Hey there Cyber Monday Shoppers… to thank everyone who supports and follows me, I’ve decided to offer you all an extra perk! Use coupon code CYBERFOU20 to turn the existing 30% off sale into 50% off at checkout on everything in my Etsy shop. Happy cyber-shopping!
I’m getting ready to release my new collection, but as I’m finishing off the new pieces, I realize that I need to make some space! So everything in my Etsy shop is now 30% off for Black Friday • Small Business Saturday • Cyber Monday. I’ve added a lot of older pieces that hadn’t been in the shop yet, as well as most of the paintings remaining from last year’s FLOW series.
Here’s a little preview of a few of the paintings in the sale:
Happy shopping! The sale is on until November 30th and the new collection drops at the beginning of December.
I rode my bike over 3600 kilometres over the summer, which gave me lot of time to think (or as happened more often that not, to not think and just bliss out to the views in the sunshine). Which I came to realize, was exactly what I needed, but it left me very little time to make art. I find it really hard to do the work in the little spaces left in between all of life’s obligations. Well, for now that’s my reality, so the work gets done regardless, just more slowly than I’d like.
Along with all the Hip stuff, the media has been playing old interviews with Gord speaking on art and on his creative process: “I write every day. I walk around in silent conversation with my latest unfinished songs. I love it, I love all aspects of it.” He spoke of how his favourite moment of the day would come fireside at day’s end with all his writing materials around him. He had a notebook that was a thick as a phone book, filled with ideas and poetry – I can only imagine the brilliance in those pages, and I hope that someday we get to see it in some form.
I’m having some trouble wrapping my mind around it all and putting into words what an incredible artist he was, but the main point is that I’m in awe of how he kept the fire of his creativity burning so consistently throughout his life. As Stars singer Torquil Campbell said, he was the “gold standard of how to be an artist and how to be a person.”
The Secret Path was one of Gord’s last projects, about which he said, “If it’s the last thing I do, I’m happy”. It is brilliant, and heartbreaking. Last December, First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde presented him with an eagle feather – a gift from the creator above — and he was given a Lakota spirit name, Wicapi Omani, which can be roughly translated as “Man who walks among the stars.”
I’m happy to announce that my art has a new home on Instagram!
After a year of waffling over whether or not to split it off from my personal account, I finally made the (tiny) leap. I like to keep things simple, so I held off because it felt counter-intuitive to me to start a second account. But then again, it seemed very logical that people who are interested in my art might not want to see my dog every day. Typical overthinking.
Soooo… for a daily glimpse into my creative world, a dose of inspiration and some discount codes for my shop when I release new stuff, please follow me on Insta @kimduhaimefineart and tell me a bit about yourself when you follow. Check out my first two posts to read #20factsaboutme – you should try that one yourself!
I can’t believe we’re already heading into the last two weeks of August. It feels like the summer has gotten away from me, as I’ve been super busy with all kind of art things as well as with work. I have a job for the summer that’s taking up a lot of my time, but it’s something I really love so I can’t complain.
First, I have to mention taking part in the Symposium des Arts du Domaine Saint-Bernard, August 4-6. First of all, the site is spectacular. Just down the road from the defunct Gray Rocks ski resort, the Domaine is on the site of a former monastery, sitting in the shadow of Mont-Tremblant’s ski trails, with lots of nature trails, resident wildlife and a pretty little beach. It’s a haven of peaceful nature hidden in the woods right near the bustling town. On the Friday after setting up our work in our tents, we were treated to a 5 à 7 private pre-show with several VIP guests. Wine and delicious hors d’oeuvres were served.
The weekend was windy with some looming thunder storms, so the turnout was not as good as we’d all hoped, but I sold my painting Next To the Sea – a big thank you to Cyndie and Jeff for taking this very special piece home with them, as well as to all who attended and took the time to chat with me about my work. I’ve also since been contacted by collectors from Germany about purchasing a piece that they saw during the show. I was very pleased with the setup of the tents by the organizers, and the best part was having the chance to meet some new artist friends. All in all, it proved to be a very successful and enjoyable weekend. I hope to participate again next year!
Also this month, I managed to sneak in a visit to the 1001 Pots pottery exhibit that takes place in Val-David every summer. I love this show, not only for the stunning quantity of fantastic work, but also for the quirkiness of the site. I have a few favourite potters whose work I collect, including Kinya Ishikawa (who owns the property on which the exhibition is held and is the driving force behind it), and Eva Ferenczy-Reichmann, (I’ve been admiring her fantastical work for over 25 years). I’m always inspired by seeing how everyone’s work evolves from year to year.
