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Updated: Oct 20, 2022

As I explore overcoming fear my perspective evaluation on my journey - as Artist me - shifts.

Three creations I care for in this picture.

I am seeing different views and - I suppose it's processing caused by my selective perception and present focus? I am now becoming more tuned in to how artists develop their work and how their work develops them. I am starting to embrace that I am an artist. I create. And sometimes that can make the accountants of the world, and indeed almost everyone around them, unsettled.


Beethoven's fifth to eighth symphonies, written as his hearing was leaving him, in a time referred to as his Heroic Period, being cases in point. Breaking free of classic structures a part of that journey, I read. And his journey to that date and his challenge in those HEROIC moments as he was loosing his hearing imbue his creations.


Van Gogh's paintings likewise inspired I imagine. I stood before one in the National gallery in London for a while. A cottage in a field probably from his time in Arles. I tried to take it in, the vivid emotion I felt as I delved into the picture was fierce. I eventually got a headache staring, such was my concentration.

I have been blessed by being able to visit art galleries in cities across the States, France, Holland, London of course and other places on my travels. I love contemporary and fine art. I love design too, it all fascinates me.

The Mona Lisa being so small in the Louvre was a revelation. The art collection in a gallery in Boston staggering. The Americans have this much French Art? Is that allowed? I got used to being surprised in The States. In Amsterdam I was traumatised as I saw a Dutch Man of War near Hampton Court on the River Thames with a chain spread across the river to stop them. Arghhh - quite a moment for this Englishman. Hadn't seen that in my study of history. Was it made up by the artist? How dare they!

Seeing how Constable put different aspects into one picture to create a more intricate whole, an eye opener. In a picture mounted on the wall of the Suffolk House in England where he grew up was like viewing photoshop before photoshop! And I love Kandinsky, vivid, strong brushwork, there is much as a style of this in Kelowna I see.

When I treat photos Christiane or I have taken, I like to push the pallete. I envisage putting words over these images in the future to create a mix of thought provoking imagery for our store.


My wife Christiane went to a talk by the Author of THE SHACK, William Paul Young, here in Kelowna, Canada at the weekend. He wrote the book for his children. Twenty six publishers refused to publish it. He Self Published with two friends. It was successful and a Publisher then took it on. It became a huge best seller. You can read more from an interview here. I read the book - twice. It challenges my programmed view of who God is and what he is like. God is female in the book for a start. As a part of his talk he referred to his discovery of a book by a Swiss Luthier (a violin maker) that struck a chord with me...


Ha, Mr Young mentions Karl Barth, a Swiss Theologian, in his interview (shown on link above).

I am looking for the Swiss Luthier he referred to in his talk. I follow the link to Barth. Another rabbit hole. An Opus to read one year? Christian Dogmatics. Maybe I should read the entire Bible first? And I think I write a lot!

Picture of the original specially bound volumes from the publishers.


Led by Paul's talk I have researched some of the development of the violin as a result. Cremona a centre, Andrea Amati 1565 inventing the first four string violin - the Charles IX violin. His grandson Nicolo Amati 1564 to 1684 developed smaller violins with bigger sound. I have an Amati Viola under my fingertips in my studio. You can hear it on my Ukraine track. Scroll down on media page to hear.

The violins and violas I have access to, whilst I am not able to play them directly, are played by Masters in a setting that had the local streets closed off so that the recordings of the samples would not be compromised in any way. I can hear the sounds as though the person was in the room playing. What an amazing world we live in. And I've just had some moments with a Luthier in Kelowna, Gary Norris, so I'm tuned in to this!


I am the basic material, you are the basic material. We have our physical and mental attributes to work with. This can be applied to what we put our hands and minds to.

Montessori Schooling methods have three basic tenants: the child, the environment and the teacher. My son went to a Montessori School. You take your tray out play/work with it and then put it back.

Of course, if you are running an Olympic Athlete selection programme and looking to recruit youngsters to certain sports you would evaluate their physicality and their mental makeup and you would look at the physicality of their parents too. Russia and the then East Germany ran these programmes years ago. Australia I believe does it too. It makes sense.

You want an Olympic Rowing Champion. Long levers, big air intake, stamina and a mindset that does not stop until they pass out. Great Britain had one of these in...


Sir Steve Redgrave, at I believe six foot five, has the levers to be that powerful rower. I saw him in a televised studio contest once against two other younger guys. The young guys started off much faster than Sir Steve. I was concerned for him, he was the big star, they were beating him.

Half way through the younger two had slowed to his pace, which never faltered. At the end of the stint he was carrying on, they had slowed, he won the race.

Part of his makeup I recall was his huge cardio vascular ability by nature of his chest cavity. He had more air.

Do you choose the person to fit the sport or does the sport choose the person? Does the songwriter create the song or is the songwriter the channel for the song to say hello?

Figure skating males are often of shorter stature. Why? Because a low centre of gravity and more lower leg strength means they can jump high relative to their height, spin very fast in the air and have powerful hydraulics to land on! They are fit for purpose - naturally.

