Monday, May 20, 2019

Facing your Fears

I am afraid of heights.

Maybe not any more than most people... I look down and feel nauseous, my knees a little weak. It's definitely fear I'm feeling, though maybe not quite having thoughts of plunging to a painful, messy death. I'm not that bad. Any more.

The view from the bridge.
In my youth I missed out on a couple cool experiences because being up really high up was quite literally paralyzing. First (and only) time I went up the glass elevator in the CN Tower I was glued to the back wall, hyperventilating, and had to be pulled off when we reached the top. It was terrifying. I didn't think a fear like that was anything I could get over, and yet I did. Every time I was faced with a height that scared me, I took a deep breath and went anyway, focusing on what was directly in front of me instead of that potential disaster. Little by little the fear dissipated, and the next time I could go a little bit higher.

When I first saw the pictures of the bridge going over the Coaticook gorge my first thought was sure, no problem. I can do that. When we drove past it on the way into the park, I was having second thoughts. Holy shit that was high up (according to the website, it's 50m). When I paid my park admission I still wasn't sure I could do it. When we got to the bridge I hesitated again... wtf was I doing? A few deep breaths... and out I stepped. When I got to the middle I stopped... the view was breathtaking. The rocky gorge, the rushing water, the trees growing out of the rock. It was so worth it.

I've done a lot of things over the years that have scared the crap out of me. I've gotten through them all, and most have proven to be a great experience. I took classes in France. I've travelled to many places on my own. I bought a house (believe it or not, signing the mortgage papers caused me a huge amount of anxiety). I changed jobs after almost 20 years at the same company. I flew across the country to take a week long art workshop on my own. All were challenging, but ultimately good for me. I try to keep this in mind when faced with something new and a little scary. New experiences make life more interesting, and I've always had a low boredom threshold.

I found a few of these along the path.
When we were in Quebec for my uncle's funeral, we spent some time exploring the area and checking out the little towns around the Eastern townships. What a beautiful spot. When my husband first threw out the idea that maybe we could move there after we retire, my first thought was of course not... how could I manage in french? I can order a coffee, but I can't carry on a conversation. How could I continue my art business? What about my network of art people? How would I manage? But after thinking about it.... why couldn't we? It's in the same country, with means there is no immigration crap to deal with. I can learn french. Much of my art business is done online. Video chat can keep me in touch with my friends. I can make new friends. And Montreal has a vibrant art community. It could be a lot of fun, and really good for me.

While this is not a thing that is definitely in my future, I have not ruled it out. It's actually kinda fun to think about... I have visions of plein air painting at a lake with a mountain view. Sharing wine and cheese with a bunch of Quebec artists, planning an event. Spending time with family I haven't seem more than once a year in my entire life. It could be good.

I know one thing... I can't let fear stop me.

The beautiful Cherry River... part of a protected wetland.

Monday, May 6, 2019

A Long Winter

"The Long Winter" 20x20" mixed media on wood panel. Available. 

It's been raining for what feels like weeks. The temperatures are a bit warmer, but the endless rain and dreary days make those occasional sunny days feel a vacation. I am on my way to Quebec... the Eastern Townships... and from what I see online, I half-expect to spend some of my vacation time filling sandbags.

So many areas are flooding. It's bad in Quebec, but it's happening even here in Ontario. It's been a bad year for it... even the water levels in lake Ontario seem particularly high. It didn't really seem like there was more snow than usual, or even that there's been more rain this spring. All seemed pretty much par for the course. Even though it feels like this winter has been endless, it really hasn't. January wasn't really even cold until the last week, we didn't get much snow here until February. It was gone by early April. Same as usual. So what's going on?

I hope I can get out and experience a few things we had to pass on last time we were on vacation in Quebec. We have a family event to attend on one day, but the rest of the time we will be able to do what we please. It is such a lovely area, even just walking about and taking some photos will be inspiring. I just really hope the rain lets up. I'm tired of the grey.

I've managed to get my house back in order after Arts on the Credit. What a great show this year. The quality of the work seems to improve every year. Unfortunately, attendance seemed to be a bit light... I suspect it has to do with all the construction in the area, and that the front entrance to the hotel is hidden behind construction fencing. Not exactly inviting. The people that did navigate their way through seemed to enjoy it. I had some really lovely conversations with people I hope to see again. It was exhausting, but I hope I am able to do it again next year. With all juried shows it's hit and miss... sometimes you get in, sometimes you don't. I'll just have to wait and see.

I don't have much else planned at this point. I'm going to do the art tour in Port Credit (September), and will likely have my open studio again in November. I plan to do more shows in 2020, but for this year I'm just going to go to shows as a spectator and see what seems like it might work for me. I'd like to expand a bit outside of Mississauga. Know of anything that might work for me? Leave me a comment and let me know!