Canadian Landscapes

WELL. I’m struggling to start this blog entry.

A week ago today, I returned from a 9 day trip across Canada. I have a friend who moved to Vancouver, so we drove her car out west and then I flew home. Holy memories! We have been friends for 27 years (we met when were 10 and both loved art), but this was the longest stretch of time we have ever spent together (and we are still friends yeah! haha…).

Integrating everything that occurred over those 9 days, wow… hard to summarize in one blog. Even just from the artistic view point. I have gained enough inspiration to get me through a life time. Realizing how vast our country is, just makes me want to see more of it. Two days through Ontario we discovered Sault Saint Marie, Lake Superior (stopped at Katherine Cove), and Thunder Bay. In Manitoba we stayed in Winnipeg and explored “The Fork Market Place.” Then we crossed the prairies on Halloween (hence the wigs). Day 5 in Alberta we stayed in Medicine Hat, then drove to Badlands, and stopped to shop in Banff. We did the Gondola, and stayed at the Lake Louise Inn. Our final day on road was a blurr: we stopped at Lake Louise, Emerald Lake, Kicking Horse River Valley, Golden, Revelstoke and then straight to Vancouver in the dark, foggy, rainy night. But we made it alive!

I’m working on paintings now from the Alberta Badlands, Banff and Kicking Horse River Valley. This on top of the Lake Superior series I started in the fall. I will be doing a show in December, and I’m hoping to have the majority of these finished by then.

When I started getting serious about my art (after my trip to Jasper in 2015), I had a few places I wanted to check out in Ontario. I wanted to follow what the Group of Seven had started, capturing the rough and wild Canadian Landscape. Specifically (personally) I wanted to capture the Spirit or essence of the earth. This year I fulfilled all the places I had hoped to discover: Lake Superior and Georgian Bay (in Ontario, places Group of Seven painted); Badlands and Banff (Alberta).

emily-carr

I was fortunate to have an extra day once we made it to Vancouver, and we went to see the Emily Carr exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery. This was very enlightening for me, it was a reminder of my dream to one day go to Haida Gwaii, but also it reminded me of how imperfect art can be sometimes. Emily Carr’s strokes are rough and almost sloppy, yet she mastered the feeling of spirit moving through nature. I took so many close up photos of her brush strokes- as a reminder of how perfect imperfection can be. Artistically I’m working on loosening up my hard lines.

art-cards

So mark your calendars for Saturday, December 17th, 2016. You can come explore my personal interpretation of our diverse country landscape.

T.T. so grateful to you and your adventurous spirit! Next year we head north?

Northumberland Hills Hospital

Since July my painting “Earth Energy” has been hanging in the gallery hall at the Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg. I consider this a community piece, as half of the proceeds will be donated between the hospital and the art committee.

7th jasper complete

This acrylic painting will be hanging in the hall named “Sumac Street” until mid-December. It is my last piece from the original Jasper Series. It is also the largest canvas from that series, measuring 30″ x 30″ and is priced at $400.

If you are a lover of the outdoors, and want a painting that will bring the essence of the earth elements into your home, this is for you; or perhaps it could be a unique Christmas gift for someone you love?

I would love to see this sell from the show; please contact me directly if you are interested in purchasing (gentle_hatha@live.com). Go check it out when you have a chance, there’s a lovely collection of art/ists showing over the next two months. There will be a new show there in the New Year too!

 

Georgian Bay

My goodness I have been blessed by Northern Ontario this year; Blessed by good friends who share their passion of this land with me. Without them I would never know these places existed!

Since my last trip to the French River was rushed, I had to return to enjoy the company and inspiring view. When I woke up to a vibrant pink sunrise, I had to get up and sip some tea on the deck and watch the skies magically transform to full daylight.

sunrise-pano

Naturally the tranquility inspired me to pull out the sketch book and do some rough sketches in charcoal and colourful oil pastels. I had a few tearful moments sitting there, full of gratitude for these peaceful experiences and opportunity to capture them and re-create them; and this was just the beginning of the day! I had no idea what else was coming.

killarney-island

Back track to Jasper: my mind blowing spiritual experience of Mother Earth and her mountains. I seem to have these spontaneous moments that nature triggers- it’s like a sense of awe that knocks the wind out of me. So that happened again. This time at Killarney. Funny thing about Killarney was I didn’t realize it was Georgian Bay territory.

