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Have you ever noticed how things sometimes disappear?

 

Yesterday I was driving along past the bank and decided to get some cash. I usually keep a small purse inside my big handbag.

 

When I run an errand, I like to take the smaller one to feel freer while leaving the big one behind.

 

Anyhow, I thought my debit card was in this small purse so only grabbed that one. As I excited and locked the car, my fingers were already searching for the card that I keep in it’s own protective sleeve. While walking briskly, I touched various cards, tissues, notes, toonies and change, realizing I could not feel the distinctive sleeve. Annoyed, I stopped walking and looked inside the purse until I took everything out. I had to come to the conclusion the debit card was not there.

 

Watching for cars backing up, I returned to my car and checked my large purse’s zippered compartment. It wasn’t there. Wallet? After going through it 3 times, I saw it wasn’t there either.

 

Upset, I got back into my car and drove home thinking it had to be somewhere in the house. On the table, in the closet, in a pocket maybe. I thought back to the previous few days. Another busy week it had been and remembered using the card at the art store a few days before. I thought I remembered shoving the cards and receipt in the pocket of my black coat.

 

When you lose something, your mind tries to reconstruct the past. But memories are not always totally reliable. We live such a distracted life that there are always a few pieces of information missing.

 

I got home and dumped everything out of my bag to no avail. I searched my house, pockets of my coats and pants, the office, even the garage (maybe I put it somewhere and don’t remember). I opened the computer and checked my account, no transactions since the one I remembered on Monday, which reassured me. I gave up looking for it after two hours.

 

All this got me thinking about things that disappear and how odd it always seems.

 

One time, we came back from a week-end trip to find my daughter had thrown a house party. One month later, my son wanted to wear the engraved cross I was safekeeping for him in my drawer. I was surprised and upset that it had disappeared from my bedroom bureau. I searched for it for six more months, refusing to believe that a party guest had gone through my things and stolen his property. I felt guilty for losing it and still think about it 20 years later…

 

Another time, when I was cleaning out a night table, I realized a very precious photo was no longer there. Do we do things and then forget about them? Where was that photo? To this day, I have never found it. This happened about 10 years ago, yet every now and then, I go through all my stuff again in the hopes of finding it.

 

Don’t socks disappear all the time? Where do they go? It is almost as if there is an alternate reality out there.

 

My friend’s i-pad disappeared in a strange way. She was there, she never saw anything. Probably stolen…

 

 

Distraction or selective attention is partly to blame. I recently read the book “Why we make mistakes” by Joseph T. Hallinan. It explains how it is impossible to be 100% present all of the time and “how we look without seeing, forget things in seconds and are all pretty sure we are way above average”. A very interesting read!

 

I used to be proud of being able to multitask yet research is clear that multitasking does not exist per say. We only shift our attention and each time we do, this uses seconds and the brain has to re-adjust, making both tasks less efficient.

 

Other things that sometimes disappear are people, friends, lovers and neighbours through move, break up, death, change of heart.

 

Everything and everyone will disappear one day. This is life, impermanence.

 

Things get misplaced

Things get forgotten
Everything shifts and changes

Everything will disappear one day
We try to hang on to people and things

But all we can do is enjoy them while we can

For all is disappearing every second that we live

While something new sprouts and takes its place

 

As for my debit card, I found it this morning, in the zippered pocket of my white coat, so it wasn’t lost after all. I was so sure I was wearing the black one, I never checked that one until today.

 

Thank you for reading and enjoy every second of your reality!

 

 

Suzanne

 

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A short one today since I have been really busy and have not painted much lately. Lots of projects in different stages of completion though.

 

 

I resumed my creative writing workshops 3 weeks ago and have been writing quite a lot more since. I will probably add a section to this blog to share some of my short stories soon.

 

I saw this on Twitter (@writerconclave) a few days ago and thought I would share it with you my fellow writers and readers:

 

Dear Writer

You can write 10,000 words in an hour, or 1.

You can be a plotter, a pantser, or anything in between.

You can want to write for a career, or a hobby.

The simple act of writing defines you as a writer.

Speed doesn’t. Style doesn’t.

Simply, write.

Love, a fellow

 

Thank you for reading and keep on writing !

 

Suzanne

 

 

 

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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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Since last Saturday, the Circuit des Arts Memphremagog event has been taking place and my studio-gallery has been opened to all that show up at my door up until 5pm this afternoon. Today is the last day and as this exhibit is ending, I though I would share a few photos of my paintings set up in two rooms of my home.

 

Weather-wise, the week was eventful, with strong rain storms and hot sun, a mix of everything. Today for the last day, all is quiet, sunny and cool.

 

I always enjoy that event that puts viewers directly in front of my art without any distractions and helps them understand what is behind it, the motivation for creating it, the difficulties and joys encountered during the development of each painting.

 

For me, there is nothing like direct contact and conversation with the viewer. This exchange is enriching on both sides and more interesting than during a group exhibit or a symposium where the person is trying to see as much as they can in a very short time.

 

This was a wonderful 9 days and I feel I learned a lot about art lovers and their needs and expectations.

 

A big THANK YOU to everyone who visited me!

