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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Jet-Lagged in Southern Italy

After leaving Canada on January 15, we stayed overnight in London. It was a fine flight, but jet-lag really took its toll on this one. Too tired to see anything, we sort-of-slept in one of the non-interesting hotels near the airport, waiting for the next morning's flight to Rome.  You know how you can get so brain-muddled and dreadfully weary after altering your sleep cycles? All this when you have major baggage (including two trombones and paint supplies) to deal with, along with the winding maze of security checks and customs lines. It's a wonder we made it, with all our time-zone challenged non-sleep grogginess. I don't remember it hitting this hard before. 

In any case, we picked up a rented car in Rome and drove a long 6-7 hours south to Lecce in Puglia. Of course the Italians do it in less time, but we made it without too much mishap. 

 I'll write more about this lovely city of Lecce after it sinks in more. Right now it's much colder than I expected. Aside from getting our living situation set up as "home"and dealing with the basic orientation and chores needed for settling in( food shopping, electricity adaptors, cellphone changes and on and on), all I can look forward to at the moment is sleeping at Italian (not jet-lagged Canadian West Coast) hours. 

It's been four days and we're still clicking on foreign time. Who knew jet-lag could take so long to dissipate?  These time-space continuum flips of this rather ordinary little trip have been so disorienting it makes me marvel at how astronauts ever managed!

Figuring Out the Universe, painting by Janet Strayer

Good night all. Wake me up for lunch tomorrow! 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winging it with WINGS

poster for WINGS exhibition, Vancouver 2018, Janet Strayer Art (Icarus painting)
WINGS is a collection of inventively representational and abstract and paintings that opens this January at the Waterfront Theatre Gallery in Vancouver. Paintings of birds, winged creatures, flying mythological figures, and evocations of feathers and flight adorn the theatre gallery. 
It's interesting how the modes of visual art and dramatic performance are reciprocally enhanced by this thematic focus upon wings of the imagination
The show runs until the end of March, 2018 at this great Granville Island location -- a fitting spot beside the water, as seabirds wing their way through.

I'll be flying off soon too, just days after initiating the show. I'll be n Europe for the next few months, painting, exploring art and adventuring. 

Happy trails to you too during the new year 2018!

Friday, December 22, 2017

What's Music Got to Do with It?

Can you see and hear the connection of this painting, Night on Bald Mountain, with Mussorgsky's evocative music?
Night on Bald Mountain: painting by Janet Strayer
 Many painters I know like to listen to music as they paint. Not me. Music often takes me away with it,  my full attention absorbed, so that I can't be fully involved in the painting process.  Yet music often lingers strongly in my mind, affecting my mood and the rhythms of the next painting I start. That's the case with my Night on Bald Mountain. 

Though it was originally composed on St. John's eve (midsummer), this music always comes to my mind in wintertime when the ground is barren, the colors are muted, and the trees and land forms are silhouetted in a dusky atmosphere. 

Listening to Rimksy-Korsakov's orchestration of this tone-poem is especially wonderful on a winter night,  temperature falling as the dark flickers with with shadowed light. Surprising to learn that this famous piece of pictorial music was ill-received by Mussorgsky's mentor. It was pulled off the public charts by its young creator in mortification. Yet the music lingered in its creator's mind. Despite several attempts to shape it for public presentation, Mussorsky's version was never publically  performed during his lifetime-- only to become famous after R-K's appreciation of this work and his own orchestration of it after Mussorgsky's death. The music subsequently become riotously famous in contemporary times after Disney (with Igor Stravinsky's help) fabulized it in Fantasia (1941, click for youtube clip) 

Grateful to R-K for realizing Mussorsky's auditory vision, I'm left pondering (once again) the syncretic and generative nature of art.  Night on Bald Mountain demonstrates again for me the richness and depth of many art forms that beckon and beget themselves anew -- in slightly or even drastically altered form. This occurs in a single artist's own works and, of course, it occurs across artists. In this context, appropriation is no sin. Nor is it  to be regarded as a glibly cast-off hand-me-down. Rather, it can be a genuine tribute and enrichment of art for its own sake. Who is the "authentic" composer of Night on Bald Mountain? Depends where you want to start ... and stop.... your search.

