Friday, 25 September 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 12


Jessie Swimming, acrylic, 24" x 30"

Blog 21

At the turn of the century, many people feared that the so-called Millennium bug could create dangerous interruptions of computer-controlled utility systems, public transportation and financial transactions. Luckily, experts recognized the problem early and were able to fix most issues.

I started the new century with my son, surrounded by my family in Germany. When I returned to Canada in early January, it was freezing, and not only compared to the mild weather in Germany.

As I still lived alone with my two-year-old son and dog, I was happy when I saw the brochure for preschool classes for children over 2.5 years at the local YMCA. I registered my son right away for two mornings a week. He also went to a daycare provider one afternoon a week. These were my much needed moments of alone time.

I had developed a well-established daily routine with Dominic and Jessie. There were times like during Dominic's flu when life as a single mom was very challenging, but most of the time, I felt in control. When the time of Ingo‘s return approached, I was excited but also scared that this would interfere with our carefully established routine.

At the same time, I had a hard time to accept the second wave of pregnancies in my circle of friends. While the first ones were about to deliver a second time, the second group was getting pregnant. Having only one child had its advantages. I still had time to satisfy my thirst for culture. Once a month, I went to a small local theatre with a friend.

I also felt lucky to live close to the National Gallery with a fantastic art collection. I exposed my son to art from an early age. At the age of four, he created innovative structures from our recycled garbage. We had to destroy these large objects when we planned to sell our house a couple of years later. I deeply regret that we did not take any pictures of his artworks. Even though his love for art has not lasted, he still possesses a lot of imagination to develop mechanical innovations. He built a hovercraft out of grocery bags and designed and build his own remote control race car, to name only some of his later projects.

With my husband’s return in the spring and Dominic at preschool twice a week, I managed to have more creative time. I increased the production of new bears and bear-related projects to be ready in time for the Gloucester Craftsmen's Guild Spring Market.

I was encouraged by my husband’s praise of my art to paint more. Jessie Swimming (above) was my largest painting for many years.

Then suddenly, my whole life changed again when we found out in early July, that I was pregnant. However, this pregnancy was even worse than the last one. I was so nauseous that the that I had to take medication for the whole duration of the pregnancy.

Ottawa Sunset, acrylic, 16" x 20"

I was so tired that I spent a lot of time lying down reading to Dominic. Despite the morning sickness, I continued to paint one more painting that was part of the Arteast exhibition called Sky. I needed the rest of my energy to make bears and bear-related products. In November, I participated in the Christmas markets of the Cumberland Arts and Crafts Guild as well as the Gloucester Craftsmen's Guild before life led to my next creative break.

If you would like to find out how I managed to create art again after the birth of our second child, I invite you to return for the next chapter in my immigration journey.

Friday, 18 September 2020

Blog-free Week

Sunny Kamouraska

Acrylic, 11” x 14”, $375



For the past ten years, I have spent this week in Kamouraska with some of my painting buddies. We have always rented the same house and spent a whole week painting in the area around Kamouraska. A painter's dream! Well, not this year. I miss the painting time with my friends and hope that we will be able to paint the beautiful landscape along the Saint Laurence River for many more years together. At least, I have lots of beautiful pictures that keep the memories alive.


This year, I was supposed to be in Barcelona right now, my favourite city. I love the works of Gaudi. I was looking forward to seeing his fantastic artworks again, especially the progress at La Sagrada Familia. I visited the cathedral about thirty years ago. My father-in-law and I had planned the trip for ten years. I am disappointed that it was cancelled, but there will be another chance to go. At the moment, it is more important to do our part to stay safe even though it is hard if your family lives far away and you do not know when you will be able to see them again.


I could focus on the negative, but instead, I choose to go to some the neighbourhood spots and my backyard to paint. You can find beauty everywhere. I hope you will go out this weekend and look around your neighbourhood with a fresh look. Have a great week!

