Monday, March 14, 2011

Sunday drawer

Drawing is a great distraction – comfort food in a way with breaks for tea and an apple. My friend’s son who teaches in the south of Japan is ok – he and his wife have tickets to fly over there this week 
and we received an email this morning  from our friend Miho who lives in Tokyo - with her usual subtle humor – “This morning, a lot of the trains around the city stopped and there was a big chaos around the stations (there were hundreds of people waiting for the train to come politely in line (after all, we are Japanese!)”  
more from her: “I think things are going to be a bit more difficult now with lack of electricity and supply. Also, the nuclear power plant is in a very unstable condition (and another one exploded just now!), so we're all stuck to the news all day long.”

 Strathmore chalk pastel 24"x18"

  Strathmore chalk pastel 24"x18"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Questions of scale

As I had been obsessed with dwelling in ‘a room of my own’ in a safe and sleepy - sometimes absurdly happy, boring bubble,  Japan was dealing with the largest earthquake in its history and the fifth largest in the last one hundred years of the world - plus an explosion from a damaged nuclear plant. I heard that a wall of sea water, perhaps 10 metres high,  was traveling at 600 km an hour. So little time to think, to escape,  no time really, to execute one’s getaway.
Dealing with grief on a small personal scale -  dealing with grief on a gargantuan scale almost beyond the limits of  imagination - it's overwhelming really, incomprehensible  – we must help one another. 

in Dundas, rooms in an old 150 year old house 
12"x12" oil on canvas board

A Room of One's Own

This week I gave myself a long overdue history lesson. I learned that a secular left wing German socialist, Clara Zetkin – nee Eisler, staged the very first  International Women’s  Day one hundred years ago,  March 19, 1911 –  It was her brain child.
Until I’d read Stephanie Nolen’s excellent piece earlier this week in the Globe and Mail, I was oblivious to that. Nolen’s excellent article also provided a real tonic to understanding the status of women from a global perspective - highly recommended

Zetkin also worked and became close friends with another outstanding leader in the struggle for  justice and equality for women and workers rights – Rosa Luxemburg who was assassinated in 1919. Bertolt Brecht wrote Luxemburg’s epitaph and in 1928 Kurt Weill set it to music as the Berlin Requiem. Not surprisingly, both women deplored and fought against racism. 

In my tangential reading spree I was also shocked to learn, that Leslie Stephen refused to pay for the education of his daughter, Virginia Woolf. While his sons went off to school, Virginia stayed home!  Years later in 1929, she published an impassioned plea for the artistic freedom and the necessity of economic independence for women in her book long essay: A Room of One’s Own.

9"x12" oil study on canvas paper

Last Saturday, while attending a gathering of women artists in Ayr at Ayr Space Gallery -IWC -  I met a fascinating artist  Grace Luke  from Nova Scotia, who proudly admits to being 89. As a former music teacher to blind children, she’d titled her painting,  Hope Through Music. Of course music reaches across and can be eloquent where words fail.  We both agreed that in all cultures where fundamentalist religious beliefs prevail, it is incredibly difficult for women to gain equality!

Friday, March 4, 2011

She's on her way to Ayr!

This weekend a significant grouping of women artists, myself included, will arrive at Aryspace gallery in Ayr to begin celebrating  International Women's Day. This will be a day devoted entirely to  schmoozing and  getting to know one another. Putting names to faces - Kim Rempel, Tammy Hext, Nicki Ault, Susan Davis, Jessica Roth to name just a few - my dear friend Barbara Muir who will be doing her amazing skype routine with some of those unable to attend. 
And among those,  also gathered there for  International Women Celebrate, will  be this portrait bust I did years ago  of a beautiful woman, Catherine.

portrait bust ciment fondu life size NFS
Although it is primarily a fund raising event for Haitian relief it is also a splendid opportunity to meet with old and new friends and simply hang out in a beautiful gallery in a beautiul southern ontario setting. The work of artists from as far afield as South Africa and India will be represented in this huge event of over one hundred women artists from across North America and Europe –  a brilliant and ambitious undertaking, conceived of by gallery director, Jill Yuzwa. 
My husband in the past has cycled to Ayr on country roads but this week end we plan on using the car because transporting a large sculpture in a bicycle pannier seems more than a little excessive, don't you think?

 portrait bust Catherine - detail