Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hogmanay... Fast Approaches!

Time here in Rockport has recently been sped up and defined by the cold, icy conditions of Nature its self. Much of our time and activity has out of absolute necessity been devoted to maintaining warmth... comfort and life necessities. While our situation could hardly ever have been construed as "life threatening," it most certainly has, at times been uncertain and outside of our control. This obviously has been at the very least disruptive to my own artistic schedule and to a very large degree my posting at this site. I currently find myself in the unusual situation where I find that I have two unpublished posts... "waiting in the wings." Which should I release? Should I release any... but rather hit the delete button... and head into the New Year with a nice clean sheet? Or... should I simply return to the painting-in-progress and do what I love most. Too many questions. Time for a decision!!

Here goes...


Hogmanay... in my Family Scottish tradition represents the equivalent of New Year' Eve. In the Birrell tradition from which I come, we once celebrated the Eve by gathering as a family...playing and singing up until the hour... at which time the New Year was brought in together... glass in hand... singing "Auld Lang Syne." Though that occurred more than sixty years ago... and many of those attending have passed on... this ritual burns alive in my heart and memory as clearly to "Me" each and every New Year's Eve.

I don't however, leave it in the past to be lost. I choose to practise it ... in my own fashion slightly differently each New Year. Tonight... Deb and I will share the evening... for as long as we both can remain awake playing together... either Scrabble or Cribbage. We do that just before evening meal with a drink... most usually each and every day of the year. That is... "living" Hogmanay.

In the morning... I will arise early and head out to carry out the second leg of the Birrell Hogmanay tradition- "First Footing." A short description is that this activity involves being the very first person to pass through the threshold of a valuable family member, neighbour or friend... bearing a small, simple gift. It is believed that this action will bring health and good fortune to the recipient during the entire New Year. Whether that is exactly true matters little. It certainly will bring surprise... and immediate Joy to the householder at the very least - and that's the purpose that I always have in mind.

I will "first  foot" my Mom and Dad at their grave side "residence"... they deserve that honour ... always. I then have my house holder (in Rockport) already in mind... given that these folks made our dream to return to Rockport and my beloved St Lawrence River become reality. That gift has made our lives and our circle... full. We are ... greatly blessed!

We spent the day travelling to Aurora, Ontario... four hours one way to spend the day with my youngest lads and pals, Liam and Bryn. We were unfortunately unable... because of the treacherous weather conditions, to have our Christmas celebration this year in Rockport. However... Deb and I have spent so many wonderful hours and Christmases together that this "blip" has no effect or feeling of disappointment whatsoever for any one of us. It is the quality of time we spend together that is important over the years that truly matters... not the quantity.

We enjoyed a wonderfully sumptuous midday meal together...exchanged our presents.... laughed and hugged each other joyfully. We are so very proud of these two young men... each so unique... each with so much promise and goodness. To stand in their and listen... we feel the warmth of knowing and feeling... we are... a strong family! "We"... are deeply blessed!

My "Annual"  Xmas Card for Bryn the Chef... and Liam the Shutterbug and Computer Guy

"Mama Bear"  Deb unwrapping her tea heating outfit... Party time! Bryn on looking... proudly!

Liam and Dad... "Sharing" goat cheese entree at the ready! Yums!

Still Soul Mates... after all the years!

Three kids!... Love these guys! They are such decent human beings... beautiful minds and fine young men!

In closing this last minute change of post offering... I wish to thank each of you who have added so regularly and generously to my personal and painting lives through your visits and comments. I truly feel blessed to be a part of this blogging family of artists. I look forward to more back n' forth visits and sharings during 2014. I wish all of you... Happy Hogmanay... Happy New Year... and Good Painting!

Use each and every day that you can to celebrate your life- Paint! Paint! Paint!
I will end with a paraphrased quote from the iconic Scottish poet laureate, Robbie Burns, his Grace which I learned from my Grampa's lips and heart:

May the best you've ever seen
Be the worst you'll 'eer see,
May the mouse nay leave your girnal (cupboard, pantry)
With a tear drop in his 'ee. 
May your lum (chimney) keep briskly reekin' (have smoke in it... or you remain hale and hearty) 
Till your old enough to dee (die),
And can you aye be just as happy... 
As I wish you aye to be!

