We had 12 of us at the Art Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat last weekend! I am so thankful for the beautiful people who came and explored as we contemplated going “Into the Unknown.” We looked at parts of the stories of Ruth and Jonah, as opposite ways of dealing with going into the unknown. We used art to process our own journeys. I was blessed with their stories, and their creativity. I was so caught up in experiencing the weekend, I forgot to take photos.
For my own exploration, I find sometimes I am like Ruth, willing to venture forth and try new things. But sometimes, I am like Jonah going the other direction or slow to make any changes until I feel prepared. One thing is sure, when I am grounded in presence, letting the flow of my creator’s living water run through me, the journey into the unknown becomes do-able and an adventure to take.
Photo of 2 pastel sketches of my processing "Into the Unknown.".
I also love going out to King’s Fold Retreat Centre. It is such a beautiful place to retreat with so many trails through woods and meadows and down to the river below.
Mark your calendar for next year’s Art Vocabulary for the Soul retreat: June 23-25, 2023. Early bird registration closes on March 20, 2023.
I am looking forward to being on 105 Street again under my tent.
Hopefully the weather is great, but I will be there in rai, shine or
wind. Come out for a visit! ~Julie
Repost from the Whyte Avenue Art Walk Page:
The Whyte Avenue Art Walk returns July 8 – 10, 2022
The 2022 Whyte Avenue Art Walk returns to the streets of Old Strathcona July 8 – 10, 2022. People are invited to buy art directly from the artists. All artists, brave enough to share their work, are welcome to participate. The Art Walk is a non-juried event that attracts professional artists, amateurs, and students.
“Imagine a 4 km walk through the hearts and minds of artists. Cultural explorers are invited to see art making in action on the streets of Old Strathcona, a vibrant art district in the historic centre of Edmonton, Alberta. Over 500 visual artists bring their art supplies and artworks out into the streets. Together they create an outdoor studio and gallery spanning several blocks. The Whyte Avenue Art Walk reveals Alberta’s hidden talent and provides an opportunity for patrons to curate their own art collection from many undiscovered masters.” Kim Fjordbotten, Whyte Avenue Art Walk Co-Producer, The Paint Spot
Whyte Avenue Art Walk
Presented by Paint Spot & Ice On Whyte Festival Society
Dates: July 8 – 10, 2022
Times: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Location: On the streets of Old Strathcona
Event Partners: District Whyte – Old Strathcona Business Association, The Paint Spot, Ice on Whyte Festival Society, On The Spot Pop Ups Market
Acrylics 1 & 2 - Class Code: 708167
Mondays and Wednesdays July 4 - July 13, 2022
Location: City Arts Centre: 10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton
Quick drying time and multiple textures make acrylics a great choice for beginners and intermediates. In this weekly course learn painting basics such as composition, colour, and numerous painting techniques. Talented artists and painters will guide you through various subject matter such as still life, portraits & figures, landscapes, and much more in this inspiring and engaging weekly course. Have the opportunity to learn a wealth of knowledge and express your personal creativity.
Students can expect material costs to be between $100-$200. Materials are not included; a supply list will be provided closer to the program start date.
Draw & Paint: Mixed Media - class code: 708181
4 Tuesdays, July 5 - July 26, 2022
Location: City Arts Centre: 10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton
Cost $114 ALL SUPPLIES INCLUDED
Never taken a drawing or painting class? No problem, this class is for all skill levels, taking you to the next step in the process. Use watercolor pencils and ink to draw and sketch landscapes, animals, and people. Artist Julie Drew will show you numerous techniques to combine mediums and even have you explore working outdoors with plein air sessions (weather permitting) Sharpen your observation skill, experiment with compositions, and capture a mood, a place, and an idea with your artwork.
Sketching Botanicals at the Muttart Conservatory - Class Code: 708184
Wednesday July 27, 2022
Location: Muttart Conservatory
cost $55 ALL SUPPLIES INCLUDED
Capture the beauty and essence of flowers and plants with a sketchbook and drawing tools in hand while at the Muttart Conservatory. Through hands-on demonstrations you will learn to draw petals, leaves, and backgrounds using a variety of sketching techniques. Artist Julie Drew will teach you that it is much different to draw from life than just using photos, what our eyes can see is so much more than a photo can capture. Experience an evening full of seeing and sketching the botanical beauty around you while learning important drawing skills and techniques..
