Absence makes the ART grow fonder

I went five full days without picking up a brush.  My reason for doing so was solid; I was attending the national conference of United Way Centraide Canada called "Foresight" in Toronto.  This was my first real opportunity to engage with like-minded community building professionals from across Canada. It was a wonderful week of meeting some pretty amazing people who give so much to the United Way movement.

I was honoured to give several presentations - one to a group of communications and marketing pros and another to a broader group of United Way staff and volunteers - about our response to the 2016 wildfires and evacuation.  There was a point in the first one when I was focusing on the incredible acts of kindness that we experienced during the evacuation that I looked up and saw that tears were streaming down the cheeks of several of the folks in the room.

It was sincerely discomfiting not being in my regular routine of painting every day.  While I kept very busy attending plenaries, presentations, and workshops, there was still a feeling that something important was missing.

I arrived home at about 1 am on Saturday morning and was out in Birdsong Studio by 7:30 am.  Several large packages of canvases and print had arrived while I was gone.  Get them unpacked and organized was job number one.  Then I had numbering and signing to do of two batches of limited edition prints of The Puffin and Chris Cornell.  Finally, I was able to dive into a new commission.

By Sunday evening, after about 20 hours in the studio, lots had been accomplished, including passing along over 10 prints to various clients who popped by throughout the day. I even got a lot of yard work done in between art related projects.  It felt great to be home.

As people came by to pick up their limited edition prints I was able to show them an example of the type of home we'll be building for a homeless family in Cambodia in November.  Every single one of them is a part of this endeavour as sales of limited edition prints will be supporting this Bracelets for Buildings effort.

I love playing in the space of doing "art with purpose".  Sometimes the purpose is to the bring solace to families during a time of loss, other times it is creating a piece to raise funds and awareness for a great cause.  Being able to be a small part of putting a sustainable roof over a family's head that has never had one hits so many perfect notes.

To my many clients who continue to wait for projects: thank you for your patience.  I'll continue to do my best over the summer and into the fall to catch up.  My "retirement" from regular employment begins in mid-November, after which I will have a lot more time to spend with my brushes and paints.


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