Wednesday, June 29, 2016

toes in the sand

Greetings friends!
Can you believe it's almost JULY?!?
For several weeks now, I've been wanting to post something here,
to at least let you know that I'm still alive!
But alas...
it's SUMMER here
so I'm taking every chance I get
to spend some time outside. 
ok, so I have some art to share,
photos and musings of the past few weeks,
and i basically just wanted you all to know
how very excited I am to be done working soon.
I finish on July 21, so less than a month to go.
Yes, that works for me.
We got a lot of rain for a few weeks
but then when the sun came out,
it was absolutely gorgeous.
Our summer season is quite short here
(3 months if we're lucky)
so i take advantage of every day i can.
 ...sunset at the local Parlee Beach.
...and is there anything prettier
than designs by nature?
Sand ripples caused by the tides.
a very quick sketch I did the other night
as a warm up with acrylics on paper.
Quick sketches are always fun to do
because in 5 minutes,
you don't expect a masterpiece
so there's no pressure.
So what that the eyes are crooked?
It took 5 minutes.
So what that the nose is only on one side?
it's a 5 minute sketch!
No pressure. 
Gotta love it.
I am finding myself more tired
after a day at work,
even when I am sitting all day.
I'm tired mentally
from all the bullshit -
plus I feel like a robot for 8 hours.
Oh, and i miss making art.
I'm finding little bits of time
here and there (mostly on weekends)
to do something creative
and i've even joined another
Sketchbook Skool class! :)
For $99 (US), you get 6 different artists
for 6 fabulous weeks
and you learn all sorts of fun things.
And the best part?
You go at your own pace!
And you don't need expensive art materials
to follow along.
I'm doing the class called EXPRESSING
and I love it (even if i'm behind in "homework").
I'll catch up eventually.
There's always so much to learn
in a class like that,
as much from the participants
as from the teachers.
Those who want to share, do,
so we get to be inspired by ALL sorts of 
wonderful amateur and professional artists.
Plus - you make wonderful connections
that often become lifelong friendships.
So this (above) is an acrylic on paper,
in honour of my dear friend, Tara Leaver -
who inspired me once again
to use painting tape around my paper,
so that I can get that crisp line
and that beautiful white border around my painting.
It's kind of a surprise when you remove the tape,
because you're not sure where the painting ends
and the white border begins.
I know - cheap thrills for me. :)
That's what happens when you get older.
Takes VERY little to get me excited now.
So weekends usually consist of
walking on the beach,
kayaking (my son has the red kayak, his friend has the green one)
sitting out on the porch with iced tea...
or water
or wine. :)
Anything that doesn't require
too much thinking
heavy lifting,
or being inside for any length of time.


I actually feel like i'm decompressing...
just knowing i'll be done work
in a few weeks
already has me breathing lighter.
That, and this beautiful weather helps.
I have so many creative ideas
i want to get off the ground
when i get done with this contract.
I wanna do more illustrations for children's books.
I wanna do my own book.
I wanna help others do their books.
I wanna paint on canvas. Big canvas.
I wanna work on developing an e-course
that will inspire others to
live their own creative lives
and shout it out over the rooftops,
for the whole world to hear and see.
There are still too many
artists in hiding out there.
It was my birthday a few weeks ago (June 24)
and my good friend Lucille (who knows me well)
got me these 2 gems.
A big fat journal with blank pages
that i cannot wait to fill,
and a profound book of poetry
called Milk and Honey.
I also got to share a lovely meal
with friends last weekend,
at a place called Captain Dan's
here in Shediac,
sitting out on the patio
on a beautiful sunny evening.
You don't need a million bucks 
to do things that matter,
or that you enjoy.
Making memories is usually
pretty cheap.
(photo credit: Alvin Richard)
And speaking of Shediac...
(Shelley, this one's for you!)
we actually have a "Scrabble" festival happening
this summer here!!
oh the excitement!
i can't contain myself.
(giggle...)
Shediac is known as the lobster capitol of the world
(yeah, it's a thing) and this summer,
Shediac will host the
The thrill of it all.
How DO we do it?!? :)
Here's how i feel about the weekend approaching.
Friday (July 1st) is Canada Day, so
HAPPY CANADA DAY
to all fellow Canucks out there!
Here's to health,
maple sirup,
canoes & kayaks,
clean rivers,
good beer,
bonfires on the beach,
star gazing in a black velvet sky,
and love.
xx