Pouring Watercolor - Class Code: 708188
(3 sessions) Tues- Thurs, Aug 2-4, 2022
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location: City Arts Centre: 10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton
cost $85 ALL MATERIALS INCLUDED
Take your watercolor to new levels with pouring watercolours and working with layers. Explore the techniques of watercolor in new ways using the natural world as inspiration. During this 7 week program with artist Julie Drew you will learn a vast range of watercolour skills such as: masking, pouring, working with layers and salt, painting in details, composition, and working with the results – listening to the painting. This course is perfect for those who are starting out with watercolours or are looking for an expressive technique or for those with previous painting experience looking for a new style and inspiration
Acrylic Painting Explorations- Class Code: 708166
(5 sessions) See what other classes have done here
August 8-12 (Mon-Fri)
Location: City Arts Centre: 10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton
cost $142.50 ALL MATERIALS INCLUDED
Explore the possibilities with acrylic paint with artist Julie Drew. To begin, gain knowledge in paint and colour by learning about colour mixing and themes. After getting used to brushwork and paint handling, then experiment with adding textures and inclusions: eggshells, sand, and collage elements such as handmade papers and transfer techniques. Make your own creative choices and explore your imagination using acrylic paint. Have the chance to develop your skills as you further your own style and preferences as you explore acrylic paintings with subject matter that inspires you and sparks your creativity.
River Valley Drawing in Plein Air - Class Code: 708186
4 sessions (Mon-Thurs) Aug - 8-11, 2022
Location: Yorath House, Lilac Room 13110 Buena Vista Rd NW, Edmonton, AB
cost $92 Materials are not included; a supply list will be provided closer to the program start date.
Enjoy the outdoors with a sketchbook and drawing tools in hand. Spend the evening for 4 days straight in the River Valley at the scenic Yorath House sketching en plein air (in the open air). Artist Julie Drew will teach you that it is much different to draw from life than just using photos, what our eyes can see is so much more than a photo can capture. Experience four evenings full of seeing and sketching the scenes around you while learning important drawing skills and techniques.
Painting Botanicals: Watercolor workshop - Class Code: 709331
Monday, Aug 15, 2022
Location: City Arts Centre: 10943 83 Ave NW, Edmonton
cost $55 ALL MATERIALS INCLUDED
Capture the beauty and translucence of flowers in watercolours during this evening workshop. Through hands-on demonstrations from artist Julie Drew, learn to paint petals, leaves, and backgrounds using a variety of painting techniques. Be guided through several techniques, colour suggestions, and basic composition strategies as you come away with the know-how to continue painting flowers with watercolours.
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!
Spring is slow in coming this year. Well, I’m not sure it is any different than other years, but we had a teasing 20C day a week ago, which has made this past week feel even more cold with its sub-zero temps.
This wintry spring that doesn’t want to let go brings to my mind the last verse of the Easter hymn, Now the Green Blade Rises:
“When our hearts are wintry, grieving or in pain, your touch can call us back to life again,
fields of our hearts that bare and dead have been; love is come again like wheat arising green.”
(J. M. C. Crum 1872-1958, French Carol)
The beauty of flowers and the promise of spring lighten my heart. They bring the promise of new life, hope, and the renewal of love touching our wintry hearts and souls. A touch our world surely needs.
I contemplated these things as I sat in the Muttart Conservatory on Monday, delighting in the lovely scent of tulips and hyacinths and painting the fresh signs of spring while the cold wind blew outside.
I continued to work on the painting a little bit more this morning, but it is still in progress. It is at the long stage of pushing and pulling, deciding what details to keep and what to abstract or suggest. The process cannot be rushed. Although I refer to the photos now and then, I also listen to the painting and let it help me decide where to take it. The delicate fringe of the frilled tulips is delightful to paint, but whether I saved the frilly whites well enough with the masking fluid I will not know until it is ready to be removed.
