Sunday, March 29, 2009

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

In Westmount, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada organized their own contribution to Earth Hour by organizing a public gathering at the top of Westmount look-out to view the moon, & Saturn. Members & hobbyist star gazers were kind enough to bring up their private telescopes to share with all those present. It was quite alot of fun to gaze at the craters of the moon with my own naked eyes, little say the rings of Saturn; sure beats gazing at photos on the Internet!

Earth Hour

Saturday, March 28
People & cities around the world were requested to voluntarily participate in turning off all your lights, computers & other devices which draw on electricity for one hour. The idea is bring real awareness to how we affect the environment and little things we can do to that make an impact when everyone is participating. For many this is a silent protest to bring attention to the seriousness of the environmental and ecological situation.

"We, in the industrialized world, take our abundant energy for granted and don’t consider just how much we benefit from its use in every minute of every day. Driving our cars to work and school, sitting in our lighted, heated homes and offices, powering our computers and countless other labor-saving appliances, we count on the indispensable values that industrial energy makes possible: hospitals and grocery stores, factories and farms, international travel and global telecommunications." (quoted from the Westmount Examiner) The rest of the article I consider to be somewhat irrational.

Any law can be used for the greater good or the greater evil; all laws are made in a way that is slightly loose and open to interpretation.

While it is true that there is evidence to support that the environmental global emergency may as much be a part of a natural process as it is man-created; that doesn't excuse our part in how we impact the planet.

Any extreme action is not going to solve problems. This is true. A middle ground has to be found. We could very easily plan our cities, our power usage, our power sources & other forms of modern luxury in a way that is harmonious to the earth. As a society we only think about the needs of a luxury seeking society that is scared of what it can't control.

The earth is definitely going through a natural cycle right now; technically I don't think the end of the last ice age has finished because the only reason the poles have ice caps are because they are left overs from the last ice age. So the ice caps would probably be melting at some point anyways. But I doubt it would be this fast without our contribution. There would not be this many animals on the verge of extinction, the trees would not be as few, or the waters as polluted, little say the condition of the air. The trees do a lot to help process small amounts of pollution and create clean air but they can't handle what we currently produce when our pollution increases and the trees are disappearing.

It's totally irresponsible to suggest that we don't have a hand in creating the mess we are dealing with. It's also not constructive to get emotional about it or to ignore what is going on or evade responsibility.

If we were to draw on multiple energy sources instead of relying on just one, we could still have electricity without making a huge impact.

I personally see Earth Hour as an opportunity as individuals to try to teach ourselves to be aware of how we are affecting the environment and to analyze what we can do to create the best of all worlds.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Drink, be merry, be Irish and listen to some good tunes...

Because it is Saint Patrick's Day, I wish to bring attention to "Belfast Andi", one of the Irish musicians who helps to keep the Irish Sessions alive and well in Montreal.

I met "Belfast Andi" nearly two years ago. I irregularly attend the Irish music sessions held at the pubs. Being a singer myself with a focus on folk music from Ireland and Scotland, one of my favourite things to do in Montreal is to watch and sometimes join in with Andi and other musical cohorts in some musical mischief.

CTV recently decided to make "Belfast Andi" the focus of one of their programs, My Montreal, in recognition of Saint Patrick's Day. Please do check it out, it's quite a fun segment.

Happy Saint Paddy's Day! Irish: Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig

So today is Saint Patrick's Day...
Of which my experiences as a Canadian seem to point to this being a day that anyone who has any small or large amount of Irish in them, get right riled up and green with the excitement.

Some people have even been known to run around pretending there are leprechaun's (Tuatha Dé Danann) hiding behind every tree. This is of course an excuse to pinch the bum of any passerby who isn't wearing green, while blaming it on the leprechauns. The Canadian version of the legends say that if you don't wear green, your bum is going to be pinched by the wee folk.

Other Canadians take this as an excuse to go see the parade, cheer alot and get drunk at an Irish pub. So all in all, I am not totally sure what we are celebrating, but it largely seems to be all about being Irish.

I know for Christian Irish, this is a sacred day. The story goes that today is the day that Saint Patrick chased all the snakes out of Ireland. My pagan friends tell me the snakes are a metaphor for the pagans and that by being chased out, they were either converted or murdered.

I don't know the exact truth of things, but this is what Wikipedia has to say about the subject (excerpts);

"Saint Patrick (Irish: Naomh Pádraig), was a Roman Britain-born Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. When he was about 16, he was captured by Irish raiders and taken from his native Wales as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. After entering the church, he later returned to Ireland as a missionary in the north and west of the island... no link can be made between Patrick and any church..."

