Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Renewal... Resurrection... Spring

Call it what you want. We are quickly approaching that precious and much anticipated time of the year where winter abdicates his icy cold rule increasingly... minute by minute at both the beginning and the close of each new day. This rapid change in daily sunlight does much to invigorate the land and all of the many creatures that share it. The warmer air is literally full of song... chatter and unfettered energy and activity. The world is once again... alive... with renewed possibility.

It is perhaps ironic... but appropriate that we as a Sherman family are in the midst of receiving the great blessing of a new child and member into our family circle. The event aligns itself perfectly with the exact notion of Spring - Renewal. For each of us... it renews and kindles the warmth and presence of a common spirit of belonging. If anything... it elevates that precious feeling to an even higher level for each of us... both young and old. In particular... this event clearly defines our real purpose for being here... and more clearly... what is the greatest blessing for us all - Life!

I have subscribed to a wonderful a wonderful Bi-Weekly Newsletter created by the British Columbian artist, Robert Genn for many years. I much enjoy his writing as much as his wonderful fine art. We share so very many common values and life principles that it is as if "He" is speaking.... using my own thoughts and experiences. It gives me much peace and inspiring resolve in my own daily life and work. We both value family above else... and in his case and my own... this principle has developed creative children who have made their own way in life... with their own skill set. But in spite of their individual lives our children remain loyal and supportive of their [aging] parents. Unfortunately for Robert Genn... he is terminally ill... but still painting and living out the final leg of his journey... in  the presence and with the magnificent support of his children.

His successful artist, musician and song writer Sara... who has made her own mark in New York has stepped in to "tidy" affairs... and to help him continue this Newsletter. Through this intersession... I have come to realize that the credential "writer"... can be justifiably added to her personal resume of creative skills. I would like to use a quote from today's email... and I must apologize Sara... for not obtaining your permission first. However... in giving proper credit to my source and by explaining how very meaningful it is to me personally at this moment in  my own life... perhaps you will realize that I am using it in the very context that you have created this magnificent mouthful of wisdom:

"The saving of lives, for an artist, is surely a daily act. Artists are resuscitators of dreams, rescuers of the abandoned, lodgers of the unwanted, and keepers of faith. In our lifesaving, we are saved. In polishing the souls of others, the artist polishes her own with her resurrections. She can't help herself - giving life is the ultimate creative act." (Sara Genn)

This so clearly describes my own journey... my own dreams for a better world for others... and in particular - Children. Each one of us carries within us, the abilities to accomplish good. Each one of us has a passion for something we love... that we can build upon and perfect to our best ability... and then share it. Not all of us can become artists... equal in skill or success. But we can share the passion for making art and sharing it openly without fear of comparison or judgement. Many of us are parents. Being a parent becomes an art form in itself... for some. Many combine that responsibility with a career and other personal interests. A manual does not come with a newborn... though many Dr Help books can be found to support and encourage this new part of the human journey.

The term artist can mean so many things. But if we choose to"read between Sara's wise lines"... we can become artists... if only:

We serve others daily... support the dreams of others.. including the unwanted, the imperfect and the abandoned. Choose to polish... without a score card... and above all else...


My painting for today's post was begun after I received the wonderful news from Andrew that "Wee Mac" had arrived safely. I decided to create this sugar bush painting firstly... because "sugaring off" is my annual creative resuscitator of sweet(er) dreams and possibility. Symbolically to me... Mac's arrival trumpets the renewal of my father's lineage... and the passing on of my own to Andrew and his new family.

I chose to paint this painting entirely from memory. It is indeed "a place"... of sorts... in a corner of my subconscious inner world of memories. It is both one... and many sugar shacks that I have visited over many past springs. It represents the most simple and humble of shanties.... the type that housed generations of families and children who like myself... relished the beauty and the majesty of Spring's annual entry.

I humbly offer this as an early Spring greeting to each of you my Friends... and as the first of many paintings that will become Grampa memories ... for Sweet Mac!

Good Painting to ALL... and to my Family CONGRATS... and ALL my love Always!

"Sweet Dreams" - oil on canvas 16x20 inches

Post Script:  A from Ralph Waldo Emerson... via Sara Genn again.

"As soon as there is life, there is danger. I dip my pen into the blackest ink because I am not afraid of falling into my pot."

