Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Well, I have finally determined that the wonderful Summer that we have been blessed with here in the Peterborough area has finally come to a close and the cooler weather causes me to reflect on what a fabulous season we have had.

I find it unbelievable that it was six months ago this coming week that David and I played our first golf game of the season!  Yep, that's right, we were out on the course on March 23rd.  Pretty fantastic!  And we've been playing three to five times a week since then.

In my previous blog entry I described to you and included photographs of the changes and additions that we've made to our somewhat 'wild and woolly' garden here at Riverwood.  Well, the work that we did in the Spring and our continued efforts over the past several weeks have given us not only the pleasure and exhilaration gained from the physical work but we've reaped the eye candy that draws us to the riverside of this property at any hour of the day...or night for that matter. 

The gladiolas (or is it gladioli?) in the photo are not from our garden but maybe I should consider growing them...I see them in other peoples gardens so do you think a 'shrub person like me could grow them???

Oh there's no question the our property is on the 'wild side' compared to some of our neighbour's 'manicured' properties but we like what we've got and will continue to keep it as natural looking as it should be.  We've planted just enough 'cultured and proper' plants to give it a more 'city-fied' look without loosing the 'cottagy' look that we prefer.  The birds and small wild animals that visit our garden are numerous and they have come to call our property home.  With 16 bird feeders and a rugged rockery wall with a multitude of hidey holes in it there is plenty of space for all creatures.  

There's been a new addition to our garden and it's something David bought for me.  I love it and it's similar to what I would create if I were inclined to work with another medium other than stone; although, this sort of thing carved in soapstone or marble would be equally as beautiful.  It's the simplicity of the figure I love so much...she looks very much at home in our garden and gives a sense of calm to it so I call her YEMAYA (Goddess of Water). At just under 5 feet there is a quiet elegance to her presence near the river. 


Up until this past week David and I have been able to swim in the river when ever we've felt like it and in the very hot days of July through to mid August that was pretty much every day.  There is nothing more refreshing after a hot couple of hours working in the garden or walking 18 holes of the golf course than a plunge in the cool river.  It's pretty special to be able to do that from your own backyard in the middle of the city!

I am back to painting again and on Wednesday afternoons can be found at my sister Julia's house with Fran and Averill along with Sharon who's just joined our group.  We continue to do our own style of painting and as usual critique each other with authority!!!!  For a bit of motivation we have been painting small items for an event that's coming up at the Art Gallery of Peterborough.  It's an 'art grab' and the event is called 'For the Love of Art'.  Artists are given a 10" x 10" plain frame by the gallery and they can do any sort of 2D or 3D bit of art as long as long as it fits into the frame size. 

I've done two oil paintings of Stony Lake sunsets inspired by photos I took several years ago.  My friends have chosen different compositions and we've all found that it has inspired us to paint with more conviction over the coming winter months.  Of late we've all felt a little hum-drum about our work and we haven't been producing much that we were happy least I was certainly that way.   This little exercise has given us more incentive to 'get on with it' and produce with more focus, energy and vision.  We have a show coming up in May of 2013, at Kawartha Artists' Gallery and Studio, so we better get going and produce work we can be proud of.

The creation of art is a funny and somewhat elusive thing.  How is it that there are times when you can be so 'on' and focused with your work while other times you are totally 'off' and listless about what and how to produce anything.  Writers I know have tried to find an answer to this since time immemorial and it continues to drive creative people to distraction!!!!!  And as we all know distraction is the last thing you need when you're trying to focus on something specific that needs concentration in order to complete it with an unbridled feeling of accomplishment! 

The physical process of creating art whether it be painting, drawing or scuplting requires a huge amount of energy both mentally and physically so for me to reach a stage of 'exhilerated' exhaustion is a terrific feeling.  To step back and say, 'there, it's finished!' is so rewarding.  But often it takes a long time to get there and sometimes there's a very rough patch in the middle where ideas for compositions don't come easily or work doesn't go well and confidence in your creative self starts to dwindle.  

