Monday, November 7, 2011

OMG...Hanging an art exhibit is exhausting!!!

All my work (that would fit) is now hung in the Cafe and on display for all to critique and hopefully...enjoy.

I'm not sure why I'm exhausted, but I am.  The process of creating art is much more pleasing than measuring and spacing and placing disparate groups of mismatched frames while Cafe goers come and go amidst my personal chaos. 
I want everything to look perfect, I want to please people, I want to be successful. 
But what does that mean to me, exactly?           Not sure. 
          Sure, I'd love to turn all that art into cash and pay off a bit of debt, sure, I'd love to be well known as a great artist. 
But somewhere deep down I think I'm looking for approval.  Always looking for approval everywhere and I find the hunt extremely exhausting.  So to clarify, it's not that pat on the head, "you did good" type of approval I want, but approval where I can look in the mirror, look into my own eyes and know that I did the best I could and know that God knows too and not care one flying fig leaf what anyone else really thinks.  That's the type I'm looking for and it's getting a bit easier to find that.
Because- I'm getting more comfortable in my own skin as I get older. 
Because- I'm realizing that I'm really not as important as I once thought I was and I'm good with that.
Because- I think I did the best I could for right now. 
So, if I were to title my exhibit, which I'm not, I would likely not call it "Seasons" (which would make sense) or even my lofty idea of "God Speaks" (an interpretation better explained on a more coherent day)  but likely just "The best of me for now" , not too catchy or earth shattering but simple and true. 
If my art can make someone smile, remember, dream or just lose themselves for even a moment then I can be content knowing that I've done exactly all I need to do.
I think I'll sleep well tonight.  
                                 ....and I will update the gallery very soon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Exhibiting soon...

Just putting the final touches on a few last pieces before my next show.

I am exhibiting at Cafe 349 in Shawville starting November 7th.  There will be a vernissage on Sunday, November 13th from 1-4 pm...if you're in the area drop in to say hi, I'd be delighted to see you!

Although I would have liked to be ambitious enough to have all new works to display for this; my first solo show outside of the studio, I will have to fill in with some that some of you may have already seen.  There will be be well over a dozen pieces that are new though... Hopefully enough to pique your curiosity!

As for a statement about my will go something like this:

I paint what I know.  I know beauty in the world all around.  In flowers, trees, landscape and sky...the vast open space that is my home and the creatures that inhabit it.  The way the light plays on the leaves, the land and the buildings all around, I have not seen much of this great world yet but what I've seen is pretty awe inspiring.
In cows  I see old, gentle souls.  They could not survive without the help of man and they seem to know it.  Together we are partners.  Anyone who has ever worked with them and paid attention can feel the trust and the contentment they have with the arrangement.  Likewise, when we do something out of routine those girls become scared.  We need to reassure, calm and care for them...not so different from people after all!  People say my cows have expressions and feelings, I say they're right, because they do.

...I dunno, I suppose a little too out there for some...but I guess I didn't get the reputation for being a bit of an artistic type by thinking like everyone else...can't change how I feel!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

After the Harvest!

We have finished our very first year of grape harvest. 

Time will tell whether we even have a clue about what we are doing.  We presently have just under 200 litres of juice fermenting in tanks and a carboy, I imagine we'll finish with just over 150 litres of 2 reds and a white wine. 

What we were forewarned would be a lot of work, was.  But there's something about the vineyard that just resonates with me. 

Other than our rather unsuccessful first year of planting around 1000 sticks which were supposed to root and did not, any work we've put into it has reaped great benifit.  I am not referring to the quantity of wine (or perhaps really good vinegar?!?!) which we might end up with a year from now when all our juice is properly fermented, racked, oaked, aged and bottled  -or is that bottled then aged? (note to self:  read more) but rather the pleasure the time spent in the vineyard really brings. 

