And Warms Our Skin Like Soft Exhalations

Lay Down Your Burdens
36″ x 28″
Mixed Media on Canvas

This is one of a group of paintings that flashed across my inner eye and I quickly sketched it out. The painting took me 9 months of labour to complete, growing at its own pace. I couldn’t have rushed it if I tried, and sometimes I did try. As it came closer and closer to completion I realized how much of my life was hidden in this piece like small bits of secret code, almost indecipherable. I look at it with a sense of satisfaction at being finished, and a sense of longing for the work to always continue.

There is a simplicity and a complexity to this piece. Some will see the hand as comforting, others will see it as threatening. What does it mean? I honestly don’t know. All I did was transcribe the already formed image onto canvas. Sometimes I feel like the Raven, defeated, hungry, hurt and weary. I just need to rest. And sometimes I feel like the Woman. Is my heart open, or has it been ripped out? Am I an angel, a mother, or a destroyer?

In the end it doesn’t matter. And that’s the way it works for life, too. All that matters is that there is a connection and a truth.

In the end, what else can we ask for?


Summer Begins…now!


It’s hot today.

So I’m outside. Answering backed up emails (story of my life), drinking a coffee and getting a little sunburned. The show went really well and I was so happy to see all the people who came out. My only regret is that I don’t always have time to talk to everyone that I would like. If all we had a chance to do was say a quick hello, well, at least we had that.


For those of you who couldn’t make it, the show continues until the 27th of May. If you’re in Edmonton, use it as an excuse to get outside. It’s 28C today and will be 31C tomorrow! Sooo good.

My Birthday was over the weekend and I went golfing (badly) with my soon to be Brothers In Law and we had family over for a really nice get together. It also gave me an opportunity to slow down and enjoy my time with loved ones and Loved One. Life just keepings rolling along, tickety tick in that all too real illusion of time. As I sit here in the sun watching the summer dresses float by I am reminded just how GOOD life is. An afternoon in the sun. Breathing. Old couples strolling along, young couples laughing nervously, bored couples looking at everything but each other…all faces of each other, of you, of me…dramas, played out as if we actually care about them, or as if they’re actually important.

I laugh in delight at Us. We human, thinking beings sure know how to expect things, and become disappointed if what unfolds doesn’t meet our expectations – which is almost always. The greatest moment in my life occurred when I realized that to stop getting nuts all I had to do was stop expecting. I just had to be. Be, observe, and refrain from reacting. I’m not perfect at it, but even a 10% improvement has made an enormous difference.

As you can see, spending an afternoon in the sun with me would have you frantically looking for your Blackberry or iPod just so you could escape and actually enjoy yourself!


Thoughts in the sun. Maybe I’m getting heat stroke.

Here are two paintings from the show, and the thoughts that went along with them:

Trade Offs
Mixed Media on Canvas
9″ x 12″

Without the Hudson’s Bay Company there wouldn’t be this show, Half Breed Culture. Without opening up trade routes and exploiting the land, without the Voyageurs, the Metis, immigration and so on, none of us would be here. While we sometimes revile our past because of injustices done the fact remains that without all those events our world would be unrecognizable. Some say for the worse, others for the best. In the end, it’s a trade off. Because of my personal genetic background, I can’t be angry at anyone. I can only accept the past. And since I can’t change it, what else can I do? What can any of us do but accept that along with the benefits came atrocity? All we can do is decide what to do now. Not we will do in the future, but right now in this living moment. What trade offs do we make? Are we aware of them?

This piece can be seen in many ways. On one level, it is my personal story, the items in it representing different concepts and events, but it can also be a discussion about exploitation of cultures, small pox, and ongoing social issues. Or it can be just a funny old crow who loves shiny beads and is sitting there with his beak full, satisfied.

All these possible meanings, all right on the money. And on it goes. This piece is exactly why I am so passionate about creating art: the conversation you have with the work all depends on what you bring to the table, and the conversations we have with each other open the doors to new ideas, new ways of thinking that had never been there before. We trade off one another and by doing so weave our thoughts, our hearts, together.

A Good Trade
Mixed Media on Paper
14″ x 11″

Somewhat of a companion piece to Trade Offs, this work continues the visual exploration of the concepts I was exploring. Here our hero sits wrapped in his blanket, warm and content, and maybe just a little bit proud! He earned this fine blanket. Perhaps he gave his furs for it, getting back an interesting, soft, beautiful covering. Maybe he has more and will gift them to those in need. Lightweight, portable, weather resistant. It’s a good trade.


I actually finished a new painting…

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been a rough little while. But the fact that I was able to finish a painting tells me that the arrows are beginning to point in the right direction again. Which is a huge relief. I have a couple deadlines that have passed and I’ve had nothing to show for it. Trust me, that’s bad. So, with a fresh breath of air, and the ability to smile really big again, I give you the beginning of my own fresh start:

A New Season

The snows are retreating, the icy wind blows a last time across the land, hair is whipped by the last gasp of winter’s chill. The flowers begin to bloom and the long night has been replaced by the eternal day. Mother Earth watches it unfold in serenity and patience, knowing the flow of time is like a river that carves deep into our souls, digging deep channels of habit and forgetfulness if we are not aware of it. But the Old Crow, the Irascible Raven, that black bird who takes many forms, reminds us. He watches with an eye that he hopes seems disinterested but I see right through him. He watches me, you, all of us. Always curious, always wondering, what will these bright shiny things do next? As soon as we fall asleep he is there, beating wings of wind and fury.

“Wake Up!”

“Wake Up!” he cries, throat broken and urgent.

And we do, realizing that as we slept we lost something in the river. For a while we are dazed by our sleep, but when the fog clears we realize that we were dreaming in the wrong place. To dream while aware, that’s the true power. Old Bird settles back down to watch again with his fierce eye. And Mother Earth watches softly.


The Times, They Are A-Changin’

It occurs to me that I haven’t updated the music I’m digging for years, now. Most of the artists are still on the list (Sarah Harmer – Escarpment Blues), but there’s so many amazing things out there that I’ve heard and should slot in.

More importantly, if you have any recommendations, I’ll take them. Painting for hours at a time can eat up a lot of music surprisingly quickly.