Friday, 16 October 2020

Blog-free Week

Pumpkins, acrylic, 20" x 16"


Many of us are frustrated and depressed because of the increasing COVID numbers, but now is no time to withdraw into a cocoon. I know how it feels to be alone and to miss your loved ones from my early years in Canada, far away from family and friends. I am sure many of you also find physically distancing from loved ones very hard. However, this time we have modern technology to see each other - even if it is only virtually.


Therefore, let's meet online to create lots of joy by painting together. Bring your favourite relatives and friends and have fun together. I will guide you through the process of creating the above seasonal pumpkin painting on Sunday from 3 pm to 5 pm. Limited spaces are available to keep this painting party personal despite meeting in my visual art studio. 

This activity is child-friendly. Register together with your child (younger than 13 years), and I will give you a $10 discount. The fee is $30/person. For more information and to register, please go to The registration deadline is October 16, 2020.

Friday, 9 October 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 13

The Spring Bears, acrylic, 20" x 16"

Blog 22

The year 2001 started with lots of agitation. At the beginning of February, we found our dog lying in a large puddle with water dripping from the ceiling. When we looked for the source, we discovered that the water was running down from the upstairs master bedroom wall to the basement. The carpet was soaked. We and we had to change the towels every hour to keep the water from dripping to the lower levels.

All this excitement probably did not help me with my pregnancy. Even though I had another six weeks ahead of me, I started having contractions. I and could not feel my otherwise active baby anymore. Once we were at the hospital, our little girl moved so much that the nurses could not get a continuous reading of her heartbeat. As the baby was quite big but much too skinny, I had to stay on bed rest for ten days. I felt very lonely in my misery and guilty that my pregnancy prevented me again from living without confinements. Instead of taking our son to the playground, we spent the time reading, creating art and watching TV, which was not what our active almost-four-year-old boy felt like doing all day long.

On March 5, when we started dinner, the contractions started again. After the long labour I endured with Dominic, we decided to have dinner first before leaving the house. A big mistake! Suddenly, the contractions came strongly and in short intervals. It was snowing, and we had to drive Dominic to a friend first before we continued to the hospital.

When we reached the hospital, things happened quickly. I was rushed through the hallway to a birthing room. People had to jump into the room to make space. I was relieved to see two doctors in the room, one of them the same doctor who had already delivered our son. I still wore my street clothes when Christine was born minutes after we reached the room. From the time we had entered the hospital until she was born, only 20 minutes had passed.

Despite the new challenges of having a newborn in the house and not sleeping more than five hours during the night, I continued to go to my monthly theatre outings with friends at the Ottawa Little Theatre, Canada’s oldest community playhouse in downtown Ottawa.

Starting in May, I started going again to the monthly Arteast meetings, the local art organisation. I was lucky that it took Christine only a month until she started sleeping through the night. It was time to start painting: first a tulip bouquet, then three of my bears sitting in a tulip bed (see above). I was determined to finish the painting in time for the yearly Arteast critique night. I was happy when the feedback was mostly positive and thankful for the suggestions for improvement.

I also continued to go to the National Gallery special exhibitions. Usually, I brought both children along. It was hard work because one of them often wanted to be carried around. Nevertheless, I was soaking up the beauty of the art and found inspiration to keep painting.

Whenever we had visitors, I took the chance to take them to art events. When I visited the Glebe Studio Tour with my sister, it was not only exciting because of the art, but also because of the beautiful neighbourhood.

At the time, Ingo and I kept looking for houses and building lots outside of the area where we lived. Our yard bordered on a small wooded area that led to a public transportation parking lot. The closeness to the bus station had resulted in more and more incidents of burglary. We were excited when we finally found a large lot in Cumberland with lots of trees and wild roses.


Mushrooms, acrylic, 16" x 20"

I continued painting in the fall when my parents came for a visit. At their cottage, I painted a group of mushrooms in the garden. It felt so liberating to be able to sit outside and paint while my parents entertained our children. Painting without interruptions was a rare treat!

When I go through my journals of the past, more and more pages are left empty because I was so busy caring for our children, our Golden Retriever and the household. I am surprised that I still managed to sketch and paint at all. It shows my strong urge to create. No matter how bad things are, creating art makes my life better. It is not something that I can stop. The desire to express myself and to capture the world around me is too strong. It gives me so much joy and feels meditative.

