Previous Show: Donna Williams & Kriss Boggild, “Surface & Strata” Sept. 8 – 30, 2018

Donna Williams & Kriss Boggild have both returned to Shavasana Gallery with an exciting new collection of photographs and paintings for their second show here in the past year, and I’m delighted to – once again – enjoy their creative expression on the walls of my Gallery.

IMG_3002

The opening – last Saturday September the 8th, 7 – 9 was well attended and fun. Both artists have an established community of friends and interested admirers of their work so it wasn’t hard to fill the room with art buzz.

IMG_3008

(the two images above show Donna’s photographic image enlargement of Leaves on Stone, #XIII on Stonehenge Archival Paper – and Kriss’s Triptych: “Train South” Acrylic Paint & Letraset on Canvas Board)

Shavasana has now been operating as a Gallery since April 2016 and, thus far, seems to be a well-received idea. The rewards are often intangible, yet must include the pleasure of working with talented creative types such as Donna & Kriss & the visual rewards of having exposure to their beautiful art for the four week duration of the show.

IMG_3004

(an image of faded Arabic Script from one of Donna’s trips to Greece, #II – on Stonehenge Archival Paper)

If you were unable to attend the opening or have been too busy to drop by the Gallery to see the current show – here is a brief walkthrough video of what you’ll encounter when you come by – the show runs until September 30! 🙂

Art Opening! Tina Farmilo’s “Stories & Dreams” August 11, 7 – 9 pm

I’m just getting ready to host Tina Farmilo’s new show “Stories and Dreams” this evening. There is a long-overdue and very welcome sprinkling of rain falling on our parched little island – I think we’ve been without rain of any consequence for at least 3 months.

It’s been two years since Tina exhibited at Shavasana Gallery, and I’m very pleased to be welcoming her back, and enjoying her display of colour, whimsy and story. They say every picture tells a story and this is most true for Tina’s work.

IMG_2977 Persephone in Summer (in her mother’s house)

Tina has been producing art for over 40 years and practices the concept of “beginners mind”…with “openness to possibility, eagerness and a lack of preconception – always at the beginning, free with her material and tools, with inspiration, imagery and expression.”

IMG_2976

“Two of the big pastels are part of an earlier series of rarely shown works which explore Tina’s fascination with the House as metaphor for the Self and the Body.” She has included these images as they fit so nicely with the exhibit theme “Stories & Dreams”

IMG_2974

If you are unable to attend the show (or would like a little preview of the show before you are able to come by) here is a walkthrough of Tina’s show with some of my rambling commentary 🙂

This show runs from August 9 until September 3 – hope to see you soon!

A fabulous evening of Bluegrass with “5 on a String”

Bluegrass Band 5 on a String put on a great show for Mayne Islanders last Wednesday evening August 1st, at Shavasana Gallery. With ferries plying Active Pass as a scenic backdrop, the boys entertained a crowd of 75 for over 2 hours with a great selection of original and traditional bluegrass tunes. We have a very inviting grassy area behind the Gallery which makes for lovely outdoor concert seating, and the weather, which has been quite hot recently, shed a few degrees to make the evening comfortable for all.

 

Band members Hugh Ellenwood (Fiddle, lead and bass vocals), Garry Stevenson (Guitar, lead and baritone vocals), Gordie Sadler (Banjo, lead and tenor vocals), Dan Mornar (Upright Bass, lead and tenor vocals), and Tim Eccles (Mandolin, lead and tenor vocals), have been playing together for nearly 30 years http://5onastring.com/ , and their on-stage humour and camaraderie reflects this lengthy bond – as does their music!

The Band also quite generously donated 50% of the door to a worthy local cause – “Arts on Mayne”, which, along with the proceeds from some delicious baked goods donated by local bakers – Astrid Bellem & Brenda Webster – brought in over $650 for the organization.

