Celebrating Diversity Across Canada… Hooray My Series is Finished!

Celebrating Diversity Across Canada… Hooray My Series is Finished!

It’s been over a year in the making, longer by several months than I had planned, and I had many moments of wondering whether I had anything creative left in me to finish this big project. But, here before the month is out, it gives me such immense pleasure to announce that the Canada Legacy Series of paintings is finally complete!

In a moment of great inspiration in the fall of 2016 I came up with an idea to explore diversity across Canada by weaving together painterly stories of our past, present and potential across territories and provinces to celebrate a full expression of the truth and beauty of Canada.

My plan with the Canada’s Beautiful World project was to take nine months to explore each of the territories and provinces; it’s history, culture, peoples, arts, and stories, and connect with the land and spirit to create paintings dedicated to expressing a voice, values and lessons each of us brings in creating a new frontier.

I had traveled in seven of the ten provinces and looked forward to reconnecting with them and virtually exploring the rest of Canada, as I began though, I quickly discovered that the scope of the project was much bigger and more time consuming than I anticipated.

The first several pieces I dove into a great amount of research and then had to find a way to distill what I learned into my impression of each of the territories and provinces. As time went on I realized that to continue with the amount of research I was doing it would take me more like two years to finish painting these thirteen pieces.

The history was fascinating, the diversity so much more diverse than I could have imagined from the indigenous peoples to those who immigrated from other places far and wide. The landscapes, scenery, arts and culture so abundantly rich and beautiful, sometimes utterly breathtakingly stunning.

Of course, there are the harsh sides, those that pull on the heart and made me want to wail in pleas and protests, which included environmental issues and global warming challenges that are greatly impacting the way of life in many places, though in the urban areas we are so largely unaware.

The making of ‘The Secrets of the Great Bear Sea’ for British Columbia, for example, was dedicated to bringing attention to the threats of the proposed oil pipelines through these waters, and the impact it poses to the whales, birds, seals, fish and ecology along the coastline and beyond.

SECRETS OF THE GREAT BEAR SEA British Columbia

In the territories, I was moved to overwhelming concern about the effects of global warming, as the indigenous peoples are speaking out about, though who is listening. Their winters growing warmer, the ice disappearing, the winds over the past couple of decades have actually changed direction. The winds have changed direction! It might not mean a whole lot to the rest of us, but to them this is a huge concern for survival. They can no longer make accurate predictions in weather patterns or changing seasons, and it affects their tracking and hunting so vital for their livelihood.

The polar bears are forced inland, as I discovered in not only the territories, but also in Manitoba, ‘Where the Polar Bears Reign.’ In Churchill, Manitoba – the thoroughfare to the seas for the bears, there are great numbers of them having to scavenge in the urban areas, in the dumps, anywhere they can search for food that is no longer available to them because of the receding islands of ice where they would normally live and swim and hunt.

WHERE POLAR BEARS REIGN Manitoba

Now, in this place people live with the real danger everyday of being attacked by a bear, so they are forced to change the way they live, having to travel in groups, staying indoors to stay alive. Children can no longer feel free to go outside and play, in fact, for Halloween their trick or treating door-to-door is restricted to a night in at the community centre. Table-to-table instead.

There is so much that is extraordinarily beautiful to behold, but I was also becoming weighted down with angst and depression at times, and with the amount of research going into each piece to prepare me for making the painting, I made the decision to alter my approach.

My research scaled back and instead I kept my ears, eyes and heart opened for what beauty, story or culture would draw me in with a desire to experience it somehow, and then give it voice through brush and paint to abstract representations on wooden panels.

Acrylic paint. Oil sticks. Gold mica flakes. Glitter. Pastel sticks. Pencils. These were the mediums I used.

Brushes. Palette knives. Chop sticks. My fingers. These were the tools I used.

West to East, first from the North through the territories and Nunavut, then through the provinces from British Columbia easterly across the nation wrapping up in Newfoundland and Labrador.

What a journey it has been. New discoveries to memories revisited.

In the making of ‘The Princely Isle,’ (Prince Edward Island PEI) a long-forgotten memory came bidding up unexpectantly when coming across a photo of the typewriter Lucy Maud Montgomery used to write her Anne of Green Gables series of books. I remembered, in a hazy recollection, seeing this very typewriter when I was nine years old, just shy of 50 years ago, and suddenly realizing that there were people who wrote the books I loved reading, loving the slinking away and slipping into other worlds. It might have been in that moment of realization that the yen, the yearning, the calling to write was born. The calling that would seek me and find me time and again, until I could no longer live or breathe without it.

THE PRINCELY ISLE by Kiernan Antares

THE PRINCELY ISLE Prince Edward Island

To finish up the series in Newfoundland and Labrador was pure delight. ‘The Rock Stands Out,’ from ancient metamorphic rocks and glacial fjords to the quirky, slightly off-kilter and many dialects of English, where storytelling is their way, I fell in love and put this place I’ve yet to visit on my bucket list. I swooned in the echoes of their own way of living and the stories being told, so their forgetting never happens.

