Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Studio space

Well I've taken a big step today.  I signed up to rent a studio space in a communal arrangement with eight other artists.  It was a spur of the moment thing but I think a door opened for me today. I had been talking to Lynda, a fellow artist in my abstract painting group about possibly renting a studio where she paints. She's part of this cooperative, which is actually less than five minutes walking distance from our home.

Today she emailed me to say that there was a studio available and it was mine if I wanted. It's very reasonable and it will be so exciting to have a larger dedicated space and to be working with other artists.  Only yesterday I was thinking of slowing down with the painting because I've been spending so much time and energy getting ready for these shows. But today things aligned with this studio and this afternoon I was sitting the gallery at our group art show and another of my paintings sold. This is the one that sold.  It's a favourite of mine and it's going to a woman in my book club so I'll even get to see it from time to time.

This is a sketchy photo of the painting taken with my cell phone--but you can get an idea of it.

I guess the universe is confirming that I'm on a good path. I'll post photos of the building, 1580 Cook Street and the studio space soon.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Just amazing!

For almost five years I've had a problem with my left hip.  It started when we were in Mexico in January 2010. At that time my hip was so painful that I could  barely walk and I thought I had serious arthritis. When I got back home an x-ray showed nothing so I went to a physiotherapist who gave me exercises that helped me get back walking. Since then whenever I get pain I've gone into exercise mode to alleviate the discomfort.  Until yesterday that is when I visited a lovely man who calls himself an osteopath.  I've heard of these practitioners before but I still don't exactly know what it is they do. But what I do know is that this guy by the name of Cameron Moffat has fixed my hip.

This is the second time I've been to see him. The first time we spoke about my shoulder pain and my abdominal discomfort. He does very subtle adjustments (much gentler than any chiropractic I've ever experienced). He did some work on my clavicle which helped the shoulder pain and spoke to me about some diet issues, including the problem with drinking coffee and milk.  Since then I've eliminated coffee from my diet and have much better sleep and much more calmness in my day.

But yesterday, he cured my hip. It turns out that the problem is not the hip at all but the sacrum, which was locked up on the right side.  After some simple movements to release it I find myself today being able to take long strides with my right leg.  I didn't even realize that I had a shortened stride. But it's evident today that something is completely freed up and I can walk again the way I did when I was much younger.  It's just amazing.

If you're interested, his name is Cameron Moffat and he's been a huge help to me.  The really amazing thing is that after yesterday's appointment he said, "I don't think I'll need to see you again, as this should be a permanent fix."  I have my fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Three art shows in three months

My Wednesday art group had the opportunity to rent an empty storefront for the last three months of the year. There are eleven of us and we're sharing the cost of the rent so we can have a pop-up gallery. Each month we put up another show with entirely new work.  It's been an eye opener for me to see how much work goes into such an effort. It's not just about doing the painting, but there's the work of deciding which to submit, how to frame it, how to hang it, scheduling of the sitting of the gallery, organizing the openings, getting the word out by email and posters...and so on and so on.

Here's the poster for the October show and here's what it looked like. Our teacher/mentor Bill Porteous curates the show and his philosophy is to present the work as in a real gallery with lots of white space so people can really view the art.  It's a lovely gallery space with good lighting and the art shows really well. 

These, by the way, are paintings of some of the other artists in the group. All are abstract painters.

For the October show I submitted eight paintings and three were selected. The others were kept in the back room in case visitors were interested in seeing more of the work.  These two were selected. The one on the left is 24 x 36" and the little on on the right is 12"x12".

But it was this one, actually a pair from the back room that sold.  

Here's one of the paintings I entered into the November show. It's actually three canvases that I framed as a triptych. 

Our November opening was a couple of nights ago and the work was well received.  Now, it's the middle of the month and I'm working on something for the December show.  Again I'm working on multiple canvases, this time they're 2 feet by 2 feet so when put together it's pretty big. Actually it's the biggest work I've done to date. You can get an idea of the size from this photo. There isn't a spot in my house that I can put them against a wall to view so they're spread across the corner of the living room. I think the palette in this one may have been influenced by my time in Sedona.

It's feeling quite pressured actually having three shows in three months.  I'll be glad when it's all over.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Montezuma Castle and the Sinagua peoples

We're back home in Victoria now, my sister and I, but I want to tell you about the beautiful ruins we saw the last day we were in the Arizona high desert area. This is Montezuma Castle, a five-story 20-room dwelling recessed into a cliff 100 feet above the Verde River valley.