Happy Winter Solstice and Holidays,   


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Defiant Grief: Antigone Today

Defiant Grief is a painting from my archives. It is now on exhibit with other powerful  artwork at the Moat Gallery in Vancouver's stunning central library. The exhibition began on Canada's Day of Remembrance,  in honour and remembrance of the people slain in the Montréal Massacre, our own very poignant example of the worldwide violence towards women. The exhibition continues  until Dec. 28 . It encourages awareness of and social action against violence to women. Hope you get to see the powerful work displayed and organized by Vancouver Rape Relief and Women's Shelters.

My own personal statement about this painting is that I wish it to serve as a testament to the deep grief that underlies our defiant resistance to violence. It is called Defiant Grief  in order to acknowledge that this defiance is born of grief for all who suffer at the hands and will of the more powerful and unjust. This is a substantive grief that transforms into strength -- not just for endurance  but for wilful action. Both principled determination and a strong reservoir of feeling underlie women's resistance, not only to outrages committed against individuals, but also to aspects of society that permit such abuse.

Although the painting is an individual testament, it also calls to mind the ancient Greek drama of Antigone's resistance to the state/tyrant. Perhaps like this enduring heroine, we cry, we scream, we rage, and we gather our considerable strength to resist and work against such outrage.

As this season of political infamy turns to upcoming winter festivities and holiday celebrations, perhaps it is worth remembering.

And good wishes to you all.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Death, Art, and Maudie

Not the most attractive title for a blog, I know. But it succinctly captures the reality of my recent experiences, which might be of some more general interest or reflection.

I was called out from my peaceful slumbers early one morning on Saturna Island by the phone ringing at my bedside. It was a death in the family. Someone much too young and with a still young family.

I took the first ferry off island, and then onto a plane headed to the east coast.  A doleful trip. Those of you who know such loss and sorrow in your lives need no more details of the heavy, dull, yet churning emotions en route ... or of the communal experience a family funeral exacts.

Tired but needing to distract myself en route, I turned to the airline movie selection and chose Maudie. A biographical film about the Nova Scotia artist, Maude Dawley Lewis, and set in the 1930s, it is directed by Aisling Walsh and features fine performances by Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. 
link to global news commentary
 Overtly crippled by arthritis and disparaged by family and small-town judgements, Maud lives and works as house-cleaner for a poor, inarticulate, and rough fish peddler, Everett, in a house that seems barely more than a shack. Hardly the scenario for art or romance or some sort of success. And yet it is ... of a different sort.

The improbable happens. Maud is affirmed in love and in art, the latter being celebrated from locations as unlikely as Nixon's White House. It is no fable, yet the story has a fable's simply constructed trials, wonder, and moral outlook. Where better to find the truth of what one seeks or hopes for?

I cried as I watched it, stuck in the middle seat of a plane full of people, my eyes spilled with rolling tears. I was too tired, too drawn out of my life, to care much about my public appearance at the moment. In any case, these were not sentimental tears, but ones that seemed just: for the harsh realities of life. In this art-as-life movie, they were for a woman so bent yet strong, so afflicted yet affirming, so simple, direct, persistent, and brave in her art and in her life. Her circumstances were harsh, her health impaired by multiple factors, and her resources so substantially and financially constrained. Yet she endured and enriched, without triumph but with affirmation.

And, as with empathy, in general, the feelings evoked in the movie expanded to my immediate world.  A world so different than Maud's, so jam-packed with greed, excess, deliberate hypocrisy and self-serving righteous attitudes, where the political and personal get so regularly demeaned that they become TV fodder displayed as info-tainment. Where art is so commodified and artists so competitive that one questions where the "spirit" in  inspiration went. 

