Leaving Genoa, the sky began to peep out from the day’s rain, as we boarded the train to Nice, ambling along the Coast, the boarder town of Finale, crashing azure blue caps ebbed and flowed. Simply arriving into Genoa, the port town of Christopher Columbus, the presence of the palms, old world grit, the astounding Universitie Chapel which inspired awe, juxtaposed by lemon and orange trees sited upon terraces surround by Monday’s laundry.
Sacred landscapes manifested by Carlos Scarpa’s Brioni Cemetery inspired ideas for painting for Darren; while I explored B&W film photography. Dominic Cheng a fellow Canadian, and architect from Toronto made the pilgrimage.
Truly a wet, warm and glorious unfolding this March, we are well ahead of our friends across the country. The star magnolia street trees are winding down, and the first wave of cherry blossoms are advancing through the neighbourhoods of Vancouver. Rhododendrons, Camelias, Flowering Quince and the fragrant Clematis armandii lead the procession.
“The mustaches did it!”, said Emma. The mystery emerged from a cartoon mural created by 4 young artists, Alexis, Kiera, Emma, and Phuong.
In creating a 3 week summer school enrichment program in Burnaby, Canada with my pre-teens, (year 4-7) I left the young artist to their own devices and what astonishing kaleidoscope of characters, puppets, stage set, back drops and story lines emerged.
Showcasing murals in the hallway piques the curiosity of the students, with a special visit from Owen, a grade two student determined to join the class next year. Taking their muses, the young actors and actresses performed in character for the Primary students.
In prior years, the students have become scientists and designers, planning their survival structures, building scale models and then with an assemblage of recycled cardboard, fabric, wooden twigs, poles, tapes, string, ropes, paper, and plastics: behold full size yurts, tents, lean-tos and tippees are erected.
As an artist and educator, reflection during and after implementing program is foundational to my practice. Doing and discovery prior and in situ, as I create an idea and run with it, engages students in meaning making, and co-creating of the workshops. In doing so I become the electrician with a concept and layout for conduits, organizing hubs in our studio space where students feel comfortable, choice of raw materials are supplied, and with a the spark, the creative juices flow, the imaginations pulse, alight with glow moments. As the adult facilitator remaining open to the creative unfolding and marveling at the multiple responses I too glow.
Glow moments connect us to a higher state of mind, alive in the moment within the creative process, beyond the deadline to the expressive task at hand, whether working as a team or individually. The energy sustains as I get lost in mentoring child artists and my own studio practice.
Allowing the child in us to make mistakes and find the solution within, to get messy and be content with the creative process, to see there are a number of plausible solutions, to not judge our work before breathing life into it, champions our the expression of our talents and voices.
If our future citizens are able to play with ideas, to look to a variety of outcomes and be able to embrace uncertainty, then they are empowered to respond to the myriad of choices they will face globally and locally, with an Earth that will shapeshift.
As I wind down a DAREarts Open Studio, I am abuzz with possibilities. Pending travel preparation and a flurry of artist calls here and abroad are the thermals I catch soaring to new heights. Europe, arriving in London and partnering with mon ami, as we venture forth to Venice, Padova, Florence, Milan, Nice then onto Oxford and Bath where the marriage of two minds and sprits will launch.Keep an eye on the sky….
Karen June Myskiw is an enthusiastic creative, practicing artist, designer and educator. She has worked as a landscape designer and planner on urban planning, master planning and residential design projects.
As principal of JardinsDESIGNS, Karen has over 15 years established design experience, JardinDESIGNS focuses on the seamless integration of indoor and outdoor living rooms to create an atmosphere of wellness. She offers workshops and retreats on gardening, foods for sustenance, and art-making. With Non-Profit organizations, she created gardens in schools, while teaching about healthy eating.
She has led art programs with young people in grades K to 12 exploring water colour, murals, sculpture, Manga and more. Currently, she is DAREarts Vancouver lead teacher, and an artist in residence at Burnaby School Board exploring Identity with youth employing film based photography.
Her local and international photography documents genus loci of landscape, food and art. Through her artistic practice she explores Nature and abstract themes via water colour, acrylics, or mixed media.
As a member of Artists Rendering Tales Collective inc, her artistry finds greatest expression in working communally on public arts projects. She serves on the Board of IMAPON —Interdisciplinary Media Artist’s Association/ Population of Noise.