I am happy that there is still one month of my own personal summer holidays. I am doing pretty well allowing myself to not own the decisions that must be made in terms of returning to school in September. I am not fretting over the protocols, the preparations, the choices... I am completely fine with allowing the well-paid Board Office officials to interpret and apply the directives put out by our provincial premier and his minister of education. If I start fretting and wondering, I will become overwhelmed with how much is going to go into putting bodies back in classrooms. I have to let it all go, so I can enjoy a few weeks more of freedom, because come September, it's going to be a whole different world...again.
To move on to a completely different topic, I don't write much of my immediate family because their worlds are their worlds and I don't want to infringe on their privacy. As well, we are all spread quite far apart in age, my siblings and I, and to me it feels like we exist in different generations. Both of my parents have been gone for many years now, but, pandemic aside, the four siblings and their spouses / partners / children try to get together a couple of times a year. There is a bit of geographical distance between some of us.
The sibling closest in age to me is my sister. She is five years older than me, and I am the youngest. When I was little, I thought everyone could draw. I never knew that there are people out there who say, "I can't draw." My father sketched out and designed things to build or modify. My mother painted a bit in her youth and was quite capable of quickly drawing something if needed. I think nothing of drawing examples of anything I'm talking about in class. I'm pretty sure at least two of my three siblings had drafting tables in their bedrooms. They took art classes through high school and drew all the time. Sketch books and giant art porfolios were part of the "stuff" in our home. As a very small child, I distinctly remember the card table being set up in the middle of the living room and the odour of turpentine being prevalent. My sister, at quite a young age, had discovered Paint by Number and churned out several paintings in a short time. My father, who could do anything, created picture frames from wooden trim and those paintings adorned the walls of our shared bedroom for years.
Of course, my sister went far beyond the prescribed and limited "paint by number" art. But it was her art of my childhood that I think of when I think of her as an artist. The stories she was draw for me, series of pictures in a "scribbler" that she would narrate for me, tales of little animals and their adventures. It was the Barbie doll multi-roomed homes that she created out of scrap wood (there was always scrap wood) with floors, back walls, and dividing walls, beans bag chairs hand-sewn, refrigerator and stove painted white and features outlined in black, again from scraps of wood, a couch from leftover fabric and foam... She was always involved in some sort of artistic, creative endeavour, be it sewing her own clothes, creating corn husk dolls, making an entire family of spiders from styrofoam balls and colourful yarn, or making intricate macrame plant hangers (it was the 70's after all).
Now, my sister, Jade, has embarked on a business which combines her love of animals and her ability to capture their personality with paints. She used my own felines, present and past as subjects to practise with .
She sent these to us, framed and ready to be displayed a few months back, as she was working out the intricacies of creating her business and website. The two end paintings include little "snippets" of words and phrases which describe Scooter and Samson that I provided. The collection of three cats in the middle are without words, just each cat's name included inobtrusively in the painting. I love how they all turned out. I think it's lovely to have paintings of our former pets. It's only Scooter now, and she definitely captured his personality, as odd as it is. And to think she was able to do it just from photos that I emailed to her! If you are interested, her website is called Abstractpet.ca and you can click on the link and explore. I'm very impressed with the website, with all of it's detail and some background on her. When she told me of her idea, my first thought was that it would be a wonderful gift for someone who had lost a pet, because as we know, they become members of our families and the loss of a pet can be comparable to the loss of any loved one. Anyway, I wish her well, and I'm sure she will have tons of interest and business coming her way, and with the ability to communicate with a client via email, the restrictions of a pandemic won't hold her back.