Friday, November 27, 2015

can you make the world a better place?

Of all the paths you take in life,
make sure a few of them are dirt.
- John Muir
Hello folks!
Here's a little glimpse of my world
during the past few weeks...
Today is Black Friday
and I'll be as far away from the stores & malls
as I can possibly get.
A frenzy of crazy, desperate shoppers...
One of my worst nightmares. ;)
I'll be going for a walk here instead
later this afternoon.
A much more centered, sane place for me.
And alas,
COLOR FOR CLARITY has arrived!
November 17th was the date of mom's passing -
3 years now -
and this was what it looked like outside.
It'll always be a sad day to me.
My mind naturally goes back
to that time,
to that room,
to those last moments.
I don't spend the whole day crying,
but I just wake up with a heavy heart
and I'm always relieved when nighttime falls.
But this year was different.
There was glimpse of happiness
in this dark, snowy day
when I received the box from Amazon
filled with our lovely books!
It's a strange thing
how "living in the moment"
takes so much effort sometimes.
The whole process of collaborating
on this colouring book
was great.
Choosing our words,
doing the illustrations,
sending them off,
dreaming of holding
COLOR FOR CLARITY in our hands.
And then we get them,
and of course it's exciting,
but within the first few minutes,
I was already thinking,
"What can I do next?!"
I literally had to stop myself,
sit myself down with the book,
smell it (like I do with most books) ;)
and slowly go through it page by page,
and only then,
i began to feel gratitude.
There's always a time and a place
to consider our next dream...
but it's important to appreciate
the moment of THIS dream
while it's here.
So fall is here
and winter is just around the corner
and although last winter was long
and cold
and snowy
and fucking depressing at times...
there's still a part of me
that loves the cocooning of this cold season.
I tend to write more, paint more,
and feel more grounded, for some reason.
With everything happening in the world,
it's more important than ever
for each of us to find our own
quiet, peaceful place.
To do what we can for others,
without losing ourselves.
Everyone has an opinion about everything.
The yahoos think they can solve world problems
when they can't even find their own socks.
I've come to realize this:
I can't solve world hunger.
I can't bring peace to everyone on earth.
It's too heavy a burden for me.
All I can do is make my own little corner
as peaceful as possible.
All I can do is my own little part,
here in this corner of the globe,
and hope that others do the same
in different little corners everywhere.
And sometimes,
that little part for me
means nothing more
than smiling at someone.
Sometimes it means giving a few dollars,
or food,
or sending a card
or clothes.
Sometimes it means 
putting myself in someone else's shoes
if only for a moment
and trying to understand their fears
and their crushed hopes
and their sense of desperation.
We live in a first world country
with first world problems
so most of us have no idea
what it's like to worry about your next meal.
Or about the safety of your children.
Or about making it through another day

So I've been playing in this little book
on and off since June.
As you can see,
some of my drawings & doodles
are far less serious than others. ;)
Books like this are designed
to encourage bad drawings...
which are as important as good drawings.
I am nowhere near perfect
so why should my drawings be?
I hate even the word "perfection".
Or anyone who strives for perfection.
Perfection is not truth.
If anything,
it's farthest from the truth.
Which is probably why i dislike social media so much...
because we see a LOT of "untruths".
A lot of "pretend perfect lives".
The happy faces.
The happy wheels.
The happy meals. ;)
And on that note,
THANK YOU to everyone who bought
a COLOR FOR CLARITY colouring book
and those who helped encourage and inspire me
along the way.
It may be a small, dinky dream to some,
but small dreams are still sweet. :)
oh, and newsflash...
I'll be doing a giveaway of Color for Clarity
right HERE in the next week or so!!
Come back for a visit soon
if you want your name to be entered in the draw!
hugs to all of you.

ps: Visit if you want to buy your own copy of Color for Clarity today!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

heavy hearts make art

On the hearts and minds of many these days...
As disheartening as this is
we can't lose sight
of all the LIGHT
that finds its way through the darkness.
Good people doing good things -
opening their hearts & homes to strangers.
Picking up the pieces.
Refusing to live in fear.
I have no answers.
I only know that it makes me sad
that so many people suffer at the hands of hate.
Nos coeurs sont avec vous, Paris. xx
This was a 'decluttering/organizing' kind of week for me.
I changed a few things in my blue room,
including my table/desk.
(I used to have the yellow one)
Love the black desk (bought used years ago).
It's not as wide but it's longer, 
so I have more space for my brushes & paints.
This beautiful print (below) by Mae Chevrette
is on my wall to the right.
If you don't know her work,
you can check it out here.
It's so important
to surround ourselves with inspiration.
Whatever speaks to you.
Another little corner in the room...
Because my table is more narrow
and I moved things around a bit
I now have more space for the easel.
(still not done the veteran painting.) :(
This little guy always makes me smile.
We played marbles a lot when i was younger.
Dad's dirt driveway was filled with mini pot holes. ;)
There are too many book shelves in this small room...
said no book lover EVER! ;) 
my little winter bird...
all dressed up & ready to go.
I went to Chapters (book store) last week 
and got this fabulous book.
It was in the "young readers" section.
I find a lot of great illustrated books there.
I loved the illustrations 
so of course i had to buy it.
The story is about a young Russian girl in the 1990s
who lives with her grandparents for a year
while her mom is in the USA,
getting an education and 
trying to make a better life
for herself (and eventually, her daughter)
 The illustrations are simple and beautiful...
and the story carries you through
as if you were there with her,
on this journey without her mom.
It's the kind of book that you finish
and want to buy the sequel right away,
to know "what happens next"?
I highly recommend it.
And speaking of books...
COLOR FOR CLARITY is now available on Amazon!!
Grab your copy HERE.  

