Friday 2 January 2015

Up, down, and ever forward

It's a new year. For some that means time to turn the page and leap forward enthusiastically into the fresh expanse of months stretching before them. For others, it's a time to reflect on the year just past, to contemplate what transpired and the wisdom to be found there. For me, it's always a bit of both. However, looking back on 2014, I can honestly say that while it was not without its high points, I'm relieved it's over.

A few of the highs:
  • A dream came true and I acquired my own little piece of a Gulf Island - a ramshackle retreat to call my own.
My Gulf Island "estate"
  • A new pup and a new kitten joined my family, both of whom have become treasured, although sometimes exasperating, members of the household.
Baby Hugo
Baby Lily
  • Accolades were bestowed on my work in the form of awards at four different exhibitions, as well as acceptance into other prestigious shows, financial successes, and other satisfying achievements that made me feel proud of what I've accomplished as an artist.
My silk painting The Transients: Snow Geese which was the
recipient of the Envision Financial Master's Award at the Oil & Water Exhibition,
hosted by the South Delta Artist's Guild
  • A December visit to Grenada, one of my all-time favourite places, offered a chance to relax, reconnect with the various denizens who call that Caribbean island home, and assemble an abundance of artistic inspiration (more to come about that in a future blog entry).
Terns roosting on a favourite boat just off Grenada's
famous Grand Anse Beach

Some of the lows:
Dear old Riley at the feet of my
dear old neighbour, both gone to the
Rainbow Bridge within a few weeks
of one another.
  • So many losses: a cherished friend, a long-time neighbour, a loyal dog, a respected colleague and a beloved brother-in-law all left this earth over the course of a few short months. With each loss I felt my heart break just a little bit more.
  • One fine summer day I watched helplessly as bright flames licked from under the roof of my house and smoke billowed from the eaves, while the sound of approaching fire truck sirens grew ever louder. Thankfully the damage was minimal, but the fear I felt in that moment as I realized all could be lost - including my art, my studio and my three house cats - is something I'll never forget.
  • I made three emergency veterinary visits with a mischievous puppy who, I have learned, will eat anything, including 1) a belly full of potentially toxic grapes that grow in profusion in the back yard; 2) a bag of trail mix laden with raisins (also toxic) that I thought was safely contained in my backpack but my crafty pup discovered how zippers work; and 3) an unknown substance that the veterinarian said bore all the signs of cannabis, consumed while in the one-time care of a new dog sitter. This pup apparently has as many lives as any cat while I'm sure I now have several less than I did before she arrived.
  • The final straw, in the waning days of 2014, was the "death" of my beloved art-mobile, my bright orange Honda Element that cheerfully carried me, my artwork and all my accoutrements to various art activities for the past three years. She was laid low by an eight-ton truck while innocently stopped at a traffic light. I am devastated but thankfully relatively unharmed, apart from a sore back.
My wonderful Honda Element packed for an art festival.

There's more I won't go into - after all, this is a blog about life as an artist and not some pity party! Let's just say that 2014 presented quite a roller coaster ride. One thing I learned was to HANG ON! Another is a bit of a cliché and, I think, one of the most difficult things to put into practise: to live in the moment - not the future, not the past, but right now. And of course, perspective is another important lesson - my "lows" are really nothing in comparison to some of the hardships others face. 

I am not without ambitions for the coming year - far from it, in fact - but my overarching wish is that it be less fraught with stress and that it [please] be much less liberally laced with sorrow. However, for starters my immediate goal is to get cracking in my studio (once my back stops hurting, that is), do a re-organization of furniture, materials and supplies, and then get busy in my newly revitalized space, make some art, start scheduling exhibitions and festivals, and get ready to face whatever 2015 has to throw at me.

As for this moment, my pup is curled at my feet, my husband is puttering in his office, and rain mixed with mushy snowflakes is drip-drip-dripping steadily from the eaves of my cosy house. We are safe, comfortable and together. My studio beckons. Life is good.


  1. Deborah you have certainly had a full year...Congrats on a beautiful retreat! I see a beautiful restful spot there!! So sorry for the losses you have endured here's to a wonderful New year for you and yours...Donna Duvall, Mission, BC

  2. Lovely blog Deb. Hope 2015 is all you dream it can be!

  3. I can't wait to visit you at the cottage, Deb, and hope you get to spend lots of time there - down time and art time, more than fixing-it-up time! :)
    I'm so sorry to hear about your Element - I hope you can find another perfect mobile art studio. Sorry too about the many losses - may 2015 be a much easier year.