Saturday, 23 March 2019

Road Trip

Moments in Time Journal #6

'Spring has Sprung'! 
It has been a long cold winter, but now it's time to put that blustery cold deep freeze behind us, and march on as we watch the magical beauty of Spring unfold before our very eyes!

This winter I spent my time painting up a storm getting ready for a very unique Spring Art Show at ASSC,  sketching in my, 'Moments in Time' journal, planning my annual trip to Nova Scotia and Kelowna.

Usually my journal entries are just one page but once again upon the inspiration of my two sisters, there are six pages so far, and I am not finished!

Every summer for the past 25 years my sisters have planned a road trip, dragging me along. This meant driving along the old dusty, bumpy country roads at a snail's pace just gazing out the window, stopping occasionally for ice-cream or a bite to eat.

To me this was a huge waste of time, aimlessly driving on a beautiful sunny day when I could be scavenger hunting on the beach for rocks, and treasures, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, or simply creating amazing sculptures. Instead I sat quietly in the back seat of a hot car, amusing myself with a puzzle or reading a good book. Oh how my sisters would scold; "Look what you are missing? How could you bury your head in a book?"
Bridgetown, NS
For the past few years I have begun to notice amazing old quaint houses along the countryside and through the little towns. 
With camera in tow I started taking pictures. My sisters announced; "Whenever you want to stop to take a picture just holler and we'll stop!" 
Baptist Parsonage - Port George NS.
I did a lot of hollering and took
hundreds of pictures.

Houses fascinate me, there is so much history you can feel when you walk in in a home. Who lived there one hundred years ago? What was there life like? Was there laughter shared or tears of sorrow? 

The yellow house was a Baptist
Macdonald Consolidated School - Middleton NS
Parsonage where I met Paul Shaw, the love of my life. After a short courtship we married that same year!
The Red brick building, was the school I attended from around grades 4 to 7, and now it is a museum, oh my!

Most of the houses I am not familiar with, they just intrigued me enough to take a photo, leaving me to speculate about the people that once lived there.

Painting and thinking about houses has given me pause. I stopped to count the homes I have lived in and was quite surprised to realize that there were 21. Then there are the houses that I have visited and vacationed in that were very special to me.
Now I am in a wee bit of a quandry, I don't have pictures of them all. 
Oh dear, what to do? Look out this summer my dear sisters!

So far this has been a very interesting journey that has enriched my life, and will continue to explore and paint.
How many homes have you lived in, and how many places have you treasured on your journey? 

Home of Josephine Love - Wilmot
Country Road
 Please note:
click on a picture to enlarge if you would like to see it better

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Happy New Year!

Where did the time go?
This is the time of year I like to look back at 2018 and reflect. My sister Linda proposed a challenge, for Mary and me, she suggested; "let's all take time to record what we are grateful for every Monday." So I did just that, and faithfully recorded what I was grateful for every Monday in my 'Grateful Calendar Journal.' Before I share what I discovered when I looked back at the whole year of entries in my 'Grateful Journal,' let me show you what direction my art has taken this past year. (Please note: click on pictures to enlarge)

2018 marks the year of the 9th commission I have painted for the cover of the SAGE Directory, (Seniors Association of Greater Edmonton). Tittle, 'You Little Rascal'.
Three charming seniors taught me how to play Dominoes and they loved the idea of being on the cover of the directory. What fun we had, they were a hoot!

Teaching; Journaling, Mixed Media, and Silk Scarves with Men's Ties at Central Lions every Spring and Fall has been a pleasure.

Pictures of demos for my Journaling class.
Demo 1 - painting with tissue paper 
Demo 2 - live painting, style and design
Demo 3 - negative and positive painting

This past year I thought I would like to get back into oil painting, I was delighted to find an amazing artist, Master Dennis Perrin that offered online workshops, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have signed up for four more courses!

In preparation for a spring and fall art exhibit at ASSC, (Art Association of Strathcona County), I painted a few more new works of art in acrylic to add to my collection of painting entries.

