Participant Gallery & Personal Insights

Insights from the Artist - Jeff Kelland: 


Reflections on a Process:  Learning and Creating “Random Symmetry”


My first thoughts when engaging the pics posted for the first step took the form of words like “tree” and “peacock”, indicating my initially literal interpretation of what I was looking at. This soon gave way to words like “network”, which told me there was something much deeper being evoked in me – two fundamental forces at work in Nature: randomness and symmetry. So, I took “random symmetry” as my jumping off point.


I considered examples of randomness in Nature, and finally settled on the randomness of falling rain. I thought: What if it rained black ink, and I had a white canvas laid out flat on the ground? My sketch began with placing different sized dots “randomly” on the canvas; the varying sizes were the beginning of depth in the work. As regards symmetry, I decided on stars, and they could be built upon the dots. I made photocopies of the sketch with just the dots and determined the exact nature of each layer of stars. I decided to use just primary colours (blue-to-red-to-yellow).


My experience with randomness versus symmetry was the most fascinating part of doing this course: there’s a tug of war going on between them; in the creating, there was a delicate, nuanced admixture of them at times; a bold contrast between them at other times. I could almost feel the pulling and pushing between them at times, their special dynamic very much alive in the working and in the work, symbiotic, and mirrored in the artist’s full use of freedom and precision. In almost a year of painting, producing more than a dozen paintings, this was the first work that was conceived and created with nothing but a single guiding principle – random symmetry – and it was a principle that set all the “rules” for materials, composition and application.

Insights from the Artist - Rachel Stratton:

She is the tree of life, Mother Earth, representing a woman who begins her life journey. Her roots are strong and are born from the universe itself. As she becomes she is faced with many twists, hardships, turns, intertwining down the journey of life, then she comes to a point when she becomes and accepts herself as is and embraces her life and the world around her.


Branching out she grows ever more strong, confident, expressive. The leaves and the flowers represent her growth and show renewed energy and zest for life. The more she reaches out and embraces the world the more she grows and expands and becomes her higher self. The colourful centre in the tree are the colours of the chakra showing balance and the vine is shaped as the infinity symbol to portray the struggle to keep it all an infinite balance.

Insights from the Artist - Tracy Brunet:

Last Christmas Eve was just awful for me... I was in a pretty bad way and basically just lost it! Running on empty and running out of time to make it to Mass, I was just a mess! Alone in my bedroom, crying my heart out - I thought there's no way I can make it to Church on time and why would I, how could I, feeling and looking the way that I did. I felt so terrible as Christmas Eve Mass was THE MASS, my Mom's favourite Mass of the year. I thought to myself, I'm sorry Mom... I just can't do this, I just can't... help me, please help me! And all of a sudden I could hear her voice singing a phrase from O Holy Night, her favourite Christmas song - "Fall on your knees, O Hear the angel voices". It sang over and over again in my head (never stopped) - I found my way to the shower, then got dressed, left the house and arrived 10 minutes late for Church - all this to the tune of "Fall on your knees......" I believe with all my heart that she was with me that night, gave me the strength I so desperately needed, guided me to the Church.

So what did that story have to do with my painting? Well, it had EVERYTHING to do with my painting I guess and it certainly wasn't my intention! As soon as I started to paint the angel, I heard my Mom singing that line from O Holy Night again... "Fall on your knees, O Hear the angel voices"... over and over again! At that point, I knew exactly where the painting was headed - whether or not I wanted to go there, meant absolutely nothing. I was just simply guided there by my Mom! So I wrote her a thank you message in pencil on the angel before I painted it in.


Because of all this, I feel happy to present to you "Helena's Heart"  :)


Her dress was done in Kleenex tissue, glued down before I painted on it, her wings a combination of white paint and baby powder!!! I didn't have the proper materials to provide texture so, I invented them... ;) Her silver cross necklace is actually silver thread from a Christmas ornament. And you know, it's funny that she had to have that cross also! She always wore a silver cross necklace until the day she died... I kept it for myself and wear it now everyday! So I guess, in some way I wanted her to have it back again here. The notes on the hem of her dress are from O Holy Night, namely "Fall on your knees, O Hear the angel voices" - because I heard the angel voices, because I heard her. I googled the sheet music for it, printed it off and glued it onto her dress!


The base of the painting was done with torn pieces of paper from magazines. This represents the earth, the broken pieces and people she left behind. The heart signifies her heart. Although we are broken without her, the love from her heart lives on. It lives on in me, in all of our family and friends. The love from her heart heals me. It gives me great light, hope and comfort. She stands tall over all of us because of her love and because she does, so can we!


Is this a work of art? Maybe not - but, she sure was! Maybe this is just a piece of art from my grieving heart... whatever it is, I'll take it! Because to me, it's a special something to remind me that love is never lost and love never dies. Another simple treasure to remind me of the incredible woman I was fortunate enough to call Mom