|Lilies, acrylic, 20" x 16"|
During the six months we spent in Nova Scotia, Ingo worked long hours. I spent the time isolated, looking after our son Dominic and our young Golden Retriever Jessie. I could hardly wait to return home.
I had been eager to be part of the Newcomers Club executive to be more involved with other women. As the position of the Head Convenor had already filled, I put in my application as vice president. When I learned after the executive meeting that I was elected as president instead, I was both shocked and honoured. I accepted the nomination as the challenge was good for my confidence.
On our way back to Orleans, we made a detour to Prince Edward Island. There, we visited the Green Gables, the farm that was the setting for the Anne of Green Gables stories by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The landscape was so idyllic that I would have loved to unpack my painting equipment. I could have painted for weeks.
Crossing the Confederation Bridge, we entered New Brunswick. I was delighted that the Trans Canada Highway went along the Saint John River. Some parts of the river were so vast that we could not see the other side of the bank. The landscape was breathtaking.
Once back in Orleans, I went to breakfasts and luncheons, visited friends and invited friends. After six months of isolation, I had a lot of catching up to do. I started going to a private playgroup with babies who were all born in the same year. I enjoyed my time at this group as we all had similar problems - with the children and with our roles. Some of these mothers are still my friends.
As Ingo was still commuting between Halifax and Ottawa, I spent a lot of time alone with Dominic who moved fast and climbed even faster and a rambunctious young Jessie.
My happy place became the National Gallery of Canada. It was a place where I could be myself, where I found relaxation and inspiration. One of the first outings was the visit to the special exhibition of the works of Picasso. Even though I am not a big fan of his paintings, his creative spirit was inspiring and revolutionary. I love his bright colours and was impressed by his prints.
I became a member of the Junior Member Society of the National Gallery which offered regular events for members under 35 years. When I visited a guided tour of the exhibition called Crossings, I was excited and a little nervous participating by myself. While I would have looked at the strange artworks shaking my head, the guide's explanations filled me with wonder by what I had seen. I felt enlivened to do something that did not involve taking care of a baby.
I went to every special exhibition in the National Gallery. In the fall of 1998, I admired the mastery of the lithographs of James McNeill Whistler. I was so fascinated by his works that I took a print workshop with the Junior Member Society, where we created prints inspired by his work.
In November 1998, after some random sales of my hand-sewn bears, I took part in an artisan market. I was excited to show my bears and paintings. Even though I was disappointed that I did not sell either a bear or my art. What was most important was that I had lots of fun creating art, and I was rather proud of how the paintings had turned out. The art I saw in the museum inspired me to paint more.
What inspires you to create art? Do you feel more inspired after you see the beautiful works of the masters? Do you prefer to create art alone in your studio or surrounded by others who share your passion?