Thursday, December 30, 2010

best of 2010

One of my lovely friends (fellow photographer/blogger Brittany Mahood) encouraged me to post a "best of 2010". I thought it was a great idea and started scanning through the thousands of photos I have from this past year. So as most of you know this past year 2010, was a big one for me. In early January I had the amazing privilege of travelling to Costa Rica (with YWAM)... it was an absolutely insane (in a good way) experience.
bonfire, bonding time with the new family in CR

baptism at Manuel Antonio

I was in school and living in community with people I had never met. But they were all amazing, I have never felt so accepted in my life. I learned so much, and made great friends.
after a school program in Nicaragua

From there I was able to go on outreach throughout Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Haiti.
across from the Guanacaste YWAM base

Haiti was both a dream come true and a nightmare. It was hectic and blazingly hot. I went with a team of 9 other people to work with those who had been affected by the terrible earthquake (which happened in January 2010). It was life changing! The children were so precious but the atmosphere in the nation was just so different. There is a lot of poverty and fear. I feel like our mission of bringing hope was successful, and though it was challenging, it was so so worth it (these next few were my May in Haiti).

June marked my return to Canada :) how I missed so much about this beautiful country.
Tulabi Falls -- one of my favourite places on earth

I was, needless to say, happy to be back with my family here. For me that includes a lot of people outside my parents and siblings. Mostly from my amazingly supportive church. These beautiful ladies are part of a very special family that shares their love with me and so many others. This was taken right after the beach baptism in September. So carefree. I just love their free spirits.
This candid shot of my mom laughing at my brother with a kayak on his head at our family cabin in October just makes me smile. It had been years since we had all spent thanksgiving together at the lake and I was so thankful that we made it all work this year with all of our crazy schedules pulling us in so many different directions.

fall light after a second thanksgiving dinner with the Cormie family

A very oddly mild November led to this moment captured. A friend at work who always encourages my creativity was interested in some new family shots of her bunch. I really feel like family pictures are one of those very important things that we often put off in our very busy lives. And was more than happy to take these pictures for her. This one I snuck (no warning, un-posed) just wanted to capture the genuine love in this family.

My final "best" was taken a few days ago, while I was finishing off a roll of film on campus. I have taken many pictures of this spot and I always come back to it. I guess I find this graffiti on an old green house to be a little charming. The importance and power of love is underestimated daily I think. But I think its the most important.

Photography has always been such an important way of processing how I see the world. It has been a truly amazing year, full of new experiences and challenges. Hopefully I will be writing again in one year from now with more photos, and stories.

wishing you lots of love and blessings in 2011,

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

back at it...

So I'm back at it. Christmas is over, and it was great! Crazyness at work, busy with family stuff and running around... but I'm settling back into some kind of a routine. Its nice to have time right now before classes start up again on the 5th
I have been working on some photography stuff, re-visiting an idea that I was working with in the winter of 2009. I'm excited to see how it turns out, the photographs on their own don't really look like anything special. But once they are put together they become this new image made up all of these little pieces.
one of the little pieces

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

today i found this in my hundreds of haiti photos...
"The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
--exodus 14:14

So simple but one of the hardest things for me... "being still" is not natural for me. Everything in me wants to be tough and fight my own fights and all of that. But thats not the way it works. It was great to stumble upon this today, just a nice reminder that I can "be still" and its okay. No guilt, just be still and keep quiet, pick your battles and save it for when you really should take a stand.

Monday, November 29, 2010

thought process...

When I was a child I was very odd. But you know, lots of kids are funny, if you spend time around kids you know what I mean, I mean that in the most positive way possible. I wore rainbow fluorescent tie-dye outfits, didn't brush my hair, was super painfully shy in social situations and wanted to be frankenstein when I grew up (that was until my wise brother told me I would have to have bolts in my head; so I chose to be an astronaut instead).
But anyways this all has a point I think...
thats me in the middle

So anyways my work this year has to do with destiny and dreams. It gets me thinking a lot about how different events in your life alter those original plans and dreams. Also though how you can be in something that makes no sense what so ever at the time but look back on it and have moments of major clarity. For as long as I can remember I have had an odd fascination with tarps. Yes those blue, orange, yellow whatever colour bright plastic things that cover construction sites in the winter. When I was little they looked magical to me. They made me want to go play in there. A few years ago I decided to re-visit this fascination after seeing a large balloon shaped tarp on a power line by my home.

