Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Artist in (Lighthouse) Residence

This Spring I was accepted as one of the Artists in Residence at the Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites in Victoria this summer.

Along with one other artist at a time, I will be displaying my new children's book and accompanying multi-media work as well as conducting interactive classes, projects or activities from time to time during the two and a half weeks that I will be in attendance. Most of all it is a wonderful opportunity to spend time painting (and writing) in an inspiring and historic environment overlooking one of the many spectacular vistas of the west coast.

One of my childhood dreams was to live in a lighthouse - not that realistic growing up in Belgium and Germany and then living on the prairies - but this summer I get to do what I love, where I've always dreamed of being... doesn't get much better ~

Fisgard Lighthouse was the first lighthouse on Canada's west coast built in 1860 and still acts as a beacon  today over the Strait of Juan de Fuca granting safe passage. Fort Rodd Hill was a coast artillery fort built in the late 1990's to defend Victoria and Esquimalt Naval Base. Imagine the stories that will come from this time...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

And then there's beachcombing...

Just spent the last three weeks combing the shores of beautiful Mudge Island for tiny pieces of driftwood, shells, sea glass and other delicacies. These will find their way into a series of fibre art wall hangings I am designing for an upcoming show. Here are just a few of the things we found on the last day.

As we sat on the shore a wonderful piece of arbutus spoke to us. Larger than the row boat but it made it home ~

Friday, 6 April 2012

Beachcombing through Life

Two or three times a year I cat and housesit on Mudge Island, a rowboat ride away from Gabriola Island, which is a ferry ride away from Vancouver Island, in turn a lifetime away from the rest of the mainland of British Columbia.

My days are spent alone. Reading, writing, painting and mostly sitting in quiet reflection with long meandering walks along the shore, in all weather, pursuing my favourite pastime of beachcombing. I’m in another space, another time, another way of being. I am within myself.

I recently commented on Facebook that beachcombing should actually be considered a viable occupation. Many people agreed. And then I realised that, in fact, it is for me. And that the way that I do life and my work are just like beachcombing.

Whenever I go beachcombing, I always have some projects in mind, some clear idea of what I am seeking that day. I begin by saying the words that I use when I enter into my intuitive space to work. I relax completely and I trust impicitely that I will be lead to whatever I need to find. And then I walk. I let my eyes wander. I never look. I just gaze and let myself be drawn to whatever calls to me visually.


My only commitment is that I bend down to look at whatever catches my eye. I have come to trust that what I bend down to look at, most times, is not for me. But always from that place there is something, which materializes within my line of vision, that is. So it may be a strangely shaped rock that calls my attention, but in bending down I am now looking from another perspective, and see a marvelous piece of lavender seaglass that would otherwise have escaped my notice.

If I feel called to go a certain way, I follow. There is always something quite magical waiting for me. I may be ready to turn for home, and yet feel pulled to just walk a little longer… a wee bit further… and there awaits a wonderful piece of driftwood of unimaginable beauty.

And every so often I stop, lift my head, and take in the splendour that surrounds me. And I give thanks.

I no longer fear “missing” anything, knowing that wherever my feet take me is exactly where the treasure lies for me that day. And although the tide may come and go, taking beautiful pieces away with it to deposit elsewhere, I know that these pieces were simply not for me, and that the tide, in the abundance that only nature knows, will bring new and other perfect pieces for me to find the next time I venture forth.

And as is so often the case, however far I wander,

what I truly need is always found closest to home.