Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Journey is the Reward

The Journey is the Reward

I wished to share with you some of my thoughts and feelings, some of the obstacle, harassment and some or many random acts of kindness, support, and beauty.

In June 2016 the sale of my vacant lot in Hintonburg closed and I was able to purchase The Imbleau & Son Foundry in Renfrew. 

I was so happy that I sold my vacant lot. I had a cheque for over $250,000 dollars in my hands, but I was single, alone, and had no one to hold in my arms and share the joy with.  That realization was really difficult to deal with. 

Isabelle, my 12 year old daughter, was with me the next week. One week on, one week off (the landscape of divorce).  All excited Isabelle and I drove up to Renfrew and embraced the purchase of the property and after had a pizza to celebrate at a local restaurant.

Dream Dream Dream of converting the space into the Art Factory.  To have the largest artist studio in Canada, an Art Gallery, and Art Supply store.

The factory was up for sale for several years. The previous operation at the factory was the manufacturing of street steel manhole covers. Contamination and pigeon shit.  A 8700 square foot Pigeon Hotel.  When a property has contamination NO bank will give you a mortgage. So I paid cash for the property.  Nor can you get a loan, no secured line of credit. Only cash.  All in - not a small decision.

I am not some poor starving artist.  And I wish to talk about this for a moment…. An aside
So many people assume. Artist = Starving. This is not my situation. I find it most taxing and the judgement so exhausting.  I was very poor in my 20’s.  I was hard core broke. I lost 17 pounds due to not eating correctly. Erika (my ex-wife) and I slept in cold damp bed sheet while living in East London. We could not afford to turn the electricity on to be warm and dry. But I worked my ass off. The experience of being that poor was most humbling and challenging.  You are judged by everyone. You are living your life. It is fucking hard to surrender your soul to your passion. Lack of support, lack of encouragement, and countless letters of rejection from galleries… it pushes you to dark spaces. But I have this fire inside my soul that screams. So I push forward. I know that there is something inside of me that must be respected as true and pure.  I was very blessed to have so many people in London buy my paintings.  Now I am 44 years old. I have 7 rental income unites (two 3 bedroom house, a triplex and a duplex downtown Ottawa, and a 1400 square foot storage unit), and two other units that need renovations to increase my 7 rental incomes to 9.  Plus I have the 8700 square foot Factory to convert into a business and studio.  Even if I do not sell my paintings I am free to live without stress. For the past 14 years I have not had a job, a boss, no office.  I sell paintings. I say this to correct Artist = Starving = for ME it = LIVE LOVE Dreams. Some dreams are not blanketed in darkness, but some dreams are filled with sunshine.  Dreams require work.  I work with intense passion.

The first weeks of work were filled with many dump runs. A staff at the Renfrew dump, who had formerly worked at the factory for 39 years, helped unload the trailer. As we unload the items at the dump, he told us stories about the operations at the factory. He was so generous, and he had such a warm, kind smile painted across his face as he helped.

The Town of Renfrew came to turn the water main on.  A few weeks later, I hired Marshalls to remove several large machines out of the space. They were the same company that manufactured and installed the equipment that I was paying to remove.  I wished to share my joy and communicate the progress of activities with others on Facebook and social media. So I took a few photos of Marshalls working and removing and the progress inside the factory. Two hours before Marshalls was finished. The Ministry of Labor (MOL) showed up. They received an anonymous complaint.  The MOL issued a stop work order.  I was order to do a Designated Substance Report (DSR). 

This was a pretty major thing. The factory was not properly cleaned in over 100 plus years. This meant I could not hire a contractor until the DSR report was completed.  I could not hire a plumber, a gas fitter, no electrician... no skilled trades persons, no paid workers.  The implications of this are massive.  No paid workers. 

Fortunately the Town of Renfrew had turned on the water a few weeks before the MOL had showed up.  So I had running water. But I could not have a gas water tank install. So no hot water.  So no warm water to shower or clean.

