Last June I volunteered to guide a group of grades primary-3 students (ages 5-9) in a collaborative art project.  Here each student created a 3-D butterfly in colours which spoke to them.  When brought together like this, the piece reflects their joy of learning and their part within their community. The piece continues to be displayed outside of the school office, and what fun it is to see the children continue to stop by and seek out their own part – their individual butterfly.   I love how this collaborative piece comes together to be greater than the sum of its parts.


Considering art, collections and vibrancy ….. I can’t help but think of the fabulous realist Mary Pratt.  Her vibrant reflection of daily life is uplifting and …..humbling.. This was part of a retrospective presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. If you’d like to see more about that show, you can do that here.

WPC – vibrant


Orange You Glad…….

One of my very favourite things to do is to make art with school children.  Here, a group of 4 & 5 year olds are discovering the colour orange by mixing red and yellow and painting pumpkins.  But the rule is:  no mixing the paint in the pot. No, no, no! After learning how to draw a biiiiiig pumpkin, the children filled in the pumpkins with yellow paint.   The magic happened when they put a little red on top of the yellow.  Their reaction?  Priceless!  

More orange! Weekly Photo Challenge

The Side-Kick Traveller, an Introduction

Blogging 101 has recently issued two challenges. The first is to “Introduce Yourself”, and the second is to write freely for 20 minutes. Here is an attempt to rise to both challenges at the same time.

So, who am I? I’m a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a niece, and a friend. I’m a colleague and a volunteer, but mostly……

I’m a mother of two boys, both of whom have just recently been re-installed in university after four months at home for the summer semester. One of the greatest joys of my life has been the discovery that I love being a mother. I absolutely love it! Motherhood is all the things you hear it is: difficult, fraught with sleep deprivation, stressful, painful, frightening, exhausting, loving, and oh, so humbling. For me, the wonder is that through all of that, I have learned so much about life, about seeing the world through another person’s eyes, about respect, about the joy of the journey from my sons. In this, I am a life-long learner.

I am a teacher; a substitute or supply teacher at our local elementary school. I have taught full-time, and know what a rewarding (if unappreciated) profession it is. When I achieved my teacher’s degree, some years ago now, I saw many young teachers like me, struggling to enter the system. Too many young teachers and not enough positions. I believed then, as I do now, that there should be a program in place to ensure a balance of experienced teachers and fresh, energetic, fresh-from college teachers in the classroom. Sadly, nothing has changed very much in the past 25 years, in that regard. So, now I am a substitute teacher (not retired). I still get to be in classrooms and to practice my expertise without taking up a full-time position. The nicest part of substituting is I get to follow the children along, since I substitute in several grade levels. It is a beautiful thing to watch them grow.

Speaking of growing, I am a gardener. I grow flowers, vegetables, fruit, berries and even have a small vineyard. Oh, and a wee flock of chickens. My husband and I are half thinking of expanding into other crops. We have the land for it, but the question is do we have the energy? Or the time? One of my goals is to grow as much of our own food (and wine!) as I can. That has led me into experimenting with all-season gardening…a tricky thing here on the east coast of Canada.

I am a painter. Beyond a beginner, but certainly not a master, I am mostly self-taught. This is definately one of my passions….I record the world, as I see it, in acrylic and watercolours. I exhibit regularly in a local, community gallery and have had a couple of small shows of my own. I have been practicing art for as long as I can remember. This is one area in which I am constantly re-evaluating, observing, growing and reaching…..

I am a wife. Married for 22 years, we are just starting that phase in which we get to plan and do lots of things alone together again. Like most marriages, I suppose, it has had its bumps along the way. But here we are, the boys are gently leaving the nest, and we have the opportunity to re-invent our partnership and build new dreams. My husband’s work takes him away from home fairly regularly for short periods of time. And happily, my work as a substitute teacher gives me the freedom to create my own schedule, so I have begun to travel with him sometimes.

And I love this because I am a traveller. Over the years, I have travelled solo, as part of a couple, with a group of friends, and with my family by plane, trains, automobiles, and by boat,on foot and a bicycle. So far, I’ve visited New Zealand, Australia, most countries in Europe, various parts of the US & Mexico and 8/10 Canadian Provinces. I’ve lived in and studied and/or worked in three of those provinces. Travel supplies my inspiration, satisfies my wonderlust, gives me small hits of city life to balance my rural home, and funnily enough, grounds me in my home and confirms my great fortune to live where I do.

That brings me to the “why am I here” part. When he is traveling for work, and I am with him, I spend some time with my husband and lots of time alone. I like wondering around and exploring on my own as much as I in company. There is a certain structure to these trips and it is not at all like being a “solo traveller”. I like the balance. I have been reporting back to him at the end of the day, and to my family at the end of the trip. We expect that we will be doing more of this and it seems that this blog will give me an opportunity to record my observations and reflections from home and abroad….and to share them.

Over time, with experience, I hope to add “I’m a writer” to this list.