07.24.14Summer 2014: Shadow-balanace

It's been a year and a half since I've written here. I never really considered people would read much here, but I've received a few emails lately asking why I hadn't updated in so long. Mainly, I post immediate thoughts and ideas on Twitter. My handle there is @thickthickpaint Follow along if you like. Some of it can get quite dark, but it's where the shadows meet the light and spawn new ideas for paintings. Balance is the key. I need both sides of the moon.
Yes I still paint daily. The new series "Harbingers" has been received better than any before. Many of the paintings sell within hours and even minutes of me posting them online. I thank you all for that.
Perhaps, they are selling quickly because the prices are much less than previous series. I've received some questions about that too. This is the first series I have painted which is mostly flat. The backgrounds (or base layers) are still painted thick initially, but the objects/subject matter are flat. In the past, these would have been the parts which extended from the canvas 1-2 inches. All that paint costs a lot of money. The flatter series of Harbingers, means I can offer the paintings for much less $$. Good for people buying their first piece of original art or adding to collections. There are still 50-100 layers of oil-colour glazings before I start to paint the birds and other objects, so it continues to be a labor of both love and patience.
The Ravens and other birds in these new pieces came naturally. I spent almost ten years living in the Northwest Territories where ravens are a part of daily life. I've always been fascinated by them. The myths and stories behind them. Closer to my home in The Okanagan, they are there everyday on the telephone poles, lamp-posts and barbed-wire fences in the field I take my dog to run each day.
This past year saw more commissions from both private and corporate collectors. It seems the shadows and silhouettes of these birds connect with many of you. More than I expected. If you see something you like, message me for payment plans and options. Shipping in North America is still included in the price of all paintings.
I hope wherever you are, whatever you are doing, your world is filled with colour, light and balance

01.12.13Jan 2013

It's been an interesting year. Those who have known me for a long time know that every few years I do a 180. I find something that scares the hell out of me and take it on to see if I am up to the challenge. That's actually how I stumbled into painting (a decade ago this year). I've been fortunate that art saved me on many levels. This year I ended up studying Healthcare and nursing. Like every other new adventure, it changed my entire perspective of reality and how I interpret the world. In many ways it feels like these two paths have been on a collision course for a longtime. Art and Healing. Art and Mortality. Art and Acceptance. Art and Gratitude. That's a big one. The brilliant nurse who is also my instructor often says "If you got out of bed, can move your fingers, know where you are and can use the bathroom on your own? That's a great day right there". I agree. Studying Anatomy and Physiology you realize how complex we really are. How at any momet one of a billion things could go wrong with any of us (and often does to many). I'm doing practicum in a place which reminds me daily how fortunate I am on so many levels.
Simple things beome more important daily. Watching my dog run, sleep, the ability to still paint. Alot of what I am processing is crossing over into the pieces coming out this next month. They may appear a little darker, but they are filled with light. My own mantra has always been Balance Above All. The shadows and shades making their way to the end of the brush are just tipping the scales where they need to be right now. Trees. Trees Everywhere. The other day I realized that every single new painting I am currently creating is taken from a different tree in the field I take the hound each day. I was stunned for a minute when I recognized it, but it makes sense. On a subconscious level. Trees represent balance to me. Cycle of life. Good and Evil mythologies. Trees are everywhere. Figuratively and literally. I'm currently painting for a competition of sorts. There is a theme. Trees represent everything about that theme to me. I don't know if the judges will feel the same way, but it's simply my own interpretation. Today I stumbled upon the music which completed everything in my own mind for what these paintings need to be. Right down to their titles (most of my titles come from the music I was listening to while painting them).
Somehow Art and Nursing are going to work together in my world. Not sure how just yet. Probably in the Eden Project sense. For now, I am just filled with gratitude to the universe which lets me get out of bed on my own, still know where I am most days and paint.
J.

09.30.11Fall 2011

It's day one of The fall Okanagan wine festival 2011. Grapes are coming off the vines and the awards were handed out last night. Tinhorn Creek received a gold and 4 bronzes. I've been commissioned to create the art for their new offices below their amazing new restaurant Miradoro at the winery in Oliver. For winesmakers, "It's all about the dirt". The minerality of the Golden mile, Naramata and the Black Sage bench. The volcanic Mount Boucherie where I live. It's where it all starts for the grape growers. For myself, music is the soil from which the grapes of my art grows. I've been listening to alot of older Ryan Adams and Regina Spektor during this recent series. I'll be posting pics here in a few weeks of all the new pieces.
Recently I bumped into some friends who bought a couple paintings earlier on in my carreer. They've moved here to the valley too. They asked why I hadn't updated this online journal in so long. I never considered that many people would actually read it. I suppose I need to commit myself to updating it more frequently now that I know. Thanks for letting me know LR and MP!
I've put some work up at the restaurant at Bonitas Winery in Summerland. Absolutely stunning views there and culinary delights by Chef Colin. If you are in the neighbourhood for winefest drop in on them.
I donated a piece to The Penticton Art Gallery for their annual summer fundraiser gala and auction. Levis auction house from Calgary presided over the event and my painting took the second highest bid. I was uncharacteristically present (I don't always do so well in crowds, but this was such an amazing night) Shouldn't and doesn't really mean anything, but the momentary excitement of the auction was alot of fun. I'll be doing it again for sure next year. I recommend you attend if you are in the area. It's one of the better fundraisers I have been to.
I continue to donate art to the Bill Brooks Foundation Gala (prostate cancer research) each year. Virgin radio style guys (and houseguests) Jason and Aly are on the committee and throw Calgary's biggest bash of the year each January.
I'll be headed off to Toronto and Ottawa later in the fall for some work and pleasure. I'll try to remember to keep updating here.
Colour and light,
J

12.19.10Okanagan Artworks Article.

A 7 page article of Jeff"s work with several photographs is featured in The 2010 Gift Edition of Okanagan Artworks. This book makes the perfect gift for the art lovers in your world.

09.24.10Fall and New Horizons.

Fall has arrived early here in the Valley. Last year at this time I was still swimming, but I don't think I'll be taking a dip again until the New Year's day Polar Bear swim in Peachland. The colours have begun to change on the hillsides while the valley remains green and flowers still abound (for a few more weeks I hope).
Earlier this month I dropped off about 20 pieces to two wine stores in Calgary. You can now find a collection of available pieces at "Cork" in the Northwest and in Mount Royal village at "The Wine Shop" which opened a couple of weeks back (see the link for location and info).
The newest pieces in the Private Label series feature a collectively equal 5 inch horizon line on the bottom of each painting. In this way, buyers can "mix and match" multiple pieces to create their own composite or emsemble, which best suits the size, colour scheme and style to their personal tastes. In this way, YOU become part of the creative process, assembling an entirely unique synthesis of your own. These pieces are now available at Latitude Art Gallery, Cork and The Wine Shop in Calgary. They have been priced with idea that collectors can create their own multi-panel piece.
I keep meeting such amazing people from the wine industry here in the Valley. Meyer Family Vineyards, Haywire Wines, Dirty Laundry, Red Rooster. These creative artists in their own right keep me constantly inspired with new wine related paintings. Watch for several more coming online in the next few weeks. As always, I welcome your comments and ideas!
Have a colouful fall
J.