I've had a bit of a 'falling out' with my stone carving...something that's always come easy for me for more than 25 years.  For some reason I haven't been in the 'zone' for a year or so.  There have been many distractions it seems.  Since I only carve outside Spring through Fall is when I usually get my sculpting done, but these past few years I've been spending a lot of time working in the garden, kayaking and playing GOLF!  Golf takes up pretty much a full day if you play 18 holes and relaxing in the garden or by the water is what feels good after a carving isn't what I do!  And last year we were focused on Alex and Joanna's wedding and our trip to Vancouver and Tofino...which pretty much kept our focus 24/7!  So for all of us there's always 'the stuff of life' that gets in the way!  However, for me, I find that eventually my creative 'spirit' gets the better of me and I have to create, so over the course of this summer I managed to work on a simple sculpture that is just about complete.  The composition is a Diving Seal.  It's of African soapstone and is approx. 14" wide x 7" deep x 14" high.   More polishing needs to be done but here it is on my work stand.

I've only worked on it several times during the summer and haven't been as focused as I used to be when I carved but I'm also older now and find that carving for 5 - 6 hours at a time while standing is not something my body wants to do any more.  So now I carve in 2 to 3 hour stints and often don't get back at it for days.  But I still love to carve and it give me a different kind of high than painting. Carving will always be my first love with respect to methods of doing art...probably because it's more physical and you really have to put your whole body into it when your cutting and filing and sanding the stone to finish the piece.  Also, it's 3 dimensional and very tactile...and I love art that you can touch! 

Methods and techniques for artists can be such an individual and personal thing.  I mention above that carving is so physical and that, in part, is because I stand when I work and walk around the piece or spin it when it's on the rotating platform of my workstand.  Not to mention the fact that at some point I actually have to move or lift the piece to a different location!  Many artists prefer to sit when they create and often it is because they cannot physically stand for long periods of time.  Fortunately, I have not come to that stage of my life yet and find that even when I am painting I prefer to stand at my easel.  I have tried the sitting down method but find myself restricted and claustrophobic.  The chair becomes a 'trap' so I find my work doesn't flow as smoothly and I start to get uncomfortable with 'numb bum'!  I eventually end up standing and am much happier for it!  

I think it's so important to breath and relax (and even listen to your favourite music) while you create.  So if I stand I can easily move away from my work, take a 'long view' of the piece and maybe even stretch a little.  It also allows me to check perspective, proportion, balance of the composition, and generally 'get into' the painting with a more critical eye from a different perspective than what a sitting down, up close and in your face perspective gives you.  

Also, some time ago (can't recall who told me this) it was noted that a painting is best viewed from about 10 feet away.  Now I understand that for some miniatures and very detailed pieces of art this might not be true; however, for larger pieces, which I usually paint, it seems to be a good rule of thumb.  So I really like to paint in a space that will allow me to step away to give me a 'gallery visitor's' perspective of what I'm trying to portray.  

In an earlier blog I showed photos and gave descriptions of my favourite stone carving workstand and all my carving tools that I use, mostly outdoors, to create my sculptures. At this point in my blog I'll give you information on:


My studio is set up so that I can move my easel around and get the natural light just right for my work.  

Add caption
My large EASEL is my FIRST most prized possession in my studio.  David found it one day when he was riding around the West End of Toronto on his motorcycle.  He had gone into the area where he spent his childhood and on his old street, just a few houses along from the house he grew up in, there was a garage sale and the easel was sitting right in the middle of a lot of 'junk'.  Obviously the heavy 8 foot high structure was not something he could strap on his motorcycle so he rushed home, got the car and drove back to buy the easel.  It had belonged to an artist who had passed away years before and it was just languishing in the garage of the house, unused and in the way.   'Timing is everything' because at the time I was starting to paint more seriously and my canvases were too big for the spindly easel I had been using.  With a few minor adjustments and repairs it was up and in use before the day was over!   It practically touched the ceiling in our old house but today here at Riverwood it sits quite comfortably under a 9' high ceiling with a north/west light falling on it most of the time.  The beauty of this old easel is not it's ability to hold very large canvases but the strong ratchet-style mechanism that allows me to work on any size of canvas at a height that's comfortable while standing. It's extremely stable so I'm confident my work won't slip or wiggle at an inopportune moment! 