As most of you already know Scott, my husband is a dairy farmer and helps to manage a pretty big operation which is situated across the road from our home making him the go to guy at all hours of the day and night.  Any farmer knows that livestock consumes ALOT of time, but being part of a farm with lots of help enables Scott to take one day off a week, a luxury that is not common in the industry.  The drawback, for us is that we're programmed to be busy, rise early and work hard.  For me I might chalk it up to adult attention deficit, for Scott, he has a really fidgety wife that he tries to please and he just cannot sleep very late. (sorry, honey!)  Regardless, the decision to plant a vineyard has provided time together that has escaped us in the chaos of building a barn and business, raising babies and juggling these with other commitments. 

In the early days of our marriage we renovated our home which demanded a ton of time, lots of decision making and learning how to work together.  In recent years we've lost that time or at least when we are together there is always someone else present or underfoot.  The vines have given me back time with Scott, sometimes chatting incessantly about whatever burdens we're carrying but more often than not silently working side by side building a future together again.  A little bit of time we just haven't taken the time for that I obviously craved more than I realized. 

We also have lots of curious neighbours stopping by while we're out, sometimes to lend a hand, sometimes just to chat.  All this reminds us that we're part of a larger community that yes, sees every mistake we make along the way but still acts as encouragment to us by their presence and support in this and all we do.
Finally, I spent quite a few solo days out there, pruning and tying the vines and mowing the grass in between (not my favourite job, I'd rather listen to the world around me...not the hum of a mower!) and in this time is when I get reaquainted with the person I am.  When I listen.  Yes, to the birds, the wind, insects, the occassional rumble of a group of Harleys passing on the highway below but what I really listen to is something or someone that I cannot really hear but I just feel and through this everything is once again balanced in my life.  I remember that I am blessed. 

A pretty tall order for a bunch of unruly vines, but they nourish and fill me in ways I simply cannot put into words.

For now the vineyard remains unnamed, there is no rush in this. I am sure it will be years before a hard and fast decision needs to be made.  Some favourites we've dreamed up are Little Red Wagon Winery (as that's our biggest tool!)  Day Off Vineyard,  Spring Notes...and on and on our ideas flow.  We're really undecided but it might have something to do with our land...springy, our birds...a practical sanctuary, (except when a hawk conveniently chased them away just as the grapes were ripening) or our valley home or even our family name...we do not know.

What we do know is we're done the harvest for this year and look forward to seeing if the vines survive their second winter.  We will be planting more in the spring and playing with and tasting the big vats of stuff that now occupy a bunch of space in our garage. 

Time together, learning, laughing, trying something new and moving forward.  All is well.


white grapes

some of the red grapes

The skeptical pre-teen that was NOT captivated by the process :)

Enthusiastic grape crushers...we opted for new rubber boots rather than bare feet!

and the littlest thinking we are all plain crazy!

Some of the red ready for primary fermentation. 

So that's where I've been, but promise to be back sooner next time...I have an art show that begins on November 7th, that is now what I'm up to...I will post details soon!  Cheers! Jen 


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Painting again...

Although my to do list is very varied right now I have managed to grab some minutes from my days to put paint to canvas once again.
Been working on commissions I've promised since the Pontiac Studio Artists Tour this past June.  These are not my normal "style"  (if you can say I have a style when I haven't been producing all that long?!?!?)  but the first works like these did sell and I guess there's a bit of a demand for them as I've been asked to create more.
Turns out I have lots of fun doing them, they don't require alot of tedious detailing or super concentration...almost feels like playing -except I get paid for it!  How cool is that?

I'm big on these trees, not sure why, they're just really whimsical, thinking of creating a whole series... 

...colouring book version of the Pontiac?

Finally very different than anything I've done for awhile!
(please disregard the lovely unfinished background...this work is too stinky for our house, so I get relegated to the garage.)

I used to do more sign painting.  The last I did was for our own farm 8 years ago.  This one above is a show sign for The Shawville Fair which is happening this weekend.  I have another full sized one (4x8 feet) to do for their farm gate as well.  Shawville Fair is HUGE around here.  That is where you'll find most locals and lots of visitors too, our sleepy little town really comes alive every year on Labour Day weekend.  I personally have a love/hate relationship with the fair, but that's mainly because since we had kids we spend literally days upon days standing in a midway while they go crazy...great for them but very tedious for 2 individuals that are NOT fond of rides.  Regardless, we'll see you there and best of luck to all the exhibitors!  

