Mid Sea

Inspiration is a funny thing. This blog in a sense is a chronicle of my struggles to understand / cope with the nature of creativity.

The act of creation is an interesting thing as well. Any single person can create a hundred things in a week and not consider any of it to be artful. It is still creation though.

Day to day life management has forced my creativity into different veins that depend on the amount of energy I have. Sewing and crafting is for when I need to make something but I don’t have the grounded mental space or time to paint or write. Writing is a specific vibe that only works if I have an hour or three to myself to focus and channel the words from wherever they come. Painting requires short bursts of work throughout weeks and months with much thinking and meditation over the direction of the material in the time between. All this is to say that lately, I mostly sew.

I started this piece at the beginning of 2016. I’ve worked on it slowly; layering lines upon lines of colour. You don’t see it well in the photos, but the paper has a lovely texture. This is the first time I’ve bought 300lb watercolor paper. My god it makes a difference! I don’t think I can go back to anything lighter.

scene 1

At first I had collected all kinds of photos as source images to create a piece. I had thought, I would paint something that meditated on motherhood. Instead, I abandoned all of the lovely images I had and painted this. I suppose it’s a more personal take on that subject than I originally planned. To me, it’s like an alternately turbulent and calming ocean journey. There are even a few sea creatures involved.

Mid Sea


As a creative person, I am my father in girl form. I’m not sure if I’ve become more like him, or if I’ve only now noticed. Growing up, I spent a lot of time playing with the gadgets and ornaments I found around my dad’s study. When I had outgrown playing with his glass figurines, I would do my homework at his writing desk while he worked on his computer. His study was the perfect retreat because I was the only one who dared to disturb the peace of his sanctuary. His study was the most productive place to be because he had every article of stationary or tool one could ever need. Many of his tools are even self made for specific purposes.

When I was a little girl, my dad made various creative versions of christmas trees. I loved that. He made one out of chicken wire and toilet paper for a couple of years. It was way prettier than it sounds. It was my favourite tree. I attempted to make an origami something this year as a stand in for a christmas tree. It turned out being quite pretty though not very christmasy.

The process of making it and deciding on the materials to use reminded me so much of my dad. It really made me miss being home this year for Christmas. When I started making it, I realised that I already had all of the materials that I needed to make it. It appears that I’ve begun to create my own ‘study’ that is well stocked with art and craft tools of every variety I can think of.

I don’t know when I started trying to recreate his study, but its a place in my heart that I attempt to recreate wherever I live. It’s my base.

After making the hanging thing and cleaning out an art box, I came across some off-cut squares of watercolour paper I’ve had hanging around in my art storage for over 5 years now. I kept them thinking that they’d make lovely little ‘moments’ one day.

This holiday vacation, I used them all. I got out my stained watercolour brushes from my dad’s old orange tackle-box and got to work with the gouache paints he sent to me for christmas last year.

Today I sat reloading ink into my fountain pens (just like my dad taught me) and I realised that I owe him the biggest thank you. Thank you Da for making me who I am. I see you everyday in many of the things that I do, think and say. I’m older now I guess, so I can see it all much more clearly. You made me who I am and I’m not sure how to say thanks for that. But I’ll try anyway. I love you. Thank You.

mini 4mini 3mini 2mini 1


mandala Dec 26 2015

This morning I was out for a walk with Kai and I felt the familiar stirring that I wanted to make something. I sorted through whether it was something written or drawn, coloured or black and white, realistic or abstract, 3 dimensional or 2 dimensional and eventually realised that I wanted to make a mandala. Then, in my mind I went through my paper collection and and decided on a grey page. I got home, dug into my art supply stocks and sat down to make this. A few hours later and here it is. I feel so much more relaxed and centred.


Awareness bloomed in a wordless rush of sensation and memory. An overwhelming history engulfed this growing consciousness and with it came a cool and steady thrum that was more evocative than words. As one may have once seen the horizon, sensation spread out from center to meet another node of knowing and on and on between one form of life and another. Somehow all that lived in the steady thrum waxed and waned with cool, quick, almost erotic steadiness. Gone was the quiet wisdom of a lifetime of breaths. What replaced it was blue infinity.

