I feel like a teenager who's run away from home and now sheepishly coming back, to explain my absence over the past months!! Holy hell, I know I've said this before, but where does the time go?!
I've been gone so long that I actually had to look up "how to post in Squarespace" to refresh my memory. For all it's worth, I never intended to disappear for this long. It just kinda happened. When I saw the date on my last post (April!), my mouth dropped. For real.
In a nutshell, here’s what’s been happening over the past few months:
Dad had a few serious falls over the spring & summer months, so hospital visits & doctor appointments became regular. Not fun.
We planted a garden again and we thought we'd lose some of our veggies when we got frost a few times in the month of June. Then in July and August, I thought I had died and gone to hell, it was SO hot.
Some people said: "don't complain! We'll be shovelling snow in no time!" But I complained. 38C PLUS humidity is just too damn hot for me. (For the Fahrenheit people out there, it's over 100F.) We practically had a solid month of unusually hot temperatures + humidity with no sign of any significant rain. (No climate change my ass)
My older brother and his family came to visit (from Alberta) and we had so much fun frolicking in the water and listening to music and stuffing our faces with food & drink. He moved to Alberta with his new partner (and her 2 daughters) about 13 years ago, and every time they come home, it gets more difficult to say goodbye. It’s always good to see them.
I read books. A lot. Because I couldn’t seem to get myself going with painting, I read. And I wrote. The kind of writing that clears out the cobwebs inside and gently whispers where to go from here. (hint: it’s not always obvious).
One of the great things that happened this summer and the one that kept me quite busy: I was asked to work on illustrations for a documentary film being made about survivors of the Holocaust during WW2, and more precisely, about the last ship of refugees granted asylum in the United States. A beautiful project - 30+ watercolor illustrations to be used along with photographs and survivors telling their stories.
The filmmaker who commissioned me has plans to present her documentary to PBS, so we’ll see how it goes. I’m at the tail end of illustrating now (and it all kinda makes me sad) but she still has to put it all together. It was such a pleasure to be part of this. And it all happened because of this one illustration (below) I did years ago. Children of the Holocaust.
You just never know sometimes, how far your art can reach and who it can touch. I feel nothing but gratitude to have been part of this.
Something else that happened this spring/summer:
I hit a wall.
With a lot of things (and even a few people).
With my art.
With my work.
With who (and what) I wanted to surround myself with.
I got really tired of social media.
I got really tired of opening emails that all seemed to be selling something.
Six weeks to a profitable business.
Four weeks to a healthy body.
Follow this plan and retire in less than a year. (Yeah, sounds legit.)
Plus, everything happening across the border (in the US) was just overwhelming and on some days, I could barely bring myself to even doodle.
I began to question the importance of art.
So my art took a backseat, and it became harder and harder to pick up the paintbrush and JUST. PAINT. SOMETHING.
It became harder and harder not to be angry. It became harder and harder to get my own head out of the clouds and to make sense of things. So whenever I would write or draw or scribble something in my journal, it was just so damn depressing and dark.
I’ve never been good at sugar coating anything.
I don’t do “fake it till you make it”.
I do “FUCK IT, this sucks!” really well though.
Why pretend things are good if they aren’t? I think it’s important to feel what we feel, and work with that. But I must admit, hearing about children in the US being held in “detention centers” (a fancy word for prisons) and unarmed black men being shot by white police officers like it was open season made it VERY difficult to see the light. It’s far more tempting sometimes to just curl up in a ball on the floor.
It’s hard for me sometimes to find that right balance between “being informed with what’s going on in the world” and “shutting myself away from everything”. I don’t always make the right choice. But more often than not, art and writing help me get there. Sometimes, it takes a little longer than others, but I always get back to the place that feels like my heart’s home.
So I welcomed September with open arms (autumn is my favorite season!) and I made a vow to myself that I would pull myself away from the weight of the world, little by little, and start making art again.
And take short walks.
And start the day with yoga, even if only 15 minutes.
And so, this is where I am, and little by little, the art (and cooler weather) is breathing life in me again.
I’m sorry it took this long.
I hope there’s still someone out there listening, and that my ramblings may comfort you in some way. :)
Here’s to being in this together!