My husband Paul walking Shadow and Abby
He loved this painting so I pulled it from the show and gave it to him on his birthday.

Grama Mary Eliza's Strawberries

Winter Cabin (Sold)

Backyard Fence (Sold)

Back to my Grateful Journal discoveries in 2018

My grateful journal entry highlights included; spirituality, husband, children, grandchildren, siblings, friends, medical staff, validation, comfort, and the gift of art  I possess. 
This year has been heart wrenching in many ways and, very difficult losing a dear friend. Trying to find a healthy balance between my career, family and friends has truly been a challenge. As I look back, everything that I am grateful for has strongly been my support through thick and thin, to the point where I can say with gratitude; "It is well with my soul."

My New Year's gift to you...

Every Monday record what you are grateful for and at the end of the year as you travel through your journey of life, you will have the pleasure of looking back only to discover just how blessed you are!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Backyard Friends

Moments in Time Journal entry #5

Eight years ago I painted a purple door on my backyard fence and created a cozy little vignette. I had no idea  how much joy and pleasure it would bring to me and my family members.
Two years ago I posted this painting but I didn't tell you about the meaningful story that evolved when our blue eyed blond haired granddaughters, eight year old Desiree and six year old Alyssa came for a weekend sleepover...

When I heard the excited dogs barking I knew Tim and the girls had arrived.
"I'm outside on the deck, come on out!" I shouted and waved.
After hugs, giggles and happy greetings on this beautiful sunny day the girls turned and looked at the white cottage and the purple door;
"Gramma, is that door real?" Desiree asked looking intrigued. "Can we go through the door?
"Yea can we? Alyssa chimed in bouncing up and down.
"Sure, but you had better knock first." I replied.
They dashed to the purple door quickly realizing that the door wasn't real but they knocked anyway.
After lunch we sat on the deck sipping lemonade and basking in the glorious sunshine. The girls  were quietly gazing at the quaint little scene with the purple door. They appeared to be day dreaming. Curious as to what they were thinking about I asked; "If people lived there they would have to be small, do you have any idea who?"
Desiree responded with quite an imaginative tale;  "Well, Pluto is no longer a planet you know Gramma, people had to leave in a hurry, they escaped and found your little cottage to live in. Alyssa excitedly expressed; "And they were little, and, and, and they were scared."
The girl's imaginations were going wild, their eyes were sparkling, you could see their creative clever little minds whirling with ideas. I started jotting down what they were telling me, and so the story began.

Backyard Friends

Chapter 1 - Starlations 

One sunny afternoon Tarina was giving her backyard fence a coat of gray paint and found herself getting rather bored just painting one colour, so she decided to paint a purple door and attached a real white glass doorknob.
Tarina is an artist with a great imagination, her green eyes twinkled and smiled as she explored all the beauty that surrounded her. She continued painting white paint all around the door, she was getting excited as a tiny white cottage began to emerge on her backyard fence. She didn't miss a detail: she hung an antique window beside the purple door, and behind the window she painted flower reflections, then she hung a window box, added bright chartreuse potato vines, ivy and purple petunias. 
One evening Tarina thought she caught a glimpse of someone, someone very tiny opening the purple door and rushing into the cottage.
"Oh that's ridiculous, my imagination is working over-time." She thought to herself.
It was difficult for Tarina to sleep that night, she was sure she saw something, you know how your mind can explore and wander at night. She drifted off to sleep dreaming of the cottage. The next morning she ran outside to take a closer look, there were no tiny footprints, nothing seemed disturbed, everything was still and quiet. 
When she began to water the flowers she was astonished to see a green lantern hanging on the right side of the door; "who put that there? Perhaps it was her husband Will, she thought, but why?
Tarina began weeding, she enjoyed working in the garden, the sun was warm and comforting and the soil felt good in her hands, but she felt a little uneasy, as if someone was watching her. When she looked around no one was there.
"Hi", said a timid small voice.
Tarina was so startled she fell off of her garden stool and her spade went flying in the air! She quickly got up, whipped off her glasses and rubbed her eyes in disbelief. Standing before her was the most darling little boy with curly brown hair, and pensive hazel green eyes. He couldn't have been more than 3 feet tall.
He quietly spoke again, "My name is Thor Rist.
Still shaken Tarina managed to find her voice. "My name is Tarina. Is there anyone else with you?"
The purple door opened. Out came two little girls. My name is Scarlet Star, I am 10, this is my sister Rela Leaf, she is six. I see you have met Thor, he is 12. 
Tarina couldn't speak. She looked at them carefully, Rela Leaf was precious, her angelic blond hair was cut in a bob, she had dazzling blue eyes, and a dimple in her cheek made her look like a sweet little princess. It was obvious that Scarlet Star was very confident, she was a graceful beauty with long blond hair and gentle green eyes.
"Where did you come from?" Tarina asked curiously.
"We are Starlations from the planet Eladneas." Thor said proudly.
Scarlet Star continued; "Earthlings don't realize that the small planet Eladneas has been under captivity by a leader named Master Penton. Three days ago the whole starlation population was urged to flee from their domes and get off the planet because Master Penton declared that all starlations will have communication devices implanted in their brains. He wants to have total control of all starlations dictating what he wants them to do. We already have tracking devices planted in the back of our necks. 
Thor Rist expressed; "Our parents called us from work frantic, they explained what was happening, and told us to leave at once! They said they would find us as soon as they could. We put on our thermal suits and jumped into our flight costal, and found our way here. May we stay until our parents find us?"
"I would be honoured." Tarina nodded and smiled.

