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Friday, 16 April 2021

25 Years in Canada - The Year 2012 Part II

At the Market II, acrylic, 16" x 20", SOLD



Blog 12


The second half of 2012 started with one week at the cottage. During our summer week, I usually find it too hot to go for daytime hikes. Instead, I spent a lot of time painting and felting when we were not at the beach. I sit in the mosquito-netting enclosed part of the patio, finishing paintings and sometimes working on new artworks. I love the feeling of being outside, sheltered from insects and too much sun.

For many years, I did not work in July and August to spend time with our children during the beautiful Canadian summers.

Burst of Energy, Hibiscus Delight, The One,
 
Waterlily Delight, Burst of Orange, Magical Iris, acrylic, 6" x 6
"

 
 

As I knew I would not find long periods for painting, I created 6” x 6” images of flowers. At the end of the summer, when my daughter and her friend were at a day camp, I managed to spend more time in the studio. I created At the Market II for the West-Carleton art show theme entry. For this purpose, I had visited the Cumberland Farmers Market to take pictures as a reference. I create a bright painting of a stand with lots of vegetables (see above).


I also took the opportunity to meet with other Arteast artists at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum for a day of plein air painting. 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 25, I took part in the Art in the Park event at the Cumberland Farmers’ Market. Setting up the grids at 7 am was torture for me, but I had a successful day talking to potential art students. I sold a tulip painting and greeting cards. Looking for new venues was high on my list of goals when the Gallery Old Chelsea relocated. Following the move, they only exhibited works of the associate members. I was busy preparing for some upcoming exhibition in the Glebe Community Centre and the Ottawa School of Art Showcase. I also applied unsuccessfully to become a member of another gallery.

 

Kamouraska Landscape, oil, 12" x 24", SOLD

On the second weekend of September, my friend Janis and I drove up to Kamouraska for our yearly painting trip. We had a terrific week, although the strong winds were challenging at times. However, the temperatures were as high as never before. We spent two days painting in summer clothes with temperatures reaching 27 degree Celsius.


While I was settling in after the painting trip and already preparing again for the next art show, I received devastating news from Germany. My beloved godmother had a brain tumor. The news hit me especially hard as nobody had told me that she had health problems for months. It was not the first time my family had decided to keep me in the dark about a critical situation. They often hoped to deal with the problem without me worrying from afar. Needless to say, that it led to me worrying even more when I learned the facts.


On September 22 and 23, I participated in the Glebe Fine Art Show. I was frustrated with a lack of sales, even though I was excited when one of my former customers told me that she still enjoys her painting every day. The bunny would still look as lively as the day she first saw the portrait. 


I was also disappointed about the cancellation of my German class with the local recreation centre. Completely unexpected, I received the notice of dismissal from the City of Ottawa. I was shocked as I had discussed switching from German instruction to art instruction with my supervisor. Luckily, I received a new contract for the winter session.

 

There was also another positive outcome. One of the registered participants of the cancelled course became one of my private students. He was not only a long-time student but became a good friend over the years.

 
Two weeks later, I took part in the West Carleton Arts Society's Expressions of Art Exhibition in Carp. It was my first exhibition west of the City of Ottawa. I met many interesting people but was disappointed that I did not sell a single painting. However, this disappointment changed into delight when one of the visitors contacted me after the show and bought four. 



On October 20, I was a facilitator at the You Deserve It Women's Day Conference in Orléans. I held two workshops with the theme Explore Your Creativity Through Painting. It was a new and exciting experience for me. Every participant had so much fun, no matter whether they used a paintbrush for the first time or had painted before.



On the weekend of November 24 and 25, I participated in my first Christmas show at the Watson's Mill Annual Christmas Market and Fine Art Sale, 5525 Dickinson Street, Manotick. I enjoyed the companionship among the artists but disappointingly did not sell anything.


Waterlilies, acrylic, 18" x 24", not for sale
 

I finished my creative activities at the beginning of December with a two-day impressionist workshop by Andrea Mossop. Claude Monet is one of my favourite artists. However, I realized during the workshop that even though I admired his artworks, I would never want to apply his technique again.

 

I have always enjoyed painting in the techniques of the masters because you learn something new every time. After each workshop, I have admired their mastery even more. Each time, I incorporated some of the gained knowledge in my work. I feel the influence of some artists more than others, not only from the masters but from my fellow painting buddies.



If you want to see what new challenges and opportunities I faced in 2013, come back to this blog next week. To see more of my 2012 paintings, please visit my website www.KerstinPeters.ca.






Friday, 9 April 2021

25 Years in Canada - The Year 2012 Part I

Waterfall at Dorcester Parc I, oil, 8" x 10", SOLD


Blog 11


We began the year 2012 in the quiet setting of the cottage. There we enjoyed a beautiful view of the frozen Ottawa River and the snow-covered landscape. At the time, my children were still young enough to spend the week with us. Due to the short winter days, we still had lots of time after our hikes to watch movies and play games together.

