Now what? For the past four months I had the privilege of being a caregiver to my beloved partner and recent husband, Ken Welsh. He was a truly great actor with a mountain of accolades you can glean snapshots of in the New York Times and other places. What could I possibly add? That he liked garden gnomes and maple syrup and sang me to sleep? That he was not just interesting but kind. I have only just begun to process his dying and his death. Unlike past events in which I hit the ground running, I find I have come to a full stop. I don’t know what comes next in my studio or when I’m going back to it. I cancelled my yearly Easter Show; the Uxbridge Studio Tour; all my shows this year. I’ll be back of course but I’m giving myself time. I might add to this blog as I think of more things to say about Ken: beloved by other actors; patron saint of make-up artists….meanwhile here are a few pictures, a link to our delightful wedding…maybe even a song.
|This is a REAL show with a REAL opening reception Sunday October 17, 1-7. Like everything these days, things are subject to change: check Propeller website for updates and see the work online starting October 13. Come to the opening reception October 17 with other masked and carefully spaced gallery-goers and artists or come during the days before and after; between Oct 13 and 31, for a more personal experience. Either way, this will be a show you won’t want to miss.|
My own pieces I have chosen to show in TOUCH are some of my newest works of carved painted basswood. I am a mixed media artist and I have always seen my work primarily as object. I draw inspiration from outsider art; art that straddles two and three dimensions; well-crafted art. In this time of COVID, we no longer take touch for granted and I am happy to be part of a show of material-based art, tactile to the extreme: my selfie-shtick is a staff to wear and my chess set is of course meant to be played. Work of the other artists can be seen on Propeller website after October 13.
Most importantly, here is the digital catalogue of the entire show of TOUCH (a way of knowing)
thanks very much to Propeller Gallery.
And below is an example of each of the 11 artists’ work.
Dorothy Caldwell is a graduate of Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia and maintains an active international teaching and exhibition schedule from her studio in Hastings, Ontario. She has carried out research projects in Japan, and India, and has worked “on-site” in the Australian outback, Newfoundland, and the Canadian Arctic. She is the recipient of Canada Council grants and other awards including the Saidye Bronfman Award. Her work is included in permanent and private collections including the American Museum of Art and Design, New York, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Canadian Museum of History, Hull, Quebec, International Quilt Museum and Study Centre, University of Nebraska, and the Canadian Department of External Affairs, Ottawa, among others.
“My work investigates how people mark the land and how we come to know “place”. I am interested in patterns of settlement and how land is structured by humans and by nature. Several years ago, a friend introduced me to the work “Ecotone”. An ecotone is an area where contrasting ecosystems butt up against one another and meet. This creates energetic space….the line where meadow meets forest, the transition of land to water, the active movement of tree lines shifting…
The works exhibited in Touch have a sense of boundaries, edges, and the meeting of two distinct communities. The works are made with earth pigments found, and collected in several remote locations.”D.C.
Kai Chan has received numerous grants from Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council and awards including the Jean A. Chalmers National Crafts Award (1998) and the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Fine Crafts (2002). His solo exhibition at the Textile Museum of Canada will open in the fall of 2010. “Rainbow Lakes”a solo exhibition originated from the Art Gallery of Mississauga, Mississauga, London Museum and Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario, touring to Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia; Art Gallery of Peterborough, Peterborough, Ontario; Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta and Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, Alberta and the Art Gallery of Sudbury, Sudbury, Ontario (2001-2003) “Kai Chan: A Spider’s Logic – a 35-Year Retrospective Exhibition” originated by Textile Museum of Canada and Varley Art Gallery of Markham in 2010, toured to Musée d’art de Joliette, Juiette, Québec; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Cambridge Art Gallery, Cambridge, Ontario and St. Mary University Art Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia ( 2010-2012 )
“Starting from a Zero” is an attempt to create something new. I was experimenting with a spool of very fine wire and liked the way it could loop into small circles (zeros). This led me to use knitting and crocheting for the construction. In the end, the work is made up of a lot of “0”s.”
