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Don’t I love this activity of going through the agenda of the year ending and preparing for the new year!!

It is a ritual that I adore and if I can’t find time to do it before Jan 1st, I feel I am late somehow and cannot start the year properly.

Today I took 2 hours to please myself and go through last year’s entries and record thoughts and events from 2017.

Our trip to Australia, to be detailed later in my travel journal, my new incursion into the FODMAP way of eating because of years of problems, several notes and details about our little grandchild growing and becoming a little person with his brilliance, his quirks, his sense of humour and mannerism, his own take on the world already! Only two he is but so much to give to the world already, I hope he never doubts it, I wish happiness for him forever!

So I am ready for 2018, copied important thoughts and entries, got all the important birthdays in and am already planning the exhibitions, vacations, painting projects, challenges and explorations.

I wish everyone an inspired and artistic new year. Art is not only about painting, writing or performing arts; we are all artists that create our lives from day to day. We need to follow our instinct and intuition. We need to be open to the world, to ideas! We create our reality and we must decide to be the Main act in what is happening to us while respecting our loved ones as well as others.

For many years, I felt I was going with the flow and we must be able to do so because of what life is throwing at us, but we must also make up our minds about who we want to be, who we want to become, what we want to create in the physical world and in our spiritual world.

Be kind to yourself

Love yourself

Love your neighbour

Happy new year 2018 !

Hopefully by being the best we can be, the world will be the best it can be!!

With Love

Suzanne

 

 

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How to improve our reality

 

Here are a few thoughts as we near the end of the year

 

A couple days ago, a search for someone’s coordinates took me deep into my journals from last year. I did not find what I was looking for but I did find some gems I would like to share with you here.

 

For those who don’t know me that much I want to say that I LOVE self-help books. Some are good, some less so, but I enjoy exploring these different takes on life. I usually write down what strikes me and it always seems so clear when I record the thought.

 

Lately, I have been struggling with the sense of time, how little we have, how fast days go by and what I manage to accomplish or not accomplish in a day…I’m sure most of us struggle with this at one point or another. The thing is, time is the same and the only constant for everybody and while some of our time is spent on necessary physical needs like sleeping and eating and some at making a living, we still have control over a large chunk of our time.

 

This is the portion I am concerned with; this is what we need to make decisions about. While the possibilities seem endless, one of these decisions is how we choose to perceive our lives.

 

Our reality is a selective act of attention and interpretation. I love this because it says it all “Focus is everything” and focus will change how we see our reality. We need to be aware and don’t lose sight of this fact.

 

Focus is a selective act of attention and what we focus on grows. So if we focus on what is wrong with our lives, we’ll continue to feel bad. If something needs to be changed, the focus should be on visualizing a better outcome and on finding a solution, not on the stressful situation or what we’re upset about.

 

Interpretation of “reality” takes place through internal dialogue, in other words during a conversation between ego and itself.

 

I admit I have often focused on the wrong things, bringing feelings of sadness and discouragement. I have been working on this my whole life and I now try to start each day with the conscious realisation that I can make the choice to focus on something positive.

 

Starting the day with gratitude is one of the keys. Focusing on what we are grateful about instead of what we don’t like is a good way to bring more good things into our life.

 

I found a trick to start my day on the right foot by writing this simple sentence in my journal before going to bed: “I am grateful for….” When I open my journal in the morning and I see these words, there are always immediate things that pop into my mind. I am grateful for a lot of things. And when I run out of things, I keep on writing these few words again, “I am grateful for…” and more things come up.

 

We don’t have to be grateful for major things all the time, even little things, small events will help. It is about cultivating a gratefulness attitude and it creates positive momentum in our internal dialogue. Somehow, this simple act conditions us to stay attentive to see more “gratitude-worthy” experiences to come into our life.

 

Life is all about energy and where attention goes, energy flows.

Sometimes, we need to actively reject negativity, avoid it. I’m sure you’re not surprised to learn that our brain suffers from a negativity bias. With everything we read and hear on the news, it is easy to forget that life is still good and miraculous.

 

We all have to go through some trying experiences but it is important to remember that when things are bad, they will improve at some point. We need to hang on and focus on whatever is positive. We must commit to turn away from negativity whenever and as often as we can.

 

Since all negativity cannot be ignored all the time, being aware of this bias when in a negative frame of mind, can help keep away some of the feelings of fear, anger and anxiety and also assist in making the conscious decision to be positive and realize our purpose.

 

So if we want to improve our reality, we need to improve our focus on positive events and things. It is well worth the effort.

 

Let’s start this New Year with hope and make a conscious effort to increase positive energy in our life.

 

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I have been working on a series for a special exhibit that took place in November. I needed to paint 12 profile canvases sized 10 X 10.

Instead of painting different subjects, I decided to paint all of them of the same subject and with the same primary colors, in effect creating a series.

Echec en folie
©2017 Suzanne Bélair
Acrylic and Inks on canvas 10 X 10 in

This is the twelfth and final painting of my contemporary forests series. The previous painting of the series can be viewed here.

I had the best time painting this one and intend to do a large piece with it.

As soon as I looked at the background I saw the horse and it made me think about the game of chess which I used to play on Friday evenings at our country house, but I haven’t played in a long while and would probably loose real quick!

The strategic game is super interesting, I love the tactic and finding out how to make moves that your opponent does not suspect.