I still squeezed in some time for creativity. In the winter months, I usually prefer to practice drawing as it is easier to bring a couple of pencils and a sketchbook instead of all the materials for painting. Plus, even though acrylic paints don’t smell, the mediums I use do.

Back at home, I brought a new painting to the Ottawa Little Theatre, where I regularly exhibited with the Ottawa Art Association. The next stop was the vernissage of the Plein Air Panach 7 exhibition at the Gallery Old Chelsea. I was proud to be part again of the Plein Air Ensemble exhibition.

Even though my children still had a busy schedule of sports and music activities, my days were less hectic. Closing our Galerie de la Rive, handing over the Ottawa Art Association website, and concentrating only on my private courses created some more creative time.

In the second half of January, the painting course at the church started again. Later in the spring, I also taught a private student.

The Perfect Fish Tank, acrylic, 16" x 20", NFS


Aside from teaching, I got into the habit of painting every second day. I felt good about my regular time in my studio. In general, I only paint for 90 to 120 minutes before I need a break. Only when I am close to the end of a project, I completely lose track of time and might spend half a day painting without a break.

I also continued teaching German. I enjoyed sharing my language and traditions. For the longest time, I was nervous about losing my German. I had heard stories of immigrants who were not comfortable talking and especially writing in their mother tongue anymore. I learn something new all the time when I am teaching. When you grow up speaking a language, you never question grammatical rules as you use most of them intuitively. Once you have to explain grammatical structures to people who do not necessarily know anything about grammar, you gain a deeper understanding of their struggle.

Fishing Huts at Petrie Island, oil, 11" x 14", SOLD


At the end of February, I went painting the fishing huts at Petrie Island with some of my friends. It was my first visit to this little winter town of colourful structures. They appear every winter on the Ottawa River and is quite a typical activity during the Canadian winters. It is not a very common winter activity in Germany. It is only allowed at few lakes, and anglers do not build sheds. We talked to some of the fishermen. One even invited us into his cosy hut, furnished with a small stove, a table and chairs.

We were lucky to spend March Break also at the cottage. This time, my parents had arrived from Germany to spent the week with us. We had a great week time. However, all the relaxation vanished when we arrived at home and heard heart-melting cries from our cat. I ran into the basement but could not find him anywhere. I was frantic. He sometimes liked to disappear in the ceiling, and I feared he was stuck. Suddenly, someone called from outside. They had found Miko sitting under the kitchen stairs with red ears and paws.

As it turned out, he had escaped when a neighbour had visited him. Luckily, the sun had been warm, and the shelter under the stairs had prevented the worst. He still had some frostbite and was a little skinnier than we had left him, but all in all, he was OK. However, he was scared and suddenly cried every night for a long time.

The pastor of our congregation asked me to paint a Palm Sunday scene for the church. I was not too crazy about the request as Jesus riding on a donkey seemed challenging. I felt nervous about creating a religious painting, but I also felt too shy to refuse the work. The struggle is visible in the artwork. It is not my style and, despite frustrating efforts, not a good painting - a perfect example, what happens if you create something and your heart is not in it.


Rivière du Nord, oil, 10" x 8", CAN $250

At the end of March, I went with my friends Janis and Hélène to the next Plein Air Ensemble trip to St. Adèle in Quebec. Most of the days, the sky was grey. On our last day, however, the sky was cloudless and blue, but the wind was so icy that Janis and I spent most of the morning in the car. We only got out to take pictures until we found a big rock in a sheltered area. When the wind had calmed down in the afternoon, we created a second painting at the Rivière du Nord. This time of the big waterfall.

 

Together, oil, 10" x 8"

In May, I exhibited paintings at the Tulip Festival for the first time. I had already painted with Janis and Hélène at the festival for a couple of years. The beautiful flower beds have always inspired us. We also have some stories to tell about interactions with other visitors, but that is a subject for another time.

In mid-June, I joined other members of Arteast, a local art organization, for a trip to Montreal. After a visit to the Montreal Fine Art Museum, we strolled through the streets of Old Montreal. Some of us created little sketches, but most of us visited the many galleries to see what they considered worth showing.

Spending time at the museums and with other artists is very important for me. The life of an artist can be lonely and very frustrating at times. I cherish the interactions and exchanges with my fellow painters and the inspirations of the masters.

If you want to read what the second half of the year had in store for me, please join me again next week. I encourage you to subscribe to automatic delivery of my blog to your email inbox.



Friday, 2 April 2021

Happy Easter

 


Happy Easter! It will probably be a difficult time for many who cannot be with their loved ones. I am sad that my husband and I will not be able to celebrate with our children and extended family. Nevertheless, I hope you will experience joy in nature and find lots of chocolate eggs and bunnies.


I am taking an Easter vacation until April 9, 2021, and will return with a new blog next Friday.


If you would like to connect with me, I invite you to my April Art Cafe, an afternoon of chatting and laughter. The Art Cafe is my monthly social gathering to connect people to bring more creativity and fun to their life. During the next Art Cafe on Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 3 pm, we will create a torn paper art of a cupcake.