I could not hire staff, No paid workers until the DSR was carried out. As the property owner I was still permitted to clean, work, and repair the Factory.  So I spent over 800 hours cleaning the factory over the summer.  I wished to clean the inside of the factory before commencing a DSR.  I knew that with all the pigeon shit and the factory basically being pigeon hotel. I would be screwed. So I worked alone in this massive space.  At the end of the day I would walk down to the river and clean myself.  I was black as black. The amount of dirt that covered my body and cloths was insane.  I am not blind. I know the looks I had from individuals as I washed in the river... the judgments of being some poor, homeless, freak.  But I am a dreamer. And some dreams require massive work.  So I shielded myself with my Dreamer Mind and Dreamer Soul.  So I washed in the river.  Pretty intense.  But hey... I am an intense dreamer. 

Rapidly I figured out who were my discretionary friends and who were my real friends.  This was not an easy truth for face. I was very overwhelmed with the massive task that faced me.  Feeling very alone. Not being able to hire help. The DSR really was a massive pain. I broke down a few times inside the factory and just cried.  Things seemed really hopeless. 

But I knew that I had this Unknown Anonymous Stalker on Social Media (Mr. ASS) who has followed me for many years (9 plus years) calling Bylaw, Police, Electrical Safety Authority, Police, LCBO head office in Toronto, Liquor Inspector, Building Inspector, Building Services, more Bylaw (over 200 times).  So now I had Mr. ASS calling MOL. 

This pissed me off. But if life gives you lemons, you make lemonade (right Mr. ASS). 

I have a pretty good idea who Mr. ASS is.  So I went up to the Police station in Renfrew. I spoke to the department. I explained my situation.  The police were unable to help me. So I have Mr. ASS  calling each and every governing agency and department.  And then the Bylaw, the Police, Fire Department, Ministry of Labor, and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change are called out to respond to Mr. ASS and his anonymous complaints. And according to the Police… they cannot help me. To quote David Peace (Renfrew local police officer), “The person who is harassing you is very clever. He is using us to harass you.” 

There were many days I just wished to quit and give up. But I had Mr. ASS as my personal life coach. Many mornings I wished to just sleep in and not work. But in my mind I had Mr. ASS as my personal alarm clock screaming at me…. So I viewed Mr. ASS as my personal life coach motivator.  I wished to kick ass.  So I put in 14 – 19 hour days every day.  At the end of the summer I had put on 20 pounds of muscle mass. Even my shit had muscles lol.

I had kindness start to fall into place. Kent (friend, art lover, and owner of a landscaping company) helped me clean the factory floor with his BOB Cat and he rented a street brush cleaner. He let me use his BOB Cat and his other backhoe machine.

Kent helped me build my daughter (Isabelle) a beach volleyball court on my land at the Art Factory.  He arranged for the dirt to be moved to two locations.  When the beach volleyball court was done. As a proud father I posted Isabelle standing on her official beach volleyball court.

A few days later, The Ministry of Environment and Climate Control (MOECC) contacted me.  I am not sure who hates me this much but MR. ASS called the MOECC. Who does this… really? What kind of sick individual calls the MOECC after a proud father builds his daughter a beach volleyball court. 

Oh well.  What can you do.  Not much.  So I worked even harder. I pushed myself to clean and pressure wash the inside of the factory.  A massive undertaking to do alone. 

I had to push forward as hard as possible. I wished to have the place washed and cleaned before the cold winter was upon me.  You cannot paint walls below 10 degrees. The water from the pressure washer will puddle on the floor.

September, once Isabelle started school. I would drop Isabelle off at school. Drive from Ottawa up to Renfrew. Work 3 hours and 35 mins.  Then drive back to Ottawa to collect Isabelle from school.  I was really pushing myself to get the space cleaned before winter. I put over six thousand kilometers of driving on my van in the month of September alone. The personal goals I wished to achieve… I did. I surpassed them.