Cheers! Jen 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Growing up...

Today I dropped my oldest off at High School.  Here in the "Belle Province" high school starts at grade 7 and ends at grade 11.  I was totally ready for it when I was that age, but now...when it's MY kid being dumped in a big, bad H.S. I am NOT ready!  

Emma will undoubtedly roll her eyes in exasperation when she reads this post and say something like "Mom, really, can you not think of anything else to blubber about?, you're soooo embarrassing!"  but in my defense, this is not about her...It's me.

I've got to grow up because like it or not, everyone else is.

When the alarm went off the other morning and Scott was getting ready for work he noticed I was lying there wide awake and asked what I was thinking about.  My wakeful state is unusual at this hour of the day unless I'm stressed so that is why he expressed concern.  Usually all he gets in the way of conversation at 4:45 am is a growl, an elbow and maybe an uttered profanity or two because I sort of think that any guy who believes that waking up at that time to "live his dream" is borderline insane, but different strokes! answer was:

                     "Our Gerber baby starts high school in 2 days."
She in my mind should not be growing so quickly.  I know my dilemma is not unique and there are thousands of parents that have a hard time letting go and also another thousand that would likely say..."Just you wait after 5 years of living with a teenager you'll be shoving her out the door.", but I'm not there yet.

Life passes very quickly.
I catch glimpses of her and the 3 others growing up... and in a blink.

                                    But what has hit me is that I am not prepared.
I see she is more independent.  We have arguments when picking out clothes, I think she's beautiful without makeup, she disagrees, I don't think she needs to live on her i-pod, she feels the need to connect with her friends...I remember all the same stuff from my youth (bar the i-pod!) the push-pull, the struggles and deep down I embrace them all because the alternative would mean that I was not blessed with a healthy, self sufficient, strong child to nurture and care for, for a brief moment before she made her place in the world.

                            So all is good.
It does seem like yesterday when I experienced labour for the very first time, when this gorgeous malleable, innocent tiny human was placed in my arms and although I was truly terrified and unsure of what to do, it felt entirely right. 
It seems like yesterday that I craddled her in my arms and wondered when I'd ever be able to walk without some extra sort of appendage attached to me. 
It seems like yesterday her vocabulary consisted of "ta!" and "two!" 
Yesterday we had her first "friend" birthday party, her first sleepover.
I realize that none of this was really yesterday, not even the week away at camp or the trip she took to Saskatchewan this past spring was not just yesterday, but months ago.

We're for the most part firmly rooted in the present, we know she is growing up and away and we really are good with that.

My question, other than how will I emotionally move this kid away to college 5 short years from now (and how will we afford to?) is:

Does she know?  Does she know?

 Does she know how much she means to me?

How much we have loved her and always will?
Does she know that whether she is leaving for high school or kindergarten or a shopping trip, on a first date, or college...does she know that she absolutely, unequivocally, entirely rocks our world and she is (her siblings too) THE BEST THING WE HAVE EVER DONE AND WILL EVER, EVER DO!

Whether she does know remains to be seen, but given time and grace she will know. 
How do I know? 
Because I am a daughter too and I know.
I don't have to look far to know that this bottomless love, support and pride in being a mom and watching a child flourish and become is simple and extraordinary all in one...

Love You Em, and Thank You, Mom.                                                                

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My New Distraction

Seems to me I won't be posting a plethora of artistic endeavours here anytime soon... our newest challenge may just take up more time more quickly than we even dared to dream and surprise, surprise-we're not ready! 

See, we began planting a vineyard last year.  Jen loves the vino...Scott's not too far behind and we have this old pasture which we don't pasture the cows on anymore (another story for another day) that had been irritating me to no end as it grew up in weeds each year and looked, well...awful.  We were also thinking it would be cool to supplement our income with something unique to the area and finally tried grapes after some persuasion from other growers much better established only half an hour's drive from home.