Saturday, June 4, 2016

guilt is a good teacher

hello everyone!
I'm happy to be back.
I hate that it's been weeks since I've posted.
I miss my on-line tribe. (yes, that's you!)
My time is so much more limited
now that I'm in a prison cell
(I mean a cubicle) for 8 hours a day. :)
During the past few weeks,
there's been some art,
lots of reading,
revelations,
guilt,
yoga,
beauty,
frustrations,
beach walks,
finding something
and losing something.
Not necessarily in that order. 
I look forward to the days
where i can blog more regularly again.
So I have to share this story with you.
I went to a restaurant earlier this week for lunch.
It was a cool day, so i brought my book
and had a nice bowl of soup.
When I walked out of the restaurant,
there were 2 people walking my way -
a young woman and a young man
both dressed in black.
They both had huge backpacks on,
with dangling silver cups on the side.
"Excuse me", he said.
"Could you spare some money?
We're hiking across Canada
and we're looking for any help we can get".
I stopped long enough to acknowledge them both,
smiled, and said "no, sorry"
and they turned away & continued to walk
and I kept walking my way to the office.
I.
said.
no.
Why did I say no?
I couldn't believe I had said no.
Hello guilt.
me: Why didn't you give them something?

the other me: they should have a bit of money if they want to do this.

me: But they're 2 young people living a dream!

the other me: maybe they'd buy drugs or booze.
me: OR MAYBE THEY'D BUY FOOD!!
it's not up to you what they spend it on.
When you give from the heart, you just give!

the other me: they shouldn't rely on others for something like this.

me: You should've given them at least something
and let them spend it however they want to!
me: You have at least $80 in your wallet and a brownie.

You could have at least spared $5 AND the brownie!

Who hasn't wanted to do what they're doing at one point in their life?

How brave they are to be leaving with little in their pockets 
and the HOPE that they are gonna make it!
me: Remember Cheryl Strayed - in the book WILD?
How there were moments when she was hungry
and she had to rely on the goodness of strangers
to make it another day?
YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THAT STRANGER!
YOU could have been that stranger.
 you could have been that stranger...
I turned around to see if I could still see them,
and considered running after them to give them something,
but they were nowhere in sight.
They were gone.
Slowly, and with a heavy heart,
I walked back to the office.
When I got to my gray little space,
I told a co-worker what had just happened
and that I regretted not giving them something,
and her reply was:
they should work for their money
just like we do.
As I sat down and pretended I was a robot again,
I thought about how selfish we've all become.
When did we become so greedy?
So unfeeling towards others?
I have no problem sending money
to starving children in third world countries,
but when I have 2 human beings
in front of my face - I say no.
I didn't let the guilt wash over me
any longer than it had to -
I don't let myself feel crappy about myself
for too long - because deep down,
that accomplishes nothing
and i think we're all doing the best we can
at given times in our lives.
But I did make a conscious decision
to do things differently next time.
So many of us have opportunities every day
to do things differently.
To be that stranger. 
And just when I was in need
of something good in my week,
i get this lovely card from a fellow artist
with words that melted my heart.
Thank you Lorinda.
Your card could not have come
at a better time. 
...and then (I swear), THE NEXT DAY,
i get this lovely print from a painting by my good friend Tara, (T!)
who is also a wonderful artist -
(the actual colors are beautiful - this pic is not the greatest) 
along with a beautiful photo she took
of a bird in flight at the ocean.
I love the print so much T.
I love it all.

So i leave you with this.
I'm reading a book about some of the horrors
the Jews had to endure during WW2
and the Nazi occupation in Europe.
This passage stayed with me
and is probably the best definition of HOPE
I have ever seen.

Thank you all for sharing this space with me.
xx

Sunday, May 22, 2016

sea, sand and sky

Just a few recent photos
and words that I wrote back in 2008...
that still speak truth to me today.
I sit here
and watch the birds in flight
gracefully balancing themselves in space
against the strong, ferocious wind.
And I see freedom.
I watch as they wash
their snow white feathers
and glide with open wings on the wind
catching small fish as they are
rocked by the crashing waves.
There is a seagull close to me,
with both feet in a small puddle,
the wind ruffling his feathers
and he stands, and looks at me.
Like he wonders why I am here
on his turf, in his territory.
He is aware of me.
He slowly approaches with tiny bird steps.
He is alert
and every move I make is noticed.
This is life.
This is the point.
The connections.
The awareness.
The wind, the sea, the sky...
We complicate it so
by overlooking what really matters.
We concern ourselves too much
with money and things 
when they bring no riches
to the heart.
The birds and the ocean do.