Thursday, December 17, 2015

Winter Art Show on Saturna

Winter has arrived... even on Saturna Island! (There were snow sightings on the main road...)

ArtSaturna members have put together a winter show, on display at the Saturna Point Store Gallery, above the Pub, right next to the ferry dock. Come and enjoy an interesting selection of paintings, watercolours, textiles, photos, ceramics and wood pieces.

ArtSaturna Winter Show Poster 2015-2016 - Saturna Island artists, painting, watercolor, photography, textiles, ceramics, wood designs

Monday, December 14, 2015

Artistic Idolatry by Janet Strayer

All the artists at Art Saturna are busy with winter shows and other events of the season on Saturna. Meanwhile, I'm in Provence, France, enjoying living and painting here, and musing about all manner of things.

I've seen (and will continue to see) so much great art in the exhibitions and museums here, that it's almost overwhelming. In fact, that response led me to think about how artists among us might come to feel ourselves overburdened by all the great art we witness. So much so that, rather than be inspired by all this wonderful art, we might sometimes come to feel diminished in our own capacity and even paralysed from going futher.

Here's my posting (from that addresses the question: Why do ordinary people involved in the arts sometimes feel paralyzed after viewing collections of great art, or witnessing great performances of music and dance, or reading the works of great writers?
Even such an accomplished artist as Virginia Woolf, for example, so adored Proust's novels that she felt herself incapable of writing after reading him. Such profound (and misguided) experience of great art nearly silenced her unique voice and vision. Woolf wrote in a letter to a friend: "Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. "Oh, if I could write like that!" I cry. And at the moment such is the astonishing vibration and saturation that he procures-- there's something sexual in it-- that I feel I can write like that, and seize my pen, and then I can't write like that."  (p.213). 

Many of us may feel something like this. We're smitten by great art, transported. It's a wonderful experience. But this can also have crushing consequences. Art is dangerous. For instance, I consider it a great gift to be able to witness art in many forms, and I spend what time I can doing so. Perhaps like some of you, I can also feel the burden of all the great art out there as an impossible expectation, a negative judgment upon my own paintings in comparison. Paralysis sets in. Nothing I can do is as worthy as what I've already seen done. Self-defeat.
But why the contest?  Some take it so far as to wish to kill art history, falsely accusing it of stopping us from thinking and seeing for ourselves. Musing about this, here are my thoughts and those I've gleaned from a fine little book, How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton (present quotes are from pages noted in this book, London: Picador, 1997).
Here in Provence, where  I've been living and painting for the past months, I'm always  reminded of Cézanne, whose work I admire. I'm not a Cézanne or any other artist I admire. Too bad, perhaps. But Cézanne isn't me, either. And, who knows what that particular path holds? My point isn't to inflate oneself, especially and surely not at anyone else's expense. But neither is it to deflate oneself in comparison to others. It's a bit of a juggling act to hold in perspective (rather than in zero-sum judgment) all that is worthy in art and in oneself.
Provençal Suite 1, homage to Cézanne,
What Proust called artistic idolatry is a cause of the burden great art can have upon us. Idolatry is like a fetish: it suggests a fixation on one aspect (or image) that distracts us from, or even contravenes, the overall message and spirit.
For those attempting to make art, it can feel impossibly heavy to have the weight of all the great art already accomplished upon our shoulders. By comparison, how meager our own efforts, how distant our works are from the artistic expectations we may have, based upon the products of those we revere. We are likely either to be silenced, on the one hand, or defensively to conflate ourselves with those we revere, on the other. In the latter case, we become inflated with our idols, identifying ourselves with them rather than learning their lessons on our own, through our own efforts. Probably most of us suffer the first outcome, though, and are inclined to defeat ourselves.
Turning back to Virginia Woolf, after reading Proust, she wrote in her 1928 diary, "Take up Proust after dinner and put him down. This is the worst time of all. It makes me suicidal. Nothing seems left to do. All seems insipid and worthless." (p.204). Fortunately, she stopped reading Proust for a time and wrote a few more books of her own. By the time she returned again to Proust, her diary entries suggest she'd made her peace with him: he could have his magnificence and she her own scribbles.
We can change the metaphor. Instead of feeling all the truly great art out there as a burden upon our shoulders, we can climb upon the shoulders of the artists we admire. Great artists historically did just that, even while breaking new ground. Significant works of art can help us define and celebrate our own independence and choices. Appreciating and learning from them, using them to shape and differentiate our own ways of looking, seeing, listening, hearing, making, sharing, developing.
When caught in the spin of artistic idolatry, however, it can distract us from what art has to offer. Idolatry is at work when we value something because it's signed by a given artist without appreciating the work itself. This feeds the industry of making golden calves and their replicas. It also helps fuel our picture-taking mania to make everything in the Louvre ours (click for my post on this topic ).
Idolaters combine a literal reverence for objects in art with a neglect of their message or spirit. They search for the exact recipe for Proust's madeleine, without realizing that a doughnut could serve just as well. After all, Proust's position is that "a picture's beauty does not depend on the things portrayed in it" (p. 206), but on the way of seeing that it shows to us. Though we're enchanted to visit the spot on the Seine where Monet painted, this spot is merely a coincidence. The real gift is how we appreciate the impression afforded Monet, so that then we may ourselves apply such vision to what Monet never had a chance to see. A genuine homage to a great artist is "to look at our world through his eyes, not look at his world through our eyes." (de Botton, p.214 ). 
The important point here is to grasp the general lesson a great work of art provides so that we can apply it to the particular things we encounter. The privileged status accorded to places painted or written about may or may not exceed the evidence of other places we've seen. It may indeed be latent in almost any place or encounter, so long as we take the effort to consider it as Proust, Monet, or any great artist might do.
Provençal Suite 2,

