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Moving Forward By Looking Back

I make art to show my soul I am listening.

– Pat Wiederspan Jones

After a very ambitious 2018, I entered 2019 a little rundown and in need of an energy injection.

One of the first things I did was clean up and re-organize my studio – getting rid of 4 years of clutter and putting “my house” in order. While it felt good to throw things away, I got the biggest energy charge-up from reviewing some older artwork that required new storage. I came across sketchbooks and paintings from 2013-14 – the time when I rediscovered my love of art-making, and was filled with boundless excitement and the thrill of possibility.

I was surprised how powerfully present those feelings still were as I looked through these earlier works. I recalled how it felt like some kind of bright light had been turned on. Or as expressed in Jones’ quote above, for the first time in a long time I could hear my soul talking to me.

Reconnecting to these feelings was exactly what I needed to move into 2019’s work with more energy, gratitude and joy.  And I decided to paint 2 miniatures from photo subjects I took back then to reconnect more deeply.

Miniature #148 recalls a day in March 2014 where I drove to Toronto’s Distillery District (about 40 km) to sketch and paint. Sketching outside in March in Canada is often a feat of physical endurance, but I was so keen to capture a picturesque street scene that no amount of cold would keep me from it. However, rain and high winds were another story because that was the weather situation when I pulled into the parking lot. Disappointed, I took lots of photos instead of the grey and unusually-desolate district – it was still beautiful even in the bad weather – then jumped indoors for a hot beverage and sketched my coffee cup. Five years later, I’ve finally gotten around to honouring my enthusiastic intentions of that day by painting from one of those wet March photos.

#148 – March in the Distillery

2.5″ x 3.5″ ink and watercolour

Miniature #149 depicts a restored farm building on an art retreat’s property in Le Marche, Italy where in 2013 I picked up paint brushes for the first time in 30 years. I actually painted this scene in acrylic paint when I was there. Even though I made so many mistakes and needed lots of help from my instructor, Caroline (because I had forgotten how to paint), I revelled in every single minute. Sitting in the Italian countryside, painting in the October sunshine not only reignited my love of painting but also deeply tied my love of Italy forever to my art. Looking at the acrylic version, a desire arose in me to paint it again, but this time reflecting where I am now in my art journey. Here’s the 2019 new version in ink and watercolour:

#149 – Le Marche Cottage

2.5″ x 3.5″ ink and watercolour

I made THIS art to show my soul that I am listening!


(Both original pieces are now available here at my Etsy Shop, ArtWeWonderful)


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