This launched into a photography project that brought up issues of time, change, transformation, whimsy and the way I see the world. I love the photo collages that I created in 2009 and this year when applying for a show I dug up those images to send along with my application. All of a sudden my brain just click click clicked all together. Here I was painting these children in their dream spaces... while their cities have turned into tent cities. They were essentially living my childish naive dream of living and being under a tarp, with some very real very difficult realities.
While in Haiti this past May I myself slept under a "Samaritans Purse" tarp in a pastors yard in Port au Prince. All of this led me to turn my studio space into a kind of gallery under a tarp, the blue light is both comforting and limiting. I feel like this idea and how to incorporate it still needs a lot of developing. But its so odd how these things come together, it both makes me smile and makes me feel on track.
I guess I'll see what it turns into.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

school... the countdown begins...

my little corner of the world :)
SO its November 17th and the last day of classes is December 8th... so the end is in sight (and by end I mean a temporary break). It feels like I have a million things to do before that happens but I'm sure in true Julie fashion I will just stay up until 2 the day before they are all due. BUT the good news is my thesis work has been progressing (however slowly) but progressing none the less. Below is my currently messy studio...
As I may have mentioned all of my work this year (so far) has been about my time spent in Haiti. This causes me to get side tracked easily while looking for just the right source image, browsing through my photos (and team mates photos) I can easily get lost for an hour or two.
Excuses excuses I know but thats what I've been dealing with for the last while.
Who wouldn't get distracted by this cuteness though!? All of the memories come flooding back, which in a way help me paint with more clarity. So who can really be upset about that. I just hope that I am able to begin to work more quickly and am able to balance all of my stuff a little bit better next term.
Anyways thats all for now as I really should be painting...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

family time

So for a long time I've been making art and photographs about the importance of family... but just to be clear I probably have a different notion of family than most people do. I'm talking about your support system, whether that group or person actually has any blood relation to you isn't the point for me.
I find the difference between siblings raised in the same circumstances fascinating, all of that birth order stuff, and just the specific gifts and destinies of each individual. I think that will always shine through and survive any rough patches, because at the end of the day you are who you are. Who you were created to be.
That brings me back to the whole "what do you consider family" thing; now for me lets be honest it has just a little bit to do with food. Once you feed me, I'll never leave. I'm like a stray that way. But just the ability to sit down and enjoy a meal and each others company is a huge deal for me.
I am very blessed in that I have a pretty great support system around me made up of many different families, friends and my real life immediate family. Though it not always roses at home, they still support me in what I want to do with my life, which for many art school kids is kind of a family deal breaker. I live at home rent free while I spend all my money and time painting, taking photos, and working at starbucks to make tuition. Its not the worst deal in the world.
I'm still figuring this all out in how it fits into my work this year, but its still a central focus for me. It all comes back to the value and purpose of each person, and how some kind of support is almost always necessary for that full potential to be reached.

So just a big THANK YOU to anyone who has ever fed me, liked a painting, or just given me encouragement and support.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

make tiny paintings for a good cause? YES PLEASE!

So this week I have been working on artist cards for a charity event put on The World WISE Resource Centre at the University of Manitoba called - Create for Pakistan...

Heres how it works, us (fine art students, or creative types from any faculty) make art on little cards free of charge and sell them in university centre, all proceeds go to the red cross and their relief effort in Pakistan (following the terrible flooding that took place this summer and continues to devastate the nation.)

I chose to make little paintings of things that fly!

Now you might be saying, well thats all well and good but what do I do with these tiny little masterpieces? If thats you, I thought I'd throw out a couple ideas...
You could buy a bunch and frame them (all together or separately) because; like my wise brother once told me "chicks dig when you have original art in your room."
You could also use them as gift tags on presents you will soon be running around getting for the holidays, just saying how much cooler is a hand painted rocket ship than a mass produced non-personal card.
And if you aren't feeling overly creative you could always use one as a trusty bookmark, and know that you've helped people out who are way less fortunate than you!

Here are the details for the sale where you can purchase or just donate;

November 2 :: Art Barn (2nd floor common area) :: 3:00 to 5:00
November 3 :: University Centre Fireside Lounge :: 1:30 to 3:30
November 4 :: University Centre Fireside Lounge :: 11:00 to 2:00
Materials Potluck :: bring what you can and want to use and share with everyone else

All artists are welcome to contribute to the campaign by creating cards. Contact with your questions.

You're not an artists? Join the World W.I.S.E. Resource Centre for World Opportunities Week on the first floor of the University Centre on November 3 & 4 to see our team of visual artists in action, and to purchase your own miniature art piece in support of Flood Relief in Pakistan.