08.07.10Summer, Shoes and alternative spaces.

It's no secret to those who know me that I have a wee addiction to shoes. Artists throughout history have battled alcoholism, addictions and mental/emotional challenges. So I figure shoes are not a bad choice comparatively. If you spend as much time on your feet as I do painting (and working my other job) you probably understand the logic of a quality pair of kicks. I just happen to appreciate artistry, design and workmanship. It's what I strive for in my own work. I see shoes as art I get to wear. Alot of time and thought goes into the creation of quality shoes. I thought perhaps I had "kicked" the habit moving to a small town. Then, yesterday, I walked into Asphalt shoes in Kelowna and met owner Tim. (See the link launch at the end of this post for a very cool 360 tour). Tim is passionate about good shoes. So much so, that he jumped through hoops and went to NYC for a meeting for the exclusive right (many might say privelege) of selling Yohji Yamamoto Y3's in this little valley. Collectors and wearers of these Japanese designed, Italian made Y3's, will scour the internet searching out their favourite pairs (as they are made in small runs and hard to find). I had been searching for a particular pair when I stumbled into Tim's shop to find the exact ones I had been coveting (I may have heard angels sing, I'm not confirming or denying it). Tim doesn't crowd his shop. It looks more like a smart gallery with select pairs easily viewed minimalistically (is that a word?). Instead of endless racks, Tim's walls are covered with art of his favourite local artists. Call it Kismet, 24 hours later I have my shoes and Tim now shows some of my work on his walls.
I've always been fascinated with alternate art spaces. Be it a restaurant, cafe or yes, shoes store, you reach an entirely different audience. One who might not ordinarily step into a gallery. There is also the opportunity to actually meet the people who buy your paintings, a treat not always afforded in the sometimes, relative anonymity of galleries. I think Tim and I will see more of each other. You can see more of his shop at the link provided here.
It's summer in the valley. Hot weather and fresh fruit and flowers. Smoke from 400 forest fires sometimes fills the air. Wine tourists flock to the boutique and major vineyards for tastings. People seem happy, despite the occassional highway closure and traffic. The hot nights are perfect for painting and the dry desert air speeds the curing time between endless layers of oil glazings. This is bliss. A period I give thanks daily for a life I am fortunate enough to live. Many new wine inspired works are finding their way to the canvas and on and out to galleries, cafes, shoe stores and beyond. I hope wherever you are, you find a moment to soak in the sun and the heat. Fall will be here soon enough with its colours and sweet airs. If you see a painting you like, now may be a good time to make me an offer...I'll probably accept as I lay by the water dreaming of new shoes.
colour, light and wonder,
J.

12.16.09Trattoria Life and "That vase"

I've always been involved with restaurants somehow. Trattorias usually. Something about the mix of Italian food, wine, music, coffee and colours has always resonated well with my soul. Working in them while I as in highschool. Then to pay for university. Then to pay for travel. The dream, as I was always told, was that you worked restaurants until you succeeded in your "real job".
Being the extremist that I am sometimes am, I worked them until I finally owned one. That was some years ago now, but what a rich, enlightening experience it was. I remember the day that art was sustaining me enough that I didn't have to work in restaurants anymore. I celebrated quietly by myself (having dinner in a restaurant of course). The first day I awoke with determination and a sense of freedom. I walked the short 3 miles downtown to my old studio that night (I paint best in the wee hours) made coffee, selected the music and dove into the paint (literally if you have ever seen me at work.).
This was the dream! And dream it was.
For awhile. Then something funny happened. I got bored. I painted each night and slept for most of the day. Filled the rest of my time with books and music. It was a quiet productive period when I created a vast amount of work. After about a year something strange happened. I was in a grocery store on a Tuesday night with a friend. Not the busiest night as far as grocery stores go. Suddenly all the people made me feel nervous. "What are all these people doing here!" I said to my friend. She just looked at me. That look I have seen before when people who are kind enough to care about me let me know ever so gently, that I may need to re-evaluate my priorities. The look was enough. It occurred to me I had fallen into another cliche. The isolated artist. Left to my own devices, I have a tendency to lean to the extremes. Working alone, my days became more and more isolated because I was on a reverse time schedule from that of most of my freinds and society in general. Now I really do covet my private time and need space to work alone quietly, but I think what happened is that I became disconnected. I can only speak for myself, but my own job as an artist is to interpret the world I move through in my own unique way with my on perspective. When your world and perspective slowly narrow, the influence and joy of people and the experiences of interaction do as well. I found my work becoming less intuitive and more a "job". Now please understand, being a working artist IS a job, but for years before I had always found a simple balance.
The next day I went and applied for a part time job at a Trattoria in Calgary. I've never really looked back since then. The balance works perfectly for me. Working in a public environment keeps me connected to the world and enriches my life on so many levels. It becomes by default, my social life of sorts. The energy, laughter and youth in Trattorias (and restaurants in general,) feeds my muse and leaves me excited to get back into the studio. I've been very fortunate in that many restaurants (including most I've worked in), have asked me to hang my work in their establishments. I feel honoured to play a part in setting the stage.
The other day I spoke with an old friend of mine in Toronto. She's an accomplished writer with a few extremely fine books under her belt and countless articles for major publications. Lately, she has been drawn back to the Trattoria-life part time for the same reasons as myself. We laughed at the shared absurdity. This is a woman who has known me since we were both teenage dreamers with aspirations to one day ditch the aprons and set about "making art".... and we do.
Now about that vase...the one that appears in so many paintings. People have asked me why that same vase appears often in my work. It's actually sitting on the counter in my kitchen. It's blown Italian glass and reminds me of infinite possibilities. The curves are so feminine, or are they plant like? Each day I see that vase in a new way. Each day it appears to me differently. In some small way I hope my paintings have the same effect.
Happy holidays. Here's hoping you and yours find joy, colour and light in 2010
J

09.14.09Down In The Valley...

