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Spring Stream/ Les Eaux du Printemps

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Au 12 février, cette belle tempête de neige de 20-25cm commence à faire trop de blanc. De pouvoir créer un environnement différent est un atout de l’art. En effet c’est un avantage de pouvoir peindre une saison différente dans un lieu différent.
Today’s watercolour, that I call ‘Spring Stream’ has transported me away from the snow and wind of Montreal. I started with 2 photographs and then invented the complete scene. To calm my whiteout conditions, I used a lot of different greens. But also, I wanted to see running water.
Au printemps, nos ruisseaux sont très volumineux. Pour une raison que j’ignore, j’ai décidé de mettre une cascade. L’eau coule vers nous. Mais en même temps, la forêt nous attire. Quels choix de regard.
Calmly the forest’s depths attract our consideration. Ah, the peace, the isolation and the scent of nature! And yet, the waterfall exists in sharp contrast in this watercolour. Remember the scene is fictional, invented by the artist. Had it not been included, one could say the waterway was drawing us into the woods. Alas, not so. The sudden, unpredicted drop-off with the turbulent eddies and strong current pull us along to a destination not of our choosing.
Sans trop faire d’analyse de ma création, on peut se demander quels sont les évènements actuels, surtout politique, qui nous déstabilisent au point de perde contrôle et de risquer de se retrouver à un endroit non-choisit.
If we are being carried along by strong elements beyond our control, we may find ourselves pulled under water or over a rocky ledge. There are some useful obstacles in this composition, mainly hard rocks. Intentionally, not a waterside branch is available to rescue ourselves. This journey is too rapid in the gushing of a spring steam that is augmented by the melted snow. There is true danger. We may be merely on one of the banks basking in the spring sun. But we may lose our footing with the noise and turbulence of the water.
On entend parler, oui peut-être trop parler, de tout ce qui se passe avec le changement de pouvoir américain. Avant on aura pu regarder de loin, mais en 2017 nous sommes engagés et touchés comme jamais auparavant. Il y a des obstacles pour nous et des courants dangereux. Il y a des pièges même pour nous. Passant aux douanes, nous créances seront examinés et nos interfaces internet étudiées. Ça pourrait être dangereux.
From the gentle serenity of nature, we can be plunged in a challenging position, should we chose to travel south. It is a foreign reality. If we are caught in a borderline border experience, few lifelines will be offered. We probably need to be proactive and avoid expressing ourselves too overtly on the Internet. (That would be the boulders in the watercolour.) Or should we? Should we modify our behaviour out of fear? Perhaps jumping in and running the waves and waterfall to pop up on the far side is the better choice. To live free, to express our opinions and to defend those who are threatened by drowning, persecution, and imprisonment is our responsibility this spring.
Paix/ Peace/ Shalom

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Floral Bouquet/en fleur

Yesterday’s watercolour model was a grouping of indeterminate flowers. The model had white, yellows and oranges. All was fairly muted in pastel colours. Given the approach of Valentine’s or perhaps a visceral need to not be wishy washy, I dove into the red section of my palate. Perhaps a bit overwhelming, this painting came from a need to portray something other than snow!

Voilà une des avantages de l’art. On peut interpréter à notre guise et laisser nos œuvres parler des émotions de notre cœur, sans dire un mot. Bon, je vous envoie des souhaits d’amitié pour le St Valentin et je prendra le temps d’articuler toutes mes réactions face aux drames chez les voisins une autre fois!

May peace and love fill our hearts tonight…continuing on to February 14th and beyond!

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Parlons/Let’s Talk

Je ne pretends pas avoir des connaissances poussées en santé mentale. Cette semaine est extraordinaire, un temps d’événements hors de la normale. Dans un cadre de peur, de colère et de incrédule, il me semble que c’est très approprié de parler de la santé mentale aujourd’hui.

There is much being said today during Bell’s Let’s Talk day. What I wish to add is how important being grounded in nature is to me. I could have chosen a sunset or a beautiful flower, but instead I chose to paint a scene of cows leaving the barn. Our farms and farm families are treasures. We rely on them for nourishment but also for respite from the craziness of technology and politics. In addition to all they bring, I added a water source as a reminder of the importance of this resource. The painting is life-affirming. The cows seem distracted by our presence…..”What are you looking at?” “Where will that wall be?” “Are those new people moving in next door?’ ‘What are you doing in our barnyard?” Or they are merely moving about on their way to some hospitable piece of land?

Ces pauvres vaches semblent nous regarder pour connaître ce qu’on fait là, pour comprendre notre histoire un peu. Il y a une interdependence et une communication entre nous. Aujourd’hui, c’est une journée pour jaser sans honte, sans crainte, dans le respect et l’amour… profitez-y en, jaser
ça fait du bien!

Out for a Stroll/Dehors
watercolour
Arches cp 140lb
$80

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Perspectives

Sometimes while cleaning the palette after a day of serious watercolour, using up the remaining colours can result in a free, unplanned creation. This urban jungle emerged after a day painting mountains. Given my challenge with perspective, it is amazing how things can work out with no forethought!

