Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spring Tonic.... Simply Breathe In!

Painting has been set aside lately to allow for other important things on the spring "to do" list... to get done. The first of these was to catch my breath after a few too many months tied to the easel and a bad dose of the flu/cold.

That was accomplished on Easter weekend with a weekend long celebration with family. Eggs and chocolate really had but a small role to play in this year's fete... for all of the "wee ones" (as the pictures of this post will clearly show)... have either themselves become Easter Bunnies... or have moved on to newer adventures.

Some Bunny's... having Easter fun!

This year, we... as a whole family shared Easter together in Kingston... taking turns walking... reading to and entertaining Mr Mac... the newest member to our Sherman tribe. Each contributed to the sumptuous Easter feast that we enjoyed together on Good Friday. It was a perfect way to put Spring into my step!

Joan sets the very finest of festive holiday tables... always has! A cook... extraordinaire!

Grampa reads funny guys!....

Mac sharing smiles... double chins... and his Easter train with Grampa...complete will bell... whistles and animal noises at every press of another gaily colored button.There is no greater gift for a life fully lived than the warmth of a grandchild that tells one... you have lived a good life and will leave the world a special gift to say so... for years to come!

On Sunday, we all met again and traveled to the Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority's nature preserve to visit their Syrup and Pancake Festival. They have created a tour on site that chronicles the full history of sap gathering... from the First People's methods right up to the present day steam pan production.

Gramma Joan... ridin' shotgun..

Saddle up Pardner!... It's Giddy-up time!

"Snuggles"... with Dad... He's my main man!

The sweet adventure commenced with a tractor ride through the snowy woods in covered wagon replicas... much to the delight of Mr Mac. His eyes never left the sight of those behemoth tires as they edged us slowly... but surely on the muddy road bed. Two BIG Easter eggs for wee Mr Mac!

"Lookit them big wheels turnin..."

The 2015 Sherman Sugar Bush Troupe... note the "borrowed" plaid Canadian tuxedo on Andrew! Now... you're in  official "Dad" uniform Son!

The Three Rockwood Shermans chowing down! Melissa, Mac... and Andyrewster!

The sweetest rite of Spring!... BIG pancakes... fresh from the griddle... topped with creamy butter and a pouring of hot... freshly made maple syrup... served in the grandeur of the very bush it comes from!

I mentioned that "other things" have taken over in this man's world, but I think that these photos well demonstrate the wisdom of this necessary "stepping aside". Even a creative spirit needs frequent and new nourishment to remain fresh and fulfilled. A man cannot live by the brush alone. I have learned that!

However... all of this said, I feel that it would hardly be appropriate to close out a post without at least one painting. I concluded the last post with a sharing of the iconic paintings of Canadian landscape painter Tom Thomson. Today ... I have selected the work of yet another Canadian painter I deeply love and admire... for his kind gentle, generous spirit... his loyalty... and his intellect. it is an early work... completed en plein air in my company that still stands the test of time.

This painting was painted in the small village of Newton-Robinson on a plein painting trip together in the late fall of 1998. Newton - Robinson became a "honey hole"... as we jokingly called our favourite spots to paint. This wee gem of a sketch hung in my own home for many years... and I greatly miss it now. I had traded it for the canvas that I had painted alongside him that day. It now hangs, back where it rightfully belongs... in my "wee" son Andrew's own home ... along with mine. Not bad... EH???... for a twelve year old's painting!

A regular art collector and dealer who purchased only my best sketches and paintings once asked if this one on my wall could be for sale. The answer was as expected... but it speaks to an unspoken truth. An artist is one who paints what's before him, or her using the eyes and hand. But he, or she only produces an exceptional and truthful painting... when it comes from the heart!

The run is over for 2015 in our area... but I will post a series based upon the dioramas that were present at The Cat sugar bush. It really graphically illustrates the evolution of maple syrup production. Stay tuned.....

Good Spring Painting!... to ALL!!!


  1. What adventures you have all had. Mr Mac looks like he enjoyed it immensely. It's lovely to experience old traditions with their new eyes isn't it?

    I'm glad you had a good break.

    Best wishes.

  2. Hi there Lisa!... And what grand... and memorable adventures they were. Mr Mac capture the hearts of us all... so easily and fully. He is indeed... "a bonny lad"... and great addition to our family!

