Wednesday, April 08, 2020

A Craving For Colour

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

"Just to paint is great fun. The colours are
lovely to look at and delicious to squeeze out."

The 'pressing my books into service' series is my little contribution in blog-land to help create community in isolation. A little bit of 'normal' in abnormal times. If you are arriving in this series mid-stream, you will find earlier posts by clicking HERE or on the Tab above: Press My Books Into Service.

I am so eager for colour these days. Our corner of the world is still in late winter snow pile brown. As you know, we've had spring bulbs coming up in pots in the garage, and we've been bringing them in and setting in our front window. They've been a real boon these past few weeks. Even so, mine eyes and soul doth feel colour deficient. I am so ready for a crayon box filled with shades of spring green, apple blossom pink, hyacinth blue, jonquil yellow, lilac, peony, and fuchsia. Just to name a few. 

Sir Winston Churchill was a man who appreciated his colours. In his forties, he took up painting with 'gusto', partly to deal with the black dog of depression that hounded him; partly to relieve his mind from the many pressing political issues of his day; and mainly, I want to think, because he was passionate about playing with colour. He considered painting a 'joy ride in a paintbox'. I'm not a painter, but I just love the imagery of that! I totally feel the creative response to a childlike delight in colour....let's just roll the windows down and head into blue-skied sunshine.

"A heightened sense of the observation of nature is one of the
chief delights that has come to me through trying to paint."

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

Go out into the sunlight and be happy with what you see."
WINSTON CHURCHILL, Painting as a Pastime

Churchill published a delightful volume in 1948 entitled Painting as a Pastime. It includes his delightful essay and a small selection of his paintings. When hubby and I visited Churchill's beloved home Chartwell a few summers ago, I found a print of the oil painting titled 'Mallows'. I have it on display on my desk.

The book was recently republished, so if you're interested in it, you can find it HERE

April 8th
Painting as a Pastime (1948)

by Winston S. Churchill

"I must say I like bright colours. . . .I cannot pretend to feel impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns. When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject. But then I shall require a still gayer palette than I get here below. I expect orange and vermilion to be the darkest, dullest colours upon it, and beyond them there will be a whole range of wonderful new colours which will delight the celestial eye."

* * *

"I do not presume to explain how to paint,
but only how to get enjoyment."


Wishing you a beautiful day. Stay safe!

Heart Hugs,

Monday, April 06, 2020

Simple Woman's Daybook: April Edition

Image by Vargazs from Pixabay

"We do not remember days, we remember moments."

A month ago, when I wrote the last edition of Simple Woman's Daybook, there wasn't any talk around here about the coronavirus pandemic. Three Sundays ago, I had a 'wiggle' inside, a pressing urge, to visit my mom. We took bunches of tulips and spent a lovely day together. It seemed important to connect that day, for by then there were inklings that our world was changing. We were beginning to hear phrases like self-isolating and social distancing. And sure enough, that Sunday turned out be our last social, face-to-face gathering, with Mom or anyone else. Since then we've been home isolating, like many others, going out only for essentials.

It makes me so grateful for all the social media and online ways we have to connect with the people we care about. And, I am so grateful for this blog, where I can come and share with you in our usual way—something normal in these abnormal times.

Today is the first Monday of April, and I'm delighted to join with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook—I hope you will be brightened by today's chat.


Outside my window... As I type this, it's snowing out. And blowing. There's talk about more snow and continuing cold over the next few days for our northerly Alberta region. Methinks our Lady Spring is sitting somewhere, perhaps stuck in coronavirus isolation. No matter, it may be winter on the outside where snowbanks linger, but we're carrying spring on the inside where we're dreaming daffodils and crocuses, robins and bluebirds. As Blaise Pascal once said, "In difficult times carry something beautiful in your heart."

I am thinking... about the solace I find in my books these days. Will mention more below.

I am thankful... for the quiet, peacefulness of my days. Our family, friends, and neighbours are, in the main, doing their part to isolate and keep safe. In the midst of my own quiet place, I am feeling the pain for those dear folks who find their lives so overwhelming, traumatizing, even life threatening—I whisper prayers and speak life words for grace and hope and strength to their spirits today.