This event is for you, if you
would like to meet and get to know new people
enjoy the social aspect of creating art together in a relaxed atmosphere
would like to upcycle old books, magazines, and papers

For more information and to register, please go to https://www.kerstinpeters.ca/product/april-art-cafe/.


 


Friday, 26 March 2021

25 Years in Canada - The Year 2011 Part II


Fall in Gatineau Park, acrylic, 16" x 12", sold

Blog 10


I started the second half of the year 2011 with our annual week at the cottage. The days leading up to our vacation were so busy that I wondered again why we even went on vacation. I was stressed and in a bad mood.

On the day of our departure, I received a call that one of my good friends had a bad accident, and she and her daughter were gravely injured. News like this brings everything back into perspective. Suddenly, you realize how careless and unsatisfied we often are with our lives, missing the fact that every moment is unique and precious! Due to all the commitments, I had neglected the relationships with my German relatives and friends. I had started writing monthly newsletters to stay in contact since August 2002. In 2011, I had not written a single issue because I was so busy and postponed it from one month to the next. Suddenly, I felt the urgency to write again. It also renewed my determination to keep painting.

Look, How Strong I Am, acrylic, 11" x 14"


 While we were at the cottage, I continued working on a double portrait of my children for my in-laws. I was struggling with several issues. One was the reflection in the windows, but my children’s expressions also gave me a lot of trouble. I hardly made progress until finally, the pieces fell into place.

We enjoyed the time even more because it was scorching and while the cottage had an air-conditioner, our house did not. The day after our return, my family flew to Yukon with my father- and sister-in-law. I was glad not to accompany them as I am not a fan of camping. The temperatures soared around the 40 degree Celsius mark. Even at night, it was warmer than 30 degrees and even hotter with the humidex. At one point, I even took our dogs with me into the basement. They were usually not allowed there as it was our cat’s territory, but it was too hot upstairs. I was just glad for our little pool.

Usually, I dedicated my summers to my children. However, August 2011 was very busy. I still had to fight against the disapproval of my expensive hobby from my family. Despite the frustration, I could not stop painting. It is amazing how a painting comes to life layer by layer. It is an indescribable sense of pleasure when you can capture your vision on canvas. It is relaxing and energizing at the same time. I forget everything around me when I am painting. When I paint with my friends outside, I love the sounds and smells of nature, the fresh grass, the musty trees.

At the beginning of August, I participated in the juried exhibition Glorious Gatineau at the Gallery Old Chelsea with my painting Fall at Gatineau Park (see above).

Fall at Petrie Island, acrylic, 14" x 11", sold

At the end of August, I was one of the artists at the Art in the Park at the Cumberland Farmers Market. I had to get up at 6:15 am, which was torture. I was still up the evening before packaging my greeting cards. Preparing for the event took two days. At least, I sold Fall at Petrie Island during the event.


Once the end of summer, we had the opportunity to share paintings from past trips to Kamouraska at the Atrium Gallery in Ottawa. We received a lot of positive reviews, which was very encouraging.


Fields of Kamouraska, oil, 10" x 20", sold


From September 10 to 17, 2011, we returned for a fantastic week to the Kamouraska region. Except for the day I cooked, I was out every day from before 9 am to about 5 pm.

The scenes change so fast in front of your eyes due to the changing light that you create a different painting every time, even if you go back to previous spots. It is fascinating.


At the end of September, I took part in the Glebe Fine Art Show at the Glebe Community Centre for the first time. I sold two paintings and enjoyed many great talks with visitors and fellow artists.


During the summer, we had made the difficult decision to close the Galerie de la Rive at the end of September 2011. Despite the move to the new location, we were not able to attract more visitors. It was time for everyone to move on. I truly enjoyed working with so many talented individuals, learned a lot during my time on the board and made some good friends. 


The Barn Near The Creek, oil, 14" x 18", CAN $420


The next painting trip followed right away: the Plein Air Ensemble trip to Sutton, Quebec, from September 30 to October 4, 2011. Most of the drive to the beautiful countryside was sunny. When we arrived, we saw a breathtaking sunset and mountains in gorgeous fall colours. That was the last time we saw the sun for the next three days. Only late on the very last afternoon, a little bit of blue sky appeared. Janis and I looked at each other and could not resist the temptation to paint a small forest scene.


After the trip, I started teaching my fall courses: another art course at the church and a private student. I also continued teaching German with one private Level 4 course and a beginners course at Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex.

Victoria Island, acrylic, 11" x 14", CAN $375

Our recent plein air trips had renewed our desire for painting outdoors. Our group of painting buddies finally went out painting together in October. It was the first time since last winter. We captured the beautiful fall scenery at Petrie Island. In early November, we went downtown to Victoria Island, where we painted the last colourful leaves of the season.

Looking back, 2011 was one of my most productive years, mainly because of the two painting trips. Next Friday, I will not post a blog as it is Good Friday as I will take a couple of days off. You can read the next chapter of my journey on April 9, 2021. Thank you for your interest in my story.


