Saturday, January 31, 2015

Art Show at Atlantis Cafe!

Even though it was quite a bit of work, I enjoyed hanging a goodly number of my paintings, large and small, at Atlantis Cafe for the months of December 2014 and January 2015.

Yesterday I drove to Regina to dismantle the show, and took the time to photograph some of the highlights.

Here's the result:

My friend Bill Burley came to help me. He posed with his portrait that I painted two tears ago.
I am sure my paintings enjoyed getting out for some fresh air and the different vibe of the Atlantis Cafe.Who knows how many eyes gazed upon them in their new setting for that eight weeks?

What lays beyond the imposing archway?
I left the strange landscape in this painting gauzy and irresolute, as I preferred to let the "mind's eye" fill in the detail. What lays beyond the imposing archway? Why not send an emissary in to find out? He will report back to us.

Scene from the "Public Gardens" in Halifax, N.S.
I was so happy that I was packing my camera on the day this trio of acrobats were strutting their stuff at the historic "Public Gardens" in Halifax. It was a gorgeous summer day sometime in the early nineteen-eighties...that I was only too happy to immortalize in this large painting.

Just ignore the strings, and go with it...
What do you see first, the puppet, or the puppeteer? If you can suspend your disbelief just for a second, the magic happens. Suddenly, the puppet comes to life!

Street scenes from Montreal and Halifax.
Art comes in may forms, including "Performance Art". One of my great joys and passions is to chronicle the many incarnations of creativity that I see on the streets. Taking a photograph(s) is only the first step. PAINTING my impressions for posterity is the leap across the "round tuit" chasm!

Dressed to Kill.
This young man was a fixture on the streets and pubs of Halifax in the early nineteen-eighties. Exuding self-confidence and swagger, as he had mastered the look and attitude of "Chic Punkiness", he instantly agreed to strike a pose for me.

Pushing Daisies.
"Pushing Daisies" is a more contemporary painting, one of four large canvasses that were created in the summer of 2013.

The "Salon Style" grouping...

I decided to include some of my "Vintage Manitou Beach" paintings in the show. These are some of the remaining pieces I still own, out of about thirty produced in the past few years.

"Reflections in a Picture Window"
This painting was created about ten years ago. It is a portrait of our house at Manitou Beach, on a gloriously sunny fall day.

With a little cluster of paintings at Atlantis Cafe.
My friend Bill Burley took this photograph, just before we started to dismantle the exhibition.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

LOL or WTF? Only you can decide.

My LOL moment, or possibly my WTF moment this morning. After I posted an image update on my "Dancing with Rejection..." GoFundMe campaign of my fistula (the "Gold Standard" for dialysis) in action, I was informed that the image was unacceptable and it was removed. 

They wrote: "We are reaching out to let you know that we have removed and image you posted  in a recent update to your GoFundMe page. Images used on GoFundMe must be suitable for all audiences and cannot contain blood or other graphic content."

I mean, they were nice enough about it, but I was surprised that this daily reality for millions of dialysis patients worldwide could be deemed unsuitable.

This image was deemed to be "unsuitable" by GoFundMe.
When I got home last night after my latest dialysis treatment (which went well, thanks for asking) Id had some time to think about and must be the "color" of the blood that is so unsuitable. So, after fiddling around for a minute I came up with an alternative image.

Hoping this green-blooded version is less offensive.
Surely to goodness, this slightly altered version of the image would be less offensive. What do you think? It's just sad (and very revealing) that this daily reality, that keeps me (and millions of other dialysis patients worldwide) ALIVE to fight another day, as we hope and pray for the Gift of Life (a kidney transplant), is censored and taken down by GoFundMe.

While I appreciate the amazing response to my GoFundMe campaign, and also the very fact of its existence as a powerful platform for raising awareness, I also would humbly suggest that they should revisit their policy of "graphic content" in light of our reality.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Dialysis: The Grim Reality

At the dialysis unit on Friday , January 16th, 2015. "Stayin' Alive!" is my mantra and theme song.

The grim reality of hemodialysis...which is a fact of life for over 3 million 

Canadians (translates to over 30 million Americans) is this: one needle 

(attached to a tube) allows the dirty blood out, then passes through the 

machine (with kidney filter), then back...(cleansed of toxins that build up 

between therapies in the case of "kidney failure") through a second tube 

to be returned into the bloodstream. This 3x a week treatment is 

sustaining me and all the millions of dialysis patients, keeping us alive!  

Precarious maybe, but it's the best chance we all have to stay alive 

while awaiting our second chance at a "normal life"...which is a kidney 



Saturday, January 17, 2015

Remembering John Lennon

I was in Montreal the day John Lennon was assassinated, on December 8th, 1980.

