Sunday, September 11, 2016

art, illness and Gord Downie

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself;
I am large - I contain multitudes. 
- Walt Whitman
I said I would blog more often,
and I didn't.
I said I would begin each day with a morning walk,
and I haven't been doing that.
I said I would do yoga on a regular basis
and I did yoga this morning -
for the first time in like 7 days.
Sometimes, things don't unravel 
the way we think they will.
Sometimes, we set the bar high
and don't accomplish half of what we want to,
and sometimes, there is no bar
and we move mountains.
I know that for some reason lately,
it's been more difficult for me
to sit myself down and post something.
Sometimes I feel like I don't have anything
worthwhile to say,
and sometimes, there's very little art. 
I've begun posting on Instagram here & there
and although it feels less personal to me than blogging,
I love that you can post something in an instant
and post from the phone (vs the computer).
So you'll probably find me there more often
than here.
Of course, I won't give up blogging
because i love writing and because it allows me
to share in more detail with you all,
but maybe i was a little optimistic
when I said i would blog "weekly". :)
So I'll blog when I can blog,
and I'll Instagram when I can Instagram.
Remember, I suck at commitment,
so if I put any pressure on myself,
i'll cave! :)
September has been beautiful here so far
and yesterday was actually another beach day.
We've been lucky with this unusually warm fall.
Of course, everyone's already starting to talk about
how hard and cold this winter is predicted to be,
based on the Farmer's Almanac, 
a reference book founded in 1792!
Yeah, I think I'll just enjoy
the weather we're having RIGHT NOW
rather than start worrying about
what MAY happen in 3 or 4 months, thank you. :)
The corner stores and coffee shops here are filled
with old men in baseball hats,
forecasting the weather and
fixing the government. :)
So this happened to me a few weeks ago...
And let me tell you, it was far less painful
than what I was expecting.
Of course, when people find out
you're getting a root canal,
they give you the deer in the headlights look
and then your knees turn to jello. 
Maybe I just got a really good specialist,
but it was no more painful than getting a tooth filling.
It took a bit longer, that's all.
So there MAY be root canal horror stories out there,
but mine wasn't one of them.
So if any of you out there ever need this done,
trust that it's ALL gonna be ok. :)
Gord Downie.
Most Canadians (and probably many Americans!) 
watched the Tragically Hip concert a few weeks ago, on CBC.
Gord Downie (the lead singer) has terminal brain cancer,
and they decided to give a farewell concert to all their fans,
in his hometown of Kingston, Ontario.
Our hearts broke several times during the night,
as our eyes were glued to the TV for a 3 hour concert.
Gord is living his life fully,
and now, he's showing us all how to die...
dancing on a stage & singing at the top of his lungs,
in flashy pants & feathered hats.
He makes me very proud to be Canadian.
So I've been using paint tape more often lately,
when i'm painting abstracts.
I love the big reveal in the end,
when you peel off the tape.
It may not seem like much to others,
but it's a thrill for me each time.
I alternate between painting (often abstract)
and illustrated journal writing.
Sometimes, I feel like telling a story
and sometimes, i just feel like FEELING something.
I know that can sound corny to some,
but that's really what abstract painting is for me.
Starting with a few marks on the page (or canvas)
and just letting them take me where they wanna go.
Usually, the end result is very different
than where i thought it would go in the beginning.
Like in this case.
When i began with those harsh blue & black marks,
i had no idea it would end up looking like this.
It started out looking angry,
and it looks rather peaceful to me now.
That's what art does.
It allows you to work through some of the crap
on a subconscious level
without you even KNOWING it's working through it.
It doesn't mean your problems are solved,
but I believe they are at least sitting in your heart
in a less destructive way.
In a way that eats less at your insides.
Maybe it's just me,
but i always feel better about everything
after I've made art.
This is also happening lately...
my dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson.
We had been noticing the smaller steps & shuffling feet
and the occasional falls for a while now :(
It all makes me sad to see him losing the ability
to do so many things,
but that's life, isn't it?

I went with him to the neurologist this week
and the medication will make a difference.
But he is 81, so chances are,
things will get worse before they get better.
And of course, he wants to stay in his apartment
as long as he possibly can
and i totally respect his need for independence.
In the meantime, we do what we can
to make his life safe and comfortable.
We're the lucky ones
to have him with us still,
when so many others leave this world far too soon.

On that note, today is Sept 11, 2001.
As always, my thoughts are with the families
of those who died on this day 15 years ago now.
A day that must've been hell for so many...

And one has to understand
that braveness is not the absence of fear
but rather the strength to keep on going forward
despite the fear.
- Paul Coelho

Sunday, August 14, 2016

squeezing the last bits of summer...

Hello lovelies!
Well, this is my first bit of art in weeks,
and although it says FREEDOM,
it looks more like anger to me. ;)

There will be more art
in the coming days/weeks
(I'm hoping art that's worthy of sharing!)
but for now,
I'd love to share a bit of my summer with you!
This beach is about 20 minutes from my home,
called L'ABOITEAU.
This man (in the sky!) was sitting on a motorized chair,
and he flew himself back & forth across the beach
for long stretches of time.
Just a little buzzing sound in the sky...
like a giant mosquito.
Swimmers on the left of the wharf,
fishermen on the right.
(the fisherWOMEN are drinking wine on that tour boat). ;)
summertime at the wharf = fun for everyone
 ...and french fries, cheese & gravy,
aka "Quebec poutine".
One of the boardwalks going to the beach...