My SECOND most prized possession in the studio is my WORK STATION which always stands next to my easel.  When David and I were in a Canadian Tire in Toronto one day many years ago he saw a workshop unit for sale and wondered if it might be a good thing to use in my studio.  I hadn't thought of that sort of thing before and it seemed like a splendid idea so we bought it and headed for home.  David screwed a thick piece of masonite (rough side up so nothing slips) on the top of it and it's been the most wonderful work surface and storage space you can imagine.  I keep all my paint (acrylic and oil), brushes, etc. in separate drawers and am also able to store sprays and fixatives as well as all the bits and pieces of hardware I use for framing and hanging my paintings in the lower, larger section of the unit.  The beauty of the work station is that I can close the drawers and door when I've finished my painting session and my studio (except for what's on the surface of the workstation...generally my oil palette, paint box, a pottery vase full of brushes and a jar of mineral spirits) is relatively tidy with all messy and/or dangerous stuff put away and out of sight.  I like a relatively clean and organized space so it keeps all my stuff covered and in one place.  Also, the work station is on wheels so it can be rolled around depending on the angle of my easel. 

This past week I've been going through what I call my 'Inspiration' files...some are actual files in my studio kept in woven baskets on my desk and others are in my computer or on a disk...looking for an idea for my next painting.  Finally I found it!  It's an idea I started thinking about several years ago and am now determined to resurrect and paint on canvas.  I won't elaborate here on the background of the piece...I'm hoping it will become evident when I complete the painting.   The composition sits on my easel right now in it's rawest form...a quick graphed sketch on a blindingly bright white canvas.  Oh how I hate white canvas!!!  It's so intimidating to me so I'm always pleased when I can get an idea drawn to mess up that 'wicked' starknessl!  I feel even better when I can get the underpainting of the composition completed and I'm on my way to becoming totally immersed in the story of the painting.  The painting process grabs me once the underpainting has given some dimensional structure to the composition.    

I must finish this blog now because I am heading off to paint with my friends.  The new painting will go with me and with luck I will get the underpainting completed today and will return it to my studio with NO WHITE CANVAS showing at all!  At least that is my goal for today!!! 

I'll keep you posted as to how the painting is going with my next until then;




Monday, 25 June 2012


Dear Followers of Kwoneshe Creations:

Of late I have been negligent and have not been posting any information (good, bad or indifferent) on this blog.  In fact the reason I am here today is because over the past week or so several people have asked if I plan on continuing this blog!?!?
Well, I thank them for noticing that I have not posted anything fact I am shocked to see that I've done nothing since March 3rd of this year!  

There are three reasons for my not posting anything new here.

REASON ONE - I'VE FOUND GOLF!  I'm a new golfer...started to play about three years ago...and I really and truly enjoy the game, as frustrating as it is!   We had a particularly early start to the season this year due to unusually warm temperatures which started in early March and allowed David and I to get on the golf course a good two months ahead of schedule.  Those first few weeks were pretty special because there weren't a lot of people out there mid week so we actually played almost every day until the 'real' season opened and we became curtailed by more people on the course which meant tee times were more difficult to get.  Now we're on a more controlled schedule and only play about three times a week, either in League play or with groups of friends. 

REASON TWO - I HAVE BEEN NEGLECTING MY ART 'BIG TIME'!  I have done any art since March and with that neglect comes an absence of things to say or write consequently I haven't added any new posts to this blog.  While golf is fun, frustrating and challenging...and believe me it is is not that artistically creative therefore I do not feel as inclined to write.  It is when I am doing my art that I find my mind is more in gear with respect to thinking creatively and essence one art medium (i.e. painting) inspires one to use another medium (writing)...or so it does for me.

REASON THREE - RIVERWOOD   David and I have been using the good weather days (and we've been having great weather) to recreate our property and garden areas here at Riverwood!!!!  That in itself has taken a huge amount of time and energy (and money) but we now have 'a cottage in the city' with a woodland garden that's wild and woolly (by that I mean that it is NOT MANICURED and WEEDS DO GROW in and amongst the plants and they only get pulled if they are over 8" tall!)...and we love it!  

