acts of art 17 ~ Clara Berta


I deeply hear what Ms. Berta is saying and I remember all of the ways that my own discovery and practice of my art shape-shifted me. My art was and is the foundation of my life. It has channeled and expressed my love, my anger, my sadness and my loss.

Dancing the mystery I have often been lost but I make my own maps and find my own way and that is my art.

I don’t understand what it is, this enchantment to make images, but that’s how it goes. It’s a compass, a mirror, a shaman, an echo and an infinity of confessions.

Do you have a story about how Art / your art saved the day?


acts of art 16 ~ Liz Magor

Studio Envy. I confess to it, and yet I have a perfectly viable creative space in my one bedroom condo. I can make most of what I like to make here in my living / working room, except the big things. And yet…

Over the years I’ve visited a lot of artist studios and haven’t needed a therapist to know why Studio Envy persists in my deepest caves, ready to rise like an H.P. Lovecraft entity whenever I enter another light filled, white walled, multi shelved, cathedral spaced studio.

It’s precisely because it’s not a ‘living room’, multi tasked studio. It’s simply there to serve as a working space. A rare and beautiful thing this huge volume of air and light, filled with art and the meditative focus of the artist. It can be felt as almost holy…

But let’s not forget it’s also real estate. Here in Vancouver, BC. J.Q. Public is considered blessed by the gods if he/she can find any decent living space at an affordable rent. And then, in addition, to be able to rent a studio!!! Almost inconceivable, unless you are very successful in your chosen field, or very rich.

folded message

Most art studio situations I know of in this city are shared by groups of artists, some of whom have recognized plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, and have gone with it and called themselves ‘Collectives’ and have even published manifestos.

Liz Magor is a successful Canadian artist and I admire her in every way. She was a mentor at U. Vic. when I was working through a B.F.A. degree. It is impossible to think of masters like her operating without a studio. But what about the rest of us? Ms. Magor believes “Everyone Should Have a Studio”. I agree metaphorically, but realistically, a snowball’s chance in hell…

What do you think about art studios? Do they contribute to the separation of the visual artist from the public? Are they an ivory tower, elitist concept when so many millions are homeless or are they a needed and necessary space for making art?

Do you have a studio? Celebrate it with us on Art Rat Cafe – send pics and tell us how you came by it and what it means to you. Or, if you dream of having a studio of your own, tell us why.


Above two photos from my own workspace.                 Portfolio Site          Instagram




acts of art 15 ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I am thinking Ms. Gilbert’s words apply to all art forms, whatever they may be, and to our own creative process, whatever form that may take.

I am drawn particularly to her idea of recognizing the unbalance of extremes, of centering by bringing our creative passion home.                 Portfolio Site          Instagram

acts of art 12 ~ Margaret Atwood

Maggie Atwood, author  Canada’s national treasure and a personal muse. Her novels, along with Leonard Cohen’s songs and poems, have been the words and soundtrack of my life since arriving in Canada in 1966.

What Ms. Atwood says about her creative process relates, of course, to writing. I think we can all translate her words into our own artistic language.

Margaret Eleanor Atwood  (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher and environmental activist. She has published seventeen books of poetry, sixteen novels, ten books of non-fiction, eight collections of short fiction, eight children’s books, and one graphic novel, as well as a number of small press editions in poetry and fiction.

Thanks to Wikipedia for bio.

acts of art 11 – Ira Glass

It was only last year one of my sons turned me on to Ira Glass and This American Life on PBS.  When I tell this to people they politely ask which rock I’ve been living under.

Since then I’ve been addicted to the Ira Glass PBS podcasts so imagine my delight when I discovered this video.

If you are not a writer you can exchange his word “story” for whichever acts of art you call home. I believe that everything he shares in this video can be applied to everyone’s creative process.

It’s fast and true for me, how about you?

acts of art 7 ~ Happy Little Clouds

“I believe, I believe everyday is a good day when you paint.

I believe, I believe It’ll bring a lot of good thoughts to your heart.”


This Remix honours Robert Norman Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995.) R.I.P.

We made fun of you Bob but with love in our hearts. Your T.V. presentations were always so delightfully weird and I confess I can’t stand your painting style. But I also have to accept that you charmed thousands into picking up a brush to try their hand at painting and who can say how far those ripples spread? Who can say how many you inspired to discover paint, explore and expand their creative limitations.

You mostly taught process through  your own inimitable technique, how to re-present one particular version of the real. However, at the same time, you also brought a philosophy of joy into the act of art that spoke to so many who needed to hear what you had to offer.

Thank you Bob.

P.S. ~ I invite you to visit my latest art at my portfolio site:




Blog Tour!



