More thoughts on not thinking

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Novels are usually about people’s lives. They take me into what other people experiences, feel, how they think and solve problems. When I paint, I want to stay away from stories that can be interpreted literally, but similar to the stories in novels that I enjoy the most, I want to go into a personal space, solve problems, create a painting that will resonate with someone else’s life. Make it, ultimately, not about me, have it stand on its own feet, be itself.

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It’s Not at all about What You Think

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Last Sunday I gave my “Artist’s Talk” at Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery. It went well, lots of good questions. Actually, I opened it up to questions almost immediately as it was more interesting for me and seemed so to the audience as well.

One of the questions that is still lingering in my mind was about my literary interests. The question was, more or less, do those interests influence my painting. I was a lit major as an undergrad, before going to art school, was very serious about it until I realized I needed to paint. I still love to read, mostly novels, and feel naked without a book on the go. But when I am in my studio working, I am not involved with words. It’s an intuitive, emotional response to what I am working on. As well, I try to keep the titles as non-literal as possible, so they won’t be a description of the work, leave the imagination free to experience, not read, the paintings.

I thought there would be comments/questions on the title of my exhibit. But not at all. So far I’ve had a lot of smiles. After all, it’s abstract painting, not a firm, dependable product, not a result of linear thought, so, it’s not about what you think. But what it is about is a big question, a question of what is your personal experience.

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The necessity of art

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Yesterday morning, Steve Reich was talking about his music on CBC radio program q.  One powerful comment he made, loosely quoted, was that you, as the maker, need to be sure you have that emotional investment in what you do or it doesn’t mean a thing. That just about sums it up.

Note: The photos above are from my exhibit at the Orange Gallery in Ottawa.

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Talking about art

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My trip to Ottawa was great: the work is beautifully presented at the Orange Gallery, the opening reception well attended and enjoyable, met some interesting, lovely people, and wonderful to spend time with my son and his family. All good.

I gave a talk Thursday evening at the gallery. (I could talk about art all day and night.) It was good, with challenging questions. There were two that were unique and keep me thinking.

First, a man asked why, if I bury so much under the paint, do I not put it beside the canvas I am working on and, basically, save myself the labor of the silkscreening images onto the canvas that I inevitably obscure with paint. At first I had to think a bit, but then I realized it is the immediacy in the process I use. There is a big difference from looking at a face of someone important in my life and actually painting on top of it. The emotions for me can be complex and this painting process personalizes and heightens it. And sometimes clarifies. And maybe resolves.

Another question I think about was about the strength of my work: where does it come from. Does the work give me strength or have I alway been and known my own strength. Not wanting to detail my life story, my understanding is it is a reciprocal process. The painting feeds me as I make them. As well, the paintings are not ultimately about me. They need to take on a life of their own, become larger in scope to be able to effect others lives in a more profound way. Then too, probably as  result of expressing strength in my work, I become stronger in other areas of my life as well. My final thought, for now, on this question, is that it all feels like a necessity, that’s what painting is for me. There is power in that.

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April in Nova Scotia

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I woke up to this! The weather from Ottawa followed me home. I don’t mind, I guess. It’s Sunday and I don’t have to do anything, not even going to go into my studio today. Time for a break, even if forced!

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April in Ottawa!

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Bad joke! Up until today, the weather was cold but clear. I’ve had enough snow for a few years now. Not that I have much to say on the matter.

 

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This must be Kansas

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The reception was great, well attended, enjoyable. Several people I hadn’t seen in a while were there, some old students, old friends, new friends. Very satisfying. I don’t have good installation photos yet. They will come.

The weather was something else last night. It was a very heavy rain day, flooding on the roads and bitter winds. After the opening reception, I stepped out into what must have been a wind tunnel and was picked up like I was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Blown up into the air and out onto the pavement. A bit bruised up now with bloody knees, but I don’t seem to have any broken bones. Just pain and shock.

This afternoon I fly to Ottawa on a plane, not the wind, for the opening reception there of my exhibit at the Orange Gallery. If you are in the area, do stop by! It’s at 1 pm:

COINCIDENTALLY

Leya Evelyn

Mar 30 – Apr 17, 2016

Opening Reception: Sunday April 3rd, 1 to 4 pm.

Artist Talk: Thursday April 7th, 7 to 9pm

Please join us with Leya Evelyn on Sunday April 3rd from 1-4pm for the opening reception. Chocolatier, Aaron Bihari from Cocohari Fine Chocolates Confections, will be serving up the finest chocolate gems. ART + Chocolate Gems + Coffee = 1 Great Sunday Afternoon

We’ve planned a unique opportunity for Ottawa’s art lovers to view Halifax-based artist Leya Evelyn’s brilliant abstract paintings. Leya Evelyn’s current body of works offers a great depth and rich rewards. These brilliant complex, multilayered paintings have an immediate, intense impact through her skillful use of colour and subtle compositions. Each of these new paintings has a distinct and varied inner life. The work defies generalization and broadens the possibilities of abstract art.

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