The more I worked… the more kindness started presenting itself.  The people of Renfrew flooded me with kindness.  Warm loving food was delivered to me… many times.  I must look like a sucker for a loving home cooked meal.  Frosters (ice cream) from Wendy’s hand delivered with a beautiful smile, fresh cut water melon, a drafting table was gifted to me from a facebook friend (this really blew me away),  a truck full of free fire wood to keep me warm, three people offering to let me stay in their homes for free (even gave me keys), Tiffany (total sweet heart) the newspaper writer for the Renfrew Mercury Newspaper wrote two incredible articles, the gallery owner in Artist Cove Art Gallery in Burns Town approached me to show my work (and offered to let me live in her rental apartment), the Town Hall approached me to give me a Solo Show, when my van was getting repaired I was offered a ride back from Walmart, the kindness was incredible… so much kindness and encouraging words of support were offered and so deeply appreciated… There are so many more acts of kindness, support, encouragement… they are not all listed. But they all filled my heart in ways I cannot begin to express. 

What touched my heart the most was my beautiful daughter Isabelle.  She had seen me struggle to sever the vacant lot in Hintonburg, and had watched me and helped me start the process of cleaning the Art Factory.  I told her I would build her a beach volleyball court.  But she was responsible for buying the net and line borders.  So she researched where and what she wished to buy.  When it came time for her to pay me the funds for the online purchase I told her, “Isabelle, I had no intention of taking your money for the net, the line borders… I only wished you to think that you were spending your own money, so I knew that you would mentally process the payment.  The entire beach volleyball court is a gift to say how much I love you, and how proud of you.” 
Then Isabelle said, “Daddy, thank you so much. I have wanted to do this for some time. But I needed to  budget my money to make sure I could afford to pay for the volleyball net and lines.  I have wished to treat you. I have wanted to take you out for dinner to your favorite restaurant and celebrate.  I know how hard you work. And I know you are alone and someone has to congratulate you and celebrate you getting the Art Factory… I wish to treat you tonight.” 

Good friend Adam Davidson help and painting together

I have started to paint inside the Factory.  I love working in such a large space.  I am able to work on several paintings at once.  I feel so free. The space is so healing.  I keep working on fixing the space. I would love to show you photos of inside. But this will open more harassment from MR. ASS. So I will not be posting the progress of my building dreams of the Art Factory.  Just know that I am pushing forward.  I have been working for 6 months full time fixing the space. And I have budgeted to keep working for another 6 – 12 months to keep fixing the factory. 

Good friend Patrick S Greene and I painting inside Art Factory 

I have many painting for sale.  If you wish to contact me to purchase art work… NOW is a good time to buy my art.  NOW is when I am a seed. Soon I will be a flower. You buying my art today will help me build a dream. Buy a wall, lights, paint.  My prices are flexible.  Reasonable offers will be entertained. And I will be most open to making you happy.  Once the Art Factory is open… I will be on the other side of this mountain. My prices will be more.  My vision is to keep working on the renovating the Art Factory. I will be painting this new series of paintings.  I am starting to feel ready to approach art galleries in other major cities.  I just have not had the energy to juggle this endeavor.   Now is a really good time to buy something beautiful.  I also accept monthly payment plans. 

Live Love Art

Patrick John Mills

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or call me 613 729 0406

Buy Me

Building a Dream - Patrick S Greene helping (aka kick ass friend)


 Studio --- lol  - outside along the Ottawa River 
no walls... outside studio... Love Painting outside (-minus the cops stopping me to ask for ID) 

Working along the Ottawa River

Inside my studio in down town Ottawa... - Photo taken by someone beautiful


 BUY ME - photo inside Art Factory

BUY ME - inside Art Factory 



Friday, March 25, 2016

Cops - Police - Artists

Cops - Police – Artists

A few days ago I found myself stuck in a 45 minute traffic jam on the Queen's Way. Only to see that an OPP (police car) had pulled over a car in the center island (left lane). I was around 8:30 am on a Thursday morning.

I could not believe that a police officer could be so fucking stupid. 1000 + plus people must have been late for work. This is not the first time I have seen such stupid acts by the police. Sadly this kind of occurrence has happened more times than I would like to share.

