All images on this blog site are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written permssion of the artist, Memory Roth

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Bridge Over Time - The Continuing Story of St. Albert - Book Launch

On Sunday, April 23 at 2:00 pm the book launch for "A Bridge Over Time - The Continuing Story of St. Albert", published by the St. Albert Historical Society, will take place at the St. Albert Library.

I'm very honoured to be going to the launch since my painting "Sturgeon Crossings" will be the cover art for the two volume set.

Who would have thought that when I started my new series "St. Albert" that the first painting in the series would received such an honour.  I am so very grateful.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Studio at VASA!

Sometimes good intentions don't work out, but end up turning into great opportunities.

Just over a year ago I put my name on the waiting list at VASA (Visual Arts Studio Association) in St. Albert, with the hope I would get a call to rent a studio. I felt pretty excited when I got the call and took a chance at sharing a small studio for 6 months with another artist, although, I really wanted a studio I could rent for a full year.

Two weeks later the opportunity presented itself. I moved into a larger studio with a great studio partner and set up shop to really get to work. I figured I would split my time between the VASA studio and my home studio....I had every good intention to work at VASA, but for me, working in my own home studio is much more productive. At VASA there is always lots going on and I found myself visiting more than working; I was having a great time, but things weren't happening on the easel.

I didn't really want to give up my studio space, but felt I needed a show studio rather than a working one. This particular studio didn't warrant itself to that, because it was too tucked away and wasn't getting a lot of traffic. Another studio on the other side of my wall opened up and I contemplated moving. It was more out in the open, more visible to the public, but I wasn't sure and I didn't bother to put my name in for it. A new artist rented it, but shortly after she moved in she found out she was moving out of the province and gave notice to move out. This was when I decided it was the right time, this was my opportunity and I put my name in for that studio. I knew this studio would work out as a show studio and somewhere I could hang and promote my new series "St. Albert". I might still tweak it a bit, but so far I like it.

I'm at VASA Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm, if you feel like dropping by for a visit to check out my new space. Among other things, I will be featuring my series "St. Albert" at this studio. I have originals, reproductions, prints and cards for sale. You don't have to come just on Wednesday afternoon, VASA is open Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Out of My Comfort Zone

Life is full of uncomfortable moments, many I like to avoid, but some I know actually turn into opportunites.  Sometimes, those uncomfortable things that fall into your lap are things you have to embrace and take advantage of, and not let a missed opportunity pass you by.  Well, here's an opportunity I am embracing and actually pretty grateful for.

Anyone who is an artist and is reading this blog knows all about self promotion and how important it is to get your name and art out there, you also know how nerve wracking it can be, and not all that comfortable in the least.  I have been doing this self promotion for a while now, and I admit I'm getting used to it a little bit, but it still makes me nervous and feeling silly at times.  But when opportunity knocks......

In October of 2015, I was lucky enough to win a half page ad in our local newspaper.  When I first won it I was super excited, but then I started to think about it, I didn’t really know what I was going to do with a half page, full colour ad.  Sure, as an artist there is a lot of self-promotion that has to go on, but to put an ad out there about my art just seemed weird to me, but then it dawned on me, I could use it for the new series I was planning to unveil at the Night of Artists the following March.  Well, things didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted them to and I wasn’t able to get a good start on the series due to getting pneumonia.  So the ad sat, and expired.  I called the Gazette and told them about my dilemma and they graciously extended the deadline until March of 2017.

So this is it, Night of Artists is happening March 9 to 12 and I’ve got a good start on my new series “St. Albert”, and it's time to use the ad.  Yes, it’s nerve wracking to promote yourself like this, and pretty much out of my comfort zone, but I keep reminding myself, it will get more people out to the Night of Artists and hopefully to my booth to see, and cross my fingers, to buy my art.

Barring any crazy complications my half page, full colour ad should be in the Wednesday, March 8 St. Albert Gazette. Yes, this is exciting and feels super weird at the same time, but I’m going to go with it J

Night of Artists at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert, AB 101 Riel Drive
Thursday, March 9 - 6:30 pm to 11 - Mayor's Celebration of the Arts
Friday, March 10 - 7 to 10 - NOA 20th Anniversary Gala
Saturday, March 11 - 11 am to 4 pm - Art Stroll  7 pm to 10 pm - La Vida Loca Gala
Sunday, March 12 - 11 am to 4 pm - Art Stroll and unveiling of 150 Mural Mosaic (1:00 pm)
Tickets at and at the door, day time hours by donation

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Painting a Story

I'm a painter, but I also like to think of myself as a storyteller.  Each painting I paint has an unique story, one that I can tell you, but at the end of the day I hope that my paintings bring to life a story of your own, a special meaning that is yours to cherish, a good memory that may come to the surface and bring a smile to your face.

Each of my paintings have been inspired by something in my life.  A moment captured, a moment brought to life, and a moment I want to share with you.

My inspiration for this painting was photographer April Bartlett, who used to work for the St. Albert Gazette.  About a year before I met her I took one of the photos I used for reference for this painting. I always thought she had to coolest job and took amazing photographs.

Being a painter and photographer, it was fun watching her and the other photographers try to get in the best positions for the best shots. I had a media pass, but I was only allowed to photograph from the stands area of the rodeo grounds, I didn't have to try to stretch and bend myself into a pretzel to get a shot, all I ever had to contend with at the rodeo was dirt kicked into my face, a bit of mud and trying to find the best vantage point.

As with many painting, once you start they take on a life of their own and become more than what they began.  As I started to paint I realized that there was so much going on at a rodeo.  I remember when I took the reference photos I found it interesting watching the cowboys as spectators and began to wonder what they were thinking when they watched one of their own.  It was obvious to me that this was old hat to many and they had that "cool" look about them, as if to say "just another ride".  For me, being a newbie at the rodeo, everything was exciting and I hoped it would turn out alright.

