Keirartworks's Blog

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


Leave a comment

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.

 

BHill_SEwindow

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.


Leave a comment

we carry these things privately

In art school we talked about negative space – the less obvious part of any picture that does the most to define the subject.  When building a 3D illusion on a 2-dimensional plane this is one of the neatest tricks – to first define what’s NOT in the drawing, in order to clarify what is.

Grandvista Gardens, Dundas, somewhere near 1968...  Marcus?myself, Lee, Rebecca, Marcus & unidentified other RH side

Grandvista Gardens, Dundas, somewhere near 1968… Marcus?
myself, Lee, Rebecca, Marcus & unidentified other RH side

We’ve had a lovely lovely christmas, and a beautiful Solstice leading into it.  Great music was played and shared, connections forged and re-forged among friends and family, warm, sincere thoughts expressed in gifts, in laughter, in deep conversation.  Over and through all of this there has been a generosity of spirit that to me seems many times magnified over previous years – and those previous years of goodwill have also been remarkable.  Among other notable things this year there’s a new highly contagious trend – to pay for the guy behind you in the drive-through.  The one you’ve never met, and don’t need thanks from.  Huh.

Throughout all the visits and the meals and events there have also been absences – people and memories left silent and unremarked.  For me, these have defined and enriched Christmas 2012 as much as anything.

My family lived in London England in 1967-68.  Here my sister and I skip through a graveyard...

My family lived in London England in 1967-68. Here my sister and I skip through a graveyard…

Negative space becomes positive, once you see it for what it is.

We now have four cats – and another marvelous one has adopted the couch (and anything else he can play with) in my Studio.  Purrl, Oliver, Samantha, Benjamin, Tolouse-Lautrec.  Each as different as could be, but joined together in the eternal Cat fascination with all things moving.  I’ve played long and wild with all of them this week.

But Mark, my brother, my protector, beautiful, noble, intense – how is it that you are also here, through forty years and more?  I can feel you standing like a wall of safety between me and any new person, any potential fall, any threat to my person.  Thanks.  There’s only one of you.

Mark

Mark

Lee and I on the swings under the big maple at Briar Hill School, somewhere around 1972

Lee and I on the swings under the big maple at Briar Hill School, somewhere around 1972

The compost bin is beside the big maple tree at my Parents’ house – I was there yesterday morning, on the side away from the swings, staring at her now immense girth.  This tree was at least 100 when we arrived at the Schoolhouse in 1971, and she’s since almost doubled in size.  The swings are long gone.

This year L was present in her absence.  I have only one sister, and she was even closer to Mark than I.  I sense that he walks and runs and sleeps and chases and leaps with her in Germany too.  Look after her, M.

Cousins, 14 years ago.

Cousins, 14 years ago.

Cousins, circa 9 years ago.

Cousins, circa 9 years ago.  And a Thomas.

A,B,M – this is your Aunt.  You are all far far away, doing far away things, but I call each of you home to Annan for a snowfight, a hike, a tribal dance, a silly contest, and a hug.  You can do this in your minds – but make sure you do this.  All my love,

My sister, on Trudeau's back.  I was right there beside them when this happened - she was furious at him.  And now he, too is positive-negative space, worthy of much consideration.

My sister, on Trudeau’s back. I was right there beside them when this happened – she was furious at him. And now he, too is positive-negative space, worthy of much consideration.

K