Friday, April 1, 2016

Family Gathering(s)...

"We're all we've got..."

I awoke a bit earlier than is my custom this morning because my head was working overtime... mulling over new painting ideas and recent events. Perhaps this is because our opening deadline is fast-approaching... or more likely, it was the surge of "spring things" that appeared simultaneously on my walk last evening.

As I made my way around my one hour circuit in the gently falling rain, I could smell the tell-tale new earthiness of spring. Purple crocuses smiled at me as I left our driveway. Everywhere... tulips, lilies, daffodils and other perennials pushed their greenness skyward.

The air echoed with the crescendo of a variety of male bird voices - all bent upon dominating and securing their air space. The paved pathway on the Parkway writhed here and there with newly-arrived thin, pink earthworms... seemingly stretching out the kinks of their imposed underground winter captivity.

Robins appeared more cheery... and plumper than usual... given this fresh spring menu of crawlers. Perhaps their rotundness owed itself to a still hidden clutch of turquoise-y treasures that would soon be gently placed in mounds of collected sticks and soft grasses... in places that irritate human home dwellers. Cardinal pairs seemed more present along the route... the males perched in pinnacles above all else... trumpeting their air supremacy.

The most unexpected discovery arrived from deep in the swamp on Old River Road. It as the happy... but noisy drone of choirs of spring peepers. All of these harbingers shouted:

"Spring has sprung!"

It struck me... as I drifted slowly from sleep into morning consciousness that all of this sudden change in activity could be attributed to family gatherings... or preparation for new families... gathering.

It struck me again... that the annual ritual of gathering of sap and production of maple syrup in Ontario sugar bushes... as well encompassed the gathering of family members to share the labour and the love of being on the land once again after a long cold winter - renewal!

Our own family had just recently "gathered" to share the annual ritual of making a pilgrimage to the Little Cataraqui Conservation Area's sugar bush to celebrate "Maple Madness. That included having a stack of freshly made pancakes topped with buttery goodness and lathered in freshly made maple syrup from the bush there.

Left to right: Melissa with Mr Mac, Andrew, Nana Joan and BoBo (Allie)
Sorry that you had to miss this year Debs... I had your pancake!

Other surprises transpired as well. Thank you to the resident chickadees on "Chickadee Lane"... and to the accommodating John Deere tractor operator who elevated Mr Mac youngest Deere operator on record! Bonus!!!

                                           Two... in the hand are worth ten in the balsams!

Is there anything more powerful in the world than trust... or Faith??? I wonder. I felt the sheer wonder of having power... but no power ... to make this happen! It quite simply..."is."

                                                            Mr MacDeere takes charge!
I would offer yet another extension of my ongoing thinking in regards to the concept of "family gathering". Here are two paintings that I have made in the past which look at the same "Idea"... as it came to me from the natural world.

I received news early last week that the East Coast version had just recently been sold at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia... after being on corporate rental for eight continuous years. What a Happy Easter surprise that was!!!

"Family Gathering at Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia" - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches

"Family Gathering" - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches

A copse of trees some likely related... at various stages of age and growth.

The Bajan Mafia... The Shamrays
Braden, Moi, Deb Lisa, Ryan and Mica... gathered together in Toronto

This was our Christmas Break gathering with my youngest Bryn, Susie (Bryn's Squeeze), his brother Liam and Deb

In closing out today's lengthy post, I would like to give thanks to each of my five children and especially to Deb. She has consistently and unselfishly provided a real Mom role model and a loving support system for each of them. Deb and I are very proud of each of you and we celebrate the uniqueness of each. Without any one of you... our lives would be greatly diminished.

Allie's recent Easter card to Deb and I says it all for me....

                                                   Inside... it adds... "Is a day well spent!"

We love you dearly!

"We"... are richly blessed...

Good Painting and Happy Spring !... to ALL!!!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing a wonderful, family-filled post :) Happy Spring to you all (someday I have to try feeding our chickadees by hand and see if it works here).

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful "comeback" Rhonda! Give those chickadees a whirl! Such a wonderful uplifting feeling to feel their wee claws fairly tickle your palms! I usually mimic their "Chick-a-dee-dee" inviting call to encourage them. Seems to work

    Cheers!... and Happy Spring!
    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Bruce, what a lovely collection of "Gatherings". I'm glad you are all enjoying the Spring.

    Congratulations on the sale of the painting. Isn't it especially satisfying when a painting finally sells after such a long time.

    All the best,

  4. Good morning Keith!... Good to hear from you... have missed your on line presence!

    Yes... I especially love family gatherings... and those "gatherings" that seem to come forward in the natural world bring their own joy... and rewards as well!

    I do appreciate the opportunity to rent my work at such a prestigious gallery space. A bonus when a client chooses to own it after such a long stay.

    Good painting and Happy Spring Keith!
    Warmest regards,

  5. And a great day was had by all! ....especially a certain little tractor driver methinks.

    Happy Spring.

  6. Hi again Lisa!... Any family gathering is a highlight - MacDeere made the day even more special!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

  7. Lovely blog post, yes the long await spring has sprung here too, lovely to see the primroses and tiny violets and woods full of bluebells too.
    I love the painting that sold, it struck me that it was full of happy colours and the light from the sky just added to that feeling!

  8. Hi there Diana!... So nice to hear from you! Glad too... that spring is in the air in your part of the world as well! It sure does put a lot of "spring" in one's step!

    I know that you will agree that detail will catch the eye... but light and shadow captures both the eye... and the soul!

    Good Painting... and Happy Spring!
    Warmest Spring!

  9. Wonderful pictures from your family gatherings!! It is true that birthdays and other occasions are ideal for fun family gatherings. On our 5thanniversary we too had a family party at some outdoor Chicago venues and it was also a fun day. We all enjoyed a lot together.

  10. No matter hiow much we might differ in our geographical location or our other necessary daily pursuits to earn a living... family should always underscore our very essence and purpose in life. They are ... when it's all said and done all that we leave to history to say that we were here.

    Seems... we are both greatly blessed Drew!

    Thanks for dropping by and adding youyr own thoughts!

    Warmest regards,