The Barn Near The Creek, oil, 14" x 18", CAN $420

Friday, 19 March 2021

25 Year in Canada - The Year 2011 Part I

Presqu'ile Point, acrylic, 18" x 24"

Blog 9

 

At the beginning of 2011, I continued to teach German for the City of Ottawa and privately with former students who wanted to continue improving their skills. The problem with courses run by recreation facilities is the lack of flexibility due to the fixed costs. While this was not a problem for the beginner courses, most students were happy with the basic knowledge and did not register for further sessions. During all my years of teaching for the city, I only instructed one level 3 course. Offering small group and semi-private classes was the solution that worked well for myself and my students.



Starting in February, the gallery board organized life drawing classes at our Galerie de la Rive. The new building offered us the perfect setting to host the classes, which were very popular with our artist circle. I was excited to practice my observational and drawing skills regularly again after a break of almost two years.



Masquerade, acrylic, 20" x 16"
For the Arteast exhibition “A Night at the Theatre” at the Trinity Gallery in the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans, I created a self-portrait of myself hiding behind a mask.



After a visit to the cottage in mid-January and being in awe of the beautiful colours of the winter sunset, I painted in the bay of the Ottawa River from reference photos (see above).


Members of our church approached me to teach them how to paint. I guided them through my ten-week course in the different uses of watercolour, acrylic and oil paint. 


In early March, I developed a tennis elbow on my right arm, which handicapped me gravely for the next six weeks. I could not even open a door or hold a mug with my hand. 



Besides, my worries for our five-year-old Golden Retriever, Candy, increased. It became clear that the partial paw amputation was the only way to save her life. Even though the tumour was benign, the stretched skin over it ripped all the time, which endangered her life due to infections. Taking her for consultation was very difficult for me. I remembered my last trip with our first dog, Jessie, to the hospital. At the time, I had still hoped that her sudden lethargy was only a treatable autoimmune disease. However, a few hours later, we found out that she had mere days to live due to spleen cancer.



After the consultation, I was relieved that Candy would make a full recovery and could still lead a life without restrictions, but worried about how to afford the operation. I found a way, and she finally had her amputation in early May. It was hard to watch her in pain after the procedure. Candy was not very sensitive to pain, so I knew that she was suffering despite the medication when she winced in between doses. It was hard to witness. 



Despite my health scare the year before, life had fallen to the old routine. As much as I love living in the country, the lack of public transportation was a huge disadvantage. I was constantly on the road. 



Lemon and Peppers, oil, 11" x 14", CAN $375


I worked for the gallery, taught art and German, and drove my children around to their many activities. By mid-April, our lives became chaotic as it was the start of the competitive soccer season. Besides taking my son to the practices and games, I also became the co-manager of the team. This task meant that I had to organize the tournaments and be at the games, with the team roster and the players’ cards, to check the opposing team.

 


It was also the height of the dance season with rehearsals, competitions, and shows. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the mother-daughter time that my daughter and I spent together, especially during our trips to Kingston, where we spent the weekend at a hotel. 



In May, I held my first art course for children in the building of our gallery. The big room with long tables and a sink was the perfect space to teach. Even ten years later, I still remember the fun and enthusiasm of the children. After one of the classes, one father arrived to pick up his son, who declared that he was not ready to go. He still had to add more colour to his picture. 



I felt excited to share my passion and the joy art brought to my life with adults and children. With every course, I also learned something. Especially the children had refreshing views of the world around them and were not afraid to express themselves freely.


Standing Out From the Crowd, acrylic, 12" x 16", CAN $400



I am not sure how I found time to paint during this time, but I managed to produce enough paintings for the Galerie de la Rive exhibitions. I continued to paint with my friends en plein air during visits to the tulip festival and Petrie Island. 



Odenwald, acrylic, 20" x 24", CAN $450


 

In my studio, I painted Odenwald, a painting from reference photos taken during my previous trip to Germany. Over the years, many people felt attracted to the image. The landscape seems to remind them of areas in Canada.


Thank you for following my journey. I will post the blog about the second half of 2011 next week. If you know someone who might enjoy my story, please forward my blog.











Friday, 12 March 2021

25 Years in Canada - the Year 2010 Part II

Fall at Beckett's Creek, mixed media, 30" x 40", NFS,
Winner of the "Viewers' Choice Award" at Galerie de la Rive
in the spring/summer exhibition 2010


Blog 8

 

If you read last weeks blog, you saw how busy my life was. Going through my journal, I felt exhausted from all the activities. I am not sure how I managed to coordinate everything. You might have guessed that it did not end well. 

 

In June, I started to have dizzy spells, felt very weak and tired. My body shut down with a vengeance. I was diagnosed with severe burnout. For weeks, I could hardly get out of bed, let alone to do anything else. I slept a lot. Even after a month, during our vacation in July, I was still too weak to make the five-minute walk to the beach without stopping.

 

I had to take care of my health because my children and I had tickets to Germany at the end of July to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of my parents. Luckily, a trip to Germany also meant pampering from my parents.

 

While it was exhilarating to see all my relatives and friends, the trip to Germany was not a time to relax. When we returned, I still tired quickly and needed at least eight hours of sleep. I got easily irritated and overwhelmed.

