Thursday, December 27, 2012

Putting "Presence"... Before Presents

Merry Christmas All!...and it is indeed a "White Christmas" here in Rockport! The newly fallen snow crunches underfoot... and crisp clean air have done so much to help cleanse away the sadness and the savagery inflicted viciously upon all of us who cherish Christmas... and our children! One needn't reserve plein air experiences and enjoyment to the act of painting alone. The Natural World is a cathedral for "Me" to pray... and to worship in my own fashion in. It is also is a place of healing for "Me." It is a place to think... sort out my thoughts and to renew my will and energy to keep going when Life throws me curve balls. The outdoors remains "my still waters"... and never fails to restore my soul.

Left to right - Dad.... Andrew... Deb... (squeeze in ) Lisa... and Allison
"Auto-clicked"... by Shutterbug Allison.... in the dark!

Our Christmas in Rockport celebration got off to a "rocky" start... pardon the pun, but it turned out to be likely The most memorable Christmas that any of us will likely enjoy, simply because of the unexpected circumstances under which it had to be celebrated. It will remain so for Deb and I for certain. What a joy it was to share time with and to have my children under one roof.

To listen to laughter and to feel swaddled in the warmth of just belonging were gifts enough for everyone... and yet, to watch the excitement and joy as each offered or received their small gifts, each one either hand made or especially chosen made me reflect in the moment how the Three Wise Men might have felt after their long and dangerous quest to find and attend Christ's birth. I got the gift of gold idea... but their other gifts always seemed strange to me as a young child. Yet today, they seem "special" because both frankincense and myrrh... both aromatic incenses would be gifts befitting a king for their worth and yet be practical in a time when animal and other unpleasant smells would be the norm in everyday life.

The Three Kings had absolutely nothing over the Fab Five in Rockport

Here is an album of snaps which clearly record the spirit of our gifting.... and giddiness!

Giddiness at its worst... is "Moi".. dancing for the folks in my magically musical Christmas Tree hat... gifted to me by Lisa!

Deb... The unwrapper.... easing her way through Lisa's braided rub basketful of items for Deb and I.

Here are Tilly and Maggie..... pretty portraits I made of Andrew and Melissa's canine children

Dr and photographer Allison "Jemima Puddle Duck"... biting into our bag of handmade goodies.

Andrew... The "Andyrewster" trying to unwrap the gals

Lisa... "Bo-Bissa"... showin' off her makeup magic kit gifted by Allison

What a PhD looks like after too much Italian  prosecco.... More than Giddy!!!! Brings a whole new meaning to the term... "stoned"! HA HA!!

The photographer jumps into action... and remember... all of these photos were taken assisted by candlelight in otherwise total darkness.

Monkey see... Monkey do!.... Lisa bejewelled... and Proceccoed as well!

Me... in my woolen Scott Tartan plaid scarf from Andrew... my Grandmother (Scott) Birrell's clan tartan

Will the real "Bajan Santa" Claus in Deb's annually growing Santa collection ... Please stand up??? From guess who???

"A Family Gathering" - oil on canvas 30x36 inches - SOLD

It seems appropriate to end this family post with a painting which in my other "voice"... recognizes and salutes the presence of the family tradition... even in the Natural world. Each family grouping comprised of elders... adults and youngsters shares a similar place of origin... and common traits which traits which identify each as a family member. This painting was painted on plein air a number of years ago... in response to a thought that struck me on that particular day about the obvious (to me) similarities shared between my family and this copse of pines. The memories of those now passed... remain as strong and meaningful... though they are but a shadow of their mature selves in their prime. Their "seed" carries on... as does Life... for the Living!

A Merry  and Fruitful Family Christmas to All!

And my enduring love and thanks to my Dear Mom and Dad... "somewhere over the rainbow...." I know that you'd be proud of your family and would be thrilled to see the seeds love that you planted... still flourishing at Christmas! God bless and keep you both in His gentle hand!

And my love and thanks to Deb, Lisa, Allison and Andrew... for making our first Christmas in Rockport so memorable and special!


  1. Dear Bruce - happened upon your lovely comment to Sherry on her post and hopped over to visit your blog. Your heart certainly comes through in your art. I paint mostly in watercolor, some pen and ink and pastels - never tried oils but that is on my "bucket list" - loved your family photos - looks to me like you have a wonderful loving family. Take care and hope you have a wonderful new year. I will be visiting again soon.

  2. What a lovely post Bruce, and a very lovely family. I agree with you about the great outdoors ... something I've only discovered for myself this past year. Glad you had such a memorable 'first christmas' in Rockport.
    I wish you a Happy and Peaceful New Year.

  3. Sounds like you had a lovely Christmas! We celebrated the weekend before with our combined family of 5 adult children and 7 (soon to be 8) grandchildren. The best gift of all was sharing Midnight Mass with my 91 year old dad. How blessed are we?!

    Thank you for the gift I receive...along with your other "followers"you'd very time you post these beautifully sentiments.

  4. Hi there Debbie!... Welcome aboard... always glad to make new blogger friends!

    Sherry is a very special friend... a good spirit who I always look forward to sharing with!

    I do hope that you will give oils a try... they are very "user friendly" and suitable for all situations and especially for plein air painting in all seasons. I began with watercolour and certainly learned a great deal from that nearly twenty year relationship.

    My Family... first... my Health... and my Art are the richest blessings in my Life. They have never let me down and have always allowed me to pursue my dreams. Life can't offer better than that!

    Rich Blessings... Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with many successful paintings! Do drop by again... and I'lll be over for a visit to your site... Soon!

    Thanks for visiting!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Hi there John!... Thank you for visiting and as is usually the case... for leaving such positive and encouraging comments!

    You are right... my family is my greatest blessing and the outdoors provides me with endless pleasure and opportunities for solitude anmd productive painting forays. Rockport is the latest gem added to an already priceless crown of rewards.

    Glad that you have found the outdoors. I can readily see its positive influence in both your wonderful work and your sensitive spirit!

    Good Painting and Plein airing in 2013!~
    Warmest regards,

  6. Hi there Wendy!... Your site and mine run "parallel" to the other... and both focus directly upon family and its positive influence in our daily lives.

    Rich blessings are they... when the elders... the children and their seed can journey together... however briefly that may be. THose are very special moments for all!

    Do enjoy them to their utmost!

    Good Painting! Season's Greetings and continued rich blessings!
    Warmest regards,

  7. So wonderful to see your family and share in your happiness, Bruce. May 2013 be rich with blessings for you and yours.

  8. Good Morning Sherry!... Thank you for coming to share the Sherman Christmas and the Happiness of this blessed season!

    I always look forward to our visits and our sharingsna look forward to many more in 2013!

    Rich blessings and Many Good Paintings in 2013!
    Warmest regards,

  9. Dear Bruce,

    What a beautiful family and wonderful Christmas for you and Deb. To be joined with your children is a wonderful Christmas gift. Thank you for sharing such lovely photos. All the best to you and Deb and your family. Wishing you all a very Healthy, Happy New Year.


  10. Hi again Joan!... It was indeed a wonderfully memorable Christmas despite the shortage of power! I guess it is true - Power to the People!... through the people I might add! Everyone kicked in and added something very special to save the day!

    All the best back to you and Mike! Happy New Yewar Joan!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,