For me, the highlight of 1001 Pots is the Jardin de Silices. This “garden of silica” is a wonder of creativity. Rusted steel cages holding thousands of shards and chunks of broken pottery, forming the walls of a meditative labyrinth in which stone, metal and water combine with greenery to pay homage to the process of creating. To make things even more magical, the garden is dotted with the mythical work of local sculptor Biscornet. I try to spend as much time in this place as possible while the show is open, it’s one of the most inspiring in situ works of art I’ve ever had the privilege to explore.
To wrap things up, here are a few photos from “the office”… I’ve spent the summer working as a patroller on the Parc Linéaire bicycle trails: it is truly a dream job to be able to spend my days in these spectacular locations.
I’ve ridden close to 2000 kilometres on my bike so far, cycling the “rails-to-trails” bike paths of the Corridor Aérobique and the Ptit Train du Nord, lending a hand to anyone who needs first aid, mechanical assistance or directions to the nearest café for a good latte. After a long hard winter, I was really feeling like I needed to get out into nature and refill my well of inspiration, and it’s been exactly what I needed.
Last but not least… here’s a little preview of what I’ve been working on, along with a bit of inspiration from Mother Nature.
Please excuse the mess on my table – I always swoon with envy over all those ultra neat and organized artist studios that you see on Instagram, but the reality is that painting is often a messy endeavour for me. Anyhow, folks, stay tuned because these little pretties from my new series Mare Incognito are going to be hitting my shop in early fall!
I’ll be showing some new work this weekend at the Symposium des Arts du Domaine Saint-Bernard. I’m very excited about this one as it’s a juried show, and it’s situated in a beautiful location in the heart of Mont-Tremblant. There are 35 artists presenting their work and I feel honoured to be among their number.
Here’s a little preview of some new paintings that you’ll be able to see this weekend:
Not every artist loves the dynamics of art fairs. You can get a lot of casual passersby who could care less about art except as something to stick on a blank wall that they end up hardly looking at. This type of person generally has little desire to connect with what they’re seeing and has no interest in trying to understand anything that doesn’t immediately reflect what they already know. They’re often quick to judge, tossing off an ignorant or insulting comment with no regard for the artist who is likely standing right there… with people like that around, you really have to have a good sense of humour to get through the day without feeling discouraged! Thankfully, a lot of people who truly love art seek out art fairs and spent a good amount of time really looking at what’s being presented. They may not stop at every artist’s spot, but they will take the time to speak to at least a few of the artists to show some appreciation for the work and ask questions about the artist’s process and philosophy. These art lovers make the art fair experience worthwhile for an artist, regardless of whether they buy a piece or not.
At a recent show, I overheard a passerby say of an artist’s body of work, “Ça ne me rejoint pas”, meaning that the art didn’t reach her, or that didn’t touch her on some level. I thought this was a thoughtful and graceful way to say that she didn’t like the work… much less painful to hear than simply, “I don’t like it”, or “That’s awful” (also overheard).
So for now, I’m still on the fence about art fairs, but I’m looking forward to this one because the Domaine Saint-Bernard Symposium distinguishes itself from many others by its reputation for drawing an audience of true art lovers.
I always encourage everyone to pick up some original art for their home as it’s an excellent way to enrich your everyday experience. I have a lot of art in my home by artists from all over the world, as well as tons of objets d’art, little things that have meaning for me, from stones picked up at the beach to little arrangements of sticks and pinecones, to metal, ceramic and driftwood sculptures… Probably it seems like lots of flotsam and jetsam that would mean nothing to anyone else, but when those things are lovingly made by hand by someone who’s putting their heart and soul into what they’re creating, the object becomes all the more precious to me. I choose to surround myself with things that touch me, that have meaning for me in some way, that have textures, colours and patterns fascinate me.
My paintings are made from that same impulse. I love water, floating in the waves, the movement and variegated colours of the water, the textures of the shore. My latest paintings explore and express my love all those things. I use fluid pigments to create patterns of movement and texture, flow and ebb, punctuated by thick and colourful paint strokes. My work expresses the bright, exuberant energy I sense in the world around me, through paintings filled with energetic movement and sensual colour.
So if you’re in the Tremblant area this weekend, I do hope you’ll stop by!
