Seal, acrylic, with Handmade paper, sand, eggshell, and ink transfer, 7x9in Seal, acrylic, with Handmade paper, sand, eggshell, and ink transfer, 7x9in Julie Drew
29 Apr

As I sit here to write on this last day of April, the snow is falling outside. This is typical spring weather in Alberta. Hopefully, this is the last snowfall, and we all know the snow won’t last, plus my daffodils and tulips are getting their water. (painting: Is it Spring yet? Watercolor, 11x7 in. ©JulieDrew)Is it Spring Yet? watercolor, 7x11 in

I so enjoy watching the signs of life and new growth that come at this time of year as the greening ripples slowly through the trees and bushes and the perennials are waking up from their winter sleep.

Inside the house I am enjoying the last three buds blooming on my Christmas/Easter cactus. The buds started appearing in the beginning of March when I counted 24 blooms. I have lost count of how many more there have been. The blooms look like dancing fairies. I took some mornings to sketch out a portion of my plant in color pencil.

ChristmasCactus atEaster.1000w

Spring! New Life! Hope!

As it is spring, I can work again on the last bridge painting I wanted to do for the Connection: Building Bridges Series, the Tawatinâ LRT bridge. On the ceiling of the bridge pedestrian walkway is the story of the indigenous people here in Treaty 6 territory painted in shaped panels.

I can see a hint of the panels, the walkway and the bridge from the spot where I plan to paint the bridge. I can also capture the new growth of the trees on the bank.

Tawatina lrt bridge

Why paint it in spring? I want it to be a painting of hope. A willingness of people to come together – to bridge the gaps of what separates us from each other. There is much we can learn from one another. There is much we can appreciate and value.

Last year, I was particularly mulling over the disparity between factions and all the divisions cropping up in our world. I firmly believe we need each other. When one of us hurts, we all hurt. The focus on building bridges was to find ways to connect with each other again.

Along the lines of connection, even as I complete the bridge project, I am thinking of where it is taking me next; Connection => Collaboration. We not only need to connect, but to trust each other enough to work together.

Part of this is figuring out what collaboration means for me, and for us as a community, society.

We live in a very individualistic society. We have our own property, possessions, etc. We work our own jobs, have our own income which we can spend however we want. Competition is pushed and individual profit, success, and gain are glorified.

I like to play cooperative games. We purchased a couple new ones for Christmas to try out. It is a nice change to work together to solve the game, the puzzle or the clues. Working together includes listening to each other, waiting for each other and letting new ideas come forth. This is so different from the competitive games where there is only one winner and lots of losers.

This painting of the SealSeal Painting with handmade paper, acrylic sand, egg shell and ink transfer is, for me, a metaphor for collaboration. I used handmade paper, eggshells, sand and acrylic paint, and an ink drawing with the transfer process to create it., The different mediums I used are like individuals contributing their part to the whole project. And the end result is not something that could have been accomplished with just one individual part (or medium).

Collaboration is the theme we will be contemplating at this year’s Art Vocabulary for the Soul retreat. We will see where it takes us. I look forward to the collaboration.

As collaboration is a new theme for me, I welcome your comments and feedback.

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