Chapter 2 - Gifts (to be continued one day)

It was magical creating a six chapter book with Desiree and Alyssa, one I shall always treasure! Children are born with a spontaneous gift of imagination, I felt honoured to have been a part of the Starlation  journey in the story Backyard Friends.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Till Summer Ends

Moments in Time - series 4

Sketch number four is another very special moment in time I have entered in my journal, my sister Mary's picturesque little gift shop called, 'Till Summer Ends'.
Mary is the mastermind behind this beautiful scene that sits behind her home in Nova Scotia. Not only is she an amazing gardener but an artist as well, with the landscape being her canvas!
Inside this darling little shop are many treasures created by artists in the community, including her handmade quilts and my niece Kim's gorgeous artwork.
For many summers I have had the privilege of basking in the warmth of the sun, surrounded by soothing sounds of a babbling brook, behind this lovely shop, and on the other side you can hear waves crashing on the rocks and feel a lovely breeze as the tide comes in on the Bay of Fundy coast.

What a thrill it is to recall special moments, sketch them in my journal, and write memories. 
If anyone is interested in getting started on journaling I will be teaching a Journal Workshop at ASSC (Art Society of Strathcona County), Saturday, February 24 and Sunday, February 25 - from 10 am to 4 pm. Contact info -, once you have reached this site click on Workshops, or email

As you know I like to sketch in my journal, write about it and then create an acrylic painting. 
What a joy to paint!

Click on the picture with your mouse if you would like to enlarge the picture

Most every summer I travel to Nova Scotia; visit my family and friends, take in the breathtaking scenery and regenerate my creative juices!

During this very cold winter, stay warm, drive safely and revisit a special place in your heart or perhaps travel to a warmer climate!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy New Year

When I awoke this morning there was a feeling of urgency, I had to get ready for the New Year! Yikes it's almost here! The Christmas tree and decorations scattered around the house must be put away, New Year's Eve is approaching fast! Enough of this Christmas clutter!
As I began to dismantle the tree a feeling of melancholy swept across my heart, the spirit of Christmas still loomed in the air filling our home with many shared moments of joy, laughter, music, sparking lights and the wonderful aroma of Christmas baking. Well there were also moments of angst I have to admit.
Why was I in such a rush?
Well to tell you the truth I can't wait for 2018 to arrive, I have a list a mile long of wonderful  projects to start! Just to name a few; Dennis Perrin workshop, paint and decorate our bedroom, teach a journaling workshop at ASSC, have all 8 grandchildren for a 'Star Trek marathon', get back to the gym, continue painting my 'Moments in Time' series, enter 5 paintings at Gallery 501 in January, prepare for workshops at Central Lions, prepare for a guest speaking position... oh my the list goes on and on with exciting adventures.
Tomorrow morning I will sit down and organize my growing list in my journal and start the New Year with passion!

