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Summer Mural Painting Complete

Summer Mural Painting Complete

I trust you have had an amazing summer. Summer  mural painting is how I spent my time. I am happy when I paint on walls. Our weather has been so pleasant and the garden has flourished. I have walked in various parks around the city and going to Outdoor Yoga on Sundays.  When I am walking it is always with a camera in hand. My life is a photo-walk.

With the decrease in music students over the summer, I need to fill my days with something more. I had put several bids in for local murals, but summer mural painting got off to a slow start. Then I had two murals which I have been busy with this over the past month.

I actually had to turn one project down, because everyone wanted on them all at the same time. Unfortunately I was unable to meet the deadline for a large mural call, however I understand there will be another opportunity at a later date.

This is the most recent summer mural painting I completed.

I painted this mural for The Prep Program, a preschool program for children with Down syndrome. The mural has 3 components, a tree, a garden and a patch of sunflowers.

Tree Summer Mural Painting

Garden Summer Mural Painting

sunflower summer mural painting

Client Feedback

The amazing review they gave was touching:We are all so impressed with the tree and garden. We absolutely love it! It’s warm, bright, inviting, calming and beautiful. We couldn’t have asked for anything better. We really appreciate your work and the kids will too! It is wonderful when people appreciate what you do.

Before that, I completed this exterior mural for a church in Killarney, the neighborhood I used to live in. I was up 20 feet on scaffolding to do this, with a safety harness of course. This was a large undertaking from one person, not the design itself, but the maneuvering to paint it. I am proud to have achieved it by myself.
St Matthews Summer Mural Painting

The Mural Process

So many thoughts go through one’s mind while painting a mural. Murals are complex in their creation, from planning to creation.

First I decide upon the design through consulting with the client, then I scale it to transfer it to the surface. Once I finish the preliminary work then the fun painting part begins. The beginning stages are technical and accuracy is crucial.

Most times I will use a clear coat, sometimes for UVLS protection to prevent fading of the colours. In the case of exterior murals I often use an anti-graffiti coating. Though expensive, it is a great way to protect your investment as you can power wash off the unwanted tag.

They must look good from a distance as well as close up.  This means most murals have a great amount of detail over a large surface, which is time-consuming, but necessary. You are paying for labour, materials and ingenuity.

Consider a Mural

Each mural is its own process and I always learn something new. Of course I am always looking forward to the next project. Take a look at some of the other murals I have painted here: Murals & Decorative/

Please contact me if you would like me to paint a mural for you.

Warm Summer Breeze; A new Jazz Instrumental

Warm Summer Breeze

I have written scraps of songs for ever so long. Several years have passed since I turned out songs to their full completion. What I have lacked is focus. Setting some goals for myself I found to carry out them I must record things when I am in the flow. Otherwise they are lost. Some start as voice notes on my phone which I then develop when I am with my instruments. Ideas often come in moments of relaxation.

Warm Summer Breeze is the first one I have documented in this new segment. I laid down the guitar & piano tracks this week for “Warm Summer Breeze”. It is instrumental at the moment, but I may add lyrics.


Despite having primitive recording facilities, I am documenting all the new songs. This gives me an opportunity to build on the ideas and framework and new possibilities become clear in that building process. The end game is to record an album.

It’s a fine line between planning and letting things take shape organically. Learning to create on demand is challenging. A looming deadline may just be the push I need. Music, being infinite, like numbers leaves me with so many choices. It is refining those which is time-consuming. I would do it all day if I could.

What I do in my spare time

Spare time sounds like a luxury, but a few moments found in between this and that. Yoga in the park on Sundays gets my week off to the right start. I love to get out in nature as much as possible, camera in hand. Since I am often mobile in the city, I prepare for time to stop at any nearby park when I can om between or after appointments. Sometimes I tuck a sketchbook and/or paints into my bag. I carry extra footwear, sun hats & jackets in the car and today I am thinking of taking my bicycle. Some areas on my list to check out can only be efficiently accessed by cycling on the pathways.

pelicans
 
I could hardly contain my excitement when I found the pelicans finally. They migrate here and to see them feels like an unusual sight. One of the best parts of photography is being at the right place at the right time and having a camera. I always take my camera with me. Other times I write in my personal journal. And most recently I traveled with a drum.