The dock area is where we find some 'personal space' to
read and/or sleep in the shade of the Maple tree or have a
swim...depending on the time of day or the mood we are in.
It's a marvellous space that we enjoy very much.

We've been gardening like mad fiends between golf games and finally after 12 years of being in this house we've cleared out all the 'old growth' lilac that was smothering the property and have planted more trees (Flowering Crab, Flowering Almond and a 16 foot Mountain Ash which in a few years will be gorgeous!); we've pulled out tons of weeds and cut down Buckthorn 'til our hands have bled.  We've planted Hostas, Ferns, Lilies, Ligularia, Brunnera and various other perennials that are hardy to this area.  To say nothing of hauling in trailer loads of mulch and then wheelbarrowing/raking the stuff into the flowerbeds.  (Admittedly we hate cutting the lawn so we have "Grasshopper", Jeff Davis, do that for us.  He's a one-man show and works many of the properties in our neighbourhood...he also helps lift heavy objects, etc. so willingly (or not so...but he'd never say) assists us when we need an extra hand with things.) 

With luck our hard work will make this property a lush and private woodland retreat for years to come.  Because we were always away at our cottage on Stony Lake we've never been able to concentrate our efforts on the garden here.  Now that 'RIVERWOOD' has officially become our 'cottage in the city' we're happy to only have the one property to deal with.  We're finding we haven't got the stamina we used to; although, like almost every day for the past several weeks, we still tend to 'push' ourselves to the limit and work non-stop for hours at a time and wonder why we can't get out of bed the next morning!  (Seems we're not as young as we were when we went all day on the island at Stony...never stopping until it was dark and hunger got the better of us!!!!)

IT MUST BE THE GARDENING that's started the creative juices in my brain working again because over the past couple of weeks I have been 'missing' my art.  It was bound to happen since I can't go for very long without 'doing my art'!

I stopped painting in early March when I withdrew from a group that I had been painting with for the past four years.  We called ourselves 'Quadrangle' and met every Tuesday to paint and chat about art and life.  We have had a number of shows together and while I enjoy being with the other three artists I was in a bit of a 'slump' with my painting and wasn't feeling very excited about what I was producing...even though they felt I was doing some interesting stuff.  It just wasn't feeling 'right' for me so I decided to take a break.  During this past year I did do several paintings and managed to complete them.  Here are two that I felt quite satisfied with when they were completed.


DUST DEVILS - Inspired by a photograph I recall seeing many years ago and the image never left me.
Then golf arrived early so I immersed myself in that for a time.  But my creative mind was a little restless so I pondered on things and half heartedly made efforts to get back to some sort of art but without much enthusiasm; although, I did experiment with some chicken wire after becoming inspired with some work I found while browsing the internet.  

I've always loved the theme of a 'boy on a dolphin' so decided to do my own version of it.  The piece is about 4'-6" high and is mounted on a stainless steel pole.  When the wind blows it moves so that it is never in the same position for very long taking it to about 7' or so.  There are some days that you can't actually see it at all and so occasionally I am asked...'what's with the steel pole in you garden? I have to go over to the piece and spin it around so they can actually see 'the boy on the dolphin"!  

This past week or so I've been really anxious to get back to carving stone again...something I haven't done for a whole year after having some bad luck with two carvings early last summer when both of them shattered when I was well into the compositions.  In over twenty years of carving stone I have never had that happen to me.  One carving was completely ruined so I just broke the rock into smaller pieces; however the other I was able to file away any suggestion of the original composition and saved most of the stone; although it got temporarily placed in the 'dead pile'.  I never got back to carving again last season because by then David and I were making plans to head to Vancouver and then to Tofino for our son's wedding in late September.  So my carving and everything else creative got put on HOLD!.  When we got back to Peterborough in early October David had to prepare himself for surgery in November to remove two plates in his right leg so needless to say we were busy doing things around the house so that he wouldn't have any projects on the go while he was re-cooping from the surgery.  Then Winter came upon us and I never got a chance to do any more carving because due to the dirty, dusty nature of the medium it's definitely 'an outdoor sport'!

