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!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"MIndfulness" is... "The Big Magic"

I am making a brief return to my blog today to recognize and to celebrate the birthdays of  a handful of very special people who form the cornerstone of my present and past success. Ironically... or maybe not, they all share August birthdays.

Today.. August 10th is my wife Deb's birthday. We have chosen to celebrate the day simply with an evening meal and get together with my daughter Allison and her Mom Joan. It is a blessing for me and our blended families to witness the true feelings of love and friendship which these two women share. It speaks so eloquently of their splendid souls... and the power of true sisterhood. We... are deeply blessed.

I would like to share a series of jpegs which chronicle the birth of a very special commission which Deb created for The Church of the Redeemer here in Rockport for the family of the late William (Bill) Hargett of Charlotte, South Carolina.

Ann and her loving family wanted to create a memorial in this quaint riverside Anglican clapboard church to commemorate Bill's pastoral contributions over a spoan of almost fifty years and their presence as a family on their beloved Saint Lawrence River. They chose Deb... as we all do because of her genuineness as a friend and her obvious passion and artisanship in stained glass.

Deb and Ann spent some time together to flesh out some biographical facts in order for Deb to relate to the subject... the family's wishes and the essential  facts about Bill that would "read" iconographically to visitors to this church.

I will let the sequence of jpegs that I have selected speak for themselves to offer you the same opportunity to ponder the theme of her wonderfully colorful and expressive window. The cherry window frame was hand made by a local wood craftsman, Barry Wanless... who turned out to be a student from my very first grade seven class in Brockville. Serendipity you would say???... Not I!

The Universe works in mysterious ways

Cutting the  bristol board pattern into separate pieces

Each bristol board piece is hand cut and laid into the template form for each section of the window

Each piece of glass must then be lined with copper foil to fit the section of the window accurately

Each piece must be soldered to adjoin those around it in a uniform fashion. Then it must be repeated for the reverse side again

Middle section completed

Top section completed

Middle section foiled... ready to be soldered

The God Head... "three in one"... finally

The window installed... and back lit 

Deb and Ann sharing a special  moment after the service

The Hargett Gals with their window!... Those smiles are worth a million $$$ to an artist!!

Deb with her Hillsdale girl friend Grace Hallyburton who came all thew way to Rockport to share the day with Deb

"Mind.ful.ness" is the state of being centered squarely in the present through conscious meditation and daily practices which encourage and develop one's ability to live in accordance with... "what is".
Drawing from the present to create a pathway which is satisfying and rewarding through one's one gifts and talents is in my humble opinion... the "BIG MAGIC" in life.

I am privileged... honored and blessed to have such a wife, partner and best friend to share that path with. We are truly blessed.!

Happy Birthday JBG!... I love "You"... to the moon and back... and forever!!!

Stay tuned... I will add a joint celebratory posting on August 16th to celebrate the lives of my mentor-parents Don and Jean Sherman. Could never pass up an opportunity to give thanks for their combined lifetimes of love and support.