Friday, 26 June 2020

Blog-free Week

Just a Touch of Red 

Oil on canvas
8″ x 10″
$ 250

From June 26 - July 11, I take my yearly summer break. This vacation will be different from what we had planned, but it will still be a time to relax and re-energize with my family. I will do a lot of biking, reading and enjoying the days without appointments and obligations. During this time, I will check my messages only irregularly.

In the meantime, you can already check out my schedule for the rest of the summer at

As we have entered the second phase of reopening in Ottawa after COVID-19 shut everything down, I would like to know if you would be interested in meeting in a park for an in-person meeting? We could get together for a painting party as well as a drawing, painting or felting workshop. As we would still need to spread out, I will check out some locations during my vacation. Please send me an email if you would like to receive further information.

As Wednesday is July 1, 2020, I would like to wish all my Canadian followers a Happy Canada Day! Even though the big events are cancelled this year, I hope you will still celebrate with some dear family members or friends.

The next part of my immigration journey will be published next Friday.

Friday, 19 June 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 5

Spring Greens

Oil on canvas
10″ x 8″
$ 250

Blog 14

After the highlight of the wedding in Germany, dealing with all the bureaucracy was tiring. It started with the need to redo my driver’s licence. After months of driving in Canada and the USA, once I passed my G1 level, I was suddenly not allowed to drive anymore without Ingo by my side. I certainly wanted to go for my driving test as fast as possible. However, in Ottawa, all the spots were booked until November. I was devastated until I was finally able to book an appointment in Cornwall within days. On a hot September day, I passed the driving exam without problems. At least I had overcome one obstacle in my way to more independence.

The day after my theoretical driving test, I became a landed immigrant. I was not very excited about it. Instead, I was starting to get tired of running and waiting around for documents at every agency. I was disheartened, regretting my decision to move to Canada. I was so depressed that I was not looking forward to my friend Bettina’s visit.

With Bettina, we went to the Peters cottage in Muskoka. The weather was fantastic, and I felt happy. We spent the time canoeing, playing cards and sitting on the deck. I was looking to practice drawing as I was not satisfied with my recent results. Finally, I switched to watercolours and felt better about my efforts. Every day during the weekend, I painted a scene. Most of the time, I was not fully satisfied with the result but discovered some improvement in my paintings. After the productive weekend, I felt much better about my situation.

In mid-September, I finally started my new painting class. I was delighted by the number of young women in the class. I was confident that we would be able to connect. I also started a daily 2.5-hour French class with other landed immigrants and new Canadians. All my activities outside of the house improved my mood as time passed fast.

I was planning to enrol at the Ottawa School of Art in the next year to get a diploma. The teacher had told me that I had enough talent and, even more importantly, enough persistence. I was excited about the new developments and in good spirits.

The next excitement was already on the horizon: In early October, we found out that I was pregnant. Ingo was excited. I did not feel ready to become a mom. I doubted my motherly skills as I was already annoyed by Jessie's mischievous behaviour as well as my reaction to her getting sick. Plus, I worried that a child would restrict my freedom even more than I dog.

early plein air attempts, 1996

Two days after I found out that I was pregnant, I started my first plein air painting course. I was surprised that only two other female participants had registered. We began drawing trees but soon had to look for another spot because the crowd of hikers made it possible to concentrate. We ended up at the bank of Meech Lake. I discovered that drawing details was easier for me than creating a complete scene. It took me too much time to capture the essential elements of the scenery.

However, I loved painting outside despite the frustration of struggling to capture what I saw on paper. There are still days when I am struggling, especially when I have not painted a lot for a while. However, when I look at these early attempts, I can see how far I have come. I also remember the words of my teacher that talent is only one ingredient to being a successful artist; perseverance and practice are even more crucial. I would add to this that enjoying the process of creating it the most important.

For everyone who would like to enjoy some time with me this weekend to see how much fun creating art is, I invite you to my free Art and Craft Workshop on Saturday, June 20, 2020, at 1 pm ET. We will be drawing the mushroom in the photo.