Looking at the cowboys and their colourful shirts, the boredom on some, and excitement on others, left me wondering what it was like to be doing their job, what was it like to be the clown ready at any moment to jump in and save the day?  The nerves it must take to get on a bucking horse and try to stay put for the allotted amount of time, obviously, this cowboy didn't make it, but what does it feel like when you do?  Putting the little boy in was a bit of an after thought, but it made sense to me, a little cowboy dreaming to become like one of his heroes.

This painting is the tenth painting in my series "St. Albert" and I'm sure not the last rodeo painting.

March 9 to 12, 2017, I will be at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert, Alberta with the Night of Artists for our weekend of art festivities and music.  Drop by and have a look, it's where all the action will be!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Serenity and the Guild

Twenty-nine years ago the St. Albert Painters Guild was started; Six years ago I joined on the advice of an instructor I was taking drawing lessons from.

During those six years I have participated in five of their semi-annual shows and enjoyed every minute.  I helped coordinate two, one with my friend and fellow artist Karen Blanchet and one on my own. Not only have the shows been a great experience, but planning a show, or helping to plan a show is the best way to really understand the process, and has helped me have the confidence I needed to accept the volunteer position I now take on with VASA (Visual Arts Studio Association) as their Director of Exhibitions.

Over the last six years I haven't been involved with the Guild as much as I would have liked, due to my husband's passing and getting involved with the Night of Artists, but the Guild has always been near and dear to my heart.

It's kind of cool being an artist in St. Albert, belonging to such a great organization as the Guild, after all St. Albert's brand is "The Botanical Arts Community", but what is the best part of all this?  It's the people, it's the comradery, the kindness and the generosity of the members who make up the Guild. Whether you are an amateur, a hobbyist, an emerging, or a professional artist, you are welcome and you are encouraged to participate and succeed.  The Guild helps us celebrate all our successes, big or small, and brings even more beauty to this wonderful city.  I am so grateful to all the volunteers who dedicate so much of their time to make the Guild such a special place and I am so happy to be part of it.

Please join me and over 40 other guild artists at the St. Albert Painters Guild 2016 Fall Show and Sale.  Come and see my painting Serenity - Maluhia in person.

Serenity - Maluhia
48" x 30"
Oil on Canvas - Framed

St. Albert Painters Guild 2016 Fall Show and Sale
Friday, October 28 - 9 to 9
Saturday, October 29 - 9 to 5
Sunday, October 30 - 11 to 4
St. Albert Place, St. Albert, Alberta

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Painting With Bruce Allen

I have to admit I’m not one who has strayed very far off of the course when it comes to art.  I started by learning how to paint realism, and in the last 9 ½ years since I picked up a paint brush, my goal has been to try to master this technique.  I’m still working on it and plan to for as long as I can.  I know the trend these days is to loosen up, but I really like the detail and the end product that comes from painting tight.  It’s more of a challenge than anything, to see if I can do it, to see how far I can go.

Lately, I have had the desire to learn more, to take classes and to see what else I can do.  The thought of learning watercolour has always appealed to me, even before I discovered oil painting.  I took a weekend workshop in Spokane back in November with watercolour artist Stan Miller.  He is master at his craft and someone I have come admire.  He is dedicated to his art and makes no bones about it, he says if you want to be successful you have to dedicate your time to painting, which is just what he has done with his life.  He is an award winning portrait artist and his landscapes are fabulous.  He paints quite differently than I thought he would and considers himself a “value” painter.  Perhaps this is why I like his art so much, I also consider myself a value painter.

I loved the watercolour classes and came home quite inspired, but as I settled back into my routine the watercolours have pretty much stayed where I put them.  This doesn’t mean I gave up on them, it’s just that I am trying to make a living as an oil painter, so back to the oil paints I went.

The desire to learn has not left me and I hope it never does, with that in my mind and my heart I decided to take some oil painting classes from St. Albert artist Bruce Allen.  Bruce has been one of my favorite artists from the very first time I saw his work.  He does mostly street and house scenes and landscapes.  Bruce’s technique has been inspired by the Group of Seven and I love his loose strokes and the dark outlines that show up in his paintings.  Fortunately for me, I know Bruce; he is one of the resident artists at VASA, a visual arts studio and gallery that I recently become a resident artist of.

Bruce’s lessons are once a week for a couple hours.  He has a very easy way about him, a great sense of humour and a huge talent.  I’ve painted with him now since January and have enjoy every moment.  For someone who loves to paint tight I have found that painting loose and fast is really enjoyable; I like to describe the paintings we do as little bit "wonky", it's still realism, but in the Bruce Allen way.  Our first painting was finished in 3 lessons. That is huge; 6 hours to complete a painting is unheard of for me.

I wasn’t a huge fan of painting architectural paintings, but as I learn more from Bruce, a retired architect, I am finding I want to paint more buildings in his style.  It doesn’t mean I am going to give up my style, but it is fun to learn more than one style of painting.  He has helped me gain more confidence in speed and he has opened my eyes to more possibilities and perhaps more techniques in the future.

For now I will enjoy my lessons with Bruce, I am hoping to pick up the water brush again soon, but mostly I will be painting in my own style in oil, as I work on commissions and my new series “St. Albert” (more about that soon).

Who knew that straying from the course could be so much fun!

Photo references used courtesy of Bruce Allen (copyright owner of  reference photos)
Paintings not for sale - student work by Memory Roth

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Trestle

In 2013, using the same reference material I used for this painting, I painted a painting in black and white; I then put it up for auction at the 2013 Night of Artists show and it sold.  The new owner also ordered two giclees (reproductions) for his siblings for that Christmas.

At the time he had suggested I paint it in colour, but I was undecided.  When I decided it was time to start my new series "St. Albert", I remembered his suggestions and it was one of the first ones I painted.

The trestle is one of St. Albert's iconic landmarks, and one of my favorite places.  This painting along with 4 of my new St. Albert pieces were shown at the Night of Artists 2016 show and I am happy to tell you this piece sold quickly.