It's been over a year since I last wrote here. So many changes. Foremostly, I have moved to the beautiful Okanagan Valley. I think I will flourish here. The flowers, peaches and winegrapes certainly do. Surrounded by water, mountains, sun and vineyards, I will have no trouble finding constant inspiration. Calgary was so kind and good to me on so many levels. After 6 years there and 8 before that in The Northwest Territories, I believe I am due for the heat. Fortunately, I have always painted through the night which is good considering I seem to be spending my DAYS asleep on beaches or by the pool. I'm currently working on new pieces from past series'. The flower and wine paintings are so apt to continue here and they continue to evolve of their own accord.
I spent the past year working on a series called "Dancing naked In the Colourfield". Those pieces have been received very well and most are sold. They are unfortunately, almost impossible to photograph due to their reflective (glass-like) resin coated surfaces. Great to look at, but a photographer's nightmare. If you are in Calgary, you can view the remaining pieces at Bonterra Trattoria, Cafe Mauro and the new Lattitude's Art Gallery (on 11th ave between 5th and 6th street SW).
Last year at this time i took a trip down the American West Coast highway (do it before you die...trust me). I was in negotiations with a gallery on Rodeo Drive in L.A. when news of the stock market crash were announced and sadly those plans were nixed. So many galleries have fallen in this recession. I do believe however, the cream will rise to the top. It's a moment for us all to reflect on what is important to us. Quality work will trump fads and market bull/bear runs. It always has. I personally think it might be a very good thing for the art world, even if difficult for all of us (artists, dealers and collectors alike).
Wherever you are reading this, I hope your world is filled with constant colour, joy and wonder.
J

06.05.08glass houses.

I went for an eye exam today. My eyes have been irritating me for a few months now. Being that my work relies so crucially on my being able to see I was a bit nervous. I expected to hear that years of exposure to paint fumes and terps had done early damage. Turns out I simply am at that age where the muscles can't work as hard. I was happy to have the entire battery of tests done (even that glaucoma one where they blow a little puff of air into your open eye). I wanted all the tests done. No permanent damage has been done. I just needed a mild prescription for doing my detail work on the paintings (also for reading and typing on computers). I WAS quite blown away (almost diturbed) by how much clearer everything is with the glasses on. I am curious to see how/if this affects my current works. I had no idea there were so many cool and funky frames out there. Those who know me well understand I have an addiction of sorts for Italian shoes (It's only natural, I spend alot of time on my feet, or perhaps this is just me rationalizing). However, given the multitude of amazing frames to choose from, glasses just might become my new guilty pleasure. In time I'm sure all of them will inevitably have paint on them somewhere too.

05.28.08Confessions of a Gallery Rat.

I like to hang out in art galleries. I like quietly looking at the paintings and imagining what the artist was thinking/feeling or listening to when they painted. I like listening to people talk about the paintings. What they see, feel and think when looking at them. This gets particularly interesting when they are discussing mine. I have heard people tear my paintings to shreds. I like that. I really do. I am comforted that not everyone shares my vision. How boring it would be if they did! I also like whn people see things in my work I didn't even know were there myself. Tha actually does happen. The sub-conscious often has an agenda of its own I am completely unaware of. Sometimes it takes a someone who doesn't know me or my work to bring it to my attention. A "clear" eye. I like when people talk out loud in galleries. So many people whisper! As if they are afraid to be overheard of their opinions. My thought on this is that anyone who has the balls to say "hang my work for the public to see", better have tough skin because not everyone is going to like it...and by hanging it up you are saying "look at this...it deserves to be seen" Which to many viewers invites the response "oh really?..prove it". That is how I see it atleast. There is a respected study that says 80% of people will never enter a gallery because they are intimidated. That seems very sad to me. There should be no such energy in a gallery that encourages this (though many do). When I choose galleries to represent me, I am careful to make sure that the staff are hospitable and welcoming. Not just to sell, but to encourage the guests to become more interested in art. My main gallery here in calgary does a great job of this. They try and appeal to everyone on some level. Some may argue this approach, but I like it. Personally I do not believe art should be exclusive. Art is like wine I think, you can make it as complicated as you want, but in the end it all comes down to taste and there is no right or wrong. You just have to know what you like. This of course can change as you become exposed to more and more artists and their work and your personal palette develops. I show my work in many "alternative gallery spaces" as well. Cafes, restaurants...anywhere. Some friends have questioned the wisdom of this; asking me why after taking the time to have my work in galleries I might "cheapen" it elsewhere. To me the art belongs to everyone until someone buys it (perhaps even then). A gallery does not define validity, the artist should have that confidence in their own work. I want as many people to see it as possible and to experience it and share their opinions. If the people will not come to the galleries why not bring the art to the people? people who experience art in alternative settings are more likely to become excited by it and venture into a gallery to experience more of it
Galleries also feel like home to me. I am at peace amongs all those paintings...almost as if they were people I know...old friends. Sometimes in this busy, busy city. it is one of the few places I feel at peace. I can grab a coffee and chat with the staff at the gallery and know they are as passionate about the work on their walls as the people who created it.
If you are ever in Calgary head to Artists of The World and introduce yourself to Bill or Sylvie. You'll see what I mean. The art experience is YOURS to define and create. It's an interactive process because the viewer plays an active role in bringing them to life. Whether they like them or not.
J.

04.12.08She dreams in Blue

I`m writing this from Mexico..navigating another foreign keyboard and trying to find where they hid the keys on me..I needed a break from the colour red...sort of. I`ve been painting so much these past few months that i felt i was in danger of falling into a pattern...of style and ease...so i bought a last minute ticket and headed south without paints or access to any. I`ve been indulging in a strict diet of blue here...blue ocean, blue sky, blue gym...it`s a rest for my eyes...sometimes i think the reason so many artists where black is that they are tired of looking at colour all night or day at work and they don`t want to make decisions colour wise ...atleast that is certainly the case for me..i indulge in good clothes but almost always only black or white...doesn`t matter how nice they are, eventually they are getting paint on them...it just happens...i can find paint on every piece of clothing i have somewhere..sometimes even inside them (don't ask)...
Being here is sort of strange...its the first real vacation not involoving art somehow that i have taken in a few years..and it's both comforting and strange to be alone...i don`t think i have said anything to anyone for 3 days except thank you, more coffee please, more diet coke please and more matches please. I kind of needed this quiet time more than i will admit but i have also been thinking about someone alot while here. Kind of wishing they were here...but knowing they can't be...just find myself smiling sometimes and thinking about what they might have said in certain situations...that laugh..that smile..that voice
but i AM indulging..totally...8 hours in the water each day..barely getting out...i missed the ocean so much i forgot..she always draws me back...her sound her smell her taste...floating in her, diving under her and feeling that embryonic silence...this has been everything i wanted..
i needed this trip...
hope you enjoy yours....