Ann Cummings has been working with clay for 50 years. “It’s a big part of my life. I studied fine arts in University but my real education is my curiosity and stamina for working through problems. When I say problems ceramics has many. It is by far a difficult medium, as what you see is not necessarily what you get after the firing, In all that time, I have become very interested in ceramic objects and history, especially English ceramics that are strangely sculptural and narrative. These are found mostly in the 18th century and from Staffordshire and especially Darby ware. I also collect ceramic objects which is the real reason I make sculpture rather than domestic objects. After so many years of making looking and learning about ceramic objects I find that it has given real meaning for me and I intend to never stop.”
“I have made domestic pots and love doing them, but my recent work has become more sculptural and narrative. The work in this show is about what I see around me. I live in the woods on a lake and the natural world, plants, animals and trees are what surrounds me. Mostly I enjoy putting together strange and disparate parts in unusual ways so that although on first look the work looks somewhat enchanting, but on looking closer there is often a darker side.”A.C.
Susan Farquhar received her Fine Arts degree from York University and studied lithography with a master printer at Open Studio in Toronto. She printed lithographs and etchings at Novak Graphics a publisher of international and local artists until 1989. Susan and her partner Robert Game started Atelier GF and continued in professional fine art printing until 2013. They produced fine art prints for Canadian and American artists as well as the John Lennon and Miles Davis estates. Susan has exhibited her own work in Alberta, Ontario and Newfoundland. She had solo exhibits with Ferneyhough Contemporary in North Bay and David Kaye Gallery in Toronto. Susan was awarded the Artist in Residence at the Women’s Art Association of Canada for 2018 – 2019 where she conducted printmaking workshops, gallery visits, a group print show and created WHERE IS WILD a solo exhibit considering animal life intersecting digital technology.
“Visual ideas about the physical environment and at times its stories have concerned me for a long time. My preoccupations have evolved a process-driven approach; layers of texture, colour, repeated pattern, paper-cuts and coarse mark making. In 2019 Kangaroo Island and other parts of Australia suffered catastrophic fires at an unprecedented scale. Photos of the destruction and slow recovery of land and people have driven a series of paper works I call “Are We Epicormic?” I express my hope of rebirth by recreating in paper bits of burnt, blackened destruction where close examination reveals new life beginning.
The land is altered, almost destroyed by fire but slowly growth appears. What part do I play? Am I epicormic?”S. F.
Originally from Wales, Vivienne Jones is a graduate of the Birmingham School of Jewellery and Silversmithing in Britain. Vivienne has maintained a studio practice as a contemporary jeweller in Toronto since the 1980s. She has exhibited extensively and sold her work across Canada and beyond. Vivienne explores a range of materials, both precious and non-precious. She has expanded her practice in recent years to include explorations of the non-wearable and sculptural form.
Through art and craftwork we express aesthetic values, individuality, as well as a sense of connectedness. In making her work Vivienne is exploring these ideas, interweaving material and form, nature and the human experience. Vivienne is an elected member of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts.”The work I’ve made for the TOUCH exhibition is a continuation of work that references natural forms. Making things, making art, is a part of who we are, but like many artists I have become more tentative about the materials that I and we as a society value and use. I’ve chosen with this work to use only the materials I have accumulated over time and have at hand in my studio. Some natural, some not. Nature is the underlying inspiration and the concept of re-purposing interests me. These objects come from the intuitive way I work with the material to create meaning and or beauty and beyond that there is always the over arching question of how to live in balance on this planet.
“The work I’ve made for the TOUCH exhibition is a continuation of work that references natural forms. Making things, making art, is a part of who we are, but like many artists I have become more tentative about the materials that I and we as a society value and use. I’ve chosen with this work to use only the materials I have accumulated over time and have at hand in my studio. Some natural, some not. Nature is the underlying inspiration and the concept of re-purposing interests me. These objects come from the intuitive way I work with the material to create meaning and or beauty and beyond that there is always the over arching question of how to live in balance on this planet.”
