Happy Valentine’s

The heart is the universal symbol for love and affection. In time for Valentine’s Day and for the art prompt “parts and inner workings,” I created an illustration in honour of two ladies, one I never knew, one my dear friend.

In 2012 I learned that the heart is more than we generally think of. My friend Lorie was in desperate need for a new heart, but hearts are in high demand… Lorie had to live over the winter months in Toronto away from her family and young children in case a donor heart would become available. She waited… We all waited… for the person with a suitable heart to die… What a thought, right?! — Finally it happened: A young woman died. How much pain and grief and sorrow did this cause to her loved ones? And yet this young woman was generous and thoughtful enough to donate her “spare parts,” the organs she wouldn’t need any longer for another person to live on. What an act of love!

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(I too am an organ donor, are you?)

My Friend the Moon

Impacted like the ocean’s tide,
I’m stirred when you’re fullest.
My soul escapes its body then
Flies high toward Elysium
and dances in wondrous places
Drinks up sweet nectar
of pleasure and bliss
I’m unafraid and positive.

Illuminated lays the night
Woven with finest silver
A calmness settles the busy mind
Deprived of fear and danger
My soul turns round in safety
it summersaults in glee
You watch my play so closely
What harm could come to me?

I think your light will guide me
Through all the nights to come.
Proceed with optimism
My self-esteem is strong
But when your light keeps fading
A fright steals slowly in
I’m trembling, dreading, fearing
That not enough I am.

The night is dark and starless
No glimmer shineth through
I’m worried, long for soothing
I cannot help the gloom
I realize with fervour
The hour and the room:
It’s not a lack of power
Just the dark side of the moon.

I endure lonesome duty
My heart is faint yet true
I better test my strength now,
I persevere, see through.
The load – it is so heavy
There is no end in sight
The path is long and awry
No friendly face in mind.

Somehow I overcome
The darkness and fatigue
I work without approval
Grow tougher in those weeks
And then one night my head rests
On a pillow soft and white
You come at last around then
gently kissing me good-night.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to a New Year

There was a time when I wrote poetry, simply because it was new and fun and I didn’t overthink it. I won prices then.

There was a time I doodled and sketched, I painted and tried new media every other week, simply because it was new and fun and I didn’t overthink it. I got compliments and ended up in papers.

There was a time I made up stories, simply to cheer someone up (or to get me out of trouble – my lies were so big I actually earned praise. Thinking about it, I should have become a politician.) I wrote nonfiction and essays, simply because I needed to work through some experience or new knowledge and had to make sense of it. People loved to read what I wrote.

Eventually I started overthinking… I’ve no clue why? Perhaps because I thought in one language and spoke in another? Because I didn’t want to offend? Be liked? Fit in? Fit in what?

We can’t please everyone, I realized. It shouldn’t even be a goal. I ended up stubborn like my donkey Molly. But stubbornness takes us nowhere. It blocks. Sometimes we not even get the desired “carrot” like everyone else and we pretend it doesn’t matter though we sulk.

So this year,  2018 (in my synaesthesian mind I see this number as red, my favourite colour as a child), I intend to enjoy! I intend to enjoy the snowstorm outside, and the food I eat, the people I talk with, the paint I use, the word I invent, and the stories I come up with. If I enjoy my life – with everything being thrown at me – and enjoy whatever I will do, chances are others might as well.

No more overthinking… just thinking, just attention, just savouring.

Do you have intentions for 2018? Do you mind to share? I’d love to hear them.

 

A Poem

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

My Artwork Travels

I do like to travel. I don’t know if my artwork likes it as well, but it sure does travel. Through Ontario I usually take it by car, but for BC, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Quebec, I get it a ticket to travel via truck or plane. One piece of artwork I submitted to the Nonesuch Art Of Paper Awards Exhibition and upon acceptance it travelled to Parrsboro, Nova Scotia and next will be travelling to Montreal, Quebec. Lucky it! I’m a little envious of my artwork for I couldn’t accompany it. How cool would it be if my artwork could report back to me what it sees on their travels! Perhaps, if my schedule allows, I might go and pick it up, unless an art collector will do that instead.

