Silence all around

posted in: Art, Genealogy, Writing | 0

mg_3767-e1Tonight as I came down (finally) from my children’s rooms where they are both peacefully dreaming, I came across a few pastel sketches I did in 1999 while working for Ontario Parks (below) – when we went on a training retreat north of Toronto. I love the serenity of the landscape in the land of tiny lakes and islands, rocks and trees. It has always inspired me since I was about 10 years old, going to camp. The page I was working on tonight briefly, by scribbling all over it with a pastel, left me with the phrase “Silence all around.” I decided to echo the scene on the pastel sketch with a sketch using the painting knife.

While watching the paint dry, I pulled out some old letters ranging from 1912 to another one in 1945, 3 days before my father was born. I was inspired to work something regarding mail into the piece. Remembering how important mail was in my childhood, when I logged the thousand letters I wrote within a few years; weaving reeds into mats one summer while waiting by the mailbox for the postman to arrive. Currently there is a Canada Post strike, which is not causing to much of a stir. So few letters come to me by mail now. My descendants will not have the privilege of reading a 99 year old letter, detailing requests for a couple of ducks and a hen, a patch to mend a silk dress, and some eggs and milk.

The second envelope window peeks through to a sketch from the base page (Alice in Wonderland) of a gathering of animals (owl, rat, duck, etc.). Today a colleague and I were chatting about the possibility of publishing the book we co-wrote and illustrated at least 5 years ago. My first thought was that I would have put a little bit more effort into the illustrations if I’d known it was going to be published someday. Since I was young, I always imagined I would write books, and others have urged me to do children’s books but before having my own kids it didn’t really appeal to me. So I kept that group of animals on the painting as a nod to the concept of peeking through to the world of illustrating children’s books someday. Plus I have been teaching my 3.5-year-old how to draw this week – her fascination and wonder at my simple pencil crayon examples and her own innocent creativity are really inspiring.

Pastel sketch from weekend retreat in Ontario 1999
Pastel sketch from weekend retreat in Ontario 1999

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