I sometimes despair of such a world, yet cherish the moments of what I'll call "Maud's world" for their simple pleasure and appreciation of the richness of life when it is lived and loved for its own sake and on its own terms. Hers seems a world that, when death comes knocking, isn't met with an "Is that all there is?" summary but with "I loved and was loved."

Maud  Lewis outside her home, see global news link
"Can you teach me to paint?", a sophisticated woman asks. Maud smiles that incandescent smile of hers, and quickly dismisses the woman's request, chuckling a bit with her gaze turned upward. "Owh, you can't teach that," she simply says.

Perhaps you can't. That kind of art stems from the untutored and very personally experienced appreciation of life. Something so simple, so profound, it cannot be taught.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Loving Vincent and Dreams

This is a love letter. I love Loving Vincent.

Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully oil painted feature film. It is a masterwork,  A gorgeous and gripping ensemble of painted visual art cinematically woven together. Not cartoony, not animé, but its own uniquely lush and painterly rendition of cinematic action. It's emotionally gripping, even without the plotline, which adds a touch of detective drama and mystery to the circumstances of Vincent's death. 

It took five years to finish production of this film. No wonder, after you see it. It's a triumph of love and technique. Written and directed by Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman, produced by Poland’s BreakThru Films & UK’s Trademark Films, it was funded by the Polish Film Institute. Kudos and appreciation to them for getting this huge ball of creative effort rolling. It's a stellar tribute and triumph.

The film brings the paintings of Vincent van Gogh to life and tells his remarkable story, with a twist of mystery added to it. Every one of the 65,000 frames of the film is an oil-painting, hand-painted by 125 professional oil-painters. Then there are the storyboard illustrators, animators, cinematographers, and all the crew it takes to make a feature film.

Although Poland has a wonderful tradition in both cinematic and graphic art, there reportedly were not enough qualified artists in Poland, so that local talent was enhanced by artists from across the world coming to studios in Poland and Greece to be a part of the production. Even the actors used as models in the production look uncannily like actual characters in van Gogh's paintings!

from online trailer 
Watching this fascinating film, I was stunned by how quickly and thoroughly it drew me in. The black and white scenes (like flash-backs in a traditional movie) were gorgeous, and at times so photographic I thought they were filming actors in black and white, rather than painting them. 

The colored scenes are just thrillingly gorgeous, with enough quirky stylistic changes to peak your interest as you travel through, not only van Gogh's paintings, but the whole painted storyline with its interesting, amusing, and dramatic personae and plot. You hardly think about how impossible a feat it is to be watching paintings move! 

I read subsequently that it took about 12 frames of individual oil paintings make up each second of Loving Vincent. That means a total of 65,000 paintings were used to produce the entire film. The batallion of painters spent up to 10 days painting just one second of film.

The result is breathtaking. If you haven't seen it, you must. And if you have seen it, you might like knowing something more about its production. Here's a brief BBC video interview by Sarah Wimperis that will give you a glimpse behind the scenes and into the process: click 
I'm glad that paintings contributing to this film are available for sale. I very much enjoyed looking at the online site showing them, along with 16 pages of photos and profiles of the artist/painters . How wonderful and torturous their labors must have been. I do wonder, though, to whom the paintings belong: the film producers, the painters, ...? What a feat to be part of a masterwork in our own time!


While thinking over my experience of Loving Vincent, another film popped into mind. I recalled Dreams, a Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa that I'd seen in the 1990s. He is one of my favorite directors and a master visual stylist, creating beautifully epic tableaus.
A departure from his typical films, this one (the only one written by Kurosawa himself) is composed of dream vignettes. In particular, one episode, "Crows", deals with  van Gogh (played by another fine director, if less-than-convincing actor: Martin Scorcese).
The camera begins in gallery and moves across several of van Gogh's brilliant paintings while a solitary art student gazes at them. At one point, the student leans into a painting of a stone bridge with women working below it. Suddenly, he is inside the painting, which now has become the actual French countryside, and he is asks the women where he might find van Gogh.

from Crow segment of  Dreams (click to see online video lnk)
 The student journeys onward through many identifiable van Gogh scenes, some of them films of actual countryside, others (like Loving Vincent) close-ups and sets of van Gogh paintings. The student is always photographed as in a usual film (not painted) and he remains so, even as the scenes he walks through change from photography to painting. 