12 students learned to see the flowers in new ways and paint their favorites during the Acrylic Flower Painting workshop last Saturday at the Muttart. Here are some of their results:
As people learn the creative process, regardless of the medium, I find I am always teaching them how to see this beautiful world in new ways and the nuances of light and contrast. It is all about seeing and trusting the process of painting as it unfolds.
Even winter has its beauty. I completed this painting of cross-country skiing at dawn amidst the hoarfrost. Title suggestion? I loved that crisp morning with the light of dawn coming through the trees as we skied the field and enjoyed the magical hoarfrost sparkling and lighting up the trees. Medium: Acrylic on canvas, size: 14 in x 17 in.
Being around creative people sparks creativity.
Creativity relieves us of our burdensome self consciousness.
Creativity connects us to our heart and relationship with reality.
The sense of meaning and delight in creativity has more to do with the process than the end product. Find in the process what you want to communicate and find out something deeper about yourself.
- Russ Hudson, Enneagram and Creativity Online Class, Monday, February 28, 2022
As I listened to Russ Hudson during the monthly online class I am taking on the Enneagram and Creativity, I resonated with these descriptions of creativity and with the following parts of the Point Three perspective.
Three’s will work hard to develop their skill, and stick to goals, but threes need to let the process lead them and not the goals. Slow down, if you are in a rush you are not present.
Art has been and still is, a saving grace for me as a Three. It has been a place to retreat into, to work out my feelings and work through fears. It has been a way to explore new things, new thoughts. Not just in my own art, but the art others produce; paintings, stories, poetry, music and dance that have inspired me to further my own journey to unknown depths in myself and my relationship with the One who Created me.
In my newsletter and blog posts over the years, I have shared some of this journey. I sometimes spend months on a theme that I feel needs exploring. Sometimes it is something I need to revisit when it comes up again. We are works in progress and like an onion, we peel off layers and find more to see within.
I asked Russ Hudson during the class about getting past the pain of failure, and why one negative voice will shut me down even amidst a large quantity of accolades. Russ encouraged me on a journey back to the heart to sit with and walk through the pain and sadness, giving time, attention and space to reframe, letting a new work spring up, allowing it to reshape what I was working on, even taking it in a direction I had not anticipated.
As I reflected on this, I remembered that although I didn’t complete to publication the book I had been working on, “Waiting on the Lord: An Artist’s Journey,” I did include some of it as I reworked and expanded the God is my Refuge Devotional book in 2017. I have since learned more about waiting and have come to realize the book wasn’t ready to be complete yet. Afterall, I have more to learn about waiting. If you were to word search ‘waiting’ on my website (and scroll down the page for the results), you will see it is a theme I still come back to. It isn’t done with me yet. I find this encouraging. Once I pass through enough layers, maybe I will be able to write it again or something new.
At our Art, Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat, we give attendees space and a starting point in which they can explore their own journey. Like the descriptions of creativity above, we also create for the joy of creating, entering the peace that can come from play and being present to our selves and our surroundings. King’s Fold Retreat Centre is in the foothills of the Rockies overlooking the Ghost River valley.
This retreat is for those who wish to explore how art can speak to them and through them. How it can have a voice that helps one to understand one's self. How the process of creating can be life giving.
All are welcome whether you think of yourself as creative or not. All art mediums are welcome to be used, such as painting, drawing, poetry, writing, song writing, music, and photography.
Will you join us this year?
Three spots left to for this year's retreat. sign up today. Payment plans available. A bursary is available to those in financial need.
Too far to drive? Calgary is the nearest airport and transportation options from the airport can be discussed with King’s Fold staff.
The month of January slipped away from me…
My daughters and I drove down to stay a week with my parents and sister in Spokane, WA. It had been 2 years since I saw them last in person. I have been thankful for being able to “see” them via zoom, but even so, it was good to be really face to face.
My sister, Dad and my daughter, Natalia, all like putting a puzzle together. Since I knew this and wanted to do something they enjoyed, I selected one.
Putting puzzle pieces together was a bit of an exercise in self awareness.
Of all the puzzles to choose from, I chose the one with the northern lights, even though I knew it would be more difficult with all the subtle shifts of color. (I am a bit obsessed with northern lights ?.)