I have been greatly honoured by a nomination from Ina ( ) to participate in the Blog Tour. This is a journey through the blogs of poets in which each writer shares his or her insights into the hows and whys of their work.

I admire and have been deeply inspired by Ina’s poetry so for me this nomination is akin to being invited to leave the sand box and go skinny-dipping with the big kids.

The process of participation is to answer four questions and to nominate other poets.

 1. Why do I write what I write?

I am a visual artist as well as a poet but wrote ‘poetry’ long before I made art. I still have poems I wrote as a teenager in England, endearing and precious to me but too embarrassing to share. I wanted then to be a writer but was discouraged. In the 1970s, after coming to live in Canada, I lived communally with visual and performing artists and writers. Their energy and work inspired me again to create. I began to tentatively write again and, for the first time make art. Many years later I studied visual art seriously, taking my BFA and teaching degree at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Throughout this time I continued to write, most often inspired by the intense emotions of relationships, the challenges of poverty and hard times and occasionally by my art. I discovered that the poetic form of expression came more easily to me than prose and danced well with my painting. A 25-year career teaching art and raising a family took a toll on personal creative work and it wasn’t until I retired that I once more had the luxury of time to write and paint with any viable focus. Deep relationships, love and the loss of love through divorce and other agonies, existential questions and the paradox of spirit continue to inspire my writing. However, it wasn’t until I began blogging on Word Press that my art and poetry began to fuse. I now consider them to be almost a single entity.

2. What is my writing process?

Sometimes my art evokes the poem, sometimes the other way around. I work hard at both as I wasn’t born with inherent talent for either. On rare occasions an artwork or poem seems to slide effortlessly into existence but mostly I struggle/dance to reach an expression that resonates with integrity in head and heart.

For many years I needed the tangible reassurance of pen and paper to write. I still need to get my hands dirty making art, however, I now mostly compose poems directly onto my laptop. I enjoy the ease of editing on screen rather than scratching out and rewriting on paper. The work I publish in my posts I then save in the blog page I have created for this. But I write much that I don’t publish on the blog, very personal poems to people who are close to me.

I am an owl by nature and the moon is my mistress. My time is my own now and I like the silence and mood of deep night. This is my creative time.

3. How does my work differ from other genres?

I never consciously follow any form, classical or otherwise. I write as I paint, intuitively and open to the whisperings of the muse. However, having said that I admit that after the first draft given by the gods I read my words over and over, usually out loud, because I honour the tradition of poetry as spoken word. If it doesn’t sound right to me I rewrite and rewrite until it does. I have no formal background in poetry as I do in visual art. I confess that I often feel I am forever a beginner when I read the accomplished poems of writers I admire. But a beginner’s mind is not such a bad thing and I continue to grow. I do what I do because I must, as I must breathe and love and feel.

A dear poet friend recently wrote this about my writing:

“I admire that you so unabashedly put yourself out there. ….. It’s like it pours from the well of whatever is going on in your life and this is your language…rough, refined, complicated, colourful, lyrical, chaotic, luminous, dark…”

It is words like this that inspire and balance me and remind me that I am heard and do touch others. This is my genre and my passion.

 4. What am I working on at the moment?

I have exhibited and sold my art but have never published. I have long contemplated putting together a book of my art and poems, hard copy or eBook. I slowly play around with the idea of this. I wander out there on the web looking for a shining portal but always get lost in the jungle. I understand that I need to work towards this on my own in a real way before I can submit to anywhere. I have developed enough confidence in my work through feedback from blogging and other friends to consider this as a possibility, now I just need to do the legwork. Meanwhile I paint and write with my next shared post in mind. My art and poems are born from love, a belief that magic is real and that anything is possible.

I initially hesitated at paying this forward as it reminded me of the blog award system that I abandoned some time ago. However, this is not an award, subtly different yes, but different enough for me to feel okay about the following nominations. In fact I am proud to share these poets who have filled my heart and head with sensuality, deep feeling, fascination, wonder and inspiration.

My nominees for this Blog Tour are five poets I admire very much. They are all very different in their approach to poetry. They may or may not choose to continue the Tour. I hope they do accept but in the end I understand that this is not what it is all about.

 Carl, brilliant writer and poet sharing his dark challenges with words that pierce to the bone.

Ese, Empress of haiku, Priestess of sensual writing, Queen of the camera.

Jana, gentle explorer of who we are and why. Sensitive poetic and philosophical wanderings through deepest essence.

 Mari, voice of profound and masterful poetic expression. Metaphorical searchings into the very heart of what it is to be human, in words and art.

Steven, amazing poet, artist, film maker…unique approach to combining words and images within the limitations of a blog…dream weaver.