 

Nevertheless, I continued chauffeuring my children around. Dominic’s competitive soccer season was in full swing, which meant that I drove him around several days of the week for training sessions and at least one game. Most of the games were far from home. Plus, there were additional tournaments. At least, we were car-pooling to the out of town games. I should have stayed home from time to time to care for my health, but I did not want to miss seeing my son play. 

 

On September 2, we adopted a new family member, the orange tabby Miko. His job was to help us get rid of the mice problem in our house in the country. We could not prevent the rodents from entering the house despite all the efforts we had taken. When we finally decided to add a cat to our household, I was relieved as my phobia caused me anxiety every time I went to the basement. 

 

Candy, acrylic, 20" x 16", NFS
While we welcomed the cute addition, we also worried about our not even five-year-old Golden Retriever, Candy. The benign tumour on her paw grew fast. We had the lower part already removed, but it grew back in a short time. The only possible solution was a partial amputation of her paw - an expensive and scary option. We tried to protect her foot with a sock and shoe, but soon the tumour almost reached the size of a tennis ball. Her skin started bleeding because it was so stretched. I was terrified that we would lose her only four years after our first Golden. I did not want to leave her but could not resist the temptation of spending time in Kamouraska with the KAM 7 Group again.

 

Feels Like Paradise, acrylic 11" x 14", CAN $375


Therefore, on September 11, my friend Janis and I left Ottawa on a beautiful bright Saturday to join our friends. In Kamouraska, it was also sunny but a lot colder. Nevertheless, we spent a wonderful week painting in the fresh salty air, enjoying fantastic dinners and fun conversations. It was great to spend time with people with the same interests who understand your passion and struggles. After the week, Janis and I left the others behind, who stayed for another week. As our children were still young, a one-week trip was already a challenge to organize and quite a treat for us. I have to admit that I was quite happy to go home to my family. It had been an intense creative week, and I needed a break from painting. 

 

The next exciting adventure was waiting: I offered my first two art courses at the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex as part of the City of Ottawa programming. One was an adult beginners painting class and the other an art course for children, that started in the second half of September.

 



At the beginning of October, I hung my next solo exhibition at the Blackburn Hamlet Library.  


At the Tulip Festival, acrylic, 14" x 11", CAN $ 375

 

Exciting times were also on the horizon for our Galerie de la Rive. At the end of November, we moved out of the retirement home that housed the gallery until then and into a new building, the City of Clarence-Rockland Arts & Culture building. We had a big vernissage on Sunday, December 5, 2010, with a new exhibition of artists from the region, live music and a book reading. 

 

Magic Pumpkins, acrylic, 16" x 20", SOLD

As many other organizations used the building, we were optimistic that more people would see and buy the great artworks. We finally had the space to hold workshops and courses for adults and children. We had big plans to encourage young artists. Our gallery and the local artists association collaborated to present the Budding Artist Prize in 2011. We put a call out to the Clarence-Rockland schools to have their students participate. We also invited the local schools to visit the gallery as part of their visual arts programme.

 

If you want to know more about the future of the gallery and my year 2011, please return next week.

Friday, 5 March 2021

25 Years in Canada - The Year 2010 Part I

Frosty Charlevoix, acrylic, 16" x 20", CAN $ 420


 Blog 7


At the beginning of 2010, I worked at the daycare again for two months as my friend visited relatives. However, it was a relaxing time as there were many days when not a single kid came to the daycare. However, getting our children to the bus and arriving at the recreation centre on time was a stressful task. Plus, I also worked as a skating attendant one afternoon and taught a full German course one evening a week. Then, there were all the chauffeur services for my children: trips to volleyball school games, soccer practice and piano lessons for my son, piano and dance lessons for my daughter and volunteering at school. These activities increased the stress to get the housework done and made it almost impossible to find time to paint.

 

Roch-des-Aulnaies, QC, acrylic, 16" x 20", CAN $ 420

On January 10 was the Plein Air Ensemble vernissage at the Old Chelsea Gallery, which was exciting as it was the first time I participated. Three weeks later, I exhibited some of my Kamouraska paintings at the same gallery with our KAM 7 group. It was also my first exhibition with this group. We had lots of visitors, which was very encouraging. Following the exhibition, the gallery committee accepted me as a regular guest artist at the Old Chelsea Gallery. What thrilling news! They asked to keep three of my Kamouraska paintings in the gallery for a longer time. While I was excited, this also threw me into a panic because I needed eight new artworks for the next Galerie de la Rive exhibition at the end of February. The only way to reach this goal was to take a couple of days off work.

 

When my sister's dog got sick, I decided to continue writing my book about our dog Jessie. Looking for the sketches that I had done during her last evening with us, I realized that my drawing skills had improved quite a lot during the past four years. Whenever I had a chance, I looked for opportunities to learn more about techniques and materials. In early February, I went to a two-day Arteast workshop to try out different Golden products. I had so much fun!