So the beginning of our “little” hike, I’m totally unaware exactly where we are, it’s just these beautiful rolling pink rocks. Pretty easy to walk over, you can hear the river in the distance as you walk through the trees. It’s nice. Then you reach the river, and there’s some cliffs on other side, and I can see more clearly the landscape- Big Jack Pines. I start to get “that feeling”… Like my heart is welling up inside me. We keep walking, and the landscape gets rougher, and more and more beautiful. Then we see this island, with it’s majestic trees with bent branches and energy straight out of Tom Thompson painting, or any Group of Seven Painting. At this point, I’m starting to wonder what body of water we are on- Georgian Bay?!! Whoa, suddenly it all made sense. Then I’m crying again. It’s such a strange experience, and not at all bad, but just strange how I have no control over it. Something just hits me and boom, my heart breaks open. Nature doing it’s healing work.

In all my years of travels, this is a close second to my Jasper experience (Lake Superior was pretty darn great too). There’s going to be a lot more painting happening. The December show is going to have work all inspired by Northern Ontario: Lake Superior, Georgian Bay and French River.

Here’s a sneak peak of what I have started from Superior:

silver-sun-jack-pines

“Silver Sun, Lake Superior” not complete. 12″x 18″ Acrylic on Gallery Canvas.

stormy-skies-with-sun-rays

“Morning Skies, Lake Superior” not complete. 24″x 36″ Acrylic on Gallery Canvas.

There are 5 other canvases I’m working on from Superior alone. I’m guessing there will be another 3 or 4 coming from French River and Georgian Bay. 2016 has turned into a busy year of travel inspired art!

Don’t forget I do custom work too! Don’t be shy if you have an inquiry, contact me directly.

In Gratitude,

Jennifer Anne Burke.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Rocky Mountain Love

round mountains complete cropped

The art show was a success!

On December 19th, 2015, I turned my living room into an art gallery for a day, and hosted the private art show”Two Days In Jasper”.

Despite having 2 unfinished pieces on the wall, I had my four mini’s for sale (sold 2 of them), and the one above “Round Mountains” complete.  The featured piece “Greeted By The Chief” was not for sale, and had prints matted and framed (all sold), and some gift cards available for purchase.

chief card

Between 12 – 4 pm that day I had about 30 people through the show, with tons of amazing feedback. It was such an incredible experience for me, for so many reasons. One, I love that people are even interested in my work and travels. They were curious, asked questions, and made purchases. I loved hearing which ones were people’s favourites and why, and sharing stories about driving through the Rockies (and knowing others have had similar core-shaking experiences). Secondly, it was humbling to have friends from near and far show up and share this journey with me. These are people who have seen my art evolving over the last decade, some even longer (Like, since Kindergarten). Comments like “This is a new level of professionalism for you” or “These are your best pieces yet” or “When that one is complete I want to buy it” (haha). I had people asking when the next show would be, and people buying work before others even had a chance to see it.

It looks like I may be planning another show for Spring 2016! I will make new prints (all matted this time), finish my large images, and invest some time in the line drawings I’ve been dying to do but never got to for this show.

line drawing mountain edge

Thank you to everyone who came, purchased, gave feedback, and graced me with your presence! I am overwhelmed in gratitude and joy that this show was a success.

So much Love.

 

Two Days In Jasper

Oh the joys of creation!

jasper 4 in series cropped

Preparing for a private art show has certainly given me the motivation needed to paint. I purchased 7 canvases in September, after my trip to Alberta, with the idea of a show in mind. I finally completed the four “mini” canvases this week (8×8 inches), but am still working on 3 larger paintings, and the show is less then 3 weeks away.

This has been a magical process for me; the first works of art I have ever created so organically. Each one takes on a life of it’s own, and although I have an idea in mind at the start, I am never sure how the ending will unfold- and I have never been happier with results. I believe without the expectation for the finished piece, it has made the process much more enjoyable. It’s an exploration, and wonderful learning experience as an artist.

The style that has resulted from this series has had wonderful feedback, and I even have a custom order in the works. This is something I would love to do more of in the future.

Feel free to explore the art world with me on Facebook at Jennifer Anne Burke.

 

Exploring New Styles

In 2013 I was preparing for an art show, and I stumbled across a new style of art for myself. I have always enjoyed clean crisp lines in art, and sometimes the most simple line drawings are my favourite. What I discovered, was the texture of lines that each brush stroke made in a painting, and decided to try emphasizing that by adding contrasting colour lines on top of the bottom layers of paint. This was the first result:

Exploring Lines with an unsteady hand!
Exploring with an unsteady hand!

The second result:

First series, becoming more defined.
First series, becoming more defined.

And now it has inspired a new series “Jasper: Two Days In The Rockies”

Stronger Lines
Stronger Lines

This was one of the final paintings from the second Jasper Series 2016:

gateway

If you would like to discover more of my art, feel free to follow me on Facebook!