Friday, December 30, 2016

it's almost 2017!! Yikes.

Hello everyone!
I'm squeezing in another post before 2017! 
So Christmas is done for another year.
It was a good one, but as always -
I ate too much. :)
I just love this period
between Christmas and New Year,
don't you?
I know some people who use this time
to "clear out" the old stuff
and make way for the "new stuff"
(physical or mental).
I tend to just be lazy & read a lot. 
And eat Turtles.
And Kisses.
And have wine & cheese for a "snack".
And put on my PJs in the afternoon.

I go for the occasional walk outside,
when i feel like I can't breathe anymore,
but in general - I don't move much.

But after this slow period,
I usually sit myself down 
and write a few thoughts on the new year.
I don't do resolutions
but I do a kind of purging of thoughts, I guess.
I look back at the old year
and write (or draw) certain things that jump out at me,
and then I prepare myself for the new year
by making sure I have sketchbooks on hand,
by putting journals & books in order,
by doing a bit of organizing in my blue room.
Oh, and for a few years now,
I've been using Susannah Conway's
and it's the only thing that feels right for me.
If you're not familiar with it, check it out.
And don't worry - if you're not a big goal setter -
or you feel like you have no idea
what you wanna be when you grow up - it's ok.
It's a gentle workbook done with compassion,
and it's free!
A few nights before Christmas,
I did this quick painting on paper.
You all know how fond I am
of using the green tape around the painting
to leave a nice white border...
I actually love removing the tape...
 ...and seeing the crisp borders.
Cheap thrills, I know.

A friend of mine saw this
and immediately said she saw
a hand coming down from the sky,
gently holding the tree.

I see it now, but I didn't before she said it.
Funny how everyone sees something different. 
So it's been a rough year for some,
and drawing or painting always help me
face the losses and the fears,
even if they aren't directly my own.
We've lost some important people.
People who led meaningful lives
and tried to spread the love.
People who wrote beautiful music
and beautiful books.

We've gained some not so pleasant people
and we've had to face the reality
that love doesn't always win.
That there are still many people out there
filled with hatred
for no reason other than
"they are different than me
and I don't like it".
Celebrity deaths.
Church shootings.
Wildfires in Alberta that wiped out whole towns.
The war in Syria.
Shootings in gay nightclubs in Orlando.
Some of you may feel like
this is all very depressing,
but that's the thing about art - 
it shows us TRUTH.

When I sat myself down to draw this,
I asked myself this question:

What stands out for me about 2016?

And this came out.

I drew Trump first
(no, he's not the most important -
just the most irritating to me)

and then I thought of David Bowie's death.
Then Prince's death,
and before I knew it,
I was drawing the people we lost in 2016,
and some of the things that broke my heart.

Sadness - like joy - is a valid emotion.

But you guys, once these thoughts were on paper -
I kinda liked seeing them all there.
Like they went from my subconscious to the page
and by doing so,
they somehow carried less weight
within me.

I'm sure many of you feel the same
after you paint something
or draw something
or write something.

Tell me I'm not crazy.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to every one of you!!
Thanks for hanging out here with me
for another year.

Here's to 2017!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas blues

Hello everyone!
I bought myself these gifts a few weeks ago
because I needed something to make me smile
and because I'm special. :)

A Lamy fountain pen and these Stabilo wooden pencils/pastels/wax crayons.
i LOVE all of these!
Hadn't used a fountain pen in a while
and forgot how much I loved them.
Well here we are, a week away from Christmas.
A busy time,
a messy time,
a beautiful time,
a difficult time,
an exciting time 
a happy and sad time.
An emotional time.
If you feel any of these things
over the holidays,
you are not alone.
I feel a little bit of all of these things,
but Christmas is mostly a happy time for me,
because I have so many great memories (thanks mom).
Yes, I'm sad that they are only memories,
but grateful that so many of the people I love
are still here with me.
Mom loved Christmas
and I suppose her spirit lives on in me. :)

She didn't make it a big deal
with overdone decorations
or expensive gifts...
but she always made lots of food & goodies
and there were always house parties
with friends & family.