We were told 3 years until the vines came under production.  We know we're very disorganized and three years seemed like miles away...lots of time for us to get our act together, right?  Well...we waited a little too long to trellis and train the vines this spring.  That turned to summer and to be entirely truthful we're still not done.  Apparently the grapes we have were supposed to be loped off early spring in favour of establishing strong roots and a good base for future years. We just couldn't, they look too perfect!  (Hope our decision doesn't bite us in the butt this winter!)  Regardless...look and see!  Aren't they wonderful?

Here they are last year...shipped by Canada Post right to our doorstep!
The varieties are Swanson, Marquette and Frontenac Gris, Rouge and Blanc.

Here they are as they appeared at the start of July while I was pruning...

very vigorous growth...they're nuts!! ...and now...drum roll please!...

Aren't they AWESOME!? 

We live in Shawville, Quebec, Canada...the Ottawa Valley!  Even growers that live only an hour east wondered if we could grow and although it's far too soon to tell whether they'll survive the requisite 3 winters before we can consider they are...looking pretty spiffy if I do say so myself...I think I'm in love!  Swoon! 

So here's the question:  Anyone know how to make really good wine from cold climate grapes? 

We know it's done, we've tasted some great stuff but to know what to do with them already?  Thought we had at least one more winter to research, learn and likely find an individual with expertise.  (not to mention acquire equipment to handle produce from 500 plant)  Oh and we planted more babies this spring.  Yikes!  So once again, life may be getting busy!  But it's a happy busy...aren't they awesome? 

Okay...crazy lady out!  See ya!   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Something new

So...I'm going to try something a little new.  I'm not going to try to write great compositions or inspirational pieces or really much of anything, just simple, honest updates about what I'm up to, in to or tired of...whatever the mood dictates.   I prefer being brilliant or philosophical but that's really not me...I can pull that out of the hat every once in a rare while but that is not the way to keep a blog hopping, so honestly, I'm going to be just plain ol' me. consists of:

...welcoming a beautiful new sister into my life

...dealing with some aliens that invaded my space

...trying to see the beautiful in the common place

...looking to the past

...reminding myself it's time to start planning for the future

...looking up, asking many questions and wondering

...reminding myself yet again that life right outside the front door isn't so bad

...dealing with some toads (or frogs...whatever works!)

...celebrating small triumphs in the moment



...meeting some new but familiar friends

...some really exotic ones too!

...a few odd birds

...some rather intimidating individuals

...feeling like a big fat over stuffed bear

...wondering why everyone needs to get in my face

and looking for this kind of self assurance.

But all in all having a pretty cool summer...hope yours is going well too!  Jen

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Metamorphosis can sometimes mean staying the same.

All right...the time has come to post again. 

The Pontiac Artist's Studio Tour is done.  I have survived and thrived. 
(And Julie, I did not sell out, but I did sell well and so I thank you for your support and encouragement all the and many others that will go unnamed are what propelled me forward through the yucky times and kept me going with humour, wit, sincerity and rock solid advice and support.)

I committed to the event not knowing what to expect of myself, of the tour, of the visitors, of anything.   I found it harder to produce art than I expected.  Somewhere in my world a transition had occurred and this was that I'd stopped creating for entirely personal reasons and started to create for a larger audience.  I have, as expressed in older posts, found this change challenging but think and hope that I've finally made peace with the metamorphosis.  To be true to myself was a struggle.  I am (or try to be?)  a pleaser and while I hope this is an honourable characteristic I can too easily lose track of my own identity from time to time.  Part of my struggle leading up to the tour was this desire to create what people wanted rather than perhaps what was me. 

If clientele was mostly urban would they really want my simple cows, flowers, rural scenes?  In simple I mean it: simple.  That's what I felt when I worried.  Simple, plain, uncomplicated, uneducated, not the least interesting and completely uninspiring.  Who would want that?  I however could not turn my canvases into trendy, edgy abstracts or bold expressive scenes illustrating more in single strokes than some of the oft labourious studies I was attempting.  I wished to create these so that I could be that dramatic and exciting artist that seems to exist only somewhere in some parallel universe from mine.  The longer I struggled with this desire to please and anticipate what people wanted, people I hadn't met, didn't know, the more blocked I became and then finally I just gave up and started to again paint for me.  Back came the subjects I love, the bright colours that I think are likely a little too much for many and in being true to my soul and creating as I do, I moved forward and became pretty prolific.

