“Seascape”

007Just over fourteen years ago I met a kindred spirit, my dear friend Shannon. We met while working for a family services organization. Little did we know at the time, we would become very close friends sharing an intense common passion. Beside our friendship and mutual respect for each other, we discovered that we shared a love for writing.

Both Shannon and I resigned from our jobs on the same day in 2001, celebrating our final day of work together a few weeks later. Very shortly afterward she began writing her first novel, which ended up being a twelve year process, in between helping her husband with his business, having another child, and parenting responsibilities.  During this same time frame, I  ventured to the city to take the occasional writing workshop, dabbling with poetry and short stories.

Serendipity! Synchronicity! Within a few days of Shannon publishing her first book this Spring, the one she began so many years earlier, I discovered that for the first time ever I would have poems/ paintings exhibited, as well as a short creative non-fiction piece published in an anthology. I don’t think you could find two friends more ecstatic for each other. We never imagined we would celebrate being published authors together!

In celebration of Shannon’s novel “Seascape”. I painted two abstract paintings for her – “Seascape” (above) and “Seascape II”.  One was a door prize at her book launch. I call it the “Pay It Forward Painting” because it was won by another friend of Shannon’s who worked diligently to prepare the launch party. The second painting is in Shannon’s office / writing room.

A few weeks back I mentioned that I would let you in on a secret about my paintings. The secret is: I paint them using my hands, not a brush!

If you would like to read more about Shannon Raelynn and her novel “Seascape”, a contemporary fiction novel visit: http://www.shannonraelynn.com

Shannon is now hard at work on her second novel….and no, this one will not take twelve years to write she assures us. I am working on gathering a bunch of poems I have written over the last few years to edit, and will continue to “fingerpaint”.  We will continue to celebrate together.014

No delusions of grandeur!

delusions of grandeur – a delusion (a false belief) that you are much greater and more powerful and influential than you really are

Although I am incredibly honored and excited to have some of my paintings and poems chosen for the InSight2 International Exhibition & Symposium, I do not suffer from any delusions of grandeur. In fact, I want people who go see my abstracts and read the poems that comprise my “Blue-Green Elixir” exhibit to think they can do it too. That was the whole point of my submission, that any artistic pursuit could have healing benefits for anyone suffering whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. I will be ecstatic if people see my art and decide “Hey, this looks pretty easy; if she said it helped her feel better, then I am going to give it a try too.”

“Blue-Green Elixir” is rough, amateur painting, as well as poems that are far from literary masterpieces. I have no delusions that they would be chosen for any other type of juried art show or literary anthology. It is however, my sincere hope that they may inspire others who suffer from illness or lack of well-being of any sort, to at least give art a try.

Here is a snippet about how “Blue-Green Elixir” came to be (from my submission):

Living in a rural area, hours away from a city, the option of attending a formal “Arts in Medicine” program, visiting a psychologist specializing in art therapy, or an “Artist in Residence” at a major hospital is usually not a viable option. At times the very nature of one’s illness may prohibit travel and engagement due to mobility issues, fatigue, concentration issues and so forth. For many patients not having ready access to arts / humanities programs presents a barrier to becoming engaged in experiences that could promote improved health and well-being.

It was my good fortune to stumble upon on-line writing classes through the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension that are taught by Reinekke Lengelle, a former writer in residence at the University of Alberta Hospital. The on-line delivery allows an individual to work on their projects when they feel best, ready to engage with their learning community. In addition to the discovery that the very act of writing itself is indeed “good medicine”, the creative writing courses allowed me the opportunity to develop on-going relationships with others not just coping with illness, but thriving creatively in spite of it!

“Blue-Green Elixir” was chosen as the title of my exhibit due to my recent experience at a weekend painting workshop given by artist Rose-Marie Cameron. It was an event open to the general public, and one that I had long hoped to participate in. On the second day of the workshop, one of the other participants asked me if I realized I was always using blue and green in my paintings. I told her I had tried the reds and yellows but they left me ill at ease; I craved blues and greens. I did not explain further. I had discovered that the blue – green colors as much as the creative process itself, were soothing and calming me, lessening my symptoms.

I have learned that the blank page or canvas can be witness to my anxiety, grief, and pain, lessening my symptoms and easing my mind. Colors can soothe, words can heal.

 "Blue-Green Elixir"

Painting above, “Blue-Green Elixir”, is actually not in the exhibit because the canvas was damaged. Thought I’d give you a peek of my work. Next post I will reveal a secret about my “technique” that may surprise you!