Keirartworks's Blog

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


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Road Pizza Summer

Becalmed.  Deeply uncomfortable, since I expected forward movement.

 

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There’s nowhere to go but down, into the fathoms of unexplored shadowlands beneath my hull.  Heat stroke like a sluggishness drug, an IV drip drip to erode the well-focused plan until I only vaguely remember what, why, how…

Like road pizza I’m pissed off by this. I remember when I had bones, muscles and lungs that worked. It’s been weeks and weeks, flattened by heat, protecting the core of my good humour by rendering it invisible.  A possum pretending to be dead, but no – more like a coyote, trying like an idiot to fool the weather.

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And yet, I have deadlines.  I need to be there.  By then.  This is pre-scribed, written, indelibly.

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Queen.  Kate Bush.  MIA & A.R. Rahman, Johhny Clegg, anybody –  please: Help.  Loud help.

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Truly I’m not prone to panic.  But out of three months full of potential I have only a handful of days to answer Scribe with the good juice she needs in order to keep writing what happens NEXT.

My intention in the spring was to dance like Shiva through all misconceptions and inconsistencies, chop them with my many-fingered hands, and eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Somehow this hot hot humid rainless summer folded me inside myself, where there’s not a great deal of room for dancing.

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Possum says, ‘Wait.  After sundown, go somewhere else.’

Sure, okay.  Down below, to look for pearls.  In Georgian Bay.

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Here’s the incredible thing.  Kicking and screaming my resistance to what needed to happen, I found them. Pearls.

huh.


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#Water: These Changing Seas

Do we all have a natural buoyancy?  I wonder.  Some call themselves ‘sinkers’, and describe the great effort required to stay afloat.  This is subjective, of course. Effort, to some, is a thing to be minimized if not avoided altogether.  To others effort is a joy,  a ‘coming to meet’, a solid, positive investment in something of value.

The ground for the largest of the #Water series paintings (so far). It's a 7'x6' piece of the backdrop canvas that caught the 'runoff' from six years of painting on the south wall of my studio. I'm working on pulling an image out of it - a collaboration with history, in a way. I've overlaid an adult floating figure in it to see if I can suggest a feeling of immersion

The ground for the largest of the #Water series paintings (so far). It’s a 7’x6′ piece of the backdrop canvas that caught the ‘runoff’ from six years of painting on the south wall of my studio. I’m working on pulling an image out of it – a collaboration with history, in a way. I’ve overlaid an adult floating figure in it to see if I can suggest a feeling of immersion.  Not quite what I want, but close…

For others effort is an expression of desperation – a wild reaching for anything that might keep them afloat.  What they grab and use is of no value to them other than a means to rise to the surface.  Even at the surface there is no rest from anxiety, just more effort, more grabbing for fear of sinking again.

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Out of your element.  A fundamental lack of trust in the place you find yourself, a fear that you will become lost to it. Or perhaps you’ve convinced yourself that you are meant for greater things, and as years go by and your greatness still eludes you, you feel yourself caught in the powerful undertow of mediocrity.  Similar effect: your sense of value becomes distorted in the effort to get out. You feel compelled to climb upon and over people you consider mediocre in order to rise and claim your entitlement. In the endless urge to betterment, who has not felt chained at times?

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I prefer surrender to a strong, focused curiosity – the kind that reveals great value where it might not be immediately apparent. A buoyancy I can admire comes from a sense of ‘rightness’ of purpose that is in equal part intuitive and practical, and never rigidly self-serving. I prefer a kind of faith with eyes open.  A trust generously laced with discernment, Havel’s ‘deep and powerful’ hope,

Vaclav Havel, from “Disturbing the Peace (1986)”,

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.

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Havel has long been one of the strong voices that puts wind in my sails and floats my boat.  If the word ‘meek’ means strength under control (as many say it did when the Matthew 5:5 was written), then to me that describes the Czech playwright & politician who gave us a chart for humble human courage and dignity – even and especially in absurdly turbulent waters.

Appropriate to a recent experience of mine is this,

Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.

In my experience, humility and good humour do not sink.


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A broadly curved road

I went subterranean twelve weeks ago, maybe more.  Came up again two days ago, I think.  I know this because I found myself gardening yesterday.

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This was a tunnel of a place I’ve been in, a way into and through the deep, long list entitled Impossible-but-Necessary.  In twelve weeks strong and beautiful people died, shockingly, suddenly, and those of us who grieve them turned inward then slowly forward; old and treasured things were broken then transformed phoenix-like amid the mourning, the loss.  Boundaries were breached, injuries dealt and received, some old trusts betrayed and also new ones established without question.  Concerts were rehearsed and played; family homes sold and contents dispersed, others burned and the tenants embraced by this rich community. Long overdue letters were written and sent; 50-year careers ended; a 20-year-old vehicle sold for parts; the streets in the city opened and excavated in the great replacement of metal with plastic…

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As the boxes were packed and the old things released into landfill sites, recycling depots, re-store Judy Collins sang who knows where the time goes? to help the tears come.

As the goodbyes were said after the stories were told, as the weeping hugs were shared, Kodaly’s solo cello sonata raged and softened and spoke …

As the solos were played and the painting delivered; as the portfolio was presented and the university applications sent, Cohen sang ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering…

Through all the overnight insomnia on the studio couch Joni sang dream on, dream on...

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As we turned forward into spring, and green and growth, david sereda sings, you’re beautiful.  Be You.  Coco Love Alcorn sings We gather ’round when we can, and we let ourselves be true…  Tyler Wagler sings …out the doorway, ‘way we go.  Where you lead, I will follow … Kati Gleiser plays Rachmaninoff and then sings our beauty back to us.

