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“I think we’re creating all day long. We have to have an appointment to have that work put on the page. Because the creative part of us gets tired of waiting, or just gets tired” – Mary Oliver

©2018 Suzanne Bélair

This really speaks to me as I am sitting here and thinking about all the ideas that cross my mind, all the projects I would like to start and of all the exciting art I would like to make. The last few weeks have been extremely busy with the little ones and preparing for the next Symposium, seeing friends, and publicity for the LAA group. I find myself getting frustrated because there is no time to put anything down on paper or canvas.

 

The last month has been a whirlwind of emotions and activities. The birth of our first granddaughter and seeing my daughter pregnant in the previous months brought so many powerful emotions that had to be processed.

 

One day, as I was sitting with my daughter who first became a mother two and a half years ago and was pregnant with the little one, I was hit by a reality I was not expecting. I saw her, not as my daughter but as a strong independent woman, who has carved a good life for herself and is in control of her destiny. It hit me that she really didn’t need me anymore. I could almost physically see the shift in my head.

 

Once a mother, always a mother and up to this point, I still felt that my kids needed me somehow, that I could enhance their lives, help make everything better like when they were small. It was a belief in the background of my mind, something I took for granted for nearly 40 years. But my three children are adults now, independent and autonomous. They all enjoy good family and social lives, either run businesses or have decent jobs. They are all well functioning adults and don’t really need us parents so much anymore.

 

I knew all that for a long time on an intellectual level but now I feel it on an emotional level, deep in my core. They are all successful and our role is changing from parents and protectors of their well-being and happiness, to observers, on the fringe of their lives even if intertwined. I am proud of the three of them and of the lives they made for themselves. I feel we did our job as parents but we were also very lucky that they are all intelligent and healthy.

 

In a way, I am back to my carefree days. I feel I am in a transformational stage of my life right now, that my role is changing in a big way. New doors are opening and hopefully, there will be more time for art making in the weeks and months ahead.

 

Thank you for reading !

 

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Enviroart par Suzanne Bélair

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“What brings a smile to your face?” I was asked this simple question the other day and here was my answer:

My grandchild!

The love of my life is two years old.

Câlin Mamie, huggies for Mamie

Everything about him makes me smile

His smarts, his sense of humour, his beauty, his energy

His ruff and tumble attitude

Everything about him!

I decided to write a book for him. It might take me a while but the story is fully written and I started on the 17 illustrations I planned.

Here are some of the first colored sketches for this project:

As a next step I will paint these that are all drawn on gessoed canvas paper.

Think about what makes you smile and see the effect it has on your mood.

Best to you!

Suzanne

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Enviroart par Suzanne Bélair

 

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I have been blogging here for over 10 years now and have decided to publish some material I still believe in from those days until the end of February in celebration.

 

As those who follow me very well know, I love to talk about focus, so here is one of my favourite posts about the importance of focus to be able to accomplish anything we set our mind to:

 

FOCUS IS EVERYTHING

December 18, 2007 by Enviroart

Today, as we approach Christmas, I have to push myself to get into the Christmas spirit. No more young enthusiastic children bouncing around me asking if they are going to get their wishes from Santa. No more of their laughter and smiles, their jumping around asking how many more days, opening their chocolate calendar everyday counting the nights between now and the Big Day.

 

We are literally buried in snow this year. Unlike previous years, we have had a large amount of snow in 2 storms within the last 10 days and it is beautiful outside: White everywhere, blue sky, the sun shining, at least it was yesterday. Everything looks pure and clean but… wait a minute isn’t it what people dream about? A white Christmas? What’s the problem then? Our focus is the problem.

 

It is sometimes difficult to look around us and appreciate what our eyes can capture. Beauty, nature, the pleasure, the privilege I should say of breathing fresh air. We are so lucky here to have clean water and relatively clean air. Why is it so difficult sometimes to see and appreciate it? All these worries we carry in our head, all these aches and pains we notice in our body? What about what doesn’t hurt? Why don’t we notice this?

