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Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Memories ~ Poem

Snow falls gently upon frozen ground
This eve of Christmas Eve
Birds puff feathers to keep warm
While sitting on branches laced with frost
Clouds are filled with winter's light
The landscape has been transformed this day

A wonder to behold

As I move now through this fairy tale
A crunching beneath my feet I hear
Oh how I love this sound
Reminding me of days long ago
When life was simple
Hours were filled with snowballs, icicles
Skating and sledding in this winter wonderland
Now my children’s children do these things

Life pushes on

A snowflake caught as my lashes flutter
I smile and remember the fun I’ve had
I raise my face to the heavens above
Catch some crystals on my tongue

Another magic moment

I may not be able to do all of the things
That I was once able to do
Many moments forgotten as time passes

This I do remember

Carefully I lay on this fresh blanket of white
An angel now grows its wings
Moving arms and legs
I fly
May you too find time to grow your wings 
~ Merry Christmas to all ~
Connie Cuthbertson ~ 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Autumn Marsh, Radiance & Winding Creek

"Autumn Marsh"
30" x 40"

These 3 images complete my collection of oils currently on display at the Fort Frances Museum until mid January. "This Place Where We Live" has been an exciting journey in my life and 
I thank you for being a part of it. 
I have received many emails from around this incredible world of ours from people who have been following my artistic journey.  Many have expressed they must now put 
Canada on their travel list. 
Now to get on with my busy day ahead. Time to decorate the tree whilst listening to Bing or Burl. 
Merry Christmas everyone!

24" x 18"

"Winding Creek"
14" x 11"

Thursday, December 15, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Through The Reeds & Cattails - Poem

"Through The Reeds"
24" x 36"

On Rainy Lake along her shores
This is a sight you'll see
Cattails swaying rhythmically
Dancing gently on the breeze

I like to come to my secret place
To contemplate this day
I feel myself in harmony
As my spirit begins to sway

Magical light filters through the reeds 
As trees line these distant shores
Another day to be grateful for
I can not ask for more

You too can know yourself here
But first must take the time
To sit in quiet wonder
Breathe deeply and you will find

"Through The Cattails"
14" x 11"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Quiet Pond - Poem

"Quiet Pond"
18" x24"

There are many places such as this on Rainy
Ponds filled with light and life
Cat tail reeds flowing in the gentle breezes

Paddling now I hear lily pads 
Make their music across the sides
Of this old canoe

Water drips slowly from 
Paddles end
A great blue heron glides on
In search of solitude

Here on this Quiet Pond
You can take the time
To contemplate 
Just be

Sharing a moment with the wilds

I am not alone

Monday, December 5, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Spring Birches & Forest Glow

"Spring Birches"
36" x 36"

I love the freshness
 The colours and the vibrancy that comes with the newly formed leaves of spring
 And for me the spring birch is special in another way
When I was young I used to lay under these white paper wonders
 Smell the rising sap
Listen to the ruffling of the spinning leaves
Nature's wind chimes

"Forest Glow"
24" x 18"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Northern Mist - Poem

"Northern Mist"
24" x 36"

It seems the mist has taken me
On travels far this night
I'm wrapped within this moments glow
I’m humbled by her sight

The threads serene envelope me
I stand here calm, at peace
A witness to this miracle
Nature’s gentleness I seek

In silence here I take this in
Remember all I see
A perfect jewel, a memory
Lives deep inside of me

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Cloud Dreams 1 & 2 - Poem

"Cloud Dreams 1 & 2"
24"x 48"

I’ve always loved to watch the clouds  
Dance across the sky
Changing constantly they’d go
A bird a wolf a butterfly

The earth is warm beneath me
As I marvel at this sight
Mine eyes and heart are lifted up
  I'm filled with their inner light

No mortal means propel them
As they shift across the sky
Another of life’s mysteries
My spirit soars, I fly

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Lady of the Lake" and Island Dreamer" - Poem

"Lady of the Lake"
24" x 36"

There’s a story gone round and round
Of a girl who lost her way
Tales drift on like ripples in a pond
Is it true? It’s hard to say