Out of the thrum came an eventual current of self knowledge. With the knowledge of self-hood came an awareness of other selves. They all felt cool and close – with silent intimacy that communicated many things. One self swirled close, sharing the sharp image of glowing white fur in the moonlight and the comforting warmth of a soft small body. Another self shared a poignant longing alongside a rush of maternal love.

Perhaps the most baffling thing was that none of this seemed strange.

A maybe excerpt from That Thing I’m Writing.

Writer’s Workshop

I got an alert on Friday telling me that by Sunday (yesterday) I should be finishing the first draft of Part 1 of my secret writing project (hitherto referred to as ‘That Thing I’m Writing’ until it has enough being to be given a name of its own). Naturally, I was nowhere near that optimistic deadline.

In light of this, I decided that it was time to drag my writing ambitions out of the closet and give them some real world responsibility. Saturday morning therefore, found me attending my first Writer’s Workshop at High Park Public Library.

Before going in, I printed off some pages of ‘That Thing I’m Writing’, half hoping I’d just put it on the table with my pen and smile courteously for an hour and a half. Anyway, I had no idea what one did at a writer’s workshops. Maybe I could slip through this as an affectionate bit of furniture instead of actually contributing.

In the end I sat at a table with 7 other people. We went around the table – each person sharing something they’d written. One guy had a hilarious piece of short fictional. Another woman had something that was called flash fiction. It was a snippet of intense memory retold in a brief piece of prose. An older woman had a couple of really sharp and interesting pieces about people she’d met around town.

Within the first 5 minutes I was disarmed by how genuine, open, encouraging and excited each person was to present their work and help others with theirs. Not only were they very supportive and welcoming to each other, but also, they were seriously talented! It eventually came around to my turn to share.

Now for anyone who knows me, you know that although I am an outgoing person – I have one of the more heart stopping cases of stage fright. Also – reading an excerpt from something I have told precious few people about left me with cold fingers and toes as well as a growing sense of internal brain freeze. A sense of responsibility won out though and seeing as how I’d committed to taking part, I read a small piece of what I’d brought.

You know what? They liked it! They had positive feedback and some great pointers as to how I might make it better and how I could continue in my process of making ‘That Thing I’m Writing’. Nothing bad happened and no one slapped me on the wrist and said ‘Bad Lisa – how dare you think you could write?!’

So I am definitely going back next Saturday. Each person I met there was so smart and incredibly passionate. I can’t wait to see them again and to share more of ‘That Thing I’m Writing’. I now feel a deeper sense of value in what I’m making. It’s not just a silly thing living in Scrivener. Like a painting, I have to continue giving it body and layer by layer, it will become something.

A Window

It is a myth that we are all special individuals who are destined for some unique personal glory. As a part of this myth, we seem to believe that our differences separate us into lonely planets, orbiting the sun with long suffering, internalized sighs. We remain tragically separate from those who we imagine could never understand the poignancy of our longing. I reject this myth for something that is more powerful and far less lonely. In practical terms, we exist in an ocean of sameness – of animal reaction and behaviour that composes the spectrum of our human experience.

It’s interesting that with all this sameness, we are constantly surprised to find friends and allies in unlikely places. In the same sense that we live out the lives of our parents; we live out the same human lives, generation after generation. In a sense we’re like a dog who lives a life that is not so dissimilar from the other dogs on his block. If he moves in his lifetime, he will experience a hiccup that leads to a readjustment to the new normal for a new place with new circumstances. But he will still be a dog; just like all the other dogs in his new neighbourhood.

It is in some way frightening to think that our individual loveliness is worthless. It is more accurate though to see individuality instead as a single flower in a field of flowers – each blossom being a different spin on the general plant / flower archetype – whose life cycle and behaviour is bound within the confines of flower-hood.

What’s great about story telling is sharing with a community of like minded people a story about themselves. The significant act is in documenting a common history that is unknowingly shared between neighbours. We read a satisfying story and are surprised to find ourselves in someone else’s life. Perhaps the gift of Art is in providing that tactile window into a bigger and richer collection of as yet unstated experience. As artists we pull a thread at that faceless human experience to present to ourselves an idea, moment or story that will in turn inspire, comfort or enrage someone else as they see for the first time, a part of themselves reflected.