 

Final Days of Winter, acrylic, 8" x 10", NFS

Before the new Galerie de la Rive exhibition, I was thrilled to see one of my artworks in the local newspaper. "Final Days of Winter" was the first artwork that was in a newspaper. 

 

On March 26, Janis and I drove to Charlevoix for the next Plein Air Ensemble trip. The weather was fantastic. We had brilliant sunshine. However, after a day with + 14 ℃, the temperature had fallen to below -10 ℃. We stayed at the beautiful Auberge de nos Aïeux in Les Éboulements that offered a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence River. Luckily, it also had a large studio for artists overlooking the scenery because temperatures were below -20 ℃. Nevertheless, nature looked breathtaking in the bright sunlight. 

 

Mountainous Charlevoix, acrylic, 11" x 14", SOLD

These days were a luxury for Janis and me: uninterrupted painting time, the company of fellow artists, breathtaking views, delicious food that I did not have to worry about and absolutely no housework. We spent the first morning in the studio, then drove to St-Joseph-de-la Rive, where we painted sheltered by the car. It was brutally cold. While my acrylic paints did not give me any trouble, Janis had problems with freezing paint on her brush. 

 

Chapelle de Port-au-Persil, acrylic, 11" x 14", CAN $ 375

The following day, a group of us drove to Port-au-Persil. Even though it was milder than the day before, I could not get warm at all. The high humidity and strong wind made me tense up and miserable. When the sun finally broke through the clouds, it was time to pack up. 


Snow over Charlevoix, acrylic, 11" x 14", CAN $ 375

 

As it snowed on the third day, we went back to the studio to paint the winter wonderland. The irony about the weather: The following weekend, the temperatures were in the twenties. It felt like summer. 

 

In April, enough students registered for a second German course, which was exciting because I could finally introduce new material. I enjoyed the end of my work at the daycare and the skating rink. At last, I was able to join the painting buddies more regularly on outings in the neighbourhood. I loved feeling the warm sun listening to the birds and frogs in the company of my friends.

 

On the other side, we were getting discouraged about the disappointing visitor numbers to our Galerie de la Rive exhibitions. Despite painting demonstrations and beautiful art, we could not attract enough visitors to make it worth all our efforts. You see that a lot happened in the first half of 2010. Therefore, I decided to split up the 2010 blog and publish the second half next week. Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you find inspiration in my story.


If you wish to buy any of the paintings, you can buy them online on my website www.KerstinPeters.ca. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Shipping is not included. I accept credit cards and PayPal. Please do not hesitate to contact me at info@KerstinPeters.ca if you have any questions.




Friday, 26 February 2021

Blog-free Week

Flamboyance, wool, 9” x 12”

 

This week, I send out my latest newsletter with all the information about my art and the latest artworks. I had everything ready a day before to avoid stressing out about some last-minute technical problems. I only wanted to finish my last painting, add the photo and send the newsletter out.

I had a lot of fun putting the final touches on my image. I was enjoying myself handling the wool, watching the heavy snowfall, and listening to an audiobook.

It was already dark when I finished the artwork. Usually, this is not a problem, but yesterday I could not achieve a photo that showed the colours even remotely to what they are. I got very frustrated. I tried different camera settings, even got out another camera and my phone. No matter what I tried, I could not get it right. The photo looked good on the camera display, but as soon as I uploaded it on the computer, the colours were too light. Instead of letting it go, I wasted a lot of time because I wanted to get it perfect. In the end, I had to be ready to go with the best I could achieve at the moment.

The next morning, I took another photo of the artwork in natural light, with much better results. I guess the light from the ceiling lamps influenced the colours of my image. When I looked at the new photo, I was reminded of my early artworks and realized that at all times, I created the best art I was capable of at the time. This realization is correct for personal and business decisions. It is easy to lament our mistakes. Should we not be more lenient with ourselves? It is comforting to know that our struggles will help us to learn and grow. Let us relax and enjoy the journey instead of trying to be perfect! This way, there is always room to improve.

If you are interested in learning how relaxing and fun needle felting is, I invite you to my new needle felted painting workshop starting on March 10, 2021, at 2 pm. For more information, please go to https://www.kerstinpeters.ca/product/felting-experience-felted-paintings/.










Friday, 19 February 2021

25 Years in Canada - The Year 2009



Blog 6


Mer Bleue in Winter, oil, 8" x 10


2009 was an exciting year in my art career with many firsts. In mid-February, I went plein air painting in winter for the first time. We put on our snowshoes and walked a short distance into the woods in St Pascal. I set my easel up to paint the view of snow-covered fields. I was unprepared for the occasion. The wind was heavy enough to blow my painting off the easel and onto my good winter jacket. Luckily, after I washed the jacket right after my return home, I was able to get rid of most of the oil stains. For the next outing to Mer Bleue, I picked an old construction coat that my dad had given me. It is the same coat I still wear more than ten years later.


I also went to a two-day Turner workshop with Andrea Mossop and was so excited about his use of light in his paintings. After the two days, I was exhausted but could hardly wait to incorporate what I had learned into my artworks.