11e ÉDITION DU SYMPOSIUM DES ARTS DU DOMAINE SAINT-BERNARD
539, ch. Saint-Bernard, Mont-Tremblant, QC
I have two great things coming up fast this summer… Tomorrow, ArtBomb is featuring my dyptich, Whirlwind I & II. ArtBomb is a daily online art auction featuring curated works of art from artists across Canada. It’s a great way to discover interesting and affordable work from all across the country. Just subscribe (for free) and they will deliver one to three pieces to your inbox every morning. Bidding opens at 6 a.m.
I will also be at the Symposium des Arts du Domaine Saint-Bernard, which is coming up on the 4th & 5th of August. I’ve very excited about this one, as it’s a juried show and there were very few abstract artists selected. The Domaine is in a beautiful location in Mont-Tremblant, with a beach, gardens, hiking trails and an astronomical observation pavilion.
I’ve been busy busy busy this summer. Things are evolving and I find myself working on a new series (tentatively titled Mare Incognitum) as well as completing the latest pieces in my Flow series. I was planning on releasing a whole bunch of new work to start off the summer, but the reality is that I’ve only completed 3 paintings since winter ended. Yup.
There’s always lots of talk among artists about fearing the blank canvas… ha! That’s in no way a problem for me as I love nothing more than to attack a blank canvas. I generally have up to a dozen pieces sitting around in various stages of completion but looking at the pile this morning, I realized that things have gotten a bit out of hand: the count this morning came to … 39. Thirty nine!!!
It’s clear that I’ve been indulging my enthusiasm for the emptiness of the white canvas a little too often. I’m not sure why I’m have so much trouble getting them to the finish line this summer, but it’s definitely a bit uncomfortable having so many of them sitting there unresolved. My painting process is very slow. I work intuitively and every time I face the canvas, it’s a journey of navigating the unknown. I don’t approach painting with any sort of specific destination in mind. I begin with a limited palette of colours and of course my personal lexicon of mark making is always front and centre, but I never start with a plan. As the piece progresses, I respond to what’s in front of me by adding or subtracting something, and sometimes annihilating the composition entirely with a bold, unexpected move. I work very wet which requires lots of drying time between multiple layers, so that slows things down even more. In my new series, I’ve been trying to be very mindful of this journey of exploration as it evolves. Stay tuned for a whole raft of new work coming up soon!
I’m super happy to announce that I have a piece in a show that opens this weekend at the E.K. Voland Gallery, which is located in the Complexe du Canal Lachine in Saint-Henri (in Montreal). The show is called CADENCE 2 – Music & Art Together, featuring 30 paintings that have music as their common element. There will be a lot of different styles and mediums, including some photography, so the show will have a lot of depth as each artist has interpreted the theme in a very different way.
My piece is called Next To The Sea. It’s a whimsical abstract painting that was inspired by the lyrics of the song “House on the Hill” by Passenger. I love the sea in all it’s salty gorgeousness, and I miss it terribly right now, as there’s zero percent chance that I’ll make it to the seashore this summer. Passenger’s song really had me remembering days and nights by the ocean, and that’s what I was channelling as I painted this one.
The show is on from June 1 to 6. There will be a vernissage on June 1st, and at the same time, the Complexe du Canal Lachine is hosting an open house from 3-8 p.m. where you can visit the studios of many artists in the building. There will be lots of music and activities, so it’s really worth a visit. I went last year and it was a great experience. There are so many incredible artists working there, in so many different mediums… painting, ceramics, crafts, digital art and design and so much more… If I were ever to move back to Montreal, you can be sure I’d have my studio in this building. I’m rather unhappy to say that I won’t be able to attend the open house this year. There are so many studios that I didn’t have time to see them all last year, and I would have loved to make up for that this year.
I’ll be at the gallery on Sunday June 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. if you’d like to come meet me and see the show at the same time. I’d be very happy to meet you there, and if there are any pieces on my website that you’re interested in seeing in person, please let me know so that I can bring them.
I heard the news a week ago, listening to Q on CBC. On Wednesday night, Soundgarden played Rock City, and two hours later, Chris Cornell was dead. Suicide. I was floored. Couldn’t breathe. I felt sick. Gutted.
I didn’t know the man. I wasn’t a fan girl. I loved a lot of his music, but I followed his career casually at best, and I’m not even sure I’d have recognized him on the street. And now I can’t stop googling him.
I’ve sat down at least 5 times over the past few days to post pics of my new paintings and write about some legit awesome news, but I just can’t.