Are you looking for safe activities for your children this summer? Starting on Monday, June 22, 2020, I offer a daily one-week German language course called Learn German Through Art for children who love art and would like to learn some basic German. Each class will consist of an art project that is related to the language material. Learning a new language is fun. It also enhances creativity and helps with problem-solving, improves memory and concentration. And in case you have German-speaking friends or family members, can you imagine how happy they will be if your child can talk with them in their native language? A second week runs during the week of July 13, 2020.

Friday, 12 June 2020

Blog-free Week

Three Poppies

Acrylic, 9” x 12”, $ 275

I love this time of the year when more and more flowers are blooming. My irises are now in full bloom and create a beautiful contrast to the white snowdrop anemones. The only lupin in my garden has also started blooming, which makes me long for the beautiful fields of lupins that we saw during a visit to Prince Edward Island. It makes me dream of another trip to the island. For now, I am happy about the flowers in our neighbourhood. I am also excited about the prospect of painting with my friends again. We will start next week with a small group. And while we will make sure to stay 2 metres apart, it is a first step to spending time together again. Have a wonderful weekend, and make sure to make time for something that you love to do.

If you would like to try drawing, I invite you to join me for a free 40-minute workshop on Saturday at 1 pm. I offer these workshops every Saturday except for my vacation time between June 27 and July 11, 2020. This week, we will be drawing a trillium. For more information and to register please go to

Friday, 5 June 2020

My Immigration Journey Part 4

The Bone, acrylic, 16" x 20"

Blog 13

At the beginning of my second year in Canada, I was focused on our little puppy Jessie and the organisation of our dream wedding. Our little family had settled into our new home and a routine. Once a week, I went to the Ottawa School of Art for painting classes. At home, I also created many teddy bears. I even knitted sweaters and sewed skirts for some of the bears. When I arrive in Germany in mid-May, I still had lots to organize: from flowers to the wedding cake, musicians to the menu. However, I felt that I had everything under control. Only days later, I would see how little control we have in life. On May 26, both my grandmother was taken to the hospital after she had not been feeling well for a couple of days. On the same day, our precious Jessie had run into a car and needed to stay at the animal hospital. Luckily, both my grandmother and our little puppy recovered.

Ingo came a couple of days later, and we prepared for days of celebrating. We started with the “Polterabend” with friends, colleagues, and neighbours. The next day, we went to Weilburg with our parents and some close relatives to listen to a piano concert by Mozart in the church of the Weilburg castle. The following day, we held a welcome party for relatives of the Peters family at my parents' house. Finally, on Saturday, June 8, 1996, we celebrated our dream wedding. If you would like to read more about our German wedding, I encourage you to read the following blog: from 2016. In short, we celebrated for four fabulous days.

After the festivities, it was hard to leave again. Only the reunion with Jessie made the arrival in Canada easier. I had missed my little puppy so much. She was my first pet, and I treated her like my first-born.

The farewell was also made easier by the visit of my friend Britta who arrived less than three weeks later. It was wonderful to have someone to talk with for a whole week. As Britta and I have been friends since grade 1, we are quite close. We can talk about anything. Until the fall, three more German friends visited us.

I enjoyed these visits immensely, as I had a hard time to make friends in my new environment despite joining the Orleans Newcomers Club. A lot of the members were in the military and very focused on their immediate family. It did not help that Ingo was not interested in building close friendships. He was happy to spend some time with two of his colleagues for sports and the occasional beer.

I needed to establish more connections with people without Ingo‘s help. As I had enjoyed my time at the Ottawa School of Art in the spring, I decided to register again for an art class in the fall. I hardly painted alone. One time in late August, I went with Ingo and Jessie to a place that I had wanted to paint for a long time. After I was finished, I was surprised to see that the painting looked better than I had expected.

When I had started painting again after years of sacrificing my art to my heavy workload, I was shocked at my lack of skills. Slowly but surely, my technique improved and I regained some of the skills from my previous art education. I am not sure what happened to most of the paintings that I created during my first years in Canada. It would be interesting to see my improvement.

People have told me how lucky I am to have so much talent but practice makes perfect. Whether you paint, learn a language or exercise, you have to keep practicing to maintain or strengthen your skills. If you are looking for fun workshops to improve your creative expression, please check out my summer schedule at