Friday, 29 May 2020

Blog-free Week

The Flower Garden

Oil, 14” x 11”, $375

Now, that nature has exploded into lots of colours, I hope that you will be able to spend some time outside this weekend. I love to be in our garden, and enjoy the peacefulness of this natural oasis. Every day, new flowers, bushes and trees seem to bloom. I love all the wonderful smells. Enjoy the fresh air and soak up nature's energy! You will feel so much better.

I will continue with my immigration journey next week. Writing the story has made me realize how important art has been in my life. I have not only learned new skills but made some wonderful friends. If you would like to join me in any art events, please check out my website

Friday, 22 May 2020

My Immigration Journey Part 3

The Wedding Day, acrylic, 16" x 20"caption

Blog 12

1995 was a year full of excitement. The biggest highlight was scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend when my parents and sister came to our wedding. I had not seen them for almost half a year, and I was excited like a little kid about the reunion. We drove to Mississauga at the same time as my parents and sister sat on their plane. After everyone had arrived, my future in-laws served champagne and freshly baked cake, which is a rather German custom, followed by a barbecue, which is rather Canadian. I did not realize at the time that they had found their unique way of combining the traditions of their home country with the ones of the country they had chosen to make their home.

The next day, we went to some of the must-see sights of the greater Toronto area: Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The sun was shining so that two beautiful rainbows formed while we were all outfitted with blue raincoats on the “Lady of the Mist”.

On Saturday, we got married in a civil ceremony at City Hall. Only our parents, siblings, Ingo’s best man Derek and two close friends of the Peters, did attend the ceremony. Luckily, all my in-laws and their friends spoke German. Therefore, my parents felt right at home during the celebration. Finding some evening entertainment was not as easy. In the end, we saw the musical “Beauty and the Beast”, a perfect choice as music breaks all the language barriers.

The day after the wedding, my parents and my sister came with us to Ottawa. For the next three days, I went sightseeing with my parents and sister, while Ingo went to work. Soon, it was time to drive with them back to Toronto. In the months since Ingo started his new job, we had purchased a house. Instead of a honeymoon, I left Canada with my family to organize the move of my possessions to Canada to furnish our house.

I was very busy during the four weeks in Germany as I also had to say goodbye to lots of friends and relatives. I missed Ingo, and without emails, our communication was limited to letters and occasional phone calls, which were still quite expensive.

We moved into our house at the beginning of December. The isolation and repeated colds increased my homesickness. I found it hard to adapt to the new neighbourhood as everyone stayed in their own secluded space during the cold weather. What helped me to find comfort was our new family member, our Golden Retriever, Jessie. I was also busy organizing our church wedding in German in June 1996. I created all the decorations, from wedding bear centrepiece to invitations, place cards, and table decoration. While it saved us money, creating all these unique decorations also gave me something to be proud of and let me dream about the happy celebration.

I hope you enjoyed this part of my story. Please share my blog with friends and family, especially if they have experienced a similar journey. Thank you in advance for your help to increase my audience.

Friday, 15 May 2020

Blog-free Week

Tulip Magic 

Oil, 8″ x 10″, $ 250

In Canada, we will be enjoying a long Victoria Day weekend, which is often considered the start of the summer season. Many people usually head to their cottages to spend time with family and friends. This year, however, things will be very different. In Ontario, we are still asked to avoid unnecessary travel. Gatherings are still limited to a maximum of five people unless more than five members live in the same household.

I hope that the nice weather will encourage you to spend time outside. Cherish the time to relax and observe the magnificent nature. Last week, I painted the only tulip that was blooming in our garden. It looks like some more will bloom this weekend. I will take the opportunity and paint them to capture the beauty that still surrounds us.

Before I head outside, I will be hosting a free 40-minute drawing workshop. Would you like to join me in my little game of "I spy with my little eye"? Every Saturday in May, at 11 am, we have a different theme. This week, we will draw something blue. To participate, please register at…/art-and-craft-workshops/.

Friday, 8 May 2020

My Immigration Journey Part 2

Spring in Ottawa, Acrylic, 11" x 14"

Blog 11

Thank you for following my immigration journey. I enjoyed reading your comments on my Facebook page. While I am going through my journals to write my blogs, I have realized how important art has been in my life. Creating art has always helped me to find a place of peace and joy.

This week, I continue my story with our move to Ottawa. I visited Ottawa for the first time when Ingo had an interview in the middle of July 1995. I liked the smaller city with a European flair, and I could imagine living in this beautiful city. While Ingo had his interview, I visited the National Gallery of Canada. I was in awe of the old masters from the Queen's collection. I also loved the paintings of the Canadian landscape in the Canadian collection.

Until the interview, staying in Canada had only been a farfetched idea, a dream other people had. Suddenly, this option became a possibility. This realization threw me into a state of panic. I realized that I might be permanently separated from my family and friends. On the other hand, I was also fascinated by the extraordinary experiences ahead of me. How many people have the opportunity to pack up their belongings to start a brand-new life on a new continent? I was fascinated by the prospect of finally having time to pursue my hobbies, which I had neglected for years due to working long hours and studying at the same time. The prospect of not having to work for a while was very enticing. In retrospect, it was a very naive view as it made me financially dependent on Ingo.

While we were waiting for news from Ottawa, I spend more time painting. In the beginning, I was very frustrated, because I was lacking practice. However, the more I painted, the more confidence I felt. Painting became my refuge. Even when it was time to decide our future in Canada, I retreated to painting. As we were at the cottage at the time, I went down to the deck to paint the sunset. Painting gave me a way to express myself were words failed. I was able to calm down and clear my mind.

I managed to avoid the talk about our future in Canada for three days. In the end, I encouraged Ingo to accept the job offer. I still felt guilty about the decision as I was wondering how I could do this to my parents. They had hoped that we would return after six months abroad. I wished that I could at least call them. It had been three weeks since our last call and I truly wanted to discuss this big milestone with them. They were more supportive than I had hoped by encouraging us to stay where Ingo had the best job possibilities.

Five days after Ingo accepted the position, we arrived in Ottawa. While Ingo and I had talked about not being ready to get married days before Ingo accepted the position, we changed our minds ten days later as is became clear that this would be the easiest way to get me approved as a landed immigrant. At this point, I was still a regular tourist who needed to leave the country at least every six months. I had neither a residence nor a work permit.

This decision meant that on Thanksgiving weekend we were looking forward to a big reunion with my parents and sister. I will start my next blog with this big event in my life. Thank you for reading my story. Please let me know if you have a hobby that you retreat to when life gets out of balance. What do you like to do to calm down and find joy?

Friday, 1 May 2020

Blog-free Week

The First Daffodil

Acrylic, 12″ x 12″, $300

With the first warm weekend forecast for the Ottawa region for this spring, I hope you will all have a chance to get outside while keeping the physical distance between you and others.

On Sunday, I will host my first virtual Art Cafe. While I miss welcoming friends and clients in my house, we will still have a lot of fun, even though you have to provide your own treats. You can still join us by registering at We will be colouring a spring mandala together.

I will be back with a new blog about my immigration experience next week.

Have a wonderful week!