I’ve never been so charmed by a people as of those from Newfoundland and Labrador. How can you find them anything but endearing?
Oh the arts, the culture, the storytelling, the landscapes, ocean creatures, land and sky, the whole of it so rich, it beckons to the writer in me to want to escape into and create my own stories. Fantastical stories, sweet stories, whimsical stories, romantic ones too, for I do believe they see all of it, all of the life of it through their heart’s making.
The colour, the stunning beauty, the quaint and quirky, the off-the-beaten-path of living. Their tales with language of their own making. Can I just peak away and live in an imaginative world upon The Rock, just for a little while at least?
Painting The Rock Stands Out didn’t come all at once, no it took some effort, trying this here and that there, adding and pulling back. I nearly gave up on it because I couldn’t see it, then suddenly there it was.
I had colourful inspiration to gaze upon, but ultimately this photo became my muse that I landed on…
In between the strokes, I delighted in watching videos… listening to their lyrical voices, and their living close in that is their paradise. Here are a few to enjoy…
Can you tell I’m a poetic and romantic at heart, swooned by stories?
I’ve done my share of traveling in North America, the Caribbean Islands, Europe, Africa, and until I began this virtual painting journey across Canada I didn’t realize how much magnificence there was across this nation. Places I discovered would be so cool to visit, but the one that captured my heart the most is Newfoundland-it’s become THE place that I want to put on a bucket list. So, BW if you read this, whether my man is keen or not, we’re coming to visit!
“Going around by the main road would have been so unromantic; but to go by Lover’s Lane and Willowmere and Violet Vale and the Birch Path was romantic, if ever anything was.”
~ Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
I was only nine on the cusp of turning ten, so the memories are perhaps not so reliable, and of course, our memories are always tainted by the limited awareness and perception we have in the snapshot of a moment anyway.
I might even romanticize, what flashes in the turning upwards of my lips into a smile, what precious happiness there might have been, there and then… on The Princely Isle.
The walk along Balsam Hollow Trail, at Anne of Green Gables. A father’s thick calloused hand, made so by hard labour in a factory by day, and saws and hammers and nails in building on weekends, holds his daughter’s protectively. The ground made smooth by thousands, maybe millions of steps before them. A canopy of green, alluring, beckoning trees, a brook laughing itself in the hollow, vagabonds of the orange spotted Touch-Me-Not’s and Blue Violet’s delighting the senses.
A daughter, happy to be inhabiting her father’s world in this magical place, who takes pleasure in her mother’s arm around her shoulder as they pause and pose for a lifetime cherished photo.
Mum and Me 1971 Anne of Green Gables in PEI
What speaks to the heart, what inspires, what moves, what calls to that holy place where hopes and dreams find a stronghold to draw up, and down, and inward that are destined to burst outward, somehow, this delight, is so very different for each one of us.
Our magical place where we come alive, I think if we dig we can trace it back to a door that opened in childhood… to give us a peek, or to mold us and shape us and steer us back toward it if we’ve forgotten.
When I came across this photo doing research on Prince Edward Island… my heart skipped a beat as a flash, a lightening fast remembrance of perhaps THE moment when the concept of being a writer was set in motion. I was a reader from a very young age, oh yes I escaped in Nancy Drew seeking clues in her mysteries, I reveled in stories, but until perchance THIS moment when we came upon L.M. Montgomery’s typewriter, I had never given consideration to the ones, the marvelous ones who wrote, who dreamed up the stories and made them come alive on the page.
Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Typewriter at Ann of Green Gables, PEI
I’ve had this thing, this fixation, this happiness, this drawing to… anything coastal, anything horses, anything featuring writers… television shows, books, films… if it has any one of these elements in it, I’m there, enchanted, watching or reading… if it has a combination of any two of these things… oh boy! Maybe it all started in that dreamy time in PEI… when I was a young girl.
What sparks in childhood come alive in us? What dreams await for us to remember?
Researching, remembering, contemplating, and painting my piece for PEI in the Canada Series, The Princely Isle seemed to have touched a special place, a special remembering place inside.
THE PRINCELY ISLE by Kiernan Antares | Acrylic & Pencil on 24″ X 30″ Gallery Wood Panel | #18P-002-138-BW
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It has always seemed to me, ever since childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite inside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond – only a glimpse – but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.”