The dwelling is well preserved because of it's inaccessibility; others nearby are nothing but rubble now. Early American settlers named it after an Aztec King but it has nothing to do with Montezuma. The dwellings were occupied by people of the Northern Sinagua culture and were built between 1100 and 1300. It may be as much as a thousand years old!

As we wandered down the path along the river we heard the haunting notes of a wooden flute. The music and the sun through the Sycamore trees created a sense of being in another time.

A short drive away is a surprise in the desert called Montezuma Well. This is a limestone sink formed eons ago and still fed by a continuously flowing spring. The spots on the blue water are migrating ducks.

The Sinagua people lived nearby and irrigated their crops with its waters. Apparently some 100 plus people lived around this well between 1125 and 1400.

Now all that's left are some stone ruins and birds and other small creatures.

Both these places exude a sacred, otherworldly feeling--far removed from our current way of living.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The vortex at Bell Rock

While in Sedona we kept hearing about vortexes or maybe it's vortices...?  I'm not entirely sure what they are but there are several spots around Sedona that have this vortex energy.

So what is a vortex? Well you see them in every day life as a whirlpool in the water or the bathtub where the water spins. A vortex is created from the spiral motion of air or liquid around a centre. A dust devil is also a vortex.

The vortexes in Sedona are believed to be spiritual locations where the energy facilitates prayer, meditation or healing. Vortex sites are supposed to have energy flowing on multiple dimensions. There may even be a scientific explanation involving neutrinos and atomic energy.

Anyway, Bell Rock is one of the most notable red rock formations just south of Sedona and is supposedly a site of of a major vortex. There's a walking trail around and up on the rock itself and Jan and I hiked part of it on Thursday.  Here are some images from our walk in this beautiful spot.

We didn't experience anything unusual, although I managed to get some nice photos with sun flares that give a bit of an other-worldly feeling. Here and there as we walked we found piles of stones built on the ground as, as here, on fallen trees.

It may have been the vortex energy that made me lie down on my back in the red dust to capture a photo of an aloe with a rock formation in the background... but I doubt it. More likely it's just my crazy obsession with getting the right angle.

One thing we did notice was that anything white or silver showed up as turquoise while we were on the walk. I think that may be a factor of the rich red earth and its tendency to produce the opposite colour on the spectrum as an afterimage. The opposite on the colour wheel in this case would be turquoise.

In any case, we had a wonderful morning walk in the warm sun and the cool air and it is clearly a very special and wonderful spot, vortex or no vortex.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Gold King Mine ghost town, Jerome AZ

We visited Jerome, Arizona today. It bills itself as a ghost town but in fact it's not. Most of the buildings there are occupied by tourist businesses and people trying to make a living in the remaining structures from this copper mining town built on a hill around the 1890s.

They do talk up the ghostliness of the place though. Just about all the buildings are said to be haunted, including the Haunted Hamburger restaurant where we had a nice lunch. We read about this history and it was a ghost town in the in the 1960s but has since has a revitalization.

The funny thing is that the buildings looked very much like those in Victoria's Old Town, probably built around the same time. So it wasn't all that thrilling to visit.

 But on the north end of the road at the top of the town was a hand made sign saying OLD MINE AND GHOST TOWN. Sure enough there was a paved road winding further up the hill, that then turned to gravel and then to dirt.

On the way we passed dozens of ancient vehicles, trucks and buses mainly, and finally came to a parking spot with a couple of dilapidated buildings.  One had this figure in front and a sign on the door.

Once through the door we found ourselves in a jumble of old buildings, climbing up the hill we saw log houses, delaying wood frame shacks and every kind of machinery imaginable. Some of it was labeled but most of it was just piled around the site.

This was part of an old sawmill with the engine puffing away and the caretaker and character who owns it ready to talk.

We didn't get his name but he was full of information about his lifetime work here. He's been collecting stuff and bringing it here for decades now, so it's really more of a personal collection.

But there was an actual mine here, discovered when the Haynes Copper Company sunk a shaft in an outlying area of Jerome looking for copper--but found gold. It was mined for a while but then petered out and all the residents left. Now this spot is an amazing collection of buildings and stuff.

This is the interior of a shack with a sign advertising painless dentistry.

And this is the interior of a one-room school house that was brought from Flagstaff.

Of course I went a little crazy with my camera. Here is a tiny portion of the collection.

This is the interior of the assay office. It makes we want to get in there and tidy it up!

 And this reputedly the outside of the jail.

A lot of what is there is more recent. The old fellow seems to collect just about everything, even up to the 1960s.

As usual, I was entranced by the colours and shapes of the old vehicles.  Here's a sampling of what caught my eye.