I'm still painting another trestle painting, the next one will be a winter scene.  Stay tuned

The Trestle
14" x 18"
Oil on Canvas - Framed

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Perron St. Clock Tower

The Perron St. Clock Tower is located on the corner of Perron St. and Sir Winston Churchill Ave in St. Albert, Alberta.  It was built in 1995 by a group of volunteer and engineers.

The Tower was the brain child of Mike Hatzinikolas, an adjunct professor of structural engineering at the University of Alberta.  The purpose of building the tower was to study masonry and how it behaved when used in construction.

The clock tower is a popular landmark in St. Albert and the 2nd painting in my new series "St. Albert".

The painting can be seen and is for sale at the Night of Artists weekend art show "Oh Canada" that will take place March 3, 4, 5 and 6th, 2016 at the Enjoy Centre, St. Albert.  Tickets and information on the show and artists can be found at

Perron St. Clock Tower
14" x 24"
Oil on canvas - framed

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sturgeon Crossings

Starting a new series is pretty exciting.  Up until the spring I had been painting pretty much whatever struck my fancy; it was fun to paint on a whim and so far so good.  I think I've learned a lot and feel confident that I can paint a number of subjects.

My first series "Flower Power" was painted for my first juried solo show and was a real challenge, painting 8 rather large paintings in only a few months pushed me; I am really happy with the results and the feed back.  The show has had a three month run with 3 extensions at the Northern Alberta Jubilee in Edmonton, Alberta and will continue until Wednesday of this week.  It will be on exhibition at the Southern Alberta Jubilee in Calgary March 15 to April 30, 2016.

Portraits are still my favorite subject to paint, but painting landscapes has been something I have wanted to master for a long time.  I have so much to learn and each painting I do helps me towards my goal, although mastering something sounds pretty lofty, but having a goal is a good thing.

My second and newest series is called "St. Albert"; this is the where I live, where my children have been raised, for the most part, and where my heart calls home.  It's a beautiful city with a small town feel and a great reputation for raising families.  In 2014, "Moneysense" magazine voted it the best small city in Canada to live in and in 2015, the same magazine voted it the best place to raise a family in Canada.

There is so much history in this fair city and so many landmarks to paint.  But it's not just the landmarks that capture my attention, it's the people that live here.  So this new painting is the first in this series, the first of many.  Stay tuned while I take this journey into St. Albert and the beauty that it is.

Sturgeon Crossings
20" x 24"
Oil on Canvas - Framed

For more information about the Night of Artists XlX - "Oh Canada" show that takes place March 3, 4, 5 and 6th at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert, or to buy ticket please visit

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Flower Power Show Extended!

My solo show "Flower Power" has been at the Northern Alberta Jubilee in Edmonton, Alberta since October 23.  It has now been extended until February 3, 2016.  

Northern Alberta Jubilee:  11455 — 87 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta

Alcove Gallery - 1st Balcony (2nd floor) - open 8:30 am to 4:30 pm - Monday to Friday and during performances

Hope you get a chance to see it!  

Sunday, October 25, 2015

And What a Night it Was!

My solo show "Flower Power" at the Northern Alberta Jubilee had it's opening night on Friday, October 23, 2015.

It was a fantastic night!  The Jubilee really knows how to put on an opening!!  Thank you to Tarryn Koll and all the Jubilee staff for the excellent reception, and to everyone who came out to share in the evening!

The show continues until January 29, 2016!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Show Starts Tomorrow!

The show gets hung in the morning and the opening is all set for 7:00 pm tomorrow night.

Thanks to Scott Hayes of the St. Albert Gazette for a fantastic article that was in Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 edition!!  (See below)

  • LOCAL ARTIST - Local artist Memory Roth poses for a photo with some of her artwork at her St. Albert home.
    LOCAL ARTIST - Local artist Memory Roth poses for a photo with some of her artwork at her St. Albert home.
    BRYAN YOUNG/St. Albert Gazette

Memory Roth is on the verge of her big d├ębut at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. The same place where you could see bands and ballet on the stage you can soon see one of St. Albert’s favourite painters with work on the walls up on the first balcony in a brand new exhibition space called the Alcove Gallery.
“It’s very, very exciting for me!” she exclaimed. “This is my first juried solo show.”
Local visual art enthusiasts will note that the performing arts centre has the Kaasa Gallery in its lower level. It’s a big space, she noted, so when she was approached a few years ago to gauge her interest in showing her work there, she balked at the scope.
“I just couldn’t do it. It was too overwhelming to me. I didn’t paint in series. I painted whatever I felt like painting.”
It was only when the facility decided to open its own Alcove Gallery to match the one at its southern counterpart that Roth figured the time was right. It’s still big, but it’s a smaller space, she continued.
“I can manage that. I just had to come up with a series.”
That she did, as she produced some very large and very beautiful flowers on canvas, hence the title of her exhibit: Flower Power. Perhaps she should have called it Desert Rose, considering her inspiration first blossomed in dusty Las Vegas.
Soon after she started her painting career, she and her husband had travelled to the gambling city and visited an art gallery.
“I saw this really large rose. I just fell in love with it. It was all in whites and creams. I thought to myself, ‘I want to paint one of those.’ From that day till 2014, I had been looking for my rose. Everywhere I went, I took pictures of roses. Pictures and pictures … but nothing really appealed to me.”
So she started painting other flowers. One day, with a canvas already primed and poised on her easel, she decided that one more visit to the St. Albert Botanic Park would set the right mood.
And that’s when she saw it: a magnificent rose off in the distance.
“There it was, this beautiful pink and yellow and orange rose. It had dewdrops and it was just gorgeous. I came home and thought, ‘That’s it. That is the rose.’”
That piece first got its moment in the public eye during the Night of Artists event back in March. It was so well received that she immediately set to work on completing the series.
Located in the public mingling space outside of the theatre proper, the exhibit is free and open to all.
Flower Power runs from Oct. 23 to Jan. 4. An opening reception takes place on Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The artist will be in attendance.
The exhibit will then travel down the QEII Highway to take up the Alcove Gallery in the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. That will be on display from March 15 to April 30.
The Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium is located at 11455 87 Ave. in Edmonton.
Written by Scott Hayes, St. Albert Gazette

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Flower Power

Begonia in Orange Cascade
Ninety square feet of canvas, over 200 linear feet of frame, countless tubes of oil paint and hours and hours of work are finally ready to take to the stage, or in this case the gallery walls.

