Saturday, November 11, 2017

I've been gone too long.


Brace yourselves for what could be a long post.
I have lots to share.

I caught myself a cold,
so I'm sitting here sipping on
a hot mint tea.

First things first...
November 11th.
Remembrance Day

Several years ago, I worked on an art calendar
as a fundraising project
with the local school and it was such a joy.
Each class (from 1st grade to 8th grade)
had a monthly theme.

I painted backgrounds for each month
on large bristol boards (12 backgrounds!)
and they painted things relating to the monthly theme.
We then cut & placed each little drawing on each month
and then I scanned them & reduced to an 8" x 10" calendar.

November was done by the 3rd grade.
Some kids did more than one drawing.
I was so impressed by their sensitivity.
This little drawing of 4 soldiers 
carrying a casket, and the tombstones
really touched me...

Let us never forget the sacrifices.
And so, it is fall here in eastern Canada
although this morning feels more like winter. :)

I took this lovely photo a few weeks ago
when my dad and I went for a drive
to a nearby park.

A lot of the colorful leaves
are now on the ground as
we've had a few good windy days.
Dad recently moved to a new "assisted living" place
in his hometown and he loves it.

I'm so happy for him.
It's a little further away from me (20 min)
but he still gets his visits with Fluffy. :)
October was a bit of a whirlwind.
We were moving dad to a new place
and preparing our son
Alex to move away at the same time.

This happened.

Our son was going to move to Western Canada
to work at a ski resort
and we were torn apart
and excited for him all at the same time.

But once he got there,
he had a change of heart
and decided to come back home.

Shit happens.

We're not all cut out
to live adventures 6000 kms away from home. :)
Some of us will find our own adventures
right in our backyards
and that's perfectly ok.
I moved to Alberta, in Western Canada
for my own little adventure when I was 18
and although I loved the time I spent there,
I missed the ocean so much.

Such beauty can really take hold of one's heart...
At least it did my heart.
I painted this in my little journal
while Alex was gone.
An abstract version of mountains, I suppose. :)
I haven't painted much on canvas lately,
but I have a few Christmas commissions,
so I'll be doing that soon enough.

In the meantime, I'm doing some journal painting.
Painting, sketching, writing on paper.

It's something that takes near zero preparation -
I fill a cup with water, have my markers & paints nearby
and I'm ready to roll!

I worry a lot less about 'what it will look like'
than I used to.

I'm more concerned with the feeling I get
while I'm painting or sketching or writing.

And it usually feels pretty damn good.

With all the crap going on around the world these days,
if I can do something that makes me feel good
or peaceful or happy - even for just a few minutes a day,
it is so worth it.

And sometimes, I just have something on my mind,
like this little journal painting below.

When I visited dad one day,
one of the old men there had this look on his face.
I couldn't get him out of my mind,
until i painted this on paper.

Someone once told Ralph Steadman
that things must be very dark & scary in his mind,
and he replied that things are quite peaceful in there,
because he gets it all out on paper.

That makes a lot of sense to me.

And so, on particularly dark & heavy days,
when I start to feel overwhelmed with everything,
or when I just want to keep a record
of how I spent my day, 
I do this:
 ...and almost immediately, my head clears.

I haven't solved anything
simply by drawing or writing about it,
it doesn't matter that the drawings aren't perfect -
what matters is, I've expressed how i feel about things
and that always brings me a calm inside.
And when I feel more calm,
paintings like this (below) emerge.

She looked like an alien to me,
but someone I love & respect told me
she looked like a "beautiful Madonna of the cosmos"
and said she was very grounding. 

So I chose to believe that instead. :)

You just never know what 'clearing your mind'
can pull up sometimes.

I love this quote.
Painted acrylic on sheet music.
And on October 17th, 
Canada lost this great man,
Gord Downie
to terminal brain cancer.

He was 53.

He was the lead singer of The Tragically Hip,
a Canadian rock band.
He was a wonderful songwriter 
and a poet at heart.

For any Gord Downie fans out there,
you can buy a print of this painting
in my ETSY shop for $20.
This picture was taken
on the morning Alex was leaving for the airport.

Fluffy wouldn't even look at him. 
Alex was smiling, but Fluffy wasn't fooled.
She could sense the sadness in the room.

She was pretty excited to see him again. :)
For those of you wondering about my e-course,
it's still happening - just taking a bit longer
than i anticipated.

I'm currently working on designing my website,
with the help of the talented Kerstin Martin -
where I'll be offering e-courses and paintings 
and all sorts of fun stuff. :)

This has all been very eye opening for me.

I'm not sure I really knew
how much work was involved,
although Kerstin has a way
of making it all feel less overwhelming somehow. 

I have no regrets at all 
and still feel like this is the beginning
of something good.

I hope you're able to pull yourselves away
from the craziness now and then
and find your own way
back to the quiet spaces.

Here's to the season of cocooning
and creating! :)