I have a drug dealer who lives on my street. He has lost his nose and his ears from doing too much drugs. I was told that some drugs he is addicted to are extended by rat poison / d-wormer and a small percentage of individuals have an allergic reaction. This explains why my drug addict / drug dealer neighbor has no noise and ears. This drug dealer is breaking into countless cars and doing endless illegal acts to support his addiction. I have called the police a few times relating issues connected to this individual. The police confess the holes in the system. This drug dealer has hundreds of small crimes. Nothing changes. And the cycle continues and repeats itself.

I am an artist. I am a painter. I have lived and worked in Ottawa for 11 years. I have had the police stop and ask me questions over 90 times. In the last three months the police have stopped me 11 times. I have been asked for my driver's license, date of birth, home address. I am asked such questions as: What are you doing? Why are you doing that here? Why are you not doing that at your home in your basement?

Is it not perfectly clear that I am an artist. My cloths are covered in paint. I have tons of art materials. Brushes, Canvases. Really is it not abundantly obvious what I am doing? I am not selling anything. I refuse donations. I am there to paint. To embrace the location and the beauty of the elements

Why am I being stopped and questioned by the police so much? I believe we as a community do not encourage and support creative people enough. Imagine if we had artists dancing, singing, performing, sharing, giving, communicating their gifts and talents. I think Our City, Our Home, Our Community would be so much more beautiful.

Just think about how amazing it would be to walk around the city... stop and listen to live music. Look at artists working creating art. Tourists and residents would be more likely to to enjoy Ottawa. It is my view that City Hall nickles and dimes us too much. Too many rules. Too many permits. It is too complicated. Things need re-structuring.

I can not count how many art galleries have closed in the past 5 – 7 years, but it is over 20 art galleries. Why are things structured the way they are? Who cares if the guy singing on the street corner has a permit or not? When I go to the Chip Wagon... do I really think that the owner is paying taxes on half of the money he pockets?

I would love to see too many artists on the streets... that is a problem I welcome.

Live Love Arts

Patrick John Mills

Sunday, February 28, 2016

How does it feel to be an artist and paint?

I wished to try to explain how it feels to be an artist and  paint.

I will talk about two different experiences.

working on three large paintings all at the same time - Dec 2015

This painting I worked on for three weeks. And I dance and enjoyed the building up the layers of paint. Great satisfaction and joy.

In the final stages of working on this painting I feel like an egg. I feel like an egg being dropped from an airplane. Sky diving or suicide. I am completely alive. My heart is beating so passionately. I can feel the red blood pumping like a volcano. But it is more like drinking a fine wine. The wine swims and washes the palette of my mouth. I eat a perfectly grilled steak off the barbeque that had been marinated in Montreal steak spice. Roasted vegetables with pink Himalaya sea salt and ground pepper and extra virgin olive oil. The wine just wash everything down. Everything is blended and mixed. I savor the moment. I am not in a rush everything slows down, pay attention. I actively participate in this conversation with my canvas. I feel perfectly content. My heart grows. My blood warms.

I walk out off the plane. I fall into the sky. My soul is open to everything. Thousands of butterflies are released. I am naked. I am completely vulnerable. All my senses are sensitive. My nose smells the perfume air like a lover that has blanketed herself over me. I am distilled, cocooned, nested in this perfect intimate moment.

I keep falling and falling. I am that fragile egg that is falling. I hold nothing back. My heart is open. I give and give. I touch the canvas with great tenderness and abundant generosity. I approach this precious moment like I am holding my daughter's hand as we walk in a park. We stop to pick flowers. We sit in the long golden grass. I thread some wild daisies into chains and place them in her hair. Each petal is so delicate. She is my jewel.