As I worked on the sky section with all the nuances of green, I could feel the tension building within me the longer it took to find something that would fit. The lack of accomplishment in so small a thing that really isn’t that important was like seeing myself under a microscope. I could easily see this pattern, this tension and need for accomplishment rising within me. Then the unbounded joy of putting several pieces in right after another. I could even feel the failure and comparing myself toward the others who would occasionally walk up to the table, see one piece, and immediately put it in place in the puzzle.
Early on, I recognized the tension building, I decided to work on the buildings to gain a sense of achievement. Then, I could go back to the night sky of dancing green and tackle it with fresh eyes after a break. This move helped me relax and laugh at myself, letting it go.
All the feelings within me would still be there, but they had less power over me, which meant I didn’t have to act on it or let it control me as I have in the past. I could enjoy working together on the puzzle. Breathe, take my time, I did not have to be in a hurry to get things finished and get on to the next task.
It is good to see how far I have come on this journey of self awareness. It has been important as I work through paintings. Sometimes, it takes longer to get where I want the painting to go. The way I thought was not working and I must try for a new solution, do research, and try again. I need to wait for it.
I have been working on and thinking about a commission for over 11 months now. Just when I think I am ready to complete it and put it all together, another issue comes up that needs to be solved. I suppose I could have just done a straight painting, but the idea called for more, something unique. So, I have had to practice patience and waiting for the ideas to come, taking breaks to let ideas percolate and see it with fresh eyes. It is about a willingness to wait for the process and not rush it.
I had been hoping to have it finished to show you, maybe by next month it will be. Here is a picture of all pieces to this puzzle I am working on.
I made a video of the pieces of the painting puzzle and explain a little more of the process I have been going through with the painting. Here it is:
Since I filmed this, I have repainted the hands until I am satisfied with them and prepared the handmade paper for the stone background. Now the stages of putting it all together.
I have a little video I put together as a gift for your Christmas enjoyment.
As I was rewatching the little video clips on the aurora I shared in November, and the pulsing of the colors, I saw the pulsing falling into a rhythm like the repeating voices in the Halleluiah chorus. I put together a project bringing the videos and images of the Nov 4, 2021 event and some of my newer watercolor responses and music altogether. I requested and received permission (Yeah!) from some of the photographers in the Alberta Aurora Chasers group to use their beautiful photos, especially the ones that make me think of angels. I even have a still shot from one of my little videos that also looks like a figure.
As you watch the video, think about the shepherds watching their flocks at night, when an angel appeared, "and glory shone around them", telling of the good news of the Savior's birth...
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Can you see the angels?
Thank you to the photographers from the Facebook group Alberta Aurora Chasers and their beautiful photos: Abdulmajid Ahmed-Jimale, Andrew Wilson, Catalin Tapardel, Christopher Candela, Grace Miron, Heidi Haenni-Hoogland, Isobell Springett and Mark Jinks
I am inspired to paint more northern lights.
Part of the fun of teaching is watching the creativity start to flow. We have finished 5 out 8 classes. The students are getting comfortable with the medium and trying some ideas of their own. (After the initial classes, I have added more of the final images for some of the student paintings. I didn't remember to take photos at each class.)
In the acrylics class, we did some fun textures of adding eggshells, sand and sawdust to provide texture to the paintings. One of the students went home and added lentils and semolina to his painting. I didn’t get a picture of that one, but here are a few others:
I brought some collage scraps of my handmade paper to the class and showed them possibilities with a couple of my own pieces.
Their ideas started flowing and they started in on creating. Their works in progress were fun to see here.
We started the process of transfers. I brought an option of my own ink drawings photocopied for the class to use. I look forward to next class and the new possibilities the students will try. The flamingo and trio of rocks are my quick samples from my ink drawings. One student was ready with her image of a polar bear which turned out great.
Some of the other projects in class:
Experimenting with techniques: Textured backgrounds, sponging, pointilism
We did some work with Perspective in our last class:
I saw the northern lights again! And it was just as exciting and beautiful as last February. (But not as cold.)
I woke a little after 2:15 am on Thursday morning (to use the washroom), and while I was awake I thought of checking the status at aurorawatch.ca, since it was a 50% yellow alert for seeing the northern lights as I was heading to bed. The status had moved up to a red alert (70% chance) after midnight!