Healing Power of Drumming

Drumming as healing modality is well documented. I went to Nosehill Park to attend a medicine circle and I was unable to find the group. It was a sweltering day, 33 C, which I am hardly used to. Since the park is immense with little shade, I chose to stay and do my own drumming. It was a very empowering experience. I captured a small part of my journey there to share with you.

I also picked some sage for a bundle, leaving the roots so it will regrow. Being in nature has responsibilities. Always leave it the way you found it or better. As custodians of the earth we must set an example and keep all the natural beauty around us so we may all enjoy it. After all it is our home.

 I am  on Twitter a lot.  Sometimes Instagram & Facebook. I would love to connect with you on the other social platforms. Please show some love if you enjoyed this post & leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!

Movement Naturally Occurs

Movement Naturally Occurs

movement-naturally-occurs
Movement of the stream naturally occurs  flowing, continually clearing and purifying debris from itself, cleansing while in motion. The flow goes on, polishing rocks and filtering out unnecessary objects. The flow and movement of nature does not stop. Regardless of external conditions the natural order of things continue. It seems only humans want to disrupt that natural balance.

If I liken my life to a stream I can see how things are naturally stripped away, with or without my help. But when I hold on, the waters can become stagnant and microscopic life forms begin to die because the environment can no longer support life. It becomes more of a battle. When things do not seem in flow, then it is we, ourselves resisting. I love the expression “let go or be dragged”. We open to the flow to win over resistance, a true feat in itself.

So when I think life is not supporting me, really I am not supporting life. Creating an environment which is supportive to myself has been my focus for some time. However, the outside influences nearby are not good for me. A lesson in containment and a reminder of who I would be without awareness is what I have discerned. I do not engage with this energy, rather I choose to rise above & transmute it to something positive.

To clear what is no longer necessary I feel I need to facilitate  movement.  The way I do that is to ready myself. Staying in the flow is really a state of being, one of awareness and consciousness. Staying in this state when challenged by outside forces requires a great deal of inner strength. My progress will blend with the natural order of things because movement naturally occurs. I will be open to it, open to receive by surrendering to the process.

red-winged-blackbird

While scoping out locations for plein air painting, I was fortunate to come upon a whole flock of red-winged blackbirds in Pierce Estate Park the other day. They were singing & nesting in the marsh. I sat for a long while. The soft stuffing from last year’s cattails must give their nests cushioning I imagined, judging by their condition. How perfect nature is.

Expanding my horizons

I took a first time stroll to Beaver Dam Flats. The park had sustained much flood damage, uprooted trees and debris littered the edges of the pathway. Still it was pristine in all its fresh greenery.
beaver-dam-flats

It is a river forest. As I meandered through the pathways I saw a man approaching in my direction. Out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed when the moment when the light went on for him and he chose to come directly to me. He had no idea I noticed his premeditation to follow me. I had just seen a sign which said, “DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE”. I was on my guard but ready.

He seemed concerned about the people having a bonfire close to the river’s edge. I had seen them. “Are fires allowed?” I asked, he struggled for an answer, despite being a self-appointed supervisor of the area. He then mumbled it had rained a bit everyday.

What the artist sees

Though he was following me, I delayed. When I stopped then he would slow down. Going on about my business, I stopped on the bridge to take a picture of the slough. His eyes searching the area he said, “What are you seeing in there?”

I said, “Well I am an artist and I take a lot of pictures.” It occurred to me he was not seeing the reflections, colors and shadows and I was not about to explain it. I had come here for solace so I sustained my boundary by holding a strong physical presence. He seemed annoyed with not being able to solve the mystery and unable to penetrate my invisible armor, he hurried up the hill, vanishing from sight.