Instead, the last seven days have seen me spend hours at my computer looking at pictures and watching videos, reading countless articles and tributes. This is strange behaviour for me, especially right now as I’m hustling to make new work for some shows this summer. Instead of hitting the easel, I’ve been rocking out to mind-blowing live footage and old videos, listening to interviews, tearing up to acoustic ballads. When I leave the house, I drive around way too fast blasting Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden, Audioslave out the sunroof, my foot heavy on the pedal, screaming lyrics that I didn’t even know I knew. I notice that I’m not alone… I’ve heard the same tunes blasting from a few other cars driven by fortysomethings… we catch each other’s eye, nod at each other with sad smiles and drive on.
My Chris Cornell fascination has surprised me, quickly becoming a morbid obsession that’s I know is going to hold my attention for a while yet. I’ve been trying to figure out why his death has affected me so deeply. Like many GenXers, grunge was the soundtrack to my twenties and thirties: Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains… but Cornell’s passing touches a hidden nerve, something much deeper than having to face the fact that those days have become part of the long ago. And it’s clear from the number of articles, posts and tributes all over the internet that I’m not alone in how I feel about him, about his music and about how profoundly his death has shaken me.
A lot of what I’ve been reading follows the trend of people asking, “Where would my life be without his music?”
After a few days thinking about it, I’ve come to realize that it’s a lot more than the whole cliché thing about his music as the soundtrack to my life and my generation: for over 25 years now, Cornell’s voice has with me almost daily. Without exaggerating, I can say that not a week has gone by since the early 90s without my hearing his voice several times, and I’ve listened to my favourites thousands of times on repeat. My most listened-to playlists feature at least one of his songs. I turn to his music and words so often because I totally get everything he’s saying, and his music, from every style and genre, reflects who I am and what my experience has been in this life, in some way.
And of course, I have tremendous admiration and respect for his unparalleled talent as a singer, musician and writer. The man had deep, deep soul (check out this performance of When I’m Down). For me, his voice is “THE” voice, and I’ll always be in awe of his incredibly powerful four-octave range, which has been described as “volcanic… a dark, enormous voice”. His lyrics are the poetry I still turn to on ordinary days as well as the black ones: part of his genius was to be able to pen words that succeeded in being both personal and universal. He wrote love songs, breakup songs, angry songs, darkly nihilistic songs… his themes were often insightful barbed comments about society’s ills, often speaking about trying to be a better person. About what it’s like trying to live in this fucked up world. A true virtuoso, he wrote and performed music in just about every genre, spanning the gamut between perfect harmony and demonic dissonance. And of course he looked the part of the rock god: I had to laugh reading somewhere that he seemed genetically engineered to be a rock star (sorry to the author, I can’t remember where I read it). He was beautiful, for sure.
“…he was a master of his craft who made vital, inspirational art. He helped his audience make sense of loneliness and depression… ”
“His catalog is immense and highlighted with some of the most gorgeous displays of songwriting over the last thirty-years… Even beyond Soundgarden: Temple of the Dog, Audioslave, and his solo catalog opened my eyes to the possibilities of capturing elegance in the darkest territories; heartfelt honestly that emotionally broke barriers, innovated new tunings and rhythms, and forever changed the landscape of rock music. I see a lot of friends and strangers posting the lyrics to “Black Hole Sun” as a tribute but I challenge you to listen beyond the hits: his catalog is immense and highlighted with some of the most gorgeous displays of songwriting over the last thirty-years. Songs like “Call Me A Dog,” “Pushin’ Forward Back,” “Limo Wreck,” and “Let Your Eyes Wander” – this man could thrive in any genre or setting whether it was a heartfelt piano ballad like “When I’m Down” or dowtuned uptempo groove metal such as “Birth Ritual.”
Think about it – Soundgarden formed in 1984 and released their first LP Ultramega OK in 1988. Chris Cornell proceeded to create a timeless catalog that is unmatched in terms of its unorthodox artistry and musical consistency. I want unfamiliar readers to grasp the enormity and difficulty of this achievement. Only a few weeks ago, Cornell performed his new single “The Promise” on The Tonight Show. This man was DaVinci esque with his ability to sing with such relentless range and his innocence played a huge role in unleashing the full potential of his songwriting.”