I was too tired to drive outside of Edmonton. It takes 45 minutes to get away from the light polution. What to do… As I pondered it, I heard one of my daughters moving around. She was just heading to bed and had to get up early, so she declined going with me.
So, I thought I would see if there was any faint sighting in the field by our house. I stepped out on our back porch and looked toward the north. I saw green bands dancing low to the horizon between the trees! They were visible right here. My heart did a happy leap and filled with anticipation and thrill. I had to share it with someone.
I went back inside to get my other daughter, Natalia, and we went to the field together to enjoy the show. I took a few pictures and we lay down in the grass and just watched the sky dance until we were too cold. (From about 3-4 am)
It may not have been as vibrant with all the Edmonton lights dimming it, but it was still beautiful and pulsing and dancing across the sky, changing patterns. Some of it looked like angel wings, some columns of lights piercing the darkness.
There are some gorgeous photos of the Aurora in the facebook group Alberta Aurora Chasers, if you want to check out some others.
I am still learning to use my new phone camera and the settings that worked outside the city didn’t work that morning, but I did some adjustments and have something to remember it with.
I went out a couple of other times to look for the northern lights - but we missed their showing. I did, however take some lovely one of the stars as I started learning what kinds of photos my new phone can take.
When the fall colors start, I can’t wait to grab my supplies and a camera and go paint and enjoy it. It is such a short season here in Edmonton, so every bit counts.
My husband, Sam and I kayaked a couple hours down the North Saskatchewan River last Sunday through all the colors. It was glorious. I took some painting reference photos for my upcoming fall classes to start us off.
Yesterday morning, I went out with my plein air session painter to paint on location at the Wolf Willow stairs. We went last week, too, to the Wolf Willow Beach.
I tried out a new feature I found out about on my new phone a "directors view" which uses both the front and back cameras at the same time. It will take a bit to get used to where to put my hands so they are not in the way. But, it gives a taste of what I do when out plein air painting and teaching. I was going to try it out more, but we picked a very busy location with people doing their cardio going up and down the stairs.
We spent an hour and a half or so on painting, sketching in the scene, masking the whites/ light areas, laying in the initial colors. Between the start we did on site and the photos and memory, we can complete the painting at home.
I will continue to go paint outdoors as the weather and colors hold. I will be switching to Friday afternoons. If you would like to join me for a plein air session ($20 and your own supplies), you can contact me for more information.
Next week, Oct 8, 1 pm we will gather at the Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary.
Whether I am walking, hiking, on a bike, or in a car, I am soaking in the view, the details and the beauty of the world around me. I am open to possibilities and yet when one comes it sometimes seems to leap out to catch me, other times the beauty just quiets my soul.
We were camping at Gregg Lake in the William Switzer provincial park. As we biked through the park, there were a couple places that caught my eye enticing me to come back to paint them. In the morning, as we sat by the lake, I painted the first one: the misty morning mountain. The kayakers paddled into the painting as I worked on the peaceful scene I shared last month.
In the afternoon, I took my supplies and biked back to the end of the lake that had caught my eye earlier, where the water meanders a path through the reeds, reflecting the surrounding hills. In the shallows where a stream empties into the lake, submerged rocks add their hidden depth to the beauty.
I did the preliminary layers of paint on location that afternoon in the sunshine, but as the clouds rolled back in, the light changed enough, so I stopped working. (Besides, we wanted to take our own kayak out.)
The next day the same scene looked very different. The light that had caught my eye the day before was not there. It would have changed the mood of the painting and the hidden depth was not as visible on the cloudy day. It just felt different, less inspiring.
I took the painting and the photographs with me to work on during one of the art walk weekends. I was disappointed with the photos as they did not line up with what I remembered, but I worked with them anyway and got to a completed stage.
Yet, later at home, the painting still was missing that hidden depth of the foreground that had captured my eye in the first place. But what I remembered wasn’t in the photos. How could I paint it in?
Then, as I was going back through my phone, looking for the photo I took of my set up on site where I used my bike as the easel, I finally had a photo that matched what I remembered. With this photo, I was then able to do the finishing touches on the painting. Yeah!