Right after another successful vernissage at the Galerie de la Rive with more than120 visitors, I was on a high, even though I did not sell anything. At the same time, I also hung my first solo exhibition at the Blackburn Hamlet Library. I was proud of the show.


Last Signs of Snow, acrylic, 14" x 11"

At the end of March, a driver drove into my car and left me shaken and with whiplash. Luckily, the injury did not prevent me from going on my first painting trip to Petite Rouge. I could hardly believe that I had five days to paint with my friends and some of my former teachers. Every evening of the trip, I was exhausted. My eyes burned from the wind and the whole day of concentration on my surroundings. On the other hand, I was excited and motivated by the positive feedback. I met such friendly fellow painters during the trip and have such great memories of the Plein Air Ensemble painting trips over the years.


On April 25, 2009, a miracle saved our house. We had dinner when it suddenly got very windy. I decided to hurry up to finish my work outside. I was at the door when the lights in the hallway and the kitchen started to flicker. Immediately after, I heard a loud unfamiliar noise from the front of our property. I ran towards the sound and saw an enormous ball of fire at one of the hydro poles.


In full panic, I had just called 911 when we lost power. I was so scared that I had a hard time to give the dispatcher all the information. I instructed my children to take the dogs and get into one of the cars. My son did not consider that the dogs could be scared and did not put them on a leash. Alex almost ran off.


I grabbed my painting of Jessie, then tried to find the keys for our cars while looking for a flashlight. When I could find anything, I ripped all the keys from the holder together with another painting of Jessie and my precious teddy bear that travels with me everywhere. I managed to drive the cars to safety while my husband and a neighbour tried to keep the fire from the house with fire extinguishers.


The time until the first fire truck arrived seemed endless. The whole front of our property was on fire. It was a wall of fire that went from one electricity pole to the next. We were all shaking. Luckily, neighbours took my kids into their home.


Helpless and soaking wet from the rain, we had to watch as the fire trucks were standing by to wait for the hydro crew to turn off the power. I don’t know how long it took until the fire was out. Although the firewall was only a couple of meters from our house, the flames never jumped from the cedars to the mature row of trees.
 

 

Cumberland Mansion, acrylic, 16" x 20"

Instead of resting the next day, I had to finish a commission of a Cumberland mansion. After lots of struggles with the perspective, I was pleased with the final painting - and the buyer, too.




Liselotte Peters, acrylics, 10" x 14"

The next painting was a portrait of my husband’s grandmother. I still painted with the Blackburn Hamlet Group, even though my life was very hectic. The gallery required a lot of work, and I also continued to work at the daycare. I volunteered as the website mistress for the Ottawa Art Association and taught Sunday School. Plus, I took my children to all their sports and music activities and looked after our two dogs and the household. I was exhausted most of the time. 





Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies, acrylic, 16" x 20"

At the beginning of September, I joined some of my friends for a trip to Kamouraska. It was a good distraction from the worries about our dog, Candy. She was only four years old and had a tumor on one of her front pads, which grew fast. I drove together with my friend Janis. Both of us had joined the group for the first time.


I had such a great week that I registered right away for the following year. Every day, we left the house around 8:30 am and did not return until 5 pm. The trip was not without challenges. The weather was unpredictable. One day, I got quite frustrated due to the speed with which some of my friends were painting that I tensed up until I lost all the joy of painting. It was my friend Bill who reminded me of the beauty of being in nature painting with friends. He reminded me to stop comparing myself with anyone else.


After my return to Ottawa, I went back to the daycare in the mornings. I also started teaching German for the City of Ottawa one evening a week and worked as a skating attendant.


At the end of September, I took part in my first weekend show, the Canvas in Colours Show at the Richelieu Centre in Ottawa. It was a new experience that left me very disappointed as I did not sell anything.



Your Majesty, Ringo I, mixed media,  24" x 12"
In November, I participated in the Ottawa Art Association Members’ Award Show. I had felt good about my painting: “ Your Majesty, Ringo I” and was happy about all the positive feedback from fellow members. I had hoped to receive an Honourable Mention. I was disappointed when I received neither this nor the third or second prize. As I had not dared to dream about receiving the first prize, I was over the moon when the president announced my win. Only a couple of days later, a theatre visitor bought the painting.


On the other hand, I was frustrated about the lack of success in our gallery. While we had about 100 visitors at the last vernissage, people came mostly for food and drinks.


Then the big blow that put everything back in perspective. I received an email from one of my best friends in Germany. Her husband and daughter had a car accident. While her daughter survived, she lost her husband. In her mid-forties, she was suddenly a widow with two children and no other family around. I wished that I could have been with her.


Ginger, acrylic, 6" x 6"
Days later, I sold another dog portrait of Ginger, a little poodle. All in all, I sold seven paintings in 2009, which made me happy.


The year ended with a visit from my parents, who came three days after Christmas. It was the first and only time that they visited us close to the holidays.


I invite you to follow the next chapter of my story in two weeks.



