Tag Archives: Noreen Spence

There is only make

Bid on me at the Terrace Art Gallery, 7:00 p.m. Sept. 27, 2013A while back, I took part in a painting workshop (Running With Brushes with Noreen Spence and Dianne Postman). I loved it, needed it, and benefited from it for a lot of reasons, some of which I went into here. ☺

At one point, Noreen shared one of her favourite quotes from artist Sister Corita Kent: “Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.”

The words were a much-needed reminder and encouragement, as I (like most artists and writers, I suspect) battle perfectionism, insecurity, and the conviction that I’m not good enough and never will be . . . Good enough for what? you ask . . . Great question, and one I never have a very satisfying answer for—just never good enough to silence my own inner critic, perhaps . . . but I digress. In the actual process of writing, I forget to be neurotic. In the moment, the story or poem or whatever I’m working on is all I can see, focus on, feel . . . and it’s amazing, joyful, crazy—and transcends all my worries. There is only make!

I did a bit of google-sleuthing, and found, to my delight, a list of rules Corita Kent created and kept posted in her classroom when she taught in the Immaculate Heart College Art Department. The gem above is one of them . . . but the others struck me as equally important, inspiring, and bravery-bolstering. I keep a printed copy of the list stuck on my filing cabinet, a mere arm’s length away, for easy reading and a soft-yet-effective kick in the pants.

Maybe you’ll find Corita’s rules as heartening and revitalizing as I did, or maybe you won’t . . . Either way, happy writing, reading, creating this week!

p.s. I have every intention of writing rambling thoughts about some of the other rules soon. You have been warned. ;)

p.p.s. The picture at the top of this post is a digital image of one of the paintings created by participants in Running With Brushes–and the original painting is being auctioned off tomorrow night (Friday, Sept. 27, 2013) at 7:00 p.m. at the Terrace Art Gallery. It’s 5′ by 4′ and absolutely gorgeous. Perhaps I’ll see you there!


Head Space

“Through a glass…” Copyright Ev Bishop 2012

I spent a big part of last weekend carousing through local artists’ studios. (Okay, okay, I wasn’t exactly carousing, but I was having a lot of fun.)

Quite a few of the studios, on top of being enviable workplaces, were works of art—beautifully designed, every detail and colour, texture and nuance revealing much about the artist they home.

Other studios, no less wonderful and inspiring, were more about the pure work of creating: no surface or wall or floor too special for accidental paint spatter or clay dust. Mess, glorious mess, abounded in some (to my huge comfort as I like to work in a clutter, too).

Still others were more impromptu—one amazing painter worked in a makeshift aquarium for lack of a better word, a table in the middle of a parking lot downtown with a plastic “cage” around it, so the spray paint he works with wouldn’t go awry.

In all, the evidence, thrill and reward of labour was everywhere.

I came away from the two days inspired to work, work, work, more in love with (and grateful for) my own little office than ever, and struck by an intriguing (to me) contrast between the artist spaces I visited and my own writing haven.

Almost without exception the artist studios were filled with light. Huge windows let the world in, bringing what the outside closer to view, closer in. One studio (Noreen Spence’s!) is shaped like a hexagon and juts from the side of her home like a turret. It is floor to ceiling windows on four or five sides; being in it is like being suspended in air or sitting in a tree watching the world around you.

My writing space is a nook in the heart of my house, built intentionally into a corner, with no windows to distract me as I work at bringing what is deeply inside out. If Noreen’s space is an open-branched tree, mine is a small, brightly lit cave. Both are lovely, if very different in the head space they suggest for our individual creative processes—and those differences fascinated me.

If you get a chance to visit local artists’ workplaces, I really recommend it—great fun, but also affirming and encouraging.


Art lessons with Noreen Spence!

Radelet's Cherry Tree. Copyright Noreen Spence. Digital Image used with permission.

I was ecstatic to receive an e-mail the other day from one of my favourite artists (her trees, her trees!), Noreen Spence, announcing that she has her “fabulous new studio set up” and is back to painting large (as in huge canvases!).

AND she’s offering painting lessons–at said new, fabulous studio where you’ll be “ surrounded by the nurturing forest, where the generous light pours in through five enormous windows, and where there is room to move.”

In addition to be wildly talented, Noreen is a really caring, thoughtful, affirming person and whether your goals are just to try something new, to have fun, or even to yes, give yourself permssion to be or become an artist, I know her lessons will enhance your life and your craft.

She offers three different fee structures:

Individual 1 hr lessons, $30 per hour
Group lessons, 1.5 hrs, 3 people, $15 per session
Individual 2 hr lessons, $50 per session

To find out more or to register, give Noreen a call at (250) 635-6938.


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