Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Steven Pinker - The Sense of Style

Writing helps to me understand myself. I want to be a better writer. Perhaps some believe that the way to become a good writer, is to get busy and write. This is partially true, but I think there is a lot to be learned from reading, and from others who study language, psychology, and human nature. Steven Pinker is one such  person, and there was a item I heard today, that featured his thoughts about writing, based on his new book The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
Steven Pinker is a Canadian-born U.S. experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and linguist, who writes about language, the mind, and human nature.

You can listen to the interview with Steven Pinker here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Purdy Crawford Centre For The Arts

I am looking very forward to a group exhibit featuring Maritime Artists in Parrsboro at the Art Lab Studios & Gallery. I have a painting in this exhibition. This celebratory event takes place October 3rd at 7:00 p.m.

I am also very honoured, and excited to have been asked to be a part of the Mount Allison University Alumni Exhibition at the Purdy Crawford Centre For The Arts, October 2nd 2014.

The Mount Allison Fine Arts Alumni Exhibition will feature more than 60 works by 64 years of MtA Fine Arts alumni.
Organized by the Mount Allison Fine Arts department, alumni from the classes of 1950 to 2013 have generously contributed their works for the first-ever multi-generational alumni fine arts exhibition.
The exhibition will run from Oct. 2-Oct. 9 in the atrium of the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts. List of alumni participants: Robert Barritt, Class of 1950 Christopher Pratt, Class of 1957 Mary Pratt, Class of 1957 Tom Forrestall, Class of 1958 Dale Dunning, Class of 1969 Herménégilde Chiasson, Class of 1972 Michael Coyne, Class of 1975 Jane Irwin, Class of 1977 Barbara Safran, Class of 1977 John Armstrong, Class of 1978 Dianne Bos, Class of 1978 Stephen Scott, Class of 1978 Lucy Hogg, Class of 1979 Alice Reed, Class of 1980 Robert Tombs, Class of 1980 Ann Manuel, Class of 1981 Dan Steeves, Class of 1981 Karen Buck-MacKintosh, Class of 1982 William Forrestall, Class of 1982 Janice Wright-Cheney, Class of 1983 Steven Dixon, Class of 1983 Stephen May, Class of 1983 Peter Bjerkelund, Class of 1985 Jennifer Walton, Class of 1986 Kathleen Sellars, Class of 1986 Timothy Johnston, Class of 1987 Christina Nick, Class of 1989 Michael deAdder, Class of 1991 Isabelle Devos, Class of 1991 Alexandrya Eaton, Class of 1991 Will Gill, Class of 1991 Nancy Schofield, Class of 1991 Paul Griffin, Class of 1992 Lesley Johnson, Class of 1994 Dennis Austin Reid, Class of 1996 Patrick Visentin, Class of 1998 Michael Walsh, Class of 1998 Jon Claytor, Class of 1999 Melanie Hamilton, Class of 1999 Karen Stentaford, Class of 1999 John Haney, Class of 2001 Maskull Lasserre, Class of 2001 Melissa Marr, Class of 2003 Courtney Chetwynd, Class of 2004 Meaghan Haughian, Class of 2004 Deanna Musgrave, Class of 2005 D’Arcy Wilson, Class of 2005 Melanie Colosimo, Class of 2006 Evan Rensch, Class of 2006 Jessie Dodington, Class of 2008 Anna Williams, Class of 2009 Corey Isenor, Class of 2010 Keeley Haftner, Class of 2011 Erika Sullivan, Class of 2011 Catherine Meyers, Class of 2012 Christiana Myers, Class of 2012.

It so wonderful  to see the Purdy Crawford Centre For The Arts building finally opened, and I must admit, I am just a little envious of the new Fine Art students. I hope they appreciate what they have. It's a far cry from the days of sharing a studio cubby hole space, with another Fine Art student in the Gardiner Building. But I have some great memories, and I was very fortunate to have had the best ' cubby buddies ' a person could ask for.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Alex Colville - 110 Paintings

Seven Crows - Alex Colville
This Alex Colville painting is my absolute favourite of his. Perhaps because it embodies Nova Scotia to me, and where I live on the edge of a tidal river, were the sea marsh lies, and the crows fly. It is a scene I see from my studio window everyday.