For me, a surprising pictorial moment occurs when the student, walking in the actual countryside, finds it  has turned into an ink painting:
online link

He subsequently traverses more richly painted backdrops. But, as an actual person, he's not fully integrated into the painted scene (in contrast to in Loving Vincent). He remains a foreign body inserted into it.  It's a different kind of statement, but seems to me a trail-blazing precursor.

For example, having the student blunder into the thickness of the paint (see below)makes this a palpably different experience for us watching than the more unified Loving Vincent. The dialectic between the actual and the imaginative creation is visible and mediated by Kurosawa's film itself. He conveys the tension of engaging in creation in a way that is both highly sophisticated and joyously naive.
Kurosawa is one of the great directors of the 20thC, who made stunningly beautiful movies -- even of mass carnage in combat. To learn that he was also a painter, often spending time painting pictures of every scene, makes the Crow segment of interwoven film and paint media even more meaningful. In his own words, "My purpose was not to paint well. I made free use of various materials that happened to be at hand." But the actual shots framed in his films clearly represent a realization of what he'd visualized (and often painted) beforehand.

A personal footnote to the magic of the moving picture:

As a very young child I was fascinated by a TV show that encouraged its tiny viewers to draw on the TV screen (plastic overlay sheet required). Whatever you drew would be incorporated into the plot in order to complete the scene for the show's cartoon characters. For example, you would draw a bridge to help a funny little guy get across a river, or crayon in a ladder for him to reach a window, or give him wings so  he could fly.

The idea was that if enough of us created the needed device, it appeared on screen and our little person would get out of a jam or get something desired. And of course, in the next few moments, a bridge, ladder, or wings appeared in the show, and the action was completed on screen.

For me, this show was enchantment itself. I was the creator of a small bit of magic that worked. I saw it happen on TV! This engagement in the process of art making reality has never left me, though I do wish I could now be as effective in changing the world as I was then.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Story of a Painting and What Makes It Sell

You know that I'm a painter, right? Like many painters who enjoy or are impelled to paint, I'm a prolific artist who completes more works than can shown in public exhibitions or sold. Still, sometimes I just know that a certain painting has a certain zing to it: it just has to been seen in public and sold to someone who loves it. 

I'll try to explain it this way: the painting hits the mark... my own mark first, by surprising me in ways that both ring authentic to what I intended and go a bit beyond this in interesting ways. I want to keep looking at such an artwork. And, getting anthropomorphic, it wants to go out into the world!

Typically, these zing-artworks do get reaction from the public, one way or another. Some of them also get purchased. Which brings me to what I think is an interesting story for all those who wonder about what makes a painting sell. I'll stick to specifics rather than try to speak to the generalities of selling art (a quagmire of opinions -- all of them right to some degree).

This story is about one painting that not only sold, but sold triple-times! The first time was when it was shown in an open-studio show I did presenting some  new works. Early in the show, a man who had been standing looking at this painting in less than the best viewing conditions started nodding to himself, called someone on his cellphone, then with speed and much excitement, walked over to me. "I'll buy it!" he pronounced. His cheque followed immediately. I wrapped the painting for him to pick up later that day.

Within a week, I got a call from the same man, now somewhat embarrassed. Would I come pick up the painting at his huge house and return his cheque? He loved the painting, he insisted, but his wife worried that it might offend some of their visitors. Poof!

Of course I did that. Who wants a controversial painting hanging in their house? (Well, you might answer that one differently). I was disappointed, but consoled myself that art is such an individually meaningful exchange, it's best when it fits well with its purchaser. 

