Why Did the Octopus Eat Its Own Leg?

Why Did the Octopus Eat Its Own Leg?

I always wonder what I look like- gazing at a painting…

Last week I orchestrated an overnight trip to Vancouver. It was hard to get motivated to leave the comfort of my own home. I always have too many excuses to feel like leaving the island to go to a busy city and spend too much money on BC ferries just to go see art. Such as; my life is too busy, I have too many projects on the go, what about the dog, the gardening, etc etc.?

So it was with a great amount of effort that we hauled ourselves off to see Takashi Murakami’s, The Octopus Eats its Own Leg at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

I know what you are thinking, that it sounds like the beginning of a joke that a fourth grader might tell you standing around the monkey bars–Why did the octopus eats its own leg? The name drew us in I’ll admit. Not only children are intrigued by octopi.

My husband dropped me at the front doors to line up early on a Monday morning… which turned out to be a great and uncrowded time to visit. Only a smattering of school classes were sitting around the large bright paintings, sketching and listening to their guides. 

There is nothing like the Vancouver Art Gallery to inspire you!  We stopped midway for a break to eat eggs and toast at a pricey cafe across the street and then went back for more. Was it worth all the trouble? Yes it was! Besides being an enjoyable way to spend the day, these pieces sparked many new ideas for us to make new art projects! More and more stuff we must now make, on top of our other millions of art projects that we are in the process of.  Soon we will have so many going on that we will truly never be able to leave the island again to see any more art gallery shows. We will have to start our own gallery- and then I we won’t have to leave to go on an expensive trip to Vancouver to go see an art show.

The circle of life, I suppose. My significant other spent the whole ferry trip home watching You tube videos on screen printing after watching a video on how many of these large panel installations were created. I myself am starting a ceramics course next week and hope that my sculptures will turn out just like Mr. Murakami’s. See below.


After thoroughly enjoying the exhibit, we hunted out all the other art packed corners of the art gallery. We found a very interesting German print exhibit.

Heck, we even visited good ol Emily Carr…Is it only us that says, Emily Carr? No way, no more Emily Carr and then we go anyways and still enjoy it.  She’s like an old friend  with her dark green forests and strange Van Gogh like landscapes. How do you pronounce Van Gogh anyways?

Watching Portrait Artist of the Year I notice the English hosts say Van Gogh  rhymes with cough.

See how many new things you learn from my blog?!

Besides getting inspiration from visual art, I often find that if I read only a few pages of amazing writing this also creates a chain reaction of creativity.

So go on. Get out there all you makers. Get makin’




Don’t Judge a Book By its Cover



Don’t judge a book by its cover. I made this mistake when once, bringing out an array of world language books for a library presentation, I picked out a few novels off of the library shelf. I tried to choose books with pretty covers. I knew the Korean book was about sewing children’s clothes but the Chinese fiction was harder to guess at. It was a soft covered book, on the larger size and covered with brilliant flower images.I was hoping it was something that might draw someone’s attention and it did. I saw a young woman pick up the book to look at it and I was pleased, I said-

Is this a good book? Have you read it?  And slowly and gently she tried to explain what it was about.

No, I have not read this book.

What is it about? I inquired.

Oh, it is about a girl, she said hesitantly.

Hmmn, I said,—you mean it is about friends?

No no, she replied, it is about a lady, how do I say it—  she is a bad girl— she is a lady of the night.


Oh really?  I said, feeling silly that I displayed it….this was an outreach in a local church after all. She continued to read the back jacket to me, well—eventually she becomes good.

I believe she was trying to ease my mind that I had chosen a really trashy novel. I was aghast! How did I choose a seemingly innocent book off of our shelves? I was aiming for gentle ( flowery) fiction and was far off the mark! In my defense, there were no pictures of handsome men or half-clad women on the front, only flowers!

And so— my lesson of the day;

Do not judge a book by its cover– although I often can’t help myself if it is really pretty.




6 Guitars

6 Guitars



I have been a fan of the reality tv series Alone. The premise is that survivalist sorts of people are plopped down in the middle of nowhere, usually Vancouver Island but this latest season, they are put in the wilds of Patagonia. They must survive on their own, until they are the last one standing, kind of a survivalist red rover if you will. Besides winning half a million dollars, many of the participants claim to want to do it for the personal sense of triumph, as in, “I can do it! I can feed myself, keep myself warm and dry and safe and not go mad for months! Alone. In the wild.”