Friday, 11 September 2020

My Immigration Journey - Part 11

Dancing Trees, acrylic, 30" x 24"

Blog 20

1999 was a challenging year. While our son grew up with well-developed motor skills, he still spoke less than 20 words at the age of two. It was very stressful to see our little boy struggle, worrying that something was wrong with him, especially since the scare after his birth. An additional challenge was that we raised Dominic bilingually. I spoke German to him and my husband English. After assessments by speech therapists, we had to go to weekly speech therapy sessions. It was a long and often frustrating path that paid out in the end.

My husband still worked on the project in Halifax and was gone often. He finally moved to Halifax for six months in the fall of 1999. Therefore, I kept busy meeting friends and exercising regularly at the gym. I finally met two German women who had small children and shared common interests with me. We spent a lot of time together, sometimes meeting even twice a day. The bond between us changed when the other two became pregnant for the second time. They became closer, and I felt like the fifth wheel.

I was eager to have another baby, though my husband was not ready for more children. Our disagreement about this crucial decision for our family created a great rift between us.

However, my husband was not the only one who was unhappy in our relationship. Regularly, I felt crushed by my roles as a 24-hour cleaning lady and child caretaker. I wanted more from my life. I wanted to challenge myself. That is why I became the president of the Orleans Newcomers Club only three years after I had joined. Due to my thirst for more cultural distractions, I already had a membership to the National Gallery and its Junior Member Society. In 1999, I also joined the Gloucester Craftsmen Guild and Arteast, an Orleans art organization.

My parents had purchased a cottage so that they could have their own space when they came for their visits. During the rest of the time, we were able to use it. It had a beautiful garden with lots of flowers. It was a very relaxing place to retreat from the daily routine. There, I found time to sketch and paint.

In October 1999, I took part in the Arteast art exhibition at the Gloucester Library. It was the first time that I hung two paintings in a public place for sale. At the same time, I continued to make bears for the Gloucester Craftsmen Guild Christmas Market. I was proud about this step and wondered if anyone would be interested in buying my creations, even though I was not ready to part with them.
My family was not too supportive. They did not understand that it was more about approval than making money.

When I went to Germany with Dominic for Christmas, I was not sure what the new millennium would bring for our family. I enjoyed the support from family and friends. The happy times ended abruptly when my grandmother was hospitalized on Christmas Day and died the following day. It was a sad finish of a burdensome year.

However, during the times of crisis, I also learned a lot about myself and the people around me. I felt stronger and was happy about the bond to my wonderful son. I realized that a second child might not be the right decision for our family. My husband and I had too many other interests and dreams. Nevertheless, I was optimistic that we would become a family again. If you want to know how the story continues, I invite you to read the next chapter of my story in two weeks.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Blog-free Week

Alex, wool, 14" x 11"

If you follow my Facebook page, you will have noticed that I was not very active during the past week. I also postponed the painting party. Our beloved dog Alex is not doing well. He is at the end of his life, and we don't want him to suffer. As I rescued him from an abusive home, his death will hit me very hard. I have spent most of my time with him over the last couple of months as he has adopted me as his caregiver. I have no regrets and I have decided that he will be my main focus right now.

I will continue to serve you starting the second half of September with new courses and workshops. All courses and workshops will start as scheduled except for the September Art Cafe that is cancelled.


Learn Basic German Through Art for Children aged 6 – 12

Thursdays, 17:00 – 18:00, starting September 17, 2020, 10 weeks, $150/person, online, minimum 3 children/maximum 6 children

Learn Basic German Through Art for Adults and Children 13+

Thursdays, 18:30 – 20:00 starting September 17, 10 weeks, $220/person, online, minimum 4 participants/maximum 8 participants

Felted Owl, Poppies, Snowman

Felting Experience 

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, September 20, October 18, November 15, 2020


Let’s Draw What’s in Your Fridge Fall

Wednesdays, 3 pm to 4:30 pm, 5 weeks, starting September 16, 2020, limit 8 people per class

For more information please go to