Monday, November 30, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

On Thanksgiving weekend my dear Gracie invited our whole family to join her class at Kingfisher near Mable Lake. It's a fisheries, government run project where they breed salmon from the region. I found the day magical and found new artistic inspiration. We didn't have expectation as we had only heard about the event that morning and just jumped in the car in our warm clothes and drove to be together with our family- our favorite people. The guys running the program were fun, nature loving, passionate people who opened our eyes to something most of us take for granted. I estimate that about 100 people of all ages, stood on either bank of the rushing waters (the kids were the stars of the day). The guys picked us up in flat bottom river boats and transported us across to where they were harvesting the female spawners and 'milking' the boys.

Standing in the boat, I looked down into the water and saw ribbons of color. The water was all greens, golds, blues and the fish the most amazing shades of reds, oranges, pinks. When I got home I put pencil to paper and drew what I saw.... Not fish and water but what is saw. I was so excited to paint the colors because that was what was most inspiring. Loosening up those Dan Smiths (watercolors) really got things rocking.
(fish story cont.)
They had to catch the females just before they had deposited their eggs and died. It was a raw, bloody process. The huge red females were hung upside down by their tales and carefully cut up there bellies where the eggs lay. The eggs were bigger than I expected, about the size of a blueberry (my preconceptions coming from sushi roe). Dave and my Mom actually ate one... brave! After all the eggs were safely stored in clean containers and the sperm in baggies we all made our way to the Kingfisher centre. Eager kids stood around a group of long tables each with a basin and the eggs distributed. This is when it got exciting! Each child got a different baggy of seminal fluid BUT* no fertilization took place until the river water was added. Three parts not two like one would think. Science has proven that the water plays a key role in the little fishies 'memory' to come back to the exact place they were conceived.... I KNOW, INCREDIBLE!!!! When the three parts were combined and little hands stirred them up we saw the eggs change before our eyes. They became a glowing golden, orange color, the circle of life began again.
Christmas is coming and our goose is pretty thin. I'm having more awkward moments from my last post, regarding our finances, then from all the others about my mental health. My social experiment results are in, discussing finances is the new taboo. Where we used to say, "don't talk about religion or politics" it seems now we might say, "let's, please, not talk about money"!
As usual I break with taboo tradition, I used to love talking about religion and politics to piss people off but I can make a shift. Before moving on to the new I'll just say that I am fiercely Liberal and religiously abstinent. I have become open and closed to all religions and particularly irritated by religious zealots who believe that it is their job to change everyone. I believe we are all the same. Connected, in fact, by something greater than the limitations of religions conjured in the minds of men. Religion creates nothing but war. War between men on the street and nations on the globe. You can't imagine how monumental it is for me to write this down publicly. Most of the important people in my life are evangelical Christians. I have been surrounded by Christians since conscious memory allows. I'm aware that publishing this post will result in controversy but at 43 it's time for me to embrace my own truth. In no way do I mean to shift anyone else off their own truth and my hope is that this won't provoke a messiah response (you know, like, Please don't try to save or fix me!!!!)

moving on- I have to admit that I often feel, "why me" about being broke. I think I was meant to be a comfortably well off person. I've always had trouble working in a traditional job yet had inherited a painfully strong work ethic. I have chosen physically taxing jobs; eg. hairdressing and retail sales/customer service, yet have a very week constitution. Recently, along with my diagnosis after a long and difficult depressive episode I tearfully accepted that I will probably never be able to work again. It was a process that I discussed, maybe still discussing, with my psychiatrist. She is compassionate and adamant at the same time. It is her professional opinion that if I go back to the work force I will get sick, for me getting sick again could be a terminal situation (speaking of awkward topics).
As hard as it is to make ends meet right now I am most fortunate to be in a relationship with Dave taking care of the earning part of life. Blah, blah, blah. I can't believe I just had that thought. Being completely honest, it sucks to raise kids on one meager income!!!