La perspective peut être assez bonne pour pouvoir intrepeter l’image, sans essayer. Ce soir je me trouve dans le dilemme d’essayer d’examiner les perspectives possible pour arriver à trouver de l’espoir dans le dénouement politique aux E U. Une façon est de considérer que l’inauguration du Président Obama n’avait pas plu à tous. Non, demain sera différent et unique. Je crois que c’est plus qu’une question de opinion partisan.

Points of view vary and perspectives can be distorted by facts and fancy. This small  watercolour was unplanned and not sketched in advance. It sounds a bit like the incoming president’s agenda. Amid the shapes and colours emerges a picture. Perhaps this presidency lacks forethought, but perhaps it may have shape and substance, at least when viewed by the perspective of the minority which elected this new American head of state.

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January 2017

We step gingerly into the new year, some nursing hangovers, others stretching after a long winter’s sleep. Really nothing has changed but we arbitrarily mark the passage of time. This year, again, we had to add a second, a catch-up moment.

Pour commencer cette nouvelle année, j’ai déjcidé de faire une étude en prévision d’une plus grande peinture. Cette photo ne semble pas capter ce que je vois. Une scène de la forêt en hiver évoque la tranquillité et la paix.

But beyond the serenity and peace, the shadows reach out to me, proclaiming the effect of light on form. Our days are lengthening and the sun begins its climb to summer. Shadows will become more dramatic. Light creates darkness. What does darkness do to light? It sullies it at the very least.

Les ombrages sont le résultat de lumière sur les objets places devant. Quels sont nos obstacles , nos coins négatifs? Qu’est-ce qui m’a empêcher  d’être dans un état de paix aujourd’hui?

Truly negativity can run interference with my promotion of peace in my day. Maybe tomorrow we will resist being drawn in.

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Family & Friends/Le Temps des amis

I don’t do Boxing Day Sales. I don’t like shopping. But I love this season of reconnecting with friends and family. So many surprise and happy moments turn up. So many opportunities for reaching out. How many ways can we do it? We go way beyond the phone now with the internet, SKYPE and FaceTime, etc. But remember, I am the touchy/ touchy -feely/feely one. How I love the season to be with family members and friends from away! A simple walk or a shared meal allow many senses to interact…hearing the voices , smelling the turkey, seeing the icicle formations on rocks, watching the antics of a young grandniece. feeling the kinesthetic pleasure of walking on crunchy snow and the warmth of a fire while listening to the chatter of opinions, jokes,songs and laughter.

Oui ce temps des amis est agréable, mais pas pour tous. Le décès de gens proches laisse une chaise vide à la table. L’absence des jeunes qui ne sont pas en mesure de voyager par manque de temps ou argent brûle un trou dans nos coeurs. Parfois le froid d’hiver n’est pas le seule qui nous sépare, le froid de chicanes, de maladie, d’emprisonnement viennent couper des liens et ne se réchauffent pas avec un feu de foyer. Avec toute cette joie des temps des fêtes, la gratitude pour les biens et les gens dans ma famille est importante. Je sais que d’autres sont moins chanceuses/chanceux.

There are such high expectations for this time of year. Gratitude for what I have keeps things in perspective. We have the freedom to work on our relationships, mend any breaches in the fences and chose to take the high road. Because my wish for us all this year is PEACE, I am trying to be that agent of peace, within myself and in my family and all my groups of friends. Imagine how transformative PAX can be in 2017, if we do our part.

This original watercolour is now in private hands but I feature it today because it speaks volumes to me about relationships, simple and intense!

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Hugs/Câlins

OK, I admit I am a touchy/touchy/ feely/feely person. It served me well as a physiotherapist, especially with the spontaneity required for working with children. Santa came to the St Patrick’s art group today with his huge bag of goodies. A hug to Santa today was my thank you for a gift and an acknowledgement of friendship. But beyond these the hug served to fill up my store of positive fuzzies.

Le touché est la base de communication . Les câlins servent à rapprocher les gens, et ajoutent des éléments positifs à notre vécu. Souvent de nos jours, on semble avoir peur de trop approcher les gens. La distance qu’on met peut servir à éviter des malentendus ou pire, mais pour moi le touché est essentiel.

Given my love of hugs, I have several friends who go out of their way to give me one whenever we meet. I appreciate this. It makes me wonder about people who are not in a situation to be hugged-perhaps they live alone, far from others or even more tragically, perhaps they live in a nursing home surrounded by people. In both cases physical interactions are few and far between. What happens when a person lacks touch. Do they shrivel up and distance themselves further? Does part of their soul die?

Doit-on penser que la personne de 80 ans + n’a plus besoin d’affection? Certes ça ne sera jamais mon cas. Merci père Noël pour mon cadeau et pour le câlin aujourd’hui!

