Oct 062012

By Sande Waters

Here I am back at home and work, almost one week after the residency.  I have wonderful memories of my new friend and fellow artist in residence, Shirley Serviss, and our explorations on Gabriola Island, getting to know each other and our collaborative artwork.  I found the environment at The Haven and on Gabriola incredibly encouraging and supportive.  I have never experienced anything so positive before.

On Sunday, September 30th I presented an all day workshop for eight women on ‘Honouring their Divine Goddess’.  The workshop unfolded with a relaxed sharing and discussion by everyone as to what exactly the term Goddess meant and how one becomes conscious and honouring of femininity.  As the discussion took place I photographed each person with the objects and symbols they had brought and also created portraits that they felt conveyed their individual expression of femininity.  After lunch we proceeded to make a variety of art, which communicated each person’s ideas and expression of femininity.  Everyone really enjoyed playing with an assortment of materials and viewpoints.  All the while I was photographing the process of art making and the works created.  This was an amazingly fun and imaginative group of women who were really open to communicating both verbally and artistically.  I have made an individual photo journal of the workshop for each participant and mailed it to them, as well as emailing them all their individual photographs.  I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did … it was a delightful experience.

I would like to send a thank you to everyone who made my stay at The Haven so special.  Hugs to Rachel Davey and Mary Holdgrafer who helped make everything run so smoothly.

Oct 062012

By Sande Waters

Last week in the Phoenix Auditorium I presented an artist talk about my work to a very supportive and interested Gabriola audience. The talk lasted about forty-five minutes as I worked my way through the ninety-five slides in my powerpoint presentation, explaining the thread of continuity through my work over the last twenty years. My new friend and fellow artist in residence, Shirley Serviss, read a poem she had written in response to one of my paintings titled ‘Goddess Listening to her Ovaries’. I am giving this painting to the Haven in appreciation of the amazing opportunity to be an artist in residence.

The Goddess Listening To Her Ovaries

Nice girls paint flowers not
goddesses with bright pink vulvas,
with large drooping breasts, with
flabby underarms and sizeable asses.

Nice girls don’t. Don’t know the names
of body parts between our waists and knees,
keep our legs crossed, not splayed open wide.
We hide our vulvas and vaginas, our
breasts, our bra straps, slips and garter
belts, the tops of our nylon stockings.

We try to please, bat our lashes, and smile
politely, keep our opinions, our rage,
caged inside. Nice older women play the same
game once our ovaries stop dropping eggs
every twenty-eight days like clockwork,
once our wombs stop nurturing life.

Or do we celebrate our aging bodies, silver
hair, our well-earned wrinkles, proudly
bare our arms and wear our rounded bellies
without worry, draw attention to our selves.

Shirley Serviss

Sep 292012

By Shirley Serviss

How did two weeks pass so quickly? Yesterday, I was berating myself for not accomplishing much during my time here, so I made a list of what I’d actually done. By the time I was on the second page of my list, I realized it had actually been a very productive time!

One of the highlights for me was the opportunity to get to know my companion Artist in Residence, Sande Waters. I found our discussions about art and life very stimulating. On the same page philosophically, our approaches are very different as she expresses herself visually and I use words. What happened as a result was that she ended up incorporating text into her artwork and I ended up writing a poem inspired by one of her goddess paintings, and adding words to a painting that she cut into pieces. My poetry is usually quite narrative so it was a stretch for me to write a poem that was primarily word play, using the way women’s bodies are often objectified and transforming those words into empowering ones. Actually hand-writing the words onto the page in indelible marker, after she had glued the images on, was a huge risk for me. What if I made a mistake? The beauty of literary art is that it can be easily revised or deleted. Visual art scares me because of its finality.

Sande assured me it didn’t have to be perfect.

So, now it’s time to re-enter my real life, which is always a difficult transition. Back to the classroom, back to marking assignments, back to meeting with patients at the hospital, back to trying to develop affordable housing for artists in Edmonton. I hope I have developed enough of a writing discipline here to carry on with my pilgrimage manuscript and continue writing poetry. A huge thank you to The Haven for the privilege of being here and to those of you who attended my workshop and presentation.

Sep 292012

By Sande Waters

Layers of sandstone, slowly eroding have inspired me to make a drawing.

Like the sandstone, culture has embedded layers of meaning that can be eroded with awareness and time. I have inserted text between the layers in my drawing. The text is slang words used to describe female anatomy, some words are slightly humorous, but most are negative. I am hoping that awareness of the impact of these terms will be impetus for change.

Sep 202012

By Sande Waters, artist in residence

This is heaven! Being able to work outside all day in such gorgeous weather. The peaceful silence is punctuated by ravens, woodpeckers, the wind in the trees and the distant ringing of a bell on a buoy offshore. Absolutely lovely and I feel very honoured and privileged to be at The Haven. Please come by and visit.

Early mornings and evenings I am working at my set up in the living room.

Some small warm up drawings representing a fairly typical style of my work. Shirley and I have been discussing doing a collaboration – it’s in the works! This is going to be challenging to stretch myself artistically to create narrative drawings, but very exciting to have a poem enhancing the image.

Sep 102012

By Sande Waters. Sande and Shirley Serviss are The Haven’s 2012 artists in residence.

I’ve spent many hours preparing a powerpoint presentation of my artistic journey over the last 20 years. I’ll be presenting an Artist Talk on Friday evening, September 28th at 7pm in the Phoenix auditorium. The presentation follows a conceptual thread weaving through my work, as well as including artists who have influence me. Hope to see you there and am looking forward to your questions.


I have also been putting together all the art supplies for my workshop “Meeting Your Inner Goddess – Creating Her Portrait”. Paints, brushes, papers, pencils, canvases, books, and props. Hope that this workshop will be a playful and creative experience for those who attend. It is on Sunday, September 30th from 10 to 4pm. No artistic experience necessary!