November 30th, 2007


A little exhibition, “Spread the Warmth” opens tonight in Truro at the Community College Library. It runs until Dec 9. Initially, I was not excited about my contribution to this group exhibition. It is hard on the heals of this year’s October Open House and in the meantime, I’ve had a small exhibition that looked wonderful at “Jim’s Place” ( a Truro cafe that we love to frequent). I’ve also been battling some sort of pneumonia and I’ve survived another three day workshop. I kept thinking “How did I get myself into this one?”; especially when the organizer said that she wanted 25 to 30 paintings from me. However, I was committed to this exhibition and I couldn’t imagine doing it without terrific (in my own opinion at least) new work. Somehow, through focus, sheer hard work AND “Empty Head Space”, I’ve managed to put together a little show that I’m proud of. All of the paintings are this years and eleven are brand new and have never been exhibited before.

The last painting was conceived in the night on Wednesday, then painted during the day and framed and delivered yesterday. This painting, “View from Economy Mountain” is based loosely on a view I saw on the way to Ship’s Company Theatre one evening a year and a half ago. The evening light was streaming down. Even though we didn’t have any time to spare, we pulled the car over and I took a bunch of photos as painting references. On Wednesday night while lying in bed, giving myself some “Empty Head Space”, I thought of this glorious sky and the image seemed to demand to be painted in a long narrow format. The first sky that I painted was very nice, almost terrific, and I went ahead and painted the foreground. When the painting was almost done I decided that the sky wasn’t quite dark enough and, despite the big chance of wrecking the image, I went in with a second attempt for glorious. This time I felt that I’d nailed it.Five Islands

All in all, when I look at the eleven new half sheet paintings for this current little exhibition “Spread the Warmth”, I am surprised and pleased. 
The subjects are diverse, ranging from a woman and child in Peru to a still life of chairs and cushions.

Often by allowing myself an “Empty Head Time” the ideas just present themselves. Then with additional “Empty Head Time” the ideas strengthen and develop. An example of this was Tuesday’s painting. During my most recent workshop, one of the participants used one of my photo’s of Spain of blue shutters and a window box. I remembered well the day a couple of years ago when I sat in the Spanish village street and painted this image on location.. I fished out photos of this window and a photo of the painting.

stidop with geranium
geraniumsa_textmediumI started a half sheet studio painting. In the night, I was mulling over the idea and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to move right in on the window and I wanted a glorious sun dappled geranium against the dark shutters. In Ontario this summer, I had taken a photo of just such a geranium. I also have pots of ivy and of geraniums about the house so I dragged them into my little studio as well. By giving myself some “Empty Head Space” the ideas of this painting just sort of appeared.

Especially with Christmas approaching, “Empty Head Space” is not always something that is easy to give oneself. My head is often filled with “I should do this and that and visit here and there and shop and clean and cook and decorate......................................... In order for our creativity to thrive, we have to step back from all the “should dos” and just breath and be and give ourselves the gift of “Empty Head Space”. It is into this space that ideas flow.

“Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas season”