I'm now happy to say that as of this week I'M BACK TO CARVING AGAIN...AND IT FEELS SOOOOO GOOD!   I think one of the things that spurred me onto carving again was the fact that during the redesigning of our garden beds, etc. David (his wheels are always turning!) had the good idea of adding more pea gravel down by the 'garden bunkie' area so that I could move my workstand down there from it's usual spot near the garden door of the house where I was continually having to hose down the bricks and windows because they would become covered with a layer of fine stone dust that gradually seeped into crevices and any open windows nearby...and, like drywall dust, it's very hard to remove.  It was a marvellous idea and why we didn't think of it years ago is beyond me!!!! 

(a loose interpretation of something Van Gogh wrote about his studio to his brother Theo)

My workstand is something was a combination of three minds (me, David and Peter, an extremely good and talented neighbour).  I told the men what I wanted; then Peter did the welding for the base and turntable pieces and David designed and built the wooden table and work surface.  It's balanced in such a way that I can clamp an armateur onto the table and use a power tool with plenty of surface to lay down my hand files, etc. as well.  Totally ingenious!...and the bonus...IT CAN STAY OUT IN ALL KINDS OF WEATHER!  I cover it with a barbecue cover when it's not in use!  

The past few days I hauled last years effort out of the 'dead pile' and re-created a composition that I think will be lovely when it is finished.  I'm on a creative roll now and what that means is that MY BLOG IS BACK, TOO!  (That's not to say that I'll be writing every week because it is Summer after all and golf, garden and sculpting outdoors are the priorities at this time of the year for me...and not necessarily in that order!)

The following photos will give you an idea of what has come out of the original 'dead' composition.  The stone is a beautiful piece of pink and grey soapstone and weighs a considerable amount...the size is 11" high x 12" long x 9" deep.  

In order to completely erase from my mind the original composition I had planned for this piece I had to go at it with a chisel and mallet and some larger hand files to eradicate any semblance of the original form.  As I went through this process it helped me to reform a new and rhythmic image in my mind...which came naturally and willingly to the fore and I was then able to get out my power tool and start grinding a new composition into being.   

This part of the carving is really an exciting part of the process because it can be both exhilarating and unnerving since you are testing your mental and physical skill in order to turn an inert object into something alive.  The opening and creation  of negative space is to me one of the most thrilling parts of the whole carving procedure!  To allow light to flow through and fall onto different parts of the stone is extremely awesome!  That in itself breaths live into the stone before an image has actually been formed or completed.  I guess by now you realize how 'into' carving I can get when I'm in 'THE CARVING ZONE'.  Of all the art I've done through my life nothing gives me more of a thrill than putting a hole in a piece of hard stone so the light can come through! 

At the moment I am stuck at my computer...we are having some work done here at the house and because David had a long awaited golf game today I opted from golf with some friends to hang around here and wait for the workmen to come and complete a job they started last week.  I thought I might use this time to carve but alas, while the temperature is a cool but comfortable 19 degrees Celsius (compared to last weeks extreme heat) it has become very, very windy...not great for working with such a dusty material...even though I always wear gloves, goggles and face mask.  A shift of strong wind in the wrong direction does not do your eyes and/or nose any favours!!!!   

So I sit in the sunny area of my kitchen where I can view the river and my garden and type this blog entry.  I feel quite content to do so because I'm in the space I want to be right now.  

On thinking of how I'm content AND HAPPY to be in this space I ponder to think of all those who cannot find that sort of space in their lives and I worry about them.  Having a calm and quiet inner place that you can draw from on a daily basis can have such a positive affect on your well-being and your overall view of the world.  I for one continually pinch myself in the morning before I face the day ahead of me...I have so much to be thankful for and to be happy about.  There are many, many small blessings that each one of us have been given and it's from these blessings that we should draw strength and enjoyment to enlighten our path as we progress through the various daily duties.  Solving work problems, doing mundane household chores, guiding a child or children through  an unpredictable world, helping a friend who has a problem, coping with a personal illness or dealing with a frail or sick loved one are all things that can stress us.  So we all need a 'space' we can go to so that we can 're-group our positive thoughts and refresh our spirit' in order to continue on with a bright light in the forefront of our minds.  Above all we need to remember to nurture ourselves...because we can only be whole, strong and helpful to others if we take care of our own body and mind.