It’s been a long journey, a long time coming, and a bittersweet accomplishment.
Having a solo show at the Northern Alberta Jubilee has not only been a dream of mine, but also a dream of my late husband Bernie.

Most people I know have hobbies they love; they find relaxation and a great deal of enjoyment in these interests outside of work, my husband loved to work.  He loved to work so much that his hobby was working at the Northern Alberta Jubilee part time. Although, he enjoyed his full time job, worked with great people, and met each challenge head on, it was a stressful job and consumed a lot of his life.  He wanted sometime to do in his time away from the job that would be fun and stress free.  When our children were involved in sports and other activities that kept both of us busy, we loved it, but once our children got to the age that they gave up some of their activities we found we had more time on our hands; I could always find something to occupy my time, my husband on the other hand found himself restless.    

Besides having a full time job, one of his sister's worked part time at the Centrium in Red Deer.  Whenever my husband and her chatted about her part time job he would tell me that it sounded like so much fun, wouldn’t it be great if he could find something like that to do!  It just happened at that time the Northern Alberta Jubilee was looking for staff.

I remember Bernie’s boss, Bonnie telling us at his funeral that he was the best employee she ever had; I could totally believe it.  He was so dedicated and hardworking and so much fun to be around.  She told all of us about the day he came in for an interview for a job.  The interview went well, but before she could say anything to him about getting back to him, he said to her something along the lines of “When do I start?”  I’m sure she was surprised by his confidence, it never occurred to him that he wouldn’t be hired, but that was my husband, never arrogant, but totally confident.

He started the job in September of 2005 and loved it.  He spend as much time as he could at the Jube, so much so that I asked him to put a limit on it.  He wanted me to apply and come and work with him, but our youngest needed someone home in the evenings.  I always looked forward to him coming home at the end of his shift and sitting down and hearing all about the evening.  He would always have an interesting or funny story about the events and antics that took place.  I knew from the very beginning that this was a special place to him.  Somewhere he felt he belonged, a place where I’m sure given half the chance he would have worked full time.

A couple years after I started painting in 2006 and my art started to get some notice, he mentioned to me that the Jube had a gallery in the lower level, the Kassa Gallery, and he thought I should apply to have a show.  I was curious about the gallery but didn’t feel ready to apply.  I went to the Jube one day with him to have a look anyway.  It was a big space and I knew I needed to increase my inventory before I could ever even think about applying; I put the thought aside.  Over the course of a few more years while I continued to paint and he continued with his hobby he mentioned over and over to me to apply to the Kaasa Gallery.  His boss also mentioned to him that she thought I should apply for a show.  I knew that one day I would, but I wasn't sure when that would be.

After Bernie passed away in 2012, Bonnie and the staff at the Jube were very supportive to me and my family.  I knew they cared deeply for my husband and thought highly of him.  Bonnie and a few other staff continued to encourage me to apply for a show.  Last year I was told that the Jube would open a new gallery on the 1st balcony, the Alcove Gallery, this gallery would be smaller and it might be a good fit for me.  But I knew if I wanted to apply for a show I would have to paint a series.

It’s all good and fine telling yourself you have to paint a series, but when you are a painter like me and just paint anything that you feel like painting, from portraits of people and pets, to landscapes, waterscapes, boats, signs and flowers, how do you pick?  I started to think about my art and what I wanted to be known for, but that in itself was hard.  I didn’t want to pigeon hole myself, I wanted to paint anything and everything, but as I started to really look at my art I realized there was a pattern.  I painted mostly portraits, not just people, dogs and other animals, but also boats and flowers.  Most of my paintings, other than landscape, had a singular subject. Once I figured this out I decided to go ahead and paint some flowers for my first series.  I had recently finished a rose that was well received and a great deal of fun to paint. This particular rose was large, three feet by three feet and I decided to keep to that size theme.  I knew from my photography that I would have lots of reference material and if I fell short I could always go and take more photos.
The Rose

I decided that it was time, I went to the Jube and met the person in charge of the shows and had a look at the new gallery space.  I felt confident that I could fill it.  I told her I was going to send in an application for a show.  She said that was great and explained how the jurying process worked….wait a minute….there was a jury, I wasn’t a shoe in?  As it turned out once you send in an application it goes through her and then it goes to a jury of the board members of the Jubilee, well, I didn’t know any of them, what if after all this time I was turned down, what if after all this time I didn’t get accepted?  I sent in the application and waited nervously.

As I was waiting to hear from the Jube I had work to do.  Daffodil Gallery in Edmonton had approached me in the spring of 2013 and asked me if I would be interested in becoming one of their commission people portrait artists.  This was a new feature they wanted to start at the gallery.  It took them a while to get the logistics worked out, but finally in March of 2015 I accepted and took a large portrait of my daughter down for them to put on display.  I had also been accepted into a group show for the month of May, which meant I would need the portrait back, but I wanted to paint another one to replace it.  This time it would be a large portrait of my son and I really had to get busy and get it done.

As all of this was taking place I heard back from the Jube, I was in!!!  The board liked my work and gave the thumbs up.  I was slated for November and December of 2015; the first artist in the new gallery with eight months to paint, which for me, is not enough time, but I was going to give it my all!!! 

Serenity - Maluhia
I finished my son’s portrait the end of April and had started painting the under paintings of the flowers in May, my eight months was now down to six.  Then, I got an email from the Jube telling me that my show had moved up to July and August.  I knew I could never finish in time, so I got a hold of the person in charge and we decided that I would have my show in September and October.  That was better, but still I was rushed, my six months was now down to three. 