It is not the first time I have taken pictures when people around me look around to see what was so interesting. When they do not have the awareness, they quickly lose interest I have noticed more than once. I was too much of a geek for him I suppose.

Here is my art if you would like to take a look. I will be creating a new collection soon, so stay tuned and subscribe for notification of new developments. My emails are not frequent, usually 4 per year. I also have a couple of live music shows coming up which you will find here. Hope to see you there!

Early May Days

  Early May Days duck competition

 

Early May days are splendid for speculation and regrouping. The returning sun strains our eyes and shines light on anything which neglected over the darker months. When in contemplation I go to the river, like yesterday and today.

Lots of ducks and geese were actively creating their summer life. No babies yet but mating season is well underway. I was lucky to catch this guy in mid-air!  

Still a lot of mud yet, and ice on the banks. The lagoon restoration does not seem complete but the restaurant is open.  The reflections have always been wonderful in the lagoon at Bowness Park, depending on what time of day you go. Everything seems different post flood.

This is an interesting shot I took of a Canada goose, a portrait.  My sense was this guy was looking for his mate & going from being concerned to becoming irate causing a huge ruckus. I hope he found her.may-canada-goose-portrait

My plan is getting outside more this summer. Some walking, biking and plein air painting will be a grand start. Oh and of course outdoor yoga in the park which begins this Sunday! Fingers crossed the sunshine lasts. A herb garden is on my wish list.

I am reviving my journal writing.  Journaling is a tool I use to help me to shift my perceptions,  to break  old patterns, which in turn makes room to create something new. See how the water rolls off a goose’s belly. It doesn’t get under the skin. This is a lesson we humans can learn. My reminder this week to not take things personally. What is the message for you these days?

may-water-off-a-goose-belly

 

What’s on Deck; May & Beyond

On Sunday, June 4th, you can hear my music at the Leighton Centre for their Clothesline Festival and Art Sale! I will be performing from 2-4 pm. It is beautiful out there, so come out for a Sunday drive and enjoy some fine art & music. I am working on a couple of things at the moment. I will share as soon as I can. In the meantime have fun. Drop a comment to say hi. I would love to hear from you.

may-lagoon-shadows
 
WordCamp Calgary 2017 OrganizerOh and I am attending WORDCAMP this year. If you are a WordPress geek, or wanna be, you can come too! If you want a WordPress website, I can build one for you. See the web services I offer here.

Almost Spring

Almost Spring

sunset-just-before-spring

March 3 and it was almost spring when you left us. You spent your last moments until the vet arrived, rolling in the grass as the sun light danced across your fur. I know now you could not see it, only feel the warmth on your body and the ground beneath you. The day was a fortunate unseasonably warm day for your departure.

The weather provided the perfect send off for you who loved the outdoors more than anything else. Later that day, and in your honor, I went to a country road and watched the sunset letting the fading rays soothe my freshly broken heart.

Through you I learned black cats are very unique. Underfoot many times, you were always the one who greeted me at the door. A kind-hearted friendly cat, one who was obsessively curious, busy and always with me. You would nudge me, then springboard off my legs to let me know what you wanted. It was the very same move you had used in the shelter when you chose me.

I thought we might have another summer together but it was not in the cards. The birds are safe now.   Despite curbing your hunting, to my dismay you would occasionally capture an unsuspecting bird in the yard. Part of me does not believe you are gone. I feel you brush past my legs just like when you were always half of a step away.

Studio Muse

bijou-studio-muse

Bijou, my studio muse, who liked to drink the water from the paint well when I was not mindful enough to cover it. Such a precious gift in my life I will never forget.

Planting yourself on the piano keys while I was playing, becoming indignant when I reached the higher notes and came a little too close to your tail.