I have so many good memories
of waking up (early!) with my 2 brothers
on Christmas morning
and being so excited at the sight
of those beautiful gifts under the tree.

And then, as soon as mom & dad would get up with us,
the smell of coffee and "poutines" in the kitchen,
and the sound of Christmas music on the stereo.
And in the afternoon, we'd rush out in the snow
(because in Canada, there's always snow at Christmas)
to play with our Super Slider Snow Skates,
or our mini-skis,
or our Crazy Carpets
and we'd stay out until our cheeks
were the color purple. :)
There was something so laid back about the holidays
and I just grew to love this quiet time of the year.
We have to make it what feels good for us, right?

If we prefer being alone at Christmas,
and going for a nice walk in nature,
or spending time reading,
then we should do that!
(I always find time for these things during the holidays)

The fact that I enjoy Christmas
doesn't mean everyone does
and it certainly doesn't mean
everyone should.
It's a really difficult time for many.

We all have different life experiences,
and what's good for one,
doesn't mean it's good for the other. 
So let's be patient with one another
and respect the fact that we all have our own ways
of dealing with the hoopla of holidays. :)
And for those who feel alone -
I hope you know you are NOT alone. 
On to the art now!

Have you had time for art lately?
I'm trying to squeeze in little bits here & there
but I've done very little over the past weeks.

I did the blue bow painting (above)
one night last week.
When I finished, I had leftover paint
so you know i couldn't let that paint go to waste. ;)
So I did this quick sketch of a face,
and then dropped a blob of black paint
right in the center of the nose!
Tried to cover it with white,
but it didn't work, so I just painted the whole thing red.
Then I sprayed water on the whole thing
to try & get a 'dripping' thing happening
but it was just going from bad to worse.
When things go from bad to worse,
you just try to salvage what you can
and work with the booboos. :)
Not quite what I envisioned 
when I first started the sketch,
but who cares?
I was painting and when I'm painting,
I'm happy.
I did this watercolor this past week too.
Love doing simple, common things
we all have around the house.
It doesn't always need to be a gorgeous landscape,
or a perfect still life.

Sometimes, the simple things
say more about "us" than the ones we "set up"
to look like perfection.

Nothing about my life is perfection
and I want to keep it that way.

Wishing every one of you
a peaceful, comfortable, healthy holiday time.
Do what makes you smile.
And if you feel like crying - cry.
That's ok too.
Merry Christmas everyone
and all the best for 2017!

Friday, December 2, 2016

how do you make sense of a crazy world?

hello everyone!

My journal entry from
November 29th, 2016:


I just came back from a beautiful walk.
The sun was shining and as I walked,
it started snowing at the same time.
Part of the sky was dark and cloudy,
ant the other part was blue sky.
So pretty.
The snowflakes falling
looked like little sparkles
or sprinkles in the sky.
It's moments like these
that feel blessed to me.
And i hesitate to say blessed
because it implies there is someone
or something
doing the blessing,
and that's just not what I believe.
It's just that whenever I see something like that,
or hear beautiful music -
even just a single note sometimes,
I feel like my insides turn to mush
and I am somehow weaved in
with the note or the snowflake
or the singing bird and for a moment -
we become one.
I know it sounds corny,
but whenever these moments happen for me,
everything makes sense.
It is no doubt what Eckhart Tolle calls
being in the moment.
It's not that everything makes sense, really,
but more like nothing else exists
outside of my tiny moment
with the snowflakes.
Like the rest of the world comes to a stop
and my moment happens in slow motion -
to make sure i grasp the significance.
It is during times like these
that I am grateful
for my artist heart.