As the pipes thawed, so did we.

 


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Full Moon Morning

I stayed over because of the cat. He’s not mine, but I care for him over the winter while his owner’s away.  Six toes on each foot. Patti says that makes him magic.

He’d been locked in the basement for four days until yesterday when I got the store owner to let me go down and call for him – out he came from one of a thousand dusty corners, thin, wide-eyed and exhausted.  He’d been looking for freedom, but found dust-dark-no-water instead.  Clingy now, but it’s good to see him.

Knuckles staying in touch.  His owner and brother-cat, Toulouse come home tomorrow - I'm happy for him

Knuckles staying in touch. His owner and brother-cat, Toulouse come home tomorrow – I’m happy for him

Studio is not the best for sleeping but it’s wonderful to wake up in on a spring morning.  Three large third-storey windows face full east, and the sun spills in like honey.  Starlings hang out on the wires and chatter endlessly – Knuckles is mesmerised.

Studio facing northwest - a study in red

Studio facing northwest – a study in red

I leave for Toronto soon – visits with dear ones, airport trip and some hunting of insights, input.  Back home tonight, back here tomorrow morning, to record music-for-film, work on a painting commission and a Study in Blue, and share in the Joy of Knuckles as Paul and Toulouse return to his building.

facing southwest.  Just replaced the old 15x12 foot dropsheet - tabula rasa

facing southwest. Just replaced the old 15×12 foot dropsheet – tabula rasa

It will still be humming.  This is the best studio ever.


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Fuel

Only slowly have I become aware of the enormous reservoir

that floats above me like a helium ship

vast, volatile impossible

I am Astonished

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I’d have noticed it years ago, but

I’ve only recently developed the habit

of looking up

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Like the water towers in every small town

there’s a name writ in large letters across its curved side

My name.

My volatility is contained there,

my Impossible.

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This is the floating reservoir of my anger,

Incendiary rage over anything I’ve ever felt betrayed by,

dis-empowered by, diminished, abused, whether

personal, global, direct or witnessed,

small or large, significant or not

all of it,

in delicate, breath-taking balance with

my Joy, my Love,

my too-few moments of ring-toned humility

 

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I’ve stored it all

Up there.

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I’d no idea I had this much fuel to work with.

 


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#Selfie 10: Notes from the fire

A facebook friend of mine wrote this in his status update this morning:
May 18, Facebook:  T.M. – 7 mins · New York, NY, United States :
Everything we do is a selfie.
(see MMcL)

If you’re reading these, I do SO agree T.  And Marshal.

#Selfie of my brutal treatment of brushes...

#Selfie of my brutal treatment of brushes…

Blessed long weekend.  I’m grateful to be here in the Studio for some clear hours, chewing and digging and thrashing at these pieces. Actually, the new paintings and I chew and pull and thrash, together on #Selfie.  No blood, yet.  We’re still all friends.

From last week- a big 3'x7' canvas that my cello students Samantha and Molly helped me 'ground' after rehearsal (WAY fun).  This one is much farther along now & about masks - looking out and being inside them, building them to present the appropriate 'facade'.  Tribal.

From last week- a big 3’x7′ canvas that my cello students Samantha and Molly helped me ‘ground’ after rehearsal. This one is much farther along now & about masks – looking out and being inside them, building them to present the appropriate ‘facade’. Tribal.

There are 27 days to delivery of twenty pieces (among other things), and I must say it’s getting mighty populated in here.  Some of the early paintings have been banished for being too loud.  Still others, like the 5’x6′ one I just stretched, are too silent, and need some kind of mark, somewhere, so they can begin to whisper their name.

Kelly, if you're reading this, then yes - the camera saw set for 10 sec delay, then 10 shots.  This one is deer in the headlights, somewhere around #5

Kelly, if you’re reading this, then yes – the camera saw set for 10 sec delay, then 10 shots. This one is deer in the headlights, somewhere around #5

Oddly enough what’s increasing productivity the most these days is getting the heck out of here for a few hours at a time.  Sitting somewhere else bathed in sunlight through new-budding leaves, watching birds, listening to a stream run down the ravine to the Pottawatomi river – this has, I’m certain, rescued me from madness.  There’s a red-winged blackbird here who has decided I’m alright, a woodthrush across the ravine, ubiquitous bluejays, and a northern Oriole in loop-repeat.  The car engines, sirens, industrial arguments are far away from here – ah, peace.

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I will go back to ‘Masks’ and ‘Left/Right’ (the 5’x6′) later this evening, but for now, I just breathe and feel grateful.

as with everything, this is a work-in-progress.  Note start time change to 6pm

as with everything, this is a work-in-progress. Note start time change to 6pm

Unless you tell me, I have no way of knowing who has been reading these #Selfie posts, and following the process.  I do know that there are a great number of you, from all over the place.  I’m honoured – thanks for reading.

Do check your calendar, and come.  If you’re from elsewhere, then absolutely book time off to visit Owen Sound on Friday June 20th – catch the show, stay the weekend too.  It’s beautiful here, & GPS knows where we are.  Call ahead to the gallery to let us know.

more soon, & if you have any changes you’d like us to make to the invitation, please write.  I am actually serious about this…

K

 

 


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Perfection and 3-D printing

played and explained by Joanna Wronkowska

 

This reminds me of a man I will always love, though I’ll probably never meet:

Excerpt from ‘Anthem” by Leonard Cohen:

Ring the bells that still can ring

forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack, a crack in everything –

That’s how the light gets in.