I was on a roll, I had everything figured out, how much time I needed for each painting, how many hours I needed to work each day.  Things were coming together, I was working like crazy and had only two paintings to complete when just a few weeks before the start date of the show, it was pushed back due to some issues with the hanging rails, after all this is a new gallery and hiccups were pretty much to be expected….but I was on a roll and now I had six additional weeks to work…………have you ever met a procrastinator?  Well, hello.  I took three weeks off, why you ask, because I could.  I actually did have good reasons, I had to do the books for my son’s business, get them to the accountant, work on my yard a bit, which I had planned to do once everything was finished, read a book or two and think about painting. The show dates were now October 19, 2015 to January 4, 2016, lots of time to work.  Which in the end I did work.  Once I got back into the rhythm of things the paintings came together.  But then another hiccup emerged and as it has turned out my show starting date has been moved back to the opening reception date of Friday, October 23, 2015, which is not a bad thing, more time to fine tune things.

It’s getting close and I’m getting more excited.  Only one more painting to touch up and frame.  I’ve been working on the promotion, the marketing and have had two interviews with Scott Hayes of the St. Albert Gazette.  Bryan Young of the Gazette came over in the summer and took photos of me and my art and Scott plans on putting something in the paper next Wednesday.  It’s been hectic, it’s been a lot of work, but most of all it’s been fun.  I’ve never painted so large, I hope I can get the painting in my van, I guess I should have checked that a while ago…

I look forward to next Friday evening with the hope that my friends, family and supporters will come out to the opening reception to see my art.  I look forward to having the patrons of the shows who go through the Alcove Gallery see my work over the next 3 months.

It’s been a long time coming since the first day my late husband told me I should apply to have a show at the Jube.  Well, I did and it’s almost here.  I hope it’s successful, I hope it’s well received and I hope I did him proud and I wish he was here to share in this moment.

Flower Power 
A Solo Exhibition by Memory Roth

Northern Alberta Jubilee - Alcove Gallery
1st Balcony
Edmonton, AB

October 23, 2015 - January 4, 2016

Opening Reception - Friday, October 23, 2015
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Friday, October 2, 2015


Sometimes, you just have to paint BIG!

"Flower Power" - October 19, 2015 to January 4, 2016
Northern Alberta Jubilee - Edmonton, Alberta
Alcove Gallery - 1st floor balcony

Opening Reception - Friday, October 23, 2015
7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finishing a Painting

After taking a break from painting flowers I am back at it.  I'm getting close to finishing the sunflowers, I think I will spend another hour or two and call it done.  Now to figure out a name!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Procrastination VS Me

I'm good with deadlines, really I am. Give me a deadline and I will work and work until it's done; take away that deadline.................well, sometimes procrastination wants to take over my life.

Why is it that you can find a hundred other things to do, other than what you are supposed to do? That's what it has been like for the last few days.  My deadline for the my solo show "Flower Power" has been moved back, so what do I do?  I read a book or two, watch a few movies, clean the house a bit (that's a bonus) and think about my art. Then guilt starts to creep in and I feel I am wasting my time, I have more time, this is great, but I am wasting it.  So what do I do, I finish my book, call a few friends, play some scrabble and start feeling a bit more guilty.

Finally, I decided last night that in the morning I would go down to the studio and actually start painting.  So after putting a couple hours in I can see more progress with my sunflowers.  The background still isn't where I want it, but it's coming along.  I'm working on the stems and leaves; lots more work to do there.

It's all about layering, adding and fine tuning (and a few redos), but I feel confident that I will be done this painting soon, mind you I do have another book that is calling my name (seriously, it's actually calling my name, it's call "The Memory Painter".....catchy title!) and I really should go out and do some yard work and I was also thinking about painting some walls in my house and....................

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Yellow and Green

I find it interesting how I miss things at first glance. I think I get my mind set on one thing and everything will just have to register later on. Although, I like the background I knew I would have to put at least one more layer of paint on it. What I didn't see at first were the colours, the yellow and green in the background; which actually makes a lot of sense since there is whole field of sunflowers in the background.  I used a low aperture setting when photographing it, so the background is blurred out.

Starting from the bottom working up I have started to add a bit more colour, it's subtle, but it's there.

The petals are needing more definition and colours, bringing in the shadows will make them more three dimensional.

Still lots of work, but its coming along and I am starting to be pleased with what I am seeing.

Stay tuned for more:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Sunny Progress

Sometimes, you are given an unexpected gift just when you need it, in this case, a bit more time to paint. I do not have the extreme deadline of only a couple weeks to finish this due to my solo show being pushed back; now I am able to slow down the pace of my painting.  I was on a roll and found it invigorating, but having more time to contemplate what I am painting is really nice. 

The sunflower painting continues, many layers of paint need to be added, a few leaf shapes need to be changed, but it coming.  

I'm trying to think of a name for the painting, but I'm drawing a blank.  If you have an idea, please leave me a message with a suggestion.  Thanks! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Bringing in the Sun

This painting was supposed to be hung at the Northern Alberta Jubilee in 12 days, but due to some technical difficulties with the gallery, my show has been POSTPONED and will take place
October 19, 2015 and will run until January 4, 2016.  Opening reception information still to come.

So now I can take a breath and not rush at finishing this painting.  It is part of my new and first series, "Flower Power".  

The painting itself is 3 feet by 5 feet and the monochromatic is the first stage.

Bringing in the sun, applying colours to these beautiful sunflowers, bringing them to life is the goal at the moment.
 Stay tuned, more to come.

Friday, August 14, 2015

It's coming together!

The pressure is on!  I have less than 2 weeks to finish this painting for my solo show "Flower Power" that starts on September 1 at the Northern Alberta Jubilee.  The monochromatic is coming together. Now it has to dry so I can add more highlights and low lights.  Stay tuned and wish me luck to get this finished on time!!

** the show has been pushed back and will take place - October 19, 2015 to January 4, 2016

See the post below for the start of this painting.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Indecisive Indecision

I've been struggling with the last painting I am doing for a series for a solo show at the Northern Alberta Jubilee in Edmonton, Alberta.  I'm really excited about this show, I will be the very first artist in their new Alcove Gallery, so this is pretty special.