Susan Warner Keene
Susan Warner Keene is a Toronto-based artist working in handmade paper who has been exhibiting in Canada and internationally since 1980. Her work is in the collection of the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development, as well as many other public, corporate, and private collections. Keene has been active as an educator, writer, editor, curator and volunteer with such organizations as the School of Craft & Design of Sheridan College, Oakville, the Ontario Crafts Council (now Craft Ontario) and the Textile Museum of Canada. Her work has been supported by grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, and in 1991 she was presented with the Prix Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts (a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts). She was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 2005.
“I approach papermaking as both process and metaphor. I work primarily with high-shrinkage abaca and flax fiber pulps, partly because of their capacity for mark-making, partly because of the delicate, skin-like quality of the papers they make, so reminiscent of our own bodies. This dual personality of paper, comprising the cultural and the visceral, makes it seem very human to me. At the same time, I am constantly aware of the historical significance of paper in the transmission of knowledge and culture. Much of my work addresses the nature of the page as a created space.
The physical labor of transforming plant fiber into a sheet of paper offers seemingly endless opportunities to consider the material requirements and possible strategies for image-making. Focused attention is essential, with all the senses attuned to what is happening from moment to moment, as pulp becomes paper.”SWK
In her formative years in Muskoka, Valerie Knapp explored textiles and art with influential mentors, which led her to the Fabric Studio at Sheridan College School of Craft and Design. Quick to form a company, at first, Viverie, then Valerie Knapp, she printed and manipulated textiles, creating her innovative clothing and furnishings collections, designed textiles for children’s wear, volunteered and taught. She went on to studies in education at the University of Toronto, subsequently becoming Head of Textiles, Sheridan College. Knapp actively maintains a studio creating her varied, printed and embroidered textile and paper-based works, featuring thread, cloth, paper and found materials. Recently, stitched photos, oil painting and encaustic form part of her practice. Her characteristic objects in hand-printed linen and up-cycled materials and continuing education play a vital role. Her work is found in collections in Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Italy. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants, and has exhibited and published in Canada, USA and Australia.
“I observe and respond to what’s at hand — in the garden, the studio, family and memory, and in life as it comes and goes. Craving serenity and calm, I carve out poetic moments in delicate, precise, layered assemblages, in regard to the difficult conditions we experience, making a kind of peace. I combine the unexpected, and while sometimes I try to describe or analyze ideas, memory, or complex relationships, sometimes the work is soothing and subtle. My evocative and synergistic approach is known to draw the viewer near.”VK
Susan Lindsay is a mixed-media artist creating sculptural work with wire, wood, textiles and found objects.
In 2014 she moved from Ontario to an abandoned farmhouse in New Brunswick. Between the walls and in the attic she discovered old letters, photographs and concealed objects tracing the 140-year history of the Turner family in the village of Baie Verte. With these finds, and her own exploration of memory she continues to form narratives. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Education, she attended Sheridan College School of Craft and Design. She has exhibited for over five decades in solo and group exhibitions across Canada, USA, UK, Europe and Japan.
“lines of wire and thread trace an imageSL
a fragility is explored
a shadow of memory is created
a narrative is woven”
Susan Low-Beer received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Mount Allison University and her Masters of Fine Arts, with a major in painting, at Cranbrook Academy of Art. In 1999 she received the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in Crafts
and in 2000 was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. She has exhibited internationally in Europe, United States, Japan and Korea, as well as nationally in both juried and invitational exhibitions, and has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. She is represented among others, in the collections of the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Museum of Modern Art in Japan, and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in North Carolina. Her most recent show was a retrospective called Embodiment-30 Years of Sculpture, which was shown at the Art Gallery of Algoma, Norfolk Art Centre and the Clay and Glass Gallery.
