Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Nostos - A Christmas Homecoming... of Sorts

Happy New Year... to ALL!

NOSTOS in literary terms is defined as the homecoming after a long journey. The contents in today's post in so many ways represents and describes clearly a journey... or an end to an important  chapter in my life. My painting journey in the many small hamlets and villages of rural Quebec created a genuine love and respect for Quebecois culture and its people. As I travelled about... painting as I went I immediately began to feel the "joie de vivre" that this culture so freely expresses. I began to understand more clearly than ever before why the French-Canadian population view themselves as a distinct society from the rest of Canada. And as an anglo... it does not offend me.

And all these years afterward... "je me souviens."

To open this post I have chosen this quiet and contemplative piece of music aptly entitled "Nostos" because it captures that peaceful world that is revealed to me by a landscape and the sanctity of our Creator's hallowed space. I felt it an apt backdrop for the perceptions I have chosen to share with you today. I hope that you enjoy the tour.

We both managed to hobble through the Christmas crunch with some help from my brother D.on who came to visit from Victoria BC and a welcomed visit from Bryn who was on break from his final year of undergrad studies at Trent University, Peterborough ON. We are both still searching for answers and solutions for the sciatica-like disruption to our schedule and health. Fingers crossed...

During my break from painting and need to be down flat and resting (with ice packs) I was blessed to discover a series of novels by the acclaimed Canadian author, Louise Penny. Her books are based upon a series of murder mysteries in the Quebec City and environs. All are based upon the central character... Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete police force in Quebec.

Each of the richly crafted plots and supporting characters more than filled my time and and provided me many hours of pleasure... and pain relief. What attracted me immediately to her writing style was her rich powers of description which made her people and the locations very personal to me. I felt that I was a character as well... and that the landscapes she skillfully portrayed and the rural villages she developed as settings were so authentic... that I was transported back in my painting life to those exact places where I had painted en plein air and exhibited for so many years ago.

It was indeed... a homecoming for me - one that replenished the "joie de vivre" that radiated from the Quebecois inhabitants and filled my own heart with Joy back then. I truthfully have never felt that sense of warmth and belonging in many other places that I have called home. Her rich descriptive language is every bit as visually expressive as brushstrokes laid freely but precisely by any master landscape or portrait painter.

Sadly... our blogging family has dwindled in number over the past few years. So many "followers" of the original group have sought other platforms from which to display and potentially sell their work. Their choice. However... I am satisfied to continue to post as I those who share my values and pour common desire to support each other and share our ideas.

After my last post when I revealed my interest in Penny's books and her richly crafted  novels, I had a comment from a dear Blogger Friend Rhonda Carpenter that she too had read one of Louise's books. She further offered that it made her yearn to perhaps visit the area in Quebec where the substance for the books was born. So rich was Penny's description of the Bistro and the foods served in "The Portrait"... that I picked up croissants and made cafe au lait to enter the realm!HA HA!!

I promised Rhonda... that I would dedicate my next post to the excellence of Louise's craft ... and to pique Ronda's interest to move ahead with a plan to visit the Charlevoix area. So Rhonda... as promised... this tour's for you my dear!!! Enjoyez!

A la prochaine... tout le monde!
Bonnes annees

                                                   "Evening Greeting" - Les Eboulements

                                                              "Bienvenue a Charlevoix!"

                         "La Lumiere d'Or - Notre Dame du Lac" -oil on canvas 20 x 24 inches

                               "L'Heure d' Or" - Les Eboulements - oil on canvas 20 x 16 inches

                 "A Midnight Clear" -  Farm Point, Gatineau Quebec - oil on canvas 20 x 24 inches

"Rue, Saint Vincent de Paul, Baie-Saint-de-Paul, Charlevoix" oil on canvas 20 x 24 inches

"Pas d-Essence Aujourd'hui" - Les Eboulements - oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches

                                      "Vers Baie-Saint-Paul" - oil on canvas 30 x 36 inches

                 "Cul du Sac Extraordinaire - Les Eboulements" - oil on canvas 16 x 20 inches

                                  "Les Eboulements... En Hiver" - - oil on canvas 20 x 24 inches

                 "Le Grandes Couleurs de Charlevoix en Automne" - oil canvas 30 x 24 inches

I hope that this we plein air sampling from my own enjoyment and interpretation of rural Quebec might transport your imagination... and perhaps even lead you seriously plan an expedition and holiday to Charlevoix. It will no doubt lead you into a whole new world to be explored and enjoyed Rhonda.

I believe that you might well find recurring similarities in the pictures that Louise Penny and I have painted of rural Quebec. The only difference is our medium... hers in words... and mine in paint. Both summon up a loving interface with the tiny, remote villages which dot the spectacular landscape of regions like Charlevoix and the Southern Townships.

You can check it out for yourself by simple Googling Louise Penny... or by browsing the internet sources to obtain a copy of her work. I would recommend the first of the Gamache series... "Still Life" as a great place to start. And yes... it does have an art focus in the narrative.

Thanks for motivating me to reach back and remember these "glory days" on my own painting
journey Rhonda.

Bonne chance ma belle amie!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Somewhere Out There... Beyond Words

I had almost decided to forego posting this New Year's message. Given the extreme discomfort that Deb and I have both felt during this entire Christmas season most of you would accept my decision and feel it justified to simply... "stand down."

As difficult as the past weeks were... I could not find it within my heart to give up the ship entirely on Santa and the much anticipated  rituals that this blessed season offers us all. I was unable to complete the final project leering at me from my easel. It will get done... but somehow it seemed more appropriate to fulfill the promises I had made to mySelf... and to Allie.

I have decided to keep this post short n' sweet and to celebrate my blessings... both here on earth... and beyond the rainbow. I trust that each of you will understand and know that you too are included among the myriad of blessings that the Universe has brought into my life.

A very dear artist friend and I have reconnected after her decision to not visit her blog site.... citing somewhat similar reasons that included her deep loss and grappling with grief. Like myself, her husband was the crucible of her very purpose on earth and Being. They were childless and filled that space with a deep and abiding kindredship that few earthlings are blessed to discover during our too short existences.

Though my loss surrounds the loss of a kindred spirit... who just happened to be a girl child, those losses equate to a very similar destructive occurrence. We both know that the only way to recovery is to walk the path... on our own terms and to seek out new  meaning and purpose. Our departed ones.... expected us to!

So... I continue my painting journey using my art and my words to reach out to people that I care about. And to connect with those I meet along my own camino to support their journey. I would urge my friend to do the same. We shall talk again soon and share what we each can offer to realize the promises we made.

The Universe has presented some very meaningful sources whose art... though different than my own... does unite us in a spirit of common purpose. Let us continue to maintain our "Circle of Creatorship." May it sustain each of us as individuals and as a group.

Happy New Year to ALL my Painting Friends...

And rich blessings of good Health... Happiness and Joy!

In closing out today's post, I offer the words of a very dominant force in my own artistic and personal growth. They leaped off the page and into my heart from a novel that I am currently reading. Strange how the Universe works... when we listen. Thank you in Louise Penny and Leonard Cohen

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There's a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in."

From Anthem - Leonard Cohen

"Beyond wordiness." Simply... "Choose Love."

Laughter soothes the soul. Remember that... when Darkness falls upon you! It  permits the Light to enter in!

Forever Young and stored safely within my heart. Never to be  forgotten!!

"When we lose someone we love, we must learn not to live without them... But to live with what they left behind."

Thank you Suzanne... you have twice captured the very essence of our dear Allie's  innocence... curiosity... immense sense of imagination and  her abiding love of Nature and the Arts

A never empty cup...full of Sweet Memories