Here’s a video from the evening which gives a nice feel for the mood and the music of     5 on a String:

Art Opening! Tina Farmilo – “Stories & Dreams”, Saturday August 11, 7 – 9pm

Tina Farmilo returns to Shavasana Gallery & Café, after a 2 year hiatus, with brand new Paintings and Drawings. Her show is called: “Stories and Dreams” and we are preparing  an Opening Celebration on Saturday August 11th from 7 – 9pm – come on down for a chance to meet the artist, and to partake of the refreshments & conviviality – hope to see you there! 

Outdoor Bluegrass Concert at Shavasana – Aug. 1, 7:30pm

Bluegrass Band “5 on a String” returns to Mayne Island for an outdoor* concert which will be held at Shavasana Gallery & Café on Wednesday August 1 at 7:30pm. Last year they gave a fabulously entertaining show when they performed at the Groove as part of M.I. fundraising activities in support of saving St. John Point – thanks Guys! This year they are once again – quite generously – donating 50% of all ticket sales to “Arts on Mayne” (formerly known as the Mayne chapter of the Southern Gulf Islands Arts Council) before they continue on their way to a gig on Saltspring and then onwards to the annual Bluegrass Festival in Coombs.

This years concert will be staged on the outdoor grassy area behind Shavasana Gallery (457 Village Bay Road) which has a stunning view overlooking Active Pass. Weather permitting, we will be able to enjoy their music while ferries ply the waters and the sun slowly sets over Galiano. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at Shavasana Gallery, Thursday thru Sunday, or at the door. A limited number of chairs, blankets and pillows will be available, but please bring a folding chair or blanket in case we run out 🙂

As an aside, I’ve known Gordie Sadler the banjo player for 5 on a String for over 40 years. We used to jam together and it’s so great to see him remaining true to his Bluegrass roots after all these years. Here is a little bio from their website:

“We began playing as 5 on a String back in 1989, when Gordie, Garry, and Dan got together with other musicians to play together informally.  One thing lead to another and before long the band was invited to play at some of the regions most prominent Bluegrass Festivals including; Darrington, Wintergrass, and Chilliwack.  About 10 years ago founding member Carrol Oldenburg (mandolin) left the band and we were pleased to add multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Tim Eccles in his spot. Another year later Vancouver fiddle player Hugh Ellenwood agreed to enlist after the retirement of our original fiddler, Val Dean.   It’s been wonderful to perform all across B.C., Alberta, and Washington state over the years and the friends, fans, and relationships we have shared are priceless to us.   We hope that we can bring our brand of mountain music to your venue someday soon.”

Here is a wee taste of what you’ll be hearing on August 1 …..

If you’re interested in booking them for an event or have any questions, you can reach them through their website: http://5onastring.com/

See you at the show!

*weather permitting…if it rains we’ll move inside 🙂

 

Donna Williams & Joella Grymaloski “Nature of Reflections” @ Shavasana Art Gallery & Café- Friday October 20, 7 – 9 pm

It’s Sunday evening in mid-October. The fire ban has been lifted on this small water-challenged island on which I reside, and residents are taking this opportunity to clear months of accumulated debris by having autumnal fires.  These are the first fires we have seen in 4 or 5 months, and smoke now drifts down the cool valleys of this picturesque enclave.

Donna Williams – one of two artists who are showing with me right now – and I, hung her and Joella Grymaloski’s art several days ago. We are just gearing up for her Artist’s Opening on Friday October the 20th at 7 o’clock, and had decided to have a “soft opening” on Friday the 13th when her and Joella’s beautiful and beguiling pieces were made accessible to visitors to Shavasana Art Gallery & Café.

The show is called “Nature of Reflections” and centres around Donna’s intriguing collection of abstract photographs which were captured on a recent trip to Toronto. The compelling images are shots of the downtown urban landscape as viewed through reflections in high-rise glass towers. The effect is almost painterly in some instances and reveals the beauty of glass in its ability to capture and change reflected shape and colour.

This collection is beautifully complemented by Joella’s quilting artistry and her sewing and painting talents which she displays so nicely with a series of hanging prayer flags.

