The cold snap

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Dearest friends,

Both new and old

I hope you stay warm

In this cold.

I hope you find,

Amidst the grey,

That a robin sings

For you today.


This morning, after dropping off my daughter at school, I went for a walk in Richmond Park. Hoar frost covered the brambles and trees as if someone had sprinkled icing sugar from the sky, and the fine powder had adhered to everything. It was cold, but not nearly as cold as my home-town (which is gripped in the polar vortex and reaching temperatures of -50 C).

As I walked, a robin warbled, and hopped from branch to branch. It was a cheerful hopeful sound, and I wished I could send her song to all of you. It would lift your spirits, I’m sure of it.

So I’m sending you this drawing with the warmest wishes I can.

Xxx

 

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Morning mist

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In the paint splattered margins in the day, it can be the smallest things that light the winter gloom. For me, today, its the bright sunshine, now matter the cold; the frost edged leaves in the early morning, as if fairies have crocheted lace edges on everything in sight; and a fragrant cup of coffee, brewing in my tiny kitchen.

Tell me one of the small things that brings a smile to your face.

 

The first full week of school

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Happy Monday Friends!

This is our first full week of the new school year, and I’m looking forward to having routine in my life again. Every morning my daughter walks around the block to school. She proudly showed me the yellow flower on her navy jumper, the logo of her school. She is so proud to be a big girl, going to big school.

I’m trying to honour this transition, and really enjoy the process.

What are you doing right now? I think we’re always in some state of transition, as we’re always in the process of “becoming.” Can you honour that process today?

Comment below with some ideas!

 

Painting is a diary

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This is why I do daily drawings. My sketches, even if they’re rough and unfinished, are a way for me to record my thoughts and experiences from each day. And when I look back at my sketchbooks, I can remember how I felt, where I was sitting, and all the sights, smells and sounds that were around me when I first sketched it. It’s a visceral way to honour each moment.

I can’t manage a drawing every day. And that’s ok. I’d rather be gentle with myself that hold unrealistic expectations. But I try, and that’s what counts. The “almost” daily practice adds up more that you realise. Since I started shortly after my daughter was born, I’ve filled 8 sketchbooks with tiny drawings. That’s three years of memories!

What is one small thing you could do today and tomorrow? That’s my mantra: today and tomorrow... I don’t need to plan any further into the future. If I can manage something today, and then tomorrow, the rest of the tomorrows will take care of themselves.

Summer memories

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Hello Friends!

I hope you’ve had a lovely summer. We have been lying on the grass in our garden, staring at the clouds, and watching the sun circle around the sky. Of course, that’s not ALL we’ve done this summer, but a good portion of our time has been spent relaxing amongst the rose and lavender beds, trying to find respite from the heat.

Now we’re slowly returning to routines. Mary switches from little-kiddies nursery to “big school” nursery, which is the year before Reception (Kindergarten). She is very excited about her uniform, and is waiting with anticipation and trepidation for the first day.

I’m easing back into my studio routines, and giving myself lots of margin to let my mind wander creatively. This is something I’ve missed a lot during the rush of deadlines earlier in the year. It is such a luxury to savour the solitude and quiet.

How was your summer? Let me know, I’d love to hear!

Canada Day

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The sun is streaming through the kitchen window, and a light breeze billows the curtains like flags. Yesterday we went to our local museum for wagon rides, face painting, and other fun, festive activities. Happy 151st Birthday Canada! 


I am so fortunate to be able to call three counties home: Canada, Great Britain and South Africa. They are such great nations, so different, and also alike in amazing ways. I love having the diversity and richness of all the traditions in my life; from maple syrup, to afternoon tea, to enjoying the perfect braai (bbq). There is so much to celebrate! 

Strawberry moon

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Another full moon; another epic storm. This can’t be a coincidence can it? I resolved to paint all the full moons of 2018 and so far we’ve had snow storms, dust storms, rain storms… almost without fail. 

Last night rain lashed the window panes and blew in sheets across the road. Wind twisted the tree-tops. Thunder clapped above our roof, and it was so resonant that the house shook. It was a classic prairie thunder storm, and I’m so glad I got to experience one on this trip home. —

It’s ok to go slow

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Take a deep breath. Wherever you are is where you’re meant to be. It’s the perfect starting place for the journey ahead. 

Where do you want to go? All it takes is small, slow steps and you’ll get there. 

It’s ok to go slow. 

I’m slowly working towards my illustration deadlines. Work is going well, but I’m choosing not to be overwhelmed by complications or setbacks. Slow work is better work, because I can focus on excellence (but not perfection, of course! )

Flower moon

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I resolved to paint every full moon of 2018, and most of the nights have been cloudy, or stormy, or both. Last night thunder raged through the sky, and I had to cuddle my little three-year-old and sing “I hear thunder” over and over to help her understand that it wasn’t anything to be scared of. 

The full moon in May is called the “flower Moon” for obvious reasons. Right now the climbing roses are in full foison, and the lavender is about to bust into purple, heady scent. The garden is reaching for it’s peak, and I’m trying to savour the moment every day. Literally, stop to smell the roses.

Can you stop for a minute today to savour the wonders of the season? We’re doing it by cutting flowers to bring inside, jumping in post-storm rain puddles, and running through the sprinkler when it’s sunny and hot.

Be great in little things

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Be great in little things. After a week off to tend to a convalescing daughter, I am ready to jump back into my regular routines. But, I’m realizing that I need to focus on little things: small steps. If I think about everything that needs to be done, I freeze like a statue. However, I know that I can be great in the little things. I don’t need to paint a whole picture, I just need to make one brush stroke: and that brush stroke can be great (but of course, never perfect… let’s not fool ourselves).

Rain is sluicing down the window pain, and thunder is rumbling on the horizon. There is something about rain that immediately gives me perspective. The world shrinks down to what I can see outside my window: water droplets and low clouds. All the extraneous distractions on the horizon are obliterated, and the important things stand out in bright focus.

Are there a few small things you can do wonderfully well today? Just focus on those, and you’ll go to bed satisfied this evening.