Thursday, October 22, 2015

the smell of blackberry wine

I’ve disappeared for a while.  It was needed but it doesn’t really mean I’m gone.  Life sends us challenges, and there is a dozen inspirational quotes to tell us how to deal with our challenges the reality is that for better or for worse we work through them as best we can.

It’s October – there is frost on my windows in the morning, the mornings all include a fight with my tow year old about having to wear a jacket (he says “no suit, no suit!) in his most adamant and bossy little voice.  The last of the leaves are clinging tenaciously to the trees and the stores are starting to get their Christmas decorations on the shelves and move the Halloween inventory to the back corner.

But then it’s been a year of running ahead of season.  I was visiting what I call “the island” in August,  and there had been no rain for months, the grass was dry, the leaves were starting to turn those shades of bronze, of old rust and polished amber just because those poor trees couldn’t get enough water.  The pumpkins were orange and ripe.  I went for a walk.  I pushed the stroller, the air smelling like blackberry wine.  The berries were overripe, fermenting unpicked on the vine.  I cleared my head and set my heart free. 

And just like that summer turned into fall.  With the coming of fall, it’s almost like a new year – Fall is the time of change – be it bears getting ready for winter, or kids starting school it is far more the turning of a leaf than January first with it’s cold winds and cheap glitzy champagne.  

I developed two more spice recipes to add to my collection of packets.  I signed up and will be selling them locally at the medieval market.  If you can’t catch me there you can either contact me through Facebook or through my website at

I teamed up with a company called Blooming on Canvas to facilitate social painting parties; these involve wine, friends, a canvas, and some kind of step by step as to how to paint the selected scene.  My fun little component is creating those scenes and then showing folks how I did it.  The people that come out are happy, excited and really love the whole event  (although the wine might help) . 

Here is one of my latest creations for Blooming on Canvas: 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

It’s been an age. A tumultuous period in time. And in that time I’ve mostly just made it through each day.   I’ve been camping, and I’ve been swimming in the lakes,  but mostly I’ve been breathing.   Just breathing.   August however is whispering to me,  it’s sultry star filled night are approaching and I’m listening.  I’m listening to the creative stirrings on that hot wind that blows out of the desert hills, and the moments of still and shimmering heat.   There is change in the air. 

I’m ready for it. 

I am back, I am whole and I am ready to jump back into life with two feet.  I have signed up for the local Art Walk, which is a month long event where artists from the region display artworks in local business.   It is a brilliant concept that brings three diverse communities together: the business community, the artistic community, and the general public.  So for me that means – my art can be viewed at About Face and More Mon-Fri 9a-5p, Sat 10a-2p.  
Original Watercolour
RiverWalker Arts 

My next challenge is to figure out what to put in behind the glass and what to put on the walls in the store.   I also hope that they will be willing to have my Prints on display so that people can own a reproduction of the art work at a reasonable price.    I also always mat my reproductions to reasonable sizes such that you can buy a pre-fabricated frame form Micheals or Wal*Mart and not set yourself in the hole just putting the image  behind glass. 
Original Watercolour

RiverWalker Arts

If you happen to have any opinions about what images you think I should put on display – please let me know as I’ve still not made up my mind! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes

The Sun is up. And there is heat in it.  The mornings are crisp and very cold, and the odd time it rains the only thing that happens is you get dark spots in the dust.   I wake up to the sun streaming through my windows every daybreak.  I look out and see the glittering promise of the lake (I also deliberately avoid seeing the giant walmart and the industrial area of town with its pellet plant and saw mill that also dominate the view from my window).

After Ten years (less one month) in one of the Rainiest places on the planet, this lack of rain is positively novel.  For all those years  my yard was graced with moss and liverworts, as well as other vegetation capable of surviving months of being semi submerged in water and tucked away the deep deep shade of a town nestled on the northern slope at the base of a mountain on the Northern Coast.  I lived with rain soaked summers with high temperatures hovering around 18 degrees C.  I never owned a sprinkler – my yard dripped and oozed in moisture and thick green moss and algae which overtook anything that didn’t move too frequently or too fast – like my canoe.  My summer wardrobe varied from my winter wardrobe very little.  In summer I wore cotton socks instead of wool ones in my rubber boots, and I paired down to a lighter weight rain jacket.

Since moving in January I have not worn any of my rain gear.  I have donned rubber boots to walk in the thawing slush, but as spring approaches I realize this is a community of sprinkler systems and sun umbrellas.   Digging through my wardrobe (which is bigger than you might imagine given my apparent distain for fashion) I realize I own only one pair of shorts – which I bought for camping season last year when we drove to the Okanagan.   My kids are utterly fascinated by sprinklers having never seen them before, they also get to go outside without the rigmarole of head to toe full body rainsuits.  As such they might actually learn to ride a bike.
Up north on the coast, I used to try my hand at gardening,  I had almost no successes.  My Tomato plants drowned,  my strawberries drowned.   My squash rotted on the vine.   The few things I found success in were hellebore, rhubarb and peonies.  Although my nasturtiums were pretty good for a few years.