Before wishing you a Happy New Year I would like to share a poem with you written by a very talented friend.

Here's to a New Year

Another year, another start
To think new thoughts
Dream new dreams
Make new plans
To create
To build

New months
To think positive thoughts
Avoid negatives
That inevitably creep in
To pollute the intent
Shove them away
Replace them mindfully

New weeks
Give time for dreams
For a bold future
For times that fulfill
Give joy
Give peace

Every day a new day
To plan new plans
Attempt new goals
Tackle old ones
Nurture friendships
Perhaps make new ones
Slough off the ruts of olden times
Pave the way for new ones

So many hours
Make them count
Each one a precious gift 
Of time
To create a painting
Write a poem
Contact a friend
Plan a trip
Read a book

To build anything you choose
Put forth the effort
Design a new self
Appreciate the old self
Prepare broken bridges
Strengthen new ones
Mold and shape
A better place
To live
To love

To be kind to yourself

Just be.
--- Trish Haugen

Thank you for taking the time out of your very busy day to stop and listen to me ramble, I really do love sharing my excitement with you!

And now my New Year's wish for you...
May 2018 bring you joy to lift your tender spirit when it needs lifting, a shining light to guide you through any dark days you may experience, courage to face any challenges you may face, and a gentle warm hug from me to you because you deserve it!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Moments in Time

"Toys We Played With"

Serries #3

Does anyone know what a wringer washer is?
This was a toy I was given to play with at age three, my how times have changed! However, little boys and girls are still interested today in copying what moms and dads are doing, replicas are still being made of lawn mowers, stoves, dishes and the like. 
 Ah, but my little wringer washer was special, you could hook it up to a hose and wash clothes, where my clothes are I don't recall! Yes times really have changed since I was three, we were given so much freedom to roam and we played in the buff!

The home behind me in this little painting has sparked some very fond memories. We lived there on Daytona Street in Springfield, Massachusetts until I was about five years of age.
One warm sunny day it was my job to keep an eye on my little eight month old brother John, which I loved to do, it was like playing house with a baby doll, only he was real! He was placed in a playpen on our huge veranda in the front of our house. I giggled and grinned at him through the playpen bars and watched him coo and giggle back, when all of a sudden it started to rain, I frantically ran into the house and exclaimed; "It's raining, John might get rusty!"

This portrait of me was very difficult to paint, for some reason I kept painting my Grandmother Josie, but after five attempts it finally looked like me at age three. First I painted this picture in my watercolour journal and then I painted it on a canvas with acrylics. To my delight more early childhood memories began to flood back. 
There are no memories of siblings or parents, other than my brother John, but the feelings of joy, security, happiness and contentment was felt in that home. 
Behind our house there was a fence that I managed to squeeze through and play with Linda Lambach. We were the same age and shared the same birthday, and had several birthday parties together. Birthday parties I loved but her scary brother who gave very hard birthday spankings I did not! 
Oddly I can still remember her kitchen with huge creamy yellow cupboards with black spring hinged door knobs, perhaps the cupboards were huge because I was so small. 
Oh my, I can just taste the corn fritter pancakes lathered in maple syrup her mother made. For years I have hunted for a recipe that tastes like those scrumptious pancakes with no avail. If anyone has a good corn fritter pancake recipe, please share! 
Funny the little things we remember.

"Many moments in time come and go, treasured moments stay."

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Moments in Time Continues...

Moments in Time Series #2
Please click on the pictures to view more clearly.

This is a little pen and ink watercolour sketch in my journal with notes about the painting.

There were many wonderful summers and very fond memories with my dear friend Jan in this cozy little cottage.
Although I have never been there in the winter, and I don't have a photograph of the cottage, this is what I imagined it would look like.
As I reflect back on my youth while painting this scene, I realized that Jan's mother played a huge part in my life growing up, she believed in me even when I didn't.