Where is it that you go, or what is it that you do, that puts you in that space?  Wherever or whatever it is...use it to your advantage when you feel you need a personal lift.  Others will know you've been there by the spring in your step, the smile on your face and your willingness to meet whatever is required of you head on...and they will surely feel better when they are with you!

Cheers to all of you who have read this today and may you have healthy happy Summer days ahead of you! 



Saturday, 3 March 2012


Saturday, March 3, 2012

It seems it’s taken me a number of months to get back to this blog.  All I can say for an excuse is that for the most part there hasn’t been a whole lot happening since the Christmas/New Year’s Season that’s been particularly interesting to write about. 

The weather conditions in the Peterborough, Ontario area have been considerably lack luster these past months and while I am no longer a fan of deep snow drifts and cold weather I do miss the beautiful winter landscapes that we had years ago as ‘normal’ for Ontario. 

The world certainly seems to be hanging crooked on it’s axle these past years because the weather conditions around the globe seem to be changing and areas that normally don’t get extreme weather conditions seem to be getting the worst of winter this year!  A huge problem worldwide because it’s causing serious concerns particularly in countries where people are not equipped to handle these extreme changes in the weather.  My heart goes out to those poor countries where the weather has caused destruction and death this year and especially to those extremely poor areas where people have difficulty trying to survive in the most ‘normal’ weather conditions.

In the area where I live we are truly blessed that on the most part we have little to worry about and we are safe, warm and dry most of the time.

With regard to my art, painting in particular, I have been in flux for the most part; however, I have managed to complete two paintings over the past month or so.  One, a diptych, that was inspired by something I saw on television and the image stayed with me.  The second was inspired by a photo I saw years ago and simply re-invented the composition to suit me and to fit a horizontally shaped canvas.  I have included a portion of each painting for you to see.  I’ve also included in this blog a few other paintings I’ve done over the past years that give the feeling of space and/or distance.  

I mentioned that I’ve been in flux with my painting for the past little while, the best part of a year really, and lately I have been questioning my ability as a painter.  As an artist I go through periods of self-doubt about my talent or direction and that is a very common thing with artists of any type; be they musicians, writers, painters or sculptors.  Occasionally we doubt our ability to produce ‘likable’ pieces and sometimes this throws us into a bit of a slump that’s difficult to come out of.

Recently I’ve been feeling a bit that way and unfortunately have listened to the comments of others and have taken them to heart.  HOWEVER, this past week I all of a sudden had a ‘lightbulb’ reaction to my own art and it was this:

‘Listen to the comments of others but DO NOT TAKE THEM TO HEART.  Do what you want to do, develop your technique the way you want to and continue to paint!  Get lost in the positive action of creativity, follow your own direction and remember: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EXCURSION!’

So I’ll continue to paint when I’m in the mood and develop my own technique.  I enjoy painting in oil and recently many of my paintings have been of landscapes that are open and airy, with vast expanses of distance.  I love open spaces and lots of air around me so it only seems reasonable that I would paint that sort of thing.  My technique is a little unorthodox since I’m basically self-taught and just go with the flow of my imagination.  I work in layers…basically a lot of underpainting…in order to complete a painting and love to use a dry brush technique on my final layer.  My favourite brushes being filberts and fans of several sizes.

There’s a lot to be said for a day that is blustery and overcast…such as this one.  I’ve just come in from taking Rachel for a short walk around the neighbourhood.  Every few yards she would pull on her leash and try to head back home…can’t say that I blamed her.  In the end she won out and I turned around, too and we headed home. 

The wind has been brutal for the past 24 hours.  I have just noticed that our Canadian Flag, that usually flies so proudly over the Otonobee River, has lost the binding on it’s outside edge and is raggedly flapping around.  Personally, I feel it is a sacrilege to fly a flag that is damaged or faded so I must purchase a replacement as soon as possible.

