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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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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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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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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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Love

What to say about love?

Love of life, love of children

Love of friendships

Love of a sunny afternoon at the beach?

What are we looking for exactly?

Everyone wants to be loved

But who wants to love enough, to appreciate enough

Everyone wants love but not many

Are ready to sacrifice enough

To get it and keep it

To feel it deeply

Love of oneself often translates into selfishness

All theories…

What do you love?

Take a moment to meditate on this at the start of the day

In order to align your life with what you love

Do something you love today

I will paint

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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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