How We ArtLucked Into Summer

One more ArtLuck before we hit the summer months for rest. It turns out to be a doozy.

Pam shows up early to help. We bring out enough chairs, we think. Then people begin to arrive and we find out we were wrong. In the best way. We've underestimated.

Perhaps this flurry of guests distracts me, because I fail at a thorough photo record of this evening. My apologies for only remembering later on in the evening ot snap some pictures.

Edward responds to Daniel Van Heyst's work.

Edward responds to Daniel Van Heyst's work.

Edward Van Vliet

Edward starts us off with a new poem, called St.Agnes.

As he reads, we try to keep up. I try to visualize the words. To savour them. It proves difficult in a single pass, so we institute the "Two Read Rule" for poems. The second read helps.

You now have an advantage over us that evening. You can take the poem in at your own pace. You can linger over Edward’s language, because Edward Van Vliet has shared his poem, St.Agnes, online here.

Aaron Vanimere

Aaron Vanimere is back with us after travels down south. Nashville. Houston. Like most every trip Aaron takes, music was the motive. There were rare shows to see. Priceless experiences to share.

One particular performer caught Aaron’s attention (and if he’d be so kind as to remind me just exactly who that was in the comments below, I’d be much obliged). What I do remember is the story. This artist struggled with a dark depression. He emerged healthy, willing and able to share his struggle. He wrote a little graphic novel about his descent and resurfacing. Aaron has brought that little graphic novel, and reads it to us.

Aaron tells us about his halt in taking photos. His loss of joy and meaning in his art. His emergence from that tunnel.

Aaron’s openness about his own experienes with depression–about the deep personal connections this piece makes with him–gives us all permission to go deeper tonight. I’m grateful for it.

Jack Von Bieker

This is one of the blessed nights where my family can make it. My wife, my daughter and my son are here, taking this all in. Jack has brought something to share.

It’s a picture of a muskox. It is textured, and he tells us about the technique he was taught in school, where he made this. Someone asks why he chose the muskox. Someone else asks how he made this image.

As Jack’s dad, I’m proud to see his courage to share. His eloquence in talking about his work. It’s a pretty great moment.

Michelle's awesome marker set.

Michelle's awesome marker set.

Michelle Earle

Michelle is always bringing something different to the group. Sometimes a poem. Sometimes a story, or a chapter of a book. Sometimes a painting. Tonight, a whole sketchbook full of marker drawings.

Michelle Earle starts off beaming about the new marker set she bought, and the case to hold those markers, found on sale at Delta Art. We all look with no small amount of envy at the massive collection of colours. It’s amazing how new tools can inspire new ideas.

As we look at her drawings, it’s clear Michelle is having fun. There is joy woven into these images, and that makes them a pleaseure to look at. We encourage Michelle to keep creating from this rich place.

Michelle also writes, and you can read her blog at

Julie Drew and her husband Sam Drew (centre)

Julie Drew and her husband Sam Drew (centre)

Julie - masks

Julie Drew

Julie Drew is a painter. Usually. Tonight she has brought a song. And a guitar. She plays for us, and tells us how the song is connected to an image she’s made in chalk pastel.

In the image a woman looks in the mirror to see a younger, changed reflection of herself. There are masks hanging beside the mirror.

The song is about the masks this woman has worn. The false identities. The search for identity and worth, and the satisfaction of that search in Jesus Christ. It is deeply personal work, and I feel honoured to hear the song.

Julie tells us this work has been 20 years in the making. So many past versions, thrown away. The work is in the process of becoming. Of reaching its potential and destiny. Not unlike the woman.

Discover Julie’s work on her newly revamped website,

Juliana Christensen

Juliana often comes with more questions than answers. Which I like. She is always in process. Always playing. But the most serious kind of play–play towards progress. Experimentation towards growth.

Juliana’s canvases are bright. She is going in new directions and wondering whether she should continue. She asks us. What do we think? What would we change? How should this piece be finished? Maybe it already is?

Her humility and joy are refreshing.

You can see Juliana Christensen’s work on her Facebook page.

Daniel Van Heyst

Daniel Van Heyst

Daniel Van Heyst has returned with a collection of connected, colourful canvases. Each small piece depicts a human form that appears to be dancing. Or floating. Or falling. The pieces are the same size, but each explores the subject in a new way. Different colours. New textures. It’s a visual feast, as Daniel lays the pieces out on the floor.

We talk about what the different representations say to us. We pick favourites. We make suggestions and comments. Daniel takes it all in with grace and keen interest.

I must be interested too, because this is when I finally remember to turn on my camera.



I am ashamed to say, as I write this, that I don’t even know Sean’s last name. It is Sean’s first visit to the ArtLuck, having been referred by Dan, a regular who by some twist of fate is not here this time. Sean has brought a friend though, and I’m fairly certain at least she knows his full name. I’ll blame the bustle of setting up the evening for my own failings here.

Sean tells us he has just started to create art again, after a 13 year hiatus. Feverishly he has been drawing and painting for mere weeks. The abundance of fresh work is inspiring. Sean is discovering again who he is as a creative soul. An artist.

Sean is trying things out. Testing directions. When we gather again in the fall, I hope to see which way he chooses to walk.

Pam 2

Pam Baergen

Pam has a piece for us this evening not unlike her recent work, but not exactly like it, either. Where her offerings the last couple of ArtLucks have been tiny, this piece is a fair amount larger. Where those other pieces explored depth and texture through a shadow-box aesthetic, this contê drawing takes a more traditional form.

Still, the palette is antiqued in muted sepia. The subject remains an old found photograph. Once again a young child takes on ghostly, timeless significance through Pam’s lens.

We talk about Pam’s choices to use torn paper for added texture. We talk about the long drawn shadows. Their harshness. Their dominance. We talk about time and memory.

I’d like to see all of these series come together, but it appears Pam Baergen is still without a website. We’re going to need to work on that ...



Janae Mercier

One highlight of this year’s ArtLucks has been watching Janae Mercier stretch her writing muscles. She missed our last gathering for the best reason–travel abroad. Now here she is, back from Italy with photos and a bit of stream-of-consciousness reflection on her journey.

There are vivid moments throughout the piece. Her framing metaphor of a train ride, watching images pass by the windows, carries these moments well. The piece is unfinished, but sparkling with potential for future drafts.

Janae has done some more work on it since, and you can read a version of The Train on her blog here.

Final image?

We end the night with a send off into summer. Into rest and relaxation. Into warm sun and glorious distractions.

Come fall, this space will be waiting for us. Ready for us to unfold our arms and lay out all the beauty we have gathered from the shores for all to see.

Until then, may art, faith, hope and love find and fill you.


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