2016 Reflections

Life has been full to overflowing for me these past many months, so much so that it’s left me almost breathless. But with the warmth of Christmas fading and the end of the year staring me hard in the face, I feel the need to make space to catch my breath and recap here some of what’s been going on in my world over the last little while.

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My last blog entry explained that I was taking a bit of a break from blogging to allow myself the time to get my entry completed for the PAS show in October. Happily, after some last minute change in plans and the ensuing panic that caused, I did manage to finish a drawing that I was pleased with. It wasn’t the drawing I’d intended to do, as I just couldn’t manage to get together with my model/daughter for the references I wanted, and so, instead, I used a ref I already had. I’m so very humbled and grateful that my work was accepted, and was exhibited alongside so many stunning pieces at the 2nd Pencil Art Society International Open Juried Exhibition!


Rapt – the one and only serious drawing I completed in 2016.

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Working behind the scenes for the PAS show really kept me hopping for much of the months of August, September and into October!! From creating guides for shipping instructions and for out of town visitors, to creating the exhibition website, to hiring a photographer and musician for the reception and awards ceremony, to selecting and purchasing trophies/medals, to contacting the media with press releases and distributing posters, to notifying award winners, to creating and emailing the meeting agenda, to providing security for the venue, to responding to exhibitors’ questions, to processing memberships, etc, etc, etc ….. well ….. let’s just say there was not a whole lot of time left over for me! LOL Though I was very pleased and proud of the work the PAS Board put in to ensure a spectacular show, admittedly, it was a lot of extremely time-consuming work and was quite stressful, and so I was really happy when it was finally all over! LOL

My PAS CoFounders and me cutting the cake to open the Vernissafe

My Pencil Art Society Co-Founders, Erica, Alexandra and me, cutting the celebration cake to open the Artists’ Reception.

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Somehow, I managed to keep up with my daily sketches right through August! I am so proud of myself for sticking with them so diligently! Though I simply didn’t have the time (or energy) to keep up with photographing them, much less posting them on Instagram or Facebook, it’s now such a pleasure to flip through my fully completed sketchbook and see something on every single page! I completely filled my sketchbook on August 31, but then decided to give myself a break because of how busy I was getting ready for the PAS show, and so I discontinued my daily sketch challenge. Though I’d hoped and planned to do a full year of sketches, I am nevertheless very pleased and proud that I completed a full 8 months worth — a grand total of 247  sketches!! It was a really enjoyable and definitely a challenging project (time-wise) and I’m so glad I did it!

DSC 123 - from imagination – colerase pencil in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.

DSC 187 – from imagination – Colerase coloured pencil in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.

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I might have been able to power through with my daily sketches until the end of September . . . except for the fact that we moved on September 1! It was a very unexpected, last minute (literally!) decision. We had just moved in September 2015 from a 3 story, 3 bedroom home with my own art studio + fireplace + garage + yard in the suburbs … to a teeny, tiny bachelor apartment right in the heart of downtown Ottawa! We’d always wanted to try the urban lifestyle, but not while we had kids at home, as we wanted to raise the kids in the suburbs . . . so the move was an experiment — not only in urban living, but also in a much more minimalist lifestyle, and was, admittedly, an experiment I wasn’t at all sure would be successful! LOL But, as it turned out, we absolutely loved (and still love) our new urban, minimalist lifestyle, enough so that we think we may never move to the country! LOL  Anyway, almost exactly a year to the day that we’d moved into our tiny bachelor pad, we saw the guy moving out of the one bedroom end unit apartment literally right next door to ours . . . and right then and there we decided that it might be nice to have a slightly larger space (mostly because we really missed entertaining, which we love to do) . . . and so we moved into the vacated apartment the very next day! This was right during the time I had a lot of stuff going on for tha PAS show, so needless to say, my hands were pretty full in September and into the first half of October! LOL

So nice t have

Sooo nice to have the room in our new place to be able to have 12 of my Bookies (my Book Club ladies hehe) over for a Christmas Tea.

