Thursday, July 19, 2018

My talk for Halifax

Thank you Nova Scotia for giving Penny and me this beautiful space to show our work.

Penny and I love to stitch and are happiest when we are stitching.
This show reflects our happiness.     
Our work complements each other.  Penny observes the small details that add up to make a big picture, observing, recording, remembering specifics as she documents nature and life's events.

I am concerned about the whirl of it all.
About how time and life go by so fast.
 Not To Know But To Go On is three years big.
 Cloud of Time is one year big.
The three drawings on the wall add up to be six months big.
Time is a material in this work.
American artist Kiki Smith said that art is something that moves from the inside of us into the world.
Art is a way to think, it is a form of communication.

The slowness of the stitched mark gives me thinking time.  As I work with cloth on my lap, I find out from my hands what is in my heart.

The large stitched journal that hangs in the middle of this space  began as a way to slow down and celebrate my turning 60.  I started it on my 59th birthday and ended it on my 61st.
I used up fabrics saved over my lifetime, and every day for three years, I stitched up an entire skein of embroidery floss.   A luxurious amount of thread was used, over 1000 skeins, yet the piece has the simplicity of a Finnish rug.  The clour of thread was chosen without looking, because we don't know, do we, what each day will bring?  Chance is an important element in this piece, as it is in life.

Domestic life, the sheets we fold, the dishes we wash, so much of our lives are spent doing repetitive tasks, most of them every day, in order to accomplish the bigger things.  Those repetitions disappear within the whirl of time.  This piece holds them.
You can't change things.  Change yourself.  Be alone. Take every opportunity to be alone.      Not To Know But To Go On.   Agnes Martin

For more about this exhibition and the opening,
please go to my updates and also to Penny Berens' blog.
Thank you to my husband Ned for all the photos in this post. xo

Monday, July 16, 2018

leaving nova scotia

Gerald Ferguson   Fish and Door  1992  enamel on canvas, painted door
collection Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and seen there

fish shed seen through car window, Blue Rocks Nova Scotia
My heart and soul
and mind
are bursting with images and emotions about our time in Nova Scotia.
Ned and I begin our journey across New Brunswick and Quebec tomorrow.

Thank you Nova Scotia.  I love you. 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

life is beautiful

We packed up and left our Quebec City apartment in good time.
Ned had planned that we go see Montmorency falls, and it was beautiful.
Then we drove along the north shore of the St Lawerence river and it was beautiful.
We went through Clermont, where Ned had spent two weeks age 13, and it was beautiful.
We spent that night at a b and b with a French speaking hostess and it was beautiful.
The next day, we were up early again to eat her blueberry pancakes and catch the ferry across the St. Lawerence, so beautiful.
 Then we drove through more of beautiful rural Quebec towards New Brunswick.
 Occasionally we stopped at beaches for Marjan and Wim, our friends from Holland.

Life is beautiful.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

rosie lee tomkins

 sometimes, I don't want to understand,

the slip : family cottage
I just want to gaze at something delightful that excites my eyes.
Doing this rests my heart for some reason.  Makes me feel as if I'm on a holiday.

Ned and I have started on our road trip to Halifax for my exhibtion with Penny.

The two quilts in this post are by Rosie Lee Tompkins, here are more. Rest your heart.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

and it rains

Q  what is the most important thing?

A  time,   there isn't enough
Q  what is the difference between thinking and feeling?

A  i don't know
a recent dream

I made paintings and they were beautiful,
and I wrote a poem along the bottom of them
and bound them all into a book

then I started over
and dreamed some more

in the continuing dream
I photographed the beautiful large wide country field of my childhood
and each photo came quickly and easily
that dream field from my childhood was beautiful
In my dream, the seasons flew by
and I took photos

fresh green spring
dark green summer with daisy and buttercup dots
tan brown sparse autumn with red leaves
amazing vistas

and I bound them into a book
last week I was listening to CBC
and learned that the Quaker community
is comfortable with uncertainty
because they gather and sit in silence.