 

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The Circuit des Arts Memphremagog is just around the corner and this year marks its 25th anniversary.This event gives visitors the opportunity to admire and purchase artworks from professional artists, see their creative space and admire beautiful vistas along the road. I truly enjoy this event and meeting people that show up at my studio door during the Circuit.

 

As usual, I will have two rooms full of paintings and many new works. Situated at 123 rue Du Lac des Sittelles in Austin, my Township studio will be open from 10 am until 5 pm starting July 21st to the 29th . There is also a collective exhibit at the Magog Visual Art Center, located at 61 Merry north in Magog where each artist is showing one piece of artwork representing his or her production.

For more information, go on the Circuit’s website: Just click here.

I am also participating in the 20th Edition of the Bromont en Art Symposium that takes place in the Old village of Bromont from August 24th to 26th from 10 am to 6pm. For more information please click here.

There is also an exhibit from July 7th to 15th at the St-Patrick cultural center in Bolton East where I will have one piece of art showing with other regional artists.

Everyone welcome!

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I have been having wild dreams lately. Some leave me happy and delighted and others, anxious and worried. I guess my brain is working out some stuff.

 

Trajectoire oblique
Oblique trajectory
©2018 Suzanne Bélair
Oil on canvas 10 X 10 in

Lately, I have been listening to Quebec singers and one of them has this song that says: “I thought when I grew up I would always know what to do, like my father” (1). What a great comment on how we view our parents. Now that I am grown up (supposed to be anyhow) I see that life is full of questions and uncertainties and that often, most of the time for some, we don’t really know what to do or in which direction to go. Of course, it all depends on which area we’re talking about but I find myself increasingly questioning my smallest decisions for some unknown reason.

 

We live in a world full of instability and insecurities and, especially lately, full of hate. It is sometimes difficult to navigate through all of it while keeping focus on our own life and keeping hopeful for a better future or at least a peaceful one for our children. This is what I am working on, trying to keep my mind above the bad and the ugly that is plastered all over the news, invading our daily lives.

 

This morning though, some wonderful news as the Thai boys from the soccer team and their coach have been brought out of the cave where they have been prisoners for over two weeks. Wonderful news! A great show of human resilience and cooperation as the world watched the courageous rescue mission and prayed for the safety of the boys and their rescuers. An event that reconciles all with hope, love and goodwill.

 

On another front, I am happy I found some time for painting amidst all the preparations for three exhibitions coming up this summer and other obligations and chores of everyday life.

 

I pretty much decided to go back to my beloved oils I so enjoy working with. Since my time is very limited these days, I have decided to work on small paintings. I still have my two large paintings of Italy that are moving forward even if they are turning out to be real puzzles and I can only work on a small section at the time but they are coming together. Here is the progress so far, obviously not finished:

Work in Progress
© Suzanne Bélair

Work in Progress
©2018 Suzanne Bélair

And here are the links to the beginning of these paintings:

https://enviroart.wordpress.com/2017/05/06/work-in-progress/

https://enviroart.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/work-in-progress-bis/

 

This is why I don’t want to start anything too big. It just seems daunting right now with all the exhibits coming up, my new granddaughter arriving soon and my precious little grandson I want to see as often as possible.

 

I now consider my contemporary forests series in reds and yellows finished (except for one painting still in the works) and am going for something else all together. A complete change of palette is interesting and I’m going even more abstract with these new ones. I had explored this style last year and really enjoyed it so here it goes!

 

“Oblique trajectory” is the first of the series and has softer colors. The painting reminds me of all we have to go through in life and how we often have to travel in an oblique fashion to get where we want. Nothing in life is in a straight line but we get there eventually. I completed this small 10 X 10 a few weeks ago and am now working on a 12 X 12. I really enjoy the process, the colors, everything.

 

When I start a new painting, there is an excitement, a panicky feeling almost overtakes me until the first coat is pretty much finished and the canvas is covered in colors. Then I calm down and start relaxing while putting each touch of color where it belongs.

 

In a similar manner, starting a new series is exciting and scary at the same time but I love the challenge!

 

(1) “Tout simplement”, Album “Qu’on se lève”, Jonathan Painchaud, 2007

 

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For the last six years, there is an event that takes place in Montreal, called the Montreal Mural Festival. Since its creation in 2013, Montreal has become a world leader in public art and contemporary urban art.

 

The event celebrates the international urban movement. There is live art, live music, exhibitions and artists talks and the festival has become an important gathering of the artist community.

 

This cultural celebration takes place mainly around Saint-Laurent Boulevard which is Montreal’s main artery. This year, this 6th edition took place from June 7th to 17th.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to go and visit during the festival but the art is outside and free for anyone to see and enjoy. There are now over 80 major works of art created by the participating artists of the Festival.

 

I thought I would share some of the photos I took today. Outside of the event’s schedule, I just found out there are some walking tours every Saturday and Sunday mornings.

The time I spent there today was truly inspiring because of the different styles, the quality of the works, the feel, impressions and messages they leave you with, the tremendous amount of details and intricacies. It was truly impressive and we probably saw only about 25% of the works. A good reason to go back!

 

If you are interested, there is a map here

 

For more information on the walking tours, click here

 

All photos ©Suzanne Bélair

 

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