THE CANADIAN RED CROSS :: Please donate generously. Donation jars can be found at GPA's and IQ's on campus (University Centre).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thesis Work

Some recent stuff I've been working on...

So I've been on this importance of value and destiny one track mind so to speak for months now. My paintings naturally are a reflection of that. I've been using my photos from my time in a Haitian refugee camp as sources and have been placing the figures in dream-like spaces. This is all in an attempt to create the figures "head space" as their surrounding. This thesis year will be my last year of school in my fine arts honours degree and it has been challenging to continue to be motivated with very little supervision. I'm on track with my goal though to have 5 paintings completed by my winter critique in early December.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

what do you want to be when you grow up?

Mmkay, so I've been horrible as of late with the whole "blogging" thing... and well tonnes has happened since my last post but oh well life goes on. Anyways, between work and school and life I have been running around like a crazy person, taking photos, painting, studying and keeping up with all of that stuff pretty well.

Today I wanted to take some time out to talk about what I've been thinking about all year as far as what I want my painting thesis to be about and what is the most important thing to get across and how to do all of these things simultaneously.

I just keep coming back to the importance of the value and destiny of every person,
and how we all have the ability to dream. I think that comes off really corny. But its all I have been thinking about.People keep asking me what I'm going to do after I graduate, I honestly have a vague idea but I'm not too worried about it. I'm not sure what I want to be when I grow up. I know the type of person I want to be and I know I want to be a mom, but thats all I know for now.

Being different, and creative is part of my identity.
That being said, this is the beautiful quilt that my mom is making for me. One of my moms favourite stories to tell is how when I was about 4 or 5 years old, I looked at something she was sewing and said "mom you are like an artist with fabric!" This still holds true in my mind, my mom is not a traditional artist by any means, but she makes beautiful quilts (something I would put equal value in verses say a painting or something).

My mom has been a teacher in the public school system for around 30 years and through it all she has continued to pursue her creative interests. I feel like this entire "you need to decide what you are doing for the rest of your life" thing is more than bogus. My mom has a physical education teaching degree with a french minor. She is now a Reading Recovery specialist and is passionate about teaching the kids who the school system previously failed in teaching how to read. The job she is doing now didn't even exist when she finished school.

When you were a little kid did you ever think how stressful the very innocent "what do you want to be when you grow up" question would be? What if all you know is you want to be enjoying a book on the dock at the lake in 30 years? I think we will all figure it out, some more quickly than others. And the pressure from the world to figure it out can hold off until we know for sure.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

i just need Jesus

Today was a bit of a day... That is to say there was nothing particularly bad about it and there were many things that were good about it. Great even! But still I found myself frustrated by my need for more time in the day, by my weaknesses, by my need to vocalize things, by my need to be straight forward with people, by my need for music blaring in my ears to calm me down... and so on. Which left me sitting in the back room at work, with music blaring in my ears, wishing I didn't have to work so much to afford school and just feeling so overwhelmed. I starting thinking... I have handled much worse than this, much better & with a better attitude.

I thought back to NIKO (a survival camp I went through in CR in April) and thought about when I was going into this thing how stressed I was that I wouldn't be able to sleep without listening to my iPod (having listened to music every night to fall asleep away from home). Thinking back on that unnecessary stress I put myself through, it almost seems comical. I slept perfectly fine the entire time. I was stressing myself out with all of these "needs" I thought I had. And it hit me, how is today any different? I sat there becoming less and less frustrated as I realized (again)... all I need is Jesus. It may sound corny. But I don't care how it may sound, its the truth. I am confident that I am where I am supposed to be, and that God cares deeply about me and will not give me somthing that (with Him) I cannot handle. I do know however (and you may not agree with me on this one) God will give me difficult times if that is what it takes for my stubborn self to realize I cannot live this life alone (without God).

The point of me sharing all of this is, I have been a Christian since I was 14 and today again I realized I just need Jesus. And there is nothing wrong with that, the revelation that comes from understanding more and more about God should never stop, you are never finished learning and growing in faith, this side of heaven. I hope I never become so hard headed to think I can get by doing the simplest things without Him. And if I need to become a little bit frustrated before I realize I need Jesus then I hope to have a wonderfully frustrating life.

Much Love,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

fall is here! fall is here!

So its finally here! My thesis year of fine arts, I feel like I have been waiting for this since I was a little kid making watercolour paintings at the lake all summer. So this is my lovely little space... its not very well moved into yet, its quite clean and un-cluttered which is sure to change soon.