Spanky's Cottage 

Mixed Media on 16" x 20" stretch canvas
What a wonderful time I had recalling so many moments in time while painting this one!

When I posted this painting on facebook the response was more than I could have hoped for. 
It is always a thrill to create a painting that someone resonates with, but to evoke so many memories from one family was thrilling!
This family shared their fond memories on facebook and I had the privilege of reading their stories as they reminisced. Wow, for me this was an awe inspiring, spine-tingling event!

Sherry shared my painting on her facebook timeline so her family could see my painting. She wanted to know if this painting reminded them of Mr. Spanky's cabin and if it sparked any fond memories for them.

Here are a few memories posted on facebook that I was given permission to share...

I asked Sherry, "Who is Mr. Spanky?"

Sherry replied, "Mr. Spanky lived in a small cabin on the property where we grew up. When we were young the six of us would go visit him in his one room cabin. We would sit by the fire and he would make it turn colour. His bed folded up behind a large painted mural of birds and an owl."

Donna recalled, "Oh yes, and he would tell stories about his wife and father. If I remember correctly his father was a doctor who went to his patient's houses by horse and buggy or sleigh. Mr. Spanky used to give us candy when we visited. How about the time we found him in his garden shed and we thought he was dead? We made Auntie Joan come and see only to find he was just sleeping."

Sherry replied, "Good memories."

Diana jumped in, "Remember the huge garden he planted and hundreds of chickens he took care of? He was 80 years old!  He introduced me to Cracker Jacks and pink popcorn. I still love popcorn to this day. I challenge my brothers to remember."

Bonnie exclaimed, "I remember riding horses there and sitting in his warm cottage by the fire, getting candy and listening to stories! I always looked forward to those visits."

Nova reacted, "I remember, it always smelt so good."

Donna chimed in, "Remember that unbelieveable fireplace with the pheasant design made out of little stones?"

Duane recalled, "The warm heat that only a fireplace can produce, hot chocolate and candy on a cold winter's day."

Donna asked, "Remember that pipe he smoked, and when you walked in there would be clouds of smoke? It smelled good. Oh and the table made out of trees?"

Diana responded, "He always had a newspaper or something he was reading on that table, and the painted mural filled with birds and trees. Wish someone would have taken a picture. Oh well we have our memories."

Yes Diana we all have our memories to hold onto and keep close to our hearts!

On facebook I was able to thank everyone for sharing their memories and ask permission to name this painting, 'Spanky's Cottage' to honour Spanky. The answer was a definite, yes!

Just remember...Good and bad moments in time sculpt and mold us into the statues we are today!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Moments in Time

'Moments in Time' is my theme for a collection of paintings this year. What an exciting and meaningful journey for me to paint only moments that are very special and close to my heart. After all, my heart is the place where I live!

Journaling is still a passion of mine but it seems to be taking up a lot of my time, and I have come to the conclusion that I am not Super Woman. It is just not humanly possible to paint in my journal every day and paint on canvas too!
Hmm what do to?
After much contemplation I came up with, what I think is a brilliant idea...sketch in my journal, write about my special moment in time and then paint the picture on canvas. 

Here is the first painting and the story behind it.

House in my Dreams

Over the years I have had many dreams of the same house, winter, spring, summer or fall. My house dream is always comforting and inviting, there is music, a wonderful aroma of baking, a cozy warm crackling fire in the fireplace, and a celebratory gathering of people smiling and laughing. 

This house is so special to me, do you think I should paint it in all of the seasons?

You've Got Mail

You all probably remember the wicked cold but beautiful hoarfrost we had in Edmonton this winter. The hoarfrost was my inspiration for this painting of the 'house in my dreams'.

When I shared this painting on facebook I was tickled pink that my brother John resonated with my painting. 

He wrote; "Reminds me of when I was a boy coming home from a day of rabbit hunting, cold wet, hungry and tired. All would soon be forgotten."

Wishing all of you who are following my painterly journey, happy dreams!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Right on Schedule!

