Friday, October 6, 2017

it's a little dark in here

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.
- Anne Frank
hello Munchkins.

The world is a heavy place lately, isn't it?

I've been less consistent with blogging lately,
mainly because I've been too fucking heartbroken.

What do you say when all hell breaks loose?

Yes, I've been doing my best to stay on the light side of things
but holy shit, some days are hard.

The mass shootings,
the hurricanes,
the suffering...

I distance myself from it all now and then,
and then it all somehow comes back to me,
like gravitational pull.

Maybe that's what's meant to happen.
Maybe some things in life
are meant to anger us,
and move us 
towards the truth?

Towards our truth.

So the past months have been
give and take for me.

I've spent some days working hard,
and other days reading on the patio
with a good coffee.

And i'm ok with this.

Some days are meant to be
more productive than others.
I've felt so consumed by everything
that I barely knew how to process it.

Whenever I'd sit in my blue room to paint,
I'd often just sit there - for like 10 or 15 minutes...
before I'd decide to even pick up a brush,
or a pen, and just do something.

More often than not, it ended up being something like this:
But hey, I try to honor how I feel at the time.

It's been painful for me to learn 
that there are so many racists in the world.

It's been painful to learn
that some of them are my relatives.

It's been painful to learn
that there are homophobes
and chauvinists
and those who care very little
about the suffering of others.

So many of us fail to show compassion
when so many people in the world
are in desperate need
of love and understanding right now.
So yeah, maybe this is my 'blue period' in painting.

If Picasso had one, I can have one too. :)

Everything I've done lately 
seems to be just one or two toned.
Color doesn't feel right to me at this time.

When I feel like using more color again, I will.

And speaking of color - check out the beautiful tomatoes
from our little garden in the back yard.
We've been eating fresh veggies for months now.  
I'm also still in the throws of preparing my e-course.

At this point, I'm not setting a date.
Initially, it was going to be 6 weeks,
but I've now decided on 4 weeks.

It's been more work than I anticipated
but then, maybe that's because I am putting myself
under too much pressure for it to be perfect.

And I, of all people, know damn well that





Why do we do this to ourselves?

So I'm trying to get past my fears
and reassuring myself
that someone will get something out of it,
and that if ONE person finds the courage
to make art and express herself
and find her own voice,
it will have been worth it.

I joined Tara Leaver's 7 day series art challenge.
I thought I'd try to process some of my anger
by painting abstracts
because, well, it's healthier than keeping it
bottled up inside.

Here's a song I love by Amelia Curran,
from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada.

I love her because she dares to be vulnerable,
she's an advocate for those with mental illness,
and she writes her own songs. 

Thanks for letting me
into your weekend space.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fried clams, funerals and Brian Wilson

Is summer really over?
It's been such a whirlwind this season.
Some summers are slow & lazy,
but this summer felt like the opposite for some reason.
Of course we made time for fried clams & scallops
and the wharf
and walks on the beach,
and family gatherings
and the occasional bonfire,
but it feels like it was gone
in the blink of an eye.
We had company this summer,
which is always nice,
but I won't lie.
I always look forward to my time alone again.
As a serious introvert,
solitude is the only way for me
to find my footing again
and after weeks of being
in the company of others,
I was longing for alone time
about as much as i long for chocolate.
(yes, that's a lot of longing)
We also had a death in the family...
my dad's brother,
whom he loved dearly.

Harvey loved antique cars
and had a few of his own.

This is dad, on the day of the funeral,
standing next to Harvey's beloved Thunderbird. :(
Funerals are always so heavy, aren't they?
They should be, naturally, 
since they're about the loss of a loved one.

But I sometimes wish
we were better at
celebrating a life
rather than mourning a death.
I guess it's hard to celebrate
when some hearts are broken
in a million little pieces.

 And then, there was art.
After finishing this book,
I got thinking about mental illness
and how horrible it must be
to be living with voices in your head
the way Brian Wilson does all the time
(from the Beach Boys).
I started cutting out these images
from a magazine one night,
thinking I'd use them in a collage.

