Your Greatest Masterpiece

YOLO. It’s a contemporary cliche, but it’s true.

Today my uncle passed away. He was only 54, but hadn’t been truly living in years. He was fixated by demons of passed emotional hurts and locked in a battle between the reality of morbid obesity and the ideal of universal body acceptance. Eventually this struggle came to be his personal identity, until it imprisoned and conquered him.

There was so much more to him than his size. He was outspoken, a true big personality, who wasn’t afraid of being contrarian or ruffling feathers. He loved cooking, technology, vehicles and movies. When he was young he loved to draw. He had an intense need to be close to family. He took in relatives for years at a time, and made nearly daily phone calls to his brothers and sisters.

Any one of theses things could have become his identity, and carried him through life, giving him the encouragement he needed to make healthy changes so he could enjoy those activities longer.

I understand the defiance that would lead him to build his identity around his opposition to western culture’s body ideals. In my own weight loss journey I had to make choices to embrace a larger vision of myself than just my right to be big in our culture. I had to separate myself from that dialog in order to pursue what was best for me. I was not responding to cultural perceptions of my value as a woman. I was not thinking about attractiveness or career competitiveness, I just wanted to be at a healthy weight so that I could get the most out of my life, as an artist as well as a wife, mother and living being on this planet.

Art is a long haul occupation. Skill and reputation are developed over many years. Every artist has to forge his or her own path, discovering as she goes along what works and what works for her. Success is rare before middle age, and history is littered with artists who die just as they are hitting their stride. As an artist I encourage every one who is dedicated to the journey to work on the masterpiece of their life at the same time. Even if artistic success as you define it never does call, take pleasure in the best expression of your entire life.

I call my studio One Life Fine Art partially as a reminder that we do only live once (that we know of for certain). That means, not only doing what I love now, but also making the choices that will prolong my life and keep me in the best possible shape so I can enjoy it. It means forgiving myself for not always measuring up to outside ideals, and thus not defining myself in opposition to them. Neither carrying the weight of success or failure, instead embracing every moment of this one life, living it at my pace and making time for the important things that bring me joy. One Life Fine Art is bigger than my studio or my art practice, it is an expression of the wholeness of my life.

There is never certainty, and we are always free to choose how we will identify ourselves and how we want to be identified, but let’s not choose ways which will leave us miserable and suffering, which will limit our futures. Life is too short for suffering. I encourage you all to make your life your ultimate masterpiece.

Goodbye Alvin. Love you.

An Introduction to Art à la Carte Parties

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For around a year now I have been doing Art à la Carte parties, and I think I may be the only one! I haven’t seen anyone else doing them. There are art lessons and workshops. There are paint nights, wine and paint parties & art parties out there of all sorts. They seem to be taking urban nightlife by storm. But Art à la Carte? Now that is something different again.

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What is so different about Art à la Carte? I am glad you asked! Typical art parties offer a social experience for participants where guests can wine and dine while working their way through a set painting project. Usually they take place at a bar, gallery or art studio, and are great as a date night, girls night out or alternative corporate party.

However, if you would like a more intimate environment or a custom project, consider an Art à la Carte party. An Art à la Carte party brings the art party experience home, literally.

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So why would you want to do an Art à la Carte party at home? They are intimate, low pressure, and so flexible! Most art parties have set projects, set times, and require you to go to the venue. This can be a hassle if you have food and decorations to transport to the location. It can also be expensive if it is a bar and there is an expectation to purchase a certain number of drinks.

Art à la Carte gets rid of the hassle of going out. Whether it’s a birthday party for a 9 year old or 49 year old, a baby shower, mixed ages event, or your turn to host dinner and drinks, an Art à la Carte party is a fun and affordable way to break the ice, or provide a new twist for a regular event.

You control the guest list, book the time and the place (usually your place, though I have done off site locations too), and choose the project. You provide the space, including tables, chairs and water, along with the refreshments. I bring the art materials and equipment and I teach the project. Because the environment is much more intimate, guests find they can really relax and enjoy the experience, regardless of their skill level!

I have done Art a la Carte parties for kids birthdays and for adults birthdays. I have done them for wine and cheese nights, girls night out, co-workers night in, and just for the heck of it nights with family and a few close friends. Because each event is custom tailored to you, there is a lot you can do with an Art à la Carte party.

You can learn more about Art à la Carte parties here.

If you are ready to book one now you can contact me here!

