Archive for the ‘Taos’ Tag

Art For Art’s Sake   1 comment

 

 

Arts for art’s sake.horizon 1A_NEW

In this case, painting for literature.

Curious? Read on . . .

If we are friends on Facebook or Instagram, you will be aware that I have been painting lately. I’ve been painting postcard-sized water colours which began as a purely abstract exploration of a horizontal line.

I was doing this to help myself get into the headspace of the Canadian/American artist Agnes Martin. While I was performing Morag Northy’s play 17 in Taos, New Mexico late last year, my interest in Agnes’ story was rekindled and I am hoping to write a play about her next year. (She ended her days in Taos and they have a beautiful gallery of her paintings at the Harwood Gallery.) One could say that in creating these postcards of horizontal lines, I have already begun the process.

Since I started posting them, I’ve been asked by a number of people if they are for sale. At first I wasn’t sure, but circumstances have made me think that it would be very helpful to me if I could sell some of them to friends who are supportive of my various artistic endeavours.

Specifically, my little publishing company B House Publications has no money and I am out of copies of my award-winning novel The Piano Teacher. In the past, the costs associated with printing the book were very generously covered by my brother, Tom. Well, Tom passed away last year and no one has stepped up to take his place and help me. A number of people are asking for the book and I have no copies left.

You can see where I’m going with this.

Essentially, I’m looking for help to reprint the novel, and at the same time keep myself afloat until I hear about a grant I applied for this summer (AFA) or until I return to Abes College to teach in August.

So, yes, the cards are for sale. They are original paintings, not prints. They are painted on cold pressed Winsor & Newton paper. I believe that a big part of their charm is that they are small (4” x 6”). Nicely framed, they would add a certain charm to your living space without taking up an entire wall.

I know what you’re wondering: how much? Because of the larger purpose of this sale, to reprint The Piano Teacher, I am hoping that some of my friends who are rather heavily monetized will be prepared to dig deep and be generous. I realize that my fellow artists from any field can’t afford to do that, but I would hate to say no to anyone, so basically I’m going to take it on a case by case basis. It’s a sliding scale, as they say. Make me an offer, and we’ll take it from there.

I donated one card to a silent auction recently and it sold for $200.00. I painted another at Rumble House the other night and it sold for $50.00. A third card was traded for a huge bottle of Belvedere vodka which probably sells for around $100.00. Just to give a rough idea.

Because they are postcards, I am happy to personalize them for you on the back. I’ll even send them through the mail like an ordinary postcard if you like the idea or seeing how the wear and tear of postal delivery would alter the painting. Otherwise, I’ll mail it to you in a protective envelope. Or if you’re in Calgary, we can get together and I’ll give it to you in person. For those of you who have already asked to buy a painting, get in touch with me and we’ll get ‘er done.

As for what they look lie, you can see a good number of them on the left side of the page from my Instagram feed. My idea is to get you one I think you will like from the cards I have created.

So, that’s my plan. If you’re interested, best to send me an email at eugenestickland@gmail.com and we can enter into strenuous negotiations about price and delivery, etc. etc.

Has an author ever before sold paintings to pay for a print run of his or her novel? It’s an interesting question. We may be making history here!

Whether we are or not, it would be very helpful and welcome for me to have some support to get The Piano Teacher back on the shelves and have a little left over to get on with other writing projects this summer.

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Thanks for reading. Thanks in advance to those of you will actually buy one of these little beauties.

17 in Taos   3 comments

Imoragblogn 2016, cellist Morag Northey approached me for dramaturgical guidance on a work she had in mind, a narrative of her life journey told through the cello with some accompanying narration.

Morag had created and performed the cello score for my play Queen Lear some ten years earlier. We knew we worked well together and so it was a natural evolution.

When we first met about it, Morag presented to me a binder of poems, song lyrics, prose poems etc. etc. she had written over the years. It was 170 pages! With so much material, and given that the narration would need to be secondary to her cello playing, it seemed to me as long as we were working from that binder that very little would come of it.

A few months later, we were invited by Karen Jeffery to develop the work at a residency at the Sunset Theatre in Wells, BC. It was a generous and timely offer. Morag actually forget to bring the binder with her to Wells (thank God, there are no accidents!) and so once ensconced in the Sunset Theatre we began work anew, afresh, unencumbered by that daunting tome of 170 pages.

The result of our efforts is a lean script of some 20 pages that provides a narrative through line and offers Morag the opportunity to share her considerable talents on the cello, as well as vocally, and in this manner tell her story. It is titled 17.

In performance it is a unique situation where the vocals accompany the instrument as opposed to the other way around.

We were invited back to the Sunset Theatre in 2017 to further refine, rehearse and perform the world premiere of 17. It was a beautiful production all around, and anyone who has heard her story and heard her playing at this level has come away from the experience profoundly moved. It’s a powerful piece.

I would have thought, ongoing, that Morag would have found a female performer to do the narration, but she likes the male-female balance of energies, and she likes my voice, and so we have performed 17 on a few occasions since our production at the Sunset Theatre. We even made a recording of it earlier this summer.

It is a very unique piece, quite unlike anything I have ever seen before, let alone been a part of. It doesn’t really fall into any recognizable categories. Is it a play? Yes and no. Is it a cello recital? Yes and no. Is it performance art? Perhaps. A performance piece for solo cello and voice with accompanying narration might come closest to the mark.

Because of its unconventional nature, it’s hard to know where to seek out performance opportunities. We have done a few house concerts, and recently performed at the theatre in Cochrane as guests of the teatro dell eco company there, run by the lovely team of Daunia Del Ben and Lauie Stalker. As always (and if I do say so myself) our audience was profoundly touched by the honesty of Morag’s story and the power of her performance.

And so, as you may well imagine, when a performance opportunity comes along, we are loathe to turn it down. We have now been invited to travel to Taos, New Mexico to perform the American premiere of 17 and as it seems such an important step in our journey with the piece, we didn’t feel we could turn it down. The trouble is, financially speaking, we can’t really afford to go there, either.

The wonderful group of artists in Taos have offered everything, all of their resources, for us to have a good performance there. But where we find ourselves short is in transportation and actually paying ourselves for our work.

The cost of transportation is very high around the American Thanksgiving. If that weren’t bad enough, we have to pay an extra full fare to transport Morag’s cello properly and safely.

And so, to make this happen, to be able to share this Alberta-born, BC-produced work of art with our American friends, we have started a GoFundMe page to offset some of our expenses.

I hope we can rely on the support of our friends in the cyber community to make this important performance happen. If you wish to make a donation, our page at Go Fund Me is called “17 in Taos.” Morag and I have put the link on our Facebook pages. And if it’s easier and less complicated, there is a DONATE button near the top left corner of this page. (It’s yellow, you’d think you couldn’t miss it, but then again, I’ve only ever had two donations, a trend I hope we can reverse now!)

Thanks so much for your consideration, friends. I know times are tough and money is tight in the arts these days, but we must soldier on. This is a great opportunity to share some Canadian art south of the border, but we can’t do it without your help.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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