Like some sad romantic love song
Of how she came to be
A legend here on Rainy Lake
She's a wonder for all to see

Casting glances to shores afar
As she lays upon her stone
Boaters slow to see her close
A wonder to behold

All I know is she’s here today
And will be for a while
I’ll take my children’s children there
For I know she’ll bring a smile

If she could tell her story
Of how she came to be
I think she’d smile and simply say
I’m here for all to see

"Island Dreamer"
36" x36"

Friday, November 25, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ Last Light - Causeway Island

"Last Light - Causeway Island"
18" x 24"

I’ve always been amazed by this magical time of day
When the evening comes to an end and the night sky closes in
Every sunset an original
A fingerprint that marks the mystery and celebration for a day well lived
Last Light gives promise of a new day when rest is done

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Swimming Rock Reflections"

"Swimming Rock Reflections"
18" x24"

I remember sitting under these pines on a hot summer’s day
Resting after a long cool swim in the clear fresh waters of Rainy
Laughing and playing our days away
In the distance is Blueberry Island where we would canoe to on one of our many expeditions
When I see it now I hear our laughter still

Monday, November 21, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Spirits Entwined"

"Spirits Entwined"
18" x 24"

When I was a young girl I would go out canoeing along the shore not far from home. There was a place where the branches would hang out over the water and I could glide under ~ totally magical for me. Another mystery was seeing that many of these trees actually grew out of cracks in the rocks. Their roots like hair weaving through stone seemed such an impossibility. "Spirits Entwined" has been created from a combination of these memories. Here the tree and rocks both smooth and worn are interconnected sharing one spirit as memories do from days long passed. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Autumn's Light"

"Autumn's Light"
36" x 36"

I like the delicacy of the birch tree
The way the old bark and the young exist side by side
And how the old layer pulls away to reveal the new
 They are like people as we learn and grow
 When we are young and fresh
 Our outer layer is smooth, unscarred
 As we grow and age our character shines through the lines on our face
Much like the pealing bark reveal her spirit beneath

Friday, November 18, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Spirit Tree"

"Spirit Tree"
24" x 30"

I imagine that this old diamond willow was once a marker for the wild rice beds that flourish here
The lake people would sit under her
 Sing songs of the harvest
 And of the creatures that lived in the water amongst the reeds
 Her bark and leaves will have absorbed their voices into her sap as part of her growing
 The sounds and songs that once filled her have fallen with her into silence
 But there is life and sounds in the water and the land around her still
 Perhaps one day the songs will come back
And from one of her seeds there will be a new tree that will once again show the way.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "View From Above"

"View From Above"
30" x 30"

I love looking deep into the water where the stems are revealed and the way the ripples reflect the bright blue sky. It was an interesting challenge to paint this with a view from above.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Three Sisters" - Poem

"Three Sisters"
36" x 36"

There’s a legend of the lake that’s told
A story of sisters three
Who lived with their father long ago
A loving happy family

Surrounded by pines reaching high to the skies
A place to explore and roam
Where waters lap upon rocky shores
Rainy Lake they called their home

He loved his daughters and taught them well
Stay safe my saplings three
Look to the skies – she’ll show the way
And bring you back to me

That fateful morn, out they did go
Paddling this lake they loved so well
When caught in a storm they lost their way
Did fell deep into waters swell

The lake spirit knew them and their love of this land
Then thought of their father too
Gently gathered the saplings in her hands
Now three islands surrounded by blue

It is said when you travel there today
You can feel an aura of love
Three Sisters standing tall and proud
While eagles soar high above

Some see him paddling ‘round here still
Their loving father by their side
Casting flowers along these rocky shores
Where daughter’s spirits three abide

* This painting is now available in giclee print on paper or canvas. Please contact me for details*

 I would like to thank all who came out to the opening of "This Place Where We Live". It was a wonderful evening with many turning out to see what myself and fellow artist Wayne Yerxa have been up to this past year. A big thank you to our families and friends who have supported us in our life's work. We couldn't do this without you! We also received great support from B93 FM,  the Fort Frances Times and the Ontario Arts Council. Thank you!
The Ontario Arts Council is an agency of the Government of Ontario

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This Place Where We Live ~ "Last Light - Seven Oaks"

"This Place Where We Live" opens today at the Fort Frances Museum where I will be exhibiting my new collection of oils.

