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.

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...
(Sherrie, aka HAPPY TILER, this one's for you!)
we actually have a "Scrabble" festival happening
this summer here!!
oh the excitement!
i can't contain myself.
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
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.

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,
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.
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.
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...
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.