One of your favorite spots was in my guitar case, and I would leave it open for you, despite you having used the exterior as a scratching post at times. Marks from your needle sharp claws are one reminder of you.

bijou-guitar-case

Your personality was deep and rich, body so tiny and agile, with a huge presence and strong will. With eyes so expressive like deep pools of emotion, I always knew what you were saying to me. You never complained. Because you had always been so healthy, when you took ill I was off-balance. You were a trooper until the end. Now there is a large space to fill that you once occupied. I do not imagine ever attaining such a feat.

Life after you left

cat-autumn garden Your housemate Autumn is missing you too. She did not know how lucky she was until you were gone. She is gorgeous, like you were, yet knows it all too well. Her function is more that of a figurine.

Since you have been gone, she has moments of shallow breathing and I have seen her in the coveted spot by the window, not sitting proud and triumphant like before, but instead slightly slumped over, eyes blinking and facing downwards.

Your heart was generous, letting her have her own way most of the time. I imagine she has some regrets about bullying you. She has been sleeping mostly and only eats about half of what she used to. In time her appetite will improve or maybe it will not.

sisters-looking-out The truth is we can never feel the same again. I look for ways to fill the space within and nothing works.

Hushed quiet resides here now and I have more time to do my work without you climbing all over the back of my chair, the computer and desk. You are not here stepping on the off button of the computer, nor are you here to scan and print documents.

But I am thankful for the 15 years we had together. Nothing stays the same forever and now a new chapter begins with you always in my heart. You ran hard and fast while you could, for as long as you could. Now you are free.  Goodnight sweet love.
cat-eye-peacock-feather

An Artful Life

Some artists say they make art because they have to. Why do I make art? I prefer to think of my art as that which I want to do which keeps my inner passion alive. Transferring the essence to others is part of the process. It is imperative that art be seen and shared. Ultimately it is about connection & communication.

To know I have touched others not just with my art but personally is a bonus. Art making is one thing that gets my endorphins flowing. The natural highs are found in discovering nature and translating the experience to my art.

My chosen way of transmitting my emotions and insights is more subtly through my visual art and music. Sometimes there are no words.

hibiscus

This painting I did for someone (shown left), a commission, a beautiful hibiscus painting, very feminine yet with intense deep colours.

The patron later told me-she felt a tingling in her leg when she looked at it. She had some sort of problem with her leg which the painting appeared to solve. [insert disclaimer]

The energetics of the painting were emitting healing. For somethings we do not have a scientific explanation. Have you ever stood in a gallery and been brought to tears by a painting? When I am doing a commissioned piece, I do tune into the person, at the very least on a subconscious level. I did not know about her leg problem until she told me afterwards.

A previous article I wrote sometime ago, art and healing, long before my healing abilities became as developed and focused as they are now. To add to what I had written I have discovered the recipient and the healer both derive benefits of the energy flow.   The world needs more art and more healing.

I have found keeping track of the art which I make has become a way to document my life. Each piece evokes memories of the time of its creation. My style has changed with time. I have developed this craft for several years. As an introvert it is most satisfying to spend time alone in creation mode with my art.  Art is the result of my inner workings I bring out to share with the world. I heal myself and others through my art making. It completes me in a way that no other thing can.

The joy generated from creating keeps my vibe up and allows me to lift myself up from even the bluest of funks. When I am creating, the flow starts to happen. I do not have time to think about anything else. Things start coming my way when I am in the zone.

divine-masculine-feminine

To close, this is one of my personal healing paintings titled “Transformation”. Semi precious gems and healing crystals are found embedded within as well as various key symbols. To photograph this is near impossible, but you get the idea. Stones included in this piece are rutilated quartz, crystal quartz, kyanite, amethyst, citrine, emerald, lapis lazuli, rhodonite, carnelian, peridot, howlite and black obsidian.  It symbolizes   radical change; mind. body & soul encompassing unity and balance with a root to crown chakra alignment as well as the unification of masculine and feminine energies. Tell me, do you see one face or two in this?