I welcome and am grateful for the chance to see things through their eyes. I'm grateful for my months of living in Provence and seeing bits of the world around me as Cézanne might have seen them. When the paralysis and self-doubt set in, I have to remind myself that I'm the one doing the looking, listening, and sensing. I'm the one who has the paint in hand. Maybe I've even learned something from my neighbor, Cézanne, to enhance my own inclinations and skills. What I'm left with, whether inferior or superior to anything else, is what I can do. While still alive, I haven't yet found what the best of that might be.
Autumn Earthbound, current painting in Provence,

Friday, November 13, 2015

Artist En Route by Janet Strayer

I'd like to share the following posting with you, as a contributing member of the Art Saturna community. Currently, I am and will be  writing a series of articles for Art Avenue magazine this year, based upon my travels and life in Europe that began this September. (You can also check for additional photos and related material at my personal blog:

Here's what it was like for me just before I left for the grand trip: 

Artist En Route: Anticipation

As a creative person, imagine yourself faced with the reality of leaving your home in Canada for an 8-month adventure in Europe: an art-life exploration.
Bye to my magical Saturna Island studio!  Photo taken just before leaving for grand trip. 

Are you thoroughly delighted with this prospect of nearly a year in Europe? A bit overwhelmed? A little unsure about leaving the familiar context of your studio, workplace, friends, your familiar work routines, even your local sources of inspiration or diversion? What about missing the round of local art shows, including those in which you typically participate, for example? No longer rooted in your usual activities, and leaving your familiar sights to travel and live in different places with few expectations but much anticipation, you become an artist-en-route.  
Our opportunities, choices, and goals may differ, yet we are all en route in our lives, each an artist in his or her own life. The particular artist en route this time is me, and it's a very real journey. In mid September I approached my imminent departure from Canada with a mixture of excitement and anxiety rolled into one overarching feeling of anticipation: keen, eager, hopeful, and a bit worried.

My orienting goal on this journey is to be open and attentive to the incitements of the places and lifestyles encountered. Personally, I know that such life travels broaden, deepen, and break, if needed, current perspectives on what one thinks is known or familiar. Welcoming the less familiar and less known, even the apparently familiar takes new shape. 