“I’m drawn to the elemental nature of clay and while I am concerned and engaged with the formal aspects of making, I use clay to pursue philosophical and human content. Two of my sculptures are from my recent series of work Specimen, where I have entered the landscape of inside our aging bodies, its complexity of organs and tubes, twists and turns. These sculptures reference the viscera of our core, our vulnerability, humour and mortality and in a broader sense they speak to our relationships and intimacy.”S L-B
Lynne McIlvride is a mixed media artist who calls herself a “Contemporary Visionary”. She was part of the David Kaye Gallery from its inception and before that, showed at Prime Gallery. Her focus now is drawing people out to her house and studio near Port Perry, Ontario where she is attempting to slowly and thoroughly blur the line between art and environment.
“The pieces I have chosen to show in TOUCH are some of my newest works of carved painted basswood. I am a mixed media artist and I have always seen my work primarily as object. I draw inspiration from outsider art; art that straddles two and three dimensions; well-crafted art. In this time of COVID, we no longer take touch for granted and I am happy to be part of a show of material-based art, tactile to the extreme: my selfie-shtick is a staff to wear and my chess set is of course meant to be played.
My original idea for this show was to contact a few material-based artists that I revere from the former David Kaye Gallery to see if they would be interested in showing with me at Propeller Gallery. Janet Read from Propeller egged me on and Ann Cummings became my side-kick. We quickly became 11 though I could have asked 100 more material-based artists from the DKG and beyond. The group is in no way exhaustive or inclusive. I am hoping some not included in this show will start their own herds of cats and create more group shows like this one. I would like to dedicate this show to David Kaye who made it look easy.”L.M.
Loree Ovens studied Fashion Technique and Design at Holland College. She also received an arts diploma at Sheridan College, SOCAD, majoring in fabrics and earned a BFA in Printmaking from OCADU. Loree works in a variety of media, although is better known for her printmaking where she creates works on paper that are reminiscent of old documents, aged textiles or barkcloth. She specializes in intaglio techniques; especially etching, aquatint, drypoint and collagraph. Primarily working with Japanese Washi and often combining the use of surface design techniques for textiles, Loree’s fascination with line, pattern, and architecture continues to inspire her work. She has shown in national and international exhibitions in Canada, Japan, United States, Taiwan, Australia and Scotland. Her work is part of both private and public collections including the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, National Bank, Art Gallery of New South Wales, and SGC International.
“I had the urgent feeling to be surrounded/held in nature throughout the pandemic.L.O.
I needed to be grounded and recharge. So l took time to slow down, to be silent and still.
I took the time to really look at my surroundings and focus on the positive.
Slowly, these paintings emerged.”
“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”Vincent Van Gogh
“Every walk in nature one receives far more than he seeks.”John Muir, Father of the National Parks in the United States
I feel great about this new scupture. It was a probem: I made a double sided painted relief scupture in my “Epiphany” series and I couldn’t figure out how to display it. Then I remembered my domestic tornado series and the epiphany is now dangling beautifully from a twister that is piercing through my ceiling. This feels completely appropriate. The domestic tornado is made from my clothing, ripped and re-pieced and covered with embroidered pleas to God for help. It was done a few years ago when my personal world was torn apart. (more here) Now that our poor world is coming apart at the seams, my tornados have a larger purpose–or at least they describe a larger thing. So now this pleading twister carries with it one of my “Epiphanies”– work that I see as a messenger of hope; a small point of light in a dark sky.
I have been doing some slightly smaller work for a pop-up show December 12-22 behind Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge Ontario. Sizes and prices will be published soon. Questions?Email LynneMcilvride@icloud.com. Opening reception December 14, 1-4 with special guest KEN WELSH entertaining the crowd. This is the only kind of shopping experience I can handle! Featuring several local artists. See hours below.