IMG_2336

If you happen to be reading this before October the 20th please join us at the opening on Friday night. There will be refreshments, Conviviality and Art – and a chance to meet the artists! Below is a little walkthrough video to give you a better idea of what you might see at the show, which runs until November the 5th. Hope to see you there (or, in this case -here! 🙂 )

Previous Exhibit – Famous Empty Sky “NNots – A New Twist” Aug. 17 – Sept. 24

On Thursday August 17th we had a fabulous opening for our current artist: Famous Empty Sky, and her new show “NNots – A new Twist”. Empty Sky brought a gallery-full of her beautiful “Mysterious Mixed Media Works”…

IMG_2299

…to Mayne Island residents and visitors alike. The gallery was packed and lively, the food and refreshments were delicious, and for two hours we were serenaded by the melodious guitar of Jim Heshedahl – bliss! 🙂

Catering was provided by the talented Astrid Bellem (right) and the lovely Mikela Jay (left) assisted with the evenings logistics – IMG_2279

Famous Empty Sky shared the stage with budding young artist Thea-Rose Mitchell whose small colourful paintings and bone china teacup candles were quite popular with guests.

img_2281.jpg

The fascinating beauty of Empty Sky’s NNots draws one in for a closer look at their intricate complexity, and often leads to new revelations as the viewer is treated to visual discoveries both large and small. In an effort to answer the many questions that were posed during the course of the evening, I’ll quote directly from her Artist’s Statement:

 “These new works are called the “Nnots”. They are true works of mixed media containing elements of drawing, printing, collage, photography, and painting. A fresh energy carries me along, producing images that reflect all my earlier work but with a new twist. Now, I have created over 60 individual pieces.  

           It begins with a simple knotted piece of fine handmade paper and sucks me into a vortex of art making unparalleled in my 40 years of visual art creation. My compositions simplify toward a complete form of abstraction, moving toward pure sensation. Details enlarge to a point where they are no longer recognizable and assume true abstract character.    

IMG_2301    

       I make no other work. I am at the mercy of the Nnots. It is glorious and hard. It is the most demanding work I’ve ever done. Requiring intense meditative concentration and constant honing of all my earlier skills, they take on a life force of their own. I am along for the ride and very grateful for the opportunity to be their humble scribe.

It’s all in the Nnots.

              They reflect all of my experiences and they get me through. They are the light in the dark. They reveal the beauty in the darkness. They are about capturing the moment of transition, that moment of stillness in the act of transformation.

             The Nnots are innocent, childlike but also, dark and dangerous. They mimic ancient forms and sing songs of science fiction sirens while referencing veins, arteries, orchids, and Japanese samurai. Archaic, totemic, architectonic, both crisp and soft, they float in a contemplative space. Synthetic yet organic, they reveal multiple faces like other worldly fairies bringing hints of the “oversoul”, of Buddhas, too. Wizards, princesses and dragons lurk between the folds.  

The more one looks, the more one sees.”

Several years ago, Mikela Jay produced a video about Empty Sky’s NNots which, in her own words was “a hauntingly beautiful journey, literally navigating in/out of magical landscapes, layer upon layer of soulful imagery…” here is that video – with a serene soundtrack by John Williams and a cello solo by Yo Yo Ma:

This show will run until September 24th – don’t miss it!

 

Butterfly Moment

It’s Wednesday May 3, 2017 and I am at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library doing a little writing for my Art Gallery blog. Most of my recent blog-based writing has been done at coffee shops, or at my studio on Mayne Island, however, for the past three weeks I’ve been coming here to write with my friend Janis Harper, as a little experiment to see if writing with another person can be more focused, productive, or…fun. Thus far, the experiment has been working on all three counts. At the very least it removes some of the insularity associated with putting fingertips to keyboards.

It’s raining out…cold and grey…and we are now about 7 months into one of the shittiest, longest, coldest, wettest winters in living memory. Perhaps the lousy weather has contributed to my prolific writing jag since late last November. The launch of my two blog-friendly WordPress websites (this one and www.clayandbone.com ) last fall has certainly been an encouragement to recommence the creative process. There has been a considerable hiatus since I last wrote plays for my theatre group –  Just Push Play – in the 90’s (www.justpushplay.ca) so this current flurry of word-based creativity feels good. We’ll see how it evolves.

