Keirartworks's Blog

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

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Bill Reid, Through and In

My phone is in Kingston, 200 km of driving sleet and transport trucks ago.

I travel through this with my daughter from my aunt to my niece. There’s a rightness to the timing.

Bill Reid's Orca

Bill Reid’s Orca

In the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau I find a plug upstairs after the cafe closes.  There’s a bench with cushions so I cross my legs and balance the laptop as I would find centre and lift my paddle in a canoe. Then I write, staring at horizon.

There’s a curve in the tail of Bill Reid’s Orca that keeps him suspended in the air, impossible and alive.

My paddle-calloused fingers type,

I intend…

2001- a painting from a show called Sea Hear, in which I tried once again to paint music

a photo of  ‘Play’ from a 2001 show Sea Hear, in which I tried with all my heart to paint music. My daughter, at 5, chose all the imagery for this one, especially the orcas.

Weightless I am, suspended in the air like this massive hunter whale.  Out of my element, on purpose:  I intend.

I am above the Ottawa River which looks drugged into surrender by the ritual, annual, comforting January cold, across from the Parliament buildings where Justin son of Pierre sits with renewed and informed vigour as our head of state.

They built the beautiful, flower-shaped, buttressed library on the river side, away from the possibility of attack.  Those Statesmen, their advisors, their Wives.  Some of them in came and chose and made it so in ways I can respect.

Bell1, 2015, 20" x 24", mixed media (acrylic) on canvas.

Bell1, 2015, 20″ x 24″, mixed media (acrylic) on canvas.

I think about my Scots ancestors who fled here two generations & eight generations ago to look for a horizon they could aim for, for once.  I think about now and La Loche and four people dead like lightning, like an arrow to what we need to see and be accountable for.  I think about Idle No More, about Truth and Reconciliation.

I can barely remember the last specific, technical idea I had about music or painting – these old old ideas are far stronger.

'Black'. 2014, 36x36, acrylic on dyed cotton.

‘Black’. 2014, 36×36, acrylic on dyed cotton.

I intend.

To take the next precious decade of my life to examine and build a good answer to these things I wonder and care about, more every day.

My thinking fingers have written this:

We are all a product of our own small community that overlaps in myriad ways with larger ones like the Internet, like a city, a collective, a field, an orchestra, a band, large or small.  I’ve come to believe over this small span of years that each is an ecosystem that thrives according to the strength of it’s connectedness.

I’ve found also that few connectors are stronger than the making of good music. As a painter who also writes and performs regularly as a vocalist/cellist…

…I have experienced this time and time again: visual art and writing connect us more deeply to ourselves but music connects us, through ourselves, to others. One might say that community music is like mycelium – a connective tissue that can convey a supportive ‘nutrient’ through the system to everyone who requires it….

photo by Robbin McGregor, bee-keeper

photo by Robbin McGregor, bee-keeper

The timing is right.  I will get my Master’s degree at Laurier, in Community Music.

Like the impossibly suspended whale, like a Rebel, I will pay for this with the proceeds from my paintings.  They will be on paper and canvas, in watercolour, ink and oil.  They will sing.


Find a door you like, one that calls change to you.  Then you go through and in.

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Work-day in the life…

If anyone wants to know anything about Owen Sound’s Festival of Northern Lights, ask me.  If I don’t know, I’ll find out & let you know.

If anyone has some enlightened ideas to add to the Festival of Northern Lights strategy building pot, please pass them on to me and I’ll see that they’re added to the mix.

What a marvelous thing it is to spend a workday in this house that has grown up around us these past 5 years like a big, warm, difficult, transformative hug, I can only give pictures, which are a poor shadow of the real thing. I can’t even give you those today, because I left the thingy at the studio. I’ll put them in tomorrow.  Better yet, come on over.  We’re going to have a party – I’ll keep you in the loop.

Somehow it’s all in perspective – the chattering newsey questions like when spring will be here, who will win May’s very expensive Federal election, if the Owen Sound Attack will take the big prize- these are not turning my planet today.  They will all affect me, to be sure.  But I’m swimming in a deeper river than that.  It didn’t start this way, to be sure.

This morning dried-mud concrete under barefeet below laptop not enough time slept in. Feed. Coffee.  Stress-out-the-door ONE, and us TWO WestHill SS a minute to spare. Straight to RETAIL through a brushoffthemudgrass mat, & new pillows-by-accident. Home sweep mud dust cough clear so then laptop think forever proposal write emails to 3pm. Roar red car to WHSS – OMG my hair is gross and I forgot to change my loungey pants (this is only an unconscious bad reaction – I had no official business).

There was a red-winged blackbird who visited during all the writing/thinking- yellow eyed and curious.