The arts contribute magnanimously to what makes a culture what it is. For Mothers Day, thanks to Matti McLean and his “The Human Canvass Project,” three generations of women got to be expressions of Matti’s living, beautiful, colourful paintings!
None of us knew what to expect. Matti, whose studio is in the Danforth part of Toronto, made it easy for us newbies to participate. It was a collaboration in many ways. His paint, our bodies. His ideas, our colour choice. His openness, our willingness to engage.
The first thing we needed to do was make a playlist of 10 songs. Matti had a lot to choose from. Each of ours was different and a reflection of our personalities…at least in that moment. The rules? Matti paints until the last note plays on the last song. However we look, that’s the masterpiece.
Mother/daughter snapshot for Mother’s Day
Why do this? Because it’s a celebration of the bodies we live in. It’s an experience; an expression. Frankly, it’s downright fun, and the brush strokes are as relaxing as getting a facial massage. I only wish it lasted longer than 10 songs!
Why else? Because The Human Canvass Project by Matti McLean is an achievement of milestones. Today, Matti McLean painted his 200th “canvass,” which happened to be my mom, Heather. He also painted his first child, my daughter, and his first multi-generational canvass! It was also an achievement for each of us “canvasses” as we stepped out of our comfort zones and into a studio we’d never been to before to be painted by an artist we agreed to hand creative control over to.
On our way to the studio, my daughter had envisioned what she wanted her painting to look like. I tried to encourage her to let Matti do what he does best, and just enjoy the process. My mom then reminded us both that God is referred to as the potter and we the clay. Our Creator is the Artist. He doesn’t force us to participate. But He welcomes our engagement. If we accept, He will paint us with His brush strokes until the last note of our song has played. Then, the world will see the masterpiece He was painting throughout time.
A 5 minute talk using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. That’s the Ignite Waterloo challenge. I had the privilege of rising to the occasion at a sold out Ignite Waterloo event this past February. Since then, a lot of you have been waiting patiently for the videos from that venue. Although the official videos have yet to be released, and my personal camera was in a haze (as you will soon see,) the recorded audio my friend captured was clear. Between that and the slides, I had enough for challenge #2: create my own interim Ignite Waterloo movie.
When the official footage from Ignite Waterloo is posted to their YouTube channel I will be sure to let you all know. In the meantime, I hope this talk makes the positive impact it seemed to have that night in February at The Breithaupt Block.
Click here for references to the statistics used in my Ignite Waterloo talk.
Happy 4th Birthday Alexis! Here’s a look back to the Chubby Baby Skit your Auntie Joy did on you when you were only a few days old. What good laughs we’re having, in the present, and looking back at the past. Thanks for bringing so many giggles to our lives!
With love, and joy, and prayers for many blessings to sprinkle your life.
Thank you Don Gillmor, for sharing about the loss of your brother to suicide, and exploring the possible reasons why Baby Boomers are the highest risk cohorts for suicide.
In my article, Seniors rank highest demographic for suicide in the nation I explore this same topic and some of the possible reasons. I appreciated Gillmor’s insight into ideas such as the Boomer generation having (in general) an inability to cope with the loss of their youth, “More than any generation before us, we have held to the spectre of youth: physically, surgically, musically, sexually. One of the benefits of youth is living in the moment. With middle age comes the burden of both past and future.”
Gillmor also explores, “Three decades of data from Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey indicate that boomers have experienced less happiness than both younger and older people. How can this be, given that happiness, or at least its pursuit, was central to so many of our lives? Happiness is a broad, unscientific concept. One of the things it is measured against is expectation. We wanted so much. So much change, so much sex, so much love. And now money.
“The fact that early boomers (1946-55) have the highest levels of poverty since the generation born before World War II is a surprise. But that early generation grew up in the shadow of the Great War, when the world was in ashes. Their expectations were probably quite low. Coming out of the ample, stylish (in retrospect anyway) bosom of the 1950s, we expected everything.”
Boomers, you still have everything to gain because you have much to give. Your beauty, whether inward or outward, does not need to be lost on the next generation. If some of these ideas that Gillmor explores are accurate then teach your next generation. Listen to your inner selves and help us understand what truly makes you happy, or what you’ve pursued only to find emptiness. I, for one, am listening. I want to learn from you, and perhaps there’s something you can learn from the next generations too.
My hope is that Gillmor’s article will open discussions between Baby Boomers and their children.
Please note that while I value Gillmor’s article, I would strongly encourage readers to substitute phrases like “committed suicide” and “killed himself” with “died by suicide” or “suicided.” Language is important, and suicide is not a crime. Suicide is sometimes the reaction to depression and other mental illnesses, isolation, and other factors, some of which Gillmor explores in his article.