- Thursday December 12, 10-8
- Friday December 13, 10-8
- Saturday December 14, 10-4
- Sunday December 15, 11-5
- Monday December 16, 10-6
- Tuesday December 17, 10-6
- Wednesday December 18, 10-8
- thursday December 19, 9-8
- Friday December 20, 9-9
- Saturday December 21, 9-7
- Sunday December 22, 9-6
I am happy to be showing a mixture of my work at The Second Wedge Brewing Co, Uxbridge Ontario. It is up now and will continue to November 3. I will be having a reception for the show on Thursday, October 24, 6:00-9:00. Dawna Huizenga will be my musical guest for the last part of the evening.
When I found out the owners of The Second Wedge were storm chasers and tornado lovers, I knew I had to resurrect my tornado series to mix in with my newer work. The following is my artist statement written 5 years ago about this series. I called it “Spin”: Weather is such a powerful metaphor for human emotion. And that writhing weather monster, the tornado, is a particularly apt way of describing the trauma, the fury, the intensity of loss. It’s hard not to take a tornado personally: it gets to the point by narrowing down and strikes a specific spot. It comes out of the blue. We don’t know what hit us. We are caught in a whirlwind of emotion. Everything is up in the air. There is no emergency plan for these twists of fate. To put a positive spin on it, a tornado (that snaking shape-shifter) is just energy. It makes a long-winded metaphor that lasts and lasts because it wrecks and then absorbs whatever it touches down on. What starts out as an emblem of emotional devastation contorts into an expression of fury and then is reborn as a metaphor for unstoppable creativity, play and passion. Like the flowering cross, can it become a cornucopia? Blooming tornados! Elijah goes to Heaven, Dorothy goes to Oz. One thing for certain is this: we are pulled out of our orbit and dropped in a different place, undone. Here is a link to a video Steven Frank created a few years ago of me talking about the tornado series.
This show is a mix of old and new work, the newest being my carved relief sculptures. I call this ongoing series my “Epiphanies”. The following is my artist statement from that series: I’ve always loved symmetry, especially imperfect symmetry where pattern is revealed and then lost but still the intention of the pattern remains. I am drawn to the shape of the equilateral cross with its reference to life and death; arm-stretching cosmic hugs, whirligigs and flowers with stillness at their centres; the crucifixion and the flowering resurrection. My friend and I were talking about the small epiphanies of childhood—instances when we sensed an invitation from God: the mysterious comfort of a statue of Virgin and child along a well-frequented path; wind animating treetops; a song about the Magi breaking into a child’s sad night. As I do these small dense painted carvings, I realize they represent hints of hope: modest epiphanies. They allude to those moments that happen in the blink of an eye, brief and easily missed…but if you manage to pay attention, life-changing.
Lynne McIlvride …… Storm Seller; Relief Worker
The following is a Confusing Price List:
There is a similar price list at the actual show with arrows which are helpful. Basically the relief wood carvings that are still for sale are enlarged. Otherwise they are already sold.
Thanks so much to Lesley and Michael, Rob and Joanne for all the help hanging the show!
Hello. I have been continuing my theme of “Epiphanies” which I will be happy to show you at The Uxbridge Studio Tour, September 14 and 15. More beadwork, more woodcarving, more colour riots. Francis Muscat was in my studio the other day and and described the series as Psychadelic Baroque.
This last one is a video. Click to see on instagram. All work is handcarved basswood with inlaid glass beadwork and acrylic paint. Oil paint is added to some and many have gold leaf applied. Here is a LINK to the Uxbridge Studio Tour Brochure. I will have extras you can pick up at my studio. I am Site 24: last but not least!! My guest artist is magnificent ceramic artist, Ann Cummings.
After decades of art-making, I am still delighted when I am led into an unanticipated direction. I’ve always liked wood. (Who doesn’t?!) But my past experience has been limited to woodblock carving for prints. In the commission I finished last year for ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’ Church, I incorporated relief woodcarving into the frames. The placement of the commissions in the niches of the church and their content of the presence and workings of the Holy Spirit all sent me back to a way of art-making from years ago before the tornados hit that was characterized by hope and the munificence of God. This is timely I think because surely we are living in an appalling and absurd time in need of hope.