If however you happen to be in Montreal in December, I encourage you strongly to go and take a look at a contemporary art exhibition of a special kind. Read on and you will learn all the details. And who knows, you might be seeing me at the closing reception …

The Nonesuch Art Of Paper Awards exhibition in Montreal will open on Friday, 1 December.  There is an opening reception ~ vernissage on Saturday, 2 December from 1pm to 5pm at 141 rue Ann (Griffintown, Montreal).  The exhibition will remain in Montreal until 16 December.  There will be a closing reception / finissage on Saturday, 16 December from 5pm to 9pm. The award recipients will be announced during the closing reception.
This year there were over 220 submissions from 16 countries, 131 of these from Canada with 51 from the maritime region and 68 from Quebec.  The exhibitions include more than 80 works from artists in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland, and the United States.

Six awards will be given: four selected by jury and two people’s choice awards, the Wellington Church awards, selected by visitor voting during the Parrsboro and Montreal exhibitions.

The print catalogue of the show will be available for purchase at the exhibition for $30 + hst. The 65 page, 8.5 x 11″ coil-bound catalogue includes photographs and a description of each artwork accepted for the exhibitions, short artist biographies, and some background about the awards and Main & Station Nonesuch.  To order a catalogue by post, please contact us at paperawards@gmail.com.

A New Ram for Our Romney Sheep

On our farm we keep a small flock of Romney sheep. Romney are known for their beautiful long and fluffy fleece and their exceptional mild meat flavour. Since the Romney lambs tend to grow a little slower than most breeds, they’re not exactly popular among meat sheep breeders, but make the perfect homestead sheep instead. Originally bred in the swampy Romney marshes of England, this very hardy sheep is an easy keeper. They’re more resistant to sheep foot rot and liver flukes than most breeds and can better withstand rain and snow because of their dense fleeces. Although presently I lack the time for spinning, their long silky wool which comes in an assortment of colours, from very white, cream, light greys, blue greys, charcoals, black, and brown makes them much desirable to any spinner.

I initially came across this lovely breed when I did research for an article about wool and visited a local small-scale wool mill to watch the procedure from sheep to coloured knitting yarn. The sheep shearer was giving their flock of Romney sheep a hair cut that day and by the time I’d taken enough photos and notes in both the barn and the mill I ended up loading a male lamb into my SUV which eventually became the dad of my first cross-bred Dorset/Romney and later pure-bred Romney lambs.

Fast forward twelve years and I found myself in need of a new ram. This summer I had the great difficulty of picking just one from the handsome bunch of Romney lambs (shown in the photo underneath) from the flock owned by Bonnie Perry of Owen Sound.

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The white ones were gorgeous, but reminded me too much of the old ram I had. Besides, I wanted to introduce a new colour to my white and cream coloured ewes. So we ended up with “Monty,” a five month old baby ram who rode home with our Bernese Mountain dog keeping him company in the back of our Toyota Highlander.

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Our last Dorset that I kept because of sentimental reasons, Granny Sazou, was exhilarated to take the little guy under her motherly care. Previously too tired of getting up and being bothered to even eat, this little ram surely got her going again.

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Friendly as his breed is famous for, Monty greets me every morning now when I enter the barn to release the flock into the field. I enjoy to watch him growing up and I can’t wait for the many colourful lambs that might be born next spring.

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Whether you’re a hobby farmer, a fibre artist, gourmet chef, or spinner, or perhaps you simply like to see cuddly sheep, stay tuned for my spring update on the much anticipated new lambs.

And in case you are interested in delicious Romney meat, their silky fibre, cozy sheep’s skins or just have questions or comments in general, (perhaps you feel the need of counting sheep before you fall asleep) feel free to contact me either by email (amo.antje@gmail.com) or in the comment section underneath. – We love to hear from you!