When my children were young, I would often play the piano for hours. Mostly Mozart. I used to say Mozart was my best friend. We certainly spent a lot of time together. Last night I went to a concert featuring John Novacek playing Mozart’s piano Concerto no. 24 in C minor with Symphony Nova Scotia. I’ve never hear Mozart played with so much heart. I’ve spent some time today looking up and listening to Novacek on the net. It was a very inspiring performance last night. His interpretation of the music was unique and so genuine.
So now I’m thinking a lot about taking up again with my old friend. I would just have to give myself a time to play, schedule it into my day. That’s the only way I would do it. There tend to be too many distractions. I make sure I schedule, and protect, my painting time. I would just need to make the piano a priority again. Right now, it i still a thought.
Here is a very inspiring and beautiful film by Sarah Moon of an amazing man, Andre Francois, an artist-poet. Not only is his artwork exciting, his thoughtfulness about the work, about his life, about art and inspiration, is profound. At age 87, his studio burnt to the ground, taking with it, years of work. Within six months, he had made, from the ashes, literally, sixty new pieces of art. A beautiful testament to the power of creativity.
If you have twenty-five minutes in your day, it would be time well spent to see this. Age does not necessarily stop intelligence and insight. If anything, it can enhance and deepen understanding. Time has its own energy.
Andre Francois died in 2005 at eighty-nine. He was best known for his cartoons. His artwork reveals the satirical humor and sensitivity of his poetic nature.
I’ve tried to read James Joyce’s Ulysses several times. The last time I managed to get halfway through. But I don’t think I understood much of it. Now I have another, better opportunity to read the book. My friend, Sean Kennedy, who is a professor of Irish Studies at St. Mary’s University, is teaching a class on Ulysses at the Halifax Main Library. It’s for students at the University, and the public can join for the first hour. I went this past Thursday.
The class itself was fascinating. Sean always puts literature in its historical context as well as delving into possible theories of the meaning of the text. He talked about how so many levels of perception and experience happen simultaneously in this book, as in life, and he described his own reaction to how he was speaking, how he was criticizing his own sentences as he was speaking. I listened to him, to my own thoughts, while the woman sitting next to me was, vocally, giving a running commentary of many of the thoughts going through her mind. The last comment she made was “and he is the perfect person to teach Ulysses“, making the experience of studying Ulysses perfect.
Sean is a brilliant lecturer and I must say, I actually almost understand what I am reading now. So far, I’ve even enjoyed reading it. But as Sean says, it’s an experience in relativity: my understanding will be different from yours or the person next to you. Next week, I will go early enough so I don’t sit next to the woman who vocalized most of her reality while Sean was talking. I’ll make my own!
Last Saturday evening I went to see Jenn Grant sing with her new group, Aqua Alta, at the Marquee Ballroom in Halifax. I haven’t been going out much at night lately. Partly the weather–cold/ice/snow–partly because I feel I’m on a roll with my painting and want to focus my energy for my work. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to get out, hang out with friends for the evening, hear the beautiful Jenn sing. Her voice is so clear, like a bell, a real pleasure.
Of course, the next morning I was back in my studio, early. I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I am there. So many delicious choices. Some days I am so impressed with a painting, only to come back the next day and think it is awful. But overall, it’s going well. I’ll be needing new supplies soon.
For the past month or more, every Wednesday we have had a heavy snowstorm. Usually about 15 to 20 cm. This time I could see it moving across the lake. It wasn’t snowing near my house, just in the distance. It was fascinating.
The downside of Wednesday snowstorms is that I have had to cancel two painting classes. I wasn’t scheduled to teach today, so that was good. I didn’t have to cancel what I wasn’t doing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for next week. Please, no snow on Wednesday!
The upside of so much snow is the pleasure of working in my studio, feeling protected by nature. My studio is on the lower floor, with windows overlooking the lake. I wouldn’t say I am inspired by the view, just enveloped by its presence. There is an openness to the expansiveness outside my window that seems to be working its way into my paintings. I certainly cannot complain, about that, or about the snow.