I hope you will join me again in two weeks when I have a look back at the year 2002.

Friday, 2 October 2020

Blog-free Week

Pumpkin sketch, watercolour and watercolour pencil

Now is a great time to be outside and enjoy the autumn colours. It is a beautiful season to walk, bike, or create art. 

Maybe, you want to bring a sketchbook and a pencil. I prefer to take a mechanical pencil so that I do not have to worry about sharpening. Sketching is a great way to journal and to bridge any time you have to wait somewhere.

Capturing a view or an object will bring back memories every time you look at the sketch. You might even remember what kind of day it was and how you felt that day.

Don't worry about what people think. Sketching is your unique visual journal entry. It is only important if you are happy with the information that you captured about a scene or an object. If you enjoy your sketch, it will be a great help when you decide to create a painting or detailed drawing at home. And if you are not happy, then it was at least an exercise in observation and concentration.

I hope you will all have a chance to get outside to enjoy the fresh autumn air before we retreat into our homes because of the colder temperatures and shorter days.
If you would like to learn how to draw, I invite you to join me for the weekly Let's Draw What's in Your Fridge sessions. Every week, we will draw another fall vegetable and fruit.
You will not only learn how to draw but also to really look at objects. Soon, you will see things in your environment that you overlooked so far. You will train your eyes to observe and to look for details, to see the world around with a curious eye.
This workshop is for you if you would like to:
  • have a fresh look at what is in your fridge
  • you want to learn how to draw
  • you want to learn how to look at an object and see all the amazing details that we so easily overlook
  • you enjoy drawing but never get to it on your own
  •  you want to create art for fun and relaxation
If this interests you, please click here for more information.


Friday, 25 September 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 12


Jessie Swimming, acrylic, 24" x 30"

Blog 21

At the turn of the century, many people feared that the so-called Millennium bug could create dangerous interruptions of computer-controlled utility systems, public transportation and financial transactions. Luckily, experts recognized the problem early and were able to fix most issues.

I started the new century with my son, surrounded by my family in Germany. When I returned to Canada in early January, it was freezing, and not only compared to the mild weather in Germany.

As I still lived alone with my two-year-old son and dog, I was happy when I saw the brochure for preschool classes for children over 2.5 years at the local YMCA. I registered my son right away for two mornings a week. He also went to a daycare provider one afternoon a week. These were my much needed moments of alone time.

I had developed a well-established daily routine with Dominic and Jessie. There were times like during Dominic's flu when life as a single mom was very challenging, but most of the time, I felt in control. When the time of Ingo‘s return approached, I was excited but also scared that this would interfere with our carefully established routine.

At the same time, I had a hard time to accept the second wave of pregnancies in my circle of friends. While the first ones were about to deliver a second time, the second group was getting pregnant. Having only one child had its advantages. I still had time to satisfy my thirst for culture. Once a month, I went to a small local theatre with a friend.

I also felt lucky to live close to the National Gallery with a fantastic art collection. I exposed my son to art from an early age. At the age of four, he created innovative structures from our recycled garbage. We had to destroy these large objects when we planned to sell our house a couple of years later. I deeply regret that we did not take any pictures of his artworks. Even though his love for art has not lasted, he still possesses a lot of imagination to develop mechanical innovations. He built a hovercraft out of grocery bags and designed and build his own remote control race car, to name only some of his later projects.

With my husband’s return in the spring and Dominic at preschool twice a week, I managed to have more creative time. I increased the production of new bears and bear-related projects to be ready in time for the Gloucester Craftsmen's Guild Spring Market.

I was encouraged by my husband’s praise of my art to paint more. Jessie Swimming (above) was my largest painting for many years.

Then suddenly, my whole life changed again when we found out in early July, that I was pregnant. However, this pregnancy was even worse than the last one. I was so nauseous that the that I had to take medication for the whole duration of the pregnancy.

Ottawa Sunset, acrylic, 16" x 20"

I was so tired that I spent a lot of time lying down reading to Dominic. Despite the morning sickness, I continued to paint one more painting that was part of the Arteast exhibition called Sky. I needed the rest of my energy to make bears and bear-related products. In November, I participated in the Christmas markets of the Cumberland Arts and Crafts Guild as well as the Gloucester Craftsmen's Guild before life led to my next creative break.

If you would like to find out how I managed to create art again after the birth of our second child, I invite you to return for the next chapter in my immigration journey.