Sharing my progress as I learn and grow as a painter
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Living in the suburbs, where there is a lot of development going on, it is rare to see orioles. One spring afternoon I was excited to see a pair visit my neighbours large maple tree that was full of maple seeds. I hoped they would keep coming back, and I put orange halves and a dish of grape jelly out to entice them, but I never saw them again.
As hard as I have tried, I have never been fortunate enough to have hummingbirds nest in my yard. Goodness knows, I have planted enough flowers and hung numerous nectar feeders, but none have ever decided to take up residence. I am delighted when I do have one or two stop by, however briefly.
I love birds. I always have, since I was a little girl. We keep year round bird feeders, and have spent many hours out with binoculars and birding scope and cameras chasing these elusive and mysterious creatures.
My very first paintings were of birds. From tiny Chickadees to magnificent eagles, they have found their way onto my canvas.
This sharp shinned hawk landed in my neighbours' tree, sitting silently and watching for prey.
It has been a very long time since my last update! In the years since my last post... (Yes, years!), so much has happened. My son, mentioned previously, has come back to live in Canada, bringing with him an Australian wife and new baby son! He was gone for four long years. It wasn't easy, but I did survive through that time!
He and his new family moved home and lived with us for a year, and are now on their own in Montreal.
Soon afterwards, our youngest son and daughter in law and two grandsons moved in with us for a year, and they too are now in their own place. Talk about a very full couple of years!
During that time, I had packed away my art room to make room for extra people in the house, and I didn't do any art during that two years. I did, however, do a couple of quick demonstrations of some art techniques to both my daughters in law, and discovered that both of them have amazing talent! One produced wonderful graphite portraits and gorgeous abstract paintings, the other produced very beautiful scratch board art, coloured pencil and graphite drawings, and fell in love with soft pastels.
Having family live with you does require some adjustments, but it was worth every minute for the time I was able to spend with my 3 delightful grandsons!
Now that I have my studio back and much more free time, I am painting again. (Ok, time will tell just how much free time, seeing my dear hubby just recently retired!)
It has been a bit of a struggle after such a long hiatus from painting to get my bearings again, not to mention trying to take my art in a whole new direction! I am learning more now than I ever have and am hopefully growing with each new painting.
It was a joy to set up my studio once again. The pictures below show my new space, although since the photos were taken, it has become considerably messier!
I haven't posted lately, for two reasons. One is that our house is in the process of being renovated (repaired--- don't ask) from top to bottom, so I haven't been painting. We are having new ceilings installed, new walls put up, old walls taken down, and everything painted. Then all new floors installed on all three levels. That means a lot of construction dust flying around, not to mention having all of our belongings piled here and there to get it out of the way while the work proceeds. We've been living in this upheaval since April 1st, but hopefully we will have our house back to normal within the next couple of weeks.
What has overshadowed the almost two month process of the house reconstruction, though, is that our son left to live and work in Australia. Although he had mentioned Australia in passing a couple of times in the last year, the news that he had decided to go hit us like a sledgehammer. It was a very short time between his telling us his decision and the arrival of the day he would leave, and the days leading up to his departure were the most difficult and sad days I have ever faced.
Australia! So very far away! No more popping home for weekend visits. No more just picking up the phone to talk without having to calculate the time difference and waiting until it's a good time. We are scrambling to try to find the most economical method to communicate, which will probably mean by computer. So hopefully he will be able to set up an internet connection even though he will be on the road a lot, and we will purchase a laptop so we can talk to him from anywhere in the house.
His dad and I find that we are constantly glancing at our watches, only to see what time it is in Sydney. His dad put the Australia map as the photo on his cellphone, which shows him Sydney time every time he opens his phone.
The difficult thing here isn't that he went. For me, it is the possibility that he will love it so much that he won't come back. Who wouldn't love Australia!? I cannot accept just visits. Visits come to an end. The thought that he might decide to stay permanently scares the heck out of me, and I have not been able to, so far, feel happy for him that he is going after his dream. My sadness over his leaving is still too raw right now to feel anything positive about it. But I'm his mom and I hope I will be excused for not wanting to give him up easily.
Of course I want him to be happy! Of course I want him to acheive his goals! And of course I am very proud of him. But why does it have to happen half a world away? It couldn't have been easy for him to put all he knows and loves behind him and move to a distant and unknown place, either. But, that is who he is. Strong. Brave. Stubborn. He knows what he wants and is going after it. As long as he stays focused, he will succeed.
The other day, while packing things out of the way for the work crews and getting rid of old furnishings, I came across a birthday card we had given our son. It struck me that the words in the card, those very words of encouragement that caused me to choose that card in the first place because it said the things I felt in my heart, now gave me prickles of pain because he is making those words a reality. To reach for his dreams, and not let life hold him back, blah blah blah. I actually felt resentment towards the darn card, holding it responsible for maybe having a small part of leading him to make such a life-changing decision.
At least for now, part of his journey in life means he must be in Australia. I will just have to deal with it. I don't want to. But what choice do I have? I only hope that Australia is a brief detour, that eventually leads him back home.
When our house is back together, I will be able to focus on making paintings. Painting takes me out of my daily hardships and gives me something to apply my thoughts to. With our familys' lives changing all around us, it is the one constant I can depend on.
With snow still crusting the ground in my backyard, I look forward to my gardens with as much patience as I can manage, which is wearing a little thin. The snow is melting, but not near fast enough for my liking. Ah well, soon the buds will be poking through the earth, the garden centers will be brimming with colour and we can finally stop complaining about what a terrible winter this has been. This little painting reminds me that there will be sunshine and warmth..soon... soon. 10x12, oil on panel.
Every year, the arrival of spring, for me, is when the trees outside my house fill with the red winged blackbirds. From the beginning of March, I watch for them, and when they finally arrive, I know that it is really spring, no matter what it looks like outside.. rain, snow, cold. It doesn't matter. These birds bring with them the confirmation that it is indeed spring!
I painted this a couple of years ago, in celebration of springs' arrival. Yesterday I saw my first red wing blackbird in my yard, so I am posting my painting and saying 'YES!!"
I am a self-taught artist that started painting later in life.
My subjects include wild birds, florals, graphite portraits, still life, and landscapes.
I work in oils, acrylics, pastel, graphite and coloured pencil, and watercolour.