I'm thrilled to share that 'Agatha' is on her way to Vancouver for the 'Small Artwork Exhibition' which will be held August 17-30, 2020. The pieces will be available online through the Federation Gallery here.
My latest mini-eCourse is now available in my Etsy shop here. In college many, many years ago I was often referred to as ‘the flower painter’…it wasn’t because my work was necessarily the best, but rather because I enjoyed the process so much. My family has allergies which doesn’t allow me to bring flowers into my home, but I can enjoy them in my garden and in my artwork. I really like the fact that there is no perfection in them, and in fact, the imperfections just seem to add to their beauty.
This is Doris Alberta Howell, nee Gray. Doris (Do) was born February 8, 1910, to US immigrant parents, who had come to Taber, Alberta to take up a homestead just after the province was formed. She was the eldest of seven children, four born in Taber and three after the family relocated to Calgary in about 1917. Her mother, Lucy, was disappointed that her little baby girl wasn’t born “under the Stars and Stripes”, according to a letter her husband sent to their folks in Indiana when she was born.
She was a very vivacious, friendly young woman who formed lifelong friendships when a young girl in Calgary. At an Olivet Baptist church event, she met a handsome young man, Orville Howell (Bud), who also lived close to that church. Three years later she chose him to be her lifelong partner. They were married in her parents’ home at 1711-12 Avenue S.W. in Calgary, where the family gathered for many years afterward. The home is still standing.
Bud and Do’s fantasy was to have a nice little family of two boys and a girl. After their sixth son was born, with no daughters, they decided ENOUGH! It became a family richly endowed with parental love, using a philosophy of “controlled chaos”. Every child in the neighbourhood was always welcomed into their home and loved to raid her cookie jar.
Tragedy struck in 1945 when their third son, Jimmy, was drowned in the Bow River. Gram never really got over that tragedy – what mother could?
She went on to welcome 5 very special daughters-in-law that she loved dearly, and become “Gram” to 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, all of whom she loved and doted upon. She was a great listener and loved to spend hours talking on the phone. Her kitchen table was the center of her home where anyone was welcome to come and sit, talk, or join in a game of crib or bridge. Family meant everything to her.
She died at age 91, three weeks after a great family birthday held at her home, where she still lived.
She was an amazing person – much loved by family and friends!
~ Kathleen Howell
I cannot believe 7 months have passed, especially considering that the past 5 have basically been in a type of quarantine. I am beyond thankful that I have this project to look forward to every single week...just the fact that my studio is at home has been comforting and has added such a sense of serenity and calm to my life. Seeing these portraits gives me hope for a better world. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I just need to head to this sacred space. Just taking the time to sit and bask in the beauty of these women, reading about some of their antics in a time when they may have been considered unacceptable for a woman fills me with joy. Their strength buoys me, especially on difficult days, and reminds me of the possibility of a better future. I'm reminded daily that even though times can be tough, these women made a difference in some way in someone's life.
I wanted to send you this image of my Grandma Rose Muzyka. She will forever be this age in my mind.
My Grandmother died long before I was born. My dad was only 18 when she passed away. I have seen many photos of her and have heard many stories but she will forever look in my mind as she does in this photo.
When we were cleaning out my Grandfathers home (the home my grandparents raised my dad and his sister) after he died. I found an old purse of my grandmas... in the purse was lots of Knick knacks and a tube of her lipstick, I opened it and realized that her and I created the same shape from applying our lipstick.( a very weird shape) like a shape I had never seen anyone else do. Lol.
I realize that sounds so silly, but it meant something to me. It made me feel closer to her. ♥️
Every time I see this photo, I think of her applying her lipstick before this photo was taken. I can see her looking in the mirror and smacking her lips after the application.
I love this photo very much.
~ Libertee Muzyka
I've finished two more male portraits...this time two characters from favourite shows. On the left is Tommy Shelby from 'Peaky Blinders' (the actual history of this group is fascinating) and Endeavour Morse from 'Endeavour' (BBC television). My daughter is looking forward to moving back to her own place soon so she asked if I would paint some of her favourite actors...of course I couldn't refuse as I love both programs/actors, too. These were fun, though I found Shaun Evans (right) a little more challenging to paint than Cillian Murphy (left). I find that the backgrounds look a bit like angels' halos :) I can see myself doing more of these in future as they were challenging and fun.
Here's to strong women.
I ran into an old friend at the fabric shop in town the other day and as we discussed 'The Grandmothers' project we both became weepy. It really is an honour and a privilege to be creating this project, which I knew it would be, but especially in these difficult times. I often think someone else could have done this project better, but I know that I was meant to carry this out. My entire life has been spent in learning about the past and, hopefully, doing better in my future because of it. Our family has visited so many museums and forts in our quest for knowledge and understanding. I know I will be forever grateful for this opportunity and hope that, much like the 'Nasty Women' project, I can continue to honour these strong women of our past.
Winnifred Mabel Chevallier; Born: July 22, 1914 at Birsay, Saskatchewan
My Grandma Winnie and her identical twin sister were born on July 22, 1914. They were the oldest of 5 children. My mom’s mom was born in Gladys Ridge (south of Calgary, north of Blackie and east of Aldersyde, near Okotoks). Her house is still standing. They lived in Birsay, Saskatchewan but moved to Regina soon after as my great-grandfather joined the army. He stayed in the army until 1917 and then moved the family to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. My grandma lived through the depression and I remember her telling me that she would pick dandelions after school and sell them for money to people who made dandelion wine. She was always thrifty, and this started at a young age due to the depression and the need to help the family. She lived on a farm north of Rocky and I am sure she had many chores to do. Eventually, they moved into Rocky where she attended school until grade 10. At that time, she moved to Calgary to complete her last two years of high school. She boarded with a family during this time. After she graduated, she stayed with the family and worked for them. She made her way back to Rocky where she met my grandfather Frank. They were married in 1937 when she was 23. They moved to a small farm, east of Rocky near Alhambra. They had 3 children. My Grandma worked very hard on the farm. Finally, they moved into Rocky where she lived for many years. She worked at the seniors home for many years and did other odd jobs. This grandmother only lived a block away from me. I remember going to her place for Saturday morning baking. I often stopped in at her house on my way home from school for a quick visit. She always had a baked treat waiting for her grandchildren. She was a determined lady who worked hard. I remember celebrating her 90th birthday as we had a big party for her. She died on May 18, 2011 at 96 years of age. She is fondly remembered.
~ Colleen Mckenzie
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
Last week I was thrilled for two reasons...the first that I got to visit a bookstore (yay!) which meant masks and hand sanitizer but I'm totally okay with that and the second is that the latest edition of Art Journaling was available and I'm in it! It is always an honour to have my work published and so nice to see the title was taken from a inspirational quote that I had shared. I love working with Stampington Publications as they are always open to a variety of creative ideas and are always so kind and encouraging. The article was inspired by an art talk that I had given to a group of four high school students. I wanted to share the struggles I had experienced growing up and how the art teachers in my life inspired me to continue. I also got to share a few art tips in the magazine as well. If you get a chance to read it, I would love to hear what you think.
AIRdirondack Art Project
Alberta (above) +