Sunday, November 29, 2009

Slow Road

Rained Out
acrylic on canvas
This is the other painting I have in my gallery show right now that is not for sale. It is one I am keeping. I don't think the photo does it justice, so I may have to take a new shot of it when the painting comes home. I was on my way to talk to the manager of the store where I work part-time when I decided to stop in at the gallery. I was feeling teary and I hoped that being there might brighten my spirits. It worked! I discovered red dots on two paintings that I didn't know had sold! So the count is at 17! I am beyond grateful. Speechless. My private goal was to sell half the available work and that has been accomplished!  I really need the joy right now that this brings. I browsed through the comment book where I found some wonderful notes from kind friends and gallery goers. When I receive the book at show's end I will post some excerpts.

This painting was started on site at Spruce River on the last day of the Emma Lake course in 2007, suddenly the sky opened up and the rain came down. I had to scramble to get everything packed up and back in the truck... some areas of the painting actually did start to bleed! I took it back to the studio and finished it a few hours later using memory, emotion and intuition. Then I really packed up everything and headed back to Saskatoon. 

I really have not felt like blogging these days. Well, actually that is not quite true. I have been thinking about it a lot, but just haven't been able to motivate myself to sit down and type. My kids and I have the Grey Cup on, go Riders! At the moment they are winning 27-19 against Montreal. So I decided to start typing with the game going on in the background and while the kids play/ watch. John is out with his buddies probably biting his nails with 7 minutes remaining. I love blogging and it has already opened up my world so much, but at the same time everything seems just a bit harder right now. I haven't been back to the studio and I am a bit concerned that I will be facing a painter's block when I return. I really don't know what I want to paint or focus on next. I guess the first little bit will be spent setting my workspace up. I am having difficulty standing for more than 45 minutes before my lower back starts aching, so I am not sure when I will physically be able to get back at it. In the meantime rest is the order of the day.

P.S. The Saskatchewan Rough Riders lost the Grey Cup due to a penalty right at the end of the game. Bummer. Poor Sammy cried. He doesn't think it's fair and they should change the rules.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Reality Of It All

I found out earlier this week that another painting has sold! So that makes fifteen and I couldn't be more thrilled or appreciative. I don't think I will ever get used to the incredible feeling I get when I discover that not only does someone enjoy viewing my work, but actually loves a piece so much that they would want to spend their hard earned money to own it and live with it on a daily basis. It fills me with gratitude. When the Curator and I hung the show we both agreed that the space needed a few more pieces just to make it look full enough, so I zipped home to get a couple of abstract reflections that we had not included at our final cut meeting and I also brought two paintings that I was keeping for myself. This was one of them. Well the day of the reception came and a lovely couple that bought a painting at my last show wanted another painting to put with it. This is the one they wanted and with a bit of gentle persuasion (she was good at it), I agreed to let them have it. I'm a bit sad it isn't mine anymore, but I know it will look good with the one they have which is of the same dimension and called "Low Storm". Here is "Portal" shown at the gallery above the table with the guest book and you can also see on the wall the three paintings from my last post.

So the accident has affected me much more than I initially realized and that is why I haven't posted anything for over a week. I spent so much of the first week hyper-aware of the kids and how they were doing; making sure they felt safe and not too disrupted by the events that I forgot about myself a bit. Also, I think I have been feeling that because we survived such a horrible crash with very few injuries, I really shouldn't complain or feel anything but thankful when there are people that have been so much more worse off in accidents. In the end, however, the emotional side of my brain has won out and the rational side of my brain has been put on the back burner. I have had difficulty stopping the tears for the last few days and more aches and pains have appeared this week. The air bag and the impact have done a bit of a number on me and there have been moments where I just feel desperately sad. My boys are doing well, but they are nervous at intersections and ask often, "Mommy, is this where we had the crash?" and Tommy has been so teary at bedtime. They have both had bad dreams, but don't want to talk about them. I cannot believe that they had this frightening experience and it has been sobering to realize that John and I can't necessarily protect them from horrible things. I feel utterly panicky when I allow my head to go awful places, like what if something happened to them? What if they weren't here with me anymore? It is too much to even imagine and yet I know that there are parents who have been in this tragic position.