THE ROCK STANDS OUT Newfoundland and Labrador

It would be a vision fulfilled to see this entire Canada Legacy Series find a building for its home, hung together in celebration for our nation, past, present and future. If you know of such a place or have any thoughts or ideas, please do send me a note.

In the midst of a physically challenging January, with a cold being passed back and forth plaguing our home, somehow the inspiration, motivation, drive and energy compelled me to make my way into the studio, to forge ahead and open the floodgates for the creative flow that would bring the project home to completion.

Despite the artist block that plagued me like no other in my years of painting, I am filled with good measure of gratitude and fulfillment in this undertaking. I am richer for it, for all that I’ve learned, experienced, and created. I am filled. And, I am pleased with the artworks and my growth as an artist and as a writer finding my voice.

I am so very grateful to my husband for encouraging me, helping me to keep the focus, and for reminding me I can do whatever I set out to do.

I am also very grateful for all of you who cheered me on over the past year and wrote encouraging words that inspired me to keep going!

Most especially, I am grateful to God for giving me the gift of writing and painting, to express my heart and soul and all that he made me to be, through the way of words and colour.

May the long-time sun of dreams and purpose and calling be found in each one of us. May our destiny find us willing and ready. May courage strike a chord in all of our hearts that we may be filled to the measure, through our grit, and slings and arrows may our home find us in a deep abiding joy.

With love,
Kiernan

His Love Endures Forever

His Love Endures Forever

It is a happy day because His Love Endures Forever.

Every day is a happy day in this knowing… even in the midst of the mess… in the silence as my soul awaits for God alone to instruct me in His Word.

His Word… how did it come so alive in me?

One day I wanted nothing to do with it… I did try on occasion to read the Holy Book, but the words… they were garbled. I’d read and re-read and re-read because I couldn’t make them out.

What did they say? What were these confusing words? I’d put it all away, shaking my head, wondering what it was all about, and thinking it obviously wasn’t for me.

Something changed all that. Something I can only explain as His time… to call upon me… to say enough.

Enough of the seeking in all the wrong places. Enough of the years going by in circles, repeating patterns.

Enough of a lifetime of never feeling enough… of doubts… and aloneness, an aching aloneness even where love was everywhere… because worldly love is not the same as His Love.

One day a tap on the shoulder came… a whisper of hope, of love, of peace in the darkness.

Jesus.

He made Himself known to me. He encouraged me to call upon Him in my times of need. He said He was here to help us… in this world. There seemed to be an urgency about it.

He told me to draw Him close and not let go. He walked with me and somehow, He filled me up with hope… with teachings on a new way to live, in the knowing that He loved me.

He loved me?

He. Loved. Me.

My heart quickened. It softened. It opened. Calling upon Him… talking to Him… sharing all that tormented me in my brokenness.

And the Holy Book began coming alive in me…. In my fingertips as I turned the pages… in my eyes that thirsted for the Light coming off the Words… in my heart that filled up with a need to spill over… up, up, up the rivers flowed.

Now, the Words… they are the air I breathe. They live in me. Every. Day. They are my daily bread.

His very Word spoken to me.

“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

Oh yes!

What means this? How is it possible?

There were times in my dark hours, when I’d think of Him and His hand extended… my head bowed… my breathing hilting and labored… pain ruling my body… my ache for the ways I could not make me feel love for myself, and for all the ways this ache hit upon others as surely as a tongue lashing or a beating with fists.

And, I asked myself, “What have I got to lose?” in the reaching out and accepting the hand tendered.

This Way. This Truth. This Light. Stretching out from fingers to air to me. I took His hand, and He became my strength.

I didn’t understand it all. Surely, I didn’t.

I could never understand all the talk about Jesus having died for our sins. I could not wrap my head around that one. It made no sense to me.

I acknowledged Jesus existed. I acknowledged that he died on the cross. But, what sins? How could his death over 2,000 years ago have anything to do with me?

It took months of studying the scriptures and watching movies about the Bible and Jesus… it took me having to recite the events of His life time and again… it took my own life review, praying and making amends… understanding that sin was really anything that kept me from experiencing God’s Love (God’s Love is always there and always endures but that doesn’t mean we EXPERIENCE it, does it?) to make sense of it.

Then one day, as surely as the Holy Book claimed me… it came. I could look into His heart, as He could look into mine. His breath became the air I breathed. His Presence… the Living Waters of which I drank, and it felled me.

It felled me.

Love filled the aching emptiness and broke everything wide open… the mind… the heart… the soul. Wide. Deep. High. Open.

And, I understood the grace of his death was my saving. Does that make sense? I’m reading these words just written, and I don’t know… do they convey what it is for an anguished pounding heart delivered into a new life? From numbness, empty living to everlasting… ever eternal peace and joy?

His death for Love. His death for kindnesses. His death for peace. His death for Truth. His death for All.

