Next Painting in Wallflower Series

w-RoseLemonade-BITE-ME

This is an in-progress shot of my newest painting.  Watercolour & graphite on paper, 22″ x 28″.

These words have been rolling around my head a lot recently as a self protective measure. Tough weeks dealing with difficult  people who want nothing more than to see you crumble.   I find a lot of human behaviours are wrapped around control and power over others.  Nothing is right, they always want more and they want to see you hurt.  So much more can be gained by working together, being kind and having trust in people.  But there are always the saboteurs.

To them I say ‘BITE ME’.

Stay CHEERY

Rose

 

Why I Need to Help

w-RoseLemonade-Mons-painting-lilypad-4

Eight years ago I was diagnosed last second with an agressive leukemia (AML).  It’s been known as the autopsy disease because they tend not to catch it until you’re… well you get it.

When it happened I had no idea the lifelong percussions it would bring.  I had 6 months of the most aggressive chemotherapy leading up to a bone marrow transplant.  The doctors told me a BMT would be the worst thing they can do to a body.  I thought, “Really?”  What about heart transplants or double lung transplants?  Once it was happening I realized why.  That’s enough about that.

I was a single parent with three sons I’d been raising on my own.  I’d never needed help before.  I was just finishing my B.F.A  when BAM, I was in Vancouver hanging by a thread.  I expected a year of my life would be taken from me.  I had no idea the depth and breadth of what I was about to go through.  Nothing has ever been the same and at this point I realize it will never be.

I had lots of helping hands, my mother watched my children in my own home so they didn’t need to leave school.  Strangers brought them dinners once a week.  The amount of times people helped is literally more than I can count.  Despite that, we were rocketed into poverty like we’ve never experienced.  My medications, cost of living and the fact I was unable to work for 5 years and even now I can only work part time.  I burnt through my savings within 3 months supporting my kids while I was in the Vancouver Hospital.  I then experienced 8 years of no stable job.  I accept I am disabled now.  I hate it but it is what it is.

I do know this crushing poverty after cancer is not unique to me.  I was only 33 years old and finishing my degree.  My world was sunshiny and bright, the future looked only brighter.  Now my life is a shell of what it was.

There are others like me.  People with no safety nets.  People who have been crushed by cancer.  We call them survivors but surviving getting back to life after treatment is still another barren highway of struggle.  Chemotherapy saves your life but it also causes cognitive issues which last for years.  It also impacts the body in other long term ways.

I have received so much kindness and love from strangers.  I still wish I could find each and every one to thank them and let them know what that meant to me and my sons.  Even if I can’t find each and every one what I can do is pay it forward.  I have a dream to help someone I have’t even met yet.

Then this last year my mother was diagnosed with a rare Hodgkins Lymphona.  She will be receiving a bone marrow transplant in about a month.  The devastation that brings is unspeakable.  I made her a painting to remind her of her favourite daily walking place.  When she’s too ill to walk she can have the soothing colours of the lily pads and water.

This prompted a committed and generous friend to suggest we make cards with the image as a fundraiser.   Between the two of us and a lot of hard work we’ve produced the card!  All (yes %100) of the proceeds will go to a scholarship fund to help someone who may not have had the chance to go to school.   This is something I’m extremely passionate about. Education can mean the difference in someone’s life.  It enriches our minds and souls as well as helps us with employment or changing careers if we are unable to continue our previous ones.

If you bought a card thank you.  If you would like to help out with this cause please send me a message.  Neighbour helping neighbour, hand helping hand.  We can do this.

Namaste.

Naming My Mother’s Painting

Hey there!

My blog has been quiet because there’s been so much going on.  Life can change in an instant.  I wanted to direct you to a little project I’ve posted on my Facebook page.

My water lily image will become a legacy to raise money for people with cancer.  I’d like to honour my mother by naming the painting after her.  I’d love some ideas on what I should call it.  Please go to my Facebook page to leave your suggestions.  Please share the page if you feel so inclined.

Rose

My Used Victoria Ad

Getting rid of a couch is not as easy as it sounds.

“Parlour Couch”

Parlour Couch

“This is hands down, the most uncomfortable couch I’ve ever owned.  It’s quality made, prim & proper, perfect for tea with the ladies…  if the ladies are between 4′ and  5’4” tall.  Everyone else is guaranteed to feel like a giant lumbering hairless yeti whilst sitting in it.  The upside is it makes your living room look like it has a vaulted ceiling.

But it’s so cute!  you say.  Until your buttocks and back feel like they’ve been walloped by a thousand pool noodle lashes.

Quote regarding couch from friend while having tea, “Uh, mother@*ker”

If that wasn’t enough this couch also comes with a story.  As I stood gazing at this gem an extraordinarily tall man with long arms approached me.  He was wearing work clothes that were splattered in a way that suggested he’d just come out of the season finale of the Walking Dead, season 1.  He had moments earlier been admiring a couple of old axes which he picked up making his arms look like extended axe hands. He swayed them a little as he asked me if I needed a lift home with the couch.

So obviously I said yes. He told me to meet him out back at the cube van with a sword painted on the side.    When I got out back I took note that other than the sword there was no identifying information anywhere on the vehicle.  As he rolled up the back of the truck I decided it was either kill’n time or gett’n an awesome couch time.

Wish I remembered axe man’s name.  If you ever come across him please give him a high-5 for me.  I owe him a painting.

Couch could use a steam cleaning.”

Parlour Couch Drawing

When do you know you’re done?

As I was working on this painting the same question kept coming up.  When do you know you’re done?

For me the act of painting isn’t just the layering of colour on canvas.  It’s a self reflective task, something I put my soul into.   I inevitably begin thinking about things I’m coping with in my life and end up working them through as I methodically work out the painting.  Hurts begin to hash themselves out as I create each stroke. Heartache and worries dissipate as I lose myself in the focus of what I’m doing.  Hours disappear.

How do you know when you’re done?  I asked myself as I worked on the lily pad scene.  As the weeks went by others began to ask me the same question.  I wanted to get this painting right.  It’s an unfamiliar subject and there were a lot of learning curves.  Even though the painting was working, I struggled.

I struggled with a lot of things.  My heart has been heavy.  Even when I put the paint brushes down I struggled.

RoseLemonade-birds

This conversation continued with friends on different levels.  When do you know enough is enough?  When is something finished?  When is it the right time to let go?

I continued to work with this on my mind.

Each day begins with one step.  Each painting begins with one stroke.  The elusive question remained.

Then one day things began to come together.  Completion was in sight.  It was less of a decision and more of an intuitive sense of knowing.

I added my signature and put my brushes down.

w-RoseLeomade-blank-slate

A couple of days later when I was secure that it was done I scraped my paint palette. Nothing left to do now but accept that it’s finished, pick up a blank canvas and to start again.

Rain, Rain, Robin

Victoria’s cold snap left us in a rush with torrential rain yesterday.  I felt snug and safe, happily painting away when I noticed the singing of birds outside my window.  I looked out to see Spring robin’s huddling in the trees.  Their damp little bodies didn’t seem to dampen their spirits.

RoseLemonade-rainy-day-robins

RoseLemonade-rainy-day-robin

I must admit I also love the rain.