So after an emotional week I couldn't get through a four hour shift at my part-time job on Thursday night. I ended up leaving after two hours... in tears and in pain. I saw the Chiropractor on Friday (yesterday) morning and she put it into words... as she watched me cry through the entire session. She said I had a near death experience with my family and I needed to take care of myself. She said my body would not heal until I got rest and some sleep. So a new game plan was made. I went home that very day and slept all afternoon when the kids were at school. I took today off work without guilt (I usually work Thursday nights and all day Saturday). I went for a massage this morning and slept again this afternoon. Tonight some of my most wonderful girlfriends are gathering at one of their homes to eat yummy food with me and let me cry... and I am pretty sure they will also get me laughing. I made the painful decision to not be part of the studio's Open House tomorrow. I have always wanted to be part of it, and this year I thought it could work out, but this turn of events has got me too low on energy and I was unable to paint in a productive way the last two weeks.... and the majority of my work is at the gallery right now. It just isn't in the cards. I am trying to put a positive spin on it by saying to myself that next year I will have my own space in the studio to showcase my work the right way. And now this means that tomorrow I will be free to take the kids to the Santa Claus Parade! For the remainder of November I will not go to the studio. I am going to take my afternoons to rest, nap and do any treatments that seem necessary for my recovery. December will bring better things and a studio space of my own in which to create. I hope I will feel better and be able to approach my art with freshness at that time.

I still have lots more to share... like how I spoke with Irene this week, the wonderful woman who was there with her husband at the scene to help me and my family before the emergency crews arrived. She confirmed that we rolled one and a quarter times. And some amazing things the kids have said about the accident. And about the outpouring of friendship that many people have shown my family since this happened. And about my grandma's necklace. And so much more... but my husband has BBQ'd a delicious steak dinner for us, so I must go enjoy it and appreciate him.

Thank you for reading my blog and stay safe...please wear your seat belts and make sure the kids in your life are in the right car seats.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something Nicer To Look At

all are 10x10
Shades of Gray Day -sold
Will The Rain Come? -sold
Find What's Not There -sold

It has been an emotional few days and just when I think I am doing okay something happens and I realize I am not. I couldn't find Sammy after school today. The panic and fear had me almost hyperventilating. Turns out he was playing in the skating rink area in the school playground and I couldn't see him over the boards. A good cry and lots of hugs and I was okay. I just want to keep my little fellas with me and never let them out of my sight again. Not very realistic I realize. Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post- it means a lot to me that you are thinking of us and I sincerely appreciate your good wishes.

Anyway, I thought I should post something more pleasant to look at and start moving those miserable accident shots down towards the archives! All of these paintings were done en plein air this summer at Emma Lake. They were painted on the most humid day I have ever experienced in this province and the acrylics behaved much like I imagine oil paint would. They were purchased at my reception as a series by a very special couple and I hope these paintings give them many many years of joy. Of all my paintings in the show, I would say that these three seemed to attract the most attention. They received many comments.... people really loved them! I hope we get more humid days on the prairies next year so I can try this again!

Stay safe everyone and love the ones you are with!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Can't Believe We Are All Okay!

Anyone who has been reading this blog knows that I recently hung my first gallery exhibition and the Artist's Reception was two days ago on Sunday, Nov.8. You could be wondering why I haven't posted anything about the event as I promised I would. Well, here is the story...

The reception was an absolute success... a wonderful turn-out, my sister flew in from Guelph for the weekend so she could attend, my high school art teacher (the one who talked me into continuing with art in grade ten instead of taking typing) came with his family to see me and so many friends, family, and artists came. It made me feel so special. The best was that Tommy had been fever free for two full days, so my husband brought both kids for awhile and then my parents took them back to their house while John and I finished visiting at the gallery. More paintings sold... I think at this point 14 of the paintings are spoken for... so really I was over the moon by the time it was over. John and I met at home so I could get out of my heels and take out my contacts.... two things I rarely wear! Then we headed to mom and dad's to pick up the boys and say goodbye to my sister who would soon be catching her flight home. Everyone was in such a great mood and the kids were goofy- you could tell they were feeling better- it was so good to see them so full of life after being so sick. As we drove away there was a small discussion about going for dinner, but I decided that the best would be to go home and start unwinding since that had been the most active Tommy had been in over a week. We could order in food and eat with our jammies on and have a quiet family night.

We were almost home going north on Victoria Avenue and approaching Taylor Street which is an intersection that we pass through many times coming from my parents. For some reason we invariably always have to stop at the light. It is a long red light that always seems to be red no matter when you are there. Well, this time it was as green as green could be and my husband was commenting to me how he couldn't believe that for once we made the green light. With his next breath he said "She's not stopping!!!" and next thing I knew there was an explosion right beside me and we were moving sideways and spinning and then we were rolling!!! It happened so fast and yet it was all in slow motion. The kids were screaming and I remember yelling "Keep your arms in! We're okay!!!" We came to rest on Sammy 's and my side of the car apparently on the boulevard. I will never forget Tommy screaming with blood all over his forehead "Are we going to die???!!!" I could look back and see him- his car seat secured right where it should be with the seat belt holding him in place behind John's. I reached out to him and we held hands, and I told him we were all okay and help was coming, but I couldn't reach Sammy and the impact was right on our doors of the car, so I was terrified of his condition. He started talking- yelling that he was scared. I asked where his arms were, for some reason I was petrified his right arm was out the window and pinned under the car.... but in the end his was the one window that was intact. John's was broken, Tommy's was broken and mine was broken. When I looked down at my  window I just saw grass.... and a Fruit To Go laying there. We could hear people rushing around yelling outside then a face appeared by our windshield, which was smashed and peeling away from the van on John's side. It was an off duty Fire Fighter who was going by. I screamed to please get my kids out! And they did, ASAP. They went in through the back of the van and got Sammy out first, then carried Tommy out in his car seat.... Tommy didn't want to let go of my hand... I'll never forget the look of panic on his face as they pulled him away from me.

