Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bob Ross - Happy Little Clouds and Happy Little Trees

Even Bigger Bob Afro!

Life can really suck the big one sometimes. It's so important to be able to have a sense of humour, and I am so grateful that I have beautiful friends and family that laugh a lot, because it can get very wearisome with all the problems we encounter. Sometimes the best medicine is just to laugh, which is just why I wanted to post this Youtube video.

 Bob Ross never fails to make me laugh, and to give me that warm, happy, fuzzy feeling, that only Bob Ross can do no matter how many times I see him, and why I am sharing this, in hopes that maybe it will give my viewers the same feeling, if you just need that moment, and that much needed break from life's problems.

Love those happy little clouds, and happy little trees. I believe Bob Ross! I believe!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thanks For Seven Years Now Where's My Wad a Dough?

These days I write, and I write, and I write some more. It's a good thing. I can't help but write everyday. If I don't write, the day just feels off to me. I began this blog November 11th 2008. Then in February 13th, 2014, I started another blog all about Apple River Tarot Readings that I post to daily, and it has been very rewarding personally, especially doing individual readings for people that I can hopefully help.

It is very encouraging to get feedback from readers who leave comments. They motivate and inspire me to keep writing. Sometimes a blogger can feel like they are talking to the ether out in cyber sphere.  So, if I haven't already invited you to leave a comment, and if you are so inclined, please don't be shy, as I would absolutely love to hear from you, good , bad or indifferent!

Today I received a notification from Google AdSense that I've been using AdSense for 7 years. I've always been  very fond of  and partial to the number seven , and so I am expecting this year to be a good one filled with increasing growth, confidence, adventure and transformation.

It is a an encouraging acknowledgement of my seven years, as I've worked with committed diligence at this blog. Although I haven't had much remuneration in monetizing this site, it has improved and continues to do so everyday. It may sound ridiculous to some folks but believe me, I get pretty darn excited when I make over a dollar a day...once in a while!

 I figure by the time I'm 80, I might have my first 100 dollars! It would be great if that came sooner, but regardless, I never started blogging for the big bucks!

I sure am grateful to each and every one of my viewers and followers, regardless if they are clicking on my ads or not. To all of you, I thank you very much, as you are all greatly appreciated.

Here's what my little anniversary card from said from Google AdSense.

AdSense achievement

7 years Happy Anniversary! As of today, you've been with AdSense for 7 years

Monday, March 2, 2015

Grandmother Moon

The Mother's Prayers Are Carried to the Grandmother - Catherine Meyers

Grandmother Moon                                  
Without the glare of city lights,
The darkness surrounds me
As I drive home late at night.
Into my mind creeps
A trickle of fear.
Then, above me I see
Grandmother Moon in the fullness of her glory.
Like the Creator's protective eye,
Her gentle glow never leaves me.
I feel the love of the Divine
Surround and enfold me,
Like a warm, soft cloak,
As I am guided home.
- B.K.

I have an online friend who wrote this beautiful poem, Grandmother Moon. We have much in common in spirit, and when she shared this poem with me, I immediately thought of a painting I did a number of years ago, I called  it The Mother's Prayers Are Carried to the Grandmother. I thought the two paired together went well with one another. I asked her today if I could post her poem along with my painting, she said yes, and so here they are together.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Augusta Fells Savage

Augusta Fells Savage- February 29, 1892 – March 27, 1962
I am always excited to learn of new artists and in particular women, who have gone unknown, and seemed to have disappeared into obscurity. A good friend posted information about one such gifted artists of the Harlem Renaissance, who was a talented sculptor, a dedicated teacher, and a strong activist.

 Augusta Fells Savage was the daughter of a Methodist minister, who forbade her to create her art as he deemed it to be a sinful activity. In spite of, and perhaps because of his recriminations and abuse, she ardently pursued her passion.

In 1920 she was admitted into Cooper Union where she excelled, but experienced discrimination, and eventual rejection into a summer art program, that she had applied for in France. She was rejected solely based on the colour of her skin. Immediately forging her commitment to civil rights, she began to publicly fight for equal rights, informing newspapers of this situation, that was in turn publicized throughout the United States and Europe.