"Last Light - Seven Oaks"
36" x 36"

Working exclusively with oils over this past year has been an incredible journey with many challenges and struggles at times but also has been extremely satisfying. Working with oils present a whole new level of textures, richness of colour and glow. After almost 30 years working with watercolour I have found a new love. It has been a most gratifying process. I plan to post all of the images here over the next few weeks for those unable to view my new collection in person. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Sneak Peek - This Place Where We Live ~ "Winter's Light"

"Winter's Light"
24" X 36"

Some of you may be aware that I am having an art exhibit in November. I have been working hard in the studio for this past year learning all that I can about the process of painting with oils. After 28 years working primarily with watercolours, I felt it was time for a new challenge. I have always appreciated the richness of colour and texture that can be achieved with oils and have decided it was time to give it a try. I have learned a lot and I know I am only scratching the surface but it is exciting. If you are interested in receiving more information about the show please sign up as a member of this blog and I will make sure to keep you posted.
Now back to the studio I go!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life is a Dance ~ Poem

I have been reading through my journal from my last trip and found this entry I would like to share with you ~

I have just arrived to the small village of Portofino on the north western Italian coast.

As I look out across the harbour filled with reflections of sailboats shimmering liquid in the early morning light I too find myself reflecting on my reasons for coming here.

It has been said that there is no need to venture so far from home on a quest for reasons even I can barely put into words. Is it really that important to paint and write your way around this world of ours? Don’t you think you have enough on your plate already? Is it really necessary? What about your responsibilities at work and home? What about your family and friends who depend on you?

These are all very good questions.  I have considered them all very carefully and truly appreciate the sincerity with which they were asked.

The only thing I can say is that there is a force inside of me that continually shows me this direction. I have learned many things about myself while travelling, painting and writing and have come to the conclusion that this is what I am meant to do at this particular time in my life.

Finding the balance will be the ultimate challenge, and I do feel I am on the right path.

Life is a dance

One day you lean this way
the next day twirl around to the other
The rhythm of life will always push on
the gift of life will show us
a way to sing
   a way to breathe
a way to be
  a way to live
a way to flow
   a way to smile
as you make your way
round and round
this life full of wonder
this life with no bounds ~

As I search for my balance, may you also find yours.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Back in the real world

I have been back to reality now for a while and must admit I do miss my travelling feet. It was so nice to wake with a brush or pen in hand everyday and explore a new area of this wonderful world we live on.

Now the pen is directed to book work and filling out order forms for my store Northwoods Gallery & Gifts. This, I realize,  is a required element in my life as it allows me the opportunities of travel again in the future. I do hope one day to sell the store which will enable me to immerse myself in the arts of painting and writing, but for now I will be happy to squeeze minutes from my day to continue on with my art. Who knows what tomorrow brings, it is today I have and I will endeavor to make the best of it.

I've had many welcome me back to this side of the world and all are full of questions. I see the spark in their eyes as they ask me what it is like to see all of these magical places. Did I manage to get some good painting and writing done? What was my favorite place to visit? Would you do this again? Can I come and carry your brushes for you next trip? As I write this I am smiling wishing I could take everyone with me to show them firsthand this incredible world.

I am presently working on writing a book and my hope is through my paintings and writings others will see and experience what my eyes and heart have seen.

Lawren Harris wrote "Art is long, life is short. A picture can become for us a highway between a particular thing and a universal feeling.

My hope is that this highway be a long and interesting one for each of us to explore. I have many stories to share and will post them as time permits.

Now the studio awaits and my brushes are calling!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Hiking Adventure part 2 ~ Italy

Another half hour passed as I made my way along this mountain path....or should I say crawled my way along!  The path was narrow and the climb steep but the views were spectacular. Here is one of the many vistas I will one day put into paint. You can see Vernazza harbour about 1/3 down in this photo.

