Sunday, December 29, 2013

On Ravens and Snowflakes

A fresh snowfall has the same effect on my creative psyche as a clean crisp sheet of paper. Who knew white could be so inspiring? Or black? Let me explain...

The world around me is green, here on the coast.  But I journeyed into the mountains for Christmas, along with 40 or so of my nearest and dearest next of kin. We gather every three years at an old ski lodge, and while it was crazy and chaotic, there was such intense love and a wonderful sense of belonging.

We slept on bunk beds, shared in the making and devouring of incredible food, wandered snowshoe trails while flakes the size of ping pong balls fell upon our tongues. We laughed till we cried while giving and receiving (and oftentimes stealing) in a secret santa gift exchange. We read stories to the little ones and joked around the campfire with the bigger ones. We hugged. And then hugged some more. We built snowmen, snow forts and luge tracks while throwing snowballs. We made the best of the white stuff.

My dad and I took a long walk to take pictures of the snow. I hung my heart on a delicate branch while he captured the bigger landscapes. And this is where it began... my return to the creative inspiration that  has been eluding me for months...despite recently buying myself my dream camera for my 40th birthday. Despite having the free time to take pictures. I lost my mojo somewhere along the way.

When we returned from the mountains, I was reading a novel that told the story of a little girl and the drawing she made of a raven. I don't know if it was my love for ravens, or the thought of being able to draw one, but within a day I had a new sketchbook in one hand and a drawing pencil in the other. All of my immediate family members are artists...I know that somewhere hidden deep inside my DNA is the ability to draw. I've just never stuck with it long enough to see what I am capable of. I'm willing to give it another try. My dad offered me some wonderful advice. He said, "draw anything and everything...and don't show anyone your sketches." This allows me the freedom to make all kinds of mistakes without the fear of judgement. But even so, I was not prepared for how intimidated I would be by the blank page. I don't remember feeling this way as a child? Nevertheless, there is a raven in my mind's eye that hasn't landed on the paper yet. Among a thousand other things I wish to draw.

I haven't the slightest idea where this is going to take me. Maybe it is just a passing whim. I don't know. I really don't care. For the present moment, the desire to make lines and shapes is very alluring. I find myself pouring over illustrations and watercolours on pinterest. I watched a woman create a thing of beauty in a cafe today as she made someone a latte. Art is everywhere. I am finding inspiration EVERYWHERE. I just need the patience now to let myself learn a new medium, while picking up my camera every now and then to nourish the other art form I have come to love so much.

I hope to see you here a lot more often this coming year. :)


  1. When the inspiration comes we just have to go with it. Sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas with family. Looking forward to what 2014 brings for you.

  2. What beautiful photos. It does sound like you had a lovely Christmas and I hope you can fill that sketchbook up in the coming months.

  3. I love you so dearly. Of the hundred things to say, this is the one that speaks so much. I have been thinking of you so often since your Birthday, and was sad that I missed such a monumental occasion. I actually went back through my blog to the day that I bought you a birthday cake, and even though so much has come and gone, my feelings for you will forever remain the same.
    As so many blogs we once followed have now been abandoned, it is yours that I have missed the most. Thank you for being here, and thank you for sharing beautiful little pieces of yourself. You are loved, and missed so very, very much.

  4. How lovely to find your post in my blog list! Your Christmas sounds delightful and I love your photos of the falling snow. I'm really excited that you're going to try drawing. It's fun to try something new. Your enthusiasm is wonderful and I really hope to see more posts from you. Happy belated birthday, Jaime! And a very happy new year! xoxo

  5. Welcome back my friend! It sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas. I look forward to more of your inspirational photos - lovely!
    Wishing you all the best in 2014!
    xo Catherine

  6. I miss you, friend.

    I have a few wishes for you.
    May 2014 bring you much joy.
    May we all have peace in our homes,
    laughter by our firesides,
    time spent with family,
    and contentment in our hearts.
    Be well, my friend.

  7. Fabulous! Embrace all that you are. You are a shining star.

  8. That last photo! Oh, you have inspired me. I am living in just that wintery wonderland now and I am learning how to capture the magic. So far, the wild beauty mostly eludes me. But it is fun to practice!

    And I am cheering you and your drawing pencils on! (One of my brothers and one of my sisters are amazing at drawing. It eludes me. I would like to be slightly better, mostly because it would really help for the game of Pictionary. ;)

    Your Christmas sounds wonderful.

  9. Thanks so much for the visit yesterday. When I woke up and read your comments, I felt so nourished. I felt like we had a few hours to chat over tea perhaps looking out at the sea. It's amazing that the cyber cafe can feel almost as good as being in person, hopefully someday we will get that chance :)

    I look forward to hearing where your desire to draw takes you, I'm going to ramble for a bit ...
    I went back to school to study painting and drawing when I was 40. I thought I would be one of the worst in the drawing classes since it takes me so long to render accurately. I was surprised by the results of practice and soon realized I was better than I imagined. One of the things that still affects me from my time in a focused art education is the loss of innocence that my first attempts had, especially the ones that I let fly out of me from my heart rather than my perfectionist mind. I'm getting back to that place of trusting the flawed expression. It's the work that is most true and interesting. The work I do that looks most like what I see has an effort in it that actually takes away from it for my taste these days and the time I put in to an 'overworked' piece is ridiculous. I'm finally finding a place of flow that leaves me and the viewer some with some interesting questions. That is when I get my self in front of the paper or canvas. I tend to pick up the camera. It's the easiest way for me to be in a flow :)

    Okay ~ enough of my soap box

  10. love love love this.
    the photos
    the story
    but especially
    your father's advice.

    so apt.
    love this.

  11. Wow!!! Such beautiful photos...will have to look more in your blog soon