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

One of my favourite things... daffodils in the springtime. Rick found three bursting into bloom yesterday in one of the pots in the garage. Without my knowing, he set them in a vase on the kitchen table—what a lovely surprise. Another favourite at this time of year is reciting William Wordsworth's Daffodils. Years ago, after my girlfriend and I visited the spot where the poet lived in England's Lake District, we decided to memorize his famous poem. I still remember parts of it, but I love to hear British actor Jeremy Irons recite it. You can find the link HERE.

I am wearing... black trousers, long sleeved black t-shirt, a colourful scarf, Softsilver Rose Lipstick by Revlon, British Rose fragrance by Body Shop. 

I am creating... a little list of individuals' names so I can write them notes this week, using paper cards and real postage stamps.

I am watching... more movies these days with my husband. One of our little rituals is to pause for tea at three (with snacks like fruit, cheese, crackers) and watch a movie or two. We float between Netflix and Amazon Prime at the moment. Here's a few things we've watched and enjoyed:

   Despite the Falling Snow (cold war spy thriller, romance);
   Magic in the Moonlight (fellow attempts to uncover fake psychic, Colin Firth, Emma Stone, fun);
   Vanity Fair (2004, romantic, lavish, period piece);
   Hillary (2019 documentary);
   Judy (Judy Garland's time in London in late 1960s);
   Doctor Thorne (Victorian, screenplay by Julian Fellowes);
   Poms (woman in retirement community starts a cheerleading club);
   Where Angels Fear to Tread (rich Edwardian widow marries handsome Tuscan dentist);
   Hampstead (American widow meets Irish loner);
   The English Game series (the invention of football, crossing class divides, Julian Fellowes creator)
   Rebel in the Rye (story of J.D. Salinger, author of Catcher in the Rye)

The Library, Elizabeth Shippen Green, 1905

I am reading... (slow reading) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim. I'm also dipping into my archive of Victoria magazines, books of poetry, and my Bible, especially tuning in to the comforting words from Psalm 91.

Currently I'm on assignment to go through my old journals, and the one I've been reading the last few evenings had my notes about the trip to Europe my girlfriend and I took back in 1989. Not having read it for years, I was surprised at how entertaining it was, with enough description and funny little stories to make the memories of that lovely trip spring up crisp and evocative.

I am listening to... Classic FM, a classical music radio station streaming all the way from England into my own living room. A sweet boon in these upside down days. 

I am hoping... the tea wagon is coming around shortly, I sure could use a cuppa after spending a few hours sitting here at my computer.

I am learning... to adjust to the new way of doing life these days. Although it's not that different from our usual quiet life, but it is even quieter and less involved. I stay abreast of news only long enough to learn what I need to know personally and catch headlines globally; I turn it off afterwards. A person could go beserk, hearing about it all the time.

In the kitchen... blueberry pancakes and turkey sausages for breakfast, freshly baked banana loaf with pecans for tea, homemade tacos for supper. That was our menu on the weekend. We were grateful for every bite.

Shared quote... "God still draws near to us in the ordinary, commonplace, everyday experiences and places—He comes in surprising ways." ~Henry Gariepy

A moment from my day... 
Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life

* * *

Wishing you a grace-filled week ahead.
Be safe. Be well. Be calm.
I will be back on Wednesday with a 'Pressing My Books' post.


With love and heart hugs,

Friday, April 03, 2020

Five On Friday: Petals on Parade

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


"If you take a flower in your hand and really look
at it, it's your world for the moment."

With the wintry week we've just come through, I thought to myself, it may be snowing on the outside, but I'm having spring on the inside. In normal circumstances, Rick and I would head to the city's beautiful conservatory to take in some green, but since self-isolating is in effect—not to mention, the conservatory is closed for renovations—I searched out photos from a visit we made a few years ago.

I spent a little time with these blossoms and, as Georgia suggested, I really looked at them for a moment. Such an array of colour and shape and texture. It's a party of petals on parade!

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


"The moment one gives close attention to anything,
even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome,
indescribably magnificent world in itself."

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


"Take ten minutes to recall a pleasant memory
(perhaps by looking at old photos). You need your
memories during hard times."

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


"One of the secrets of a happy life is
continuous small treats."

Image by Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life


"We need much less than we think we need."

* * *

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay calm.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.

Heart Hugs,