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Collingwood Arts and Music Festival 2018

Posted on 7 August, 2018 at 8:25 Comments comments (0)

Another Collingwood Arts and Music Festival has come and gone, and while it wasn't as well attended as we had hoped, we still had an enjoyable time meeting old friends and making new ones. I mentioned in my blog last week the venue was changed over to an indoor situation.  After many years (thirty-one!) of being an outdoor event I'm hoping that people just weren't aware of the change and there will be a much better turnout next year.  Additionally it was an extremely hot and sticky weekend and the beaches were packed with people trying to cool off.  I'm sure this had a major effect on our show. However my daughter and I always have our displays beside each other and that in itself is a bonus, being able to spend two whole days together.  This year was even more special because on opening day the newest member of our family was in attendance.  My little ten-week old grandson Niko attracted quite a following of admirers and was on his best (and most adorable) behaviour.  People oohed and aahed over him and commented on how sweet and good he was.  His grandfather took him for a walk in the stroller all about and around the town on Saturday.  He visited the Farmer's Market and several shops and arrived back at the show a few hours later with a new hat, a cute stuffed dog toy and a lot more fans.  On the second day he stayed at home with his dad and people were asking where he was, and when he did arrive later in the afternoon he was greeted with much enthusiasm by several of our fellow artists.  He was quite a celebrity and indulged his fans with wide smiles and delightful gurgles.  What a joy he is.

Of course despite the slight disappointment of this being a quieter than normal show, we've already signed up for next year so if you're in the Coliingwood area next August Civic weekend please drop by the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena downtown,  It's a beautiful town and a great show. And as it's indoor...there's no fear of an early pack up trying to beat an incoming weather system!

Have a blessed week.


Lucky Thirteen...Years And Counting.

Posted on 31 July, 2018 at 19:20 Comments comments (0)

Next weekend is the August Civic Holiday in Ontario and the Collingwood Arts and Music Festival, or CAMF for short.  iI's my thirteenth year participating and a favourite event of mine.   I've met many good friends through this show, and I look forward to seeing them each year.  

The show used to be held in the parking lot in downtown Collingwood, and as it's a two-day event we shared the space with the Farmer's Market on the Saturday.  I rememiber one particular year there was a sudden horrifying storm resulting in what seemed like a river flowing through our booths.  Unfortunately we did sustain some damage as a result but such is the outdoor art show experience.  Rain or shine, the show must go on.

In following years the show moved to another downtown parking lot and then onto the main street.  The main street event was a bit of a challenge as the wind whipped right down the centre of the street from the water causing a lot of sudden gusts.  The day was spent picking up, straightening and moving things around.  Unfortunately some of the glass artists suffered some losses and the sound of breaking glass was all too common that weekend.  One of my paintings fell down and ended up impaled on the corner of one of my shelves.  It was definitely a challenging couple of days.

The last few years CAMF has been held in the beautiful grounds of Collingwood's museum.  The building was once a train station and has been beautifully restored. It  houses a great display of Collingwood's marine history; a lovely setting indeed.  However Mother Nature interfered on a couple of occasions and more than once we got the announcement that "weather was on the way" and a hasty packing up ensued. This is no easy feat as the wind hampered the taking down of the canopies and threatened to whip off the covers.  

This year however the committee has chosen to move our show indoors and for the first time we will be in the Eddie Bush Arena downtown.  This is very welcome news for most of us, it means not having to worry about the wind blowing away your canopy, or rain ruining paintings or other work.  

It's a new era for CAMF.  I'll have the story next week.


Have a blessed week.

Me And The Beatles

Posted on 17 July, 2018 at 22:55 Comments comments (0)

I'm often asked what inspires me to paint, and a lot of the time it's what I see, or what I've taken a photograph of, or other times I might be asked to paint something, or a suggestion is made for a subject and these are indeed inspirations. I also get a lot of inspiration from listening to music, especially while working on paintings.

I was given an iPod as a gift for Mother's Day a few years ago and I've used it every day since. I have a lot of my favourite music right at my fingertips in glorious private stereo. Naturally I made a Beatles playlist with my favourite tracks from across the range of their various albums. iTunes is a wonderful thing. But first I must tell you about my relationship with The Beatles.