 

I digress but it is important for me this morning to look at what is not wrong instead of what is wrong and needs to be fixed. How many of us spend our lives looking at what is wrong and wanting to fix it? Not that this is wrong since we need people to fix things, right? But we also need balance and you cannot spend your life focusing on what is wrong in your life, your relatives’ and friends’ lives, the world. And in order to make things better, we must find a balance and find a way to feel somewhat at peace and happy.

 

The best way to do this is to take a quick inventory of what is not wrong. Not even necessarily what is right. Focus is everything. There are a lot of things that are NOT wrong in your life. Just the fact that you can breathe without any help, that you can feel your breath enter your lungs and come out, feeding your body with oxygen, this tells you that you are alive and that everything is possible. There is pollution, there is unrest and wars, there are conflicts but there is also beauty, there is nature there is kindness all around us. Focus is everything.

 

In the end, you are responsible only to yourself and your children of course if they are still young and dependent. After all you did choose to bring them into the world and you do have a responsibility to give them the proper tools to become their own persons. But other than that, you are not responsible for anybody else really. This is hard to comprehend and harder still to apply. We have husbands, wives, friends, families that we all feel need us to be a certain way, to act like expected to be what they think we are. This is very draining at the end.

 

Torn between guilty feelings, expectations, obligations, we sometimes created ourselves. But in the end, would our acting any different really change anything in these people’s lives? They would certainly get over it if we did not act according to their expectations. But the biggest disappointment is when we disappoint ourselves because of our own need to be perfect or to fulfill someone’s image of ourselves that often does not correspond to reality.

 

Focus is everything and Mahatma Gandhi said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony”. Look deep inside, reach in and find one thing to do today that is really in harmony with your true self. Make a list of what is not wrong with your life.

 

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Enviroart par Suzanne Bélair

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Best wishes !

Microsoft Word - 2016-voeux-noel.doc

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A few days after mothers day, add to this the excellent blog from Upwitscreek https://upwitscreek.wordpress.com/2015/05/13/swinging-the-bat/

and this morning the non-fiction prompt from “The Time is Now” ‏coming into my in-box with this statement:
In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde remarks, “All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That’s his.”

 Noel 1978-2crop

It then goes on to ask us to think and write about some reminiscent traits (patterns of behaviour or little quirks reminding us of our parents or guardians) that still impact who we are today.

I have decided to write about my mother. I must say that as much as I never wanted to be like my mother while growing up, rejecting her lifestyle, her devotion to my father, her obsession with cleanliness and order, I changed my mind and tried to be exactly like her once my children came into my life. I always thought she was just perfect especially because of her happiness and acceptance of who she was ! Optimist, loving, always in a good mood! A super housekeeper with a perfect routine she was able to stick to, our house was always in perfect order and “spic and span”. Secretly, I envied the life she and my father had built, the way they seemed so in love even after 25-30 years of marriage.

Growing up, she was able to build a perfect nest of love and comfort, where you could always turn and feel safe, for my sister and I. I loved my mother with all my heart. At adolescence, I revolted against her agreeable disposition, of what I perceived as weakness, of the way she would shy away from any argument, preferring to keep peace with everyone. But it was hard to stay upset with someone that could give you everything and accept everything I did.

When I had children of my own, I tried to be perfect like I thought she had been with us. I loved, cared and fought for my children’s wellbeing fiercely, shielding them from the things I judged as bad in life for as long as possible, also creating a world, a nest of as perfect a love I could give them.

I admired my mother very much and no matter how hard I tried, I never felt I was quite as good as her. For one, I went back to work after my first child. Thirty years ago, this meant I wanted to be at home when I was at work and at work when I was at home, the guilty feelings slowly eating away at me.