Q  what do you believe?
A  I don't know

They figure out what they believe by being silent.
I want to work from my heart trusting my self

my hands are the way to let my heart out
aili with lady bug
I think about Paterson Ewen and his work
He used power tools to carve large images inspired by the power and wonder of nature
judith evelyn grandmom with maia
and his images feel like something
as much as they look like something

more on the edge between what we know
and what is unknowable
and it rains

Thursday, June 21, 2018

sometimes there are moments of perfection

I'd like to talk about the perfection underlying life

when the mind is covered over with perfection
and the heart is filled with delight
but I wish not to deny the rest.
Judy Martin and Penny Berens
In our minds, there is awareness of perfection;
when we look with our eyes we see it,
and how it functions is mysterious to us and unavailable.
When we live our lives it's something like a race - our minds become concerned and covered over
and we get depressed and have to get away for a holiday.
And then sometimes there are moments of perfection
and in these moments we wonder why we ever thought life was difficult.
A new 6 inch book using the text from this 2012 post. 
It will be for sale at the gallery shop
We think that at last our feet are on the right path and that we will not falter or fail
Judith Quinn Garnett designer, OJ Graphix printer
 We're absolutely convinced we have the solution and then the moment is over.

Not to Know but to Go On                                          Agnes Martin

All above text is by Agnes Martin.

The images are of Not To Know But To Go On, the daily journal I kept in stitch between my 2010 and 2013 birthdays.  One complete skein of cotton embroidery floss was stitched up each day for over a thousand days.

This piece along with Penny Berens' Daily Scratchings plus NEW WORK by both of us will on display this summer in Halifax Nova Scotia at the Mary Black gallery.   July 13 - August 26.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Landon MacKenzie

Seen at the National Gallery of Canada, this layered painting by Landon MacKenzie.

Tracking Athabasca : Macke it to Thy Other Side (Land of Little Sticks)  1999
acrylic on linen, approximately 7 feet wide

Historical information from an early Hudson bay Company map is combined with colonial government records, doilies and drawings.
Also included are stories as told by the artist's friend,  Doris Whitehead, a woman of Cree, Chipewa and Scottish heritage.  The label on the wall says "Whitehead recounted her stories to the artist while indicating territorial lines in marker on MacKenzie's painting."
Then near by, there were these two small hardcover open notebooks, framed under glass.  The National Gallery explains that notebooks are often exhibited with this artist's paintings of Saskatchewan.

Framing notebooks under glass.
Layering doilies onto paintings.
Allowing another woman to mark up your painting.


how female
how wonderful
Landon MacKenzie teaches painting at Emily Carr University in Vancouver.  She won the Govenor General Award in 2017 for fine art.   Video of the artist here.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

the sun, the moon, and also the stars

moon, wool thread, wool felt 2018  Judy Martin

sun  wool thread, wool felt, acrylic paint ( in progress)  judy martin 

and also the stars  wool thread, wool felt, 2018 judy martin
Intuition and conceptual thought are married in most of my work.
And some of the time they live happily ever after.

But there is usually some tension along the way.

I need to make my work as true as I can.

I rely on the archetypal shapes of circle, cross and dot and use them as language.
The works in this post are the under-sides of pieces made last winter  (see here)

They are the backs I suppose.
Felt drawings
I plan to display them so that the original 'first side' will not be shown.

I don't mind that the original designs will be secret.
Believe me.
I took them outside and laid them in the garden, amongst the caterpillars
and forget me nots.
from left to right:  sun (february)  and also the stars (march and april)  moon (january)  2018
These three pieces document each day of January, February, March and half of April 2018.
I used velvet and found fabrics to make small collages on wool felt

which were then attached together.

I kept going until I ran out of felt.

Then I turned them over, and used the felt 'backs' as if they were pieces of paper
and made completely fresh and new drawings.

Drawings that don't have anything to do with the winter.
These new drawings will have their first showing in Halifax Nova Scotia this summer.
Penny Berens and I have produced an exhibition entitled Cloth Of Time.
the underside of the leaf
cool in shadow
sublimely unemphatic
smiling of innocence