 8 days which was pushing the limits a little…)

Corelli, Popper, Bach, Handel, Mozart, misc Christmas arrangements; Jensen, sereda, Swannel/Young, Ostertag, Cobain, Sting, Eberhardt.  Youth Orchestra, Symphony, Youth Orchestra String Quartet (+ a few more to do Brandenburg 3), Georgian Bay Orchestra (Messiah), Amati at Leith Church the next day.

Rehearsals for all of them, in-between (where the belly-laughs happen).

This is what Christmas is, to me.  It has nothing to do with Malls or stores or wrapping paper – just incredible people, music, laughter and good, honest, hard work.

More to come; think I’ll go practise.