Dip... and push those brushes tirelessly... and fearlessly! Keep the Faith!


  1. So distressing to hear of Robert's terminal illness. Most of the time, life is just too darned short. And yet even within myself I long for the stillness, the peace, the respite from worry...what a dichotomy. I am so thankful that Robert has his children to love and support him. I hope for a miracle.

    Your sugar shack (ok...now I have that old song looping through my head) is just beautiful, Bruce. I so love your sugaring paintings. They just speak of an earlier time in history to my mind...remind me of images in old history textbooks. I imagine it harkens back to hundreds of years ago too...

  2. Hi there Sherry!... Thanks for your usual enthusiam and encouragement!

    The shanties or sugar shacks I have been fortunate to visit... range from very simple sheds wood-fired for the boiling off and are run season after season by single families. Others are more elaborate... have efficient propane fuelled evaporators... some even with attached giftware shops and the odd big operation with sit down capabilities to serve pancakes and sausages. In each... I find a spirit of friendliness... optimism and respect for life this has all but disappeared outside rural tradition. Off the record... I prefer the older wood-fired product with its distinctive maple ash flavour... there's something special in that syrup missing in the efficiency-driven process.

    It is here in such places (here on earth)... that I have discovered the very peace... respite from worry and stillness that you feel death will bring to your life. It can be found in this life Sherry. It may be a different source and with different people perhaps. But I feel those qualities are within you... and travel with you in life Sherry.

    Just a thought!... Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Bruce - always so sad to hear about someone struggling with life and death situations. Sara's words are very deep and thought provoking. As for your "Sweet Dreams" - just beautiful. You can see the joy in each brushstroke. Take care and have a great day.

  4. Hi there Debbie!... Thank you for your sensitive... and encouraging remarks!

    Sara Genn beautifully exemplifies the courage... intelligence and wisdom which she was raised to watch in her growing up and formative years. Her words are so deeply meaningful to me... and her courage inspiring... as is her father Robert's choices during his passage. A phrase from a poem... an ode by the 17th century poet John Donne comes to mind that has ever so much more meaning for me in this case:

    "Death... be not proud, though some have called you
    Mighty and dreadfulful, but thou art not so...."

    To choose to die... living... rather than to live dying is to have victory over Death. Even dying... as well as living comes down to choices!

    Embracing joy... especially the creation of one's art defeats even the deepest cold of winter. It "warms" my heart greatly that you see joy in this particular work.

    Do have a great day yourself... and thank you for dropping by!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  5. Hi Bruce, from comments I have received from time to time, I realise how true Sara's words are. It's a very gratifying thing to be able to touch people in such a way, and part of the satisfaction of being an artist I suppose.

    The sugar shack is another joyful painting, full of the promise of Spring (and new birth).

    All the best,

  6. Good morning Keith!... Thanks for visiting and for your usual thougfhtfulness and understanding!

    Once again... one of the joys of my blogging is the connection one is able to make with people one might not otherwise meet. I so enjoy our sharings... both visual and verbal interaction. Both offer me a feel of being connected with others who value similar passions for our art making and life in general.

    Perhaps the greatest reason for making art in the first place... is the hope to relate an idea... and to reach out with that hope in mind to inspire another to hope as well.

    I guess one might venture to say that making art is like making maple syrup. It's a "sticky" business... but holds the promise of all Springs - new birth!

    Goood Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. The only thing I can say about your post is Simply Beautiful, both in words and painting. Just lovely.

    All the best to you,

  8. Hi there Joan!... Thank you for your visit ... and for your encouraging compliments!

    All the best back to you!

    Good Painting and warm regards,

  9. Congratulations on your new arrival, Bruce! I am so happy for you and Deb! There is nothing like grandchildren! They are so much fun!

    I really like this latest painting. In fact, so much so that I will be visiting a sugar bush and taking a few pictures! Soon!

  10. Good evening Wendy!... Nice to hear from you!

    You are so right... grandchildren offer proof that you were here... and did "good" things!

    Glad that the newest painting inspires you to get "out there"... Look forward to seeing some good shots! Be sure to pick up some of that liquid Canadian Gold.... add a few pancakes and sausages.

    Voila!... Happy Spring!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,