Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First days

This is my first blog! Since my studio is in my house and I am *supposed* to creating "masterworks" (!), I decided to create this instead. It's a form of creativity, right? The house gets amazingly organized and clean when there are blank canvasses in the studio.

I usually have a show to work toward, but this time I don't. As a result, the process in the studio has been very interesting. I am trying to practice what I preach: focus on the creative process, watch the painting unfold, as it is a dialogue between you and the canvas (or wood panel, or stretched silk, whatever your support may be). Other "JJ-isms": let go of the ideal that you have established in your mind. Your actual painting will never achieve what you dream of, nor should it. It should act as a guide.

As a result, the work is going very slowly, quietly. I will make a few marks, move from canvas to canvas, as the paintings unfold.  These paintings are, like this blog, a record of that day's mental state.

I received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to focus on a body of work without the distraction of teaching. While I love teaching at OCADU because of the dedicated and enthusiastic students, faculty and staff, sometimes all of the "JJ-isms" get stuck in my head while in the studio: "Push that area back with a desaturated colour", or "What message are you conveying but juxtaposing these two images?" I feel sorry for those poor students who have a little JJ sitting on their shoulder while they are working away on paintings. Or  maybe I don't!

About art, and art funding and art education:

On my way back from dropping my daughter at daycare, I started thinking about why art programs are cut in school, why there is such a backlash in the mass media about creative expression (think: dancer Margie Gillis interview (attack?) on SunTV ( As an arts educator who believes very strongly in art education for developing lateral and innovative ways of thinking to further society as a whole, I get discouraged with this kind of backlash and misunderstanding. I think it's a way of the government trying to keep a handle on the masses so that independent thinkers who operate 'outside the box' don't cause revolutions.

 Well, if revolutions hadn't happened, where would we be now?

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a painting from my last show at Loop Gallery.