Saturday, September 9, 2017

Homesick








When I lived in Holmesville, as a child, my sisters, cousins, friends and I would walk for hours to the nearest swimming hole. Rarely did we all have bikes at the same time, so we always walked everywhere instead. We walked for hours, swam for hours, and came home to eat whatever we could find. Then we crashed in front of the television, watched the same movies again and again and again. I went to sleep with the smell of summer breezes in my long blonde hair and I fell asleep with ease. A layer of salt coated my skin from all the sweat after all that walking. Perfection.

To me, it felt like we owned the trees. We owned the fields. We owned the hills. We owned the water. We owned the sky. We owned the field mice and the grasshoppers. There was nothing to fear. I was a princess. My mother, a queen. 

After days like that, I'd have a summertime hangover. If there were bug bites at the back of my ear all crusted in dried blood, that meant I had slept well. If I never scratched them the entire night through, I must have been out. Out cold. This was a badge of honour and I always had my fair share. And my hair? A total rat's nest. The wilder, the better. It was a sign of hard-won freedom and I was a warrior. A warrior princess. 

Those were the days. This is where the desire comes from to be off, inside my own head for days, weeks at a time. These are the memories my soul seems to slip out of my body to revisit. Can you blame it? 

But in Simonds, when we lived there, things changed. There were many more neighbours and the everything became threatening and exhilarating and dangerous. We moved from a hayfield to a fishbowl. The feeling was entirely different and I became very sad. My cousins moved to Alberta and Burtt's Corner. My grandmother moved to Back Bay. Freedoms I had once known left me, but there were all kinds of troubles to get in to. I relied on long walks and loud music to soothe my mind of all its ills and there were many. I walked all the time. Here, there, and everywhere. I became a lost wanderer and I looked for my father everywhere and found him nowhere. These days were not all summer breezes and abandon. These were difficult days. These were days of reckoning.

And so, I wrecked my bicycle when I lived in Simonds. I half-killed myself on my damned bicycle when I lived in Simonds. These killer moments of your childhood will get your attention in more ways than one. I don't know how I survived living there, but it was home and I did. 

When we moved to Palmer Road, I think of two favourite memories. One night, my nieces and nephew were staying with us and it was a beautiful and balmy night. It was the first of July and there were fireworks going off in every direction. Our house was positioned in such a way that we could see the horizon in an almost 180 degree turn. Fireworks poof-ed up and then gently fell back down to the tree-line. Again and again. In silent bursts. My nephew got so excited, he took his pants off and ran around in his underwear. Freedom, you see! It was one of those nights that brimmed with magic. Summertime. Everything was so alive. All the children danced around the trees like squirrels skittering across the yard. 

When we still lived on Palmer road, there was yet another summer night that I think back on again and again. Ian and I took the kids to see the bright harvest moon. It hung all fat and orange in the hazy summer sky over ripe corn fields. The air was warm and electric. Everything was sensual and full of life. That night, after the kids went to bed, Ian and I took our plastic Adirondacks and moved out from under the trees so we could get a full view of the night sky. It was one of those clear nights, when the stars looked twenty layers thick. They went back and back and back into the depths of the universe. We drank beers and argued about the past. Even so, it was a magical time. The sky was inky blue dotted with bursts of light. It was all so beautiful and it soothed a part of my soul that no human hand ever could. All those stars made me feel lonely, but in a way that made me realize it was because I come from a great land beyond all that my eyes can see and every now and then, a vague understanding of what home is (or was) to me flashes across my mind. I miss home sometimes. Wherever it is, whatever that means.

It is no secret to humankind that we are stars.

I am.

And so are you.

So I guess it's okay to sift through the carbon from time to time. It's okay to go through the tangible to reach the intangible.

It's okay to feel a little bit homesick, now and then.

_____________________________________________________________________


"If the world should end in fire
The oceans boiling into flame
I will watch the last sunrise
And think of all the sunny days

When the mystery of the skies
And the shifting clouds
Was enough to make me sure
That beyond the gauzy haze

Of life's listless dream
There's a place where time is dead
And all things stand still
And always will, and always will"

The Handsome Family




Monday, August 14, 2017

Hydrangea: Original Art on Wood







My love affair with flowers seems to just go on and on... last week I finished this painting (another acrylic on wood panel) of a vase of hydrangeas (picked from our own backyard!). This piece measures 12x16x1 inches in size and is ready to hang. It has been praised as being a very "delicate" painting, which is quite a compliment. Very rarely has the word delicate been attributed to anything to do with me and so, I suppose that means I am making improvements as an artist or, at least, I am still growing as one. That's exactly what I hope for. 

Also, I seem to be going through an "aquamarine" phase.

This painting has been added to my Etsy Shop and is now for SALE



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Poppy







(My reference photo)



Abstract art and surrealism don't really ring my bells. I like a really well painted thing. I like to see technicality at its best. I like realism with a flare. I like things to just come together. So as tempted as I am to just sling paint around and call it good enough, I am much more satisfied with myself if I try to adhere to some semblance of realism when I paint. Especially when I paint flowers. Particularly when I paint flowers.

I've said this to several people already and I will say it again here: technically speaking, this is probably the best painting I have ever done. I love everything about it. I love the colours, I love the way the centre of the poppy looks so real and true. I love all of that. I also love that the reference photo I used to paint this came from my own experience... I went for a nice long walk through the Uptown core of Saint John on a bright and beautiful morning and I came across a little garden with two or three poppies just beaming in the sunlight. So, I snapped the photo, came home, printed it, and then used it as a reference for this piece of art. So, it's all me. It's all flower, but its all me. It came together so well. I couldn't be more proud of this little gem. 

It is painted on a wooden panel and it measure 10 (width) and 8 (height) inches in size. It is available in my Etsy Shop and I have feeling it might not last long.