~ L.M. Montgomery
What dreams may come for you, in your remembering places?
Ah… Brunswick by the Sea, it had to have been the most challenging, most difficult painting to photograph, and one which after numerous attempts under different lighting situations, I have been unsuccessful in capturing just right.
The glare, the greens and yellows against… beside… the blacks. Just. Never. Quite. Right.
Down to my last three provinces, and after many months, long past my goal of completing the Canada Legacy Series by September, suddenly, with the new year, some forward movement and success in my artistic endeavours.
Writing, having become a desperate need, took over all my thoughts and took up all the space in my heart for expression for a good portion of 2017. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but honestly, I wondered if my ability and desire to paint had left me, in the empty, perhaps for good.
But this series haunted me. I was so close to finishing the first and most effort and time consuming phase. A part of me was so close to saying it was done, there was nothing left in me to give, to bring… to painting. But, this so close, wouldn’t let it go. Wouldn’t let me go.
It was the longest and hardest artist block I had experienced to date. Despite wanting, longing, needing to write, I often found myself unable to do either.
I’ve disappeared into something, out of sight, away from social media. That’s my way, when there’s nothing coming from inside, I need the abyss, the quiet, the away from everything. I’ve been that way since I was a young girl. When there’s too much stimulation, too much noise, too much of just about everything, including what I love, a tension builds inside that replaces everything and blinds me… and binds me.
When there’s too much, and my too much doesn’t take a lot to get there, my throat aches with the empty. I literally and physically have no words that my vocal chords can produce, not even in whispers. Everything inside me is simply empty, my breath heavy, my body weighted down. My heart and my soul just wants to be held… in the stillness… in the arms of God… in the arms of my beloved.
This is my greatest life challenge, when the living of and in the world becomes too loud. This is my darkness.
Somehow, in the midst of all this empty, there is a swirling of creation, of life becoming something new, yet again. My last three paintings come out of this nothing, and my book idea redefines itself, a vision emerging within a new form.
Movement begins out of the void. I may find it challenging to be in the world, right now… still… but creation itself stirs and this has to be where I am.
In the midst of winter, darkness, emptiness, love is deeply alive, even and maybe most especially because it breathes into existence in this place. There is a holiness here.
In the home stretch, long in the coming…Brunswick by the Sea emerges out of this desert.
It is a happy day because His Love Endures Forever.
Every day is a happy day in this knowing… even in the midst of the mess… in the silence as my soul awaits for God alone to instruct me in His Word.
His Word… how did it come so alive in me?
One day I wanted nothing to do with it… I did try on occasion to read the Holy Book, but the words… they were garbled. I’d read and re-read and re-read because I couldn’t make them out.
What did they say? What were these confusing words? I’d put it all away, shaking my head, wondering what it was all about, and thinking it obviously wasn’t for me.
Something changed all that. Something I can only explain as His time… to call upon me… to say enough.
Enough of the seeking in all the wrong places. Enough of the years going by in circles, repeating patterns.
Enough of a lifetime of never feeling enough… of doubts… and aloneness, an aching aloneness even where love was everywhere… because worldly love is not the same as His Love.
One day a tap on the shoulder came… a whisper of hope, of love, of peace in the darkness.
He made Himself known to me. He encouraged me to call upon Him in my times of need. He said He was here to help us… in this world. There seemed to be an urgency about it.
He told me to draw Him close and not let go. He walked with me and somehow, He filled me up with hope… with teachings on a new way to live, in the knowing that He loved me.
He loved me?
He. Loved. Me.
My heart quickened. It softened. It opened. Calling upon Him… talking to Him… sharing all that tormented me in my brokenness.
And the Holy Book began coming alive in me…. In my fingertips as I turned the pages… in my eyes that thirsted for the Light coming off the Words… in my heart that filled up with a need to spill over… up, up, up the rivers flowed.
Now, the Words… they are the air I breathe. They live in me. Every. Day. They are my daily bread.
His very Word spoken to me.
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”
~ 1 Thessalonians 1:4-6
What means this? How is it possible?