    "Old traditions... through new eyes"... I like that thought Lisa immensely Lisa. If you wouldn't mind... I would love to build my next post around that very phrase. I have been running the content through my mind for a few days... and your phrase really encapsulates the very direction I had hoped to follow!

    I'm off tomorrow with my painting pal Frank... for another plein air adventure, Can't wait! Spring has finally... fully... and gloriously arrived!

    Thanks for your visit and timely and very stimulating comments Lisa!

    Good Painting!... and Happy Spring!

    Warmest regards,

    1. Please do... I think we are having a similar adventure with our new wee ones. It was magical watching Twinkletoes watching his first real butterfly that was drying it's wings in the sun. He was so excited to see it and I think made the connection with the one in his picture book. He didn't make a sound just stared and pointed in wonder until it flew off then didn't stop 'chattering' for ages. It was quite a moment.

      Hope you have a lovely trip with lots of magical paintings.

  3. Wow looks like you all had a wonderful Easter . I do hope you feel better very soon, and happy painting when you get back to it!
    Ps happy Spring to you, but for me it's Autumn :-D

  4. Bruce, you've managed to make me want pancakes and maple syrup this morning. I must be hungry! Love seeing the family photos and I was thinking the little man looks quite a bit like his grandpa. An extraordinary gift left behind...the grandkids. Well said!

  5. God morning (here) Helen!... HA HA!... Forgot that you live "down under"!... The world is indeed a strange and complex place... that far too often... we take for granted!

    Our (winter) world has has been the most severely cold in my recent memory and has left the room only recently... and strangely... in a very sudden two day window!

    Spring things are looking up... fresh greens are appearing and flowers have pushed their buds out of the thawing ground. We will be out there today... plein airing again! Can't wait!

    Happy autumn to you Helen! ... HA HA!!! Thanks for dropping by and commenting!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  6. Good morning Sherry!... Good to hear from you on this now bright ... sunshiny Spring day! Hope to make some good paintings today... Frank and I will be gone after breakfast for the day!

    The pancake and syrup fest was a complete success. Those pancakes... dripping in melted butter and fresh syrup were the sweetest I can recall ! Mr. Mac thought so too!

    He is a "Heinz 57"... a smidgen of Melissa... maybe a dash of Grampa - BUT... He's a chip off the ol' block... dead ringer fro Andrew... as a child and even now through his current eyes and face shape!

    I am so very proud of Andrew and his family... and each of the other four children. "I"... am deeply blessed!

    Good Painting... and Happy Spring Sherry!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Family looks fantastic Bruce!!! Mac sure is a Sherman. Nice painting too!!! Happy Spring….

  8. Hi there Karen!,,, Good to hear from you! Yes... our family does look good... "together" again! It's been a long haul... but we have all put our hearts in it... and it feels good to be back in touch. Mr Mac is a keeper... and sure does look like Andrew!

    Andrew could have been a great painter... a natural. But life is about finding... following... and serving your passion... as you know fully!

    Happy Spring to you and David!


  9. Greetings laddie! good to hear and see the wonderful time you have been having with the family, the baby is growing up so fast! Hope to see some of your paintings here again soon. Lovely to see the painting by the young artist it is full of life and colour! take care and hope you have some warm spring weather soon! best wishes from Caroline in Scotland!

  10. Good morning Lass... and Happy Spring to you!.... I was beginning to worry when your posts seem to vanish for so long! Glad that you are again... "on tap"! HA HA!!

    Andrew's early work is indeed "full of life" and color... but not nearly as FULL OF LIFE...and colour... HA HA!... as his latest "masterpiece"... Mr. Mac!!!

    Spring has indeed sprung in these parts... and my painting pal Frank and I enjoyed a wonderfully full and sunny day "out there" yesterday. I will soon post the outcome from that foray! Stay tuned...

    Thanks for dropping by!

    Good Spring Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  11. Good morning Lisa!... Sorry that I missed your second comment!

    There's a real reason why they call these.."the wonder years". It is a rich blessing to see that innocence and rapt attention to the evolving world in front of your new child. These ... are quite simply the richest blessings of parenthood!

    Enjoy your time with your "Twinkle-toes" Lisa... for they move into the next stage ever so quickly. Each new step forward... is paradoxically one step further from you as well. You will be left to "wonder"... not quite the same... where the time has flown.

    Thanks for visiting and for sharing your own experience here!

    Good Printmaking!
    Warmest regards,

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