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Since I have never had a formal art education, and have only ever taken three drawing workshops in my life, I’ve been wanting to take formal drawing classes forEVER, but for one (usually fear-based) reason or another, I’ve just never followed through.  All my life I’ve told myself, “I really wanna do this!” or “I’m really gonna do that!” . . . and I’ve almost always let fear hold me back! 🙁  “I’m not healthy enough!” . . . “I’m not wealthy enough!” . . . “I’m not talented enough!: . . . “I’m not smart enough!” . . . “I’m not old enough!” . . . “I’m not young enough!” It always came down to . . . . . . “I’m not enough!!!” But, over the course of these past couple of years I have come to realize . . . I AM enough!! Just as I am!! 🙂 And, a little less exciting realization has been that time is slowly but surely running out!!! LOL If I really want to do something, I need to do it NOW! I need to face my fears of not being enough, to believe in myself, to KNOW that I am, indeed, enough. It’s past time that I truly understand that Life wants me to participate, and not just sit on the sidelines in admiration of everyone else who has the courage to follow their dreams!!

DSC 187 - from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.

DSC 223 – from imagination – watercolour in 5.5″ x 8.5″ Stillman & Birn Alphas series sketchbook.

And so, for that reason, I screwed up my courage and took an Intro to Portraiture course with the very talented Sarah Marie Lacy in October. I had really wanted to take the Life Drawing course she was offering, but unfortunately, I was taking a Spanish class with Hubby (which also required a lot of courage! LOL) on the same night the Life Drawing class was offered. However, the portraiture class was extremely helpful and I’m very pleased that I took it. I’m planning to take the Life Drawing and other classes offered by Sarah next year and am still feeling beyond excited to finally be following this particular dream! 🙂

Graphite drawing, done from life (incomplete). Though the likeness isn't perfect, I was very pleased with my results.

Graphite drawing, done from a live model over the course of six weeks (I didn’t have quite enough time to complete). Though the likeness isn’t perfect, I was very pleased with my results.

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Aside from the fact that my year was SO busy, it really was a wonderful year…but was marred somewhat by the fact that the stomach pain I thought I had finally “cured” with probiotics in late 2015, returned to plague me with a vengeance in March. After almost daily pain again for months, way too many trips to different doctors, all kinds of bloodwork, several ultrasounds, a stress test to rule out heart problems and two MRIs, it was FINALLY diagnosed as gallstones!!!!! I had originally TOLD them it was gallstones back in 2014 when the pain first started (because I have had them before so I recognized the pain!), but nothing was showing up on any of my tests (and doctors, being doctors, like to make you think you really don’t know your own body as well as you think you do and/or must be imagining things!) UGH!  Anyway, I finally, thankfully, had the procedure to remove several gallstones from my biliary duct in October. (Yes, October was an extremely full month!! LOL) Needless to say, that was a relief!!


These two little 5″x7″ Mixed Media works both sold at my local art society’s Holiday Mix show earlier in December.

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Other than my daily sketches and the drawing I completed for the PAS show, the drawing I did in the portraiture class I took, and a few very small mixed media works I did over the past couple of months, 2016 was another extremely dry artistic year for me. I simply had too much else on my plate to find the time, energy or frankly, the inclination, to draw.  I miss drawing though, very much, and am looking forward to spending a lot more time at my drawing board over the coming year.

Currently on my drawing board.

I started this in October…and it’s still sitting incomplete on my drawing board. Hoping to finish it soon!

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Ohh!! And on top of all that . . . I have spent quite a bit of time since August arranging everything for Hubby and I to go to Spain for a whole month in 2017!! 😀 But more about that next time! 🙂

To close, I want to wish us all a new year that is blessed with perfect wholeness, health, security and safety, a great abundance of creativity, prosperity and success, much beauty, harmony and joy, and especially a wealth of love and a sense of deep, abiding peace. Happy New Year 🙂

The Christmas Hares - mixed

The Christmas Hares – 5″ x 7″ Mixed Media

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3 comments to 2016 Reflections

  • I love your wish for 2017!!

    So happy you were able to overcome your fears…can hardly wait to see where it all takes you!! Very, very exciting!!!

    Happy New Year Lissa!!!

  • Manon Menard-Adams

    You have had an amazing year Lissa. Nice to see all that you have accomplished…. You will have another amazing year my friend will with adventure.
    Love you

  • Joanne Abbott

    A busy year for you ! So glad your health issues were addressed …finally and you are going for your dreams. No fear! Just do! Happy New Year!