03.29.083 Steps From Euphoria

So much has happened lately...and i have been too lazy/busy to keep track of it here. 2008 has seen an incredible sudden increase to the work. After a hesitant beginning, almost all my venus Envy girls have found homes (that and I finally got to see my dear friend Carrie Catherine perfrom her new album live...her last album being the inspiration musically for the series).
Against my own rules I sold almost all the new series "Dancing Naked In The Colourfield" before they were even documented properly for the site here. I am now in the process of tracking them all down one by one to show here.
One of my butterfly paintings is currently featured in the Shaw Cable commercials.
I am dreaming of a farmhouse somewhere on the prairies...a spot I can escape to in solitude to paint, read, cook and live the quiet life I often find myself missing from my years at the cabin in the Northwest Territories.
"3 Steps from Euphoria" is the title of a recent painting in the new series. 3 steps from celebrating something beautiful that was. 3 steps from mourning the loss of something beautiful that was. 3 steps from finding what comes after and discovering what I have always believed again....everything happens for a reason. 3 steps from embracing that everything is happening exactly as it is meant to. 3 steps towards and 3 steps away from all of these things and more.
I am in a state of transition and it is reflected most quickly, as always, in the work that I do. Late at night after painting, my mind refuses to shut down and let me rest. After books fail to slow down my thoughts I find myself browsing the MLS listings in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. There is a consistent undercurrent in my intuition that change is impending. Change IS always of course, but this feels like something more poignant. The lessons I learned at the show in Italy are taking root and making themselves visible in so many areas of the work and spilling over into life...interchangeable....who was it that said "if you want to know something about me look at my paintings"? You will atleast get an idea of what music I am currently listening to. Painting becomes more ritualistic for me each passing day/week/month. I have always started by lighting candles and selecting music. From my earliest days of the Voodoo/Blues paintings art has always given me what I imagine others find in Church. In almost every way, It is when i feel most connected to the world...strange in that it is when I am truly most alone (never lonely though) Within the layers of colour and texture i find meditation and trance. Indeed, trance becomes more and more a constant rotation in the paint covered cd player. 3 steps from Euphoria, many hours from sleep, innumerable rambling, jumbled thoughts spilling over into each other as the colours get more and more complex..wherever you are, I hope you are seeing them too as you dream.

01.29.08-47 is too cold to paint

I had to quit painting tonight because the pipes in the basement of my studio blew and there I was covered in paint and terps and other nasty chemicals...bee-lined it for my truck (which has a history of faithfulness in the cold) and off to the nearest restaurant where I know people, to wash the toxins off.
I kind of enjoy this weather. It reminds me of the years I spent living in the Northwest Territories in a cabin with a woodstove where you either chopped wood or died...literally. There is something engaging about remembering we are small in the face of nature.
So while the city hunkered down, I headed through the empty streets to my studio to listen to the rattle of the radiator in the 100+ year old building. I lit the candles and was just settling into my groove when the water was shut off. Various expletives (better unrepeated here) were spoken. Apparently the pipes 6 floors below and actually under the city spanning for miles, had burst forcing the closure of restaurants brave enough to open their doors tonight.
The reason I was annoyed is because I am hitting a new stride. Elevating some aspects of the work with lessons learned from my last show in Italy. There is something brewing beneath the surface of the work and it is also transcendental. Experiences and a variety of books and information of late are finding their way into the paintings. A book someone gave me years ago by Nobel prize winner (for chemistry) Kary Mullis keeps coming into my mind as I work. As do other books and of course music of many kinds. The new pieces are colour studies finished with a heavy saturation of hard resin coatings. I'll post some when the weaher warms up enough to take pictures in natural light outdoors. I am naming the new series "Dancing Naked In The Colour-field" with a respectful nod and re-wording to the title of Mr. Mullis' book. I find it apt to title many of my pieces in reference to the influences (of whatever kind) that have found their way into my own work. Personal experiences always play a role as well, but the interpretation of the world into another form through paint is the chemistry (alchemy?) I understand best. The studio is my own laboratory and the paints/terps/resins/oils are mixed in my own makeshift test-tubes of colour and texture. This is a living experiment with an infinite number of hyptheses and variables. Perhaps the two pursuits are not that far removed. Admitedly though, I do have alot more wiggle room with the results.
Colour and Light
Jeff

12.11.07a fine ending..

It's my last day here in Florence and last night was the best yet. After walking the city all day and exploring all the parts i had not yet seen i returned to meet my friend Nafisa for dinner. I half expected Nafisa not to show. Nafisa won the grand prize for painting the day before and that brings with it alot of attention and opportunity. Personally i thought the judges chose perfectly all the awards. There was so much to choose from and i saw countless paintings which deserved awards but there are only the 5 in painting. Nafisa showed up on time and we wandered the streets for a bit. Being only 5 pm, the restaurants were not open for another 2 hours. By chance, we stumbled into a mask making shop. Everything i had seen artwise, and here i stop to include ALL art in this magnificent city, this was by far the best. This man is a master. Both Nafisa and i were humbled by the man's talent and endless exploration fod subject matter. 20 years later, my study of theatre history with Dr. Joan Hackett came into play as i remembered all the characters of the Comedia del' arte. We spent 2 hours in this shop and both felt we could have spent an entire day in the tiny space and never have tired of it. The man happily is approachable and is in the process of a lifetime teaching his craft to his daughter to carry on the tradition. I bought a mask...i had to...we tried on dozens. He let us take pictures and was gracious and open. We were both impressed when he told us he had been to the Biennale himself (as a viewer) and knew both are work in detail...one gets the impression this man is all about the details.
Later Nafisa and i stumbled onto another gem...a Trattoria which had possibly some of the best food i have ever tasted (and amazingly cheap prices). It was tucked away down an alley that seemed to be used for latenight peeing only. The decor and again attention to detail in every aspect were inspiring. Nafisa wants to do a joint show in NYC in a year and i am all for it. We discussed why she returned to the Biennale for a second time and i finally get it. All this time the organizors and judges have been saying it is not about prizes but about who we meet with, network with and connect with on artistic and life levels...i knew this already but it was hammered home last night. Nafisa is humble about her award but, also excited about the opportunities it will lead to (i honestly don't believe there was anything or anyone who deserved the award more). Funny how all three people i became very close with and with who i shared a mutual vision, won awards and were recognized for what they do.
For myself, i have learned heaps. I am also inspired to take my work to that next level. I have endless ideas. After dinner last night i lay in bed awake excited about where all this will end up in my art...I have so many things i want to try. Fortunately, the thing with this art, is that i have my whole life to exlore and discover and immerse myself in it.
Last night was one of those nights i will always remember. I had thought i might not return to Firenze...if only because there are so many places i still want to see and investigate...but last night and again this morning I realized i most definately will return... I am looking forward to coming home....it helps having a good home to return to. See some of you soon....