There were times in my dark hours, when I’d think of Him and His hand extended… my head bowed… my breathing hilting and labored… pain ruling my body… my ache for the ways I could not make me feel love for myself, and for all the ways this ache hit upon others as surely as a tongue lashing or a beating with fists.
And, I asked myself, “What have I got to lose?” in the reaching out and accepting the hand tendered.
This Way. This Truth. This Light. Stretching out from fingers to air to me. I took His hand, and He became my strength.
I didn’t understand it all. Surely, I didn’t.
I could never understand all the talk about Jesus having died for our sins. I could not wrap my head around that one. It made no sense to me.
I acknowledged Jesus existed. I acknowledged that he died on the cross. But, what sins? How could his death over 2,000 years ago have anything to do with me?
It took months of studying the scriptures and watching movies about the Bible and Jesus… it took me having to recite the events of His life time and again… it took my own life review, praying and making amends… understanding that sin was really anything that kept me from experiencing God’s Love (God’s Love is always there and always endures but that doesn’t mean we EXPERIENCE it, does it?) to make sense of it.
Then one day, as surely as the Holy Book claimed me… it came. I could look into His heart, as He could look into mine. His breath became the air I breathed. His Presence… the Living Waters of which I drank, and it felled me.
It felled me.
Love filled the aching emptiness and broke everything wide open… the mind… the heart… the soul. Wide. Deep. High. Open.
And, I understood the grace of his death was my saving. Does that make sense? I’m reading these words just written, and I don’t know… do they convey what it is for an anguished pounding heart delivered into a new life? From numbness, empty living to everlasting… ever eternal peace and joy?
His death for Love. His death for kindnesses. His death for peace. His death for Truth. His death for All.
Rises in each one of us who is ready and called to believe in the power of Love.
I can see the Love in His eyes. I can feel the Love in His walk with me… in His talk with me… in His heart that finds mine.
What is it like to surrender my ways, my will for the Holy?
I am found. I am new. I have new life.
I am defined by His promises, which are many… and, shaped by His Word.
So yes, oh happy day. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. To live, with all that comes with life, the loves and losses… in the knowing that His Love Endures Forever.
In the knowing that He Loves Me… and He Loves You, even if you’ve never heard His name… He Loves you too.
So yes, oh happy day. As brush to paint in the making of this piece ‘His Love Endures Forever’ – a little something to celebrate Him in glory. I’ve got a frame in mind to affix this (heavy textured paper) piece to… please pray I don’t wreck it in the process.
His Love Endures Forever | 18 x 24″ Acrylic on Paper
Heart to heart, love to love, may His face shine upon you,
“This piece of heaven that I’ve found
Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground
Everything I need beneath that big blue sky
Doesn’t matter where I go
This place will always be my home
Yeah I’ve been Alberta Bound for all my life
And I’ll be Alberta Bound until I die.”
~ Paul Brandt
Singer and Songwriter
Oh to let something bigger than you to run your life… to surrender the fight with the mind’s designs… and greet the day with a new song.
Walking, watching, listening… having conversations with the project and with my creator.
A bright light appears. Brighter than what the mind can imagine. I test the waters… see how it feels…
Discovering that maybe I’m not who I thought I was, who I became as a young one. Maybe that’s not entirely true. Maybe I am who I thought I was, but I pushed it down… buried it, then sealed it shut with what is not love.
Because LOVE is a magical elixir healing absolutely everything. Where does the LOVE come from?
Everyday when I walk, the sing song of the cardinals and red-breasted robins attune my ears, and at night as I lay my head down their sweetness fills me.
AND, I live in wonder at this thing… this pull in my heart.
Last night a new art gallery in Toronto opened with a standing room only crowd and I was happy to be among the 70 artists participating with my crazy fun piece ‘Becoming Truly Alive’. Artusiasm is the new gallery and creative event space, owned by the most adorable, passionate and dedicated to the Toronto art scene couple I’ve ever met – Tanzina Amin and Carlos Rodrigues.
I am looking forward to becoming one of their regular roster of artists they support and work with in the coming months!
Here are some photos from this event… first up with Toronto artists Alex Scovino and Gaya Karapetyan…
I’m a writer, poet, editor and artist. I’m here, in this space, as a scribe; sharing stories, dreams, storms, waves and windows. If poetic leanings, the creative calling, and all things writing interest you, please join me.