It started of course in 1960's England.....when Beatlemania swept the country, and later the world, I was a child really, having not yet reached my teens. I feel very fortunate to have witnessed this spectacular phenomenon and was smitten at the very beginnng along with the vast majority of people, including my teenaged sisters and even my parents. The music, and the personalities of these four musicians had such mass appeal that in my opinion, they changed popular music forever, consequently setting the stage for many others, especially British artists. Listening to those early tracks sends me rocketing back to those carefree years as a child growing up in England and often is the music of choice for me while painting. Sometimes I feel a touch of sadness when I listen to the voices of those Beatles no longer with us; but most of the time the music lifts me up and makes me happy. The Beatles, thankfully, were most prolific songwriters and I'm still amazed at the wide variety of fantastic music that was given to us.

I was devastated when the news came that the Beatles were disbanding. How could that happen? I didn't understand at the time, I didn't know about business matters and the bitterness that had grown amongst them. I read all that in later years. I just knew that it was the end of an era, a most wonderful time in my life. Of course they all went on to have pretty successful solo careers, but it wasn't the same really.

The next terrible news regarding The Beatles was, of course the shock that was the murder of John Lennon. I will never forget that day as I answered the phone call from my mother. I just stood there in disbelief, shaking and not wanting to hear that awful news. It was shattering and so senseless.

But all that aside, I can easily say that in most of my life The Beatles have provided me with much inspiration and still do. They help me sleep on those nights when I'm restless, they get me through my afternoon commute. I'm very fortunate to have a Sirius subscription in my car and they've had the brilliance to launch The Beatles Channel. How wonderful that is. The other day while babysitting my seven week old grandson I croaked out a weak rendition of 'Blackbird', one of my favourite songs. He loved it and it calmed him down. The Beatles even soften the blow of my weekday alarm; I've got 'Help' as my alarm tone. But most of all I listen while I'm painting.

The Beatles. Still inspiring after all these years.

Have a blessed week.

Summer.

Posted on 10 July, 2018 at 15:05 Comments comments (0)

It's been pretty hot where I live, but I'm not complaining by any means.  Summer is my most happy time.  For weeks there's no thought of ice, snow, road conditions or the layering of clothing; sweaters, jackets, socks, boots and mittens.  You can just go out as you are, in your short sleeved tops, shorts, even shoeless if you like.  I find myself totally forgetting the cold and sort of take for granted the warm temperatures.  Sometimes I look out and have a hard time remembering what my front garden looked like in the winter.  Which is fine, I might add, because I do the same thing in the winter and can't imagine anything ever growing again.  I much prefer the former.  When I was a child I loved summer nights because it meant reading in bed late without a light or a torch/flashlight under the blankets so Mum didn't see.  I remember the fun of blackberry picking in the hedgerows along the country lanes not far from the Royal Air Force camp where we lived.  I loved eating the sweet berries, warm from the sun, without even thinking that they weren't washed.  The only downside to this activity was the fear of encountering the terrifyingly large black and yellow striped spiders that lurked among the brambles, waiting for the next meal to get stuck in their webs.  Still, we braved the stripy predators and collected baskets of plump berries, most of which didn't make it home.  Strawberry picking was another activity that I participated in, although this was generally done on a commercial strawberry farm, with a "pick your own" policy.  That wasn't as frightening as the blackberries and you could actually earn some money doing it, should you be inclined to do some fast picking and not much eating.

When I had children of my own I enforced a pretty strict bedtime.  When summer rolled around my son and daughter were perfectly happy to read or colour in bed and did so until dark, and even beyond, peering in the gloom trying to finish a picture or a chapter in a book.  My daughter tells me she loved doing that, she shares the same happy summer bedtime memories as I do.  In the summer my mother often had the children to stay with her in Meaford.  They have great memories of shops in the town, the swings by the bay, the deck at Mum's house and of course all the naughty treats she bought them in anticipation of the visit.  She enjoyed having them there as much as they enjoyed being there.  I was never able to show my children where I lived or played as a child.  My father was a career Royal Air Force soldier and we moved around the world until he demobbed, and then we emigrated to Canada.  My daughter will be able to share with her new son all the places she played in as a child all those wonderful summers spent in Meaford.