12.09.07the prize back home.

well the wards have been given out and i didn't win anything. I did however learn so much during this exhibition and am excied about working on my ext pieces (of varying styles). I met some amazing people who i hope to have a chance to visit or have visit me. My three closest friends here all won awards...two for sculpture and one, first prize for painting...and they all genuinely (sp?) deserve it. Nafisa, the painter who won, will have a quiet dinner with me tomorrow night as we are both here a couple extra days and could use the decompression of sittingby our work for 9 days straight...this WAS WORK..that i cannot stress enough. . It's raining hard here and i just had chinese food at a counter i the rain on an old street...very surreal...kind of like that early scene in Bladerunner...except no flying cars...

12.07.07Regionale

My aunt and i share a long history of getting the right word at the wrong time and vive versa. It is in the spirit of this practice that i have found myself perplexed for a few days. I dislike labels when discussing art but ubderstand they often expedite the focus of conversation. All week people have been referring to my art as "regionale". Now, i am no art critic or writer but i know the word is often used to dismiss art as trite or simple. Imagine my dismay as viewer after viewer walks by and states (right infront of me sitting there i might add) "mah-l-to oh-ree-jin-ah-lee" (i am adding the phonetics on my own here...bear with). It was not until this afternoon when the President of the Biennale brought by an esteemed guest that i had finally had my limit. Fortunaely before i made a spectacle of myself it all sank in....oh-ree-jee-ha-lee....original. I am such an ass. Or more to the point...how very "regional" of me to make the mistake. I was feeling a bit more confident after that. One constantly wonders what we did wrong that people didn't look and just walked by. Or worse, looked at the person's work beside us and not ours (that smug bastard...oh well in 5 minutes he'll be calling me the same as they look at mine instead). I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by nurturing, confident (and most importantly) humourous artists from all over. We seem to be a little family by now knowing each and every of each other's nuances after sharing the same 400 square feet for the last 8 days. The Dutch are by far my favourites people here. Such amazing attitudes and they hold nothgingagainst me for not speaking their language (despite the fact that they ALL speak mine). I have a few good leads for shows in Holland when this is all over which would suit me fine....

12.06.07missing links

Generally, i don-t miss much when i am travelling (save for my bed and my evil little black cat). I usually assume people will still be there when i return. Life goes on and i wade back in when i arrive home. I am finding this time however, I am also missing my studio terribly. The act of being in that most special of places where the candles burn, the music plays and the creativity happens. I have so many ideas i want to just get into right NOW. But i have to wait until i have my own space again to work in. That and the ritual of the Vietnamese or Strong French dark roast to begin.
Italian men know how to wear scarves...it/s an art form and each man seems to have his own style of studied un/affectedness. There should be a Biennale for the art of tying/wearing the italian scarf. I am sure i would not make the first round but damn i would love to be a judge. It is hard not to feel underdressed in the presence of such mannered gents. One wants to rush out and buy an entire new wardrobe (the gucci and Prada outlets are close by but i am not caving in...my aunt-s friend Nancy would be disappointed, but unless she buys a painting in the next 72 hours she doesn-t get a vote...yes i would love to indulge, but i am thinking of all the paint and canvas that one coat could buy for my next series...and besides...i already bought the aforementioned aunt her own Prada shoes last year...now accepting applications for surrogate nephew...must have urgent need to spoil and shower with love and gifts).
Again, i am finding it hard to navigate the Italian keyboard, so i apologize for the syntax one last time.
Despite the humour i am feeling a bit homesick today. Not that i am not completely enjoying myself...i most certainly am. I have a habit and practice of enjoying my solo travels. I have been invited to the Biennale in Dubai in April, but i think that may be too soon for me and a little to costly so close to this one.
maybe i-ll settle for a good inexspensive Italian scarf instead.
j

12.05.07Mercato

Foregoing lunch in a cafe or tratorria today, i decided to wander into the market and explore the local produce. Above the open butchering on the first floor is the second level where the fruits and vegetables are laid out in abundance. To my delight, i found huge sweet cherries in season. Cheaper than i normally pay at home (in season) and twice the size and flavour. Tiny wild strawberries that look like mini-red pinecones and every kind of cheese you can imagine. Wandering through the Market with my lunch i started thinking about where so many images here will end up in my next batch of paintings. I can see them already.
Olive oil will be playing a large role...(in the figurative not literal sense).
someone told me i would not find seafood off the coast in Florence but it's everywhere and i am loving it...along with wild boar sauce and game hare. my appetite has returned and i am making up for lost time. Fortunately all the walks i am taking seem to be burning it off. I sat in the sun today with my coat off. Just thought i would throw that in to all my people at home snowed in and enduring -20 to -40 depending on where they are. This artists life is such a burden it's killing me. ...or maybe that's just the gelato....
j

12.04.07David and Tina

Just came back from a visit to see the statue of David. I had not realized the scope in size of the work...towering above you it is both intimidating in size and shocking in beauty. The bonus being that in December there were no lines or crowds.
Yesterday I attended a seminar on Tina Modotti. Italian model, photographer, actress and activist who died an early death after an astounding life. I'll be looking more into finding a more detailed biography on her when i return home. The presenter finished with Pablo Neruda's famous poem of her death to the reporters of the world. It left many crying openly. Such was the intensity of the presenter Gregorio Luke. Many thanks Sir.
Tomorrow i'll be visiting the Uffizi to see more works ...in truth it gets a bit overwhelming...i stood before the Duomo this morning and realized that given the detail and endless adornments i could stand there for hours or days and never feel i had taken it all in...On a smaller more varied scale, visitors to the Biennale must feel something similar. Theree is so much to see...after 4 days i am still discovering pieces i had not seen before.
Another presentation today i had to walk out of...and that is rare for me. But my world and my art has no place for affectations or the celebration of the dark empty spaces simply for the sake of being "artiste-ic". What i witnessed might have been better represented by the cast of SNL in a parody of itself...
Each day i meet more wonderful people...artists and visitors to the show alike...this is just too much fun
j

12.03.07the real work...