I’ve always loved symmetry, especially imperfect symmetry where carved pattern is revealed and then lost but still the intention of the pattern remains. I also love the shape of the equilateral cross with its reference to life and death; arm-stretching cosmic hugs; whirligigs and flowers with stillness at their centers; the crucifixion and the flowering resurrection. My friend and I were talking about the small epiphanies of childhood–instances when we sensed an invitation from God: the comfort and mystery of a statue of Virgin and Child on a well-frequented path; wind animating the tops of trees; a song about the magi breaking into a child’s sad night. As I do these small dense painted carvings, I realize they represent hints of hope; modest epiphanies. They allude to those moments that happen in the blink of an eye, brief and easily missed but if you manage to pay attention, life-changing.
The Epiphany series will be shown at the Artist Project Toronto February 21-24, 2019
For more images from the series click here.
Hello. I haven’t written anything for a year. I almost forget how. First of all I am thrilled to have finished the first of two paintings for niches at ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church’ Toronto. I was honoured when Fr. Dan Donovan, priest and Toronto art collector since the 1950’s, asked me to come up with something to fit into the two niches at the church. If you know me at all, you will know that I do not normally do commissions. I find it very difficult. However I embraced the challenge and promptly caught mono so I was out of commission in both senses of the phrase for the rest of the summer. I finally finished and installed the first piece a month ago. The frame which I had great fun carving was made by carpenter, Brent Orenstein. The church is open to visitors if anybody would like to see this piece.
And here is a movie I took while the organist was rehearsing during installation. It isn’t great as far as movies go but it’s kind of interesting.
The Trip to Salvation Mountain
Now you might see a bit of a theme here. Something old is new again. Something interesting is brewing. After the commission was done I had the chance to go on a quick trip to Long Beach California. I quickly sourced local Outsider artists’ environments since that seems to be what holds my interest lately. I had the chance to see Watt’s Towers and Salvation Mountain. Now Watt’s Towers was wonderful: I loved it. But Salvation Mountain with its unabashed bible verses and idealism spoke to me in a whole different way. Here’s Watts Towers first.
And Now More Words: Revisiting the Bible
Yes my Easter Show is coming up but before it does, I am taking part in another wonderful event. Actor Ken Welsh is doing a live reading of the entire book of St. Mark at the local Anglican church in Uxbridge. He was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to have a few paintings around the church while he performs. Aside from the cross (seen below) that the church commissioned me to do several years ago, I will have two or three new works as a preview of my Easter show and I am also borrowing back ten or so older biblical paintings from local people. Victoria Joannou, violinist, will also be playing. This is a great opportunity to see Ken live. I saw him do this at Soulpepper theatre in Toronto a couple of years ago and it amazed me. Actually it was a sold-out weekday matinee and I went alone and sat beside a woman I didn’t know. I made conversation by saying I was surprised the theatre was so full on a wednesday afternoon. She looked at me as if I had an IQ of about 37 and said slowly and emphatically “well….. it’s Ken Welsh!” So there you go.
And Finally My Easter Show
This one is called Postcard from Salvation Mountain. What can I say but I hope you will come. Or should I say “wish you were here”? I hope to open my house this year as well as my studio. It is slowly becoming a piece of art in itself. Give me 20 more years….
I know it isn’t summer yet but I am looking forward to it. I started Spring off with my yearly Easter show and coming up very soon will be the Lake Scugog Studio Tour: May 6 and 7.
This is new for me. I am hoping it will give those a chance who missed my Easter show to see my latest work and enjoy spring in Utica.