The show starts October 19 and runs until January 4, 2016.  I am still putting the finishing touches on most of the paintings that will be in the show, but the last one is my struggle.  I knew I wanted to paint a sunflower and I couldn't seem to get that idea out of my head, but I have never had this much trouble figuring out what to actually put on the canvas.......................

1st idea - a group of flowers
I thought a grouping would work out great, but it was a struggle to find the perfect reference material. Although you would think all sunflowers look similar, there is a great degree of difference, especially in what might be interpreted as their personality. I found something I thought I could work with, but once I got the monochromatic started I realized I didn't like the composition, it looked good on paper, the drawing looked okay on the canvas, but it just wasn't saying what I wanted it to say.

2nd idea - large flower heads

Then I thought, forget the grouping, I needed to paint a large flower head, maybe two, that would be perfect!.................not so much..................
3rd idea - forget the sunflower, time to paint an orchid
Next I decided I wasn’t going to paint a sunflower, maybe this idea was just not meant to be.  Instead I would paint an orchid.  Who doesn't like an orchid, I love orchids, I can't seem to grow them, but I buy them anyway, they do last quite awhile if you remember to water them.....but not too much water, and don't move them around, and don't touch them, and don't ever let them sit in water, unless you are watering them in a sink, that's the only time they can sit in water, but then you are moving them around, so I'm not sure that's a good idea. And when you buy books about orchids, it might be a good idea to read them before you buy the next orchid to replace the one that just lost all it's flowers.  Did you know orchid leaves are also nice to look at???, I decided the orchid wasn't what I wanted to paint after all.
4th idea - back to the sunflower
Back to the idea of painting one large sunflower..........what was I thinking when I decided to paint an orchid????  I started a new large sunflower, but realized I needed to make the center smaller for it to work and maybe I needed to make the whole thing smaller, maybe this was just a stupid sunflower, it doesn't even look happy, aren't sunflowers supposed to look happy?!!??! I painted over the sunflower with white oil paint and decided I needed to begin again.
5th idea - maybe a group of flowers would be better
Back to the idea of painting a group of sunflowers...............................  I found a photo that I took a long time ago and thought by adjusting the grouping a bit this would be a fantastic, over the top, amazing painting, so I drew it out…………….but then again..................

Back to the literal drawing board!  Nothing was working, nothing was speaking to me, this painting was not making me happy.  I decided it was time to take another trip to Sunflower Gardens, one of my favorite places to take pictures, and see what I could find, because if I couldn't find something that worked I needed to move on and scrape this idea...............sometimes I have a hard time letting go though..........

It was a beautiful day when I got out to the Gardens.  I took my camera and walked and walked and took as many photos as I could.  I was finding lots of beautiful sunflowers, took lots of pictures for future reference, enjoyed the day, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for.  Where were those unique "look at me" sunflowers.  Just as I was going to leave I went out behind the store and took a photo of a grouping of sunflowers.  There was something kind of interesting about them.  I looked at the photo on the camera and felt I had something that was kind of special.  I took a bunch of photos and decided to go home and see what turned out.  When I uploaded them I was really excited, because finally I found what I wanted....finally!!  
6th and last idea - the background
When I got home I rubbed out the drawing I had already done of the other grouping of flowers and to save time I decided to put the background in first on my latest endeavor.  This was a big job and took a lot of paint, but it worked.  As it dried for a few days I fiddled around with the reference photo and decided on the exact composition I wanted to paint.

The drawing
The drawing was the next step, so using a charcoal pencil I did a quick drawing and then started the monochromatic, praying that this was going to work, because I was running out of time!

The start of the monochromatic
And so it begins, a painting that has taken a long time to come to life, a painting that still has a long way to go.  Cross you fingers for me that this works and stay tuned over the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Polar Bear

Finding my Normal

The Polar Bear

The Native Americans believed that if a polar bear comes across into your path, it is reminding you of how enormously strong and full of courage you are.  He has come to help you stand up to the current challenges in life, no matter how intimidating they are.  You will never be overwhelmed.
He may be here to guide you between the living world and the spirit world.

A polar bear came into my life in August 2014, it was a profound experience at a time I truly needed it.

The Loss of my Normal

August 18, 2012 was the day my life changed forever; it wasn't a normal day, the days of normal had left months before.  If you didn't know me you wouldn't have guessed this was any other than a normal day.  A day of summer sunshine and warm air.  The busyness of life carried on around me, people lived their lives; it was Saturday, the weekend, time for weddings and celebrations, shopping and summer holidays, people worked and played, they didn't have the slightest idea what was about to happen to me, to my children. It was the day we had been waiting for, anticipating, dreading.  It was the day my husband died.

Since that day, grief has been my constant companion. It has been a physical pain, it has been an emotional pain and for a long time it has consumed me. I prayed constantly for the grief to lift, to be done; I prayed for my life to become normal, to feel happiness again.  But the pain continued and gripped me, and it seemed like it would never let go.  I was sad, I was confused, I was angry; I just wanted it to stop.  I moved forward each day, I got up, I took care of myself, I was there for my kids, for my friends, they were there for me.  I counted my daily accomplishments no matter how small they were.  The days passed, the months passed, soon it was a year, and soon it was two.

I reassured people I was okay, and it was the truth when I spoke it, but then the grief would rear its ugly head and then I wasn't so sure.  

I met people who unfortunately, had gone through the same thing.  They helped, they reassured me I would survive. It takes time, they told me, and it takes time.  “Would you ever get over it?” I would ask.  “No”, they would say “But you learn to live with it, it gets easier”.