In hind sight I can say I made the right decision.  My art, like any art is not for everyone, but I did find it was appealing to quite a few.  People were very complimentary and sometimes even enchanted by my home and art, how I express myself and surround my family with a big part of me not only on my canvases but on walls, doors and furniture throughout.  Some of you that know me are likely saying right now as you read:  "She's such a dope, how could she not know that people would be impressed?"  Well, for you I say there's impressions that are good and then there's shock and awe that's horrifying and I wasn't entirely sure which side of the coin I would land on.  ( I have a recurring nightmare where someday some high profile designer will feature my home for an entire episode of their program.  This will be broadcast to illustrate all things hideous that should never, ever be done...weird yes, but entirely possible!)

So, since it was a positive experience in the end and I did get over my block, I am happy to say I am anxious to create again, first for a show at the local Cafe in November and then again if God and the committee is willing for the Artist's Tour in 2012...I look forward to the privilege and thank all who supported me in visiting or purchasing or encouraging from near or far!  Thanks so very much! 

...will update my art page soon, but for's off to Emma's Elementary school graduation!  Cheers!  Jen

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Just a couple of newer paintings...

A painting I donated to help raise funds for a New Women's Housing Project in Ottawa.

A girl with an attitude?...I think she looks kinda teenagery?!?!

This one is entitiled:  "Little Lady" and is presently on display at Cafe 349.

This too...although I cannot remember what I named it just now!


My tulips brightening up an early spring day!

Hi y'all...just a few pics of some completed paintings I've done over the last while.  Some slightly over exposed...still trying to figure out the new camera. 
...Now back to the easel for me.  I'll transfer the images to the art page and dream up names and list prices just as soon as I can breathe again!

Take Care...Jen 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Okay, I admit it, I am stuck.  Teetering on a really wobbly plank and I cannot make that plank balance any more than I can tip it in the direction of success.  I can at any moment very unglamorously fall off.

I always believed I just had it.

No matter what.  

Now I realize, a bit too late that I too, like every other normal person out there can lose it.  I have lost it. 
Trouble is I need it now and no matter what I do to coax it from its shell, it is eluding me.  
I can paint pretty well.  No, I’m not Degas, Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, Leonardo, Warhol, or any of the other great geniuses, not even a modern day undiscovered one, but I can usually paint something that impresses someone.  Not so much, not right now. 
My genius (as classified by Elizabeth Gilbert in a TED presentation on creativity must be lost under the dust bunnies in some corner of my world.  I keep showing up to paint and my genius is not following.  Maybe it went on a trip…wish it took me with it, I could use a break.  Maybe it decided to find someone more worthy to attach itself to? 


All I know is panic is beginning to set in. 

And we are suffering.  Not the deep down true suffering that appears in so many people’s lives in death, in sickness, in war, in chaos, in violence.  But I am slowly going mental.  My kids look at me like I’ve grown 3 heads, My house is getting grimy, the laundry is overwhelming me.  My husband has this look of sympathy and I have developed a habit of screaming out loud (not really loud...not quite there yet!) for no apparent reason when what I am trying to coax out of my paintbrush repeatedly fails to transpire upon my canvas.  I 've also hit up a friend or two about my dilemma and if I keep this up eventually I'll become their plague. 

I have a goal and I am starting to believe I will not achieve it. 

I need to paint.  I want to paint WELL.  I don’t want to blow this and I’m afraid I’m going to. 

Meanwhile…my posts will become even more infrequent.  I cannot help this because I’m stubborn enough to keep trying.  I will paint every opportunity I get and I will either waste a pile of art supplies or I will eventually pull off a successful first ever studio tour.  Time will tell. Pray for me…I need it! 

Cheers, Jen

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Where's My Purple Paint?

I always lose my purple paint
                                               and I always need it. 

You see, I have a system for sorting my acrylic paints and I guess it needs some tweaking because I never quite know where to put and therefore where to find my purple paint. 

