No More Styx and Stones at Penticton Art Gallery

Acrylic Painting Bullying

Artist Statement for No More

Like many others, I have been the recipient of physical, mental and emotional bullying all my life. So many times I wished those watching would stand up for me and say “hey, wait a minute…”, but no one ever did. Even now, in the Okanagan, I have first hand experience of how loyalty to one’s friends supersedes what is morally right, or kindness to another. Over the years, through processing my own experiences and exploring my identity, I became aware of patterns of behavior, not only in myself as victim, but others, both the aggressors and the bystanders. In becoming aware of my own personal triggers of perceiving myself as a victim, I have developed thought processes to re-route my
previously traditional response. I re-vision scenarios where I am no longer the just recipient, but instead, I am a witness trying to understand the source of anger or sadness or lack of education that provoked that aggressor’s hate. Hate is an expression of pain or anger or being threatened, and I understand now that hate directed outwards is not personal, but symbolic. This understanding has made me aware of what a gift it is to both myself and to that aggressor, in witnessing and acknowledging their pain along with my own, and this act of witnessing is transformative and powerful.

In any action, positive or negative, there are two types of people: the bystander, who witnesses, and the participants. Witnessing can occur before, during or after a situation. Even those bystanders who choose not to participate cannot avoid becoming part of the scenario. By making that choice, bystanders become the witness, and they stand by and share in what they see and hear. I believe that bystanders can choose to be the people who say “no more”, and these are the people who become heroes, who stand up and effect change for both the aggressor and the victim. I don’t think anyone is determined to be a hero. I believe heroes are reluctantly so.

What if Charron, the ferryman across the River Styx, said “No more”? What if he, the bystander, decided he was not going to participate in his traditional role of taking those condemned over to Hades over the river of hate?

I have always had sympathy for Charron. I’ve always imagined Charron takes up the mantle of pain for each person who uses his ferry, and that he can see through to their pain, the pain and anger that caused these people to be evil, but can do nothing about it.

He is a witness to both their crime and their past. Instead of traveling the river of hate, what if he were to examine it? What if he employed empathy and he, as a witness, was the cause of their transformation? The ferryman Charron, a bystander, a witness, previously thought to be powerless, a victim in and of his role, becomes the most powerful of all.

Acrylic Painting Bullying
No More 9×36 Mixed Media Julia Trops

The first full day in the studio

The next day was the first full morning in the studio. I had reviewed my project proposal, and was setting my supplies out to get ready to work. I was not really sure what exactly I was going to do. I decided that whatever it was, I was not going to judge it, as the journey is a path that is yet to be traveled.

With that in mind I started thinking about the Castello, the people, and girls I had seen playing in the small streets and the piazzas. Using the Castello as a metaphor for man’s construct, it became somewhat of a setting, a drama that seemed to be unfolding, as the girls walked through the Castello. There were mysteries to be uncovered, doors to be opened, rooms to be explored. There were times these were done together and then there were the heartbreaking times apart. But each survived, and is stronger for the experience.

acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters Julia Trops
On our way acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
It's all fun and games acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters in the adventure Julia Trops
Finding within acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing

These works were done over a period of a few days. The air is hot, but the studios were very cool and moist. The medium did not dry very fast so I worked on a few at the same time. It became increasingly clear to me, however, that what I was doing was not sufficient in terms of exploring this “place”. There was more than just the literal. There was more than just obvious. I was trying to get to the heart of the matter, to the centre of these vibrations, and the works I was doing, just did not seem to connect. They did on a superficial level, but they were not … meaty enough.

acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
The Naive acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
The Watchers acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
It's dark acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing
acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing Sisters going on the adventure Julia Trops
The Beckoning acrylic charcoal pastel painting drawing

I decided to just go with what I felt was right. I did a break of a few artworks to … not really severe the psychic connection to the previous works, but to signal to my subconscious that this was a separate set of works, a separate path, but still in the same direction.

Charcoal Graphite drawing painting Julia Trops
Sisters 2 Charcoal graphite drawing painting
Charcoal Graphite drawing painting Julia Trops
Sisters Charcoal Graphite drawing painting

Sketched Out Studio Sale

Sketched Out Studio Sale
Sketched Out Studio Sale

Three artists are joining forces to try to get their works out to the community. We are making room for new projects, new beginnings, and it is your chance to own an original artwork.

Trying to make the situation a win win for all involved, and fully aware that Christmas is coming, too,  Julia Trops, Trina Ganson and Angela Bonten will be at Studio 113 from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday December 10th offering their work at hugely discounted prices.

