Monthly Archives: February 2016

when things are not what they seem


Some challenges are straightforward: six loads of laundry is six loads of laundry.

Some challenges are not what we expect: the ten year art career plan is really the 22 year life-family-art-failure-faith-journey jumbled together non-plan.

and some challenges change the way we see things: getting my kids to the bus on time turns my view of our humble driveway into a moment of wonder.

Another morning starts; I get the kids up, dressed, chored, fed, packed, maybe even brushed and then rushed down the drive to meet the bus. No, it’s not a long way. Yes, they could walk, but they’d be wet and frozen from the start and sick days are out around here. (Don’t worry, I do make them walk back up – unless it’s howling a gale.)

I turned the car around to head home and found myself staring into the middle of an old movie. It was startling. I got back up to the house, grabbed my camera and stayed out as long as I could stand the cold (ok, yes I was in my pj’s) to observe and record what I was seeing.

These are not black and white photos, and they aren’t tinted. The colours of  the land were muted for miles by the frozen air and filtered light of a clouded morning sky. It was so very still and beautiful and other-worldly. I took dozens of photos, trying to capture the atmosphere of a place so familiar, yet completely transformed.

P1260219an unexpected ocean – soaked and frozen gorse and moor-grass…

P1260195a vast and newly formed lake – only a few feet deep and as wide as this small field…

P1260205a quiet road leading to an unseen destination –

the unexpected place of inspiration and freedom for my heart. the path home.

Life is full of challenges, you know this. I know this. But things are not always as they seem. What feels monotonous can bring about patience and rhythm. What is hard can prove to be a rock on which to stand. What can seem like a dead end may just be a door to something totally unexpected. and amazing.

be encouraged.


painting the silence


My studio is quiet. I move around in socked feet, careful to keep sound to a minimum. This is not my chosen way of working, rather a necessity for the sake of our eldest child whose chronic illness makes sleep elusive and whose bedroom is next to me.P1260107-001There is no technology or music or song or words out loud. But after spending many a frustrated hour in this unfamiliar space, I now find myself more fully engaged in the process of my art. This is an unexpected silver lining.
P1260118It has taken time, but I have found a rhythm in this silence, a way of working that focusses me in on thoughts of colour and structure, the scrape and line of paint and surface…P1260120Though I am in some senses limited, I am also stilled. and distilled. I allow the paint to do the talking, to sing the song…P1260154and I hear it more keenly in this season of socked feet and whispered movement.

Perhaps you, too, are in limiting circumstances. It may well change how you approach your work, but it does not have to stop your work from forming. And if we choose to make the necessary adjustments, we will move forward. Progress will be made.

be encouraged.