I didn't show the painting again for a year.  I decided to change an aspect of the boy's face and hair in the interim and repainted part of it. I do this kind of thing when a painting remains with me to look at for a lengthy time. Sometimes, it starts telling me things. They were small changes, but I think the result was even better. 

I made a card of the painting and had it among other cards available for visitors to my Saturna Island studio. This past summer, I had quite a few visitors, and many conversations about art, island life, and whatever matters. The cards of this painting were often pocketed as souvenirs.

One day a visitor asked if I could bring the actual painting. He was surprised it hadn't sold (but it had, once before) and came again, with his wife. He wanted the painting and would pay whatever the asking price. His wife looked startled and asked him to step outside. 

Uh-oh. I knew at once. And you now also know what happened. I heard him protest in the hallway, "but I'll keep it in my study." I shrugged, knowing how this was going to turn out.

When they walked back into the studio, I immediately short-circuited things by mentioning that I understood this painting wouldn't really fit into their lives. I cared about things like that.  Nothing like "divorce-by-painting" for me. OK, done deal = no deal. 

By the way, it could just as well have been "woman-wants/man-doesn't" theme to these events, but it hadn't worked that way two times running. So, back the painting went into storage. I felt a bit sad about its history of two almost-but-no sales. Still, looking at the painting itself made me happy. 

About two weeks later, in another setting entirely, someone mentioned how much he'd liked the card he had of this painting. Yes, I agreed, it was popular. Especially now that Wonder Woman had been a popular movie, as well. "Was it still available?", he asked.
painting by Janet Strayer www.janetstrayer.com
Whoa!, I thought. Here we go again. I told him the story of its two previous art lovers. I guess it was a warning, and certainly not the greatest sales pitch in the world! But I really like this man and, despite wanting him to own this painting, I felt it had a history to relate.

I was delighted when he re-confirmed by saying "I know I want to buy it." Nice because it seemed like the perfect fit: he had the combined artistic sensibility, humour, and  generosity of spirit to enjoy it fully. This time, it was a final sale for Wonder Woman & Superboy.

This is a painting that pays homage to two periods in art history that revered the human figure: the European Renaissance and North American Classic Comic Book Art. Set in the traditional Madonna-Child pose,Wonder Woman and Superboy are pop representations of the abiding power of iconic imagery. Technically, as well, blending modern acrylics (pop art) with traditional gold leaf and pose helps link the centuries and merges the reverential with popular cultural forms -- a humanistic approach. 

Wonder Woman & Superboy are now where they belong.  I appreciate it. And I hope you appreciate this story of its journey.  


Friday, October 20, 2017

My Head is Back Where It Belongs

My head(er) fell off, and now I'm glad to have it back! Thanks to ZZ at GingerMedia. 

What a disconcerting event to lose one's head. Now I understand what happened, and I'll share it with you for any use it may serve to other bloggers. 
The images I use in the banner header were photos of paintings taken from my first art website, where they each had a specific url address. It became too burdensome to re-fashion that website in a style that suited my newest paintings and artwork, so I designed a new website that suited it better: janetstrayer.com
The Problem: Once the older website was made inactive, the images that were stored on it for this blog couldn't be used and so disappeared from this header. Now I know that. 
The Solution: Store the images at another "live" url site and incorporate this information into your blogger script for your header. I don't write html script, so that's where people like ZZ can help!
Happy to be back with images enlivening this blog's banner heading. Hope you enjoy it

Monday, October 9, 2017


Sorry, but I seem to have lost the header illustration slides that typically appear below the title of with this blogsite. Now its just a big, black empty.

Of course I haven't a clue as to why this happened. But  I've just emailed someone who will likely know: if not why, exactly then, more importantly,  how to fix it!

Everything takes time, you know. So please bear with me until this is fixed.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow in Canada. People here on Saturna Island are preparing their Thanksgiving meals: often elaborate feasts of the season, with the traditional roasted turkey plus favorite recipes featuring all the natural bounty we're fortunate to have growing here. Squash, pumpkins and all the orchard fruits abound. Often Thanksgiving meals here are communal, with many potlucks. But still, turkey is the traditional main course. 