I thought I would use the large bottom area on the right side to build a chess board. I so enjoyed going back to basic perspective and build the board with ink and paint. To stay with my concept of contemporary forests, I put some trees in there of course. I thought the pawns were coming late from behind the trees and from the tornado-like spins to join the queen, king, rooks and bishops while seeing there is a knight missing!! Where is he going and what is he running from?

The pawns will follow the leader and defend the queen. I loved the concept! I used the yellow drips to create some background trees and considered doing something with the yellow drop at the top but then decided to leave it. The background trees became more interesting when I added some droplets of blue ink to give them dimension and link them to the trees that are in front, without taking the eyes off the main subject.

Here the trees are coming in and the chessboard is established:

©2017 Suzanne Bélair

What did I find out with this series? I found out that, no matter how I want to go more abstract, I still like details and realism. I like to recognize something, a feeling, an object, something that talks to me in a painting. So it is with my pieces, I like to understand the story, understand the painting, feel it. Each of them is so unique and personal.

I hope you enjoyed this painting journey and wish you creativity and fun painting!

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This is the eleventh of my contemporary forests series.

 

Soleil levant / Rising sun
©2017 Suzanne Bélair
Acrylic and Inks on canvas 10 X 10 in

 
The previous paintings of the series can be viewed here and here.
 

By the time I got to the last two paintings, I was really enjoying discovering where each painting could go. This is often a surprise to me to see a painting evolve as if on its own.

 

This one posed a particular challenge since I still wanted to work with the original background and I didn’t want to turn it around:

 
 

 

Here is how it evolved. Using the red at the top left, I decided to do a big contemporary cloud. At first placing it behind the trees on one side and in front of trees on the other side, and then, moving it forward and creating the water and the bushes in front.

 

I didn’t like the effect and went back to the “drawing board” so to speak. I thought the yellow mound looked like a mountain and thought I would go with that concept at first.

©2017 Suzanne Bélair

I wasn’t happy with any of it. This was not working, the bushes looked fake and out of place with the modern feel of the painting and there was too much blue. I put it aside for a while. In the end, I thought I would transform the mountain into a big sun and got rid of most of the red clouds. The bushes were darkened with some black to give it a more contemporary vibe and keep the feel of the previous paintings in the series. Soleil levant was born.

 

I hope you enjoy discovering how these paintings evolved and it inspires you to create your own painting series.

 

 

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la pruche

La pruche
©2017 Suzanne Bélair
Acrylique et encres sur toile 10 X 10 po

Well, the three charity shows of November are over. These causes are very important to me.

I am very happy with the results, two paintings sold by the Shield of Athena and seven sold during the exhibition Color Against Pain by Artistes de Coeur.

Although all my works are dear to me and each has special meaning, one of the paintings sold during the week-end is particularly unique for several reasons.

 

First, I had a lot of trouble with it and it has evolved most amazingly, and ended up serving two causes at once. Let me explain.

©2017 Suzanne Bélair

I like to create difficulties for myself sometimes …

 

I produced my first background with a lot of texture and I absolutely wanted to keep this texture. I wanted the indentations to still be visible in the final artwork.

 

I started by painting some trees, then realized that I had put one in the middle of the canvas. Although the square format is better than rectangular format for placing objects in the middle, it’s still not ideal!

 

During a past painting workshop, I learned that people who suffer from astigmatism as I do, tend to put objects in the middle of their works. It was even suggested during this workshop to put an X in the middle of the canvas and at the mid-point of each side, to make you aware of this tendency. So I ended up cutting the tree to bring it to the side and added a new focal point: the hemlock.

 

I then worked the texture and softened the colors until I had a harmonious but still textured result. Although this painting has given me a hard time, it has become one of my favorites.

 

It was sold during the weekend event, so a portion went to the Federation of Women’s Shelters and the buyer is donating it for an auction where the funds are going 100% to the West-Island Women’s Shelter.

 

It proves that committed art can really help. I am very proud of it.

 

Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes

West Island Women’s Shelter

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From November 22nd to 26th 2017, a unique exhibition and sale of artworks, unique called De la couleur contre la douleur (Color against suffering) will be held at the St-Lambert Multifunctional Center (81, ave. Hooper, St-Lambert). For its ninth edition, 39 artists will present more than 500 original paintings, all of the same dimensions (10 in x 10 in) and sold at the unique price of 100$ (cash only). This activity will be held within the framework of the 2017 campaign of twelve days for the elimination of violence against women that takes place every year. Part of the sales will be donated to the Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes (FMHF), that regroups 36 women shelters for those dealing with multiple social issues.

This exhibition and sale is organised by the group Artistes de cœur, made up of about forty selected artists, which I am part of, and mainly coming from the Monteregie area but also from Montreal, Quebec, Sherbrooke and Lanaudiere areas. We wish, with this exhibition, to promote engaged art by making accessible artworks from artists painters to a large public, and also support women and children that live with violence and find refuge in a women’s shelter.

The opening will take place on November 22nd from 6 pm to 9 pm and I will be showing 16 paintings during this unique event of special size, special price, special cause. Why not get a few as gifts or to make an arrangement on one of your walls?

Please forward this invitation to your family and friends.

I hope to see you there on November 22nd!

Suzanne

To find out more about the organisations:  FEDEQ et Artistes de Coeur .

 

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