It’s REAL! My first exhibit / publication!

013002Ventured to Edmonton with one of my sons on Thursday evening to attend the opening reception of the InSight 2 – Engaging the Health Humanities International Exhibition. So exciting to see my paintings and poems displayed alongside so many other intriguing exhibits by talented artists and health professionals.

When we first arrived, we wandered though the UofA (Fine Arts Building) FAB Gallery viewing all the work, but admittedly my eye was on the look out for my exhibit. I was a little panicked when I thought we’d been through it all and I could not find my paintings / poems, then I remembered we had not been to the very first area near the entrance…..sure enough they they were! Whew. For a minute or two I did think it really all had been just a dream!

I was also thrilled to read some of the same thoughts I had expressed in my initial submission, and 150 word “abstract” about my exhibit, being expressed in the keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Bleakley’s introduction in the publication that is also part of this exhibition / symposium. As an advocate of the health humanities / arts and medicine working hand-in-hand, he readily acknowledges that there can be “well-being without being well.”

I was so grateful to be able to attend the reception to see my “Blue-Green Elixir” up on the FAB 011012Gallery wall, being visited by fellow artists, writers, doctors, health professionals, students, and the public at large. Thank you so much to Graeme for ensuring I made it to the reception, and Shannon who was very much with me in spirit every step of the way! Love you both for knowing how important this was to me, without me having to tell you!

Python / Escape going to Poets Pub tonight!

Python / Escape are headed over to “dVerse Poets Pub” night tonight at http://www.dversepoets.com

“Python” was inspired by the line “tell me about despair” in the poem “Wild Geese” by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver. I was inspired by that particular line, as well as her use of flowers or animals in her poetry titles/content.

Creative writing instructor/poet, Reinekke Lengelle suggested that I write a response to “Python”, thus “Escape” came several months later. For those who do not know Sheri-D Wilson, she is a published poet, spoken word artist, and writing instructor. Check her out at http://www.sheridwilson.com

 

I.

Python

The serpent lurks.

Harmless when

hidden among the tall fragrant grass

blades moving slightly

from the whisper of a breeze.

Waits patiently

for opportunity to strike

not suddenly,

but effortlessly,

coiling lazily,

moving upward

wrapping fourteen feet

of tourniquet body

around my soul,

tightening with each pass,

constricting,

compressing.

The vise grip of despair

holds me first, then

swallows me whole.

 

II.

Escape

Utter darkness,

nothing but the slimy

disgusting insides

of the snake

waiting to digest me.

I think of the bumper sticker “WWJD?”

“What would Jesus do?”

But then instead I think:

“What would Sheri-D do?”

Poet, warrior, goddess.

She’d slay this situation with her tongue,

Or pull an emerald embellished

pewter handled blade out

from her imagination,

slicing open the snake skin

with a sudden jabbing thrust,

then a long slide down,

freeing her body, mind, spirit

along with her voice

 

Copyright Suzanne Wood 2013.

 

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!

“Blue-Green Elixir” at InSight2 starting May 14, 2013!

 I am excited to announce, starting tomorrow I will have an exhibit of 4 poems and 4 abstract paintings in the “InSight2 – Engaging the Health Humanities” exhibit at the University of Alberta FAB (Fine Arts Building) Gallery in Edmonton. InSight2_Invite_digitalThe gallery is closed Sunday / Monday / Holidays and open Tuesday to Friday 10-5 and Saturdays 2-5. This is the first ever exhibit and publication of my work. I am happy to share with you the following abstract describing my work:

“Blue-Green Elixir”   It is my aim to express creatively my experiences, thus making tangible through artistic expression my emotions, thoughts, and memories involving illness. The work is a sampling of documentation of my search for “well-being”, when “being well” is not an expected outcome. In addition to the insight producing the art has provided me, it is my desire that it may also provide the community at large, other patients, and especially health professionals, with insight and understanding of what one patient may experience during their medical journey.  Improved mental well-being throughout the course of incurable, chronic illnesses has become viable for me because of my engagement in artistic endeavors. Hopefully my positive experience will resonate with other patients, and also encourage health professionals, if not to “prescribe” at least perhaps to “advise” their patients of the possibilities of art and medicine working hand in hand.