For a preview of what I will be offering, please see the Facebook Album for works that are presently available. Or you can go to and see if there is anything else that appeals to you.

From my latest newsletter:

The next step in my artist career:

I am going to Italy for a residency in June 2012.  The port town of Otranto will be my studio for the month where I will be researching and creating works based on the myths  and stories of the female.

In order to raise funds for the residency,  I am holding two specials:

The first way is through works from 2010 to present.

Some of these are available in person  at my studio in the Rotary Centre for the Arts, and  others are available to be viewed and purchased online at my Ruby Lane shop:

Venus is Rising

Or you can come and see me at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on Saturday November 26th, 9 to 3 pm during the Sketched Out studio sale, for the second special.  You can see most of these works on Facebook:

Look for the painting called Blueberry Bliss. These works are a whopping 66% off. I mean business!

If you see anything you like, send me a note. Or if you have seen the work already and you want to reserve it, then paypal is just fine, please send to, and indicate which work you want. It’s a great time to support an artist’s career, a Christmas gift for you or your loved ones, or a CyberMonday purchase…. once the $5000 is raised, all prices return to normal and your investment has just increased!

Thank you for helping me reach one of my goals. I have a ten year business plan, and the residencies are one of the things on my check list. Cross your fingers!

Artwalk 2011 – a preview

Artwalk 2011 is just around the corner! This year the theme is Eye Tunes… and as you know already most of my work is centred around music and dance….

If you would like a preview of some of the works that will be in the show, please go to my Facebook artist page

The album is called Artwalk 2011, and will have a range of works, from extremely large charcoals, to tiny 3×3 inch watercolours. I have tried to cover all the price points, so if you have wanted to get a work for a while, please consider this weekend!

Remember, I do not do prints, only originals, so once a work is sold, it is sold.

Also if you see something in Ruby Lane but it is not in the album, let me know, I can bring it with me.

Any questions, as always, please ask.

New work – Lahaina bound

Chris and I spent some time last year on Oahu, mostly at Honolulu, but we took the time to travel around the island itself. Most impactful was the trip to the Bishop Museum in the city.

This year, we went back to Hawaii, but this time to Maui. It was our first trip since we were married, with no children. We had a really nice time, and would love to go back. We will one day, I am sure.

Hawaii has had a profound impact upon me, and my artmaking. The colour goes without saying, though I am feeling that much of what I was painting already was in those bivrant jewel tones of the islands. I am thinking more along the lines of the expression, the dignity and the supreme gentleness of the Hawaiian people. This is what I would like to see grow in my work.

One of the towns we stayed in, Lahaina, has a poster contest every year. This year I am entering, with the three works below. Wish me luck. It is a juried show, and I hope I get in…

The Lahaina Lost
The Lahaina Lost, Oil on board, 24x30, 2011
Along Front Street, Oil on canvas, 12x20, 2011
Along Front Street, Oil on canvas, 12x20, 2011
The Guardian, Oil on board, 30x24, 2011
The Guardian, Oil on board, 30x24, 2011

Spent time in Hawaii last year and this year.

Influence of the islands.

MRIA conference participation

This past May, my fellow artist and friend Angela Bonten and I were part of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association Gala evening. Angela was asked to come and paint at the Fun Fruity and French Gala for the conference participants and she invited me along. It was a superbly fun evening, plus we, as artist entertainers, we were paid for our time! That is business recognizing artists as business people! Finally. Thank you!

The two of us got together and planned what we would wear, what we would paint in order to go along with the Gala theme. We decided on an impressionist french street scene, out of the late 1800s early 1900s. Chantal was a wonderful model, and well… see for yourself.

If you are planning an event and asking artists to attend as entertainment, please consider paying them to show you appreciate their time and efforts. Most of the time, we are just asked, and expected to be grateful for the “exposure”. We are, but we appreciate more when you respect our skills and our time too…..

Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA)
Painting at French Fruity and Fun
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA)
Painting at French Fruity and Fun
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA)
Painting at French Fruity and Fun with fellow artist Angela Bonten
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA)
Painting at the French Fruity and Fun with fellow artist Angela Bonten
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association
Painting at the French Fruity and Fun with fellow artist Angela Bonten
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association (MRIA)
Painting at the French Fruity and Fun with fellow artist Angela Bonten
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association
Painting at the French Fruity and Fun with fellow artist Angela Bonten

Artists have become Cultural Performers

Artists, have you ever been contacted by an event organizer and invited to take part in their event to enrich the evening?

Usually the event organizers use words such as “exposure” or “contacts” or other hot words that indicate the artist will benefit from participation. Let me say that yes, this is all true. Events are terrific ways to get out in to the community, to help the artist decide which non profits to support, and which ones have a parallel philosophy. It is important for artists to be included in cultural events, because no culture exists without art, regardless of one’s own personal preferences.

