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.

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