So I nearly flipped my lid coming home from the gallery last night. What did I see sauntering along the public road without a care in the world? A rafter of wild turkeys! Big critters and not too lovely to look at either. But there they were in full view, out in the open. You'd think they were just walking to an invited Thanksgiving meal (if only they knew)!

Wishing the turkeys well this season.  I'll leave you with a different set of whimsical birds in this painting. 
Good Day's Travel, 36"x36" on canvas, Janet Straye
  And Happy Thanksgiving to all. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Two Thanksgivings

The end of a season has come. Summer is over. Not just by the calendar's reckoning, but more significantly so by all the season's changes you see in island life. It feels both a bit sad and also welcome.

The days are much shorter, with the shift seeming much more sudden the further north you get. It's nearly dark when I walk down the hill from my studio to the house these days --  in contrast to the natural light that used to guide my steps as late as 9 p.m. just a short time ago. No more eating nearly all our meals outdoors (I particularly love outdoor breakfasts). The autumn chill and wet air have come to settle in. The birds are scarce, except for the ever-present ravens. The wind-capped sea is a beautiful  paynes-grey/ultramarine instead of the shining, calm shimmer of teal and reflected summertime skylight.

 painting by Janet Strayer
My garden of lush roses is down to the last one, a triumphantly brave reminder that things need to be appreciated while they're here.The generous crops are now scraggly with only those that can endure the loss of sunshine hours. The rains are beginning, a welcome end to the fires that have ravaged the mainland, east of the shoreline. But the graying rains tend to take over, like a welcome guest who extends her stay much too long.

The swarm of  tourists filling the ferries has also abated after Labor Day, and I now make the trip with lots of room to spare. Both good and bad.

With the warm season's end,  the PRISM gallery will close as well after the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. It's a fitting time to close the season on this very first run of this little gallery, so different from big-time galleries in big-time cities. This little gallery on this little island has been rather a sweet spot. It's offered a welcome, a respite, a surprise, a delight, an interesting spot to stop for many passers-by and ferry-waiters, as well as for the more intentional art-appreciator. Should we perhaps tag the former as "accidental" art-appreciators?

It's  been great fun for me (unseen behind a wall until those entering turn a corner) hearing their  uncensored comments as they walk the halls looking at the work. I've been positively bouyed by all the high-exclamation positive reactions. And the negative ones have been so few and so funny. No one has had anything mean or cutting to remark.... not yet. And the sales have been reasonably good. Even the Outrageous Tweeter garners some chuckles here.

But I'll be happy to regain the time I've spent working in the gallery."Fall-back", as we say to remember the changing of our clocks. So I will do.

And I'll get to celebrate two Thanksgivings. That's a benefit of dual Canadian-US citizenship: you get to have Thanksgiving twice: in October and in November. It's probably my favorite holiday of them all.

May we each have something to be thankful for.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

So What Time Is It?

It's a late summer afternoon, the sun still high enough on the horizon at this latitude. It doesn't turn towards dark until about 9 pm this time of year. That's always amazing to me, though I know this will change all too soon. 

We had our local Art Saturna show recently and, consistent with my "keeping-time" musings,  here's the painting (mixed media) I had in it:
Day 6 in the Garden painting by Janet Strayer
OK, we've been chased from the Garden, but there's lots to cultivate out here. My funny little garden on Saturna was "on tour" by request of the Parks Board here. I was tickled to be asked, given I'm one of the least serious gardeners around. British Columbia, I must tell you, is home to the most earnest and knowledgeable among garden devotees. I'm what you might call an "accidental" gardener. I love the flowers and plants my garden produces, but I'm rather casual about it all, and always delighted at what decides to grow and rather puzzled if it doesn't.    