However, there is a dark side to all of this. It’s the “in” thing now to have artists at an event.

In my opinion, artists have become nothing more than free entertainment – we are asked to participate, we fill a space, we provide interaction for the attendees before, during and after, and we don’t cost anything. We have become Cultural Performers. See, that is the idea with these events – they don’t have to do anything for the artists because nothing has ever been done. They just ask us to be there and we jump, thinking about exposure and potential contacts and possible sales. Sometimes there is a promise of how much media will be at their event, with the promise of even more exposure. (Regarding possible sales, give your head a shake, this is Kelowna.) This is the carrot dangled in front of our face, and, believers in opportunity and being the eternal optimist, we take it, not asking any questions or making any requests.

I think it is time to make requests.

If you, as an artist, are asked to participate in an event that includes artists, or even just yourself, please ensure your name is included (at the very least!!) on the website as being at the event. They invited you specially didn’t they? I know how easy it is to update a website, and adding 100 characters in the form of identities is not a hard thing to do. You are giving them your time, you are not being paid as the performer is, at the very very least make sure your name is mentioned. Are you going for exposure? Then maximize this opportunity to ensure people know you will be there! Why can’t there be a line on a poster saying “attending artists are a, b c and d,” or, if there are many and space is short, then highlight a few and say “and more”… at least the artists are mentioned and respect is given.

Even at a non-profit event (are there any other kind???) you still need to be mentioned, or do you not really value your time? Are the event organizers being paid, or acknowledged as putting on the event? Are other performers being paid or acknowledged? Then why aren’t you?

Julia Trops you are harsh!

Today’s blog post has to do with a few comments via email regarding Art Shows & Curators – Calls to Artists Part 2:

From WP:

I am not a TWEETER but had to say that as well as being informative, I found this article and it’s preceding half; intelligent, provocative and brutally honest … even harsh girl! As a newbie in the fine art world I shall remember your criticisms and instructions regarding exhibition preparation and Curator respect.

Thanks WP!! I appreciate your comments and in my email back to you I said:

Re the blog, yes, I am fairly straight and to the point, and extremely direct most especially when writing. I’ve been involved in the arts community here for about eight years now – very heavily involved. I know about 95% of the professional artists, and with the number of shows I have done (coordinated/curated), trust me when I say these things needed to be said. The same old missing information each time ie “oh I don’t use a calendar, I find it too confining” bull shit. Very frustrating. Harsh it can be for some, but I have always hated beating around the bush when a direct arrow is quicker and more efficient. I can be diplomatic when the occasion requires it, but in giving information I seldom find that effective, and the military was a terrific teacher in honing both those skills. I’d rather be direct and say exactly what I mean than be wishy washy and have miscommunications because of potential word connotation or definition conflicts.

Especially with artists – we tend to be very frou frou, (but) if a concept is said bluntly, we get it. Usually. lol! Most people appreciate it though the majority prefer to have their egos or emotions stroked. And to be fair, me too – but only when “deserved”. Today’s society is so politically correct that we have to constantly say nice things to each other – ugh, pain in the ass. 😀

btw, I don’t use an eraser in my drawings, and my charcoal strokes are strong and bold. That should tell you multitudes. lol!

An addendum to all this with further thought this morning at the gym: to me there is a difference, a huge difference in being harsh and being mean. When I say the things I do, it is to give effective communication, to give information, not to be mean or derisive. I do tend to use humour, although some may consider it a little too dry, to illustrate a situation, but in all fairness, I am usually quite accurate.

When I say what I am saying to my fellow artists, who are also friends and acquaintances, the ones who know me know where I am coming from, and they know that I am saying this to help, not to hinder. They know what I have gone through in the past in trying to organize shows for myself and for them*, and if I had the presence of mind to say all of this at the requisite time, then most assuredly, I would say it. Some have heard me rant, it doesn’t mean that I hate them or other artists, it means that I am frustrated at the situation where they don’t know or haven’t been exposed, or haven’t thought.

What is my goal in posting this information on the blog? To get these artists to have the PRESENCE of mind to use their initiative to think about what the coordinator/curator goes through… what can make their job easier. Don’t you think I absolutely love the artists who cross their t’s and dot their i’s? I do. I think they are glorious for their professionalism, they walk on water, and I respect them highly. LB you are one of them.

It is a raising of the bar, and I know the artists in this community are up to it. They just need to know what to do.If they think I am being harsh, then I would tell them “Shelve the ego, and listen to the message. You might learn something.” But, I’d say it with a smile, of course.

*upcoming blog post