 

 

 

Art Under Trump

I was hesitant to write this article, as it does not fit with my previously stated intentions for this blog, or my current general desire to stay out of political commentary. It is an involvement that has never benefitted me in the past.

However, I felt at the same time it was nearly impossible not to think about what effect the election of Donald Trump may have on the visual arts. It is Remembrance day, and a mere 3 days after an American election that so clearly seems reactionary and supportive of extremist views. On this day we remember the lives lost fighting, among too many other conflicts, a world war that featured another election of an outsider politician. He too espoused extremist views and offered shortcuts to salvation to a demonized population exhausted from the hard slog of recovery.

As a western Canadian I am removed from the heat of the election, as well as the heat of the contemporary art world. I am not sure you could get a lot more ‘outsider’ than me. However, outsiders do make good observers, so I can speculate generally about how this political development might impact the art coming out of the USA, and maybe the world.

A number of artists have already voiced their shock and dismay over the results of Tuesdays election. Those who support Trump seem few and far between. With this (not undeserved) animosity, I fear that the arts in America may fare poorly under a Trump presidency.

Between Trump’s proclivity for threatening law-suits on detractors, and his supporters’ demonstrated willingness to bare knuckles against critical artists, artists may choose not to tackle ‘sensitive’ topics for both personal and economic safety. Those who do may find it safer to criticize from a geographic remove.

While artists’ efforts to hold up a mirror to society are crucial to keeping the public thinking critically, it can be a dangerous road to follow. Many avant-garde European artists during World War II could attest to their work, critical or not, earning them the label of ‘degenerate’, getting them imprisoned, getting them forbidden from working, and being destroyed by the Nazi government. Even Nazi supporters such as Emile Nolde wound up on the wrong side of the party over his painting style.

This persecution of artists in Europe spawned a massive influx of avant-garde artists and intellectuals to North America, contributing significantly to the flowering of the American visual arts scene and its consequent acknowledgement as the centre of the art world for at least half a century afterward.

With the Americans’ long history of free speech, freedom of assembly and civil rights activism, I doubt that artists would ever be subject to such dramatic persecutions as under Nazism. However, lets not forget McCarthyism. I would not be surprised to hear that under the threat of litigations or harassment some artists might choose to either second guess their creative output or criticize from a distance. Should this be the case, American art may move in a more conservative, traditionalist direction, where the most interesting art is produced outside of its borders.

Should anyone think this be an argument for an expansion of the arts in Canada (as a few artists have voiced intentions of moving to Canada), I am not sure our minuscule Canadian art market could satisfy. Ironically, a return to European destinations such as Germany might be more the order for the avant-garde.

Of course, this is likely worst-case scenario speculation, and perhaps all we will see under Trump’s polarizing influence is a larger divide between the camps of art for art’s sake, and social art reinvigorated by having something to fight against.

What do you think? What influence will Trump’s presidency have over the direction of American art?

Here is one possible scenario from the Washington Post. What is yours?

Mission Statement

The mission for my blog, is generally to keep a number of groups informed on the various activities of my studio, as well as to provide additional and enriched content to those groups.

Who are those groups your might ask?

At the moment I see them as follows:

Lovely human beings, creative and passionate souls, who are interested generally in creating and or enjoying original art, and specifically are fans of my work. Whether that interest be through purchasing a painting,  finding out about my art background, participating in an art party, learning how to paint, or how to be an artist, or even how to commission an original work of art, you will find information here that will assist or enrich your experience with my art, and with your own creative journey as well.

As I begin blogging more regularly, I will create a category for each of the above groups where you will be able to find news, updates and special content relevant to your interest as a member of one of those groups.

I look forward to sharing these adventures with you!

See you back here soon,

Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Lesson 1: Sometimes the only way to begin is to jump in.

I was debating adding a blog to my long standing website. Do I have the know-how, the discipline, do I have anything to say on a regular basis?

As with so many things in life, I could spend a lifetime researching, but in the end it comes down to jumping in and seeing where the river flows.

So I jumped in and installed WordPress, and deleted my entire existing site! Immediately my mind was awash with visions of a marathon stint of website rebuilding that would take precious months out of my schedule.

After the initial flood of dread swept through me, I calmed down as I realized I had safety devices and could get back to shore. I uninstalled, restored and re-uploaded the site from Dreamweaver, created a SEPARATE DIRECTORY for the blog, and then reinstalled WordPress.

Lesson 1 learned.

Next, along with the long list of overdue updates to One Life Fine Art, will be to integrate the blog and the site.

Then we will see where the river goes.