Island life is all about noticing the rhythmic changes, so close to nature. Not that I remember what day it is... I tend to forget Tuesdays, for example, in favour of remembering "oh, today's when I pick the plums" or "now's my studio time". Concrete, action-regulated time instead of abstract, notational time. Cultural anthropologists say that's how people in the middle ages tended to live, not by "clock-time". Not too good for keeping your multi-task appointments straight though, especially if you're prone to mixing up your days. 
Wings exhibition at Prism Gallery, Saturna Island (art by Janet Strayer)
I know it's Saturday today because I'm working at the Prism Gallery on Saturna Island. That's what I do on weekends. It's been an interesting experience. The world comes to this little place, it seems.

Saturna is not so easy to reach by public ferry transport.Yet, being located here, near the ferry dock, I've gotten to meet the boaters who come up  to this little haven. They've come from California and even further. They complain a bit about how little development there is for private boat mooring on Saturna. Well, "community development" is a tricky concept,  it seems: thems that wants it and thems that likes it just the way it is/was.
Somewhere a Tree, painting by Janet Strayer

Nothing happens quickly here. And yet, it seems to me, from my little outpost here, that people are discovering Saturna. The boaters don't have cars, so they explore as far as they can walk, or the hardy ones rent bicycles near the ferry. There's more camping on island, too, with more sites developed for it. And even more housing sales. What's particularly nice for me at this gallery near the ferry dock is that people casually stop in. They're surprised, and I like that. 

It's a small world I live in these days. Not unhappily, I must say.

Yes, Professor Einstein, time really is relative. And so is everything else.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Trump and Winging It!

Couldn't resist this. I inserted this painting into the "Wings" exhibition currently on view at the Prism Gallery on Saturna Island. People tend to laugh or get a smiling kick out of it even before they read its title.

painting by Janet Strayer: Outrageous Tweeter
And its title is: Outrageous Tweeter Shows Off Wing Extension but Still Can't Fly.
The rest of the show is winging it well through this summertime on Saturna! Hope you get to visit sometime.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Living and Painting On the Edge

I've been busy with events on Saturna Island, both good and bad. Given that I prefer to get bad news first (at least there's something to look forward to), I'll give it to you in the same order.

 Our haven of an island house overlooking the sea has been internally demolished. A slow, undetected leak entered the walls and floors and over the years finally caused a florid outbreak of mold. Nearly everything inside had to be gutted: walls, ceiling, floors. Living among the debris and skeletal structure of a house you love is wrenching. But the damage has been done and the reconstruction has begun. No fun, but better than fungus growing out of your floors! 

That's the bad part of living on the edge of the ocean: the Pacific Rim sometimes tips right into your house rather than staying outside as a beautiful view. 

Here's the good part. It's called Painting On the Edge 2017 (POTE), and you can read a brief review of it in Galleries West magazine. Here's an excerpt:
"Highly anticipated by visitors, artists and collectors alike, this exhibition is a dynamic display of fresh and thought-provoking pieces from a variety of international artists working across subjects, media and styles." Opening night is July 18 at the Federation Gallery in Vancouver , and the show runs until Aug.6 
Renewing Earth_24"x30"_painting by Janet Strayer

I've been so busy at Saturna with the house and with Prism, the lovely new art showplace here, that I've hardly been to the "big city"  or kept up with art events in Vancouver. But I've had a painting juried into the POTE show, which pleases me. It's one of my newest works and part of the "Flow" series of paintings I've written about here. It's odd, isn't it, how paintings can transport you anywhere, regardless of your circumstances? Its title seems apt, too, given the circumstances I've just reported: "Renewing Earth".  

I'm looking forward  to seeing  the Painting on the Edge  show and the many exciting art works in it.

Peace be with you,


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

"Wings" Takes Flight

WINGS, A new series of imaginative  paintings will  open this July 8 at the Prism Gallery on Saturna Island. Let your own wings take flight... come if you can.
from painting by Janet Strayer wwww.janetstrayer.com