When I'm in Meaford there's nothing I enjoy more than sitting outside on my new little patio on a summer night.  The stars are bright, the air is warm and I enjoy just sitting listening to music.  This is when I think, life is great.  

Have a blessed week.  And enjoy every minute of this glorious season.


Finding Inspiration

Posted on 3 July, 2018 at 20:35 Comments comments (0)

Today I was agonising over what to write about this week, so I "googled" artist blogs and how to write them.  It seems, judging from the large number of results, a common problem among artists.  I didn't feel as bad then.  I found several sites listing more than one hundred topics.  I noticed that I've already covered a few of them and still felt quite blank, and then I thought about what I was doing.  Finding inspiration.  As far as finding inspiration for a new painting, I usually go through my collection of photos and choose something that catches my eye at that particular time.  Sometimes I've taken the photo years before and lose the feeling until I rediscover it.  I've usually confined my work to either realism or fantasy seahorses but a couple of years ago I was fascinated by the reflection of my gazing ball in the garden.  I took a photo and added it to my collection of reference photos.  A few weeks later I was searching for something to paint and zoomed in on one particular spot and painted it.  An abstract was created!  Completely out of my comfort zone.  I called it 'Gazing On A Sunny Afternoon'.

Not long ago I was in one of those automated car wash facilities.  I love watching the coloured soap run down the windows!  There's usually yellow, pink and blue, mixed with white bubbles.  You might think I'm completely off my rocker here but I think there's real beauty in the way it all runs down in swirls and mixes up together.  I took a photo and who knows?  It might become my next abstract.  It just goes to show that you can find inspiration in the most unexpected places.

If you open your eyes and your mind, you'll find inspiration everywhere.  Have a blessed week.


Summer Is Here!

Posted on 26 June, 2018 at 21:05 Comments comments (0)

The Summer Solstice arrived last week and shortly after that most welcome event came my first show of the summer season.  I had a wonderful day at Ormsby's Garden Centre in Meaford at The Fifth Annual Meaford Artisans Summer Show.  I enjoy this particular show for a number of reasons; I love the town, it's got so much character, and also the greenhouse itself is a beautiful setting, and the other artists and artisans are friendly and easy to get along with.  Carol and Ken Ormsby run the garden centre tirelessly and are most gracious hosts.  Each vendor is greeted and spoken to, the concern for our well being and enjoyment most evident.  It's a small show, with just over twenty vendors but with each year it has become more popular with the town and attendance increasingly better.  I was fortunate to sell three small pieces and some of my cards, which was a bonus added to a very enjoyable day.  The time went by very quickly and almost before I knew it, the time had come to pack up.  I always wait for the very last moment to pack up.  It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine when people pack up before the designated time.  This year was also special because my daughter brought my little grandson for a visit.  He was so good, sleeping the whole time in the wrap my daughter wore, gaining more and more fans and admirers wherever we went.  Of course I wanted to show him to everyone!  All in all it was a great day and an even better weekend, as while I was enjoying myself at Ormsby's our roof has finally been completed!!  That's such a relief, I can't express that enough, many thanks for all the support and help from my family.  I am a lucky woman.

Have a blessed week. 


Kindness. Pass It On.

Posted on 19 June, 2018 at 22:00 Comments comments (0)

When you can be nothing else, be kind.


Some time ago I came across this statement on one of those memes on Facebook, you know how they crop up. Some of them are hilarious, some are political (taboo for me) and some are just plain silly. However this particular one has stayed with me and I've found it so meaningful that I've often drawn on it when I'm feeling annoyed or irritated. It's made me stop and have a little think.


Kindness costs nothing, and it's something that everyone can do. Yet sadly, it's not as prevalent in our world as it should be. We get so wrapped up in our own issues, problems and our daily lives that we can easily forget about being kind. Admittedly it is, at times, a very hard thing to do, but it's worth striving for.


Kindness isn't something that's confined to the treatment of others; we often forget to be kind to ourselves. If you're kind to yourself it's much easier to extend that kindness to others. Have that nap, take that walk, eat that favourite food. Life is short, and at times harsh. We can all use a little more kindness.


Have a blessed week.

Father's Day

Posted on 13 June, 2018 at 18:00 Comments comments (0)

Having written a blog about Mothers in May I thought it only fair to write about Father's Day as it's fast approaching.  I haven't really been feeling Father's Day since I lost my own Dad in 1991 and my Mum always said she felt sorry for my sisters and I on that day. 

