Organic Growth In Art

Feeling very blessed lately. Having gone through a lot of change in a short period of time, I’ve suddenly plopped down in a new home, with a view of the lake, and a weekend to myself to unpack and explore this new space. It’s an artists dream, truly.

This time to reflect on life, love and art is good for the soul. 2016 has been intense. Anyone else agree? Almost too much change, too fast, and not by choice. Yet, here I sit, on the other side of the chaos knowing it’s all been for the best.

breakthrough done cropped

In regards to art, I’ve been offered a lot of incredible insight, and as I continue to explore I am not disappointed. Simple things like upgrading the quality of paint I use, exploring different types of canvas (I love painting on wood now, and have started using heavy weight water colour paper to explore acrylics), and using a variety of paintbrushes and palette knives to create depth.

paint on wood grain

I thoroughly enjoy the organic growth that continues in my art. When I started exploring new styles with lines, I had no idea it would morph into so many different projects. It started as abstract, transitioned into my Jasper Rocky Mountains series, then transitioned again with the Breakthrough painting; and I have yet another idea for line layers that I will explore in the future.

In the meantime, my new thing is tall ships. This weekend I will be happy to work on these babies. The easle has been in storage for 7 months, it’s good to have it back!



I decided to become a member of a local art group “Spirit of the Hills” you can check out my profile on their website under Jennifer Anne Burke.

The original abstract series finally got named and donated to a local production group as part of a fundraiser for Greenwood Coalition in Port Hope. They will be for sale at their “Disordered Eating” event, happening this Sunday, April 10th at 3pm. Check out To The Roots on Facebook.

3 abstracts


Art and Parenthood

In January I wrote the post “Art and Motherhood” in response to my own struggle as a mother and artist. These days it’s less of a struggle, and more of a basic challenge. As my son gets older and more independent, we sleep through the night, he’s at school during day, and life generally gets easier; I find myself feeling much more balanced in all areas of my life. I’m well rested, feel inspired to create, and am enjoying each day and moment as they pass. In fact, as time goes on I’m feeling more driven to create because of my role as a mother. Once in awhile I find myself daydreaming of the life I might have lived… and who am I kidding?! I love my life.

Studio Mothers” is a website, and online community, that really supports creativity for the whole family.  They have inspiring quotes, activities and daily blogs that really put the positive spin on the potential for mothers to be successful artists. Of course, success has it’s own meaning for each person.

Tracey Emin is a great example of a woman, an artist, who publicly admits she cannot choose between her art and motherhood. Her perspective is she has to give 100% to what she does, and to have a child would take away from her career, and having a career would take her away from her child. Although she’s caused a lot of controversy with her statement “Of course there are good artists who have children. They are called men.” there is this part of me that certainly understands where this stems from. In fact, it even made me laugh a bit. Not because it’s true, there are many amazing artists who are also mothers. It made me laugh because she had the guts to say it, and I admire that.

But tell me, who are the most famous female artists you know and love? The two I think of instantly are Emily Carr and Frida Kahlo.  Neither had children. For Frida, it was not a choice, she could not bare a child due to a severe bus accident she had as a teenager. She suffered miscarriages, and expressed her torment in her art. As for Emily, I do not know if it was a choice, but certainly her life revolved around her art.

frida miscarriage

Frida and The Miscarriage” by Frida Kahlo

Tracey is right in the sense that there are more famous male artists who have children. But lets face it, there are a lot of famous male artists who didn’t have children too.

Linda Tilyard and Moira Wairama are two woman who recently released a children’s book “The Mother’s Child.” It’s described as a poem meant for mothers, especially those feeling disconnected from their creativity. Although I don’t fully agree with their message:

“Motherhood is wonderful, but a lot of women grieve those old parts of their lives…Our society is supportive of women becoming mothers, and gives them this perfect ideal of what motherhood should be like — with the spotless house and well-behaved kids. But it doesn’t support mums in retaining their passions and the creative part of themselves.”

When I shared this article and comment on Facebook, I really liked the comments that came back:

(From Corey) “Was your house spotless and were you behaved when growing up? Where does society tell you it “should” be like? TV? I think people have a false sense of reality nowadays. I would like to have some of those old parts of my life back too but I wouldn’t trade it for my son and I know I can’t have both. Time is a factor when retaining your passions when raising a child. That’s a choice people subconsciously make when having a child. Will I have time to do things I want? Will I be happy investing all my time in raising my child and balancing a career? For me I think it’s an easy choice. Retain your passions with whatever time you can or don’t bother having a child. Society shouldn’t be involved with that decision.. And by “mum” I hope you mean “parent” because there’s a lot of single “dads” out there too.”

(From Susan) “Very bizarre all of this ‘perfect mom’ and ‘perfect house’ stuff … It’s a fantasy, never existed, even with moms who actually stayed home … we’re still getting over Leave it to Beaver. Time to grow up. Kids don’t need perfect and don’t even thrive in it.”

Personally, I feel like we are living in a day and age where both sexes are changing and evolving. Roles are over-lapping, and this is a good thing. Yet, biologically men and women are different, and we need to value and respect that too.

If I decide to share my personal experience as a mother and artist, it’s the biological change that I will discuss; That affected me just as much as the lifestyle change. It’s not parenthood or fatherhood I am talking about, it is motherhood: The biology of growing another human being inside oneself, the chemical reactions in ones brain and body, and the deep loss of Self that can occur.

don't get lost