Elegance in the darkest territories… exactly. I can’t think of another voice I’d rather listen to at any time, no matter what vibe I’m up for. The opening chords of Hunger Strike still give me chills, even 25 years on. Sunshower is the song that’s got me through the darkest days of my life. Say Hello 2 Heaven, Like a Stone, Cochise and I am the Highway will always be top of list on my road trip jams and my painting playlists. His acoustic solo songs are in heavy rotation when I need to chill out.
Beyond taking the time to listen anew to the music I love and reflecting on how important Cornell’s work has been to me, I’ve been wondering… what the fuck happened? He’d spoken out in several interviews over the years about addiction and depression, talking openly about his existential crises, self-destructive behaviour, the deaths of friends who’d died from drug overdoses, and his eventual choice to walk away from that lifestyle. He’d been off the booze, the oxy and the other stuff for years, but he was still battling anxiety and depression.
I think most of us Gen-Xers can relate to Cornell’s struggles to some degree. Whitewash grunge and Gen-X all you want, but booze, heroin (and/or other assorted drugs and addictive substances) and the darkness of depression are to some extent and in some form or combination, a fundamental part of the zeitgeist of our generation, no matter how far you were from the scene. Writer Rich Larson describes depression as Gen-X’s legacy:
“It’s possible that, along with grunge, Generation X’s other great gift to society is depression. I mean, of course it was here long before the Baby Boomers started re-producing, but we talk about it more than those who came before us. We talk about it as a demon or a monster. It’s a dark shadow that shows itself at any point in time without warning. It surrounds us, isolates us, and quiets us. Depression likes to blame things. We feel like shit because of mistakes we have made in life or because of the state of the world or because we aren’t perfect. Without a lot of help and a lot of work, it’s impossible to know that it really is a chemical imbalance in our brains. After twenty-plus years of trying to de-stigmatize depression, some of us still have a hard time recognizing it for what it is. And even then, it doesn’t always matter.
You might think grunge is about anger, but that’s not completely true. Yes, it can sound that way, but it’s really about depression and cynicism. Those two go hand-in-hand, along with their nasty little sister, anxiety. When the three of them get going, they just eat hope as quickly as it can be summoned. That leaves despair and despair is exhausting, not just for those who experience it, but for the people around it as well. So we keep it to ourselves because we don’t want to be a burden. And then it gets to be too much. Doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a mom, an accountant or a rock star. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written about it your entire life as a means of keeping it at bay. It doesn’t matter if the music you made about it brought in fame, respect and millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if your entire generation has suffered from it. Depression makes you feel totally alone. You hit the breaking point, and then, like Chris Cornell, you die alone in the bathroom.
This was a well-respected member of his community; a beloved musical hero who seemed to have it all together. This could have been any of us.”
But still… what the fuck??? By all accounts, things seemed to be going well for him. He’d been free from the booze and the drugs for years. He seemed happy, with a wife and children whom he clearly loved and who loved him back. He had a family to keep him grounded in reality. He was at the height of his creative powers, with a thriving career and a lifestyle that anyone would envy He was a philanthropist who spent millions to help children. He was respected and loved by his peers. Watching recent interviews and performances, he seems lucid and in control of himself, a man confident in who he’d become in his prolific middle years. He didn’t seem like a guy on the verge of offing himself.
So it makes no sense that he’d hang himself in a hotel bathroom shortly after playing a show.
Of course you can’t know what’s going on in a person’s life by looking at the internet, but his wife’s refusal to accept the simple explanation of suicide due to depression is telling. They seemed close, so I would guess that she’d know that something doesn’t jive. It also seems unlikely that a guy whose entire life was about expressing his feelings wouldn’t have written a note. And then there’s the footage from his last show: there are moments when it’s clear that something’s wrong, that he’s struggling. His energy seems off, his movements look heavy with some kind of exhaustion even though he’s still performing. He walks off the stage holding his head. It came out yesterday that the sound engineer is saying that Cornell was somehow fucked up during the show, that he seemed “high”, that he was not depressed.
I’m not alone in speculating… did he fall off the wagon? Prescription drug side-effect? Migraine? Was he having a stroke? A psychotic break? Was the cost of keeping his depression at bay and hidden from everyone around him finally just too much? Any or all of the above combined with reaching the limit of what he could stand to suffer from the darkness that must have overwhelmed him that night?
It kills me that there will now be silence where there was once such brilliance, and the thing that’s been bothering me so much is that this man who gave so much to so many died alone, in agony. And no one can ever really know what happened.
Rock and roll is a vicious game.