KIRA Final Exhibition

Friday, August 30th.

Last night marked the end of a very creative period in my life. Twenty four days of art making with days starting at 8:30am and ending at midnight or later; with late nights and early mornings in the studio listening to my music as loud as my little bluetooth speaker could go. My studio time was amazing. The best time spent there were days I could watch the weather. Huge level horizons, (no mountains out here) and even bigger skies showcased clouds so large they lasted for hours and rain storms that lasted for days. I experienced fog so dense it would enter the house and move throughout the rooms, reminding me of a Scooby-Doo cartoon. Lightning and thunder storms that would come and go, one day we had four distinctly different lightning storms with patches of sun in between them.

During my time here at KIRA and Kingsbae I was inspired by everything that surrounded me. The other Artists pushed me and understood my process, at least as much of it as I was willing to share. The village of St. Andrews supported me and welcomed me into their businesses, quickly learned my name and greeted me with it. During my time here I was creating art in an unbelievable pace. I have never had the opportunity to focus so much of my time on my art, with two part time jobs back in Victoria, working 32 hours a week, I do not get the time to be this immersed in my art.

Last night we started on the back patio of the Hillcrest house, otherwise known as the KIRA house, where we welcomed the visitors to the final Exhibition of our work. Ginger Marcinkowski started it off with a reading of one of her stories she wrote while here at KIRA. Ginger and I have shared many a walk in and around town and have explored the culinary landscape here in St. Andrews.

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We then moved to Studio One and witnessed the progression of Chantal Houle’s acrylic paintings. Chantal is one of the funniest people here at KIRA. Just the simple act of her making a face, I break into laughter and tears.

Chantal’s work, acrylic on canvas.

Chantal’s work, acrylic on canvas.

Next was my turn. As a group we walked from Studio One to my studio where I began a short talk about my experiences with KIRA and the origins of my pieces. I then told the other artists that they would each be taking home a painting of their studio space here at KIRA. I created a polyptych (more than 3 panels) of six panels each with one of the five studios on it. The sixth panel has the Hillcrest house on it with Ginger’s bedroom lights on. I received hugs from all the artists and tears from Nadine. Mission accomplished.

Mr Eric Hibit, watercolour artist extraordinaire is in Studio Three. This guy would get up every morning at first light and go paint plein aire in at Kingsbrae Gardens till late morning or when the gardens started to get too overrun by tourists. Each days he would have a new painting completed, run 6 miles and purchase a whole bunch of new antiques all before noon. He was very inspirational. I will miss the way he says “Kristofer”.

I learned a lot from this man. I learned a lot from all the artists here at KIRA. After dinners we would sit around the table and talk about art, life and everything under the stars. I would listen to Nadine, Chantal, Vim, Ginger and Eric talk for hours about things I had no idea about.

I learned a lot from this man. I learned a lot from all the artists here at KIRA. After dinners we would sit around the table and talk about art, life and everything under the stars. I would listen to Nadine, Chantal, Vim, Ginger and Eric talk for hours about things I had no idea about.

Nadine Flagel. Professor, Mother, writer, rug-hooker, fellow west coaster, friend. Nadine’s work has been a fountain of creativity for me here at KIRA. Her use of colour and texture are awe inspiring and her attention to detail is awesome. Her laugh will fill a room and her laser eyes will cut you down to pieces.

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Last but not least, Wim Schermer is our installation artist here at KIRA. In our short time here Wim (Pronounced VIM) has taught me how to experiment and explore the surroundings. His mind works so much different from mine, he is eager to learn what new things do, no matter the consequences. He played with fire and wax and soot. He closed off the final exhibition with a group activity and it was lovely.

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This group of artists started out as strangers and during the last 4 weeks have learned to become house mates, developed friendships and touched each others hearts. My time here in St. Andrews, at KIRA and with these other artists has affected me to my core and I am so very grateful for this opportunity.

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Thanks for following along, my next post will be coming soon since I have no art to make for the next few days. Let me know if there is something you want to know about my time here.

Kristofer