I have a basket that has three sections and so I divide my colours into three categories which makes sense to me for ease of retrieval when I’m in an inspired painting frenzy.

They are few and far between lately therefore I cannot risk a loss of focus!
I have a neutral section which houses the browns and a tube of black I’ve had for 20 years.

The warm colours section holds the yellows, oranges and reds.

Finally the cool colours section has a medley of blues and greens.  

I dump my purple anywhere; it does not have a home.
Is it cool and therefore does it go with the blues and greens? 
Or is it warm due to it’s proximity to red and therefore should it get mixed in with those and the yellows? 
Or finally is it neutral? 

Yes, I think that must be it.  In my life purple is most likely a neutral.  I use it everywhere. While I do not have a purple wall anywhere in my home I have tried, my usually very complacent husband put his oar in there and said NO WAY!  He apparently does not agree with me on the “purple is a neutral” train of thought!  Actually neither do I -there’s no way purple would be neutral on a wall!

 So where should it go?  I still do not know.

But for my art… purple is as essential as breathing. 

There is never a painting I do that doesn’t have a lot of it in it.  (Having said that a little purple goes a long way, it is very concentrated, in case you wonder.)   I paint purple cows…I never use black, a left over tip from art school days that  suggests the creation of black from other pigment adds a deeper, richer dimension to the colour on canvas.  Purple creates life, depth, shadow and fullness.  Therefore my cows are purple, my leaves are purple, the skies, the sheep, well just about it all!

On our wedding day many moons ago I remember the minister’s sermon.  She spoke of our small community and the landscape, the hills and valleys and likened the view to the patchwork quilt my mother had sewn as a wedding present.  She included the people that you see every day in passage.  The ones you speak to and the ones that might only get a cautious nod, even a very few you may go to great lengths to avoid.  She said in the incredible view that is our valley home there is richness and depth because of the dark spots, the forests, the deep dark lakes and even the questionable individuals.  Without all these “shadows” our views would be flat, lifeless and shallow.  In my naivety and youth I wondered why she needed to cloud our special day with such moody talk, but realized soon enough she was equating it with a marriage, a relationship and the shadows that would inevitably fall. 

These shadows are my purples.  In almost 16 years of marriage we have experienced many purples.  The really incredible thing about purple is not it in itself but how in spite of it’s somber intensity it does add life and vitality to our world.  Purple has a vibrancy all its own. Purple compliments and makes yellows sunnier, pinks more vital, blues deeper, greens increase in range a million fold.   Without the purple of life, the sorrow as it sometimes is, the injury, the darkness which carries a whole life of its own, there is not a doubt the fun times wouldn’t be as spectacular. Once you walk through the purple and realize that it was the shade that brought cool relief on a sweltering day, the depth that made leaves pop bright against the autumn sky would you really never want to experience it and are you not richer for it?  Would our lives be as sumptuous if the shadows weren’t in them?  I imagine life would be kind of flat. 
I like purple.  I have faith and perseverance to get me through my darkest purples and it illuminates by contrast the wonder that life holds in all its other array of colour and emotion.  I hope that in my art I have used it sufficiently to instill depth and richness which is so very essential in keeping everything from falling flat.
May your purples be bearable.  May you see them for what they bring and what they illuminate.  Tolerate the dark days as the celebrations will be all the sweeter.   Life is short, shadows fall, but it is a wonderful, amazing, awe inspiring trip.  So breathe it all in and enjoy.

Now back to my palette I go…so concludes my ode to purple. 

Don’t even get me started on Green and for the record, I do not have one of those but many, as they are life itself…another rambling for another day!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hello, my name is Jen and I am perhaps crazy.

We’re getting down to the wire now.

Here I thought I had oodles of time.  My big debut in the
Pontiac Artists’ Studio Tour
isn’t ‘til the merry month of June and in my world the grass hasn’t even begun to sprout yet.  But when I check the calendar…there the date is…looming pretty quick and I come to the realization that God’s world will undergo some pretty big miracles in the changing of the seasons in that time span and apparently I’ve got to too!    

You’d think the weather would keep me inside and increase my artistic productivity.  Well, not really.  I’m inside, maybe productive, but artistic?  Not on canvas.