Then a lady came back in- I think that Fire Fighter's wife- and she held my head/neck/spine in alignment. He had done an assessment of the vehicle and reported to us that there was no fuel leaking and that help would be here soon to get John and I out. And she was the kindest woman, Eileen? Irene?, and I would love to hug her. She talked me through it all. She kept answering my repeated questions about whether my kids were okay and she kept me posted on where they were and what they were doing. She kept my messages going back to them that mommy and daddy were fine. Then the sirens...finally... a rush of relief when I heard orders going on all around and then the windshield getting pulled off and a Fire Fighter coming in to support my head so Irene(?) could get out. All the while I thought John was dripping blood down on me so I kept asking him if he was okay and we held hands... now I realize it was actually bits of glass falling on me. They didn't know what our injuries were... I honestly felt like I could unbuckle and walk out, so did John, but they wouldn't let us. They ended up using the "jaws of life" to cut open the roof to get access to us. They got me out first with a neck brace and on the board. These people are so skilled and they were all so kind and took me to an ambulance... the kids were inside and they were standing and talking and okay!!! They did everything right... all of these people... these rescuers... they were complete perfection. And I am so upset that don't think I would recognize one of them if I passed them on the street... it doesn't seem right. Once John was out and in the other ambulance they sent Sammy over to ride with him and Tommy stayed with me. As the EMT buckled Tommy up my sweet little guy asked him if they ever crashed in ambulances. My heart ached for him. At the hospital we all arrived one after the other- even the lady who hit us, but we didn't see her. They got a hold of my parents who came so quickly. Dad went to the kids in the pediatric unit and mom found me and John in the other wings of the ER. As soon as they were there I relaxed- the kids had gram and gramps and wouldn't be so scared. They sent John and me for a bunch of x-rays and we did a lot of waiting. Mom called my other sister who came with her husband. Finally they were discharging the boys, they were fine, except for the cut on Tommy's forehead/eyebrow which they had taped closed (no stitches). I wanted to see them so badly but the doctor warned me that there were some very sick people at our end of the ER, so I just told my parents to take them home- I didn't want them exposed to anything. Time passed and eventually the doctor let me know that the x-rays looked good and I was cleared with warnings of what to be paying attention to over the next few days. I waited for John with my sister and her husband and finally he was released. We were all okay! It is an absolute miracle! I can not believe we all came out of it virtually uninjured. We each have our scrapes, aches and bruises, but it is impossible to complain when I know the result could have been so much more horrific. We are all okay!

So my dear bloggy friends, that is the story of my big day... and I am sorry I have rambled on about the experience, but it has felt good to release it all. The next post I make will be cheerier and more about my reception with more pictures of paintings. I can't promise you that I won't talk about this accident again because there is more on my mind, but this has been a marathon post so I should stop now and please know we are truly okay. I know one thing for sure: I will never drive any other vehicle than a Honda Odyssey as long as I am driving my children around.

I can't believe these articles, here and here are about us. 

Thank you to Saskatoon Emergency Services. Thank you.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Quick Glimpse

