Thursday, March 15, 2012

Only on 'Lit Happens'

My friend Wes Funk is well, to put it mildly, a cultural icon in this corner of the world and rapidly ascending to a stellar level globally thanks to the rush of success he has enjoyed since the world-wide release of his best-selling novel "Dead Rock Stars". 

Are you still with me? OK. 

The long and short of it is, Wes brought a dear friend of his - fellow author Jacquie Moore - out from the city to do a reading at our local library in Watrous from her bestselling book "The Saskatchewan Secret" a few days ago.

Well. We could hardly stand all the excitement.

Photographing a photograph of Jacquie Moore 'in the wings' as she is being introduced to the group of almost 60 people in attendance to hear her read from her best-selling book "The Saskatchewan Secret". We were not disappointed!
The Master of Ceremonies read the glowing reviews on the back cover of "The Saskatchewan Secret". By the time she had finished her introductory remarks, the room was enchanted at the prospect of meeting the author.

Author Jacquie Moore pauses in a reflective moment during her reading.
Jacquie was a very gracious speaker who instilled a sense of trust in her audience by her even-measured explanation of how she came to write the remarkable chronicle that explores the special gifts of a group of thirteen healers of various strains and disciplines. She told us quite candidly that she had no intention of changing anybody's mind or opinion about any of the extraordinary claims that her subjects make. Jacquie confided that she wishes to capture for posterity some of the more esoteric methods in the book, lest they vanish forever to the detriment of future generations.

I saw her eyes light up with an inner fire when she read from her book and later discussed some of the details in an open Q & A. To my surprise and delight, several of the stoic participants came forward with their own stories that emanated out of the lively discussion that followed. There were even a few people who volunteered to demonstrate their own special skills with the 'dowsing rods' that suddenly appeared - as if on cue- from one of the organizers.

A willing volunteer tries her hand at an impromptu 'Water Dowsing' with improvised coat-hanger wires bent into long  L-shaped units. Every successful attempt was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the audience.

Wes Funk looks intrigued by what he is hearing, while basking in the typically surreal atmosphere of a cultural 'happening' in the rural setting.

Moments after yet another demonstration of the 'Water Dowsing' phenomenon, this participant appears to be a little perplexed at her own unerring technique.

There seemed to be some kind of magic in the air as person after person stood to proclaim their affinity with this or that healing practice. I think there was something about the fine quality of Jacquie's presentation skills that coaxed out the adventurous spirit of the group.  Truly remarkable for the often (deeply) reserved community that we see in 'everyday life' around town.

During the course of our visit, Wes said that he wanted to interview a blogger for a segment on his Shaw Cable TV show "Lit Happens". 

He was also interested in the connection between thriving as an artist and social media.

Turns out that there was an opening on this morning's schedule. I needed to get into the city for art supplies anyway, so we inked in a guest spot for yours truly.

Wes was such a gracious host. He asked some very good, smart questions about the life and times of an artist in the 21st century living in rural Saskatchewan. He made the whole experience a relaxing, engaging time. I think he has a genuine gift for putting his guests at ease and drawing out the best in them. Dang it all, I did not bring my camera...but it was lots of fun and I think it will turn out great.

Seeing as how the interview was about blogging, I thought I'd better stop what I was doing and plunk away for a few minutes to whip up a

Holy mackerel, the days are melting away into an early spring...unless that tell-tale scent of thawing dog doo lies. It would be so easy just to let the time pass me by without taking the time to chatter on about it, especially if I was under the gloomy assumption that I was writing to no-one.

The thing is, strangely and organically enough, I did the math and this blog has had on average about 60 readers every day since its inception a few months ago. 

I won't brag that I've almost hit the 5000 mark, it is no great feat when some blogs get a zillion visitors per annum.

Whatever. It's not about quantity, it's about quality.

Take for example a note that showed up in my inbox this morning.

Subject: your way with words.....
Michael, I thought you were an art critic....your way with words is stellar....I was in awe of what you said about my work, and the fact that it came from a fellow artist really means a lot. What you do is striking! do you do public art? Murals? I'm chairperson for Art and Public Places for the City of West Palm Beach. Deb Bigeleisen.

Now, I ask you, what do I do with that ?!

You see where I'm going with this?

In the meantime, life goes on in my studio. I just finished my latest mural commission called "Imaginary Landscape" that will be permanently installed at the new 'Manitou (Seniors') Lodge' attached to the Watrous Union Hospital. And now of course I am on to other painting projects.

Just before I take off, may as well show you some shots of that mural. I will be writing in more depth in an upcoming post about the ramifications of this artwork.

Posing with the preliminary sketch (on the ledge) along with the intermediate panels in front. The full-sized panels can be seen behind.
The intermediate panels sitting in front of the full-size panels.
The three finished full-sized panels form a triptych.

As you can probably tell, I could go on and on in this space for quite a while yet. But it is no way to get actual work done.

I get a bit territorial about that non-negotiable time in the studio so I am off!

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