Speaking of Canada…my mind turns to the fact that my husband and I are seriously contemplating a major move…from Ontario to B.C. – quite possibly to Vancouver Island.  We are only at the beginning of this thinking but we do believe that it’s not a question of ‘if we move’ but rather a question of ‘when we move’.  All very exciting and frightening at the same time.  So if I’ve talked about flux at the beginning of this blog entry with regard to my painting then I guess you would say that in general I’m in flux about a lot of things right now.  But when I think about it all it’s a very positive state of flux so it’s a pretty neat place to be in! 

Of course a move of such distance has to be carefully considered. We are trying to weigh all the possible things that could become deciding points for this endeavour; the sale of our house in Peterborough, the cost to purchase a house in Victoria or somewhere close to Victoria and of course the actual cost to physically move us there.  Will we be able to maintain/replace a lifestyle similar to the one that we have here?  Big question and the answers will be very interesting…especially at a time when real estate out west is so expensive. 

We are not in a hurry to make this move so if it takes us up to two years to do it, so be it!  We’ve got plenty of things to do here while we bide our time for the right ‘window’…and besides, GOLF SEASON IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER!!!!!

In the meantime I’ve got a painting that I should finish and there’s some pieces of soapstone waiting for me to start carving when the weather turns nice in April.  So my days will be filled with creativity, dog walking, ball hitting and the occasional dream of heading west!  All in all a pretty good life indeed!

As I may have intimated earlier in this blog, I rather enjoy days like this.  A day that is overcast and not so promising outside is usually a good day to relax and reflect on things and generally take comfort in being inside where you can relax and not worry about anything.  I find these days particularly inductive to being creative…I especially like these days when I’m in my studio because with it’s north/west exposure the light is constant and easy to work in with no extreme shadows or bright areas.  But today it’s perfect for sitting near the window in the living room which overlooks the river…with my dog asleep at my side and my mind going over a multitude of things.  Today I’m thinking of a chance in the very near future of not ‘leaving something familiar’ but ‘going to something new and exciting’.  I’m thinking forward about my art, my husband’s and my life together and in general our whole lifestyle as we know it now and where we are going in the future…and it’s all very positive.

Well, on that note I think I’ll go and put the kettle on and prepare some tea.  With luck I haven’t bored you, dear reader, with my ramble and that you’ve been able to find yourself in the same place as I am right now.  Everyone of us has something to look forward to no matter how trivial or unrealistic the goal may be…just remember…




Tuesday, 10 January 2012



It's my hope that all of you are sailing smoothly into 2012 and that the skies are clear and the wind is up and the water is just turbulent enough to give you a thrill as you head into each new day.  Stay buoyant, stay alert and take the challenge of whatever comes your way!

Now that Christmas is behind me (it was a great day and the dinner was at our house), the New Year celebrations are over (we spent the evening at my sisters) I've now found some time to sit down and think about the past a bit.

During the past week I've spent quite a number of hours cleaning up the files/photos/etc. in my computer, on my desk and in my studio.  The idea is to get some semblance of order so that I can download items in my  computer I'm not currently using into my auxiliary hard drive and re-orginize my other stuff into smaller files/piles.  It's always a time consuming thing to do and it's quite shocking the amount of files that collect that have no real use at all...other than taking up valuable space in your computer or on surfaces throughout the house.  We are all pack rats to some degree and while I try to be consistent and thoughtful about how I organize my files and what I save I've managed to hold onto a lot of superfluous 'stuff'!  Can't tell you how many items I've sent to the Trash (the cyber one and the real garbage in the garage)...but it's considerable and the act of purging feels great!!!!

While going through my files I was also able to recollect/reminisce about things that have gone on over the past three years and if I'm like most of you it's a considerable amount.  Life is all about ups and downs, ins and outs, good things and bad things, etc., etc. but when we get right down to it and try to analyze the past it's pretty easy to come up with a lot more positive things than negative least that's the way I see it!

Some of the events I was able to look back on were simple but memorable.  A sunset view through the beautiful pine trees of Stony Lake. Photos of our late and always dear American Cocker Spaniel, Angel, (who gave us so many years of loyalty and joy) in the she loved a day of cross-country sking on a sunny crisp Ontario day.     Rachel, the little Coton de Tulear that we brought home one snowy January day, who quickly won our hearts and showed us how much she liked snow...and also how  she loves the water.  Her antics will continue to delight us each day as she continues to grow into a 'little big dog'!   An impromptu golf trip David and I took down through the Carolinas and then on down to Florida to stay with his brother. 