Six different artists from around the globe
came together to fill this 50 page colouring book
with beautiful images that encourage
a calm and peaceful heart.
Colouring is meditative
and all around great for your health,
so if you're one of these people
who can't sit still on a cushion for a 15 minute meditation...
this is for you!
Every page has a thought or a question
to help you focus on the moment
rather than worry about tomorrow
or next week, or next month.
They are selling for $11.66 US on
- a bit higher if you order from Canada,
but still much cheaper & healthier than valium! ;)
A great Christmas gift idea
for yourself or a friend!
Get your copy at:
and prepare to feel
like you went on a mini vacation!
Feel free to share! #colorforclarity

Thanks for being here.
PEACE to all of you
wherever you are on this big, blue ball.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

War and being quiet in a loud world

Hello everyone.
November 11th is our Remembrance Day
here in Canada
so i thought I'd start with this.
I'm not big on war,
but there's a soft spot in my heart
for all veterans - past & present.
I especially feel for those
who in the past
were pressured to become soldiers.
Those who were drafted.
Those who didn't have a choice.
Those men with peaceful hearts
who couldn't kill a fly,
and were now expected
to kill another human being.
I can't even imagine...
There's just nothing right about war.
So here we go!
it's been a productive, creative week here.
I feel a surge of energy again,
so i'm riding the wave while it's here. :)
One of my aunts gave me a whole bunch
of painted canvases she no longer wanted.
(merci Angèle!)
Initially, i was gonna paint white over all of them
but then decided to use some of the color
in the background for new paintings instead.
And of course, when i saw this big red one...
I knew what i wanted to do with it.
I wish i could have kept it looking like this...
with more red showing through.
But you know me.
Like most artists,
i don't know when to stop myself. ;)
So I kept painting...
and painting.
The canvas is a large one - about 2 x 2.5 feet,
and once i got to this point with it,
I realized the legs were much too short.
I'm gonna fix the arms as well.
I played with it a bit
and i'm still not done
but here's what I'm gonna do -
extend the body & tombstone
to the bottom of the canvas
so it'll look something like this instead:
(I just cropped the photo for now)
At least i'm hoping it'll look like this. :)
I also want to wipe off some of the paint,
so the red background can peek through a bit more.
Only 3 colours in this one:
Red, Paynes grey and white.
i love the Paynes grey because it has
a blueish tint to it.

This is the watercolour I had done
a few years ago.
The photo had come out in the newspaper
and it struck me so much
that I saved it for a possible future painting.
So here's another cityscape painting,
turned on its side.
I did this one before the veteran one
and i had so much fun doing this.
I felt some guilt about painting over
someone else's painting. :(
I didn't know what I was gonna do
but as soon as i painted these shapes in white,
filling in the empty space just felt like the next step. 
 So then i had this...
I added dark blue around the shapes,
added a few colours, dots & circles
and there you have it!
Once I was done, 
I looked at it for a bit
and noticed a little girl
in this one circle...
Do you see her?
I never noticed her
when i was painting the circles
but there she is.
Blonde hair & a pink dress.
(how could i NOT see her before?)
And speaking of not being seen,
I've just finished this book called QUIET.
It's basically about the differences
between introverts & extroverts,
and although I'm not big
on putting people in categories,
i really enjoyed reading QUIET.
You can look up the definitions,
but basically, an introvert is someone
who is energized by internal things
(like many artists and writers)
while an extrovert is energized
by external things
(like public speakers or CEOs)
This book made so many things clear for me
and helped me understand
why I am the way I am.
For so long, as a child and a teenager,
I thought something was wrong with me.
At school, when everyone was gathering
to play team sports during recess,
I was the one by myself,
bouncing my ball on the brick wall
(and quite happy doing just that).
When there were class plays,
I was the one who wanted to melt in the linoleum floor
while others fought for the lead role.
I disliked anything competitive
(yes, that included team sports).
I hated confrontation of any kind.
As a teenager, I was the one in my room,
drawing or writing in my journal
or listening to music
and being happy to do just that.
At school, I loved the library,
or that cozy little corner
in the schoolyard where I could gather
with one or two friends
and just giggle together about boys. ;)
But that was always frowned upon in school
(and it's still frowned upon in the workplace).
If you were alone,
something must be wrong.
And if you preferred being alone,
something was definitely wrong.
You were not a team player.
You were selfish.
You were too quiet and shy.
You needed to be "brought out of your shell".
Well folks, if you are an introvert,
I'm here to tell you one thing:
Don't change who you are,
or HOW you are.
The world needs more introverts.
It is the introverts who write the great books
and the plays and the symphonies...
Dr. Seuss was an introvert.
So was Einstein.
George Orwell.
Rosa Parks.
Steven Spielberg.
Mahatma Gandhi.
Charles Schultz and Charlie Brown ;)
Eleanor Roosevelt.
J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter... 
I understand now
why time alone is so important
for an introvert.
I understand why I dislike corporations so much.
I understand why I love
one on one conversations
and have no patience for gossip or small talk.
I understand why certain people
make me feel agitated,
and other people make me feel calm.
I understand my solitary hobbies.
I understand my sensitivity.
I don't need to be doing something
every single minute of the day
to feel good about myself
or to feel productive.
I don't need to travel the globe
to feel like I'm living fully
(although i do love to travel). ;)
And i certainly don't need
to make a lot of money
nor to have some fancy title
to feel like I have "made it".
I believe we ALL have something to offer
to make the world a better place.
Some of us just offer
in a more quiet way
and there's absolutely
nothing wrong with that.