        Hello, My name is Jen and I am a procrastinator.
                                BIG TIME. 

Things I’ve managed to do while avoiding Art this month:

-I’ve noticed a few pieces of furniture need refinishing and I got started.

-The bedroom could be rearranged, I started that too.

-While at that, a great time to eliminate my husband’s armoire and recreate the space which led to starting more furniture refinishing.

-Woodwork needs to be finished…all throughout the house…people can’t look at art if the baseboard is missing, right?

-There are a few walls that need some fresh paint too!

-Pillows I’ve been planning to sew need to get done. (I’ve had the stuff for 2 years now, it’s most imperative that they are done.)
-Also a great time to teach my 11 year old to sew!

-Oh...and this is HUGE and fun and awesome....I purchased a new camera, a REAL one...first great one I've had since before digital came out, so there's the job of learning how to use it too!

        Need I go on?
These are things that don’t matter, not in the least.  At least not for the tour.  Somewhere in my imagination they do matter. 
But can I validate doing them right now? 
Not on my life.
But does that matter to me?                         
                                           Not a bit.

 I will continue.  I will do all this and yes, the art too.

Welcome to my world.
I drive myself crazy.            Often. 
                                                       In fact I’m doing it right now.
And I fear: Others around me as well.

...but before you lose ALL faith in me...Look!  See!...I'm trying!... Jen 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wonders of my World

I create not because I want to simply illustrate something pretty, but because I want to explore the beauty, wonder and magic that is there for us all to see in the simple, everyday, often forgotten object.

There are infinite wonders to behold in this universe.  I know this because it has been taught to me.  I know there are countless that I have yet to experience and countless I will never experience.  If I had no restrictions of time or money and if I committed solely to discovering and exploring the wonders of this planet for the remainder of my days here on earth, even if I live to be 110, I will never see a fraction of all the wonders that this beautiful planet holds.   
Here in my small rural world, I know, also that I experience many wonders and they although often common as dirt, are wonders

There are life changing wonders:  The wonder of true, deep, rich Love.  Family, Marriage, Birth, Death. 

More subtle wonders:  Strength, Perseverance, Faith, Integrity.

But tangible wonders are what I see and paint.


Flowers, as unique as each individual person that walks this planet act as a reminder that I never need to look very hard to see beauty or miracles.  The flower starts as a seed and with soil and water life comes from its insignificant shell, and then flourishes into so much more.  In the haste that has become our everyday we rush past not even noticing this wonder that unfolds.  When we consider its journey to existence and contemplate the intricacy of its construction how can we not notice the beauty, delicacy and awe that its construction so plainly shows?   What man has ever created such delicate an object that breathes life, responds to touch, needs nurturing and yet rejuvenates itself at its end by returning to the earth and scattering its seed once again ensuring a future?

Likewise with trees and animals, even more so significant and necessary in our lives, they never cease to impress me with their strength, tenacity and beauty.


As for the old buildings I paint, I do these for many reasons.  I am intrigued and to be honest saddened to see these structures fall to disrepair and abandoned, and yet, even the romantic that I am knows that not every homestead can be saved, not every barn remains structurally sound. 
Does it make me think them any less? of course not. 
These are the buildings that sheltered our ancestors, and I think of the perseverance that went into building them as people struggled to carve out a space for themselves in this wild and sometimes cruel landscape.  The challenges these families faced were huge, their needs more primal than modern day and as I watch these structures fall I cannot help but imagine the pride some must have had in building such worthy havens for their families.  These were done by blood and tears, and were not the simple turn key builds that we have become accustomed to purchasing today.  These structures built one step at a time, year after year with more tribulation than most of us face in a lifetime eloquently illustrate perseverance.  These buildings that remain are the ghosts of the past and I love to hear their whispers.

All of my art amounts at first glance to nothing more than an attempt at a bunch of pretty pictures, but bring spirituality, strength, determination and God to mind.  What I hope to achieve is a reminder of the awesome, unbounded strength and beauty of our planet and the strength of spirit of folks who walk life’s path and share the same soil as us.