We noticed an interesting phenomenon— that the ones who don’t create fun projects for themselves, tend to either grow bored or sit around thinking about why they should go home and how much they miss their loved ones. It is the individuals who make boats, chairs or  instruments that seem to last longer, they are amusing their minds. Their isolation is being averted by their efforts to keep their monkey minds busy.

I thought of this as I went to see an amazing show at the Lunchbox Theatre the other day. It was a one man show that involved him shifting in and out of six different personas of guitar players. There was an eighty- something -year old blues guitar player, a twenty year old rock n roller, an angst infused Jazz player, a latin musician, a folk guitarist and a country boy. It was cleverly intertwined with guitar music (obviously) and clips about their life and what made them the musicians they were today. What I gleaned from it was that they were all a little influenced by the other genres of music and that it was their pure joy of the music that made their lives worth living.

What has Alone and 6 Guitars have in common? Life can be trying. A person needs to spend it creating or doing what they really feel compelled to do. Learn it well. It will make life worth living.I am not a musician myself but I am moved by music everyday.

People need music. And people need those that create music and art. I believe our survival depends upon it.

Click the link below to learn more about 6 Guitars


Pablo Picasso was never called an ——-

Pablo Picasso was never called an ——-

picasso painting woman

Lucky me. On my holidays I got the pleasure of visiting my other favourite art gallery in Vancouver. This show was all about Picasso and his women. Very interesting. And fun to go with youngsters too, because in a way a lot of his pictures could be considered funny if you think about them through the eyes of a child. The way the faces have eyes in the wrong place or distorted noses.

I learned that Picasso wrecked  havoc on many women’s lives. Over the years I have looked at his pictures and said, “hmmn Picasso, interesting!”- but never thought, “well I wonder if he was a nice guy?”

I guess the band the Modern Lovers did consider this a long time ago with their song, Pablo Picasso was never called an A——. This was the only thing that was missing from this show, The Modern Lovers playing in the background. But there was a great silent film of the artist painting on glass-it was like he was painting on the other side of a mirror in a continuous loop.

What I learned from this fun feild trip- he painted that mural Guernica and he created some sculptural pieces. Oh and quite a few women killed themselves after being with him. Oddly enough on my holidays I picked up a very old paperback by W. Somerset Maugham called The Moon and Sixpence.  I soon discovered this was a fictionalized account of the artist Paul Gauguin. Another cad! Go figure.

I didn’t realize some of his portrait paintings were a morph of two different women.

( Maddening for the women.) As he grew unsatisfied with their relationship, their portraits became more and more hideous.

Upstairs was another amazing exhibit by a woman I have never heard of,


 but I admit I am not that knowledgeable in art, I just likes it.


Click here for a youtube video of the Modern Lovers. https://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/search/video?fr=mcafee&p=song+pablo+picasso+was+never+called+an+asshole#id=1&vid=90fc1a3d07de3abc666c25c9a3acc8d5&action=click

WAG and the joy of finding a female stone carver

WAG and the joy of finding a female stone carver

memaid on sled wag

Just last week I had the pleasure of a serendipitous trip through the Winnipeg art gallery. I was downtown on a hot summer day, tagging along with someone on an errand. As we drove by the big limestone building I said, ” Hey! I am going to walk through the art gallery.” It will be a trip through memory lane, I thought. I have spent many an afternoon meeting up with my younger sister or with my Ukrainian baba to wander through those pale stone corridors.

I was pleasantly surprised that there were three, yes three— 3. Great venues to marvel at. And for twelve bucks!

There was a whole section displaying the book illustrations of Daphne and Chloe by Chagall. I recall going to see the Chagall Museum in Nice when I was in my twenties.

I have always been fond of portrait painters and had the luck to stumble upon Karel Funk’s amazingly detailed portraits. My friend soon caught up with me and we walked through Oviloo Tunnillie’s sculptures. We ambled through the gallery with  traditional inuit music playing in the background. I loved the wooden portrait of the artist that another artist had carved and painted.

mermaid sculpture full wag

I am embarrassed to admit that when I walk through the Inuit sculpture section I often feel dulled by the figures of polar bears and men in big parka’s with a spear in hand. But I suppose I had never seen sculptures by a woman before. I marvelled at the content. A carving of a man sitting on a toilet. A young girl surrounded by strangers in veils about to whisk her away in a car for a lengthy stay in a hospital far from home. A figure on a sled. A man holding a passed out woman. A dark mermaid. Birds.

I discovered Inuit sculpture is not always traditional. I loved that these pieces were created by a woman.  The figures in stone portrayed different periods of Oviloo’s life. I was hooked.