My father was a well read, very intelligent man, and was quite ingenious in devising all sorts of things.  A mechanically inclined man, he was also pretty artistic.  He spent many years in the Royal Air Force and I remember him painting murals on the walls of the Sergeant's Mess in Germany when we lived there.  I am sure he's the reason I developed such a love of drawing and painting.  I've mentioned before that I still use the easel he built for me when I was in my early teens, and the smell of oil paint and linseed oil sends me rocketing back to those nights spent in my bedroom painting on that easel.  We worked together on a mural in the basement, it was painted in a way that suggested you were looking out of a cave onto a beach.  Inside the cave was a pirates' treasure chest brimming with booty.  

I realise I've written about this before, but as I consider it a huge milestone in my artistic journey, I think it bears repeating.  Tragically my father became ill, and started to lose interest in most things, and I decided to try and rekindle that love of painting he once had and purchased as a gift for Christmas a canvas, brushes and paint which in turn rekindled my own love.

This Father's Day there's a new father in our family.  My daughter's husband will be celebrating for the very first time being a Dad. So there's a reason this year to celebrate instead of just feeling sad and experiencing that empty feeling.

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers, and those who take a father's role, and thinking of all those who have lost theirs.



The Arrival Of A Most Special Person; Niko Is Here!

Posted on 5 June, 2018 at 0:05 Comments comments (0)

I missed writing my blog last week due to a life changing event which occurred in my family.  The arrival of my first grandchild, little Niko.  He arrived in the afternoon on Monday, May 28, at twenty minutes past three in a rather harrowing manner.  He was ahead of his scheduled date by two weeks, and took us all by surprise by his rather startling weight of nine and a half pounds.  I had never really considered a role as a grandparent because both my children had stated quite emphatically that having a family wasn't going to be something they would be interested in.  I was perfectly happy either way but I must say that now my little grandson has joined our family I am estatic.  He is a most agreeable little guy, very content and so cute that I can barely believe it.  In the last seven days I can see the changes in him already.  He's much more alert and keeping his eyes open a lot longer.  But it's the sounds...the little coos and murmurs he makes as he snuggles his little face into my shoulder.  They are heart-melting.  It rocketed me back to when my own children were tiny.  So I can say that I am quite delighted to be the grandmother of a beautiful baby boy.  I've been spending a lot of time with him, at my daughter's house and it's very hard to leave him.  I find it especially hard to go to work and almost resent the time I have to spend there away from him.  I am participating in the first art show of the summer in three weeks and my daughter is going to bring him there to visit.  Then in August we are both in the Collingwood Arts and Music Festival, it will be his very first show and I can't wait for our fellow artists to meet him.

I'm looking forward to being a part of this tiny human's life as he grows into his character and develops his own interests.  

Have a blessed week.

Love Yourself

Posted on 22 May, 2018 at 20:30 Comments comments (0)

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."—Christopher Robin to Pooh, A.A. Milne

I enjoyed finding the quote so much last week that I was inspired to look for another to draw upon this week.  It's been rather a trying week and I looked for something to lift me up. Christopher Robin's pep talk to Pooh is simple, yet a really solid piece of advice that we can all benefit from remembering. I have always thought that it's very important to love oneself.  It's a most difficult thing to do however, much easier to say than to do.  I believe that loving and respecting yourself gives you confidence to achieve much more in your life.  

For the most part I'm pretty confident in my work.  I have been lucky in that I am supported totally by my family and friends, and when I first started to show my work publicly, it was the feedback from friends and family that gave me the confidence to do so.  It's a fairly ego bashing venture at times, when you hear criticisms that seem unfair, or rude, but believing in yourself gives you what you need to shrug any negativity off, and makes it easier to concentrate on the positives.  Art is a very personal thing and naturally not all paintings appeal to everyone; another valuable fact to keep in your mind.  That said, it's a most wonderful feeling when a person comments in a positive way about a piece of my work.  One such comment I'll share with you was that upon seeing one of my paintings, the purchaser declared that she had been waiting for that painting for ten years, and that it gave her goosebumps to find it.  That gave me the goosebumps.  

Love yourself.  Have a blessed week.


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