Letters to each and all
The deepest wisdom
Of all the earth
The city throbbed
Day and night
The narrow ways
The wide road
A strange cry rang out
And the point was a rich sword
To lie in bed,
Gnawing with wrath at weakness,
She ravened up
And wandered in the wilds.
Bold and insolent,
Able to bear shame and anguish no longer
Forced to fly
White with great age
And the calmness of deep learning
While I am tucked away in the studio building The Academy for the fall, I am taking little breaks to nourish and express my creative spirit. I have a love of poetry and have been delighting in creating little found poems from an old book.
With the seasonal approach of the studio, one of my plans has always been to take time off between seasons. So far I have often found myself right into the next, plotting and planning, designing and creating behind the scenes. This month, however, it looks like there will be time for me to meander the boardwalk, journal in coffee shops and catch up on my sleep. In anticipation, I find myself walking slowly through my neighbourhood, enjoying the beauty this time of year holds.
It’s already a bit late in the season to be getting to the garden centre but there was still plenty of beauty! I always put some annuals out front, usually some dark red geraniums and some purple wave petunias, neither of which were available so I made some new choices. What’s funny is that I didn’t even notice that I had picked the same colour scheme! I guess I just like it, especially against the green of our house.
Verbena Hybrid – Lanai Dark Red Verbena (annual)
Salvia longispicata x farinacea – Mystic Spires, Blue Salvia (perennial)
Euphorbia Hybrid – ‘Star Dust Super Flash” Euphorbia (annual)
Delphinium elatum – “Guardian Lavender” Delphinium (perennial)
Pieris japonica – ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’ Japanese Pieris (shrub)
These give me a sense of serenity and sanctuary just looking at them. Tomorrow I’ll get them in the ground and let them start the process of making our garden home.
What are you planting in your garden this year?
A couple of years ago, I braved registering for a collage course at the Toronto School of Art, facing my creative desires and working through my fears and negative experiences with this kind of an environment. I learned a lot about collage, about myself and about the stories I had about art school. This summer I am returning for a second class: paper-cutting and collage. I feel free, inspired and at home. It helps that I’m working with the same teacher. Let me share with you a little of what I’m learning.
The first exercise we did was adding collage materials to abandoned paintings. Our focus was the face. It is admittedly a rather unnerving experience to cut the face down into component parts. (I talked about this a bit on stART.) It had me thinking about the nature of collage, the messages of deconstruction that are inherent in using this art form.
Then we created another portrait, this time using the offcuts, making use of negative space. It was magical to see characters come to life as we built them up from scraps that might have been left behind, papers that would normally have been be put into recycling.
Next we created geometric collages. I made this one based on the Three-Part Harmony Quilt taught by Anna Maria Horner on Creativebug. I loved its strategy of creating with a tonal palette of lights, mids and darks. I completed two collages, one with the darks being predominant and this one, where the lights are.
Our next assignment was paper weaving. We chose two images, making slits in one and strips out of the other and then brought them together with weaving. This process takes patience and a bit of dexterity but it is fascinating to discover what emerges when the piece is complete. I experimented with a gradual expanding of both the width of the strips and the the amount of space between them. I wondered if this would create a sense of growing expansion.
My favourite unofficial activity during class is scanning the room for found art. You won’t believe what this piece is. Take a moment and see if you can guess…. It’s the art school sink after a good cleaning and scrubbing.
Some beautiful boards tucked away for student use.
And my favourite: the well-used tabletop.
Art is everywhere.
The return of open windows is one of the gifts of spring. As the kittens enjoyed the fresh air, I followed their gaze into the backyard.
While they watched for birds and squirrels, my eyes caught sight of green!
I rushed outside to free the sprouting bulbs from their protective winter covering of leaves and chicken wire.
Oh, the joy of discovery!
I love this tender stage of the garden – the sweet shapes, the fresh colours.
As if that wasn’t joy enough, the sun came out just as I freed these new shoots.
That is the magic of the garden. As I clear the way and discover new life, I feel close to myself, to the Earth and to my mom.
From a distance, it looks like a big mess and a patch of dirt.
But when you look closely, there is beauty to be found.
It’s fall and I’ve been feeling badly about neglecting my garden this year. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the intense work going on in the studio. I hardly got out there at all. Weeds grew to a massive height. Grass pushed the boundaries, establishing dominance over the garden borders. Stray morning glories wound their way tightly around phlox and roses, intertwining their fates for the season. When I saw my peonies covered in powdery mildew, I wanted to go back inside.
Instead. I looked a little closer. Here’s what I saw.
The beauty of life always and always finds a way and that always and always gives me hope.