I will be spending the summer on more boats, angels and the Tree of Life. All here in Utica. There is an exciting commission in the works which might be interesting to document as it progresses. And remind me (whoever you are) to tell you about Billy Parker. I need to write about him ASAP. (Speaking of angels.) Here are a few pics of new work:
Keep your eyes open for my subtle new street number sign when you come by:
Who am I and how did I get here? I have asked myself that question many times in the last two years. My name is Lynne Mcilvride. I have been an artist ever since I remember. I find speaking awkward: my first language is colour. (It’s a good line that has served me well.) A little background to explain tornados and cats: I have a new studio. No, let me back up. I had an old studio in a farmhouse and an old marriage in that same house. I was happy there until I was dumped like a dog out of a moving vehicle. I grieved. I was kept sane by my friends, my faith and my art. For those of you who have followed my work, you will not be surprised by what happened next: I kept painting using new metaphors. My art has always been personal, autobiographical, symbolic, expressive. A tornado soon appeared in a dream and it started a huge series that has not completely spun out. Here is my artist statement I have reused a few times:
Weather is such a powerful metaphor for human emotion. And that writhing weather monster, the tornado, is a particularly apt way of describing the trauma, the fury, the intensity of loss. It’s hard not to take a tornado personally: it gets to the point by narrowing down and strikes a specific spot. It comes out of the blue. We don’t know what hit us. We are caught in a whirlwind of emotion. Everything is up in the air. There is no emergency plan for these twists of fate.
To put a positive spin on it, a tornado (that snaking shape-shifter) is just energy. It makes a long-winded metaphor that lasts and lasts because it wrecks and then absorbs whatever it touches down on. What starts out as an emblem of emotional devastation contorts into an expression of fury and then is reborn as a metaphor for unstoppable creativity, play, and passion. Like the flowering cross, can it become a cornucopia? Blooming tornados! Elijah goes to heaven, Dorothy goes to Oz, one thing for certain is we are pulled out of our orbit and dropped in a different place, undone.
Hello! Supposedly this is the last day of my Easter art show. In reality I cut it short because of the newest stay-at-home order. The good news is, you will still be able to visit in a month or so. I am also keeping my online gallery up to date regarding what is sold and what is still available.
Here is an interview about my work by fellow artists, Charles Hackbarth and Marc Cohen:
I would like to invite all of you to make an appointment to visit my studio this Christmas season. I don’t normally have a Christmas studio show but these are hardly ordinary times! Masks will be worn, distances kept, halls decked. I have been working on new painted beaded relief carvings both large and small and there are a few 2021 calendars of my work for sale. Scroll through my online gallery to see what work is available. December 10-24. Email for an appointment: LynneMcilvride@icloud.com
Hello!! Time to make an appointment to see my work on the Uxbridge Studio Tour weekend, Sept 19-20. Email me as soon as you know when you would like to come, how long you would like to stay (15 to 50 minutes) and how many are in your party. Here is the Uxbridge Studio Tour webiste. There are over 40 wonderful local artists: some will be participating only virtually and the rest by appointment. Masks and distancing inside, social distancing outside. See my other post, “How to Visit an Artist”.
And here is a gallery of my new work.
Being a fool myself, I suffer them gladly. You might say, I’m a bit foolhardy.
I’ve told this story many times to many people who have needed to hear it. I have been trying to write it down for years. The following is the story of Billy Parker:
Seven years ago, I was drowning in grief for the loss of my 27 year marriage and had just started living very much alone in my little cottage with an art studio steps away. I loved the place immediately: it was the perfect place to weep and I wept it clean. I remember eating toast alone every morning, afraid I would choke on inhaled crumbs as I gasped between sobs. I had just one week earlier finally taken off my thin, miss-shapen wedding band and placed it on the nail that held up a calendar, stuck on an earlier month. I hadn’t laughed in months. I was quickly getting to know my new neighbours who share my driveway, a thoughtful and caring couple of retired teachers, who I will call Al and Wendy Nees. It was a very snowy early March, about 5:00 in the afternoon. The stage is set.