I was not able to keep up the house like she used to, bake pies and cakes, nor did I want to really, but I thought I should and could not make my days longer than they were. I was not able to feel and stay joyous, to start singing while I cleaned, to smile all the time, more guilty feelings. I wanted to be perfect for my family. I was missing the crucial element of self-acceptance.

Is our happiness and our sense of accomplishment as mothers linked to our perception of how perfect or imperfect our mothers were? As a young mother, my aim was to become my mother in the eyes of my children and my failure to attain this goal left me feeling inadequate and depressed me. I totally refused to consider I was different and could not, really, become like her. This feeling stayed with me for many years, I am sure affecting how I treated my own children and influencing how they perceived me while growing up. I asked a psychologist one time if it was bad for my children that I was unable to be joyous and happy deep down inside, to be able to transmit optimism and love of life like I thought I should. She suggested I go into therapy which I didn’t do at the time.

My mother, as much as she listened to us and opened her arms to envelope us with love every time we needed it, did not share a lot of herself, her deeper self with us, at least I don’t remember it. It was always about others for her. She was a very giving person and when we started school she threw herself into volunteer work with the same enthusiasm she had displayed at keeping up her love nest, and still kept it up too.

Still today, more than 30 years after her death, I miss my mother, I miss her unconditional love, her wisdom, her optimism, her reliability, her voice.

http://www.suzannebelair.com

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The Potter ©2014 Suzanne Belair Oil on canvas 24 X 25 in

The Potter
©2014 Suzanne Belair
Oil on canvas 24 X 25 in

I know him as:

 

Ray, my beautiful friend’s man,

 

Ray, with blue eyes, with loving smile,

 

Ray, passionate, the lover, the dancer,

 

Ray, gentle, the tender one, the caressing one,

 

Ray, educator, the wise one, the attentive one,

 

Ray, curious, intellectual, the scholar,

 

Ray, father, husband, the calm one,

 

Ray, loyal, the friend, the constant one,

 

Ray, creative, the patient one,

 

Ray, the potter.

 

http://www.suzannebelair.com

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In today’s world, we are confronted with a lot of anger and dissatisfaction about everything. This creates so much anxiety and unrest in everyone that comes into contact with this anger whether through the evening news, newspapers or by being confronted with this despair right under our eyes.

Personally, we are going through a trying time, having just found out another friend got stricken with cancer and once again, I realise how life can change in an instant or even end abruptly. We all know we live as ticking time bombs but some of us are wasting so much time just being anxious, afraid or angry. And what does it change except that we are losing these precious minutes that have been allotted to us at the start of our life?

This morning, as I am trying to cope with the news, packing because we are moving soon and struggling with the fact that I don’t have enough time to paint and prepare for some upcoming exhibits, I decided a good way to bring back some peace in my life would be to read a couple of verses from the Tao Te Ching. And I fell on the 54th verse which says:

The Tao is everywhere;

It has become everything.

To truly see it, see it as it is.

In a person, see it as a person;

In a family, see it as a family;

In a country, see it as a country;

In the world, see it as the world.

How do I know this is true?

By looking inside myself.

 

This speaks to me of understanding and tolerance. This speaks of our role in transforming our lives and how this transformation creates a ripple effect that spreads to our family, friends and acquaintances, to our community and to the planet. This tells us that our life is important and that whatever animates our bodies and our thoughts (Tao, God, Life) in our inner silence, it is present and significant, we do make a difference. And this difference should go towards making this planet a better place. We have to realize that we can consciously make a difference for the better of humankind and that each gesture, each thought have an effect and change something. We have to strive to make that change positive and kind, and to achieve that change not through violence and aggression, but through patience and understanding, with love.

Everything we think eventually becomes reality, extends outward in some capacity and therefore has the power to affect the future, our own and that of the universe. We have to live our lives with this awareness and remind ourselves each and everyday of the importance of living and treating others with kindness. This kindness must also extend to ourselves. We have to feel this knowledge in our core and live accordingly.

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