Oh my, it has been a very long week (two really with Sammy being sick before). As I mentioned last Sunday, Nov.1 John went out of town, Tommy came down with something and I was supposed to meet Linda, the Curator of STM Gallery to hang my show. "When it rains" as they say. Well, mom and dad took Sammy for the day and because I didn't know what Tommy was sick with and I was hesitant to leave him with anyone, but my dear sweet sister volunteered to sit with him so I could get out for a bit to work on the show. She had report cards to do and she said she would do them at my house while Tommy rested. She teaches Grade One and she said he couldn't possibly have anything different than the germs she is exposed to everyday! Probably true. And she said she wasn't planning on licking him! Ha... I love her sense of humour! Since then however, I have been hunkered down with my little sickie and, for the most part, quite house bound with my parents chauffeuring Sammy to and from school for me. After four days of unrelenting fever and other symptoms I took Tommy to the doctor yesterday morning. We had to sit in a cordoned off section of the waiting room with face masks on the entire time. If we took them off we would have been asked to leave. We were there for 2 hours and when we got into the examination room we had to keep our masks on. Thank goodness the doctor didn't take too long to come in.... I really was tired on smelling my own breath and never wanted a mint so badly in my life! Oh yeah, and I felt bad for Tommy, too! The doctor's body language was quite interesting... he stayed against the wall from the time he came in and had his face mask pulled right up to his lower eyelashes. He broke free from his grip on the wall long enough to check Tommy's lungs, which thankfully, were clear and that is what I needed to know to ease my mind- at least a little. I can't blame the doctor for being cautious... in fact I admire those in his profession a great deal... they really put themselves in the line of fire, so to speak, to take care of all of us. Although he didn't send anything off to the lab to confirm his diagnosis, we are pretty sure it is the dreaded H1N1. That is simply the only flu they are seeing right now. Nobody else in our family has come down with any symptoms and although I have tried to be vigilant with hand washing and cleaning, really it is hard to live in a house with 3 other people and not share germs at all. And seriously.... the recommendation to stay away from those with flu symptoms is just not realistic or doable for a mother with an ill child. Ridiculous. But maybe Sammy did have the flu for those fevery three days before he got strep and Scarlet Fever and maybe I had it back in September when I was sick for that stretch of time.

John got home from Toronto just after midnight on Tuesday, so when he got home from the office on Wednesday I went out to meet Linda and pick up the wine for the reception on Sunday. Then I went to see the show myself for the first time. So here are some pictures. It is a public gallery on the second floor of St.Thomas More College on the U of S campus. It is in a hallway and therefore was difficult to get decent pictures, but hopefully you get the idea. I am really happy with the flow of the work through the space and I think Linda did a fantastic job making sense of the variety of sizes and subjects. It is all related to the boreal forest, but there are skies, forest scenes, abstract reflections, and rivers. I think she really tied it all together well.

I am so looking forward to November 8 and hope to see lots of friends, family and artists... and maybe meet some new art lovers! Come say "hi" if you find yourself in Saskatoon on Sunday afternoon!

Monday, November 2, 2009

So Excited!

 Water Striders- Mambo #5
acrylic on canvas

I haven't been to see the show yet... I was quite house bound with my little guy tonight, but I did hear from the curator! Five paintings have already sold!!! When I told Tommy my news he asked if that meant he could get some new toys. Ha! Nope, it just means mommy can pay for some of the framing! Anyway, it is all very exciting and I can hardly wait for the opening reception coming up on Sunday. Here is one of the little abstract reflections that is in the show. I like the colours and energy of it, but I do think the layers show better in person.

So with all the illness my little guys have had in the last two weeks today I adopted a new best friend... Lysol spray cleaner...  but it may be a love/ hate relationship... the apple fresh scent soon gave way to a more clinical aroma. I'm not a germ-a-phobe, but I do think I will be a bit more cautious over the next little while. Oh, and hand sanitizer is my second best friend!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Just a super quick post to say that my show went up today... and it was looking good, but I didn't see the finished result. My husband left for a meeting in Toronto this morning and wouldn't you know it, my littlest fella was hit with some sort of bug last night while trick or treating so family had to help me juggle things so I could meet the curator for a bit this afternoon to help her lay things out. Little guy had a crazy fever through the night and "hot eyes", lots of aches too. The neighbors had a Halloween party last night and when Tommy woke at 4 a.m. with a fever I could still hear their music pumping! After getting him settled I listened to "Beat it" through the wall while laying in bed. Not a good sleep for mamma! Upon the advice from one of my very best friends who is a physician I actually took Tommy in for a throat swab on Friday night (even though at that time he was showing zero signs of illness) on the off chance he was harboring the bug Sammy had which turned out to be .... are you ready?..... Scarlet Fever!!! Antibiotics worked for Sam right away and I will know if that is what Tommy has tomorrow morning. C-R-A-Z-Y!!! He just woke up at 9:30 and had thrown up in his bed, so he is now in my bed and tonight I will sleep on the inflatable air mattress which I have figured out how to blow up. I was trying desperately to get a fitted sheet on it but it just wouldn't work, try as I might. I finally realized I was trying to get a twin sheet to fit the queen size air mattress. Yes, I am tired and stressed!

Thank you so much for your emails and comments of well wishes, both for my show starting and the kids... I will answer those properly tomorrow. And as soon as I get to see the finished show all hung and professional looking I will post pictures! For now I am posting my awesome business card that my brother-in-law designed for me and that I will pick up this week sometime.

Take care everyone and stay healthy. 

P.S. Oh yeah, and just before I carried sick little Tommy to bed last night Sammy whispered to me, "Bless that poor little fella". Those two boys are everything to me and as important as my art show seemed about  one and a half weeks ago, it sure pales in comparison to them and their health.