It seems a long time since I posted anything but no, despite having had another milestone birthday last month (they're all milestones at this point), I have not retired - far from it. My life, which included my father's death in August, has been hectic over the past couple of months.
Dad died two months shy of his 88th birthday, after years of deteriorating health from his clogged arteries. I was at his side for his last 5 hours, keeping him comfortable and still managing to get a chuckle or two out of him. He was a fine man who grew up through a very difficult time in history and managed to retain his sense of humour to the end. It was the first time I have ever witnessed a life being extinguished and I have to wonder if and how that experience might affect my art.
The month of August was a write-off as I dealt with Dad's apartment, his belongings, and his affairs. Meanwhile, at the same time Lorraine and I were looking for a new apartment in Vancouver and got one lined up for October 1st, which meant the month of September was completely taken up with organizing the move and packing.
Our move was completed by October 2nd, to be followed the next weekend by the three-day Thanksgiving weekend studio tour in Nanoose Bay for which I had to have my studio open. I was too busy to have even remembered to post a notice about the studio tour. When I say our move was 'completed' I just mean everything was moved. Here we are three weeks later with still many, many boxes left to unpack. Today Lorraine bought oatmeal from Safeway because we have yet to locate the two containers of oatmeal we know we packed somewhere.
The new apartment is FANTASTIC! We've gone from one 12-ft window in the old place to about 50 lineal feet of window area wrapped around three sides. We now have a huge outdoor balcony where we had no outdoor access before. And from the 23rd floor we have stunning views of the city, the beach, English Bay, and the North Shore mountains. The forests and 10 km shoreline of Stanley Park, one of the world's greatest city parks, is only a 5-minute walk from our door, and there must be 30 restaurants within a two-block radius. We absolutely love the neighbourhood, and I am already planning a series of paintings celebrating our new 'hood just as soon as I can get my studio set up. That may be the best thing about our new city home - I have space for a fully-equipped studio with excellent lighting, just as soon as we can finish unpacking all the boxes that are currently being kept in that space. It will probably be another month before I can actually start painting in there. Meanwhile, I'll be exploring the neighbourhood for subject matter.
That takes care of the This and That. Now for the Other thing I wanted to mention. A few months ago, by a fluke of timing, I connected through an internet artists' forum with a young artist who lives near Vancouver. This guy is amazing, and I recommend anyone reading this check out his website www.neilhamelin.com
. Neil started painting very recently for something to do while recovering from a back injury and it is almost embarrassing how good his work is already. Not only is he an outstanding painter by any measure, but he also seems to be a terrific person and you might want to get on his mailing list and follow his career rise. He entered his first outdoor show this summer and sold out! How many artists in this economy are doing that? How many do that in good times even? Keep your eye on this artist.