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

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