Friday, 12 February 2021

Blog-free Week

While I am not officially doing my Creativity Challenge anymore, I still aim to spend some creative time every day. It always calms me down and brings me joy even when I have a frustrating day.


I am glad for the weekly virtual meeting with my painting buddies. During our hour together, we have worked on a variety of subjects. It is fun to see how each of us translates the photos into artworks. I usually use watercolour pencils or coloured pencils but have also worked with watercolours. Most of the time, I still work on the piece after our meetings.


I also enjoy the time with my students. Creating artworks to demonstrate different techniques and materials is always a fun experiment. I learn something from every new project.


Last but not least, I enjoy creating stories and relating images for my German students. My students in the Learn German Through Art courses are progressing well and enjoy the little sketches we draw during class.


Here is a collage of finished works from the last two weeks:





If you feel inspired to bring more creativity and joy to your life, my new workshop and course schedule for February to April is now on my website at https://www.kerstinpeters.ca/eventscourses/.

Friday, 5 February 2021

25 Year in Canada - The Year 2008

French Hill School House, acrylic 16" x 20"

 Blog 5


2008, was an exciting year in my art career that also brought many disappointments. At the beginning of the year, I had less time to paint due to my work schedule. At least, I still managed to go to the bi-weekly life drawing sessions. I was disappointed that I was not able to join my new painting friends regularly. I felt like an outsider again, when I found out that the others were in the process of opening a community gallery.


My parents and husband still considered my art an unimportant hobby. They did not understand how necessary painting was for me. I continued to have a hard time to convince them that it was something I had to do.


When I was in a good mood, I was sure I would convince my doubters. At other times, I was frustrated about the lack of support and ready to pull away from my painting buddies and bury my love for painting.


Right after I finished work at the daycare at the beginning of March, my children and I flew to Germany. I love spending March in Germany, where the climate is mild enough that the spring flowers are already blooming. During the trip, my mother and I visited the special exhibition “Impressionistinnen”, female impressionists. The works were breathtaking. All the more, I was so saddened to find out about Marie Bracquemond’s decision to stop painting pressured by her husband. I comprehended her feelings too well, and it left devastating.


At the beginning of April, I was disappointed that the Visual Arts Centre had cancelled all its art courses for restructuring. At the same time, our painting buddies group hardly met anymore. One organizer had decided that she preferred painting in her studio and was also looking for work, which was very upsetting. I lost not only my painting friend but also my walking buddy.


On the positive side, I became part of the board of the community gallery. Decisions closer to the opening revealed some discrepancies in the vision and resulted in some resignments.


We were busy getting everything ready for the big opening vernissage of Galerie de la Rive in Rockland on May 25, 2008. It was a lot of work, but we were proud of our accomplishments. The gallery in the Jardin Belle Rive retirement home looked great. We had managed to invite some very talented artists to participate. All the activities prevented us from painting.


St Pascal Barn, acrylic, 20" x 16"
It was only after the vernissage that I finally went painting with my painting buddies again. We met at a farm in St. Pascal, and I was not inspired at all. Once I felt the fresh air and heard the sounds of nature, I was excited, even though I had to fight with the wind blowing against my big canvas. When the sun finally emerged, I had a hard time putting the paints onto my canvas before they were dry. It was frustrating. I decided to bring my oil paints for the next outing.

 

Dreaming of Spring, acrylic, 15 3/4" x 15 3/4"
Due to our upcoming exhibition at the Galerie Old Chelsea, we painted mostly old buildings. While I love old barns, I was not too crazy about the theme. Instead, after finishing another dog portrait, I knew my real passion: creating pet paintings.



Once the school holidays started, my painting days hit a pause. We had a Spanish language student and one of my friends with her two sons visiting us for July.


Standing Proud, acrylic, 16" x 20"


In August, we went for our very first family vacation to a cottage. We had gone a couple of times to Germany. There, we always had a tight visiting programme to see friends and relatives instead of spending time as a family. This time, we had a lot of fun while hiking and swimming. I even found time to create my “Standing Proud” painting for the next Arteast exhibition with the theme “Trees”. The jury rejected the artwork. The high number of submissions had made it necessary to pick paintings that showed more than one tree. I was devastated.

 


Colours of Muskoka, acrylic, 16" x 20"

While I was at the cottage, I also created an abstract painting by chance. When I wanted to tint my next canvas with my leftover paints, an abstract painting emerged that excited me.


Strutting, acrylic, 16" x 20"

From August 7 to 28, 2008, we held our painting buddies group exhibition “Heritage” at Galerie Old Chelsea. It looked fantastic, but only one artist sold a painting. We were all quite disappointed. At least, I was proud of one of my fellow artist’s praise for “The White House” and “Strutting”.

 

The White House, acrylic, 11" x 14"

Even after our kids went back to school, I hardly found time to paint. I worked on the board of our gallery and as the new webmistress of the Ottawa Art Association. As my husband had created the new website, it made sense that the association asked me to upload the content and maintain the website. It was a very time-intensive task. In November, I also went back to work at the daycare for a month.


If you would like to know how I turned things around in 2009, I invite you to follow my journey in two weeks.