January 2017 Daily Paintings

January Daily Paintings

UPDATE
I am doing the daily paintings. The goal was to paint 5 days a week, for one month. I didn’t make it through January.  I will do them when I can. I have obtained a mural project so I have had to put the daily paintings on hold. These paintings are great collector items making make wonderful gifts. If you do not see a sold sign, then the painting is still available. You are sure to find one you like! These are available in my Small Works Gallery now that the promotion is over.


painting 6
This painting is of the Three Sisters in Canmore, Alberta. One of the many faces of this famous mountain formation.


daily painting Bowness Lagoon
The Bowness Lagoon, before the flood. I think these canoes are still available to rent for a paddle around the lagoon since the overhaul of the park.


kananaskis
I saw this view of Kananaskis on one of my drives out to the mountains. The immense beauty is challenging to record in a tiny painting.


daily painting
The trees at Edworthy Park have always been striking to me. They hold such a large presence in their neat rows.


daily painting 2
I love the aspens in early summer with their yellowish green leaves. Fresh, like saplings, filling me with renewed spirit.


daily painting
Elbow River Falls is a short drive from the city. The unique rock formations with waterfalls and trees make it an outdoor paradise.


Possibilities & Plans; A New Year

Possibilities & Plans; A New Year

Fresh snow has blanketed the transition into 2017 as we begin a new cycle of possibilities.  Trees laden with cotton-balls of snow adorn the thick lined branches. The hares have broken the snow, weaving around the trees leaving their tracks. The New Year came peacefully as I played guitar & drank tea.

I am happy to leave behind the things that are no longer serving me.  Much clearing has taken place and I am simplifying my life to focus on what really matters. I have done another layer of purging to create some space around me for expansion and creativity.

The new possibilities are exciting. This year the emphasis will be on my visual art, music and writing.

Visual Art

In January, watch for a painting a day, five days a week, starting today, Monday January 2, 2017. Check later today when I will post a link here.  All paintings will be postcard size and available for sale. I will let you know a secret. My little paintings go very quickly. I will also be posting them on my Facebook Page if you would like to connect with me there. They often contain as much effort as a large piece and I will be selling them for a reasonable price.

I have not taken many photographs this year, for the first time in a long time. I would like to take a road trip. Some new territory to explore will surely inspire more pictures this year.

Music

Writing an album of music is one plan I intend to complete. The ideas have been in gestation for a long time. The music and melodies come easier than the words for me. It was not always that way. I intend to play more live music gigs. If you would like to host a house concert, let me know. It is easy to do and I will help you on how to set it up. I am still teaching piano and guitar and have a few select openings for new students. Have a look here.

I took a Berklee Jazz Improvisation course on piano and here is one of my assignments; a short improvisation. My jazz improv scale choices for 500 Miles High by Chick Corea.

Writing

I am preparing to journal again this year. I have journalled for many years, but I have had a long sabbatical. Exercises for the soul are the mainstay of keeping a journal. Digging deep, becoming aware of all my inner workings to stay conscious of where I am on the journey. I have the three novels (or novellas) to finish, a book of short stories that I will edit. 

Healing

My healing journey is now showing some results.  I am feeling better than I have felt in a long time. Yoga, meditation & proper diet have been instrumental to my well-being. As well the inner work I have committed myself to for a very long time is now producing fruit.  Results do not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process to uncover one’s aspiration and authentic self, however well worth the effort.

A quote from The Tao of Healing which resonates for me:

To penetrate the hardest armor
Use the softest touch.
Yielding melts resistance
Density is filled by light
Good work is accomplished without effort.
In silence the teachings are heard;
In stillness the world is transformed.

~Jampolsky, M.D.

May we all experience health, wealth and joy in 2017! We have set out intentions. Now it is time to dig in and make it happen. This year will be a year of action. Please leave a comment and share what possibilities you see for yourself in this new year. I would love to hear from you.

New Hockey Mural!

New Hockey Mural!