You will never guess what my new year's resolution is, mmm-hmm, you know it, FOCUS! Seems to me we have had this conversation before. There is so much I want to do and so little time. Well after a very long discussion with myself, 'not enough time' isn't the problem. What I need to do is start the day earlier and stop lollygagging over a leisurely cup of coffee, get organized, stick to one thing at a time and finish one project before starting another. For me this is a huge task because I get so ahead of myself with inspiration and excitement.
How does one get organized and stay focused? Perhaps starting the day with a routine would help.
My sister Linda was a huge help with this because she gave me the most unique Christmas gift, 365 messages. Every morning I open a beautiful, sometimes funny message decorated with glitter and rhinestones!  What to do after I have read my special message? After some thought I decided the messages were worthy of recognition in my daily journal, and then placed in a little box to pass on to someone special next year.
Because my daily journal was already open it seemed only logical to make a list of 'plans and goals' for the day.
By golly it worked. Now I am on schedule. Ta-da!

My first week's goals and plans were completed. Every day I worked towards an art exhibit submission for Kasa at the Jubilee Auditorium. That meant rewriting my bio, making a CD and answering every question paying close attention to detail, rereading, rewriting, and the list goes on.
The submission was in the mail by Wednesday, January 4.

Next goal - Create three new workshop proposals for Mixed Media, Pen and Ink Journal and an exciting new class on Folk Art.
This took all week long but I met my 'goals and plans' most every day.

Here's one folk art painted box.

For the workshop everyone can purchase a $25 Kit or bring they are more than welcome to bring their own supplies. 

The Old Farm House will be the template for the top of the box

Tea Cups and Saucers and Teapots for the sides of the box.

Folk Art has always been a special interest of mine, it has been around for centuries.  It is so colourful, quaint, and I love that Folk Art  tells such interesting stories.
There are three famous Folk Art artists that I adore and admire. You may already be acquainted with their masterpieces. 
Edward Hick, (born 1780 - Pennsylvania), was inspired by the Bible, his stories were all about a 'Peaceable Kingdom'.
Grandma Moses, (born 1860), painted stories that depicted nostalgic glimpses of daily life in rural New York and Virginia.
Maud Lewis, (born 1903 - South Ohio, Nova Scotia),  painted stories of everyday life in her community. Every surface inside of her home was painted with colourful flowers, animals and designs. Her unique home has been restored by the Nova Scotia Art Gallery and is now a permanent display in the gallery.
If you would like to read more about these amazing artists just give them a google.

Good luck with all of your goals and plans, and may all of your dreams come True!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Christmas is coming!

This is a special time of year for me, my heart is filled with joy, the spirit of giving and hope for peace and goodwill are first and foremost in my thoughts. 
My house is filled with a wide variety of Christmas music, the aroma of gingerbread, cookies and cinnamon buns, sparkling lights and handmade gifts.
Our whole family will be here for Christmas. We are truly blessed.

My studio and kitchen have been a hub of activity. Below are a few sneak peeks of some of the homemade gifts. Grape Jelly, Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Apricot Hot Pepper Jelly, Nany's Mustard Relish, Rhubarb Relish and Salsa.
***Note: For better viewing click on the image to enlarge.

When it came time to label all of the jars I remembered all of the sketches in my journal and boom, a light bulb turned on! With a big grin on my face and excitement in my steps I ran to my handy dandy computer to see if my idea would work. Using the Picasa program I cropped and shrunk the sketches. Yeah! It worked!

This gives you an idea of what some of the gifts and tags look like.

 One idea led to another. Why not make gifts in a jar?
What would we do without Google? There are oodles of gift jar recipes but are they good recipes? My grand daughter Alyssa and I tried them out one weekend just to make sure. Oh my the Christmas Chocolate Chip cookies are the best ever!
Folk Art gift boxes are fun too!

As this season comes to an end and a new one begins, it's time to reflect on the past New Year's resolutions before making new ones. 
May 2017 bring you joy, peace, cheer and good health!
Thank you for tuning in and following me on my '2016 artful journey.'  

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!