I am excited to begin this year of school and have the opportunity to paint and create! It is a huge blessing and a rare chance to make a body of work that really speaks to people. I am also taking spanish this year y yo soy muy emocionado para mis classes! (and I am very excited for my classes). I hope to improve my ability to write and speak the most, because for some reason I can understand a lot in spanish... I just can't hold a conversation.

That being said I was a little sad to see summer go, but I had the privilege of witnessing many friends get baptized on a very chilly labour day! It was a great way to end off a summer that went by way to fast.

This past week full of my new normal also was the launch of KOZ & College and Careers joint service at Dakota Community Church. We have worship all together as a youth group and college age group and then split off into our seperate services. It was a great time and I feel like this is going to be a great thing for the young ones and those who might be a little too old for youth group but love being active in discipling the teenagers who are a part of our church. Exciting stuff! Little Nae is a happy camper at her first KOZ ever!
I initially started this blog in order to update people while I was away from home but now I am keeping it around to keep everyone who is now close to my heart but far away, updated! I will do my best to update as often as possible.
Much Love,

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

summer break

So I've been quite lazy about the life updates as of late... maybe because its summer and my schedule is all over the place or maybe just maybe there hasn't been all that much going on. I'll leave that for you to decide.

Mostly what I've been up to is working, church stuff and having a bit of a social life. I must say it still feels weird to have all of the things I used to take for granted big time like warm showers, air conditioning, clean water; there are days when I catch myself whining about the littlest thing and I have to remind myself that I've survived and thrived in much worse. But for the most part life goes on in a fairly normal fashion. I'm getting more and more excited to start school again in the fall which will bring on all kinds of new challenges; which include learning spanish and having my own thesis space. Also I'm graduating this coming May which is something that I've been working on for, well around 16 and a half years, I'm not sure if my brain can grasp being finished with school yet. I'm sure I'll find some way to keep learning new things once I'm "done".

Its been a great summer so far; I have been able to get out the lake a few times and I got to see my wonderful chelsea back from Victoria for a visit. My church (Dakota Community Church) has moved to Provenche, so I've been checking out the "new" neighbourhood. We have College & Careers every Thursday and we either meet at the church or a local restaurant; its really been a great place for me to have fellowship with other people my age (coming out of living with Christians for 5 months then back to reality can be really tough). SO I am really blessed to have people around me who support me and want to hear my stories :)

I've also been struggling with food issues, I havn't felt 100% healthy since being home and since a powerful round of anti-biotics to knock out any possible parasite, the only thing that I know for now is that I might be developing a wheat gluten allergy. Which means no bread, no oats, no to a lot of things. I've been trying a gluten free diet to help figure this all out but I'm not sure if that is whats wrong or if its somthing else. Anyways I have to wait about another month to go back to the doctor to see if anything has changed. But until then I'm kind of in food limbo. Hopefully this will all be cleared up sooner than later, so I can feel like myself again. But yeah thats all for now... I'll do my best to keep everyone posted
Much love,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

being home

So my return to Winnipeg has been a little crazy, and now that my "adjustment time" is coming to an end, its back to the real world (I start work next week.) I figure I should write this all down before I get too busy. My first weekend in town was spent a little out of town actually, at the Niverville Fair! It was a great to see all my little peoples smiling faces again and get to spend the day with some of my favorite families. Though I'm not one for rides myself, I do love the ferris wheel, watching everyone do crazy things and of course taking pictures.

I was also very excited to meet Joels new little cousin Azalea who was born right before I got home. She is absolutely beautiful and has two amazing brothers to look out for her :)

My wonderfully talented sister has been practising all of the things shes been learning at hair styling school on me. Which is why I am now somewhat blonde and have a new little stud in the top of my ear. I will also be her before and after model for her total makeover competition in July which I am super excited for (I havn't got my haircut since september, its getting kind of weird.)
Other than all of that I have just been trying to enjoy my time off. Get to all of my favorite restaurants that I've been missing, see peoples new places, see everyone, go through the mountain of photos I've taken over the past 5 months, and get my tummy issues diagnosed (it still might be a parasite, I'll keep you posted.) Last night Joel & I finally went to the BDI the best ice cream place in Winnipeg which happens to be in walking distance of my house. Despite the mosquitoes it was a beautiful night.

As for whats next in my life, as I said I start work next week. I'm back at the sbux and could not be happier, I love to be busy. My church is moving buildings, so I have a new neighbourhood to explore. This summer looks like its going to be a pretty great one. Thats all for now.