But I digress…the butterfly moment…. Considering how grey and monochromatic it has been in this region for such a long time, I felt like posting this little video I took during a pause in one of our jam sessions on the porch last summer as a reminder that it will not always be thus. Have hope! Songbirds have begun returning from their winter time shares in Mexico, and it is only a matter of time before we are visited by gorgeous little creatures such as this…

…an idyllic moment at Shavasana Art Gallery on Mayne Island  🙂 (courtesy of the great video capabilities of the iPhone 6+)

 

 

Previous Exhibit – Angie Carson & Trish Mitchell – Nov. 11 – Dec. 22/2016

img_1653

 

We have a fabulous show opening tonight – Nov. 11, 2016 – showcasing the talents of Trish Mitchell (Mosaics, Mixed Media, Collage) and Angie Carson (Acrylics, Portraits)…here are some photos of the show and a video which will give you a taste of the beauty that is being exhibited here!

Searching for Shavasana (Part 2)

Shortly after I returned to Vancouver, in late May of 2013, I called the landlord to find out more about the situation on Mayne, ask  questions, and gather a bit of info. The building was indeed zoned commercial/residential which covered my need for accommodation on the island and gave me the possibility of opening a little business, making a little cash, and having a cool project to work on. It was a 10 acre waterfront parcel, with four additional cottages that were rented out either long-term, or for summer vacation rental. John Collinson, one of the original settlers from the mid-1800’s is buried on the property with his first nations wife,  several ill-fated children, and reputedly has, growing on it, the oldest apple trees in BC – making this particular piece of land significant from a heritage perspective. Ideas for a business, although unformed as yet, were germinating. What could I do there? As I was completely bereft of skills, talents, aptitudes or business acumen my first thought was…artist studio. As I was also – at the time –  completely devoid of motivation, drive, or work ethic my other embryonic idea was “self-serve coffee bar”…these two ideas would have to fall into bed together and germinate further so I could convince the landlord that I actually had a business plan, and was not just another flaky guy wanting to open up an …Art Studio Café. 🙂 I arranged to meet Dave the landlord back on Mayne in early June for mutual reassurance.

As I re-read my Journal during the early days of this exploration I am struck by two things: my wide-eyed interpretation of simple encounters as a kind of magical projection of wonderment (a woman carrying a basket of cilantro down a dusty country road would take on almost mystic qualities) and; the ongoing internal struggle between the two halves of my psyche as I weighed the pros and cons of this decision…uncertainty vs. impulsive commitment, indecision vs. strong desire,  – I was having a dialogue with myself on the pages of my Journal as I sorted out my internal tendency to overthink. Problems vs possibilities…I quite literally rejected the whole concept three times before I would ultimately commit. Blessedly, magic & visceral pull would eventually win out over fear and indecisiveness…but we’re not there yet.

The June 12 meeting with Dave  went well. As it turned out we had worked together as young guys in the 70’s, so there was a decent cordial recollection of being work chums from another era. Even this diminishes some of the misgivings and creates hints of inevitability. I managed to get inside the space, take some measurements and do some imaginings of what it may become under my tutelage. The cottage is petite…around 600 sq.feet with a cool front porch & ground level rancher-style access. The windows are plentiful heritage multi-pane with tons of light and stellar site lines. The best view is of  Galiano Island and Active Pass through which all of the regional ferry traffic travels. The kitchen and bathroom are small but adequate, and, as an out-of-town part-time dwelling it works magnificently for my needs. It’s suitability as a business though,  will be determined by the appropriateness of my ideas and the efficacy of “my plan”…(which does not yet exist, although  Mr. Journal gives an early indicator of “art – cycle – website – sculpture – café – thing”…I’m good at vague.

