Friday, August 29, 2008

Heading into Fall- Update

I'm due for an update! Over the summer I haven't posted anything, as my focus shifted to the various outdoor shows and commissions I had. I had a busy summer personally, as well. Now with fall coming I am looking toward the future of 'The Birth Project' and planning to continue it once I have a few commissions finished up. Jen, Annie and I are going to be submitting applications to galleries for a show in Toronto, and are taking September to do this. If all goes well, we'll have something booked by Christmas and each be able to continue working on what we love. I'll be looking for more material to paint, as well as continueing with some of the submissions I had but couldn't get to.

I had some prints done up for some women who submitted photos, and I regret that I didn't get these sent out over the summer. Except for 2, most are ready to be sent, I just need to get to the post office to get a shipping quote. I feel badly that I've been so tardy with this promise- but fall is the time to catch up!

Personally, I'd like to share that I'm 'in the family way' myself. We are expecting a surprise late February. Looking forward to it!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Opening Reception

Tonight we open 'It's a Human Thing'. It's a food and wine reception at the Chapel Gallery from 7-9 pm. It's going to be lovely! Please come out if you can!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Birthing beliefs- II

I know- I'm sorry but I left my camera at my mom's! Tomorrow...

I am starting to list titles, and I'm also wondering about writing a short paper or artists statement to have at the opening, or perhaps a more formal post here. But I'm struggling with what to say. I feel people want to know why I'm painting birth, and while that's easy enough to answer, I also feel I should say something else- without being offensive, arguementative or even 'educational'- because I don't think that would be appropriate or even worthwhile in such a form. So, if you had to say-say, a paragraph's worth about birth, what would you say? What essential things do I want to say; to prospective mothers, to other women, to those in the medical field, to the general public? What to say to incite thought, encourage curiosity and emotion, but not to leave viewers discouraged or alienated? I must remember I'm not trying to change anyone's mind here- it's not an essay on the benefits of natural birth. I suppose my personal aims are to encourage people to believe that birth can be positive and great (but if it isn't it's not a failure), that they don't necessarily have to believe what they are told, and that self-education would go a long way in eradicating all the ridiculous myths that are still so prevalent. (I find myself wordless hearing about babies 'too big', unnecessary induction, epidurals that provide a better outcome, needed episiotomies, not enough milk, and 16 hour 'too long' labours). I guess this really is why I painted these. Because I just don't have all the words. Becuase there's so much more room when the viewer fills in the rest.
Oh ya, and I wanted to paint birth becuase I loved giving birth to my two babies. Loved it. I think about it every day. I want to do it again and again. I love birth, not just mine, and I loved being pregnant, and I love babies!

One more thing- as I have been doing these paintings, I've carefully considered the pallette I've used for each one. Often blues and greens and whites have been used, probably because of bedding and hospitals, but I've thought, 'these aren't the birth colours in my head'. But yet I don't have a true answer for this question, so I ask you, dear reader, 'what is/are the colour(s) of birth?'

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I'm done painting. *sigh* where's my glass of wine? I finished all my touch-ups today, something I'm not used to doing. I also took several photos. Maybe I can post them tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Press for 'It's a Human Thing'

Today both Annie and I gave short interviews, and then we had a photographer come by to shoot us while we were working together. The peice was for the show 'It's a Human Thing' and it features each of us in the show. For those local, look for an article in the Cottage Times next Wednesday. Jen (Posti) is also featured in the current edition of the Muskoka Magazine- we have really been blessed with the amount of exposure sent our way! All this in addition to the media release in all the papers that MAC does.
I finished the last painting. It was this painting that I was working on when the photographer was here- and I'm glad about that because it's one of my favourites. I finally resolved the background. All I need to do is touch-ups- and the titleing of course. That's always a hard job, seriously. I want these ones to matter.
I do hope the articles are accurate. I think the interviewer was discerning- she understood I didn't want to be adversarial, and that the subject is sensitive. Why is this issue so poignant and yet so personal? It must be because it is how we greet the new souls of the world, our children, our futures.

For fun I want to link my birth story of Evangeline for your reading pleasure. She was born on April 14 2007, and is my second baby, as so many of you know. Evangeline's birth.

Also, note that I added some links to birth and homebirth on the side. This is for those whose interest is piqued and want to do some more reading on the safety of homebirth, for example. I'm also going to compile a list of great books.