O.K. so, I'm channeling all my efforts into being an artist, a painter, and I wanted to believe that the universe would reward me for being a part of creation. Sometimes it works. I paint and God sends people to buy and it feels confirmed that all the years of practice and all the years of failing at life are worth something. Then, there are times like this- recession and the failure moves into my cells and sounds like "quit, you suck". I put that last statement into quotations because, years ago I had a show and put out a guest book. every page had praise except one..... it said "quit you suck". Why is it that those 3 words are emblazoned on my brain as the only one truth of my art? Partly because I can't get this financial thing figured out. Do you think if I had representation, if collectors were falling over themselves to get my work, if I was making a steady income I would feel differently about my worth?
This is starting to read like a pity party. I want to be clear that I believe making art full time is a much higher road than all the other things I've been paid to do. I choose this life everyday and it chooses me. It just sure would be nice to make some money!
I'm looking forward to mine and my two colleague's show on November 27 & 28. We have distributed 400 printed and countless digital invitations.
The three of us could probably agree that we prefer being at our proverbial easels than we do in the spotlight, that's what makes us artists in the first place.
This honest commentary won't be getting me any dinner invitations.... I'm laughing as I think of it. I'm somewhat proud of this social ineptness.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I've just divulged to my husband that I've greatly cut back on taking many of my meds because of our finances. Oxcarbazapine is a mood-stabilizer but costs a lot of money, I cut that one down by half. I've stopped gabapentin altogether and lamotragine. For sleeping I've reduced Quetiapinne and am using a sample that my dr. gave me it's timed released. I still take the recommended dose of synthroid and cytomel as they run my thryroid and are quite cheap.
I'm not able to work a regular job. Past experience has demonstrated that I have massive anxiety and/or depressive disorder episodes and most often, post extreme burnout, will attempt suicide. Basically it's all about the money.
I'm having mixed feelings about not contributing to our family finances. I dread the thought of ever working in another J.O.B. that sucks the life out me. Most of all because it makes me sick and steals months from me that are irretrievable .I paint. it's the only thing I can do. yet at times even painting leaves me panting for oxygen... and as though some force much greater than myself has stormed in and used my resources to create a body of canvases. The entity promptly leaves again and I am certifiable.
I'm sure it's niave and definitely mentally ill to dream about being independantly wealthy. To have the medication I need, the art supplies I love and the representation to continually move paintings into the hands of collectors. Oh God, Christmas is coming.... my body went into a heightend sense of pain as I just wrote that.

Diana Gabaldon

Last Friday I got to see Diana Gabaldon at our local community Theatre. It was fantastic! I love listening to creative people tell of their process, their work, their life. Ms. G did not disappoint. My favorite part was when she described tucking her husband into bed at ten pm, catching a nap with her dachshunds until midnight and then working (writing) until four am. Sounds like my perfect day! Speaking of perfect, my days currently are not. I'm trying a new timed released version of seroquel and today, slept until noon. I really want to get to the studio and be creative and productive but feel torn in many different directions. Mostly, I'm resenting my family for needing me to perform mundane tasks for them but then, I feel guilty for resenting. I adore them and therefore, have mixed emotions-surprise- about my negativity. On top of beating myself up for all this it is October, the worst month of the year for my mood disorder.
Anyway, I'd much rather think about Diana Gabaldon and dream that I could emulate her success. Alas, it is a much different nest of chicks being a painter than a novelist. We spend much time alone in turmoil. Actually maybe it's just me that spends much time alone in turmoil..... what do people want to see? What thoughtless comments are people going to make about my abstracted poppies/trees etc. tbc

Red Hot, Can I Be?

Kelowna Dragon boat festival 2009, the Red Hot Chili Paddlers came in first in their race. It was so exciting to watch the boat pull forward just when it counted. I was wishing I was part of the team, on the boat, paddling my guts out but, wondering was it better that I was cheering? I'm using my Keenfit walking poles to get the old bod back in shape and on Thursday I started Weight Watchers! I signed up for 16 weeks and 42 lbs.
16 weeks from September 17-January 7
My goal is 150lbs (while I'm divulging my mental illness I might as well give out my weight). size 10. and most of all to be a Red Hot Chili Paddler.
I feel hopeful and positive that Things are going to be even more amazing than they already are.