Colourful Muskoka Chairs sitting along the shoreline of a summer lakeview. In Canada, few things are as iconic. These chairs have the ability to provide an escape from the cares of the world. When sitting quietly, we can be immersed into the natural landscape surrounding us.
A Muskoka Chair signifies:
"Sitting by the water, Worries seem smaller
Waves and wind, Take it all in,
Beautiful sunsets, As close as one gets
Beneath the starry skies, Hearing the crickets' cries
In both daytime and night, The universe seems right
In our Muskoka Chair, We escape a world of care."
Often I worry about my art like most artists. "Is it good enough?" I have a sense of anxiety as I start a new piece.
Nicholas Wilton reminded me once again that "art is a personal journey, a process of discovering what brings you alive." I find that when I have completed a piece that I'm happy with, I regain a bit of confidence and have a sense of satisfaction. Making art brings me joy and delight as I have proven to myself, yet again, that I can still make art.
At Sunset Cove Resort, where I recently spent a week of vacation, I wanted to give a gift to the owners, my uncle and aunt, to convey a sense of my appreciation for the week away. So I created this piece.
Pictured here is a scene from the Resort, some fishing boats dotted along the shoreline of Rice Lake as well as a cleaning shed for the numerous fishers that frequent the lake. This beautiful lake is 28 km long and 5 km wide and is recognized for its recreational and sports fisheries. The fish that are in these waters include panfish, walleye, muskellunge, and bass. With its beautiful sunsets and peaceful waters, the week spent at Sunset Cove gave me many memories that reflect my personal journey through life. The time away reminded me of what it is to live and love life. The time away gave me moments to reflect and moments to learn.
Everyone has their own personal journey. I'd love to hear about yours and am grateful that you are joining me as I journey, through the eyes of this blog.
The sounds of tiny baby birds echo through the leaves. The air is filled with the smells of spring. The green and golds painted in the scene give the eyes a fresh sense of newness. The long days of winter vanish into the memory ushering in the innocence of spring. A child gazes in awe at the tiny creatures whose upturned heads and open beaks beg for some nourishment.
We can only imagine what thoughts fleet through the child's mind as the birds beckon their needs be fulfilled. Is there a sense of wonder that we see in her eyes? Is she puzzling over what those feathered friends are trying to tell her? They shout out, with constant chirping. Mouths open they reach toward where they anticipate their next meal.
The child has a sense of wonder. The birds display their neediness and dependence, their vulnerability. Many of us, as adults, have lost these qualities. As time goes on, we want to be independent and wish to rely on no one but ourselves. This painting reminds me to find my sense of wonder, as well as my sense of vulnerability in life. Finding these will give a deep richness in life, one that will never be regretted.
The lyrics from Lee Ann Womack fill my mind as I finish this blog...
"I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance...
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake but it's worth makin'
Don't let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance..."
There is an obvious connection between the two in this painting. The girls cling to each other, gathering strength & courage, the older protecting the younger.
What is she protecting her from? We cannot see what it is, but the older keeps a watchful eye, while the younger appears to be engaging the viewer, begging for help with her young, distraught gaze.
The viewer is pulled into this painting. The older is a picture of concern, while there is a yearning in the younger. Is the younger seeking protection or comfort or both? What circumstances precipitated this embrace?
The background is blank allowing the viewer to put their own circumstance into the painting. Who do you see yourself as, in this painting?
There are times in our lives when we are in both of these positions. Sometimes we are the one giving the comfort, the one who protects and shelters someone else. We hold someone and keep a watchful eye to guard as we can. Other times we are the ones who need the shelter and comfort. We call out for help and rest in the comfort provided to us, just as the young girl does in this painting.
Our lives are filled with giving and taking. May we always give with fervor and receive with thankfulness. Life is better together!
The sound of nothing but the leaves rustling through the trees overhead create a long, sought-after peace for a busy soul. The smell of fresh air, mixing with the fragrance of pine trees and the aroma of the lake fill the lungs adding to the calm of the summer haven. The colours, the greens and blues from the sky and trees, reflect exquisitely on the smooth surface of the beautiful lake. The pergola and deck are the ideal spot to just sit and to take in the view. A perfect spot to allow the stress of life melt away and provide a space for the peace of this scene to fill the body and soul.
This lake, Lorbin Lake in Hanover, is a stunning spot to unwind, to reflect, to rejuvenate. I spent a glorious weekend here enjoying all the sights and sounds and scents as they refreshed me.
Sounds of the birds sweetly singing filled the air. The blue jays, the robins, the cardinals, the frogs and crickets all filled the air with their distinctive songs. Just reflecting on this scene brings me back to that day, not so long ago, when I savored the calm serenity of this setting.
Sometimes I wish that this is where I could stay; sometimes I wish I didn't have to leave this place of peace, this scene of beauty. But sometimes, in order to realize the blessing and tranquility of this summer retreat to its fullest extent, we also need to live and breathe the busy-ness and stresses of life. In order to appreciate the quiet of a summer retreat, we need to experience the "noise" of everyday life.
