Monthly Archives: June 2015

Future Directions

Paintings donated to BCWH placed above cans

“The Angel Meetings above the Recycling and Garbage at BCWH”

While preparing for “The Abundant Life” art show at The Carey Centre, UBC, it seems God had in mind for me to do a review of my life, so far. Art and life mix together, as is the case for a narrative painter. Recently I had occasion to visit B.C. Women’s Hospital and to see the paintings that I donated a few years ago. I noticed that now they are accompanied in the space by the recycling and garbage. My first reaction was outrage and to plan a phone call to the hospital foundation to ask that the garbage be moved.

As the day went on, I thought about the image. The paintings are part of a series of six that I created called “The Angel Meetings”. I had imagined that angels met to discuss how to handle us humans here on earth. They would strategize ways to help us. When I looked at the paintings today it came to me that just like Jesus’ cross being his way to provide cleansing for the detritus of the world, so his angels would be dealing with us and our garbage in his power. God’s ways are not mine, but are higher (Isaiah 55:9). So be it. They were offered up to God and given.

I have been concerned about many things (Luke 10:41): art sales, workshops, people. Yet, I choose to sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary (Luke 10:42) and wait for his next steps for me and leave the results of my work up to him.

DS, June 2015.


Schwitters Again (Still)

Mixed Media on Cardstock 8 1/2” x 11”

“Lemon Ginger Tea” DS

The Tate Britain had an exhibition of Kurt Schwitter’s work in January 2013. I saved the “Arts and Ideas – BBC Radio 3 – R3 Arts: Night Waves” podcast to listen again to the interview between host Martin Sweet and the art critic Charlotte Mullins. They are recorded as saying he was one of the great figures of European Dadaism. About Kurt Schwitters work, they celebrated that it was: “extravagantly impure embracing all conceivable materials: bus tickets, boxes of licorice allsorts, cotton wool… He called his creations: “merz”.

As a collagist myself, I naturally work ‘after Schwitters’. It is my heart style. I save and glue anything from my life. Again and again I come back to reading about his methods. His room of ‘merz’ amazes and inspires me. (Imagine a room that becomes smaller from the sides and ceiling as he adds architectural found pieces of wood in white.) I enjoy shape and pattern. I find both in Schwitters’ collages.

The work is intuitive and organic. It flows naturally from life. It becomes cultural artifact witnessing everyday lifestyle and a new kind of legacy documenting the intimacy of the personal for the family. It is non-hierarchical and so easily accessible as a practice for rich and poor of any age or culture.

I consider what I will collage in the studio today – some black and white wrapping paper from a generous Korean friend, a parking receipt with blue, and some emerald green foil from my favourite chewing gum. This I may top off with a hot pink sticky note. The possibilities are endless. Made in the image of God, we too create not ex nihilo but out of the givens of the daily detritus of our lives – reminiscent of the leftovers from the feeding of the five thousand. In the workshops I pass this on. In feeding others, I am fed. DS.

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