Wednesday, October 09, 2019

not sure

(These leaves are called gunnera and I love them)
not so sure about my work
not sure if it is necessary

yes, it gives me reasons
to get up
to dream, but
it will not save the world
when I was a young mom
I took my first fine arts degrere from Lakehead University

I wrote an essay about Kathe Kollwitz
and Henri Matisse
( I thought it was a rhubarb plant when I planted it 25 years ago)

My thesis was that Kollwitz made her work
because she wanted to change the world somehow
She hoped to make a difference

She was against war
and her paintings and prints about human sorrow
about mothers mourning
and women raging
moved me

they moved me a lot
I was irritated at that time
when I was young
by Matisse
who went to the south of France
and said that he wanted to make
art that soothed people

he wanted his work to make them feel
as if they were sitting in an armchair
and could forget about the trouble out there in the world
(it's sometimes called Dinosaur food)

my teacher at the time criticized me
for these ideas
She was right
I based my argument on nothing
but gut reaction

I looked at Kollwitz's work and saw her clear message

I loved Matisse, but didn't know why
and his words
made me

not sure
now that I have matured as an artist
I understand Matisse

My own work
is about finding heart in the inner world
not the outer
but these days
Kollwitz comes to mind

and I'm not sure 


  1. interesting post. I love the arrangement under which you wrote dinosaur food. I too have gunnera growing but never cut any of the leaves. Not much room in my studio for even one leaf!!!

    1. For that arrangement, the leaves had been dried between newspaper for a month - and I needed to clean them up. When I held them they naturally went into these funnel shapes - so that is how I stored them for another week - with one pin holding that funnel to the wall. They dried like that - kept the funnel shape which I find so full of metaphor and beauty. We are inter-connected, we are vessels, we are mournful xo

  2. fascinating ... a totally new-to-me plant, so I looked it up. Turns out some of the species are indeed called rhubarb and are edible ... and one in particular, Gunnera tinctoria, yields a black dye from its roots. Practicalities aside, the leaves are simply fascinating ... which is how I began this comment ... ha!

    1. that is super duper interesting about the black dye from the roots - thank you, I saw the word tinctoria and knew it was a dye plant when I looked it up as well, but didn't follow all the way through. I've been wanting to make rubbings up them for years, just to prove to myself in the winter that the leaves were really this big. xo

  3. I am trying to find my own voice at the moment, and respond to what moves me, maybe one day what I make may move someone too. I am big admirer of your work.

    1. Thank you Cathy. I received some emails about this post and I am cheered up. Artists have to make their work...and when there is communication between maker and viewer...then it is necessary. Something changes within us through art. xo

  4. Wow! what fabulous leaves, so huge and thick, now I understand why Gunnera just gives up the ghost here in Sydney, our summers are way too hot and it must enjoy having it's roots chilled

    1. Gunnera loves the area it is growing in now in our yard. I moved it out of the garden and into a swampy area underneath the cedars. I also moved lupins into the same place - and there are daffodil bulbs all around the edges . But now, about 10 years later, there are no more lupins. Gunnera is a bit bossy - but so large, we see it when we turn in the driveway and it is almost as impressive as the lake behind. xo

  5. And I know you are sure... of the path to walk, and the steps to take and the division of your time, the start and the stop, the colour and the stitch. It is built in through years of study, experience and the intuitive excellence we all see in every piece of your artwork. We lean in and listen and see the way forward, inspired by your determination and vision. A bold walk through this life that is yours alone! Celebrate...

    1. Bethany, this beautiful comment bring tears to my eyes. Thank you from bottom of my heart xoxo

  6. For me your work is an isle of calm in what feels like an increasingly chaotic world. Looking at it, even online, helps quiet my mind, take a pause and be still. I work with clay and have struggled with the idea of how to make meaningful work that "says" something when its seems more important than ever to "say" something...and all I can seem to create is fish. But making fish grounds me and they seem to bring some joy to others. So its enough. Thank you for sharing your work and thoughts...they both make a difference.


Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx