Monday, 25 June 2012


Dear Followers of Kwoneshe Creations:

Of late I have been negligent and have not been posting any information (good, bad or indifferent) on this blog.  In fact the reason I am here today is because over the past week or so several people have asked if I plan on continuing this blog!?!?
Well, I thank them for noticing that I have not posted anything fact I am shocked to see that I've done nothing since March 3rd of this year!  

There are three reasons for my not posting anything new here.

REASON ONE - I'VE FOUND GOLF!  I'm a new golfer...started to play about three years ago...and I really and truly enjoy the game, as frustrating as it is!   We had a particularly early start to the season this year due to unusually warm temperatures which started in early March and allowed David and I to get on the golf course a good two months ahead of schedule.  Those first few weeks were pretty special because there weren't a lot of people out there mid week so we actually played almost every day until the 'real' season opened and we became curtailed by more people on the course which meant tee times were more difficult to get.  Now we're on a more controlled schedule and only play about three times a week, either in League play or with groups of friends. 

REASON TWO - I HAVE BEEN NEGLECTING MY ART 'BIG TIME'!  I have done any art since March and with that neglect comes an absence of things to say or write consequently I haven't added any new posts to this blog.  While golf is fun, frustrating and challenging...and believe me it is is not that artistically creative therefore I do not feel as inclined to write.  It is when I am doing my art that I find my mind is more in gear with respect to thinking creatively and essence one art medium (i.e. painting) inspires one to use another medium (writing)...or so it does for me.

REASON THREE - RIVERWOOD   David and I have been using the good weather days (and we've been having great weather) to recreate our property and garden areas here at Riverwood!!!!  That in itself has taken a huge amount of time and energy (and money) but we now have 'a cottage in the city' with a woodland garden that's wild and woolly (by that I mean that it is NOT MANICURED and WEEDS DO GROW in and amongst the plants and they only get pulled if they are over 8" tall!)...and we love it!  

The dock area is where we find some 'personal space' to
read and/or sleep in the shade of the Maple tree or have a
swim...depending on the time of day or the mood we are in.
It's a marvellous space that we enjoy very much.

We've been gardening like mad fiends between golf games and finally after 12 years of being in this house we've cleared out all the 'old growth' lilac that was smothering the property and have planted more trees (Flowering Crab, Flowering Almond and a 16 foot Mountain Ash which in a few years will be gorgeous!); we've pulled out tons of weeds and cut down Buckthorn 'til our hands have bled.  We've planted Hostas, Ferns, Lilies, Ligularia, Brunnera and various other perennials that are hardy to this area.  To say nothing of hauling in trailer loads of mulch and then wheelbarrowing/raking the stuff into the flowerbeds.  (Admittedly we hate cutting the lawn so we have "Grasshopper", Jeff Davis, do that for us.  He's a one-man show and works many of the properties in our neighbourhood...he also helps lift heavy objects, etc. so willingly (or not so...but he'd never say) assists us when we need an extra hand with things.) 

With luck our hard work will make this property a lush and private woodland retreat for years to come.  Because we were always away at our cottage on Stony Lake we've never been able to concentrate our efforts on the garden here.  Now that 'RIVERWOOD' has officially become our 'cottage in the city' we're happy to only have the one property to deal with.  We're finding we haven't got the stamina we used to; although, like almost every day for the past several weeks, we still tend to 'push' ourselves to the limit and work non-stop for hours at a time and wonder why we can't get out of bed the next morning!  (Seems we're not as young as we were when we went all day on the island at Stony...never stopping until it was dark and hunger got the better of us!!!!)

IT MUST BE THE GARDENING that's started the creative juices in my brain working again because over the past couple of weeks I have been 'missing' my art.  It was bound to happen since I can't go for very long without 'doing my art'!

I stopped painting in early March when I withdrew from a group that I had been painting with for the past four years.  We called ourselves 'Quadrangle' and met every Tuesday to paint and chat about art and life.  We have had a number of shows together and while I enjoy being with the other three artists I was in a bit of a 'slump' with my painting and wasn't feeling very excited about what I was producing...even though they felt I was doing some interesting stuff.  It just wasn't feeling 'right' for me so I decided to take a break.  During this past year I did do several paintings and managed to complete them.  Here are two that I felt quite satisfied with when they were completed.


DUST DEVILS - Inspired by a photograph I recall seeing many years ago and the image never left me.
Then golf arrived early so I immersed myself in that for a time.  But my creative mind was a little restless so I pondered on things and half heartedly made efforts to get back to some sort of art but without much enthusiasm; although, I did experiment with some chicken wire after becoming inspired with some work I found while browsing the internet.  

I've always loved the theme of a 'boy on a dolphin' so decided to do my own version of it.  The piece is about 4'-6" high and is mounted on a stainless steel pole.  When the wind blows it moves so that it is never in the same position for very long taking it to about 7' or so.  There are some days that you can't actually see it at all and so occasionally I am asked...'what's with the steel pole in you garden? I have to go over to the piece and spin it around so they can actually see 'the boy on the dolphin"!  

This past week or so I've been really anxious to get back to carving stone again...something I haven't done for a whole year after having some bad luck with two carvings early last summer when both of them shattered when I was well into the compositions.  In over twenty years of carving stone I have never had that happen to me.  One carving was completely ruined so I just broke the rock into smaller pieces; however the other I was able to file away any suggestion of the original composition and saved most of the stone; although it got temporarily placed in the 'dead pile'.  I never got back to carving again last season because by then David and I were making plans to head to Vancouver and then to Tofino for our son's wedding in late September.  So my carving and everything else creative got put on HOLD!.  When we got back to Peterborough in early October David had to prepare himself for surgery in November to remove two plates in his right leg so needless to say we were busy doing things around the house so that he wouldn't have any projects on the go while he was re-cooping from the surgery.  Then Winter came upon us and I never got a chance to do any more carving because due to the dirty, dusty nature of the medium it's definitely 'an outdoor sport'!

I'm now happy to say that as of this week I'M BACK TO CARVING AGAIN...AND IT FEELS SOOOOO GOOD!   I think one of the things that spurred me onto carving again was the fact that during the redesigning of our garden beds, etc. David (his wheels are always turning!) had the good idea of adding more pea gravel down by the 'garden bunkie' area so that I could move my workstand down there from it's usual spot near the garden door of the house where I was continually having to hose down the bricks and windows because they would become covered with a layer of fine stone dust that gradually seeped into crevices and any open windows nearby...and, like drywall dust, it's very hard to remove.  It was a marvellous idea and why we didn't think of it years ago is beyond me!!!! 

(a loose interpretation of something Van Gogh wrote about his studio to his brother Theo)

My workstand is something was a combination of three minds (me, David and Peter, an extremely good and talented neighbour).  I told the men what I wanted; then Peter did the welding for the base and turntable pieces and David designed and built the wooden table and work surface.  It's balanced in such a way that I can clamp an armateur onto the table and use a power tool with plenty of surface to lay down my hand files, etc. as well.  Totally ingenious!...and the bonus...IT CAN STAY OUT IN ALL KINDS OF WEATHER!  I cover it with a barbecue cover when it's not in use!  

The past few days I hauled last years effort out of the 'dead pile' and re-created a composition that I think will be lovely when it is finished.  I'm on a creative roll now and what that means is that MY BLOG IS BACK, TOO!  (That's not to say that I'll be writing every week because it is Summer after all and golf, garden and sculpting outdoors are the priorities at this time of the year for me...and not necessarily in that order!)

The following photos will give you an idea of what has come out of the original 'dead' composition.  The stone is a beautiful piece of pink and grey soapstone and weighs a considerable amount...the size is 11" high x 12" long x 9" deep.  

In order to completely erase from my mind the original composition I had planned for this piece I had to go at it with a chisel and mallet and some larger hand files to eradicate any semblance of the original form.  As I went through this process it helped me to reform a new and rhythmic image in my mind...which came naturally and willingly to the fore and I was then able to get out my power tool and start grinding a new composition into being.   

This part of the carving is really an exciting part of the process because it can be both exhilarating and unnerving since you are testing your mental and physical skill in order to turn an inert object into something alive.  The opening and creation  of negative space is to me one of the most thrilling parts of the whole carving procedure!  To allow light to flow through and fall onto different parts of the stone is extremely awesome!  That in itself breaths live into the stone before an image has actually been formed or completed.  I guess by now you realize how 'into' carving I can get when I'm in 'THE CARVING ZONE'.  Of all the art I've done through my life nothing gives me more of a thrill than putting a hole in a piece of hard stone so the light can come through! 

At the moment I am stuck at my computer...we are having some work done here at the house and because David had a long awaited golf game today I opted from golf with some friends to hang around here and wait for the workmen to come and complete a job they started last week.  I thought I might use this time to carve but alas, while the temperature is a cool but comfortable 19 degrees Celsius (compared to last weeks extreme heat) it has become very, very windy...not great for working with such a dusty material...even though I always wear gloves, goggles and face mask.  A shift of strong wind in the wrong direction does not do your eyes and/or nose any favours!!!!   

So I sit in the sunny area of my kitchen where I can view the river and my garden and type this blog entry.  I feel quite content to do so because I'm in the space I want to be right now.  

On thinking of how I'm content AND HAPPY to be in this space I ponder to think of all those who cannot find that sort of space in their lives and I worry about them.  Having a calm and quiet inner place that you can draw from on a daily basis can have such a positive affect on your well-being and your overall view of the world.  I for one continually pinch myself in the morning before I face the day ahead of me...I have so much to be thankful for and to be happy about.  There are many, many small blessings that each one of us have been given and it's from these blessings that we should draw strength and enjoyment to enlighten our path as we progress through the various daily duties.  Solving work problems, doing mundane household chores, guiding a child or children through  an unpredictable world, helping a friend who has a problem, coping with a personal illness or dealing with a frail or sick loved one are all things that can stress us.  So we all need a 'space' we can go to so that we can 're-group our positive thoughts and refresh our spirit' in order to continue on with a bright light in the forefront of our minds.  Above all we need to remember to nurture ourselves...because we can only be whole, strong and helpful to others if we take care of our own body and mind.

Where is it that you go, or what is it that you do, that puts you in that space?  Wherever or whatever it is...use it to your advantage when you feel you need a personal lift.  Others will know you've been there by the spring in your step, the smile on your face and your willingness to meet whatever is required of you head on...and they will surely feel better when they are with you!

Cheers to all of you who have read this today and may you have healthy happy Summer days ahead of you!