When I was growing up one skater was six foot four as a figure skating male. If Henrick got off axis in the air for a triple it was a big deal! I'd have been better off being a figure skater than an ice dancer. I'm five foot seven and longer legs and height differential make you look better as a couple. My father had longer legs and looked great at almost six feet with my petite mother as a couple. I did have lessons to try to master a double axel way after finishing competing. I could skate fast and jump high... But the control in the air of crossing over that foot wouldn't come. Drat. The coaches used to laugh at my attempts.

If I'd had my father's legs I guess I could have been a World Champion - is my joke with myself. Fifth rank never enough.

My parents were Ice Dance Champions and coached. My mother wanted to give me the opportunity to have that as a career. So she partnered me up. I skated with Anne Smylie and later with Kathryn Winter. We were successful Junior World Champions. And Kathryn's parents were slight and small. I never spoke to my mother about it but I think she had done an evaluation, unfortunately Kathryn grew taller than expected. My she could skate and when that spotlight turned on it was like Liza Minelli had turned up and the alter burners were lit. I had to skate to keep up... (Kathryn, if you ever read this, sorry I was such an arse - love to you).


No one is reading this, it is a distraction, I am writing to myself on my Blog... And I enjoy it. I ruminate on raw materials. That we are all the raw material that God has to work with...


I have never thought on the importance of the wood choice for an instrument more than to know, for my guitar, solid wood front back and sides and Rosewood on the front and back makes a big difference. Also, that how the wood develops over time can improve the sound.

How the tree has grown and weathered storms and stood can twist the wood of the tree trunk as it adapts, particularly if a comrade, or a number of comrades nearby have fallen over time in a glade.

The tree is then exposed to winds full force, rather than being protected by those around them. These trees change; or fall. They need to be stronger, they need to reset to face that force. Deeper roots are needed, particularly on the wind facing side and the branches need to move to provide less resistance to the storms.


These trees have a wood grain that 'sings.' They are called SINGERS. They are the trees that provide the wood for the Luthier to use. When they fall they sound different, Luthiers go and listen to the sound of a tree when it is struck. Those that sing, they want for their work.

The Master works to release the sound that is already there. The engineering of the facility to release that sound has a shape that alters to each individual instance. Everyone is unique.

The Luthier works to release the sound, the grain and texture of the wood influences and guides the Master Luthier in how they construct the violin.

The Maker serves the one being made.

Mr Young applies this metaphor to: how our life experiences shape us, how God, as our maker is an Artist Creator seeking to release our sound. For me, with my recent Luthier telling off to keep my guitar protected, I also see that the maintenance of that instrument, the humidity, the care, the ability to play it are all a part of that journey.


We have one of the smallest, most highly populated with sprinklers, gardens in Kelowna, or perhaps the whole of the world? It's called a LOT over here. Yet we are blessed with three of the biggest trees in Kelowna.

We get storms coming at certain times of the year. I go out and watch our trees at 3am and pray they won't fall on the house. Arborists have looked and said they look strong. My friend Brent, referred to elsewhere on this blog, worked for a while felling trees. He spoke of my big lady in the back garden. She's maybe seventy feet tall. Brent's words were backed up by other arborists.

She stands alone atop the hill. She is not suddenly exposed to being alone in the storm facing the winds. Therefore over time she has put down deep roots and knows how to stand against the winds.

My front tree is a Blue Spruce. He has arms. When the storm rages I stand outside and imagine hearing him saying "Bring it on' I'm loving this," as his arms move to the blasts of 80 mph wind and more in the gusts we get here. It really is epic to experience - in my front garden!

There is no rigidity in the posture everything moves - And on the road facing side there is a more barren side. Some branches in that exposed section having given up the fight.

I'm told that, as long as the tree remains clean on its inside then the winds go through it, as soon as it is clogged up inside it acts like a sail and will be blown over. Thankfully our trees are in good shape.

And if you ever buy a house in Canada just know that tree maintenance is expensive. And we have three magnificent trees that provide shade to keep our house from overheating.


For me? In the enquiry over what I face next in my life what is the application of this learning and these insights given.

Our basic DNA is defined by biology. Our upbringing, weathered storms, learning input and tribe contribute. Then we can choose to have faith? It shapes our sound. Nothing is wasted.

Nothing is wasted, Christiane says it often. Win or loose, battles fought and experiences and learning gained combine into what I write and how I communicate. As a tree that has faced many storms I have developed and changed over time to still be standing. We all do. And the process continues daily.

And that's what creates my sound.

Now, The Maker is working with that basis, to help release it. Discuss...


As I go through Williams' website to try to find the book by the Swiss Luthier. Yes I will mail him. I get to the first of 31 published Blogs, as of date of writing. It's on fear. It's his sixteen year old son writing. You can see it here.

The answer to what fear is:

Fear is not knowing. The mouse at the fireplace casting the huge shadow on the wall.


I'm reminded of bookmarks one of the teachers printed out when I gave a talk to my son's Primary School in England about being in the Olympics.


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