I just finished this hockey mural today for a new small business  Legend Hockey & Sports in Calgary. This piece is about 6 feet by 8 feet. I wonder if any of the Calgary Flames fans can guess just which play this is?

This was an excellent study in values, being black, white and gray which also gives it a retro look, which was the idea. I have shown WIP paintings before where I began with the Grisaille technique where one paints in gray monochrome. I find this really brings out the dimensional effect of the forms. The black and white also gives a retro look. Transferring the design and painting the mural took five days to complete, not counting the preliminary design work and shopping for supplies.

You can see other murals I have done here:  Murals & Decorative Art

hockey mural full

hockey mural action

hockey mural closeup action

hockey mural goalie

Artistic Life Design

white peony

Artistic Life Design

I am creating a new artistic life design as a creative entrepreneur.  The long days of summer are on us now and yet I have a propensity for sleeping in the afternoon. My best work seems to shape itself around nocturnal melodies. Artistic life design sometimes requires one to make sacrifices. But there are also payoffs. Ingenuity is a must to organize oneself in the most comfortable efficient way.

Flexibility is a wonderful thing although ‘living the dream’ sometimes gives me the same feeling as skipping school. The truth is none of us need permission to run our own show. For me it is the best way I can serve. I know people are out there who need my skills. We need to live our passion. Managing myself is like leading more than one person, due to my love of so many things.

About Grief

For those who know me, it is no secret I have been in transition for a very long while. Part of it is the stage of life I am in and the rest has been partly triggered by grief.  Grief can have a larger effect on us than we first realize. The whole process has devastated me, influencing my personal relationships and my finances.

Unknowingly, when my brother died several years ago it set something off deep within me. A downward slide occurred and I found myself being stuck in the quicksand far deeper than I would have ever imagined. Then, a few short years later my father was also gone and it has not been that long. He knew me well as fathers know their daughters and pegged me as an artist by the time I was 16 years old.

Of course I see all these experiences as a necessary part of living. Everyone has had their sorrows and we grow from them. I will emerge victorious as my tears turn to sweet memories.

Finding My Way

It has been five years to the day since I was laid off from my regular job. Steady work has been a pipe dream since I never found another, so my income fluctuates from month to month. My focus is on building up my creative businesses.

I am grateful for those who have stood by me and have helped in so many ways. Part of the message here is I must do what I am here for. I think some amazing songs will come out of this. From chaos comes creativity. I want to share my talents with the world, for that is my purpose.

All my life, I have been an overachiever, accomplishing what I had set out to do and reaping the financial rewards. That is not to say there have not been hard times, however everything I have needed has come to me, one way or another. I am ready to move beyond that and now ask for more. A simple financial miracle would be most welcome.

Design

I have found mostly piece work, small contracts and somehow it buys me another day, week or month on this planet. A larger project would really help to stabilize things for me. I have put in bids on some murals. The right project has not appeared yet.

Besides hairdressing, freelance writing, teaching and some musical gigs, I also restored artwork on a vintage sign (10 ft X 12 ft)for a hipster café that will reopen soon. I will share once it is has officially been announced. I would love to do a mural this summer. Have a look at my murals here. I am also available for live music performances, including house concerts.

I also did some architectural drawings for a builder. I had not done any technical drawing for some time, and there are many difficult angles on these. They are hand-drawn, 15 X 20 on illustration board. Most of what is here is what the renovations will look like when complete.

artistic life design
Front view, sandstone siding added, tree relocated, driveway expanded, retaining wall added & doorway moved.
artistic life design
Side view, decorative concrete patio, waterfall/fireplace feature, another retaining wall added.
artistic life design
Side of house, glass canopy & glass room added & decorative concrete retaining wall.
artistic life design
Back view, patio extended in concrete connecting to lower level & stairs added.

 

Addendum

I often think of Elton John’s song, “Where To Now St. Peter?” in times of transition. It has always touched me in a mysterious way, sticking out,  despite being one of his more obscure creations. Indeed, if it is about a soldier, we are all soldiers in this life.

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