As these are my early days exploring Mayne Island, I was still in need of further convincing that this place had what I was in need of ….what I was searching for – serenity & the muse. Although Dave’s commercial property had incredible appeal and seemed perfectly suited to my “vision dream” I needed to unearth the tranquility and unleash “the muse” – that almost indecipherable thing that would allow creative passions to flow.

After years of urban cacophony and living a life that had been turned up to “11” I was in serious need of chillout. The difference between Vancouver and Mayne is vast. Although they are only 30 kilometres and a short ferry ride apart, the sense of decompression one gets upon disembarking from the ferry onto this idyllic rock is immediate. Things slow down, noises abate, enclaves of bliss abound and circadian rhythms tap you gently on the shoulder to remind you when it’s time to eat, or whisper in your ear “lights out…time to shut ‘er down for the day”. Beaches on warm summer days offer moments of  sublime delight…the sounds of happy children discovering the magic of oceanside play, while dogs run in slo-mo after tossed frisbees,  bathed in a golden light while gentle breezes blow and the tides lap. Forest trails and favourite mountain vistas can provide similar moments of  calm and beauty. Climbing the local peak and sourcing out a secluded spot with equal parts sun-generated warmth and the serenade of trees and birds is a fabulous way to meditate. OK….tranquility – check.

Despite my earlier indecisiveness and waffling, I knew from the moment that I saw Dave’s little commercial cottage that this quirky setting would provide a perfect tableau to unleash the creative inspirations which had been bottled up inside of me for some time. Whether suppressed or dormant, they were ready to come forth. My muse needed irony and diversity, and a boatload of new and unique experiences which the Gallery – Studio – Café , and life on Mayne Island would provide in spades. What tragedy and hard drinking had squelched, sobriety, stimulus, serendipity and synchronicity let flourish. Writing the script and setting the stage for this new play, unleashed some hidden talents, and gave creative energy to new roles I would be required to perform. As a creative generalist, they would be many….finding one’s Muse – check.

Despite the seeming perfection of Mayne Island and Dave’s little cottage business for my needs, my indecisiveness dies hard and I needed to return to Vancouver for further pondering, worry and excessive pensive thinking. In fairness to Dave, as the weeks slipped by and I’d not come to a firm decision, I called him to remove myself as a potential candidate for occupancy…but I couldn’t get the islands or the place out of my thoughts so I planned another trip in early July to do a final round-robin of my favourite island contenders…Saturna, Pender and Mayne. Unlike Goldilocks, I have to test each bowl of porridge several times.

After a year without wheels, I am back on the road and it does feel good. Liberating. I use my van as a camper when I am on these road trips for the convenience of being able to pull over and sleep anywhere on these accomodation-challenged islands…especially in summertime. I love all of these islands, and they each have something unique to offer, “They all have their own personality”, as they say. I start with Saturna, as it is the most remote, and will work my way back. Saturna is gorgeous and was one of my first considerations but is sparsely populated (300 people) and consequently is lacking in some key amenities. Pender is also stunning but the cycling felt so-so and I’m not fond of some of the turns their development have taken. Each island will dish out serenity and stunning vistas by the truckload, but there was only one “Dave’s Cottage”… And that was on Mayne.

Fortunately, when I returned on July 8 it was still vacant and beckoning. And the island was still dishing out its charms, despite, or perhaps because of, the uptick in people enjoying their summer vacation activities. Perfect days happen and for me, here, they occur with regularity.

It was on this trip that the ideas for the business were congealing and here that I first made reference to the “Shavasana* Chillout Project”, and also germinated the name I would give to my mask making activities, “Clay and Bone”www.clayandbone.com . My thoughts, creative energy and focus were now being absorbed by this looming commitment. It seemed there was no turning back, so, a few days later I called Dave to tell him I definitely wanted it and was ready to commit. The next day I awoke with serious apprehension & “buyers remorse” … I felt like bailing on the whole project.

