There is a lot of research happening on the subject of happiness. A plethora of books have been written and help groups established. At a recent MiB (http://www.mibconnections.com/)
luncheon I was delighted to have the opportunity to hear Gillian Leithman speak on the subject. She offers a range of workshops including one entitled “The Art and Science of Happiness” (http://lifeskillstoolbox.ca/)
Gillian spoke about three types of activites that make you happy:
1. Pleasurable activities; ones that are fleeting.
2. “Flow” activities; ones in which you lose all sense of time.
3. Meaningful activities; ones which infuse your life with meaning and purpose.

Those smiling faces in the photo are an example of #3. Volunteering at Beaconsfield High School making jewellery with the kids not only ignites many great new design ideas, but gives me so much pleasure. I am so grateful to have to opportunity to interact with those wonderful kids. Which brings me to Gillian’s other main idea…to keep a Gratitude Journal. She challenged us to keep a journal for 31 days and write 5 things that we are grateful for at the end of each day. Document even the littlest things and to write different things each day. The idea is that the more you identify the positive aspects of your life, the more you will attract the positive and not focus on the negative.


Visit to the World of Threads Festival in Toronto

I was so overwhelmed with beauty and creativity during my trip to Toronto for the World of Threads Festival.
A bus tour included a visit to three venues with an incredible variety of fibre art, sculpture and fibre-inspired work.
I wanted to bring my daughter home a souvenir of Toronto, but didn’t want a made-in-China quick buy. On the train ride home I decided to make her a gift inspired by what I saw in the Festival. I had a vintage checkered Kleenex in my purse and formed it into a tiny dress, binding it with a thread from my scarf. I was able to create a gift box with a subscription card from my Canadian Art magazine. Myriam loved her gift and ended up having a great weekend with her dad and her friends while I got my Art-fix!

Myriam’s Dress

My daughter had to make a dress out of recycled materials for her grade 11 Art class. She started by covering the dress form with duct tape (sticky side out) then covering the tape with bits of fabric and ribbons. She then secured the bits down with a layer of clear ‘mailman’ tape. She discovered that the dress was too heavy and shapeless, so she cut off the skirt part and replaced it with a round dollar store tablecloth. To integrate the skirt with the top part she hung a few bits of fabric and ribbons to match the top. The dress turned out FANTASTIC and she hopes to wear it to the next vernissage at the Viva Vida Art Gallery!Image

Life Drawing

I am very happy to have returned to life drawing after a 20 year absence. Monday nights at the Montreal Art Center http://montrealartcenter.com/ there is a drop-in open studio with a model for $10. Yesterday’s model, Elissa, was fantastic. She can be reached for modelling, face and body painting and her art at: http://www.elissabaltzer.com.

Printmaking at Viva Vida

This workshop was part of my mixed media class for kids at The Viva Vida Art Gallery in Pointe Claire. We glued fun foam shapes, lace, twine, etc. to a bristol board base. We rolled acrylic paint over the entire surface or painted the shapes separately with different colours. We quickly placed a same-sized cardstock overtop and ran the two pieces through the pasta maker. The kids loved turning the handle and seeing what came out the other side!

My pre-school Art

When studying Fine Art at the University of Guelph I entered some of my paintings that I had done before entering kindergarten into their annual Juried Art Show. Of the series “A Preschool Child’s Freedom of Expression”, the darker landscape-ish piece won honourable mention. My painting prof, Elton Yerex, wasn’t too thrilled to hear that I had made the piece as a child. The show was 25 years ago. Now it is common place to see the value in children’s art and even to commercialize it. All I know is that it is the best work I’ve ever created!!

My Girl’s Sweet Sixteen

We had a fantastic party for my daughter’s Sweet Sixteen at the Viva Vida Art Gallery in the Pointe Claire Village (Montreal, QC). The girls dressed up in their fancy dresses for the first half of the party and had a fancy buffet supper with music. Afterwards, they changed into their jeans and created some beautiful works of ART. The project was acrylic paintings with stencilling and collage. Some of the finished works can be seen below. At the same time my daughter showcased her own work in a mini solo show within the gallery space. Her friends signed the guest book as a great souvenir. The piece-de-resistance was the “fake cake” that we created over the past couple weeks. Myriam designed the cake based on images found on-line. We built it out of wooden boxes, acrylic gels and paints, sequins, beads and fun foam. For the cake topper, I made the wire base and she beaded it to create a masterpiece!
To book FANTASTIC art parties for teens, kids AND adults or to rent the venue for events contact the gallery: http://vivavidaartgallery.com