Turning her focus on to creating sculpted portraits of W.E.B Dubois and Marcus Garvey, this effort led her to being an acclaimed artist of the Harlem Renaissance.
Through the funding raising efforts of many individuals in her home state of Florida and in New York, she eventually was able to attend the Parisian art school, the Acadèmie de la Grande Chaumière, in 1929. She exhibited her art at the Grand Palais, winning  awards for her work, and then traveled throughout Europe to study art and architecture.

Augusta returned from Europe to New York in the 1930s, where she then became the first African American elected to the National Association of Women Painters and Sculptors. She then established the Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in Harlem, where she taught art to anyone interested. In 1939, she was commissioned by the New York World’s Fair, creating a piece inspired by the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. Unfortunately the sculpture it was destroyed at the close of the fair, as she did not have the financial means to transport the piece.

Augusta Fells Savage died in 1962 without fanfare or recognition of her creative, artistic talents and contributions. Much of her work has been lost to history and of unknown whereabouts. Fortunately 'Gamin' one of her most famous pieces is permanently displayed at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

It always saddens me to learn of such women like Augusta Fells Savage, going unnoticed into obscurity, or not have been recorded within art history books. Finally at long last this is changing, and I am grateful to learn of this remarkable woman now, rather than never. Augusta Fells Savage is truly a gift to the rich history of African American Artists and who has left a wonderful legacy to the art world. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Am I Nude Or Am I Naked?

Artist As A Crone - Catherine Meyers

Early into in my art education at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, when I was regularly attending life drawing classes, with nude models, I was never really uncomfortable with their nudity when rendering them, but I felt a differently if I came eye to eyeball with them, and they began to speak to me.
I short while later my perspective drastically changed when I became a model myself, in the University I was attending. Now, I was viewing the viewer. I got to see the reactions of fine art students to me, as a nude model. I was surprised by what I sensed was discomfort from students, when I would walk around (robed) to look, and perhaps comment on their drawings.

Some people might think that the model would be uncomfortable with their own nudity. In fact the opposite is true. In reality the model would not be able to disrobe and do their job, if they did not have a level of comfort with their bodies, and understood the differences between nudity, and being naked. This opinion of the individual doing the rendering, is mostly due to not being able to imagine themselves ever getting nude, in front of strangers or even those they know.

It didn't happen immediately, but not long after I began to model, I became at ease with my own body, and skin so to speak. I was able to detach psychologically, is the way I describe it. It was the viewers or art students who were not so comfortable. I think this comfort level changes and increase, as the artist becomes more experienced working with nude models.

I never really thought so much about there being a difference between being naked, as opposed to being nude. But I did yesterday, after listening to an interview on CBC with Curator Virginia Eichorn. This interview was about an exciting exhibit, opening March 7th, at THEMUSEUM in Kitchener Ontario. In this exhibit Getting Naked is wanting to facilitate a dialogue on the topic of nudity and nakedness after gathering over a hundred plus paintings for this upcoming exhibit, from the Canadian Art Bank, that have nudes as subject matter.

Call me a traditionalist, but I strongly believe as an artist, learning how to render the nude is an absolute essential part of your education. For me, and I think many artists, life drawing of the figure is the foundation of our training. It has also been my experience the best models have been artists themselves. On the other hand, I can not say that the best artists are models. There is however, something that happens to your perception, physically and physiologically, when you get into a pose or gesture, that somehow helps you to understand  the process of drawing, which very much involves the body. I think it works on an intuitive and subconscious level.

Perhaps, if the took on the postures of the life drawing model, before actually drawing, they may be given more insight into their renderings. This is speculation on my part, as I have never experienced this teaching technique in a life drawing class, but would certainly like to try it as an experiment.