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Tipping/Précaire

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Tonight let us consider tipping. No, I am not referring to a gratuity. Currently our globe is tipping to its maximum. In the Northern Hemisphere we are soon to tip to the shortest day of the year, while in the South they are soon reverting to shorter days.
Avec ces changements annuels, on se prépare à fêter, à augmenter la luminosité avec des lumières décoratives et à se rechauffer le coeur avec des retrouvailles en famille ou entre amis. Mais pour plusieurs cet esprit de joie est diminué par des manques. Le manque d’emploi adéquat, l’absence de nourriture, l’absence d’autrui ou la diminution physique et cognitive  de l’âge mur   augmentent la tristesse de vie.
Not only is the Earth tipping on its axis, but the world is also on the brink of significant climate change, should we chose to believe the best minds and scientists. The impact of sea level rises will wash entire neighbourhoods…

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Timely Traditions/les traditions

This watercolour, ‘Path at Roma’ helps unite the strands of my thoughts tonight. It was painted in June 2016 at the Roma historical village. This site is where Jean Pierre Roma established his international trading post in 1732 by the shores of Trois-Rivières, PEI. Today it has been restored to provide the experience of days gone by.

Nous venons de fêter le 100ème anniversaire de notre paroisse hier. La collection d’items du passé et les  photos des années antérieurs ont servi pour nous ramener aux débuts du 20ème siècle. St. Augustine of Canterbury avait 6 messes le dimanche jusqu’aux ‘60’s…maintenant une seule suffit à une église à peine remplie à la moitié. Les clubs et activités étaient impressionnants et variés. Nos équipes ont même emportés des championnats sportifs de Montréal à l’époque!

Yes in 100 years much change occurs. Traditions remain, however their expression gives way to modern realities. Our parish now shares space in the church of NDG parish. When there are big celebrations such as Christmas, negotiations are required to maintain harmony. This year we will probably have our Christmas Eve mass at 9:30 with two French masses bookending the Saturday celebrations.

Le diaporama et les images nous ont rapporté des visages de paroissiens qui sont partis depuis longtemps soit par décès ou déménagement.  Combien de bons souvenirs! Sur les épaules de tous ses gens, on continue à bâtir notre communauté.

All these thoughts of endurance under difficult and changing conditions, of strength in diversity and respect of the past are united in the watercolour. We see different types of trees of different ages. They endured winds, storms and drought. Together they form the vista. For me, the tree speaks of family ties and I plant them in remembrance of friends and family members who have died. Next summer, I will be planting another in memory of Dora Parsons, whose birthday it is today. Although she was my ‘former’ mother-in-law, I am so grateful for all the traditions she passed on and for the love she showered on my Ryan, her grandson.

Les traditions mènent à mes meilleurs souvenirs. Et le décembre est le mois de traditions! Si jamais vous désirez donner cette aquarelle encadrée (12×15, image 7×9 1/2) en cadeau, vous pouvez me rejoindre à : launchings5@hotmail.com .($ 150)

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December Villans Tea /le début de la saison des rencontres

The last month of 2016 has begun- none too soon. For many, this year has been a challenging one, perhaps even a deeply disturbing one. But this month has always been magical for me. Not just the first snow, the first skate, the end of classes, my birthday nor the beginning of holiday season, but a special time when people turn outward to others.

Que ça soit dans les parties de travail ou de famille, c’est la saison pour se retrouver parmi des gens qui nous sont chers. C’est l’occasion d’utiliser nos voix, pas seulement  pour discûter de la politique ou de l’économie, mais pour chanter ensemble des cantiques anciennes de Noël. C’est un temps de traditions culinaires,  et tenues chics.

There are so many demands on our time. We scurry to purchases gifts and outfits, to visit and be seen at all the big parties. But it is a time for tradition and remembering why we do it all. This afternoon the ’69 grads of Villa Maria will be gathering for an Advent tea at my place. It is hard to believe we began high school together 50 years ago! We will have so much to share- stories and food. Hopefully all will leave with warm memories, acknowledging that there is still light and hope in this time awaiting Christmas  and grateful that we have the privilege of living another December on Mother Earth.

Notre gratitude peut se manifester dans plusieurs formes. D’être consciente de tout ce que j’ai, incluant les gens dans ma vie et ma santé, de ne jamais prendre pour acquis ma liberté, de défendre les droits de toutes et tous, de protéger la planète comme je le peut – ce sont les choses qui viennent rapidement à ma tête . Je crois c’est aussi un temps pour partager nos biens, nos sous et notre temps. Combien y a-t-il de personnes démunis qu’on voit à chaque jour? Décembre pourra être le mois de dons , soit de nourriture ou de sourire.

But no need to preach, as we have all heard of the pressing needs. Now is a rather good time to hand out that warm sweater, cook that warm meal, visit a shut- in. I am trying to do that. But I will also enjoy my get-togethers with my family and friends. One does not exclude the other! and now for the Villans tea.Wow, 50 years since we first sang together in the streets of NDG for the Christmas poor baskets! Where has the time gone?