My guiding principle is to hold lightly what I currently value so that it doesn't predetermine what I'm ready to see, hear, experience, and share. I believe this to be an essential kernel of the creative process. This column, though idiosyncratically selective by necessity, hopefully will resonate with you, as fellow travelers: each of us, in a sense, willing to see the world a bit anew from the often useful perspective of  'a stranger in a strange land' .

Some of the art materials to pack in airplane suitcases.

I'm pleased to think you might come along with me on some of my European travels and art experiences. I'll be sharing them with you in this column. Not quite sure what we'll encounter. The plan is to have an adventure in creative living -- however and wherever we find it ... and make it!

We'll be living primarily in France and Italy, with excursions south to Sicily and east as far as the Adriatic (maybe even across it).  Here's our general itinerary.

We start with an overnight in London. Then Provence for several months, that beautiful area of southern France, birthplace of Cézanne and nurturing grounds for Picasso, Van Gogh, and so many wonderful artists. Next, a month in Sicily, that sun-baked crossroads of culture, art, and bad repute. Then, for a longer period, we'll live in Umbria, near Piero della Francesca. Nearly every village in Italy has its famous art hero. We'll spend a few weeks near the Adriatic, exploring less tourist-trekked regions, like Le Marche and the art of perhaps less-known masters of the region, like Corelli.

I expect we'll find some new treasures while appreciating the old ones. And we'll meet some living artists too, as we take in contemporary art exhibits and explore our new settings. What's it like for local artists? Do they face similar challenge to those we might face? How much is what you're inspired to paint rooted in the ground you walk, the sights and experiences you have, the cultural climate you breathe? Is your technique or the content of your work changed by your milieu?

Wherever I go, and whatever I find, I'll do my best to convey what might be interesting to fellow travellers on routes of their own making. Keep your anticipation up!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 30 - New Gallery Show

Earth, Sea & Sky Blanket series
See a selection of new works representing the colours and textures of the earth,
 the sea and the sky: rich browns, greens and blues, and some sandstone cliffs.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Saturna Studio Tour 2015 - August 2nd

It's a big day today, Saturna artists open their studios to visitors.
Follow the blue balloons and the map below.

And don't forget to drop in at the Saturna Café, which features artist Donna-Fay Digance, and at the Point Store Gallery (near the ferry), where several Saturna artists are featured!
Saturna Studio Tour 2015 - August 2nd, 11 am to 4 pm. Tour Brochure. .

Monday, July 27, 2015

New show opens at ArtSaturna

Karen Muntean with three of her "Energia" pieces featured at the July rehanging of ArtSaturna Gallery.  These pieces are circuitously inspired by VanGogh and more directly by a light projection Karen saw at the VanGogh Museum in Amsterdam. (See blogpost of 4/25/15 below titled "inspiration is on the wall"). VanGogh created energy in his work with, among other things, short choppy brushstrokes and Karen's pieces, in a more stylized form and the language of colour, try for an energetic presence as well.  The show includes new work from most of the ArtSaturna members, including pottery from Tricia deJoseph, our newest member.  All work is for sale through Saturna Point Store.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Saturna Studio Tour 2015

Artists invite you to visit their studios on Sunday, August 2nd, 11 am - 4 pm

Participating artists will open their studios, and will also show their work at the Saturna Point Store Gallery and at the Saturna Cafe).

Jack Campbell Gallery * Donna-Fay Digance * Grouchy Crab Pottery * Weavings by Teresa Higgins * Gaye Oreskovic * Anne Popperwell

Also, other artists will show their work at the Saturna Point Store Gallery (right next to the ferry dock).
More details and a map coming soon!

Poster for Saturna Studio Tour 2015. Art  © Gaye Oreskovic

Monday, June 22, 2015

Art and Ice Cream? Current Exhibition at ArtSaturna Gallery

Where else could you mix viewing a selection of  works from local artists and artisans with the pleasure of eating hand-scooped ice-cream? Come see for yourself!

 The current show at the Art Saturna Gallery opened on Father's Day and runs through July 24. It features the interpretive landscape paintings of local artist, Janet Strayer. She invites you to visit her website to see recent works (click here).