To everyone back home who might think i am lounging around in cafes and wandering the Prada boutiques...think again.
This is the real work.
Painting is a joy. A blessing and a gift that i never tire of doing. The process is like meditation.
But the real work happens at the exhibit. Usually during opening nights. You stand and meet so many people in such a short time. It can be overwhelming. Not to say it's not gratifying. It is. After all these people have come to see something i created and i am more than grateful and humbled by that.
Now imagine extending that opening night into a day from 10 AM to 8 PM. Now let's extend that day to 10 in a row. You get the idea. I am exhausted by the end of the day and am asleep by 9 PM. Usually that would be when i would be going off to paint all night. There is however this MIRACLE that happens. Then i realize it's happening over and over.
It goes something like this;
Imagine 800 displays...imagine trying to get through them all...after about 100 or so your eyes are exhausted. You start to skim..it happens...it almost has to. Sensory overload. The majority of the guests to the Biennale wander through until something catches there eye...my fellow artists in my area have watched this and taken note...
So, here's what happens...i sit in my chair by my paintings. I try and watch all the people and their reactions to all the work (not just my own).
Then someone walks through...their eyes pqss my work...scan over it...look to the next...they turn and kepp walking...
and then they stop.
and they turn around. They slowly walk back to the work taking it in again. Then standing their and looking at it. Actually looking at it and discovering for themselves. They might take a picture of it (cameras are allowed here). They might have someone take their picture infront of the work. Or they might even ask to have their picture taken with me.
And that is the miracle. Having stopped someone in their tracks that they return to your work to look closely. It happens over and over. Not just to me but for others as well.
For myself the comments keep coming back the same from all over the world.
basically " We have never seen anything like this"
or
"This can't be all just paint...that must be metal or have a form underneath"
Some even sneer or dislike it..and believe me when i say i love that too.
The Canadians are well represented here. I will write more about them/us tomorrow.
I am about to walk into the misty rain of the Italian morning and go sit in my little hard chair and listen and watch.

12.02.07a few simple words..

it's morning here and i just had a shower and went out to greet the rainy, misty damp day..somehow it's not so bad and actually lends an air of romanticism to the whole scene. Yesterday they set up a realy old carousel-merry go round in the park by my cheap but clean hotel...totally surreal; watching these men set it up in the dark of late afternoon and early evening in the rain...with all the lights on and no other rides around it was odd and beautiul, like something out of a David Lynch Movie..i took some pictures. I find inspiration in the strangest places. Ed Reuben, an art writer and critic from NYC and the master of ceremonies for the Biennale, stopped by my work late yesterday when everything had quieted down and many people had gone home. What followed was a conversation that made my trip here entirely worth while. I've been looking for honest criticism for some time now. Not to say that he was critical...but he confirmed many of what i consider my weaknesses and also my strenths. Graciously, the man spent quite some time with me when we were both tired (and he could have easily bowed out the few times i tried to politely give him and exit...but bless him..he stayed) The underlying belief i do have in my own work in certain areas he recognized and for years now i have been waiting to speak to someone who saw what i was trying to do..and knew where i was going and also knew what would get me there and what might hold me back.
This type of open discourse without agenda is what i have been missing for a long time. Ideas i had considered were re-visited (albeit, in words, not on canvas). If i was hoping for or expecting anything from the Biennale (and i was trying not to), this was it.

Later this week a couple of us artists who have made friends will visit the Uffizi (the museum of art)..Reuben also gave me a list of certain ones to look at there..knowing that i am contemorary, but the backgrounds in my work lend themselves more to Renaissance or Venetian Plastering/Glass...his words to me were..."Go and see them...i think they are going to change your life"...
A few simple words from the right person can really change your day...or life
who did you speak to today?
j

12.01.07Biennale Opening

well eating yesterday was not a good idea (i had the flu hit me just before i got on the plane)...my stomach is not interested in food...and is clearly telling me so. I am still sick and that sucks BUT! i am in really good spirits and basically happy and having a good time and hey i am losing weight from the fasting!. They just had the opening ceremonies of the event with medieval drummers, trumpeters and flags...oh sooo dramatic...and fun...there are alot of people here and its rather intimidating seeing 15 000 people walk by your work...some really liking it, some hating it and some (the artists) knowing the work that went into it and being impressed...i have met some incredible artists and some amazing people.. i have gotten some great ideas and inspiration for my own work..i have no regrets about coming..it truly is a once in a lifetime event...actress Anne Archer will be giving a speech on Thur afternoon fort her art/charity...so back to the show where i sit in a chair and watch hundreds walk by and some stop and look..i actually prefer standing to the side like a fly on the wall...more interesting to see reactions that way...Being someone who has a hard time in crowds, this hasn't been too bad..i chalk that up to the artistic energy in the room...and there is alot...of every kind imaginable. The work reflects it and i embrace all aspects. The joy of art for me in a show like this is that there are so many approaches, levels of talent and visions...none is better than the other...they are all merely following the path that has been given them...some further on that path...some farther back...the leaders reaching back to the others and bringing them along...encouraging them with their work, their words their grace etc...and the less seasoned artists reminding the others where they have come from and just how exciting this whole process is and can be...it's win/win for everyone. I am happy to find little evidence of competition...even if it is a juried show...that spirit defeats the purpose of this exhibition....me, i'm just happy to soak it all in and see how it surfaces in my work later on. There is a place for every kind of art...every vision..and finding yourself smack in the middle of 800 different interpretations of that is liberating..rather than look for comparisons, i have found affirmation in my own approach to the canvas
i apologize for not being able to mproperly navigate an Italian keyboard..the grammar and lack of punctuation shows...but hey, you get the idea...
i am daily reminded of the insightful letter sent to me a year ago by artist Lillian Ibroca...you were right about everything...and i am taking advantage of it all...
ciao!
jeff

11.30.07Biennale day 1

Well I am here in Florence Italy (learning to navigate an Italian keyboard)
I just hung my pieces for the show at the Fortezzo de Basso.
There are 800 artists here. I am overwhelmed by much of the work.
I am however, happy that after seeing all the work I am more than confident my own belongs here. Before I decided to come here i contacted some artists who had attended previously. One, Lillian Ibroca, wrote me a wonderful letter of encouragement and her thoughts have been on my mind this morning. The art from all over the world represents every possible style and approach. I am humbled to be in such amazing company. I have met one artist from Canada already. Her work is stunning. The hanging system is simple but was not useable for my pieces, so i had to find a hardware store and work out a wiring system. It's all up now. Some of the free-standing sculptures completely take my breath away...probably because i am drawn to the 3-dimensional aspect of art. I am off to have a siesta before exploring more of the city...it certainly has changed since i was last here in 94' I'll be updating little blogs here daily. ND i miss you.

