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I remember when I was a little girl my favorite thing in the world to do was draw. My best friend Kathy Clarke and I used to sit for hours and draw dolls, girls, animals but mostly sweet girls,  we even made our own cut out dolls, We drew books of things! I loved to draw. I still do ! To this day I have one of those little booklets that Kathy and I drew together. I’ll use it in my art one day for sure.

When it came to career day in high school I knew exactly which direction I wanted to take. I wanted to be an artist. I had taken those tv tests, you know, the ones where you reproduce a cartoon or two and send it in for evaluation. I think I reproduced a mouse or a turtle or something along those lines.  My results were encouraging and I just knew that I was a great artist ready to take on the world. I gathered all the college info from the guidance counsellors. I made sure I had pamphlets from every school that offered art programs and I brought them home to my parents for their approval. I was on cloud nine! Now, I know parents don’t always think before they speak. I know I’ve said a lot of stupid things to my son. So when my father said to me that being an artist was extremely hard and that I would never make any money and that I should look at something more practical I was crushed. In that moment I made a whole slew of things up in my mind like I wasn’t good enough, my Father didn’t think I was good enough, he didn’t love me, he didn’t trust me, the list is probably endless but you get the point. I guess I could have been a pretty good story writer too!  I fell down off my cloud and never really got back up again until I was about 40 years old. I mean I kept doing artsy things and was always very creative in making my home beautiful but I let go completely of the idea of being an artist. Now, don’t take that to mean that I blame my father. I absolutely know that he was trying to spare me the “Road of Hard Knocks” and that he loved me and wanted what was best for me. Suffice it to say I took that road and many other rickety paths but I learned a lot along the way and I have an amazing son out of the whole “sidetrack”. 

I did the “white picket fence” deal, the divorce deal, the single mom deal. I was always taking care of somebody or something other than myself and my passions. I am not complaining, this is just how it went. But, once my son left home for school I let it rip! I bought canvas, easel, paint and sketch pads, charcoal, and anything any artist could ever need or want! My pent-up mind exploded all over the place. I haven’t looked back since. I saw art in every minute of my life and I am so happy to have found my one true love again.

For the past two years I’ve been participating in a local all-nighter art festival called Nuit Blanche Ottawa+Gatineau. The first Nuit Blanche was created by Jean Blaise in 1984 in Nantes, France. Other countries quickly followed in offering an all-night summer art festival in the heart of their respective cities. And now, in 2012, Ottawa, Canada finally launched theirs. I was part of that inaugural night! I covered a bus in crocheted grannie squares. Over 500 squares were hooked by me and my team, the O-Town Bombers.

I was absolutely floored, flabbergasted, agape, you name it…I was it…when my Father and Step-Mother pulled up to my installation site to help me cover that bus. It was my Father’s birthday and they drove 12 hours to be part of my art. I tell you, I’ve never felt more loved, touched, supported and recognized as I did the minute I saw my dad’s face. I think it might be a moment of validation but more so, it was a moment of absolute love from my Father. Something I’ve craved my entire life and I am so glad I got it before one of us left this world. And my Step Mom….she had a blast climbing on top of that bus and covering the roof for hours. What a pure demonstration of support and understanding! My own 71 year old mother is a huge part of the team as well! I felt love in the most extreme form that day. My Father’s presence, fueled my confidence and pride as an artist. I will never forget this day.

My Father and Step Mom return to Ottawa each year for Nuit Blanche and this year I’m going to work extra hard to bring them through the city to enjoy the sights and sounds.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better though, my Father has gone a step further in supporting my dreams. He’s built me my own giant easel out of 200 year old birch wood felled in myhome town, Matheson, Ontario. I mean, I just may bowl over from so much love and support ! And I can hardly wait to get that easel into my studio!

A Father’s love is a mighty powerful incentive in life and my Dad has shown me that no matter how old you are, you’ll always feel like a princess when your Dad’s around. I love ya Pops and thank you so much for everything you have ever done for me.

This is my Step Mom Patti posing with the easel my Father built for me.

 

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Aside

LECTURE BY ALEXANDER REFORD
THE INTERNATIONAL GARDEN FESTIVAL
Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens, a new project of the Canadensis Botanical Garden Society,
Ottawa, presents a lecture by Alexander Reford, Director of Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens,
Grand-Metis, Quebec.
Alexander Reford will delight gardeners, landscape architects, and artists with his presentation on The
International Garden Festival, the leading contemporary garden festival in North America held at Les
Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens. Each year, the festival exhibits over 25 conceptual gardens created by
architects, landscape architects, and designers in a natural environment on the banks of the St. Lawrence
River. Since its inception in 2000, more than 140 gardens have been exhibited.
DATE: Thursday May 1, 2014
The lecture will be given twice:
6:00 – 7:15 pm (doors open at 5:30 pm)
8:00 – 9:15 pm (doors open at 7:40 pm)

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COST: CBGS Members: $12. Non-members: $15.
PAYMENT: Tickets for the lecture time of your choice – 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. – can be made through PayPal, or
purchased at the door. Advance purchase is recommended due to limited seating. Bring your Paypal receipt
to gain entry. Click here to Pay online
LOCATION: The renovated Cereal Barn (Bldg #76), Central Experimental Farm, off Prince of Wales Drive.
PARKING: Located off Prince of Wales Drive, south of the Arboretum. $3.00 pay and display.
Click here to View site map
Proceeds will go to Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens (Ottawa), June 27- September 27, 2014,
an inaugural project of the future Canadensis: The Garden of Canada/Le Jardin du Canada. Information
on Beyond the Edge: Artists’ Gardens, including location and participating artists, will be announced at this
lecture.
Complementary coffee is generously provided by BRIDGEHEAD
Pink Punch, 2013 by Michaela Macleod and Nicholas
Croft
Photo credit: Marie-Claude Hamel