Monday, August 15, 2016

August... on my Mind

Year after year... August has come and gone. Summer flowering has dried up in the deep sultry heat of July. August offers wet reprieve for parched soil... gardens... meadows and roadside wildflowers. August is surely a month of transition.

Our summer here in the Thousand Islands region has been dominated by a cruel and relentless scorching sun. So much sun that lawns and hardwood stands are devoid of their usual verdant summer greens. Many might not recover I'm afraid.

While the weather has deviated drastically from the norm... my thoughts and activities have not. I have continued to paint... sheltered from the harmful UV rays under my "Painting Pagoda" - the name aptly given by my daughter Lisa to the five by eight foot patio deck gazebo that I paint under... en plein  air!

August has long been a month of birthday celebrations for the Sherman clan. We first celebrated Deb's birthday on August 10th as described in my last post. Tomorrow... August 16th marks my Dad's 104th birthday. That is closely followed by the birthday (kept secret) of my younger sister Chris on August 19th. Sunday, August 21st will mark my Mom's century mark... her 100th birthday. It is very difficult to comprehend them being 100 years or more old.

Where has the time gone?

As has been my custom... I try to commemorate August and their birthdays with special paintings and thoughts. Many of these paintings never lose their impact in describing the importance of my
parents' contributions to my growth and development as a person and an artist.

I have chosen to "replay" a few earlier tributes below... before offering this year's August tribute to them both.

"Keep Smilin!" (from my Dad's bulletin board in his basement "Inner Sanctum"

"August... on my Mind" - an oil that displays August delights... corn and peaches for my Dad's taste buds...  Brown-eyed Susans for my Mom's table

"Summer in Transition" - a crazy quilt oil depicting a floral clock of roadside "weeds"

"A Demi-tasse Filled With Summer" - an oil still life... the kind that could be found constantly throughout the summer on our cottage dining table

"Simply... Daisies" - an oil still life... simply composed using repurposed objects - a testament to my Mom's resourcefulness and ability to make joyous things...  and to take great pleasure creating from the "ordinary" objects around her

My favourite image of all - "Thank You... For the Music"

This image conveys to me the duality of their common gift of music to our family... certainly different in many ways... but jointly significant when put together 

Closing Thoughts

It is my ritual to visit my parents' grave site on their actual birth dates. I always leave flowers... usually mums and spend a few minutes in contemplation... and yes, conversation with them. Though I know and accept that they have left this earthly sphere of existence, it is my belief that their spirit remains firmly in my heart and perhaps in another spiritual realm of existence beyond my own recognition and experience... yet.

Our cottage was surrounded by towering white pines which seemed always to whisper to me... at least I imagined that to be so. During many August days, these guardians provided shade by day and soothing "night music" to dream under. They were our friends... and we "knew" them intimately.

How appropriate... that my parents final resting place be sheltered by another of these tall sighing fir sentries! It soothes my sadness and provides a sanctuary of privacy and quiet reminiscent of our Narow's Lane Shangra-lai. It is a cathedral... a place to offer thanks and to feel centered.

               "Whispering Pine" - oil on canvas 36x30 inches... my most recent painting

How appropriate as well... to end today's post with a poem and painting combination honoring the lives of my parents based upon a theme depicting a rugged white pine on the shores of our Saint Lawrence River. It stands ever leaning to the southeast... a stance modelled and determined by the force of seasons of northwest  winds.

Time ... After Time

The new summer geese above are flying...
The white pines below are gently sighing
And just below my earthly feet..
The both of "You"
Beings of my deepest love
Are lying -  
Together in eternal sleep.

 I pause to remember you both today in Life
As simple souls who sought little
But gave much...
"You" both have survived
Flown to a place beyond Today 
Far beond this world of bitter strife -
Safe in His omnipotent hands.

With deep and abiding love... respect and undying thanks,
I bid you both adieu
Until that time 
When my span's run
And I can come... to be again with you.

I love you both... Forever.


Back to my painting... and my new direction just getting underway

Good Painting ... to All!!! Happy Summer!


  1. Oh my gosh! What a wonderful, loving tribute to your parents! You are your parents, you know. You are the embodiment of their goodness.

    Looking forward to the next occasion that calls you to this page again! Good luck with your newest project!

  2. Thanks Wendy!... I totally agree with you. We are the sum total of our parents' influences... good and bad! One never gets a manual when they enter parenthood. Trial and error is the nature of the experience and making mistakes are within that mix. The responsibility for sorting those out and applying them in their own lives becomes the karma and legacy of the children.

    Thanks for dropping by and for taking the time to make this comment... I really appreciate your words of encouragement and understanding.


  3. Congratulations on Whitney! She is so beautiful! Love love love Deb's stained glass church window. What a gift and blessing! Your work, as always, drops the jaw, Bruce!

  4. Hi there Sherry!... Good to be in touch again. Thanks for dropping by and for leaving your ever encouraging comments!

    Hope that all goes well in your life and that you enjoyed a fruitful summer.

    Warmest regards,

  5. Your words are a lovely and thought provoking tribute to your parents and your "Whispering Pines" painting is a magnificent acknowledgement of your deep love and devotion to them. I am touched by your depth of feeling and the way you convey that emotion in paint.

  6. Thank you Susan for your kind and up lifting words. Strangely enough... your own words express exactly the same feelings of admiration and respect that I have for your work and motives for creating.

    Best of luck...
    Good Fall Painting
    Warmest regards,