A NATURAL HAZARD on one of the three beautiful golf courses at SEA TRAILS RESORT in NORTH CAROLINA

SQUIRREL/RACOON????  THESE COMICAL CRITTERS skitter up close just as you're about to PUTT!


Long views, water or land,  always move me...and even though I'm not a professional photographer I somehow manage to capture some of my favourite scenes at their most beautiful.  My photographs serve me well when I am considering a new composition for a painting or a piece of sculpture but more than anything they trigger memories of generally good times that I've experienced in wonderful places. None of the places I've been have been particularly exotic; however, they give me enough eye candy to keep the artist in me happy and satisfied.  Sometimes the most ordinary scene can have the most impact on me...and leave an imprint on my mind that I can always bring to the forefront when I need it.   

I'm always combing through my old photos or clippings from magazines or newspapers that I have collected over the find just the perfect thing to inspire me to paint or sculpt.  The fun of working with a selection of photos and juxtaposition bits from one or the other to create an interesting composition is a lot of fun for me and in fact is as thrilling as doing the actual carving or painting.

When I look through the plethora of photographs, miscellaneous items from magazines and newspapers, paintings, sculptures and written words by others that I have collected over the years it's amazing to see a pattern to the things that I like to look at and then try to recreate through my own art mediums...painting in oil, sculpting in stone and writing.  Most of us do this and from it we learn and grow at our own pace by using those things as a guide to help our imagination.  At least that's the way I use these things.  On the most part most everything I 'save' has some kind of relationship to how the image or words affect me at that particular time.  How it affects me emotionally!   Is there a message to be sent out for everyone to hear/see?  Is there 'a cause' that I feel strongly about and want to make it more effective through my art?  Does it warm my heart/spirit?  Does it make me sad/happy/concerned?  Does it give me peace?  Does it make you think beyond just the painting, sculpture or writing?  Is it somewhere I like to be and want to make a permanent image of it that reflects how I really see it?  Is there a moodiness to it that I want to project to the viewer?  Is there a question lurking somewhere in the composition that leads the viewer to use his/her imagination to complete the story?

I look at the photos then choose the ones I want to re-create using my own means of portraying a mood or a message.  My paintings and sculpture help me do that and I genuinely get pleasure from working up a composition based on what I have collected in my files or on my computer.  The photos I've included in this bog are ones that illustrate all that I have explained above.  





Most compositions have come to me with happy thoughts, good memories and/or thoughtful recognition about what should be and what might be.  I hope you enjoy looking at these works and quite possibly if you feel at all creative it will spur you on to recognize in your own collection of files and photos the potential to work up a composition that will set a mood for the viewer or at the very least give them food for thought or some interesting eye candy.   If we look closely enough we don't have to go very far afield to find something interesting that we feel emotionally connected to that we can re-create through our art.   Children at play, animals we love, our own gardens, places we've been, expressions on a baby's face, causes we believe in and want to make a statement about...and so on...there is something in all of us that MOVES us.  So if you're a painter, PAINT; a sculptor, SCULPT or a writer, WRITE!   Get INSPIRED and then put your heart into your art (no matter what your medium) and create something that makes you feel good, or that sends a message about something you feel strongly about.  DO IT FOR YOURSELF, NURTURE YOUR CREATIVE SPIRIT...AND ENJOY EVERY MINUTE OF IT!

We're into a NEW YEAR and it's going to be a GOOD least that's the way I see it!!!!!  

If you're going through the cobwebs that are clinging to the files of the past year or two, the way I have been doing this week, take a serious look at everything and reminisce a bit about all the good, bad and ugly things that have happened.  Then, PITCH OUT THE NEGATIVE and HANG ONTO THE POSITIVE by setting up a new file called 'KEEPERS for INSPIRATION' (or something like that) to be used as ideas and positive direction for new works of art as you progress into 2012.