” The soul of a human being as well as the soul of a culture cannot evolve if the body is not reclaimed and honoured “. Maureen Murdock

Kitchener, ON – January 22, 2015 – The Canadian Art Council Art Bank has many all-but-forgotten nudes, unclothed or naked pieces of art. That will change this spring when THEMUSEUM reveals its 100+ piece exhibit, Getting Naked, to the public.
“We have 17,000 works of art by Canadian artists at the Art Bank, but for a number of reasons the small collection of nudes do not get rented out to boardrooms or office spaces. My goal was to see the works displayed, but no one has had the courage to show the works until David Marskell of THEMUSEUM enthusiastically agreed,” says Victoria Henry, Canadian Art Bank Director.
The collection is wildly disparate, but has only one message, medium, or theme tying them together. Nudity. Not pornography, though some are erotic. Not gratuitous, though some are challenging. They are provocative and evocative, joyful and heartbreaking, breathtaking and hilarious, wry and fascinating.
“Since its rebranding and evolution over the last several years, THEMUSEUM has made its mark in establishing itself as an organization that is not afraid to make bold choices,” says Virginia Eichhorn, Getting Naked Curator.
Many of the artists are recognized Canadian icons, well known for other works, however the nudes have remained rarely seen. “From the hyper-sexualized voyeur viewpoints, depicted by Dennis Burton, to the historic referential evocations of Frank Mulvey; situating the nude as a site of liberation as per Joyce Weiland or of defiance when used by Donigan Cumming or Evergon; the dynamic, dark and sensual artworks presented by Diana Thorneycroft; or simply as form or shape in and of itself as demonstrated through the work of Greg Payce and Evan Penny – Getting Naked evokes the continued fascination that artists have had with the human form, for as long as art has existed,” Eichhorn says.
“This is a rare opportunity to not only see these incredible works of art but also have a conversation about why Canadian culture shy’s away from nudity,” says David Marskell, CEO of THEMUSEUM. “As Canadian citizens, we own these works of art but until now there hasn’t been an opportunity to view them all at once. THEMUSEUM is going to pair the exhibit with discussion around nudity and culture. We want this exhibit to inspire discussion.”
The Getting Naked exhibit opens March 7th, 2015.
Additional quotes:
“The artists who are represented in the Art Bank’s collection are all well-recognized and highly accomplished artists. We aren’t speaking about amateurs here or people who are gratuitously trying to be proactive. So it seems surprising that here, in 2014, we can be made so uncomfortable with seeing a bit of skin. Why is that? Getting Naked sets out to answer that question as well as to provide examples of the enduring power of the human figure, in all its naked glory, as a powerful purveyor of meaning and representation of many ways and states of being,” Virginia Eichhorn.
- See more at:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Levi Bettweiser - Building a 4x5 Bender View Camera

Levi Bettwieser's Bender 4x5 View Camera

Wow! I really love it when I can find real special artists who have a great story about themselves, and are so passionate about the art they make.

Levi Bettwieser is one such photographer. He has an incredible camera collection, and much of his own photographs are taken with the view camera.

Levi Bettwieser- Camera Collection

 If you have a passion for photography, you will love what this man does, and has done. One particular project he undertook was which involves rescuing rolls of film.What he found is remarkable.

Having had the privilege of being taught by a great heuristic teacher  I learned the satisfactions, rewards and the challenges to be found in photography. In particular, I developed the deep appreciation of large format, black and white photographs taken with a 4"x5" view camera.

When I was studying at Mount Allison University, photography became my nemesis, in that I loved and hated it, at the same time. Being a painter and not a technically minded, I finally had to face this fact, and I let go of my technical study of photography, to focus solely on my painting. That certainly has never lessened my passion for the traditional and contemporary photograph or photographer.

The other project Levi Bettwieser took pursued was building a view camera . He found a Bender 4x5 building kit and painstakingly proceeded to build it.

Levi Bettwieser just blew my mind, and I think he will yours too.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Edward Gorey - I Love The Beastly Baby

The Beastly Baby - Edward Gorey

The first time I saw one of Edward Gorey's books I was a teenager and I immediately became a fan . I was crazy for his art, and the dark humour reflected in both his drawings, and his writing with his delightful sense of word play.

I believe it is a certain type of person that is drawn to Edward Gorey's work. One who possesses a sense of black humour, has experienced ennui, and understands the humour to be found in the tragic. I don't think I can do justice in describing Edward Gorey's work, I just know that he has been my one of my favourite artists ever. There is no one quite like him.

