“We hear enough platitudes. I would prefer to hear more gladitudes.”
Elizabeth Bacon claims that life begins at 83. “That’s a gladitude,” she says. Words of encouragement, expressions of joy, or just plain old common sense - they all qualify for inclusion in this original concept, which, she says, just came to her one morning. Think of them as memes on paper. She is celebrating the freshness of this unique idea by preparing a collection of her life’s work of writings and paintings for public display. The exhibition will be called Gladitudes.
It will consist of a one-day show and sale at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, at 33 East Road near Warden Ave. and Kingston Road, on the last Saturday of June, the 25th. She will be displaying many of her paintings and a set of themed notebooks containing her favourite Gladitudes, arranged alphabetically from A to Z.
“I always wanted to write an alphabet book, since my early days. I taught school for awhile, thirty-five years ago. But I could never get one done, because holding a theme for that long was too much for me. But I love language, I love words and I love painting, so I kept at it. Now I have a set of books – not in chronological order or in thematic order, but alphabetized. I hope that people will have imagination enough to connect the content of each book with its title. The first one is Adventures. Everything in life is an adventure pretty much, so that one is easy. B is Beckoning, C is Connections. And X,Y, and Z are all in one volume, entitled Xylo-Fun, Yarnings, (because I like to draw with yarn), and Zen.”
Elizabeth began drawing as a child, and got immediate attention for her talent in school. “I won a few area contests around Kingston where I grew up. The St. Lawrence Seaway was just opening up when I was fourteen, and I designed a prize-winning advertisement for Kingston as the Gateway to the Seaway. I was on television for that and we didn’t even own one. That’s when it really got to me that I was good enough to pursue art,” she recalls, ”and actually, I stopped painting when I was about twenty; I decided I didn’t know enough about life to be a real artist. But life threw plenty at me. Now I’m quite satisfied to call myself an artist.”
She has spent recent years exhibiting her work in shows as a member of the Beach Guild of Fine Art, where she met another local artist, Paul Corby, who is curating her show.
Her output has remained undiminished, despite the attention she has focussed on her Gladitudes book collection. They will be on display for thorough personal perusal from 10 a.m til 4 p.m. on Saturday June 25th. Admission is free and open to the public, with protocols in place and gloves available for the safe viewing of her collection. There will also be a selection of her paintings on view, and some of Corby’s as well.
“But the truth is, I love making art. It’s not just the attention. And I love the public. I’m very excited about having this show, and talking to people about my work.”
She is eager to share her philosophy of creativity with the world.
“I would like to let people know that this is the kind of art that anyone can do. I like to share the idea of collecting memories and thoughts in an artistic way. I have a favourite artist, Teesha Moore, who illustrated the thought that “the universe is full of wonderful things, just waiting for our wits to grow strong and sharp enough to perceive them.”