Friday, 28 August 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 10

Lilies, acrylic, 20" x 16"


Blog 19

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?

Friday, 21 August 2020

Blog-free Week


I am looking forward to a nice weekend after a fabulous week of "Learn German Through Art Camp". The success of language  learning supported by art was exceptional. I can hardly wait to try this programme with the first group of adults in the second half of September.

If you are looking for a safe and fun activity for your children for next week, I offer another week of "Learn German Through Art". The camp is for novice German learners aged 6 - 12 years old.
If the cooler weather makes you think of hobbies for the longer fall and winter evenings, check out my fall schedule at the exciting programmes I have planned for you.  

Enjoy a wonderful summer week! I will be back with a new blog next Friday.

Friday, 14 August 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 9


Rose drawing from early 1998

Blog 18

The second half of 1997 passed very fast. We had lots of visitors who wanted to meet the new Peters offspring. As we could still take Dominic with us everywhere we went, we continued to go to events of the Newcomers Club. I also spent time with young moms and their babies who had founded a playgroup. While I was socializing more, I still was not able to build close friendships as the interactions were more about the interest in our children than ourselves.

I was still quite unhappy. I was exhausted all the time because Dominic was crying so much. On top, I had to care for our less than two-year-old Golden Retriever who was acting up as she missed being the centre of attention that she had been before Dominic's birth. I struggled to get the household tasks done, let alone have some time for myself.

Ingo had recently switched companies and received the opportunity to work with the team in Halifax, a good step ahead for him in his career. As we had decided to go together, we rented a furnished house in Lower Sackville for half a year.

We left right after the ice storm of 1998, which luckily had hardly affected us. While many people around us lost power for weeks and suffered damage to their property, we only lost electricity for a couple of hours.

For me, the time in Nova Scotia was a step back. My physical and social isolation at the time was worse than anything I had experienced before or since then. I spent my days caring for our baby Dominic and our young Golden Retriever, Jessie. I was exhausted from seeing nothing but housework and looking after the energetic duo. As Ingo took the car to work, I was not able to visit other places but the streets around our house. As it was winter, everyone kept to themselves. I did not connect with anyone during the whole time we lived in Lower Sackville. I felt very lonely and wished that I had stayed in Orleans, where I had access to a car and could go to the mall, visit a museum or some of my acquaintances.

Only the visit of my parents and my sister lifted my spirits even though I exercised daily and carved out some time for my hobbies. I created a couple of drawings. I also continued to make bears as I was still hoping to find a market for unique bears.

Ingo, on the other hand, enjoyed his new position very much. He worked long hours but enjoyed the engagement in the team. He went for weekly billiard evenings and Sunday hikes with his colleagues. 

All my positive memories of the time are related to our weekend trips when we explored the area with its beautiful landscape and beaches. Halifax, Peggy's Cove, and Lunenburg were some of the well-known sights we visited. I wish that I already had the habit of taking a sketchbook with me wherever we went. If I look back at the photos, I feel like going back for a plein air painting trip now that my children are young adults and have their own lives.

Is there a place you want to visit for a second time? Maybe even a place that you did not appreciate as much the first time around. I will share more of my immigrant experience in two weeks as things began to turn in ways I had not expected.

Friday, 7 August 2020

Blog-free week


Whenever, I think of August, I think of Sunflowers. Possibly, because they are my mom's favourite flowers, and her birthday was at the beginning of the month. As the sunflowers are at their peak right now,  I created lots of sunflower artworks during the last couple of weeks. If you love sunflowers, maybe you can share with me if you grow some in your garden or love to watch sunflowers in the neighbourhood. 

Do you feel like creating sunflower art? Check out my website for my upcoming sunflower event at

The August Art Cafe
August 9, 2020, 2 pm – 3:30 pm: Sunflower Greeting Card, $10/person

Sunflower Felting Workshop
Sunday, August 23 and August 30, 2020, 11 am – 12:30 pm, $40/person

Sunflower Painting Party
September 1, 2020, 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (rain or heat date: September 8, 2020), $35/person

Have a great week! I will post the next part of my immigration journey next Friday.