But I didn’t. I continued my decision struggle debate internally and within the pages of my Journal…“march forward…explore…evolve..learn”, I exhorted myself, “this project may provide the necessary “raison d’etre” to boost creative energies & passions”…I said, and that I would “need to get in the correct mind space” I told myself, so I could “experiment with the place as an incubator for: website development, writing, creative space, playground, business, & the experience of living in a small community on an island”. I obviously required a lot of convincing, which only I was capable of doing. The two halves of my Gemini brain were fighting it out. And finally, from the Journal, “if not this, what?”. The desire to end the search and begin the creative work was strong – I called Dave to meet up on Mayne and sign the lease…I would reject the place one last time before the ink was dry.

It was all set. I was to meet Dave back on Mayne, the August 1st long weekend to sign the lease and take possession. As friends were vacationing there I came over a day early to hang out with them. Dave had given me keys to the place so I could show it to my friends and also stay there for a couple of nights. As we were all about to walk into the cottage, my soon-to-be new neighbour Billie came over and awkwardly injected herself into our group…acting, I suppose as an unexpected and uninvited “tour guide”. Unbeknownst to me, Billie was also the de facto caretaker, cleaning lady and security guard for the property – and also had a bunch of her stuff stored there for the interim. She was also exhibiting – as I would eventually find out – some old fashioned “island familiarity” (not to be confused with nosiness 🙂 ) which we city folk were just plain unaccustomed to. In a word – it was weird.

And of course, my friends, over dinner après, had to remind me of this and embellish upon it – they were British after all. “She likes you you know”…“She’ll be over all the time”…“It’ll be like Kathy Bates in the movie Misery”…“She’s going to break in and tie you to your bed” and on, and on…..and on. All in good fun.

As I retired back to the cottage for the evening, the clouds had rolled in, the wind had picked up and there was a hint of rain – it was a dark and stormy night. As I got ready for bed, there was a sharp rap on the front window “Who is it?”, I quailed, “It’s me, Billie…your next door neighbour” With trepidation I flung open the curtains and there she was, face inches from the window, wearing a bike light on her ever-present safari hat, “It’s blowing pretty hard out tonight” she said, “sometimes we have power outages and you might need…candles!” She raised aloft a couple of candles in each hand. As I absorbed this apparition I said, “Uuuuh…I think I’m good Billie…I have a flashlight – thanks though” The Brits were right…it was going to be a nightmare.

This thought stuck with me overnight. It wasn’t going to be a relaxing & chill experience…I was going to be pestered, hounded, and it would not be good. I’d be trapped in awkward encounters…badgered by Billie…I’d have to bail. Which I did. I saw Dave for breakfast at the bakery the next morning and – rather than sign a leasing agreement – explained my apprehension, and, once again, rejected the property. He completely understood. The deal was off.

We shook hands, I left, and went for a long walk in the woods and down to one my favourite beaches, and sat there, staring at Mt. Baker. And then I had an epiphany – there are going to be problems, difficulties, wherever you go. There is no escaping them. They are opportunities for growth, and need to be confronted – gently – and dealt with. I can handle this, I told myself, try it for a year and if you don’t like it you can move on. I reconnected with Dave and explained my change of heart. Once again, because Dave is a good guy, he completely understood. We met up and I signed the lease for one year…this time, I let the ink dry.

PostScript: Billie and I have since become friends and good neighbours. She’s big hearted, generous and kind. We look out for one another…and she’s right – it’s always good to keep a supply of candles handy for those blustery nights when the power can go off. I had found Shavasana.

 

*Shavasana is two Sanskrit words: Shava (शव, Śava) meaning “corpse”, and Asana (आसन, Āsana) meaning “posture” or “pose” and is the last position in Yoga – considered by some, to be the most important part of Yoga practice. Lying on one’s back with arms and legs splayed out, eyes closed and breathing deeply, Shavasana is intended to integrate one’s Yoga practice and rejuvenate body, mind and spirit. Although I would eventually use this Yogic term as a playful name for my Art Gallery/Café on Mayne Island, it was also a metaphoric and tacit recognition of my personal need for rejuvenation & healing after many years of pain.