Sometimes, or maybe more often than not, I have to push past what I think Is done. I set a painting up against the wall and sit with it for a awhile until it tells me that there is more to do with it or it is done.
Often, while I paint and work on a piece, I wonder what it was that caught my attention. For this painting, what was it about the rocks in the foreground, and the ones I could see through the water in places, the hidden depth that the camera could not see? It was like seeing two perspectives at once: the reflective surface and what is underneath in the hidden depths.
We have hidden depths. We also reflect (deflect) to hide ourselves, sometimes intentionally, sometimes subconsciously. With the right lens, we can see to the hidden depths within ourselves. There is beauty there to be discovered, in each and every one of us.
It takes a journey to find those hidden depths in ourselves and in each other. It is worth the journey.
We have had a full summer already with a family visit, in-person classes opening up, art walks to participate in, new websites, and projects to create. Yet, we have taken a weekend each month (June -Aug) to go camping and get out to enjoy the beauty of Alberta. Inspired by the quiet beauty of the landscapes we saw, I started a painting on location on each trip, completing the pieces at home.
Sometimes this is restful, and other times I am trying hard to get it right and I feel tense or anxious. Often, I have to get through it to the other side, but it takes trusting the process and letting go of ‘getting it right.’ It all looks the same on the outside (a painting results) but how I feel along the way changes. Stillness and being present are key to getting past the tense parts, but it isn’t always easy and sometimes I just have to start over.
I was listening to more of Steve Bell’s work recently, and his song, Wait Alone in the Stillness, caught my attention. I resonated with the phrase: “wait alone in stillness, O my soul, wait alone.” I have long meditated on the verse which I believe the song is based on (in Psalm 62) – for God alone my soul waits in silence. Bell’s rendition changes the semantics of the phrase, and I can’t help pondering the meaning of his interpretation. There is an element of trust in “for God alone my soul waits…” In the former, the sense is about being alone in the stillness. (The Hebrew word "duwmiyah" can be translated as silence, stillness, quiet, trust, waits.) I think for me stillness also means, giving myself space in quiet – no phone, no music or book to read, not necessarily painting or doing. It was in this kind of stillness that the thoughts for this blog started to churn. I thought about it more as we went camping last weekend and I sat again in stillness.
I have been learning the value of stillness, of quieting myself, being present to the moment. When I am practicing that presence as I paint, it is calming and restful and I can lose myself and let the painting take me where it wants to go. I can listen, relax and trust the process.
However, when I cannot be present, when I am worried about getting it right, or what others may think of the piece, or any other part of my life I am anxious about, then there is a couple of different exercises I might perform to release tension. I can take a deep breathe and try to get present again or I can set what I am working on aside and find my way back to stillness by just playing and creating. Allowing myself to experiment and play with my mediums gives me the break I need to release my anxiety in the creation process, letting it express itself. Once that is released, I can return to the piece that was causing me angst.
During the winter of 2020-2021, as I was feeling down and stressed, I needed that sort of space, and I tried something new to “play” with, acrylic pouring and methods of using fluid acrylics. It was a fun process. I tried pouring and moving the fluid paint by blowing it using a few alternative methods; a straw, blow dryer, balloon, cling wrap, and turntable, were all employed in my efforts. I continued to experiment. Once I understood the process more, I could apply it in other paintings. It will also become part of what I teach in acrylics classes. The pieces I created will be available at my next art walks for those who are curious.
Here are some of the results of some of my favorite acrylic pours and experiments:
Do you find ways to practice stillness, or being present?
Northern Lights in Watercolor Workshop Register at Paintspot.ca
10 am - 4 pm.
Capture the beauty and movement of the Northern Lights using watercolor in this step-by-step workshop. These simple landscapes can be done by beginner to advanced students.
Supply List for Workshop:
Watercolors: tube paint
Palette for watercolor
Arches 140 lb cold press full sheet, tear into quarters
Painting boards (tape on watercolor paper) heavy cardboard or Masonite are good options
Green painter’s tape
Container for water Brushes
Rag/ paper towel
Pencil and eraser
(optional – permanent ink pen with fine tip)
Photo references (optional): northern lights, landscapes in the dark
Lunch, water bottle
For this commissioned painting, Lilac Garden, I recently finished, I imagined a place of peace and rest. I would like to sit and enjoy a garden like that. I am so glad they liked the painting!