So it's been a rough past few months
for many of us
and as much as I am still saddened
by everything happening in the world,
specifically the hatred
I am reminded every day
that there are still small miracles
all around me and that
I am still the same person.
Only maybe more resilient now.
Maybe more determined
to speak out when it's time
for my voice to be heard.
I still love books.
I still love painting.
And writing.
I love my family
and my friends.
I love connecting with others
around the world (like you!).
These things will never change,
regardless of what is happening
around me.
I hope you are finding 
some sort of peace with it all too.
Especially my American friends.
Regardless of who you voted for,
let's face it,
there's a lot of uncertainty
for a lot of people right now.
Sometimes, having the world around us
shift in strange and unpleasant ways
makes us even more determined
to take our place in it.
On another note,
I did some cards with my acrylic paintings
and ordered them from Vistaprint
during their Black Friday sale (60% off!)
and I got them yesterday.
So exciting!
I like sending a little something extra
to those who buy from my ETSY shop,
so I'm pretty happy with these.
I'll be sending some
in Christmas cards this year as well...
I love the combination of
art and words.
Both are equally important to me.
Big love to every one of you.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

good guys vs bad guys

It's over when I say it's over.
- Walter White, Breaking Bad
I just don't know anymore.
I can't tell the difference
between the good guys
and the bad guys anymore. 
The line is blurred for me now.
It's far less obvious
than it used to be.
Maybe it never was 'clear' to begin with
but i was just too naive to notice.
A police officer in uniform
doesn't mean the same today as it used to.
Neither does a priest in robes,
or a homeless person in tattered clothing,
or a politician in an expensive suit.
I don't trust anyone at face value anymore.
I am skeptical now
especially of men in positions of authority,
because too many have abused their power.
I used to question everything,
and now, it seems I question everyone.
So yeah, i don't know.
I think if I can just put enough distance
between myself and the assholes,
i should be ok. 
I thought about this yesterday,
when I heard of Fidel Castro's death
and heard varying comments
from different people on the news.
To one person, he was a saviour.
To another person, he was evil.
He is the SAME person,
but everyone had their own opinion of him,
and their own reasons
for loving him or hating him.
20 years ago, when I gave birth to my son,
I remember several women warning me
about a certain male doctor at the hospital
and how they hoped he wouldn't be there
during my delivery - because he was "a nightmare".
And lo and behold,
who do I get during my delivery:


But he was not a nightmare for me.
He was everything I expected a doctor should be:
professional, capable, caring...
and he helped me as I gave birth
to a beautiful healthy little boy
(who's now 20 and over 6 feet tall). :)

Moral of the story:

people are not always
who you expect them to be.

Especially when we base our opinion
on what others say about them.
So I've made a bit of art
over the past little while.
It's been a rough November,
so i'm kinda relieved that it's almost over.
I heard someone the other day say that
November is the cloudiest month of the year.
It's also kind of an "in-between" month, isn't it?
We lost mom in November (4 years ago now).
The golden leaves are gone from the trees.
It gets dark at about 5pm.
The snow is not yet here,
so there's no pretty white blanket on the ground.
Everything's gray.
The days are short.
With everything happening all around the world lately,
the words of Rosa Parks have deeper meaning than ever.
I will never understand racism
or bigotry
or homophobia
or sexism.

I will never understand so many things.

Maybe some questions
will just never have answers...
We are all sensitive to what goes on in the world,
but I tend to become overly sensitive sometimes.
I've learned throughout the years
that some things are not good for me:

listening to the news

staying inside too much
(not getting out in nature)

too much negativity

being in a crowd

too much social media


watching too much TV
I've also learned that some things
are really good for me:

making art




walking in nature

coffee (or wine!) with a good friend

good music

ice cream

pizza :)

So I try as much as I can
to avoid the things that don't work for me -
and focus on the things that DO.
Of course sometimes I'm in a crowded mall,
or with someone negative,
and although I don't like it,
I don't explode into a million tiny pieces ;)
But as much as I can,
I do what brings me joy
in the course of a day
because if I don't do it for myself,
who will?

Wishing you all
tiny moments of joy in your day
because it's the tiny moments
that really count.