Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Art, quiet walks and Barrel of Monkeys

The world today doesn't make sense,
so why should I paint pictures that do?
- Pablo Picasso

So Christmas has come and gone for another year.
As much as I love the season,
I'm relieved.
I miss the old Christmases.
The ones we had
when I was younger.
Much younger. :-)
When everyone was still here
and the whole house smelled like cinnamon and cookies
and there were sparkly Christmas balls hanging everywhere.
When mom would let us decorate the windows
with thick, fake snow in a can
and we'd make paper snowflake decorations for the tree.
And we had been good all year,
so we just knew we'd be getting
that Spirograph set on Christmas morning,
along with Barrel of Monkeys
and Shaker Maker
and Trouble
and Monopoly!
And then dad would remind us
how poor they were when he was younger
and how all they ever got for Christmas
was an orange and, if they were lucky,
a thick pair of socks
hand made by my grandmother. 
And we secretly thanked GOD
we weren't born in that era and that we were getting
more than just oranges and socks. 
So yeah, things are different now...
We spent some time with family and friends,
spent some time enjoying wine
and chocolates
and music...
and there's always time for books.
I got a few good ones for Christmas...
Then just the other night, I went for a nice walk
in the town nearby...
After the hustle & bustle of Christmas,
it was such a nice, quiet walk.
Hardly any cars on the road.
As much as I love people,
I can only take them in small doses.
Especially the annoying ones. (wink wink)
The holiday "hubbub" is too much for me after a while
and I always look forward to my alone time again.
I was trying to get the reflection of the lights on the water
in this photo, but you can hardly see it in the distance.
Still - it's pretty.
We usually have lots of snow by this time of year,
but this year, it's been mild
and we got more rain than snow!
Not that I mind.
I've lived in the Maritimes long enough
to know that the snow WILL come - eventually.
Sometimes later than sooner,
but it'll get here.

Here's a photo of last year!
Dec 30, 2013!
Some would say it's prettier than grass,
but I'm not so sure...
I kinda like driving
on nice clean roads for a change.

Thank you all for taking the time
to be here with me.

Monday, December 22, 2014

ho ho ho!

Without art, the crudeness of reality
would make the world unbearable.
- George Bernard Shaw
This time of year is so fragile for so many.
When we hear about things like the massacre in Peshawar,
or the woman in Australia who killed her children,
it's hard not to lose faith in humanity.
And for anyone who is sensitive to the pain of others
(yes, I mean me)
it's that much more difficult not to curl up in a ball
and hide in a cave for eternity.
Hiding in a cave may shelter us 
from the bad stuff happening all over the world
but it would also shelter us
from the good stuff.
And I don't know about you,
but I don't wanna miss
any of the good stuff out there,
nor the good people spreading love rather than hate.
So instead of looking for my own cave,
I paint!
Sometimes the art makes no sense to me
(like the 2 watercolours above)
but for some reason,
after I've done them,
I feel better about everything.
I feel more grounded.
Like I've spilled something on paper
that was weighing down my heart.
It solves nothing except to comfort my own soul,
but sometimes,
maybe that's enough.
And then of course,
there's always the beauty of nature.
 and more art...

(acrylic on paper)
 ...and a walk on a dirt road
(before the snowfall you saw in the first photo!)
and books...
oh my, books!
the one I'm currently reading (Small Victories)
and below, a list of some of my favorite books
and graphic novels,
in case you have time on your hands
during the holidays.

And a couple of great Christmas songs
to get you in the mood!
Merry Christmas everyone! xx

Monday, December 15, 2014

quick art, Christmas and memories...

Hello everyone!
It's good to be back. 
Are you all ready for Christmas?
Are you getting excited,
or stressed out?
I've had a few rough past weeks, 
but I'm finally on the mend.
I was sick for 2 weeks+ with the flu
and the rest of the time,
I was just lazy.
Make no excuses. ;-)
I did these 2 little pieces (above)
as soon as I started to feel better.
Acrylic on paper.
I rarely get sick, 
so 2 weeks away from art was a long time for me.
I couldn't wait to get back to my little blue room -
to painting and writing.
I got a bunch of old National Geographic Magazines
from a yard sale a few years ago.
Beautiful photography & interesting subjects.
Like this totem pole.
(watercolour in my little Moleskin)
Painting a few small stones from the local beach...
A little exercise in letting loose
but it always ends up looking
like someone else's work.
Like a copy of something I've already seen.
There are lots of people out there
doing fabulously loose art...
Still, whenever I get the urge,
I let myself be more messy.
I used these 3 colours (below)
Watercolor on paper.
 Yes, it's Christmas soon...
i love my peace ornaments.
Some people hate Christmas.
You may be one of them?
It's a lonely time of the year for many,
and of course, for those who have lost loved ones -
it's never the same Christmas ever again.
This will be our 3rd Christmas without mom.
She loved Christmas
and although the holidays are sadder without her,
I still love the decorations
and the Christmas music
and the soft white snowflakes
on a calm, cold winter night.
But I also understand those who don't.
I try to focus on those who are still with me
rather than the ones who are gone.
Plus, mom gave us so many good Christmas memories...
it had nothing to do with gifts
and everything to do with food, family
and being there for others.
She was full of energy at this time of year
and she always helped those who were less fortunate
by bringing them food
and doing what she could to keep them company,
even if only for an hour.
I remember an older woman who lived nearby
when I was younger.
She was an alcoholic.
This woman had been a bank executive,
was married and had two children
and lived in a beautiful home.
She began drinking seriously,
for whatever reason,
and by the age of 50
she had lost everything.
Her husband, her job, her home,
and her children.
Mom always had a soft spot for her.
She always said:
you never know what life will bring.
At Christmas time,
mom would make meat pies,
or poutines... (Acadian specialties!)
and she would bring her some food
with a Christmas card.

She did this for many others as well,
just so they wouldn't feel so alone
during the holidays.
Always said if you had nothing to give,
you could at least give of your time.
Mom was a philanthropist
throughout her whole life,
only rather than give money (because she had none to give),
she gave of herself
which is far more precious, I believe.

(Billie Holiday, water-colour on paper)
I wish ALL of you
wonderful healthy holidays
and hope you all find the time
to have that quiet morning tea,
or to read a good book,
or to make a mess with the paints.
Do something good for yourself.
Start there
before extending your love
to others.