Once I saw them all there,
I only decided to use a few of them.

Painted over some of the red,
added words,
played a bit with lines.
At first, I was thinking guitar strings
but the lines got carried away
into something else.
Then the hurricanes happened
and the floods all over the world
and things got heavy again
and the only way I can deal with *heavy*
is through art.

We all need to find our own ways
to deal with tragedy,
with injustice,
with suffering.
I know that too much social media 
is not good for me
so I've made a conscious effort
to slow down and not to carry
the world's weight on my shoulders.

It's been difficult at times
because I just can't believe some of the things
I see or hear,
but I am of no use to anyone
if I am overwhelmed by the suffering
or the stupidity of others.
That doesn't mean I don't care about others,
or about what happens on this beautiful planet,
but it is not necessary for me
to know about 









It's just too overwhelming for me.

I read something the other day
(ironically, on Twitter!)
about a woman's therapist
telling her that it was
ok to let social media go now and then,
because as human beings,
we aren't meant to process
so much suffering at once.

And I thought YES.


I so agree.

I don't care to know everything about everyone.

I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything
if I don't get the news on a daily basis,
or if I don't know about what's happening
in every corner of the world,
or if I don't know about who had what for dinner last night.

I DO, however, feel like I'm missing out on REAL life
if I spend too much time on social media.

Can you imagine missing out on walks at the beach
with this cute little face?
Or wonderful Friday evenings making art?
Or watching a movie with my son?
Or sharing a glass of wine with a friend?

No thank you.

Life is precious.

But you gotta pull your face
away from the phone (or the laptop) now and then
to remember just how precious it is.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In the summertime...

I paint my own reality. The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.
- Frida Kahlo
It's been over a month since I've posted anything
and I've painted very little in this time too.
I almost wrote "I've had little time to paint"
but that's not true.
I have all the time in the world.
Or at least more time than many people have.

Other things (or people) just take priority sometimes.
This is my brother Ricky, my dad, and my nephew, Cody.
They were here on vacation from the US for a week,
so they were my reason for not painting for a while.
And it was Canada Day, so yeah.
This (above) is City Hall, in Moncton, NB.
Even the brick walls get balloons. :)
Yes indeed. :)
A statue of Northrup Frye sits in front of the library.
Drinks on Main Street Moncton!
The woman standing on the far left is my sister-in-law, Nicole,
my nephew (in the white shirt), my brother (with the hat)
and the cute one with the beard is my son Alex. :)
A beautiful day at the beach, so yeah,
still no painting.
My son Alex and nephew Cody,
enjoying a cold one on l'Aboiteau beach,
about 20 minutes from my home.
Another beach (Parlee beach) with the sun slowly setting...
I thought it would rain (and thunder!) for a while
but it never did.
This is a not-so-perfect beach near my home,
but one I prefer because it's much quieter.
When the company was all gone,
I came here with pen & paper, as I often do,
and wrote, read for a while, and watched the seagulls.
Our little backyard garden.
I took this over a week ago, so it's grown a lot since then.
The carrots aren't growing - for whatever reason.
We're never too serious about the garden.
We get what we get, and usually, it's more than enough.
We've had so little rain lately...
the grass everywhere is yellow and dry.
We could use a few good days of downpour.
The best part of having a garden
in the backyard. :)
And speaking of gardens,
a quick little illustration of Thomas,
a serious gardener who lives where my dad lives.
He's always so happy to see
his tomatoes growing. :)
A Harry Potter painting, acrylic on paper.
I think I'll scan this one and put it in my ETSY shop soon.
A quick pen sketch from an image i found on Pinterest.
There are lots of things (and people) I'll never understand.
Slavery, in all its forms, is one of them.
I can't remember if I posted these or not...
quick little Sharpie sketches on post-it notes & added acrylic.
When my time is limited, or
when I'm not in the mood.
A few little notes from the one of the sections
of the e-course I'm working on.
(I may have posted these already too!?)
It feels like I've neglected so many things
over the past few months,
but I'm slowly getting my groove back.
Once in a while, I need to sit myself down
and remind myself why I wanted to do this e-course
in the first place.