This year I’m determined will be different.  It gets HOT here.  The ground is only as wet as the water you add to it.  DH and the kids have built two wonderful little raised beds, and I dug up my front yard and called it a flower bed (then promptly declared I was planning pumpkins in it.   When we put the soil into the raised beds, Chicken Little crawled through it in near nakedness,  he laughed and enjoyed the feel of mud between his toes as he watered the soil with his latest toy – a sprinkler.  I bought cucumber seeds, zucchini, pumpkin, beans and peas.  I provided jiffy pots and we sat on the lawn (without getting soaking wet bums)  and we planted one little seed in each pot.   The Kids check them everyday looking for growth.   Once the frost has passed we will put those little pots into our garden.   Little Peanut can dig the holes with his spoon, and Chicken LIttle can water the earth with his sprinkler.   We will wear sun hats, and shorts and sunscreen.  I feel like I’m living on a whole other planet – so far from what I’ve come to accept as normal.

Original Watercolour

 ©RiverWalker Arts 

And with all this gardening on the brain, again I’m painting vegetables!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

new light

I awoke to the sound of small children.  I tried to tune them out, but they are rather persistent.  I tried scooping them up, turning the TV on and snuggling back into the warm nest of my blankets.  It didn’t work.  They followed me.  So I got up. I opened the curtains and I was greeted by the most spectacular display of reds, oranges, violet and pink. The sun’s rays reflecting off the lake, and off the clouds in all of their un-parallelled glory.  The air was crisp temperatures outside were below freezing, but the sun brought the promise of warmth, the promise of spring, the promise of light through my windows and into my home.

Oh but I could get used to this new weather… I’m going to have to rename this blog.  There is no Rain here!  I’m getting better, my lungs are clearing, my health is returning.  And I even painted.  I joined the Cariboo Art Society.  Apparently the oldest art guild in BC for those who keep track of these things.  I thought I’d start small it’s been months.  And so I present a small 5 x 7 inch tribute to corn. 
© RiverWalker Arts

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Saying Goodbye

I left my home of 10 years on a foggy morning. There was a light drizzle giving everything that moist glitter in an otherwise muted diaphanous grey landscape.  Cargo ships rested at anchor and a lonely little fish boat puttered through the morning murkiness.  A rail barge was being loaded and the sound of metal clanging rang mournfully in the mists.
Harbour View (photo credit:  RiverWalker Arts)
My car was loaded with the last few possessions that I’d managed to round up and jam in the back of my car.  The kids had no idea how final that goodbye was.  They waved dutifully as we said our goodbyes, and protested kisses from friends, they waved again out the window when I asked them too.  The significance of such a leave taking completely lost on the here and now nature of children.  I watched as the ferry pulled away from the dock, and I wondered where life would take me next and I reflected on the ten years of my life I had spent in that rainy little north coast town.  The juxtaposition of buildings jammed so tightly together you cannot walk between some of the houses, with the wide expanse uninhabited land surrounding the town…  it always seemed so odd to me.  As if folks were nestled down against the dark of the wilderness afraid as they stared out into the wild from around the friendly glow of their neighbours hearth.  There is so much beauty in the grey and green landscape I had called home.  Although as one friend reminded me, first impressions are one of an ugly little mildewing town, slowly rotting in the inevitable damp.

The ferry bore us south.  On and on, the mountains rising in the distance, the waterfalls rushing into the sea, the day past and night blanketed it all in darkness – the darkness that comes without any lights on the horizon, the darkness that would have lit the sky in the brilliance of stars had the clouds not jealously blocked them from view. And dawn came once more…..
West Coast Journey (photo credit: RiverWalker Arts)
We drove in the fog and coastal mist.  This long long journey away from the only home my children had known, and the place I’d called home for so long. 

Eventually we come to visit with my folks, we celebrated the season, we ate, we watched the fire dance in the fire place and set off again for our new home.

We arrived two days later in a snow storm.  My introduction to this new community was an adventure in pure white. Snow swirled and the wind howled at 18 degrees below zero.  The roads were white, the sky was white, and yet somehow it was dark even in midday.  I navigated coughing, and feeling fluish.  The temperature ebbed, and flowed warming and cooling,  and I got more and more sick, and the month of January passed in a haze of fatigue and illness.  I lost my hearing for a while, my eardrums ruptured and I slept.  I went to work in the mornings and would rarely make it until lunch hour shaking with fever and falling asleep with exhaustion brought about by lungs filled with fluid and infection.

My office, my studio space is still filled with boxes unpacked and abandoned, but I am getting better and in time I’m sure I will be back to my regular self. I hoping that by the time the snow melts I will again be in my studio.