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Tornado Warnings

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She’s one of my favourite living artists.  I’ve known Lynne McIlvride for decades and am honoured to own one of her originals.

I was at the opening of her new show last night http://www.davidkayegallery.com/ and once again I’m struck with the beauty of her work.  As always, I start to wonder why. What is it about this art that hits me so profoundly and more importantly, what is it trying to teach me.

Apart from her being one of the best people I know, her work speaks to me of balance and beauty – often in the midst of chaos.  She mixes found objects with fresh painting, her life 0 the good and the bad is recorded in her work with a courageous honesty that I marvel at, but it mixes with metaphor and symbols, whimsy and heartache.

This is what I love the most; she explores her art and her passions with specific and clear emotional detail while using metaphors that make her work universal.

Her latest series, Stormy weather (seriously, check it out) is all about tornadoes.  She’s put them in their sturdy glass doored boxes so we can view them and their destruction from a safe place, and then she tucks in some supplies to help with the healing after.  My favorite is the one pictured.  It’s a nasty little tornado (in spite of its colors) and Lynne’s given us thread to sew it all back together when the tornado’s done its worst.  No Band-Aids, sturdy and colourful thread.  It’s gonna leave a scar, it will never look the same, but we’re gonna hold it altogether. Another piece has the tornado coming through fabric that’s already patched together…here it comes again.

Sometimes life gets ripped apart, if we face it with integrity and creativity, we can make something beautiful.

Thanks again Lynne.

Check out her web site, she’s great.

http://www.mcilvride-evans.com/

 

Her current show runs to August 25th at the David Kaye Gallery – 1092 Queen St. W. Toronto.   http://www.davidkayegallery.com/

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This Post will last FOREVER . . . Babe!

cartoon-shakespeare

If you’ve only read one sonnet in your life, it was probably Sonnet 18…”Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day . . .”

You were probably forced to read it by some English teacher who was desperate to excite you about Shakespeare by pointing out the obvious sexual references. . . I know I was.

Much as I like love the sexual references, forget about them for a sec.  Look at the last two lines . . .

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

In simple modern English, he’s saying “This poem is so awesome they will be reading it FOREVER; I just made you immortal Babe.”

The sonnets are numbered roughly in the order they were written, so #18 (of 154) was written when he was a pretty young guy.

It’s the most arrogant thing ever written in the English language.  It would be unacceptably arrogant . . . if it wasn’t turning out to be true.

There are a lot of reasons why Shakespeare’s great, one that is often overlooked is that he knew from the start that he was great.

Do you have the courage – the honesty – the unadulterated Chutzpah to believe how great you are?  We ALL have greatness within us.  Find yours and bring it to the world, this is not an option, it is our job here on earth.  Some are great writers, or painters, or parents or cooks, but we’ve all got something the world is hungry for.

Find your greatness and you will change the world in wonderful ways.

I can’t believe I’m doing this.

Last week my life got a LOT more animated.

Hanging upside down from the ceiling of a ballet studio I knew I’d found a new passion.

Getting ready for Cirque

Last year (2012), my New Year’s resolution was to do at least one thing a month that makes me smile, roll my eyes toward Heaven and say, “I can’t believe I’m doing this!”  It made for a GREAT year in a lot of ways.  This year I was determined to keep myself open to possibilities to do the same.

Last Saturday, I dropped my 5 year old at her ballet class and noticed silk cords hanging from the ceiling.  6 days later I was in my first silks class, muscles I haven’t felt in years SCREAMING and ridiculously happy.

I first saw silks at Cirque Du Soleil and loved it; it was beautiful, athletic and downright sexy.

cirque

Cirque Silks

My one class at www.artistsplay.com was clumsy, exhausting and it hurt…I’m going back – – – until I find the beautiful, athletic sexiness.

Here’s a challenge to all of you.  What have you wanted to do but have been making excuses about?  GO DO IT!!!

Do something regularly that makes you smile, roll your eyes toward Heaven and say, “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

What I know about graduating… 25 years after the fact.

I had a note from a student who will be graduating from college in a few weeks.  Graduating and going out into the job field was getting a bit threatening.

I’ve been teaching at the college for 18 years, suddenly I’m having a flashback to 25 years ago, when I graduated from college.  WOW a quarter century later.  Have I learned anything?

For what it’s worth, here’s what I know about graduating:

1)Keep the people who matter close to you. It gets a little harder to stay connected after you graduate – do it anyway.  Those people keep you motivated, supported, connected, grounded and sane.

2)Zoom in on your strengths.  At school there’s a LOT of focus on fixing your weaknesses, STOP IT.  Do what you do best.  If Michelangelo had spent all his time trying to fix his crappy his social skills we wouldn’t have the Sistine Chapel or David, Florence would have had a frustrated artist with a fake smile on his face.

3)If you’re not sure what your strengths are– that’s cool, we’re all still sorting that out, but here are a few tips:

Ask the people around you; we have a tendency to dismiss our strengths because the things we’re really good at are easy.

The next time you’re asking yourself “Why can’t they just get this, it’s so easy?” PAY ATTENTION…that’s a unique strength of yours.

4)All change is good and bad.  You decide what you focus on.

5)You’ve heard that success means sacrifice – it’s true, but NEVER sacrifice your integrity, your dreams, or your authentic self.  Giving up on those serves NO ONE!  Trust me on this one.

6)You and your dreams are going to change a LOT in the next few years.  Learn the difference between changing your dreams and giving up on them.  One is about growth, the other is death.

7)Never stop learning.  The best learning is accidental.  We were NOT your best teachers.  I like to think we were good, but Life and your own intuition will teach you FAR more than we ever could.