This morning I was looking very forward to, and excited about listening to the Sunday Edition with Michael Enright, because of the interview and walk through tour he was going to have with Matthew Teitelbaum, the Curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The very special exhibit at the AGO, is the biggest collection of 110 Alex Colville's paintings.

The interview and Matthew Teitelbaum's talk certainly did not disappoint. It was excellent, and I hope you will take the time to listen.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Art 21

Graciela Iturbide
When I went back to University as a mature student, at Mount Allison University to finish my Bachelor of Fine Art degree, I watched a whole lot of Art 21 in class. I loved these videos, and it was one of the best  parts of my art education. A particular artist I saw on Art 21, was one of my teachers at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design back in the 70s.

Looking back, it really was a wonderful experience generally, to have had the opportunity to be taught by visionary artists, and teachers, like Krzysztof Wodiczko , Jeff Wall, Dan Loomis, Huge Leroy, John Clark, Tom Klink, Eric Fischl, Ken Pittman, Harold Pearse, just to name a few. Yes, I know they are all men. That's the way it was generally, back in the early 70s. However, it is this fact this helped to shape me into the feminist I am today.. Many women at NSCAD were right on the front lines of the second wave of feminism then, with the influences of such artists like, Miriam Shipiro, Joyce Wieland and Martha Rosler.

I still love to watch Art 21, and am really looking forward to seeing what is in the new line up for Season 7. Especially artist Graciela Iturbide who documented photographs about Frida Kahlo. As well, the documentary entitled, The Two Virginias  featuring photographer Sally Mann . Mann reflects on the woman who raised her, Virginia Franklin Carter.
These women, Frida Kahlo and Sally Mann, are two of my favourite artists, whom I admire greatly.
It warms my heart to see how women mentor one another.

                                                               Virginia Franklin Carter,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Neurochemistry of Story Telling

 I'm always looking for meaningful information about the power of story telling. I found this video yesterday. I think it's a good one!

"  Stories are powerful because they transport us into other people’s worlds but, in doing that, they change the way our brains work and potentially change our brain chemistry — and that’s what it means to be a social creature. "

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Creative Critcism

As an art student who attended NSCAD in the 70s, and then again as a mature student at Mount Allison University, I learned to develop a thick skin, not too thick mind you. As well, I learned not to be so precious about my work, or about my 'feelings'.  I put my big girl dress on, with big bloomers too!

 Everyone wants and needs a certain amount of recognition, but ultimately we have to be our own fan, and have the conviction to believe in our work, and be able to carry on a discourse about what we are doing. If you don't have the confidence, no one else will either.

 More or less, my 'give a shit' stopped working some time ago.

I admit, I'm not that familiar with many so called professional art critics, as I really don't take them too  serious and will call them the art gnostics and they take themselves too seriously. There is however one I like a lot, Jerry Saltz.
He's down to earth, shoots from the hip, cuts through the BS, and most of all he has a great sense of humour.

Here's a great interview that was done in 2008 Irving Sandler from BrooknRail, had with Jerry Saltz. It gives you good overall impression of the man. Of course I'm sure he isn't every one's cup of java, but he sure is mine.

Portrait of Jerry Saltz. Pencil on paper by Phong Bui.

Here is an article from the site Skinny Artist that gives some thoughts how to deal with creative criticism.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Creative Block

Creative Blocks
Brain Pickings had a great article today about creative block , and how artists respond and cope with this state of mind. Having a creative block is something I know exists, and I certainly experience it, from time to time. I expect it means different things, to different people, involved with the creative process as artists, whether they be visual, performing, designers or writers, and it can be brought on but a variety of reasons.

 One of the most important lessons I have learned as an artist, is the importance of doing something, or specifically, one creative activity habitually, that you enjoy doing daily, every day. This has been very helpful, in that it keeps the negative inner critic ramblings at bay and improves my creative process and builds upon my creative practice.