11.28.07Italy

I am just putting the last items in my suitcase and getting ready to get on the plane to Italy for the Florence Biennale. I'll be checking my email while away so if you have questions about the paintings feel free to contact me here. I'll be back on December 12th and post some pictures of my work from the exhibit. Happy, safe and healthy holiday season to everyone!
Ciao,
Jeff

10.24.07Biennale pieces available for advance sale

I have added images of the 3 pieces I will show at the 2007 Biennale in Florence, Italy. Dec 1-9 (see gallery section) The paintings are available for advance sale and will be available for delivery upon return from Italy in December. This is an opportunity to purchase paintings included in an internationally juried show. These paintings will be available exclusively from this website.
Recently I had the joy of personally giving one of my paintings to a gifted and brilliant Canadian recording artist who is known the world over. While I will not reveal the identity for personal reasons, suffice to say her own charitable actions and gift of music made this an honour for me. To this person I say "yes you do deserve it...see your own journal if you need further proof"
colour and light,
jeff

07.29.07Saskatoon

I drive East on the back roads across the prairies. The truck filled with paintings to show to another gallery. Through the fields of canola so yellow one could never paint them in justice. The sun beats a farmers tan on my driver side arm and the stereo is blasting the cds Colin burned for me for the trip (Andrew Bird's entire back catalogue). Colours compete for my attention under the sky blue sky. Trevor gave me clear directions including where to slow down to a crawl to avoid tickets. I should know better than to eat gas station food....should
I hit Saskatoon around 5:30 and when i arrive at Carrie (Catherine) and Curt's place the fire alarm is blaring and babies are crying...i know how to make an entrance. Film crews are lugging cables to the roof of the condo which overlooks the city. The band Nathan will be filming a show on house concerts here in a couple hours as the sun sets...It is infact bliss. Nathan roll through their alt-country set and everyone is smiling and tapping their feet. A strong wind blowing the girls hair in ways machines never could... Much later we cross the city to Carrie's mom's place to crash so the band can have her's for the night..i can't help thinking....this is what music should be about...
Carrie's parents are out of town and we have the beautiful historic place to ourselves..i crash within seconds and sleep better than i have in months (no paintings to be worked on here).
the next day i realize my intuition that Curt is one cool guy...we share many tastes and he has a quick wit and intelligence to match...Carrie and i go to the Mendel Gallery for coffee and to check out the current show and then to Rouge to leave some paintings of my own for consideration. (curiously after leaving them i get three calls for offers from them elsewhere across the country....weird).
We are invited to a barn dance and i am thinking of declining but decide against it. We wander down by the river for some ice cream and then hit the road out into the country..the moon rising unbleached titanium against pthalo blue night...we see the barn through the few trees as we arrive...if ever there was a colour of barn-red, this is it. The guy who owns the place has set a huge area inside for the band with tables, food, all you can drink pop (yay!) and a bar...all proceeds are going to the farmer's union...some kick-ass bands have played here and none but a few knows it exists...even the outhouse is festooned with xmas lights and vases of fresh picked prairie flowers....the barn is like a cathedral...the band does it's best to satisfy the dancing parishioners..ok so here's the truth...i am terrible in crowds....i love people,,,just prefer them one on one...but here i feel safe, happy and content...these are good people...all of them...not one drunk...all smiling and dancing and making even us strangers feel welcome...i climb the roof of the bar inside the barn and snap some shots..my immediate thought is I HAVE TO PAINT IN THIS BARN ..i talk to the owner who says...come back anytime and do it!....Western Hospitality and trust that would be....
Later that night we drive back to the city and listen to a dj spin at The Barking Fish (a lounge with the sense to put real art on the walls)...i get lost driving back to Carries's Mom;s where i'll crash by myself in silence..
i gas up the next day and swing by Carrie's to say bye...knowing i am going to be back here soon...i make record time across the prairies (according to Trevor)..smiling the whole way...stop in lazy (the good kind) beautiful Beiseker for a stretch and then head home...my head filled with new ideas for works....my heart filled with gratitude for cool friends..my hands eager to begin..

07.04.07adapting...

Recently, someone i worked with had to reconsider his approach to a project. Often, situations arise which force an artist to reconsider their vision and re-evaluate. In my own work, this happens more often than not. "Errors" and "setbacks" which once baffled me have become welcome challenges (though i admit to a certain amount of initial frustration). It is the attitude with which we engage these challenges which determines if we can make diamonds from the proverbial ashes. I cannot list the number of times the colours went wrong, the canvas fell, the brush swerved or a host of other "arrghhs!" have taken place while deep in the paint. In almost all these cases i was led to a new colour scheme or technique. Some of my most popular works are the ones which almost went under the boxcutter. These days if i truly do not know what to do with a casualty, i set it in the corner and return to it days, weeks or months later with a fresh eye and an open mind. Who am i to say a work is ruined?...as someone close to me once wisely said..."hey, you only painted it ok?..." true enough.
***my most recent works are now showcased permanently at Bonterra and Vicious Circle.

05.17.07Jeff is featured in the May issue of Avenue Magazine.

for the full story, pick up a copy in Calgary.
Summer is here. On my way into the studio tonight, the lilacs were in bloom and the scent carried up 5 floors through the windows. Armed with the new Wilco CD "Sky Blue Sky" I can't help but let the warm night air carry me back to painting flowers and butterflies. Still trying to decide what to take to Italy in the fall to show. As the deadline to ship draws nearer I have my heart set on "the Girls" of Venus Envy....but we shall see where the next few weeks lead. anyone with suggestions, I am always interested to hear.

05.02.07 The Biennale In Italy

I have been chosen from the world art community as a Canadian representative at the 2007 Florence Biennale.
Participation in this event is by invitation only, I have been selected by an international jury comprised of numerous people from the art world, including members from the National Academy of Art (India), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Brazil), and the Metropolitan Museum (New York, USA).
The Florence Biennale is a great opportunity to increase my exposure as an artist on an international scale, and to enhance the reputation of both Alberta's and Canada's art scene. I will be attending with my work and soaking in all the colour, light and excitement.....

01.15.07Venus Envy

My latest series "Venus Envy" is starting to roll out of my studio. See the gallery section of the same name here for a preview of what's to come. The painting "Giselle" will appear in the main catalogue at the Biennale in Italy and will most likely be one of the 3 pieces I take with me to show in Florence. Limited edition, signed Giclees of this piece are now available in sizes ranging up to 18x36" (the size of the original painting). A short run of 25 of these will be printed (on canvas) for $450 each, available only from this website. Please contact me here if you are interested.