Here you can see how narrow the path is. This young girl literally went "out on a limb" to create a passing lane. You can't tell from this photo but the drop off was very very steep.  I was quite happy to stay on the path!

Finally I could see Vernazza harbour. This little fishing village was a sight for sore eyes! If you look carefully you will see a stone tower on the highest building along the waters edge. My next photo was taken from the top of it.  I still have about another half hour to hike ~ I am so glad I am almost there!

I made it! I am happy I did this hike but am I ever glad I can take the train back to 
Santa Margherita!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hiking Adventure part 1 ~ Italy

 After painting and writing my way around Santa Margherita for several days,  I asked many other travelers and towns people where they thought the most picturesque area would be for me to go
and paint. Many recommended I take the train to Monterosso, a small fishing village not too far away.  
And so my adventure begins.
They were right in saying how lovely this place was. It is an old medieval town with narrow streets and stone walls tucked into a small sandy cove.  

 I could find many things to paint and was sitting in the town square deciding what my subject would be when I noticed on the far side of the town there was a path with many people walking in both directions. I thought I'd better check it out to see what was so interesting. Knowing I was in for a bit of a hike I donned my hat, sunscreen, made sure I had a full bottle of water and set off.

It wasn't long when I realized I was in for a bit of a challenge as the wide flat path now turned into narrow stone stairs. I asked a young couple walking towards me where this leads to and they said the small town of Vernazza was the destination and it was about 1 1/2 hour hike. The day was still young and I felt the exercise would do me some good - especially after all of the pizza and pasta I have consumed!
Half an hour passed like molasses as I made my way around and over a mountain. I took a small break to take a picture of the village I just left. It seemed so far away now and could barely see the  small sandy cove from where my latest adventure began.  It was then I was thinking to myself that I could still turn around and go back to Monterosso but somehow that would mean defeat. I was not a quitter....yet nor was I an Olympian. The views were spectacular.....I forged ahead.                      ~To be continued~

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Elba ~ Italy

The following sketches were completed on the beautiful island of Elba which is off the west coast of Italy. The sandy coves, old fishing ports and quaint villages high in the mountains make this a painter's paradise.

Low Tide ~ Elba

Hilltop Village ~ Poggio

Hidden Cove

Rocky Shores

Morning Mist ~ Elba

I have been fortunate to visit many wonderful areas to paint and have to say the island of Elba was one of the most beautiful I have seen so far.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Along the northern coast ~ Italy

I decided to walk back along the winding coast from Portofino to Santa Margherita on a warm sunny afternoon. The road was narrow and winding with many cars zipping by. Too bad for them because I feel the only way to appreciate this part of the coastline is on foot. I came around a corner and saw this tall narrow rock with a tree growing out of the top. Strange to think this is even possible. The locals call it “La Caraga” which means The Chair.
Now to explore more of the town and the narrow streets. Another day to be filled with painting and's great to be alive! 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cinque Terre ~ Italy

I have been staying in the Port of Santa Margherita. She is a spectacle of colour tucked away between many jewel like villages along the north western coast of Italy. On my first day here I simply wandered the streets admiring the beautiful frescoes on these tall narrow buildings. How in the world am I ever going to be able to get the perspective right! 

A few days after getting to know this wonderful seaside town I caught a bus to Portofino. This is another little gem of a village waiting to be painted a few kilometers away along this northern coast. There were such wonderful colours and light to be explored but unfortunately many tourists as well. I am told if I were here a week earlier I practically would have had the place to myself. I find that hard to believe looking out now across a sea of people!

Today the sun shines again and I decided to go for a hike. I came around the corner and saw this picturesque scene. What a perfect day!


Since returning to the hotel I have worked on a couple of sketches of a particular cove between these villages. My view was from several meters above looking down into the deep aqua blue waters that was surrounded by towering pines. Very difficult to portray in paint as it was such a majestic sight and tricky for me to convey the height from which I was standing.

I plan to do a large painting of this in oils when back in my studio. I do love a good challenge!

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