Time was my enemy; time was my friend.  Time sped up and it slowed down and time was lost.  The early days were a blur, but the sickness, the sadness, it was front and centre in my head.  I couldn't find him in my memories as a healthy person, I only saw him sick with his eyes glazed over, his mind gone.  It took a long time to find him in my memories as my healthy husband, but he was on my mind constantly. I couldn't think about anything else, I would try, but he was still there.  I dreamed of him every night, most of the dreams were of me trying to tell him he was sick.
I know I was still worried about whether he understood what had happened to him. I was never able to tell him, to comfort him, he was gone from us too soon, before we even understood how sick he was.
I was starting to forget all the things that I knew for certain at the time of his illness.  My mind had been clear then, determination had flooded my very being.  I knew the choices I made for him were what he would have wanted, I knew I did everything I could, but my mind was now playing tricks, I was second guessing everything.  I felt I was going crazy.
I needed to focus on my art, I could hear the words in my head “paint, paint”, I knew I needed to paint, but I couldn't find the ambition, I tried and I would stop, then I would try again.  At every corner there were distractions, reasons to do other things, reasons not to paint.
I joined Night of Artists in January of 2013 because I knew it would help me have focus and deadlines; I was good with deadlines.  The March show brought fun back into my life, I was excited, it was busy, I could focus on the moment, I talked, I laughed, I enjoyed myself, but then it was done.  The remnants of the weekend lasted awhile, I had found something special; I met some wonderful people and I had something else to look forward to, but I still couldn't find my normal.  I continued to hear the call to paint, I felt the call in my soul, but my grief kept taunting me, grabbing for me, trying to devour me.

Grief is like an entity in its own; you feel the strength of it, the substance of it; it’s like another person standing in the room, wanting acknowledgement, begging for attention. You know logically that it’s not an entity, but rather something you have to go through to find the other side, you know there are stages and you know it takes time.  But what I didn't know is that those stages bounce around, one day you are sad, the next you are okay, the next day you are in disbelief. Some days you have all the stages, at different times in the same day.  There were times when I had a breakdown and I would feel such utter despair that I thought I would never be able to pull myself up again, then 10 minutes later I would feel fine.  It was so annoying; the whole of it, but what surprised me the most was the anger.  People told me I would be angry with God, but that never happened.  Through all of this, He was my anchor, He was also my constant companion, every so often when the veil of grief lifted I knew it was His doing, I knew he was showing me hope.  The angry was towards my husband.  I was angry he died, but I knew it wasn't his fault.  What upset me the most was that I was angry at him personally.  I picked him apart; I picked our marriage apart.  I couldn't understand my feelings because I knew how much I loved him and what a wonderful person he was; I knew we had a really good and strong marriage.  Why did I have to feel the way I did?  I was afraid this was how I would end up feeling forever, and then it was gone, then it was back, then it was gone. 

Grief changes over time, at first it’s unbearable, unbelievable and it doesn't fit.  As time wears on, and life continues, which in itself is remarkable, grief starts to be part of your wardrobe. If you let it, it will fit like a comfortable pair of shoes.  It would be easy to forget to take the shoes off, to wear them all the time, but at some point you have to take them off, to feel the air on your toes and the earth under your feet.

At first I fought grief, I didn't want it to become a comfortable pair of shoes for me to walk in.  I didn't want it defining me, I didn't want people to look at me and see grief.  Eventually I realized I needed to acknowledge grief, to give it attention, to let myself mourn, to cry, to feel; it was important to allow grief to exist. I knew I would try to continue to fight it when I had to, when I was able to.   I wanted desperately to move forward, but how?  How do you fight such a power force, how do you let it help you move forward to find your normal?

The Journey to Normal

In January of 2014, my daughter was looking for a job on the computer and came across an ad for a beauty pageant.  Unknown to me at the time, she applied and was asked to have a phone interview.  Before the interview she told me about her application and bit about the pageant.  She asked me if it was okay for her to be in it if she was accepted.  Normally, in my normal life I would have discouraged her and would have told her not to waste her time on such a thing, but my normal was over and I felt she needed something to look forward to, something to keep her occupied while she too worked through her grief. A little while after the phone interview she was notified that she was accepted into the pageant.

The pageant was in Toronto in August of 2014; we would be in Toronto during the 2nd anniversary of my husband’s death.  We were to stay in Toronto for 10 days and then have a 4 day vacation in New York City.  My daughter stayed with me in the hotel for the first 3 days and then joined the girls in the rooms they were to share for the rest of the pageant.  I saw her briefly every day, to catch up on what was happening and how she was doing.  It was an interesting time for me, but a very busy, stressful and tiring time for her.  She grew so much in those 10 days; the pageant didn't turn out the way we had anticipated. She was put in circumstances we didn't expect, but she handled herself beautifully.  She was strong and poised and helped people in situations that shouldn't have arisen. She gave her strength to those who needed her, and it probably cost her, but she gained so much.  I had a hard time containing how proud I was of her and I knew her dad would be beaming down from heaven with pride and admiration for our daughter.  A young woman who put others before herself, who stuck up and spoke out for those who needed her.

As my daughter continued to practice and participate and prepare for the big night, August 18th was looming ahead.  As the day approached I knew my challenge would be to keep myself busy.  My daughter wouldn't be seeing me until later in the evening.  The first anniversary was harder than I thought it would be and I wasn't looking forward to the 2nd.  I kept telling myself I shouldn't be sad, after all this was the day my husband met God in person.  It was a good day, a new day for him, I should be happy, I should rejoice in that.  Easy to say; not so easy to do.  I decided to keep myself busy with a trip to the Toronto Zoo.  I hadn't been to a zoo in over 20 years and it would be a great way to get some photo references to paint.  I was really interested in seeing the Pandas, so I had a mission.

When I got to the Zoo, as was my usual way of doing things as of late, I got lost.  I was looking for the Pandas, thought I was going in the right direction, but ended up near the polar bear enclosure.  I wasn't sure where I made the wrong turn, but I was quite interested in seeing the polar bears and had hoped to paint one at some point in the my life.

When I got to the enclosure I went up to the bleachers and looked down into the pool; it was lunchtime and the bears were bobbing around happily as can be in the water eating lettuce and other vegetables.  It was exciting to see the bears and I was able to take a few shots, but you can only watch a bear eating lettuce for so long and I became bored.