08.01.06cross-pollination

I used to dj house music back in the 80's. I remember when my parents took me to New York City and I bought my first Mixer on 42nd and my first of hundreds of house records from Broadway Music in Times Square. Back then you could count the number of House records on both hands. Later in University, I had my own show on the school's radio station and guested in Detroit sometimes on 107.5 WGPR. Mixing and cutting up breaks and deep house rhythms. Of course music plays a much more important role in my current work. Before starting any new painting, I carefully choose the genre and artist and then let the tunes lead the brush. When i see my paintings months later i can always tell what i was listening to. The parallels between DJ'ing and painting are many. One is the active observer and what you create becomes a starting point for interaction. Both are solo endeavours for the most part. So a few weeks back I sold a couple new pieces and took the money and bought new turntables and a slew of deep progressive house tracks, mixed with all my oldschool faves whose grooves I can naviagate blindfolded (ebay is a treasure). It's good to get my hands working again on something tangible with different results. With a good groove of any music style, I will trance out blissfully and almost disappear. While painting, this has obvious benefits. I am aware and present but not critical. The music becomes the guide. Bliss.
On another musical note a couple weeks back I drove south and picked up my friend/musician Leeroy Stagger. We drove into Waterton National Park on the Montana border and laughed, listened, looked and just generally got away from our lives for awhile. I first met Leeroy through my friend Indio, who was guesting on guitar for Leeroy's first show...he only had 8 songs back then. In 3 short years Leeroy has exploded on the scene and his writing and music have developed in ways I can only be amazed by. Leeroy gave me an advance copy of his new album to check out and driving home across the dusty hot prairies I was quite literally blown away. This new album (release title "Depression River") has everything. There is laughter and longing, tension and tears, love and loss and all that falls between. I can't remember when I last heard a better album. Maybe Joel Plaskett's "la de da". Leeroy is already on the highway to great things (he just played the Uk with Ron Sexsmith) and I am happy for him. I recommend anyone who appreciates good writing and arrangement to get this album when it comes out in September. visit Leeroy's website at www.Leeroystagger.com
I do listen to a variety of music. Currently in rotation at my studio are Tegan and Sara, CocoRosie, Bill Bourne's "Voodoo King", Elliot Smith, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Indio Saranavja, North Mississippi Allstars, Juniour Kimbrough, Wilco, John Digweed's mixes, and always, always, Inga Liljestrom. Summer Nights are the best time to paint. It's a concert of one, a danceclub of solitude.

07.13.06Saatchi Gallery, London England

The Saatchi Gallery in London, UK has developed and online resource for contemporary artists. I am delighted to offer a few pieces of my own there (thanks Siobhan!).

06.23.06Governor General presented with painting


Calgary artist Jeff Beier’s painting “Ivy Gave Me Wings" was presented to The Governor General of Canada, Michaelle Jean on Monday June 19th. Following the opening of his solo exhibit “Midnight Son" at Birchwood Gallery in Yellowknife, NT, The Governor General was given a private viewing of 50 pieces. Ms. Jean was presented with the painting by gallery owner Tony Watier on behalf of the people of the Northwest Territories as part of her official visit. The painting (of a butterfly) was chosen for its representation of the spirit of change, beauty and freedom
Beier’s paintings will be featured in the forthcoming film “Green" scheduled to begin filming fall, 2006

04.10.06Binge-Painting

I have a family member who introduced me to the the phrase "Binge-painter". A description I can identify with completely. As I left my studio for home at sunrise today I smiled at the irony. ".... am only going in for an hour or two..." Once again emerging several hours and the next day later; Eyes bloodshot red (from terps and diet coke)..dirty, stinky and walking somewhat crookedly. The parallels to other addictions (and their resulting effects) are stunning. My own personal experience is that addiction is addiction and will eventually manifest itself in some other form of obsession. This has certainly been the case for me. There were days long ago when my stumbling home of this appearance meant something entirely different. I would awake hours later hiding from the unknown destruction I had incited. These past years I awake with anticipation to get back to the studio and see the results with a fresh eye. My choice has been to accept addiction, hold it and channel it into focus; rather than be carried away in it's winds of chaos. Addiction will always be a part of my life and a binge-painter I certainly am. When the morning slips over the shoulders of the mountains and spreads its fingers across the wet streets of the city, I am content to offer up my latest cocktail of colour and texture....This is far better than the broken glass and tears of the past. Yes Sandy, I AM a binge-painter too...These days I am a "regular" only at the art supply stores ...time to hit the studio for the first rush of the day....better this way.

03.20.06pushing the canvas

Yesterday I shared lunch and thoughts with fellow painter Toller Cranston (Toller is mounting a staggering exhibit at AOTW which opens this week, coinciding with the world figure skating championship). We shared our perspectives on the need for change, desire to grow and test new waters. Toller seemed at that point many artists get to when mounting a show. Relief and joy coupled with the ache to shift gears and expectations. We agree it is much too easy to rest in that comfort zone. Toller referenced Picasso, who conciously challenged both himself and the public to embrace new directions. I find a geographical change of scenery, new cds and a good book give me a good kickstart. Toller recommended and swears by Guatemala (I'll give it a look). This conversation comes on the heels of one similar two days before. A wise gallery owner spoke the same thoughts to me in her wish to nurture both artists and public. A pleasure to find an owner with a supportive vision comparable with what most artists want and many more need. Toller, like myself and others, will undoubtedly find new ways to push the canvas. In the meantime his current offering astounds in both scope and imagination. If you are in Calgary, visit www.artistsoftheworld.com in person if you can.

03.17.06Cleaning Your Studio Space..

I am a terribly messy artist. I try...I really do! But the fervour with which I paint seems to breed reckless paint refugees from my canvas. In anticipation of a studio visit tomorrow I gave my space the deep clean tonight. Despite the Swiffer wet cloths a-swiffering and the triple layered drop cloth laid down when changing studios last, I am faced with the reality that I will have to sand the floors again this time when leaving. I paint horizontally in huge dollops and whirls. I envy and admire greatly, those artists with the economy to "never spill a drop". Me? I lose buckets..and then sand floors and refinish them. BUT I get to use my kick-ass sander!!! (yep.. really am just a boy at heart). Balance some might say.

03.16.06words of wisdom

We perceive abstraction and figuration as contradictory. In contradiction lies energy – most things that are important come in part out of contradiction

Not sure who said this again..but i found it on Robert Genn's Painter's Keys website.

03.09.06Belgo Opening-Featuring Jeff beier

Belgo, Calgary's new Belgium-style lounge/dining club opened last night with red carpet and over 600 invited guests (all of who seemed to bring a friend along). Jeff was the guest artist in attendance. Jeff set his easel on the upper level and painted while there was still elbow room (not long) and then mingled with guests discussing the 8 pieces on display for the opening.