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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Scrooge of a Season and the Gift of Giving

The air is cold now but not crisp. It's wet and grey-toned here.There must be at least 50 shades of it. Hardly a cause for celebration. The sky is mostly overcast, giving a dull and laden feeling to most everything under it. Certainly including me. 

No birds sing. Exception: the crows and ravens still quarrel, sounding a bit impatient with the state of things. Strong winds sometimes break through this diminished daylight, with occasional gusts blowing away the endless clouds and fog to show a moment of sparkle upon the waters or a glimmer of distant snow-covered mountain. 

Winter-solstice is approaching. I feel like a bear., Truly. I should be hibernating, but there's just too much to do. Although I do want to do much of it, a seasonal lethargy has gotten into my bones and makes me cringe at taking action. Instead, it directs me to the couch. Where I have been sick with a cold-flu-(whatever) just to justify it.

Not the right attitude for Christmas, Chanuka, and winter holiday season. Humbug! I feel like Scrooge, without his ill intent. I'm just morose and lethargic. Hardly a time to join in on the generic la la la la lah. More in tune with some old blues music, which is exactly what I have playing. Oh, Bessie. 

Nothing like the blues to get a gal out of this sorry state. Which brings me to the good news in all this glum . It's a genuine gift of giving in the form of an art donation to the VGH-UBC Art Foundation. For many years this foundation has collected a rather remarkable art collection, with works adorning Vancouver's main hospital locations. Art acts as a form of connection, healing, joy, contemplation, enrichment, and all the many varieties of experience it offers. 

I am very pleased and grateful to know that three of my works have just this month been selected for the Art Foundation collection. I have donated the paintings, and am told they have a new setting in mind for them, which I will be most interested to see. Even on less than happy occasions visiting the hospital, I have been so very impressed by the art that greets me in all sections of it. How much of a difference art makes. Perhaps this is especially so when it is seen in unlikely moments and settings. 
I'm so thankful to be a part of this. 
All Things Bright, Greeting, and Praise: paintings by Janet Strayer, VGH-UBC Art Foundation
.And so, I will end on this up-note and wish you well this season of gifts and giving.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Focus on Female: Latest Digital Art Paintings

Art inspiration comes in spurts. For me, at least. While working on one thing, I think of another. They're not evidently related, or they may turn out to be. I can't tell whether or not until the work is done and I see what's what. That's how it works for me in the  progress of my "traditional" painting (i.e., moving paints around with brushes on canvas) and my "new media" digital painting (moving pixels around with electronic brushes on computer). There is cross-talk between the works in each media. 

I wish the art-world didn't segregate the two approaches as much as it does. But that's another long story. 

For now, what I'd like to do is show you three digital paintings I've completed. The first two are based on my many drawings of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty. The first, aptly titled Reconstructing Aphrodite, both deconstructs and reconstructs her in contempoary fashion, which itself begs the question of both love and beauty. The second, called Aphrodite Rising, imagines her rising from sea-into-sky, a form only glimpsed amidst the dazzle of her creation. The third was done afterward, with the female form still very much in mind. I called it Sublimation. That's a complex term with many associations. The story of what I mean here by it is:
The female form, powerful and direct, is sublimated into the surrounding context. Assimilation appears to result, but conformity is not the outcome. Instead, there is, perhaps under the surface, an activation of effective expression. Her presence in the world gains variety and nuance. as she gathers strength and resonance, . Well, that's my thought on it. The image came first, the thought later.
Reconstructing Aphrodite by Janet Strayer, 36"x30" Ltd. Ed./5
Aphrodite Arising by Janet Strayer, 36"x30", Ltd. Ed./5


Sublimation by Janet Strayer, 24"x36", Ltd.Ed./5

I like to focus on the female. It's important to me and its many formations defy formulations.  In art as in life.