Monday, January 21, 2013

a sad little worn down town

I wonder about where I live sometimes.  I know my fair share of people that have left to get away from the rain, the isolation,  the disproportionately high property taxes,  they have fled to more southern pastures, bigger centers, drier, less remote. More than a few have pangs of loss,  feelings of regret, remorse, and of not realizing how good it was….

I was looking on line last night at much newer homes in much more desirable locations.  I was looking at housing prices and amenities.  I was wondering what it would be like to decide to move.   It’s not like I’ve been planted for a long time.  There was a time when I changed communities and hopped from one province to the next on a whim,  rarely more than a year in one place, sometimes not even that long.   I followed work and I moved easily,  everything I owned fit in my little red two door hatch back.   But now I’m here.  I mean really HERE.   I have a house, filled with furniture and all the paraphernalia that comes along with that.  It is not so easy to throw the skis on the roof of my car and leave. But also I’ve put down some roots….

Fragile ones at first but I’m part of this community now. 

I went for a walk at lunch the other day.  The rain had stopped and it was dry enough to take a walk to clear my mind.  I tried to look at what I’d miss, I also tried to look at what a tourist would see.   I wandered over cracked sidewalks, and past potholes that could hide small Volkswagens,  I noticed the bricks missing in the paving stones,  I wondered how many others noticed the green algae and slime streaks that ran down the side of the buildings.   How the windows in the second story of the Chinese food restaurants and over empty storefronts were covered in cardboard and the black scum of too much moisture collected in the corners.   I looked at the cracked concrete walls and the abandoned store fronts. 

It was a sad picture I saw.  One of decay, of neglect.  Of a sad little worn out town at the end of the road.  A town I wouldn’t choose to visit. But somehow it’s still home. While I would not miss the mould, the decay, the rot, the neglect and the sense of abandonment… there are still things that make this place a good one.

I think about what it would pain me to give up – friends certainly, the 7 minute commute to work, the slower pace of a small town.  The fact that I know more than half the shoppers in the grocery store on any given day.  The winds that howl like mourning women and send the garbage cans tumbling end over end down the street.  The storms that are wild and raw and powerful and we withstand them month after month without declaring any sort of disaster.    I would miss the ease at which I move within this community, the ability to get things done because I know who to ask and where to go.   The other thing that I have here is that I’m known in my own way as an artist.  I’m not just another one of dozens of people who dabbles in doodles but some people in this town actually know me for my art, and my art alone.  (how cool is that??) 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The more "NEEDS" you put in the way of your art, the less art you will do.

We have passed the darkest day of the year.  Now the light should be coming out sooner – and staying longer.  But who am I kidding, I still go to work in dark, and leave it once it is dark again.  The fact that I don’t have a window to look out of means that there are in fact days where I don’t even get to witness daylight.  This also bodes ill for the dog. She needs a bath – she is starting to smell… like a dog.  While I accept that she is a dog , that doesn't mean I want her to smell like one.  My realization has been that in the past I walked her more often, and thus needed to hose her down more often to rid her mud and other less savory odoriferous articles she had rolled in, and therefore she did not get a chance to smell like plain old dog.

While I am not one for new years resolutions, I have decided that I do need to spend some time and walk the dog more often.   Which I suppose you could call a resolution – but what I really have thrown out to the world is a commitment to spend more time with my sketch book. 

There is a movement afoot. It is called “Art journaling”  this isn’t really a new thing.  Or even something very defined.   Basically it is about the creative process of pulling together color, words and images as you wish on a page. The nice thing about it unlike many other forms of art, it is not about the outcome, it is about the process.  I need that.

For some people art journaling is more like scrap booking with ephemera (clippings from old textbooks, maps, receipts, recycled stuff from other art projects, product packaging, scraps of scrapbook paper quotes, lyrics, lottery tickets, Polaroid photos, grocery lists... ) all glued into collages.  For others it is an experimentation of mediums – pens, paint, pastels, chalk, crayons all mashed into colourful explosions. For others it really is a journal about life, done in words, and sketches.  Go ahead Google it!

©RiverWalker Arts
For me. What I want out of the exercise is a place to free up my art.  A place where I can sketch without the pressure of completing a painting or a drawing, a way to write down my thoughts, and to loosen up!  I need to work on putting aside the pressure of completing an “art work”.   The more art we do the more constrained we seem to get. …I’m finding myself less free with my creativity and more critical of my work.   Fear - perfectionism - procrastination - pick your poison  are all standing in the way -  between me and my sketch book. 

 I have come to the conclusion that I need to loosen up, and give myself permission to play with paint, and pencil and pens on paper… to make a mess, to make mistakes, to worry less about “ruining” my sketch book.  My  Art should be a river of imagination....  2013 is a blank book.  Today is but a page waiting for ink. What kind of chapters will spring forth. 

 I might even share some pages if I’m happy with the results.