Rich blessings in 2014... to ALL!!!!

This was my Christmas card for this year. Here's ours ... to your house!



  1. Happy Hogmanay, Bruce! Your New Year celebrations were ours growing up...and continue in some measure today! We will, in a few hours, be sweeping the old year out one door, and opening the other door to the New Year!

    All the very best in 2014...peace, good health, and happiness! (AND time to paint!) What more can we ask for?!

  2. Happy New Year Bruce and thank you for the lovely Christmas painting card it is just beautiful!

  3. Happy Hogmanay back to you and yours Wendy!

    We share so many so many common passions,values and traditions that in a strange fashion... we are family.

    I wish you the same rich blessings of health... happiness and of course... time to paint! Those are my greatest gifts in Life along with my family and friends!

    Warmest regards,

  4. Happy Hogmanay to you Lass!

    I hope that your year is filled with rich blessings... good health... prosperity and many painting opportunities! Thank you caroline... for your friendship and visits! See you in 2014!

    Warmest regards,

  5. Thank you for sharing your family time, Bruce. I love it! Both Bryn and Liam look to have Deb's smile. You know, my Christmas card still hasn't arrived? I look for it each day and I know you sent it as I saw the edge of it in one of your previous post photos. It will be a wonderful New Year gift when it arrives and I will consider it my own personal Hogmany from Bruce Sherman.

  6. Good New Year's Morning Sherry!

    You have described perfectly... as is always the case. My sincere motive for posting is to create an open forum... where we, as artist Friends can exchange thoughts, our artistic processes and ideas openlyand withour fear of judgement across distance... as we each feel comfortable.

    I'm sorry that the USPS is so tardy in delivering your personal greeting... it was created and indeed mailed... well in advance as you noticed. Chin up... haunt the mailbox... intimidate your mail person... and let me know when you have received it. HA HA!!

    It is my "SPECIAL" Hogmanay gift to you because I admire your honest and pure intentions... minus the veneer of so many I meet daily in my life. "You"... are indeed special and important Sherry!

    Happy New Year! Rich blessings of Good Health... Happiness and Prosperity in 2014! Thank you for dropping in and sharing your thoughts!

    Warmest Hogmanay Greetings!
    Bruce and Deb

  7. Dear Bruce,
    Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family. What a fantastic way to show your love to your family by sharing your snow man painting and have it visit each of your children. It will always be a reminder of your love for them,

    All the best to the
    Sherman Family,

  8. Gooxd morning Joan!... Happy New Year back you and Mike!

    Despite the distance that the weather conditions put between all of us this Christmas and New Year's... the Spirit of love and sharing could not be diminished!

    We actually found that in this situation... new traditions came unexpectedly into being... like my Plein Air "Selfie"! HA HA!!

    Perhaps that is a healthier way to maintain our traditions - to actually destroy, or reinvent them in a way that makes them exciting and creative in nature to pass forward. It would seem that the tradition would become more appealing... and less likely to fall out of vogue... or rational thought! Just an 'ol snow person's take on things! HA HA!!

    Good painting!
    Warmest regards,

  9. The Robbie Burns never fails -- always a classic! The boys look great and shockingly grown up. Glad you guys had some time together!

  10. Good morning Allie!... Burns understood life fully... as is revealed in his beautiful poetry - the main reason he is remains Scotland's most iconic and revered poet laureate. His blessing was used by my Gramp Birrell back to the very moment memory was possible for me. It has been passed forward to the present on through the lips of my Mom... and now mine to you... and others who truly want to understand... and embrace generosity... without strings atrtached!

    Pass it forward in your own journey... and in so doing... your own life will be as greatly blessed as mine has been!

    All of my children , I am proud to say... have grown taller in stature... but more importantly... have grown in character as well. I am so very proud... and feel blessed that each of you bears my name and values in your terms!

    Rich blessings of Peace, Health, Happiness and Prosperity in 2014!

    All my love... ALWAYS!