Looking at this painting reminds my spirit to take the time to stop and to find the beauty around me. I don't have to be at a cottage on a lake to find these mental spaces. I can also find them in a quiet drive along a peaceful road or quietly sitting on a bench at the river's edge or walking down a deserted path through a forest of trees or even in a quiet paddle on calm stream. There are always moments that will give us the peace and tranquility that our souls need. All we have to do is slow down and look for them.
"I love you", she whispered as she nestled her head against his shoulder. Her hand reached up his back as he conveyed his feelings back to her. "I love you, too", he responded. His love for her was evident in the way he snuggled closely. The couple sat on a bench resting from their activities and reflect on each other, totally oblivious of what was happening around them.
She sweetly sang the lyrics of the song "500 Miles" by the Proclaimers, "When I'm dreaming, we'll I know I'm gonna dream, I'm gonna dream about the time I'm with you." With his long legs stretched out in front of him, he continued, "I'm gonna be the man who goes along with you and when I come home (when I come home) yeah I'm gonna be the man who comes back home with you."
Together they sing "But I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more, just to be the [one] who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door."
Their song echoed into the blue skies and fell sweetly onto the ears of all who heard.
Colourful houses in a row
Birds approaching from afar
Sweet melodious songs
Simple, everyday moments
Life at a slower pace
This is what memories are made of
Small town Canada
As darkness descends on the tiny building called "Home," a bright fire glows softly spreading its light and comfort throughout the little space creating a warmth within. As the last gleams of the day’s sunrays fade into the horizon and the darkness settles, there can be a sense of fear and foreboding. The colours of the evening are glimmers of browns and golds that remind us of the warmth of "Home."
This piece instills a feeling of "home" in me. What does home mean to me? Home is where someone loves and laughs and learns and plays. It is a place where one is loved and respected and cared for.
"Home is where the heart is." We all have a place where our heart is; a place where we feel safe and secure; a place where we feel protected and sheltered. Home is a place where you feel an emotional connection. "There's no place like home!"
The yellowy/orange glow coming from the windows and the glimmers in the sky and landscape portray a warmth. There is safety pictured in this scene; a safety even as the approaching darkness can present a sense of anxiety and dread. "Home" shelters us from the apprehension and worries that descend upon us much like darkness in the evening.
I am thankful for the sense of "home" and the sense of safety and love that this picture represents.
What does home mean to you? What do you see in this painting?
This painting characterizes much of life, both by what we see in it as well as what we don't see or what is just beyond our vantage point, our moment of time. We all have stability and peace, and we all have trials and storms for which the "lighthouses" of our life provide a sense of direction. We all have "rocks", reminders of lessons learned and opportunities taken.
With blue skies overhead, a gentle breeze rustled the grasses and wildflowers underfoot and caused the waves to lap gently at the rocks. The view ahead was captivating. The many wildflowers and random forms of the rocks were striking against the stark lines of the buildings that lay beyond them. The scene bids us to smell the many fragrances that fill the air; the aroma of wildflowers and the sea mingled together.
The lighthouse and various houses stand tall and firm reminding us that there is stability and security even as, we know that the raging wind may bring troubled waters. What brings stability in our lives? Many times life throws us trials and storms. Sometimes we need to look for our stability. But like a lighthouse shining in a storm, if we watch and look and search and give ourselves time, we can find our "lighthouse", our stability amidst the "storms."
The green grass with blue skies and blue-green seas are cool colours and they remind us of peace that we can find even though at times this peace can be quite elusive.
The sounds we imagine in this scene are rather quiet; the gentle lapping of the water on the rocks, the breeze blowing through the grass. These sounds also portray the calm serenity of this scene and yet the lighthouse reminds us that there are times when the sounds in this landscape are not so peaceful, but rather quite upsetting and frightening.
The rocks look so stable and strong, yet we know that these rocks have been driven to their home on the shoreline by the wild storms of the past. We all have rocks in our lives; monuments from past experiences that have been "washed" into our lives and shape our "shoreline". They shape who we are. These rocks are not necessarily bad rocks or tumultuous experiences, but may well be positive adventures that shape us.
In so many ways this scene demonstrates our lives, the ups and downs, the past and present that shape our lives. All of us have memories of childhood, of carefree summer days. Sometimes a smell, or a sound, or the colours we see, can bring these memories all back. I pray that we all have many good memories and that we can have open eyes to see the good that came about from any bad memories of the past.
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On this sunny warm day I feel a gentle breeze sitting on this ledge. I am enjoying the breath of fresh air that the wind brings, providing me with a brief respite from the heat of the city.
With blue skies overhead, cars rushing by on the street behind me, and people scurrying in the streets below my perch, my eyes are focused singularly at what is off in the distance. A tower stands firmly amidst the bustle of the city.
As my eyes settle on this magnificent structure, I have a calm confident air about me, a peace within.
Thoughts flit through my mind. Thoughts about the past. Thoughts about what is to come. What does the future hold? Now is a time for looking forward, not looking back.
As the summer breeze blows quietly around me, I am reminded that there is always a glimmer of hope.
My paintings are little bits of me, moving from within me and out onto the canvas. Each painting comes from an emotional connection I feel with the painting’s inspiration.
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