2017 Reflections: Better Late Than Never!

Ohhh my! How is it even possible that it’s been more than a year since my last update?!?! I didn’t actually fall off the face of the earth, but I have been incredibly busy! I think this past year has been one of the fullest of my life and, though it was a wonderful year, it’s also been an exhausting one!

One of the pieces I completed in 2017 – White-breasted Nuthatch.

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Here’s a not very quick recap of what I have spent much of my time on over the past 15 months:

I went to Spain with Hubby and another couple for the entire month of February last year. The weather wasn’t the best while we were there (surprised?), yet we still had a really fabulous time!! I’d really wanted to keep a sketch journal of our trip, but as it turned out, we were so busy going here and there, and the weather was often too cold and/or wet to sit outdoors for any length of time, that I didn’t manage to capture any of my trip in sketches at all. 🙁 I did, however, come home with an abundance of reference photos! 😀

We saw an incredible horse show in Cordoba!

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Not long after we returned from our European holiday, in March I took a course on Affirmative Prayer and was a Prayer Partner with Unity Spiritual Centre Ottawa for a few months. It was truly a joy to be of service in this way, but alas, I had to resign due to a lack of time and energy.

Demonstrating ink, coloured pencil and modern calligraphy techniques at a Christmas show.

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From May through August, I volunteered one day every week with the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, helping to care for and feed orphaned baby squirrels, chipmunks, groundhogs, raccoons and skunks.

A very cheeky adolescent red squirrel – “Who you lookin’ at?”

I absolutely loved spending time helping in this way, but unfortunately the sanctuary is an hour’s drive from my home so, sadly, I don’t think I will be volunteering with them again this summer, as it’s just a bit too far.

A baby mouse someone found in their garage and brought in to the sanctuary.

 

These little stinkers are SO cute!

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As I’ve done for the past few years, from September til early June, I attended (and continue to attend) my local art society’s Open Studio every second week for a day of connecting with other artists and playing with art. I just love my Open Studios and look so forward to spending this relaxing, creative time with other artsy friends.

Open Studio – all the usual suspects!

When Open Studio took a break over the summer months last year, I put together a bi-weekly Plein Air group. All our outings were well attended and a lot of fun and I’m looking very forward to organizing such outings for the group again this summer.

Two of our group capturing the beautiful gardens at Beechwood Cemetery.

 

Bate Island – one of my favourite plein air spots with so many birds!!

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Something I am particularly pleased about and proud of, is that Hubby and I both went Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) Vegan last June. I spent (and still spend) a lot of time researching the WFPB lifestyle and recipes and we spend a lot more time preparing meals now than we did previously. It’s so worth it though, as Hubby is no longer type 2 Diabetic and I finally managed to pretty much “cure” the severe stomach pain / gallstone attacks I’ve been suffering for the past few years by eliminating almost all oils from my diet.

WFPB dinner is served! Yum!

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In October, I took a session of Tai Chi classes, as that had been something I’d wanted to learn for a long time. As it turns out, it’s sooo much harder than it looks! I really enjoyed the classes, and dare say that I was starting to get the hang of it, but decided not to go for the following session as Christmas was coming and I knew I’d be really busy leading up to the holiday season…however, I enjoyed it enough that I may take it up again in future.

Had so much fun creating these little Christmas scenes! sold!

Hubby and I have been getting together most weeks since November with another couple who are teaching us how to play bridge. I am probably THE worst bridge player on the planet!!! Nevertheless, they’re very patient with me and we do have a lot of laughs! LOL

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In January this year, I helped to create a small Book Study Group to study and discuss non-fiction spiritually themed books. We are currently studying Joe Dispenza’s Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself: How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One. Completely fascinating!

Harry Potter – sold!

Also in January, I delved back into my genealogy research, which had been on the back burner for years. I started researching my Family Tree when I was in my 20s and have managed to get all the way back to the 1500s on both branches on my Dad’s side. I started another blog to share some of my genealogy with relatives, but then got busy with other things and…well…let’s just say that this is not the only blog I have neglected! 🙁

Hay Day – sold!

In February, some creative friends and I started a small Writing Group. You’d never know it from how neglected my poor blogs are, but I do love to write. Our little group meets monthly mainly to keep each other inspired to write. I’ve been going through a horrible creative block for the past three or so years, which has not only affected my drawing/painting, but also my writing. I’ve started doing Morning Pages again recently (I’ve done them many times off and on through the decades) and am hoping that the MPs as well as the support and inspiration from my Writing Group will have me feeling less blocked soon.

See You On The Other Side – sold!

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Although I didn’t meet many of the formal intentions I set for myself for 2017, it’s with no small sense of relief that, despite still feeling somewhat blocked, I somehow managed to complete a total of 14 works of art!! — 11 drawings and 3 paintings! 😀 This is such an improvement from my two previous very artistically dry years of 2015 and 2016, during which time I completed only 6 drawings and 4 paintings … so I am feeling quite satisfied with my output for 2017. I also took part in quite a few local art exhibitions and am very pleased that I sold several pieces! 😀

One of my favourite paintings: I Will Wait For You Always – sold!

I also gave my very first pencil workshops this year, which was something I hadn’t really planned on doing, but was  rather a spur of the moment decision. However, they were a lot of fun and I received very positive feedback from everyone who attended, so would consider the venture to be a huge success. I plan to do more workshops and perhaps offer regular classes later this year.

One of the workshops I gave on the basics of textures in graphite.

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But first, I have my daughter’s wedding in Las Vegas coming up at the end of the month!! 😀  — after which I am looking very forward to some concentrated, commitment-free and restorative “me time” this spring and summer!  😀

Phew! If you’ve managed to stick with me this long, Thank you! 😀 … and I apologize for the length of this post! … but now that we’re all caught up, I hope to be posting again much more regularly!

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