Amber MacGregor - Artist


bg_21881381986538.jpg
Remembering how I used to paint has been a challenge. I find that because I have been away from it for such a long time with only limited returns, there is a lot of things I can no longer recall. Muscle memory plays a big part in finding my way back to painting. I find myself simply painting in a certain way, without thinking too much. However, when I want to recreate a style or a colour or remember a certain avenue I know I've taken before, I have to rely on new methods or old rememberances of places I've found information or links to that information. That often means digging up old books, or articles or songs.


It can be both fascinating and frustrating doing this kind of research. If I was a more patient person I'm sure things would be different. I would probably, as I used to, verge off track from time to time and explore other avenues. Now I want to race to find that method so I can employ it right now.

 

The painting above I did in 2001 from a tiny photo booth photograph that I purchased in the Princess St. Goodwill in Winnipeg. I know I had been studying Velasquez, well studying his technique as well as one can from a book so far from the origins of such things. So I was painting in a very different way than he ever wouldl have done but trying to find some of his immediacy. It is a very different painting for it I think. That's what I'm looking for right now. Will I find it again?

 

I'm hoping for the best. Here I go back to Velasquez for a refresher course in immediacy. Wish me luck.



bg_21701381638327.jpg
The first chill days of Autumn are upon us. I say Autumn because my daugher told me that Autumn comes first. Fall is when the leaves really start turning and falling off the trees, when there are only a few left clinging on the branches looking moldy and discontented.

 

It got me wondering if other people imagine other seasons that are inbetween the ones we are taught exist. I asked my daugher "If there were other seasons, what would they be called?" She shrugged her shoulders. Certainly as artists we often notice the slight changes in the weather from day to day and week to week, don't we? Or are we too caught up in what we are doing to notice?


I for one have decided to notice. A season can last a moment or a week or a month or more. It can be what you decide. A season of fragrant rain. A season of strong willed winds. A season of abundant blossoms or torrential crying or misty sleeps...


May you all be blessed with seasons, to learn from and ponder upon. To fill your dreams with awe.



bg_21371381121687.jpg
I've been thinking a lot about what I want to be when I grow up. Problem is I've been "grown up" for a long time now. I'm one of those people who just seems to continually come up against a wall. You know the type, some of us seem too sensitive, too opinionated or too entitled for our own good. It's so easy to label isn't it? We label even ourselves. By my own standards I was "too shy" and then "recalcitrant" and them just plain "irritable". I never stopped to consider that perhaps I just wasn't giving myself a break. We just "are" and that's all.

 

I don't think it matters so much anymore whether or not I burn some bridges. Some bridges are never meant to be crossed back over again. And that spitting, crazed fire might ignite some new inspiration that will set me off in a whole new and uncharted direction, unlabeled and unmapped.

So for all those bridges I will never recross, I toss you up to the flames of redirection. I hope you burn fiercely with multicoloured flames and light my way with profound intensity.

 

For all of you, I hope you shine your light out there into the universe in whatever way you will allow and let it guide you to new and astonishing sights.



bg_20871380342068.jpg
"On April 26th, 1986, an explosion in Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, released large quantities of radioactive contamination into the air over Ukraine, Belarus and huge portions of Europe."  -Time Magazine 2011

 

After the accident, perhaps not quickly enough the surrounding towns and countryside in a 31 km circle around the plant were evacuated. People called "Liquidators" were sent in to clean up the contaminated area many of them being subjected to a lifetime of radiation in seconds. Some of these Liquidators died soon after their exposure but a surprising number of them survived their exposure and the consequent radiation poisoning.

 

The long term effects of the disaster have been dire, resulting in vastly increased rates of cancerous disease, and mutations in both human and animal life. The land once relatively well populated is now largely barren of people and being slowly taken over by plants and animals once near extinction, such as wolves and wild boar. The area in Belarus, once called the "Breadbasket of Europe" is now a wasteland of toxic soil and contaminated water that will not be fit for human habitation within out lifetime.

 

I was fourteen years old when this tragedy occurred. Growing up in Canada what felt like a world away from Ukraine, I still remember the terror that gripped the World within those first weeks after it became common knowledge. What I don't remember is any one nation deciding it was time to end their reliance on nuclear power. It was only recently that I found out Italy, in light of the Chernobyl disaster had decided agianst the use of nuclear power and had dismantled it's nuclear power program and the plants that were a product of it.

 

In 2000, I found an image of Liquidators sent into the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant shortly after the disaster. They were dressed in Tyvek suits with respirator masks. I remember thinking the outfits looked woefully inadequate to the task they had to undertake. I made a small painting from this photograph that can be found under "Portraits" from my home page, titled "Good Enough For Chernobyl...". I have been creating kaleidoscopic portraits from this painting. They are rather astonishing in their beauty, yet somehow retain fragments of the fear and horror I feel in relation to my own understanding and overactive imaginings of nuclear disaster and it's consequences.

 

In light of the Fukishima Nuclear disaster of 2011, and all of the Countries, mine included that perpetuate the use of nuclear power as a clean source of electricity. I hope we see the light soon and change our ways. I hope no one else ever has to go into a nuclear plant to clean up after a disaster like Chernobyl or Fukishima wearing a Tyvek suit and a respirator. I hope no one else ever has to evacuate from their town or watch their child develop cancer and waste away before their eyes, or live with the constant fear of physical repurcussions because some bigwig somewhere decided it was easier or cheaper to just keep that old reactor running.

 

Excuse the extreme ramble. That's what has been on my mind. I hope you all find the light in every day, seek it out it is always there somewhere. Love for all you are worth.

Thanks for reading.  xoxo



bg_20801380082932.jpg
I have been working on what has turned out, to me at least, to be a rather thrilling new series of kaleidoscopic images. It's always fascinating to employ a kaleidoscopic view to just about any image but using it on my paintings has created a whole new world of visual options. This process brings forth unexpected images and unlocks former ideas, dreams and nightmares. Just in time for Halloween!

 

Thanks for reading my little ramble. Here's hoping everyone is safe and snug in their beds on this cold and blowy night.

xoxo


So here it is, the latest feel good quote on my roster:

 

"There is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that never otherwise would have occurred.

 

...Whatever you can do, or drean you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

 

Begin it NOW.

 

-Goethé

 

The thing is, I have read this quote, digested it's idealistic and beautiful core from time to time for many years. I have never once truly committed myself to move with boldness into an idea. I have half heartedly tried. I have believed I was capable of certain lofty things, which I have never followed through on. I'm thinking this has to be my year to finally commit. So here's my plan, Website, paint, paint, paint, paint, and get my stuff out there. I will have to work harder than I have ever worked for anyone and it is time that I did that work for myself, not to fulfill someone elses sales goals or to get someone elses company off the ground. To finally and authentically say "I'm in it for the long haul, come hell or high water" or as Goethé says perhaps all sorts of positive things will occur that would never otherwise have occurred.

 

Living in fear is not living at all and I am too old now to worry what anyone else might think or say.

 

Thanks for reading my little blog. I hope you are following your heart. Not because you feel entitled to something but because you know it is the path you must follow. Never leave it.

 

What would you do if you knew there was no way you could fail or be rejected? Where would you go?


my . artist run website