When I read the headline "John Lennon Assassine" it took me a few seconds to mentally translate the dreadful news. I think I must have gone into shock, as I was dumbfounded that my hero was gone. I'd always fantasized about actually meeting him, but now, it was impossible.

All I could do was cut my trip short, to head back to Halifax to try to come to terms with this gaping maw in my psyche. On the way back, on the train, I stayed up all night and scribbled furiously in my sketchbook.

One of John's last acts on planet Earth was to sign an album cover, depicted here.
My visceral reaction to my hero's shocking demise was to capture him paint. In my own small way, I wanted, needed, to "immortalize" him by this sacred act of creation.

After I finished the painting "Last Act", my mind just went blank. I could not stop grieving though. I had to keep busy, and tried to reflect my feelings the best way I knew how.

After I painted "John's Last Act", my mind went blank.
This morning I woke up at about 4:30. Before I went to sleep last night, I wrote a note to remind myself to contact Yoko Ono, if possible. Turns out she is on Facebook, if it's really her. In chapter 34 of "Dancing with Rejection", I chronicle that awful day in 1980, including some lyrics from a couple of John's songs that were swimming in my head. Now I'm like, oh yeah, I need Yoko's permission to include these in my book. The lyrics are not gratuitous in any way; they are crucial to the story-line. Wish me luck getting through to Yoko.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Face-to-Face Meeting Yields Positive Results

I am rapidly discovering that the key to huge progress is making face-to-face contact with certain power-brokers who are in a position to help with the "Dancing with Rejection" project. This morning I met with Kathi Lewis, Head of Volunteer Services at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon. She was extremely enthusiastic even BEFORE I read her a sample chapter. After the reading, I could sense her excitement growing.

 The key to garner support to reach out to certain people for face-to-face contact.

What started out as a simple request for a public book reading seems to be blossoming into a full-blown sanctioned "Event". To paraphrase Kathi, "This is much bigger than that".

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hitting TV with great interview

Late in December 2014, I was interviewed on "LIT Happens" by literary darling Wes Funk. Wes is the notorious author of "Dead Rock Stars", "Cherry Blossoms" and "Baggage".

Here is the interview:

This was a great exercise, and a warm-up for all the TV interviews to come. Max TV is next on the list. I think of this first interview as a social experiment, and a very helpful way for me to learn to relax behind the TV camera.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Swapping the Wannabe Screw-Up for Professionals

On Friday, I met with the sales rep from a printer in Saskatoon. This company has specialized in all the commercial printing jobs you would expect, along with a cutting-edge book printing service. I was assured that if I decide to go ahead with them, I would have a 100% finished interior formatting within one-two weeks.
After that is all sorted out, in another scant one to two weeks, they would have as many copies as desired printed and in my hands.

After repeated broken promises from my former "editor" (I fired her) I got a very reassuring reality check from a professional printer in Saskatoon. Take-away? For best results, make it face-to-face.

This news was a great relief, as for the past couple of months, I have been basically held hostage by an alleged "editor" who continued to jerk me around with repeated broken promises and missed deadlines. Man, I felt so helpless as I waited in vain for concrete results.

Here I thought getting the first copy proofs in my hands would signal a rapid chain of events towards publication. Maybe so, with dependable colleagues. With screw-ups, not so much.

It was only after several weeks of discouragement that I realized that I did not need the stress and bullshit. On that fateful day, I decided to launch the GoFundMe campaign that, after a short three weeks, has generated over 30% of the budget needed to self-finance the production and publication of Book 1 of the "Dancing with Rejection" trilogy!

Just as important, over 115 people have generously decided to "SHARE" the link. So now, thousands and thousands of people have laid eyes on my story.

Please, copy this link and share it with your friends.

THANK YOU for all of the amazing, inspiring, support!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Homage to Newfoundland Artwork

Every New Year's day, I try to do activities that will "cast a mold" for the remaining 364 days. With this in mind, this January first I decided to dust off a fairly ambitious painting project that I'd started a year or so ago.

For some reason...I guess I got busy with other things...I set the acrylics on panel painting called "I Love Newfoundland" aside last year. Now though, I was happy to pick up where I left off to tease in those touchy finishing details.

I Love Newfoundland

 Now this artwork is available in a wide range of sizes and mediums as an archival quality fine art reproduction at my Fine Art America Platform.

Thursday, January 1, 2015



Sharon calls them, her winged friends, in with her kisses.
So, did you bring a treat, as usual?

A substantial lunch.

Oh yes, I see you did, mmm, mmm, mmm.

Share = Care

Thank you for being such a love-button.

May Your Most Cherished Dreams Take Flight in 2015!
Until next time then, chicka-dee-dee-dee.