"Most modern studies of Saint Patrick follow a variant of T. F. O'Rahilly's "Two Patricks" theory. That is to say, many of the traditions later attached to Saint Patrick originally concerned Palladius, a deacon from Gaul who came to Ireland..." "Palladius and Patrick; ... what we now know of St. Patrick was in fact in part a conscious effort to meld the two into one hagiographic personality.."

"Murchiú's life of Saint Patrick contains a supposed prophecy by the druids which gives an impression of how Patrick and other Christian missionaries were seen by those hostile to them:
Across the sea will come Adze-head,
crazed in the head,
his cloak with hole for the head,
his stick bent in the head.
He will chant impieties from a table in the front of his house;
all his people will answer: "so be it, so be it." "

Patrick in legend "... all evidence suggests that post-glacial Ireland never had snakes; one suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place..."

"Blue, not green, was the colour long-associated with St. Patrick. Green, the colour most widely associated with Ireland, with Irish people, and with St. Patrick's Day in modern times, may have gained its prominence through the phrase "the wearing of the green" meaning to wear a shamrock on one's clothing. At many times in Irish history, to do so was seen as a sign of Irish nationalism or loyalty to the Roman Catholic faith. St. Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Upcoming Workshops - Calgary & Montreal

Howdy folks...

So just to let you know there are presently 4 workshops booked; two in Calgary for the beginning of April and two in Montreal for the end of April, beginning of May.

The Art of Mehndi

This workshop is for the beginner who wants to learn Mehndi: the Art of Henna. Learn how to make henna; both traditionally and non-traditionally. Fresh henna will be pre-prepared adn ready to work with right away. Learn about traditional & non-traditional application methods, types of designs, history & practice drawing with henna.

$100 per student, supplies included.
April 7th & 8th, 6:30pm-10pm.
The Art Spot - 1040 14th Avenue SW, Calgary Alberta
(403) 450-0995
Class must be paid in full when you register.
Minimum 10 students.
Registration Deadline is April 3rd, 2009.

Fashion or Fantasy

This workshop is for the beginner who wants to learn how to do fantasy or fashion face painting, adding flair to regular make-up or pizazz to theatre stage make-up. Introduction to materials, techniques, colour theory, styles and tapping into your creative flow. This workshop is a fun but intensive class;
open to everyone.

$100 per student, supplies included.
April 11th, 1pm - 6pm.
The Art Spot - 1040 14th Avenue SW, Calgary Alberta
(403) 450-0995
Class must be paid in full when you register.
Minimum 10 students. Registration Deadline is April 3rd, 2009.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bal Du Mont Royal

Around this time last year, I had a contract for a project called the "Bal Du Mont Royal". This is an anual fundraiser for the Sainte-Justine Hospital Foundation; organized on a volunteer basis by employees of Cirque Eloize and held at the Montreal Science Centre.

I painted 26 "murals" on acetate panels. Each "mural" measured 10 feet by 3.5 feet. I also was responsible for the face & body painting for 1 opera singer, 4 ballerinas and 14 staff members on the night of the show.

Tonight I came accross a clip from last year's event on Montreal T.V. If you are interested, keep your eyes peeled for my artwork.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A healthy body means better quality art....

I have always been focused on self-empowering approaches to personal health care, particularly when treating long term health challenges. I find modern medicine to be very effective with diagnosis and emergency work but have not been pleased with their ability to create solutions. So just over a year ago I decided to try out traditional Chinese medicine.

I discovered a great book called "Healing with Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford. This book is focused on where modern science has been able to confirm and agree with Chinese medicine.

What I like about traditional Chinese medicine is it's holistic approach. It is a combination of herbal treatments, acupuncture, acupressure, skeletal alignment (very similar to chiropractic work), nutrition, and more.

The Chinese medicine doctor that I see is Ethan Murchie at the Montreal Gong-Fu Centre in the mile-end. He has been trained with many teachers in both North & South China; although Mr.Murchie has one main teacher he has worked with for 16 years based out of the North American Tang Shou Tao in Arizona.

I am absolutely ecstatic with the results I have seen with Mr.Murchie; although half of it is what I also achieve in my own life. To truly heal, or re-channel personal health challenges, it is absolutely necessary that I be pro-active. Learning to listen (and act on) to my body's needs has to be approached from all directions; mind, body, & spirit.

The healthier my body gets, the better my art gets.

I recommend anyone who has not been satisfied with what western medicine has had to offer, to please go try out the Montreal Gong-Fu Centre's services; it is money well invested. It isn't easy to be pro-active, but is necessary if you want to get the most out of your health and your life.