Last week I met the fabulous internationally acclaimed contemporary artist Bobbie Burgers at the Bau-Xi Gallery in Toronto. You can read about it here. I’ve been really moved and inspired by her story and her art that is filled with great presence, energy and emotion.
Like the entire show – sold out, copies of her book went fast and I’m so glad that I didn’t hesitate in purchasing a copy – actually I think I got the second last one.
I’ve spent some time with it over the past week and I think I’ll be spending many more hours yet. Not only is it a visual delight, but her excerpts of captured moments during their six-month stay in France are as equally captivating.
Like food for the soul – well, for the romantic soul anyway! Breathe and smile. Breathe and smile in the heart.
She enchants us with her experiences, with photos of her family in the fields and on excursions, with her love and passion for her successful life’s work that was as inevitable as the sun rises and sets every day.
“Painting en plein air is scanning and letting your eyes condense. Condensing all the senses: the smells, the dry winds, the sunshine, the warmth, the rustling of grasses, all of these terribly romantic scenes. Condensing the tastes of the land, the language with its juicy puckered lips, the smell of salt and the ocean, all this funnelling down to my fingers and reappearing as a gesture and a colour.” ~Bobbi Burgers
There’s no question of Van Gogh’s influence on Burger’s landscapes. Stunning, raw, alive gorgeousness!
“We are suddenly in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, being whipped around the ring road, breathing a sigh of relief that we are here at last before our cheeses, or our children, melt. French villages are disarmingly charming, largely due to their ring roads – all the goodness neatly tied inside like a pastry box, all the sweetness safe and to be savoured slowly later. No time for the cobblestone streets today, it’s home to our new home.”
“After a few attempts at cramming the entire vista – the incredible depth, rows and patterns of olive trees, cypress trees and blue hills receding, endless dots dots dots – into one canvas, what I really find interesting today are the weeds. All creamy colours and dark slashes, often with old vines of chartreuse and purpose mixed in. I think these forgotten fields, where nature orchestrates the perfect colour combinations and infinite textures, will be my real muse.”
The flowers are my saviours this week. A break from the fields, a bit of respite from the yellow. I’ll take blue and white for a day… maybe a little pink and red. Matches our stripes quite nicely!
I could go on and on… sharing bits and bites of this escape to wonderland, but I best stop here.
If you’re in the market for a coffee table art book to carry you off on a magic carpet ride to France, where Van Gogh once breathed his colours to life, look no further.
‘Mountain Pride’ is an abstract piece I painted during my stay at a chateau in Moire, France. In my post ‘The Lookout’ I describe what it was like to take in the lay of the land; the richness and aliveness of it, and how I processed it into paintings, so I encourage you to read it.
It’s not uncommon for me, and perhaps other artists, to be inspired or influenced by events or experiences that have yet to happen. I believe that was the case in painting ‘Mountain Pride’.
At the end of the day when I uploaded my photos, something struck me as interesting. Now, with an eye for seeing the unseen, I immediately connected my painting to this photo I took of a good friend, who we traveled with in France. Doug, or Shaggy as he prefers to be called, is quite an interesting character and one of the kindest and most considerate people I know.
Can you see him in this painting? I kept this impression to myself, until I posted the painting on Facebook and left a comment for Shaggy. Happily, yes, he did see it and is adding this piece to his art collection!
So, why would I paint this? What was I thinking or feeling at the time? Sadly, I did not write down what specifically I was experiencing during its painting, but I do remember that I was filled with grace. I do remember that Shaggy and I shared a common bond of basking in the sunsets and alerting each other to possible beautiful shots awaiting.
I do remember that we also shared some quiet contemplative mornings together, separately but in each others space, so to speak, with coffee, journaling, and enjoying the fresh air. I do remember a nice talk about life at a cafe in Paris together.
And, I do remember connecting deeply to the spirit of the land and the human spirit, and on this trip there was an abundance of loving kindness, camaraderie, support, cheering each other on in triumph and being there when things got tough.
Now, of course this painting has an element of cosmic connection, which I think is perfectly perfect for my reflections on this piece and its relationship as or to the Yogi Warrior:
“Here is where you live. Come inside.
Touch what is not, and then this is.
Raise dust in both worlds.
Then the going goes the same:
Pain, difficulty; peace, pleasure.
But you are beyond those four,
Beyond the winding way.”
You are the Yogi Warrior and you carry the Medicine Way within you, for you walk in reverence to the preservation of all life, as you pursue your heart’s calling – your destiny. A yogi warrior knows his purpose in this life. He knows how to utilize his talents and abilities in service to the greater good and when he fuses his passion with selfless service, he inevitably becomes a teacher, leader, guide, and mentor to others on their journey.
The great mountain and the zenith sun remind you of the goals you wish to accomplish. Mother Earth opens her lands for you to walk your noble journey.
~ Mountain Pride by Kiernan Antares ~ SOLD
Abstraction on Canvas Paper, 12″ x 16″
Copyright 2015, Kiernan Antares, All Rights Reserved
‘The Lookout’ is an abstract landscape piece I painted during my stay at a chateau in Moire, France. In the midst of the Beaujolais region, surrounded by vineyards, and gorgeous scenery, my heart delighted in every moment. The lookout – or hideaway was an alcove on a plateau where I set up my easel. I took the view of the valley, the vineyards, the villages, and the beauty into my heart and painted this very abstract impressionist piece of what I felt.