Aren't you dying for photos yet?
(I don't want to give it all away!)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Last peice

Well, I'm working on what is likely to be my last piece for this show. It's my favourite- but I'm also struggling with it. I'm stuck on the background and the background figure.
On the other hand, I made a major adjustment to another peice; I repainted the face/head of 'Roots'. I gave her a pushing face-much more appropriate for the dynamic pose and colour pallette of the painting.
Yes, I'll post pictures soon. Soon it will be final titles and prices for the peices-yikes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nearing the Show

No recent updates becuase I've been offline for over a week.
I'm working on what is likely my last painting for this show- it's going well, I'll share more about it later.
But what's on my mind lately is how the show will go. I suppose I'm showing work that's more shocking than my usual work, and it's more provocative. It's emotional, and a bit gory, only with one breast, a bit of blood, and the usual baby-birthing parts. ('Yes, dear viewers, babies are born, they come out of women, and that involves a bit of mess and anatomy') I have a client base that likes what I've produced in the past, but as an artist it is essential you don't paint to please your audience; unless you are by choice, a commercial artist. As a fine artist you need to paint your heart, your passions, your ideas, your arguements. Artists should be cultural critics.
I don't know how people will react. Sometimes my stomach flips a bit when I think about it. I admit it, I might be nervous. Will people like the paintings, will they be touched by the emotion? Will anyone be offended, grossed out? Will people be embarrassed that I painted such a thing? Perhaps it's not as shocking as I think- it's just paint, and who cares about art anyway? See, maybe people won't react, maybe nobody will care, nobody will say anything, the show will be inconsequential.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

New Paintings

As promised, here are some images of a few of the new paintings. The first is the painting of myself, saying 'my baby! my baby!' after having pulled her up onto myself from the midwife's hands. This painting is about 3 feet by 4 feet.
The second is a lovely small (2'x2') c-section scene. I'm really pleased with the way this turned out, it's quite tender. And lastly is another 2'x2' portrait of a 'pushing face' which is unfinished, and I only hope to capture the awesome expression this mama had.
I also included a copy of the email invitation to the show.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Birthing beliefs-

Because the first exhibition of these paintings is nearing, I expect more people will be checking this blog to find out more about the project as it is advertised in the press. So I thought it would be prudent to make a list or paragraph about what I believe about birth, so when people come here to find out more about the project, they can also read about my feelings around birth as well, and the reasons I would want to paint birth. This might be an ongoing list, as I'm sure I'll edit it as I think of things. I'll start very briefly as I'm pressed for time.
Birth is a feminist issue, as I said before. Birth is normal, natural and safe. The majority of women are capable of a natural, normal, safe, and healthy birth without intervention. The rest of women who need assistance should use medical services to aid them in acheiving a healthy baby, and sometimes medical intervention is necessary. When used apporpriately this is a good thing. I am not against doctors. I am not against hospitals. I do not want anyone to feel inadequate about their ability or guilty for their choices. But I believe birth can be profound, powerful, wonderful, awesome and holy. I believe it can be traumatic, painful, difficult and scary. I believe that our society shapes what we believe about birth, and our current state societal situation and 'birth model' could greatly be improved to benefit women and babies. I believe our society is affected by birth, and birth is affected by society.
I want to promote normal birth in a positive light. I want to see more midwives being used, becuase in a low risk pregnancy midwives are low interevention, often producing the most satisfying and healthiest outcome. I believe midwives are good for women, babies, families and even doctors. I also believe that right now a lot of women are being misled, misinformed and possibly even mistreated, and that had they known differently might not have made the choices they did.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Birth is a feminist issue.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

I'm working on a painting of myself right now, in which I've just caught Evangeline up to my chest seconds after she was born, and I'm saying 'oh my baby, oh, my baby'. Today when I was in the studio I stepped back after I'd been working for a bit and thought to myself, 'I just painted a blue umbilical cord, a bloody leg and a vernix-covered baby' What kind of painter am I ?!? Actually, I love it, I feel so thrilled with my subjects, and I'm eager to see the project so far hung at the upcoming show.
Things have been going really well, this rythym I'm in feels great. I have a sitter come most days of the week, leaving me 2-3 hours to paint, and the rest of the day I feel free to enjoy the kids, to do housework and to not think about painting. My progress has been really satisfying, I'm not rushing the paintings, and I like the finished result, as I mentioned earlier. They're smoother, more refined I think. Funny how such a bestial act is being painted in a calmer stroke and with a smaller brush.
I'll post photos soon~

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Pieces

I'd like to thank everyone for their patience- I know the blog has been terribly boring without any updates. I was actually struggling to paint and dealing with insecurity- often that preceeds a 'breakthrough'. My new paintings are smoother- I'm taking my time doing thema and pacing myself, as I've hired help to watch the kids when I work. Figuring out priorities and a schedule has been frusterating, but now things seem to have settled and I'm pleased to share my new work.
I thought it would be interesting to share the peices in two stages- nearly finished and half done. You can see the progression and development, and in the future when I post unfinished shots you can then perhaps imagine where I might take it.

"New Soul' 2.5 x 2 approx

'Unconfirmed title: Roots...' 3' x 4' approx

'Early Morning' 6' x 4' approx

Yet untitled 3.5' x 2.5' approx