A knock on the door. I was surprised to see a strange little man, head angled forward, smiling with unbridled enthusiasm. He looked wiry even through his dark winter clothes: a friendly jockey; a hungry garden gnome. His voice was loud and enthusiastic. Hi! I’m Billy Parker! I‘m cycling cross Canada (in the snow, remember). I depend on strangers for a place to sleep. Just one night each place. I’ll be gone before you’re up. You can look me up on the computer! SOMEBODY’s writing a blog about ME! He sees I am looking slightly uneasy, confused… Now…I know you’re a singlelady (he says this as if it’s one word) —I can tell by your car……. so I’m not going to ask to sleep in your house but….what’s that building? That’s my studio, I said, wondering what else my Pontiac Vibe said about me. I was just about to go do some painting. Well, it’s perfect for me. Just need a roof over my head. Got my own bedding and food. I’ll be gone in the morning. I just need you to help put my bike inside. I looked to see that Al and Wendy’s cars were both in our shared driveway and I thought, well….he is either a crazy man or an angel sent from God. His smile disarmed me and I chose angel. “OK” I said. I helped him put his heavily laden bike in my studio thinking if he was a lunatic and committed a crime, his getaway vehicle would be a bicycle in the snow…and I felt safe. Now I can’t pay you, but you can take my picture, he said, smiling as if he had given me a gift. So I did–and I turned up the propane stove and as I left, I said “is there anything else you need?” Well, I could do with some grub, he answered quickly, ignoring what he had said earlier about having food. I gave him the choice of spaghetti or steak and he chose steak with a pure and childlike joy, astonished at his own good luck. I told him to come into the house at 7:00 when I planned on asking Al and Wendy if they would like to join me for a drink. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be alone with this holy fool but I sure wanted to hear his story!
Now unbeknown to me, Billy had stopped at every other house on my country road including Al and Wendy’s. Wendy doesn’t miss a thing and I can imagine her mortified look as she and Al followed the crazyman with their eyes from their house to mine. Al! Al! She’s letting him stay! She just helped him put the bike in her studio! What are we going to do? He could be dangerous! What is Lynne thinking?! When I shyly phoned to see if they would come over while Billy ate his steak, I was surprised at how quickly they said yes and how relieved they sounded.
So I made Billy’s supper with the last steak I had nicked from my ex’s farm. He, Al and Wendy met at my house at 7:00. We all sat around my hand-painted table. I put the steak before him with a salad on the side. He drank the wine I offered and for the next three hours proceeded to tell tales of his travels so tall I laughed the entire time at the absurdity. I couldn’t stop laughing. Let’s see… there was the time he stayed the night at a butterfly collector’s house but none of the wings matched. He met a counterfeiter of Canadian tire money and also a prostitute who accepted Canadian tire money. This went on and on. He didn’t stop talking even to eat until finally Wendy stopped him and said, “ Billy, Lynne has made you that nice steak and you haven’t touched it for the last two hours. Are you going to eat it? His reply was mysterious and in my new frame of mind, hilarious. He said Nope not yet. I’m just going to drink wine and talk and when I go back to Lynne’s studio to sleep I’m going to bring the steak with me and cut it into strips with a pair of scissors. Then he looked at the salad and said, and I’m allergic to that green stuff. Then he told stories for another hour and wish I could remember them all. They were crazy tales and I laughed and laughed. I felt under a most hilarious spell. I do remember taking my attention away from him for 5 seconds to ask Al something and when I turned back to look at Billy, he seemed to have fallen asleep sitting at the table until it was his turn to talk again. Just before he was ready to head out into the studio with his scissors and steak, he leaned back in his chair, looked around and said, In my travels I stay at a lot of different places. I stay at some normal places and some weird places. This is definitely one of the weird places. I’m not sure why he said that: it could have been my slightly unconventional decorating or it could be the large series of tornado art-constructions in my studio. Regardless, I found this too hilarious. He thinks I’m weird?! Looking back I felt honoured. He was true to his word and left in the morning before I was up after having coffee with Al and Wendy who still now rise hours before I do.
I can’t say I recommend my course of action to everyone. But in this instance I am grateful I let this fool stay. I thank God even now for this gift. I never before (or since) laughed so much in one night and this laughter broke down so many roadblocks and walls, disarmed ogres, made demons flee….and started a very nice friendship with my neighbours.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.