"Ideally, if anything were any good, it would be indescribable."
         - Edward Gorey

One of my favourite Edward Gorey illustrated stories of his is, The Beastly Baby. The story of a rather ghastly and ugly very bloated baby, who's arms and legs are too short, and has two left hands. The child can only roll around on the floor. No one picks the baby up or shows it any kind of affection or love. The baby stays under tables and furniture, cutting up the carpet with sharp objects. The adults are wanting to rid themselves of the child, and commence to bring about it's demise. They first place the beastly baby into the sea, but the baby comes floating back to the shoreline, only to be covered in green slimy seaweed, no matter how many times they try, it continues to return to the shore, alive.

The last attempt finds the adults placing the child onto a high ledge a top a mountain, where they once again abandon him and they walk away. Shortly after, they hear a explosion of sorts in the far distance. The Beastly Baby finally met it's inevitable end, when it is carried off by a large bird of prey. The bird's talons caused the baby to explode.

I know it's a very dark story, and I can't help but feel sorry for the horrid beastly baby, and though the adults where really worse than horrid for doing such a cruel thing, to a defenseless baby, but nonetheless it is funny story, just the same to me, and I do think there may be a moral to be found in this tale.

Many of Gorey's stories do present some kind of enigma, dilemma, or tragic event that has happened or is about to take place, leaving the viewer wondering how this has happened and why. I would call them odd and mysterious enigmas, not to be understood but within our imaginations, and that we can relate to on some level perhaps, whether it be conscious or unconscious.

I think about another favourite entitled The Doubtful Guest. This undetermined peculiar creature arrives at a Victorian home wearing a scarf, in what looks like Converse tennis shoes. It stays for dinner but never leaves. I often refer to this story as being the thing that came for dinner, and wouldn't leave, because I think we can all relate to this thing. We've all had people arrive in our life or come into our spaces, and we just can't seem to get clear of them.

Pins and Needles stayed with me always and I especially fond of it. The following is the text that goes along with it. Gorey's wit, love of words and anthropomorphizing objects is very obvious in this drawing, and I love it so much.

Pins and Needles-Edward Gorey

'Death and Distraction!' said the Pins and Needles. 'Destruction and Debauchery!'
Almost at once the Mo.37 Penpoint returned to the Featureless Expanse It encountered the Glass Marble, but neither recognized the other.
The Two-Holed Button concealed its apprehension
The Half-Inch Thumbtack told the Four-Holed Button what had happened
'Duplicity and Desolation!' said the Needles and Pins. 'Dissolution and Despair!'
Quickly the Knotted String decided to wait on events.
The Four-Holed Button came to it with a sinister proposal.
The Two-Holed Button overheard them unnoticed.
No sooner had it withdrawn than it ran into the Glass Marble.
The Knotted String appeared and the Two-Holed Button fell sensless
'Discomfort and Damage!' said the pins and Needles. 'Doom and Discrepancy!'
Incontinently the Four-Holed Button approached the Mo.37 Penpoint with another sinister proposal.
The Half-Inch Thumbtack informed them what had taken place.
The Glass Marble regretted its actions.
The Mo.37 Penpoint and the Knotted String confronted one another.
'Dishonour and Depredation!' said the Needles and Pins. 'Degradation and Dismay!'
Immediately the No.37 Penpoint, now ruined, and the Two-Holed Button fled.
The Half-Inch Thumbtack acquainted them with what had transpired.
The Two-Holed Button found itself alone.
The Glass Marble, mistaking the No.37 Penpoint for the Four-Holed Button, pushed it into the Yawning Chasm.
When it saw what it had done, it went mad and rolled off the edge.
'Danger and Deceit!' said the Pins and Needles. 'Defeat and Disaster!'
Promptly the Knotted String surprised the Four-Holed Button.
In the struggle they went over the edge together.
The Half-Inch Thumbtack made known to the Two-Holed Button what had occurred.
The Two-Holed Button threw itself over at the same spot.
The Half-Inch Thumbtack looked around and fell down lifeless.
'Depravity and Disappointment!' said the Needles and Pins. 'Disappearance and Damnation!'
Forthwith they too flung themselves into the Yawning Chasm.

Today is Edward Gorey's Birthday, and would be 90 years of age.

Happy Birthday Edward.