8)You’re not entering “The Real World”.  School is real, what you have here is real.  You’re just moving into a different place.

9)In the end, don’t listen to me – trust yourself.

Lettin’ Go with Daddy Crood

Saw the advanced screening of The Croods tonight.

NO SPOILERS – READ AWAY

I’ve got a few people I want to meet before I die.  Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco  are two of them.  Tonight I was going to meet them – OK me and a couple of hundred other people – at the Toronto preview of The Croods – I had my ticket, I had a baby sitter, I was ready to kick another item off my Bucket list.

Then it decided to snow in Chicago and they couldn’t fly out.  The weather disappointed, the film didn’t.

First a quick review – for you poor suckers who are going to have to wait ‘till March 22nd.  I have to be honest, it probably won’t push Shrek out of my #1 spot, but it might come very close.  Funny, warm, cool social satire, AMAZING environments, GREAT acting and a great story – go see it.

Now, on to the “animatingyourlife” take on it.  How’s this one going to help me grow?  Or is it?  Is it one of those pieces I look at and go “That was great…what’s for lunch” or is it going to stick with me for a while?

The Croods might just be getting under my skin a bit – sooooo, what’s it saying to me?

There are a lot of themes subtly and not so subtly woven into this one: loyalty, security vs. freedom, physical strength vs. intellectual strength, romance, but the thing that pulls me in is Dad.  Here’s a guy having a HARD time letting go of the past and the safety he knows.  Can’t blame him, it’s a rough world for this Caveman, but things are changing and he’s a bit slow on the uptake…Palaeolithic guys are like that sometimes.  He can’t move forward because he can’t let go.

I’ll be honest.  There’s comfort in the familiar – even when it doesn’t work anymore.  Papa Crood has is Stone Age baggage, I’ve got mine, and I have a hard time letting go…for me, it comes out in resentments, especially when I was right and they were wrong and they just didn’t appreciate me the way they should have and why couldn’t Sanders and DiMicco make it, it always snows on my parade.  Oh dear, that does sound pathetic.  I’m working on it; if a bunch of Neanderthals can change then so can this nerdy art addict.

I promised no spoilers, so I won’t tell you if Papa Crood makes the change or not – Don’t assume it all works out just because it’s DreamWorks, Sanders and DeMicco take it somewhere I did NOT think it would go, made me cry a bit, but just a bit ‘cause I’m tough…like a cave man.

Scarlett O’Hara & Mark Twain – Worry and Time Management.

I’m lazy and smart* the two together have made me an expert on time management – actually worked as a time management expert for a while.  This morning I saw the following picture/caption.

Quote from Dan Zadra - not sure where the art comes from, if you know, please let me know so I can credit it.

Quote from Dan Zadra – not sure where the art comes from, if you know, please let me know so I can credit it.

Made me think about something I wrote a while ago on the subject of worry and time management.

Scarlet O’Hara was one of the best time managers ever! When something was bothering her she was famous for saying “I’ll think about that tomorrow”.  She was also famous for saying “Fiddle Dee Dee”; I have no clue what that was about, but I’ll think about that tomorrow.

I wouldn’t suggest you emulate Scarlet on a lot of issues, she married her sister’s fiancée who she didn’t love, because he was rich and then supported him in his KKK activity (I think it was the same husband – she had four or five) – these are not admirable traits, but she knew how to get things done and not worrying was a BIG part of her system.

Worry takes up a HUGE amount of time and energy and gives us NOTHING in return.

NOTHING!

STOP IT!

I know, I know, it’s easier said than done, but try pulling a Scarlett and scheduling your worry.  It works, yank out your date book.  Tomorrow – or the next day – between 8:00 and 8:25 can be worry-fret-angst time, right now you’ve got more important things to do and so do I.

Adding in a Fiddle dee dee or two is up to you.  I bet you won’t even be able to remember what you were supposed to worry about by then.

A final word from a nicer person than Scarlet…

“I have spent most of my life worrying about things that never happened.”

Mark Twain

* It’s taken me years to be able to say “I’m smart” without shame.  While we’re letting go of worry, let’s all acknowledge our strengths without shame.

Finding my Incredible’s Super Power

She’d completely messed up and it had almost killed her family.  I’m talking about Violet from The Incredibles.  Syndrome fires rockets at the plane they’re all in and Violet can’t get her strengths in line…she’s had years of ignoring them…and using them to hide.

The metaphors in this film are brilliant; Violet, doesn’t want to be seen and doesn’t want anyone to get close to her can literally go invisible and put an impenetrable force field around herself.  Dash might be the most hyperactive kid in animation history – and he can move at lightning speed, and as for Jack Jack, well babies can be anything, unlimited potential…and he does.  In both Violet and Dash’s case their superpowers are also their greatest liability, Violet hides from everyone and Dash is always in trouble. The thing that both holds them back, makes them special is ultimately is the very thing that makes them great, but only when they choose to use their gifts well.

We ALL have super power – an area of genius – something we do better than the people around us.  This doesn’t make us better than they are; it doesn’t make us superior; it makes us human.  When our strengths work together with the strengths of those around us we become truly superhuman – and super humans.

When Dash and Violet accept their own strengths and the strengths of each other, they form an unstoppable combination.  Seriously, just check out the hamster ball they create…it’s brilliant.

I have to admit I’ve spent a HUGE part of my life going between wishing I had the strengths of the people around me and being so full of my own magnificence that I can’t work with anyone else.  Both of these has held me back.  I have strengths, so do you.  Let’s see what we can accomplish when we acknowledge both ourselves and those around us…we can be unstoppable too.

For a bit more on The Incredibles check out my previous postThe Incredibles Incredible Romance (one of my most popular thanks to a link from  elflamingo2 on Reddit  )

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