To inspire you to follow your own heart
towards a more meaningful life
by using art and writing and nature
as your guide. 
Art and writing and nature have helped me through
some of the darkest days.
And I know they can help others (like you!) too.
Happy Wednesday to all!
Thanks for being here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

to make a long story short. Or long. :)

You need to spend time
crawling alone through shadows
to truly appreciate what it is
to stand in the sun.
- shaun hick
hello friends!
I was thinking the other day
about why I paint what I paint.

I've been painting or sketching
about things that don't sit well with me
for years now.

Basically, I've been painting
about life.

You all know by now,
that I don't just paint pretty pictures.
If you love painting pretty pictures,
good for you! 
Carry on.

I like painting pretty pictures too
but I also like painting sad, angry ones,
if that's how I'm feeling at the time.
I am inspired by anything & everything,
but more often than not,
I am inspired by what is happening
in the world,
and how I feel about it.
This painting/collage was done in about an hour
and it happened a day or two after
the recent bombings 
in London.

I kept thinking of the song
we used to sing as children:

London bridge is falling down,
falling down,
falling down...
And after a day or so,
I picked up the paint brush.
When something happens
in one corner of the world
we are all affected, one way or another.
Some of us (the sensitive ones) are perhaps
more affected than others.
So we do what we have to do
to help us deal with the craziness
and to make sense of our lives again.
Some people turn to God or religion or faith.
Some people turn to drinking or drugs.
Some people shut down from the world.
And others (like me) turn to things like
and art
and music
and reading
and meditation
and poetry.
We turn to something
that allows us to express our worries,
fears and questions.

I've been painting about things
that I don't understand

for a long time now,
and somehow,

it has helped me better accept things.
It doesn't mean I understand them,
but the accepting seems to come easier.
I painted this one (above) 
right after mom found out she had
ovarian cancer.
I painted this one
right after the devastating earthquake
in Haiti, in 2010.
I painted this from a photo I saw
on the newspaper,
because it tugged at my heartstrings.
A WW2 veteran at the tombstone of a friend
who died in battle.
This was done years ago,
the day after one of my son's friends
was killed in a car accident.
The car caught fire
and they couldn't get him out.
I couldn't imagine the pain
in his mother's heart.

This little sketch was done a year or so
after mom died.

Little snippets of a life.

I've also painted (and still paint)
fun, happy things too - 
when the mood is right.

This little bird on acid. ;)
his cousin the cow. 
You know when people say:

" make a long story short"

and by the time they say that,
it's already a damn LONG story?!?

Well, this kinda feels like that.
My own long story.

I'm sure some of you out there are wondering
about the point of this long blog post.

The moral of the story is:

Do whatever YOU need to do
to make sense of your world.

If it makes you happy to paint flowers,
then paint flowers!
If it makes you happy to PLANT flowers,
then plant flowers!
Life is short.
Do what you love as often as you can,
'cause before you know it,
you'll be old & gray.
And bitter if you didn't do
what makes your heart happy
once in a while.

When I first started painting (in my mid teens),
I practiced A LOT with wall calendars.
I'd find a photo of a beautiful landscape,
and practice my technique to make the painting
look as close to the photo as possible.

I got good eventually and everyone would OOOOO and AAAAAH
and it worked for a while,
but then it just wasn't cutting it for me.

I wasn't proud of what I had done,
because I had basically just copied and
because with practice,
ANYONE can make a painting
that looks like a photograph.
(yes, you can).  :)

But not "anyone" can see the world
through my eyes.
Only I can do that.

Just like only YOU can see the world YOUR way
and only you can show the world what you see!

Art to me was about expressing
what I felt inside.
It was about the pleasure of painting or sketching.
It was about giving a specific
moment in my life meaning.
It was about keeping a visual record
of something that happened
or someone I loved.
It was about helping me remember
certain moments in my life.
And of course, it was a 
reflection on what was happening
in the world and
in my life at the time.

I'm not sure this makes sense to anyone,
but there you have it.

My long, short story. 

Happy weekend everyone!