I used eggshells and sand for the texture of the wall and sawdust for texture in the ground. The stone path was also of eggshells. It is a fun way to create texture. The bench was made from acrylic paint I mixed and poured out on plastic so it would be like a “skin” of paint. I cut out the bench and attached it over the painting for another 3D effect.
As I write this, I am sitting on our deck in the cooler morning hours, listening to the variety of birdsong around me. and enjoying the beauty of the flowers in planters. This year for one of the pots, I chose a flame colored dahlia which I started to paint in watercolor to capture its translucent, brilliant beauty. I am including a short video here of the first part of the painting.
Since Easter, I have been noticing our resident hawk. I noticed when it looked like he got a mate. Since June started, I have been too preoccupied to notice, but this week, I discovered that the hawks have now become a family of five. They were all sitting in a tree together sitting perfectly still as the sun came up. Alittle while later, two of the younger ones were calling out and flying in circles like two children at play. I had wondered why I was hearing the call of this bird more frequently throughout the neighborhood. The “youngsters” actively and incessantly voice their flights, more so than the parents.
I love that even in the city, we can see and hear the beauty of the natural world if I stop long enough to notice, to sit and just “be present.”
The idea of sitting still is foreign to our culture. It has taken work, but I find myself sitting and not feeling a need to always do something. I must admit that I easily fall back into doing mode and wander around lost when I have nothing pressing on me to get done. I can feel the difference when I am racing around, exhaustedly trying to get a lot done; when I push myself past where I should have stopped or rested. But I find if I maintain being present as I work, pausing to smell the flowers and listen to the birds, I am more awake, alert and relaxed to deal with whatever comes my way. It is more peaceful and I feel content.
In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Is 30: 15
We enjoyed a week with our children and grandchildren around. I had lots of opportunity to practice just being present with everyone and enjoying the time we had together. Like the young hawks, children have a lot more energy and keep the rest of us moving. So thankful for the visit with all of them!
Riding the Waves of the Unexpected…
This was to be the theme at the June Art and faith retreat, but as Alberta didn’t make it to 70 % vaccinated by June 10, the retreat had to be canceled. A group retreat would hardly be a group retreat if everyone is confined to their own room due to no indoor gatherings.
When I finally accepted that we had to cancel the retreat, I felt intense disappointment and that I had let people down. I had been so sure we could meet together following the “restaurant reopening” rules, but King’s Fold falls under a different category, so everything other than eating together was not allowed under the no indoor gatherings restriction.
When King's Fold and I finally got on the same page and how we would be limited, I thought we could still have the retreat and just make the best of the situation. We would forge ahead and ride those unexpected waves. But then Sam asked me what if riding the waves of the unexpected meant we cancel the retreat. That was a tough one for me. It made me feel like a failure. So, instead of agreeing with Sam, I wrote an email to our participants asking how they felt about it.
I received good questions in response to my email about how I saw this retreat moving forward which really put it into perspective for me. I realized that we could not offer the kind of retreat experience that the retreat was all about. I had to let it go.
Riding the waves of the unexpected this time meant letting it go - letting go of the retreat and my desire to please others and be a success. (One of the scripture passages for the retreat was Isaiah 30: 15-18 which describes the Israelites pursuing their own way ending on hill with a battered flagstaff. See passage link below.) If I had gone forward with the retreat at this point, I would have been like the battered flagstaff on the hill. I would have been forcing my own way and reacting out of the failure and disappointment I was feeling.
The scripture passages I had chosen for the retreat were:
Isaiah 30:1,15-18 Which is about the rebellious Israelites, and God waiting for them.
The book of Ruth There are only 4 chapters, and so much of the story falls under the unexpected and how Ruth and Naomi dealt with the unexpected.
James 1:2-4 I wanted to share with you this story and the scripture passages and invite you to contemplate your own journey that has brought you to this day. What was unexpected? How did you ride the waves?
I invite you listen, to sketch or paint it, write a poem or just sit with it. What comes up for you?
If you are willing to share, send me an email.