His Risen.

Rises in each one of us who is ready and called to believe in the power of Love.

I can see the Love in His eyes. I can feel the Love in His walk with me… in His talk with me… in His heart that finds mine.

What is it like to surrender my ways, my will for the Holy?

I am found. I am new. I have new life.

I am defined by His promises, which are many… and, shaped by His Word.

So yes, oh happy day. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. To live, with all that comes with life, the loves and losses… in the knowing that His Love Endures Forever.

In the knowing that He Loves Me… and He Loves You, even if you’ve never heard His name… He Loves you too.

So yes, oh happy day. As brush to paint in the making of this piece ‘His Love Endures Forever’ – a little something to celebrate Him in glory. I’ve got a frame in mind to affix this (heavy textured paper) piece to… please pray I don’t wreck it in the process.

 

His Love Endures Forever by Kiernan Antares

His Love Endures Forever | 18 x 24″ Acrylic on Paper

 

 

Heart to heart, love to love, may His face shine upon you,

Kiernan

xoxo

Cardinals, Robins and the Heart of the Canadian Rockies

Cardinals, Robins and the Heart of the Canadian Rockies

“This piece of heaven that I’ve found
Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground
Everything I need beneath that big blue sky
Doesn’t matter where I go
This place will always be my home
Yeah I’ve been Alberta Bound for all my life
And I’ll be Alberta Bound until I die.”

~ Paul Brandt

Singer and Songwriter

Oh to let something bigger than you to run your life… to surrender the fight with the mind’s designs… and greet the day with a new song.

Walking, watching, listening… having conversations with the project and with my creator.

A bright light appears. Brighter than what the mind can imagine. I test the waters… see how it feels…

Discovering that maybe I’m not who I thought I was, who I became as a young one. Maybe that’s not entirely true. Maybe I am who I thought I was, but I pushed it down… buried it, then sealed it shut with what is not love.

Because LOVE is a magical elixir healing absolutely everything. Where does the LOVE come from?

Everyday when I walk, the sing song of the cardinals and red-breasted robins attune my ears, and at night as I lay my head down their sweetness fills me.

AND, I live in wonder at this thing… this pull in my heart.

Secrets of the Great Bear Sea

Secrets of the Great Bear Sea

“My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.”

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

American Poet

Secrets of the Great Bear Sea—an abstract representation of the mystery and wonder that supports one of the last incredibly diverse and rich ecosystems in the world—in Canada’s wild pacific paradise. Stretching from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border, these breathtaking azure-blue/green temperate waters that provide life to bizarre and colourful invertebrates on the seafloor, fascinating forage fish, sea otters and the great whales, are all at risk from overfishing, oil spills and pressure for an oil and gas super highway. I dedicate this painting to the protection of the Great Bear Sea.

Exhibiting at Artusiasm Art Gallery

Exhibiting at Artusiasm Art Gallery

Last night a new art gallery in Toronto opened with a standing room only crowd and I was happy to be among the 70 artists participating with my crazy fun piece ‘Becoming Truly Alive’. Artusiasm is the new gallery and creative event space, owned by the most adorable, passionate and dedicated to the Toronto art scene couple I’ve ever met – Tanzina Amin and Carlos Rodrigues.

I am looking forward to becoming one of their regular roster of artists they support and work with in the coming months!

Here are some photos from this event… first up with Toronto artists Alex Scovino and Gaya Karapetyan…

The Land of the Midnight Sun

The Land of the Midnight Sun

“There was a time when it was believed that everyone was the same – animals, birds and humans. It was believed that a creature or human could change from animal to bird, human to animal, bird to animal. It was also believed that with the change, animals and birds had the power to speak”.

~ Edward Nazon

It is extraordinary to me that since my trip to Miami in January, I have been walking daily.

Long walks, sometimes briskly and sometimes leisurely. Cold days. Snow days. Rain days. Fog days. I walk.

I walk in one of Toronto’s most beautiful park areas, with rivers, creeks and streams.

I walk and see the horses at the stables. I walk up hills. I walk.

I walk for anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour.

I walk.

For years I have been watching people walk. Noticing how effortless it seems to them and thinking how most people take walking for granted. It’s just something the body can do without thinking, until it can’t.

For years the pain plagued me, saddened me, and made me more and more immobile.

In Miami we walked everywhere and we biked for hours at a time. It was the most active I had been in years. Every day I urged myself on, ignoring how my hips resisted. But, overnight I became determined that I needed to take action now. So, I kept on, and I kept on when we got home.

I’ve been working with a chiropractor who has created a list of hip stabilizing exercises and foot drills to support me. And, as I dove into my Canada Legacy series, first the Yukon piece and having just completed the Northwest Territories – Jewels of the Northwest, I found myself consumed and being changed.

In the walking, I feel connected and I connect to the land and piece before me. It informs me and it dreams me, and the paintings are flowing in a way I find so rich and rewarding.

Now, I wonder what Nunavut will bring…

Kiernan