All the crocuses, tulips, daffodil bulbs bloom inside and break through my skin like spring. I get goose bumps, or perhaps frostbite... as it sometimes is very cold. Blue blood. I feel everything. I cut myself open. The zipper of soul is undressed and my skin is left on the ground like a snake skin. I keep bleeding and I keep believing.

work table and palette

I empty over 50 large tubes of paint in under two hours. It is a massive party. I have all the voices singing inside my head. It is a house party where all my friends celebrate creativity and we all drink, dance and share love. There are no rules, only pure freedom.

I keep falling... the egg is falling and falling. This moment continues.. and I hold this bliss.

Then I have reached the submit of the mountain. I have reached the top of K2 in my creative mind. And then suddenly the egg hits the ground. And everything inside me has exploded on the blank canvas.

Painting along the Ottawa River in Aylmer. 
oil on canvas. 30 x 72 inches. Nov - Dec 2015
Price: $4000

Then there is second moment that I would wish to share with you. I worked on the painting over over a week.  I will talk about the last day of working on the painting.

I am painting along the Ottawa River in Aylmer. It is extremely windy. This time I have both winter boots feet on the ground. I am not in a plane. But it is winter and the winter wind is strong and cold. I feel like a little boy that is trying to fly a kite. The ghost of my father is beside me. My mother is holding me despite living on the other side of the country. Just because they are not next to me does not mean that they are not with me. I am alone. I do my best to embrace the freedom of myself. Sometimes it is not easy. And I say to myself. Being alone is being in good company. But a painting is not a lover. It is not a friend. It does not hold you. It does not kiss you. You do not snuggle a painting.

Working on a painting... winter winter winter day... lol

So I am that little boy trying to fly his kite on a very windy day. But as I become more centered. More creative. As I become the painter that is falling into the rainbow of pigments in his canvas. I leave my body. I forget that it is cold. I am a soul. I am energy. I am the wind. I am the snow blowing in the wind. There is an invisible energy that flows in the current of my soul. I am that snow flake that melts on my face. I am transforming. I am.... I am alive in that moment.

taking break to make a snow angel  - :)

I am that kite that is blowing around. But the wind is so strong. The kite speeds up, spins around around and around. But the wind is wild and out of control. So the kite nose dives to the ground. My palette blows 20 plus feet across the field. My canvas blows off the table - throws itself. I am lucky that the canvas does not break. My bones are stronger. I eat nails for breakfast. I am Rocky. I am do not accept failure. I embrace the pleasure and the pain equally. It is intensely cold outside. For a second my fingers are really cold. They feel like I hit them with a hammer. My fingers are screaming. And I am unplugged from the electricity, as I have to go get my canvas that blew, flew, and landed on the snow ground. Blue blood. Red blood. I am that kite. I get my palette and brushes. I have to smile. I smile and embrace the crazy beautiful moment. I am not complaining. I am sharing. I love the intensity of everything.

My palette and canvas blown away

So I continue to be that boy trying to learn to fly his kite. It is a dream. A crazy dream. The wind gets more turbulent. I am doing my best to satisfy my soul. The painting blows crazy... it will not stay still. So I feel like I am play fighting with a lover. I pin her down in the bed of my mind. Try to kiss her. She is resisting. So I need to use gentle strength. She is trying to tickle me. And I do not wish to goof around. I want to make tender passionate love. But mother nature is wanting to play fight. I refer to the canvas as a woman... (but really this is asexual reproduction... lol). No judgment please. Just a metaphor. :)

I put the painting on the ground... less likely to blow away. 

Well I massage the canvas. I caress every inch of the surface. I am a baker making bread. A carpenter. I am a make up artist putting mascara on her beautiful eye lashes. I am a proud father that is changing my daughter's diaper. I am the gardener who is taking time to pull out the weeds. I am the clown trying to make you laugh and add happiness to your day. I also feel like a fool... for every moment is lost in time and these paintings are not alive. Empty tubes of paint. Blank canvases. And these paintings are not water, they are not sunshine that makes flowers grow. Everything is Art. Art is not everything. But if sure is a dream to make art.

Thank you for reading. Please leave a comment.

Live Love Art
Patrick John Mills