As always, each ArtSaturna event  diplays a fine collection of work from local artists, including paintings, prints, fabric art, photography weaving, and woodwork.
visitors to ArtSaturna on Father's Day opening, June 21, 2015
Shows are  held in the ArtSaturna gallery at the Saturna Point Store right near the ferry dock --  which means that an added pleasure for all who enter is the terrific ice cream on sale, too!

These shows change regularly, introducing new featured artists and new artworks from ArtSaturna. Come enjoy this one. And we'll keep you posted on the next one coming for July 26.

Enjoy the summer!

Monday, May 18, 2015

June Art Show on Saturna Island

Come and take a look at the latest work of Saturna artists. 
Opening reception: Sunday, June 21, from 2 - 4 pm.
Light refreshments and artists present.
The gallery is located right by the ferry dock, Lyall Harbour, Saturna Island.

Our featured artist for this show is Janet Strayer, whose paintings are also are currently on display at the Saturna Café  (until July 9) in a solo show entitled Of Fables and Myths. You can see Janet's current work online (click here). 

Gifts and Mementos of Saturna Island: How about our new 2016 ART Calendar?

ARTSATURNA now offers you a beautiful wall calendar for  2016, with a new artwork on every page. 

Think ahead to gift-giving time and get it now. This full-size calendar makes a special gift and memento of Saturna Island that you and others will enjoy. Its spiral-binding makes it easy to write notes in the day slots and it lies  flat on walls, creating an artful addition to home or office.

You can purchase one of these calendars at the Saturna Point store... and see our artwork "in person" at the gallery located just beside it at the ferry landing.

Monday, April 27, 2015

May Art Show on Saturna Island

It's spring time, and time for a new show at the Saturna Point Store Gallery! 

Come and take a look at the latest work of Saturna artists. 
Opening reception: Sunday, May 3rd, from 2 - 4 pm.
Light refreshments and artists present.

Right by the ferry dock, Lyall Harbour, Saturna Island.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Inspiration... is on the wall

Van Gogh Museum atrium, Amsterdam. Photo by Karen Muntean.In 2013 when I was in Amsterdam, I saw this projection in the atrium of the Van Gogh Museum.  My feeling was that the inspiration behind the projection was the energy of Van Gogh's brushstrokes. 

I have been working on some paintings using this projection as my inspiration.

Spring Energia, acrylic on canvas, 24" square. 2015 ©  Karen Muntean 
This recent one, called "Spring Energia" (acrylic on canvas and 24" square), gained a landscape element.     Karen Muntean

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Of Fables and Myths

I'm very pleased to announce an art show that invites you all to come celebrate with me on Saturna. This APRIL 25, 2015 marks the opening of an exhibit of my paintings at the Saturna Café. The collection, entitled Of Fables and Myths, will run from April 25 to July 9. You can view it whenever you stop into the café. The show was curated by Jean-François Renaud, whom I so enjoyed meeting. He has my gratitude for organizing these lovely events at Saturna, making them special celebrations that involve the community. Along with the art-fest reception on April 25 from 4 to 6 pm, you can also take pleasure in  a dinner feast by Hubertus at 6:30 pm (by reservation).

As a part-time resident of Saturna for many years (travelling back and forth from Vancouver), I look forward to this opportunity to have my paintings shown in such a welcoming setting. I hope to share a toast with you at the opening. And I especially hope you enjoy the paintings on display!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Happy Spring, and the Show is Ongoing!

Spring is in the air, and the current exhibition of works by Saturna artists continues until May. If you are down at the Pub for lunch, or waiting for the ferry, why not come into the store and gallery, and have a look?

Springs hours for the store are Mondays and Fridays, 10 am - 2 pm
Saturdays 9:30 am - 5:30 pm and Sundays, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Easter Daffodils. Photo © Andrée Fredette

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Early Spring Show 2015

Winter on Saturna... All that rain means that we spent a lot of time indoors this winter. Studio time! Come and see what we've been up to over the past few months. 

Opening Reception, artists present:

Sunday, February 15, 2 to 4 pm
at the Point Store Gallery
by the Ferry Dock

Light refreshments will be served