My brother Rick, pointing at what he thinks might be JAWS... ;)
And this lovely place is called The DUNES,
on Prince Edward Island.
I have fond memories of PEI.
We used to go camping on PEI every summer,
for at least a week,
when the crossings were done by boat.
Now, we have this:
The Confederation Bridge
linking New Brunswick to PEI,
so it takes much less time to cross.
But it's also much less fun.
So the Dunes is an oasis of flowers & plants
and exotic wooden sculptures from Bali
and other places in the world
and paintings and jewelry and a garden
an art gallery and delicious food.
My son Alex and I took a ride there yesterday.
It takes less than 2 hours to get there,
so a nice way to spend the afternoon.
I love this place.
 a lovely spiral staircase...
 and incredible wood carvings.
There are several levels to the gallery
and a few lookout points,
so more beautiful staircases.
 part of the beautiful garden
 ...some of the stone sculptures,
all very serene, wouldn't you say?
These beautiful blues & pinks
just made me "oooo" and "aaaaah".
 some of the handmade wooden benches & chairs...
 The gallery/cafĂ©/pottery studio/lookout point
This cozy spot was just begging for me
to sit here.
So i hung out here for a while
right after I took this picture. :)
 all you need is love
 a lamp made with small seashells...

 happy dancing Buddhas
These beautiful spirals are made with magazine pages,
all folded & rolled & glued together!
Someone has far more patience than I do. :)
What beautiful things we can make
with time and gentle hands...
gorgeous wooden sculptures,
all for sale at different price points.
And I took this one as we were leaving,
but now that I see it here,
it looks like he's pooping a block of cement! LOL!
It's really just another stone sculpture behind him.
I guess I should have taken the photo from a different angle.
Funny how I never saw it when i took the photo,
and now, it's ALL I see. :)

So the days are already getting shorter here,
and I'm finally done my office job,
and the company's all gone,
and although I loved seeing everyone,
I am always so relieved 
when fall is just around the corner.
It's my favorite season
and one that is always filled
with renewed energy.
I cannot WAIT to catch up with on-line friends
and start making art more consistently again
and spending more time in my little blue room
and doing yoga and reading
and BREATHING again.

Because life should never just be
about working & paying the bills.

My new motto.
You can borrow it if you want.
You're welcome. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016


i can't believe it's been over a month since i've posted.
And the strange thing is -
I feel like I don't have much to say.
But I at least wanted to post something
to let you all know i'm still alive. :)
I just finished working last Thursday,
and it still hasn't sunk in.
The past weeks (months?)
have been a whirlwind.
My older brother Paul visited here
over the past few weeks -
he just went back home to Western Canada 
a few days ago -
and my younger brother Rick (& family)
arrive today for a little vacation,
so we've been busy doing "summer stuff"!
I suspect once everyone's gone
and the house is quiet again -
my heart will flutter at the thought
of NOT having to wake up
at 6am to go to work
and at having so much more time
to play with my paints
in my beloved blue room.
Very little art these days...
There are music festivals all around us
and there are beaches
and tourists
and take-outs
and kayaking
and strawberry picking
and swimming in the ocean,
so i usually spend less time in my blue room
come summertime.
 ...but i must say,
i am almost looking forward
to a few rainy days.
We've had a heat wave here
over the past week or so
and unless you're in air conditioning
or in the water,
it's very uncomfortable & sticky.
We went to the outdoor market last Sunday
and there was a man sitting next to me
talking about how comfortable the temperature was.
We were dying of heat.
He was from Brazil.
His mother was wearing a sweater.
If it was legal to be naked,
i would have been naked,
that's how hot it was.
All about perspective, isn't it?
I did a few quick 'contour' drawings.
I love doing these.
I find a photo on-line (mugshots are always so intense)
and I place my pen on the paper where I want to start
and try NOT to look at my paper
while I'm drawing.
I just look at the photo while I'm drawing.
It's a guessing game 
and you never know what it's gonna look like in the end.
It's always a surprise.
I live for cheap thrills these days.
I took this photo (below) while we were driving.
Yes, i was a passenger.
The sun was just setting on the tree tops
and with the huge field of green grass...
A quick little sketch when i only had a few minutes...
Another quick little sketch on a post it note,
of my dad's dog, Fluffy.
And this...
an old photo of my brother Paul and I,
at my grandmother's house.
I was about 6 I think,
and he was 10.
He does NOT seem too impressed with the fish. :)
We looked at old photos while he was here
and this one cracked me up.
Well, that's it for now folks.
Thanks for being here
during this "slow summer season"...
and hopefully for understanding
that if I'm not posting as often as I used to,
it's because i'm soaking in the summer season
and taking it all in while I can. 
I'll be back with more consistent posts
soon enough.
In the meantime, ENJOY whatever you're doing,
wherever you are in the world
and don't let
another person's misery or hatred
become your own.