Day after day I sat and gazed. Really, what could one do, or maybe what could an artist do, but this?
Sitting, gazing and breathing. Just watching. The subtle shifts of light. The row upon row of grapevines – imagining their sweet nectar.
In a land, where it really is all about the land and the growing of these beauties and the sustenance of its peoples. I could feel this, as I sat. As I felt and listened with an inner ear.
I could feel the power and marvel of the land – as much as I could feel it in an ancient place like Egypt.
Except here, there was much silence. No hum of a city. Other than occasional passing vehicles in this tiny village and the church bells that rang every 15 minutes – it was silence.
As soon as all the friends we shared the chateau with, who were there to compete in the World Masters Track & Field Championships left for their daily trek into Lyon to the track to race, there was silence.
A near deafening silence. There was eternal peace. A peace so deep one could breathe it in to the very depths of one’s being. A peace so deep to bask in.
A peace so deep, one could sigh the whole world out, and breathe in the silence.
A silence that contained everything and nothing.
You are left to feel your blood rushing in your ears and in your body and feel nothing else but that moment.
It was those moments that were painted alive on the paper. For you, to feel and to see.
“Dear mind, such a traveler, always moving,
like a fish looking for the sea,
while the great heart’s ocean waits,
all around and inside it.
How can you live outside this love?”
~ The Lookout by Kiernan Antares ~
Abstraction on Canvas Paper, 12″ x 16″
Copyright 2015, Kiernan Antares, All Rights Reserved
Come see my little painting hideaway during my stay at a chateau in Moire, France.
Ah… none of my photos do any amount of justice to the magnificent scenery of the Beaujolais region of France, where we stayed for the month of August.
None captured the simple need to sit and gaze, to sit and gaze and breathe it all in for days on end.
My intention for this trip was to unplug from social media, from being influenced and swayed by what others are doing, to rest and rejuvenate my heart, and to listen, really listen to the voice and stirrings within.
At some point as an artist, and I suppose as a person in general, there comes a time to take all the technical aspects you’ve learned in how to express yourself and set them free, with loving gratitude, and then open the door to let the wild and truly authentic you enter.
Painting abstracts has become that doorway for me this year, and getting away to just be, without any expectations was the most delicious experience to nourish this need, this yearning to explode on to the canvas with the colour and light of my soul and spirit.
I spent days lounging, tanning and swimming – oh the sun felt so good on my back and I could feel my bones soaking up its powerful rays by day…
and its healing grace by evening with friends…
There is such yin and yang evident in the world, in every way of living, of being, of doing. I’ve been learning that these differences are necessary and healthy to balance and compliment each other.
Paul and I are similar in some ways and different in so many others. He needs to keep busy and focused on building something spectacular, which he does with grace and devotion (and I respect tremendously), whereas, I need lots of solitude to connect with the spirit of life so that I can paint and share it as an artist and writer. Different, yes but complimentary. The trip filled both our needs, and our love had a chance to thrive in France, for which I am eternally grateful. (Oh look… check out my silvers!)
This trip was filled with so much heart and inspiration. It was also filled with some challenging physical setbacks, opportunities for growth and experiencing the power of love as a transformation force.
It was filled with laughter, support and sharing…
Some girl time…
Some chilling cafe time…
There was visiting with the Black Madonna of Lyon time…
Visiting an old castle…
now used as an art gallery time…
There was the magic of Paris time… the City of Lights, which captures and excites my heart with every visit…
Some gallery time, where I got to see one of my favourite’s, ‘The Dance Class’ (a thrill to satisfy my ballerina heart) by Edgar Degas up close at the D’Orsy Museum…
and yes, some painting time…
Where I got to feel the heart of the land, the heart of spirit, the heart of my soul and listen deeply to its urgings…
On the left: Mountain Pride – SOLD
On the top right: The Lookout – SOLD
On the middle right: Morning Glory
On the bottom right: Illuminated Hearts
I’ll be posting these pieces separately on my blog
Being away for so long really felt like a reset and the unplugging a necessity. This really has been and continues to be such a potent year for reflection and releasing what no longer serves, for seeing where my heart is still closed, seeking spirit’s guidance to open it more, and for preparing for new beginnings.
In fact, to help in all this I am doing a major decluttering home project. Anything and everything that no longer sparks joy is being blessed and released. Then, taking it a step further we’re making a renovation list to give our home a good refresh and reorganization to support our joyful inspired life’s vision.
Shaking things up good!
I celebrate LOVE in all it’s high’s and low’s. I celebrate the POWER of LOVE as a force of healing and grace. I celebrate the truth’s that connect our heart’s to each other and the ONE. I celebrate the gifts that lie within each of us.
I celebrate my continued passion for painting and serving the world in my inner transformation, joy and fulfillment.
May you be blessed by the spirit of love,
I’m a writer, poet, editor and artist. I’m here, in this space, as a scribe; sharing stories, dreams, storms, waves and windows. If poetic leanings, the creative calling, and all things writing interest you, please join me.