I went down to the underwater enclosure to see if it was more interesting below, but it wasn't.  Then I went into the cub’s enclosure and watched the young polar bear play around for a while.  He was entertaining as he rolled around and played with a few toys, but soon he was at the door of the zoo crying for his lunch.  I then decided to walk around the general area I was in to see what other animals I could find.  I came upon the area where the bears where able to walk around outside on the grass.  They just finished their lunch and happened to be out when I came close to the viewing area.  They were huge and came close enough for me to get some good photos.

I carried on and took in every exhibit I could, and saw as many of the animals that I was available to see.  I finally found the pandas, but they were sound asleep.  The giraffes were fun to watch and I took in the grizzly and cougar, but both looked unimpressed, perhaps it was the heat.  I sat at the buffalo enclosure and I was happy I brought my telephoto lens. The day was very warm, it felt good to be out walking, even carrying my 20 lbs of camera equipment.  At one point I took the zoo mobile to get quickly from one area to another and was able to see the back area of the zoo.
As the day wore on and I was getting tired, something all of a sudden came over me that I can’t quite explain.  I had this unexplainable urge to go back to the polar bear enclosure…immediately.  I was a long way from their enclosure and there was no zoo mobile in sight.  I got out my map, hoping this time I wouldn't get lost and I started the long trek back to the polar bears.  By the time I was getting close I felt I needed to hurry my pace, and I was practically running.  I went straight down to the underwater enclosure and got my camera ready.  But there was nothing, no bears to be seen, I was totally alone and a little confused as to why I felt the urge to hurry back and I felt a little silly.  Disappointed, just as I was about to leave I looked one last time through the thick glass window, just then I saw one of the bears dive into the water.  He swam straight up to the window I was looking through.  He paused at the glass and became still, he looked right at me and then pushed his giant paws against the glass and swam on his back out to the farthest point of the pool.  He turned around, came back to his starting position and did the routine over and over and over.  Each time he would look at me and move on.  Soon the enclosure was starting to fill up with excited spectators, and I moved out of the way to allow more people to have a look at the bear.  I decided to go upstairs to the bleachers and see what I could see up top.  As he swam on his back I was able to take a few photos of him with the light reflecting off of the water.  Then he stopped.
I was overwhelmed with emotion when I finally left the polar bear enclosure, I couldn't believe I was there at the right time, I couldn't believe I was able to make eye contact with this majestic creature.  I felt renewed, excited and I felt happy….happy, genuinely happy!
Once I got back to the hotel I had a chance to look over the photos and was excited with what I saw and immediately decided I needed to paint this animal.  I had brought some acrylic paints, not my favorite, but they travel well, and a small canvas.  I worked on it a little bit each day and had it mostly finished by the time we left for New York.

When we got home I put on the finishing touches on the painting, and was pleased with the end result.  But it didn't feel big enough; I knew this painting had to be big.  I wanted people to feel the majestic qualities of the bear.  I wanted them to feel like the bear was coming at them, not in a menacing way, but not in a teddy bear way either.  I wanted people to feel he was getting closer, but they were still safe.  I chose a 36” x 48” canvas and started another painting of the polar bear.  I changed it from the first painting, which had the bear look like it was in a hugging position; instead I wanted to see the claws in the water as it swam towards it’s audience.

As with most of my paintings I am never really sure how they will be received and I decided to put it into the November Night of Artists show.  City TV interviewed me for their Breakfast Television show and I showcased the bear; it got a fair amount of air time.  At the show, the public enjoy it and I felt reassured that I had been successful in painting what I needed to paint.

In March, I showed it in another NOA show, but this time the public response was overwhelming.  I heard many words describing the painting.  People told me how much they loved it. Some said they would have liked to have been able to buy it.  Many said it was beautiful, powerful, and the kids seemed to really enjoy it.  One of the people taking tickets for the show told me she overheard people talking about it in the lobby area.  I talked to a number of different people, but two conversations stood out to me.  Both were with big strapping men; both had worked in areas that were populated with polar bears. Each said that they really liked the painting, but it would be a little bit frightening to have it in their home, I believe the word they actually used was “terrifying”.  I found it really interesting, the variety of responses and reactions.
Before this particular experience, I had another profound experience with a turtle in Hawaii in November of 2012. That experience helped me to get back to the easel for a brief period of time and reminded me how important my art was to me and had been my husband.  But I guess God knows it takes more than one profound experience to get me to stay on track.
I knew I was going to paint a polar bear at some point in my life, but I never thought it would turn out to be such a powerful painting to me, and I never would have imagined it would be something I would paint while I was trying to combat my grief.  Perhaps it was my husband’s way of helping me once again to remember my path, and to keep me focused.   Maybe there is truth in what the Native American’s believe about the polar bear.  He came across into my path and  reminded me of my strength and courage.  He brought something powerful into my life, something beautiful.  Moving forward is terrifying, there is so much of the unknown ahead of me, but he brought me back to my path as an artist.  I know I will get through the grief and I started to feel normal again when we came back from our trip, I started to feel it grow stronger when I painted the bear, but it’s a new and different normal.  I’m different, my life is different, the way I look at the world is different; I’m starting to feel ready for the challenges that will be out there, but the fear still holds me back at times, but when I look at the polar bear I remember my strength, my courage and the determination that is part of me.  

It’s going to be 3 years in a few months and I know the grief is not gone, it still visits me, sometimes unexpectedly, but its grip is loosening, and its power is fading.  I know it will always be a part of me, but the physical pain I felt early on, the despair that overtook me at times, has subsided to a great degree, and I recognize the anger for what it is.

All these stages are perhaps necessary, and no one said this would be easy.  I am so grateful for the experiences that help me remember my path; I am so grateful to God for walking this path with me and for the polar bear, for stepping into my path and reminding me to hold steady.

Hold steady on the path you have chosen. Keep your focus.
-Polar Bear

“Getting Closer”
Original Oil
36” x 48” – Framed
For Sale

Come and see the painting in person “Getting Closer” at the St. Albert Painter’s Guild Show and Sale – April 24 – 26, 2015.  5 St Anne Street, St Albert, AB – At St. Albert Place