The Healing Properties of Daffodils, Turtles and Goutweed

Something fairly profound happened for me this month.

I have felt quite sluggish this winter. Not actually depressed but just completely unmotivated, disinterested, lazy and believing that my strong desire to paint had completely abandoned me. This was quite distressing because there was absolutely no substitute interesting endeavour that came to mind. Nothing. Not writing. Not gardening. Not visiting. Not travelling. I wondered if this is how the end begins.

And then something surprising happened. The daffodils I planted last year started poking up all over the lawn, under trees, beside the studio. Ordinary daffodils. Well some were a touch more fancy than others, but they were certainly not roses, or rare orchids. Just bright yellow happy daffodils.

Daffodils are happy flowers.

And soon after that, masses of goutweed, the bane of my existence, started coming up. And although they are incurably invasive, I do like the smell of their leaves and they are greener than green. For the first time ever, instead of cursing them, I marvelled at their shape and persistence. I noticed the earth under them was loaded with beneficial earthworms who turned the maze of roots into rich soil.

The Goutweed will look dreamy at the end of June.

And then yellowish green buds appeared on the trees. And then, miracle of miracles, three adult painted turtles appeared in our little pond. I only saw them once, but there were followed by two and then three baby turtles that have been hanging out in the goldfish pond sunning themselves ever since.

And while Nature was doing her thing, I pressed forward with a show of paintings in May for the Lucky Rabbit House in Annapolis Royal. And guess what? It’s been an absolute thrill to show my paintings and to hang out with the creative artists at Lucky Rabbit and to talk to people about the paintings. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed interaction with others.

All of this has caused me to wake up and come alive again. I am feeling such gratitude for the Spring transformation of the earth. I have ordered another 50 daffodil bulbs as insurance for the future.

And guess what? I still want to paint! I am back in the studio with gusto. Which is great timing because I am creating a whole new grouping of paintings for Bear River Artworks Gallery. We open on May 28 and five of the gallery artists will be present.

Daffodil painting in progress.

The collection of 21 paintings at Lucky Rabbit House in Annapolis Royal continues until May 28. Ironically it is named “Courage My Love”.

Do you see the logistical problem here? Two overlapping-by-one-day shows? This means that if you have the inclination, you can see my paintings at Lucky Rabbit and at Bear River Artworks Gallery on the same day, May 28. Both locations are open that day from 10 am to 4 pm. I will be at Artworks Gallery.

I hope you’ve felt rejuvenation from the sunshine and the warmer weather too. Flowers help. Courage, indeed!

I finished updating my 8′ tall mural (left image) that is back on the side of Sissiboo Coffee where I heard this musician in 2012. I can keep an eye on it from the window of Bear River Artworks Gallery where I will be hosting visitors on Thursdays all summer.

My Grandmother’s Garden Planted Seeds of Love

The first months of the pandemic in 2020 activated a lot of distress and anxiety for me. It was hard to imagine that there had ever been calm and happiness in my world. Therefore, memories of those good periods took on a deeper significance. I reached back to memories of early times in my life when I felt happy and content. Like the times spent visiting my Scottish grandmother and her wild garden of flowers and vegetables and experiencing with her love and kindness. But that garden. What was it about that garden that brought me such joy?

Continue reading

Painting Tulips in a Room of One’s Own

This new painting is special to me for several reasons. For starters, I really like it! I always enjoy the process of painting and trying to solve the design problem, but sometimes the end result falls short of what I am trying to achieve. Ironically I believe this is a motivating factor to paint and to try it again. But this time I am happy with the look and feel of this painting; the spontaneity and lightness. Continue reading

After the Abstract Painting Workshop – taking action

The process of learning to make art  is like that of learning to speak. You learn the language, the grammar, the idioms. But what you say with it is totally up to you.
– Jane Davies in Abstract Painting: the elements of visual language.

I am inspired by a recent painting workshop with abstract painter Leya Evelyn, and I want to tell you about it with this video to give you a peek at my new painting series. Continue reading