Inspiration Elsewhere

uh-oh. It’s already Wednesday, and still not blog-post from me this week. Sorry. Falling down on the job. Here goes:

I’m on a train at the moment — barrelling back to Kingston after spending a couple of day s in Toronto. It was  a nice visit — brief, but good. I went to a very special performance last night at the Gardiner Museum (my main reason for heading to the big city, actually) by musician Christine Fellows and visual artist Shary Boyle. Boyle has been doing what she calls “live projection” (check out the link) for awhile now. The performances are amazingly magical, and I feel lucky that I was able to see one in which she collaborated with Christine Fellows, a fabulously talented musician.

Actually, one of Fellows’ music videos features the duo in performance — it’s a really beautiful piece. You can watch it online (I can’t provide the link right now because VIA restricts site access… a bandwidth issue, I think). I will post it later today.

Anyway, I figured that since I was in the city, I’d go see Shary Boyle’s work currently on-view at the Art Gallery of Ontario as part of a special solo exhibition called ‘Flesh and Blood‘. I was not disappointed by the exhibition. These days, she makes beautiful, strange, sometimes full-on demented little porcelain figurines…lots of fun to peruse.

And while I was there, I decided to take a stroll through the other galleries. It had been awhile since I’d been to the AGO, and with nowhere pressing to be, I figured I could do a little meandering. It was a truly lovely time! I feel re-energized about the power of paint and the emotional impact a brilliant patch of deftly applied colour can have on a person. Frank Gehry‘s beautiful architected spaces don’t hurt either.

On the 4th floor of the gallery, I spent a little time checking out a show called ‘At Work: Hesse, Goodwin, Martin’ — though it featured three not-obviously-related female artists, it focused on the fact that they all had busy studio practices.. meaning they spent a lot of time in their studies puzzling things out, making drawings, generally performing the act of creativity. It was this show in which I found the most graspable inspiration in my current role as a graduate student.

I was particularly taken with a number of glass cases featuring the notebooks and sketchbooks of artist Betty Goodwin. She was a practiced notebook-keeper. She used them to jot down fragments of ideas, loose, scratchy sketches and anything else she didn’t have time to fully-realize but didn’t want to forget. What I was particularly impressed by (and a little inspired by, too!) was the practice of notebook keeping — as both a creative outlet and inspiration, and as a means to chart the general progression of  life and work.

I used to keep a journal with some regularity, but somewhere along the way I dropped the habit. Many great minds/artists/creative types have done the same. Now, my mind chock-ful of inspiration after my art-viewing excursion, I’m inclined to think it’s time for me to take up the practice again…

(Anyone else keep a journal or ideas notebook? I’d love to hear about your practice!)

This train is hurtling speedily towards Kingston now, so I’m going to sign off and turn my attention to a book of the academic variety. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not on holiday!


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