Long in City Pent

To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent
John Keats

To one who has been long in city pent,
'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart's content,
Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet's bright career,
He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E'en like the passage of an angel's tear
That falls through the clear ether silently.

Life Lately: November

"Hello...it's me..." Sorry, but these Adele lyrics have been running through my mind all week and I think it's about time to get them down on "paper". Fitting somehow for this post coming weeks late. Life has been filled to the brim with preparations for my upcoming market. So yes, I begin with this small announcement to come and see me at

The Vintage Barn Market
Saturday, November 28, 9am-4pm
Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall
12460 Harris road, Pitt Meadows

Other tidbits that have happened this month: 

1. Some cozying up with candles, scripture and my favourite breakfast, farro porridge with blueberries

2. I try to get the bed made every morning because it helps me feel more organized, but this seems to be the common theme these days. When the sun is casting such beautiful light on the unmade sheets, I don't seem to mind as much. 

3+4. I've got to spend a little time with my smallest nephews, and have very much enjoyed snuggling the newest and littlest, Beckham Jett, born on November 13. 

5. Studio life. The ever-revolving paintings on the wall, lists, deadlines, half-finished projects. 

6. Getting ready for Christmas. It's kind of coming without me even realizing it, but I managed to remember to paint some holiday themed foliage to adorn Christmas tags that I'll be selling at upcoming markets.

7. With holiday preparations come holiday packages. I was so excited to send off this house illustration Christmas gift!

Falling From the Autumn Tree

Under the autumn tree
The chair where you would swing
A yard so full of leaves
Hum the song that comforts me...

A small excerpt from Milo Green's song, Autumn Tree that seems to be running through my head as I go through these pictures from my crisp autumn walk the other day. Perfect for the first day of October, it seems. These images were taken on a day where my head would not be cleared of the million thoughts and emotions that were distracting me from my work. I knew that walking to clear my mind would help, but I did not anticipate happening upon the most glorious, sun-bathed gold Beauty. It was filled with light and warmth and calm. I could not help but stop and admire- my mind was immediately put at ease for a few small moments. It beckoned me to sit beneath its lovely branches, so I cleared a space in the crimson leaves to rest and dream once again. 

My days are busy this season. But I feel it's more of blessing than a curse. Summer was filled with doubts in my work life as there was a lull in projects. But with the coming of Autumn,  I've received a steady schedule of work which fills my heart with deep joy.

There are days such as the day of these images where the full schedule feels overwhelming but mostly it is so fulfilling for me. I have struggled with self-worth a whole lot within my work so it only feels like encouragement and affirmation when I'm receiving so many projects and orders. I'm learning to find the beauty in these busy days and try to remember that encouragement when the overwhelming feelings set in. 

Autumn is traditionally thought of the transitional season from life to death. I see the beauty in that- the preparation for hibernation... but there's a part of me that feels like Autumn is also a season of newness. The leaves change their colour to something of brilliance, for many it is the start of a new year, and it is also the start of those feelings of warmth and cosiness. There is something to be celebrated in that. There is a fullness about this season that is both death and life at once. Its richness brings about a sense of wonder, apprehension, excitement, melancholy, and calm all within a single moment. What a contrast this season is and, at the same moment, how perfectly synonymous it is with human life.

Never Imagined Thoughts While Camping

My parents like to tell the stories of me as a pre-teen girl, tagging along on family summer camping trips. Every trip they had to deal with a wild bear. No, not a bear that had emerged from the woods, but the growling and grumbling that can only come from a pubescent girl who detested camping, being outdoors, feeling dirty and using outdoor washrooms. After putting up with this for multiple trips, they stopped asking this girl to come for the later part of her teenage years because she was simply making everyone else's time miserable. 

I remember this girl. I feel disconnected from her now, but it hasn't stopped me from remembering how I felt, then. And because of that, I had not been camping since those wretched years. I had been invited numerous times but have always politely declined, believing that those feelings remained. But how thankful I am for a husband whose only request for his 30th birthday was to go camping with friends on his birthday weekend. His excitement over the idea proposed by friends overrode all of the surprises that I was secretly trying to plan and I reluctantly agreed to go along. 

The trip ended up surprising me in countless ways and I came back wondering why I had believed that I still embodied that 14 year old self. It's funny how we hold on to bits and pieces of our past that no longer ring true or exist as part of us... I found myself thriving in the camping environment. My imagination was spurred to thoughts of rural living and I realized the simplicity I so often crave could be attained quite easily a few kilometres out of the city. I even found myself being content to go au natural...or not shower. However you want to phrase it, the uncleanliness of being in the woods didn't seem to bother me. 

Above all, what struck me the most were the beautiful moments spent in community out in nature. We ended up spending another evening this past weekend with a different collective of friends at their campsite, eating roasted hot dogs and gooey graham cracker-less  s'mores. I came away from the evening feeling so full of life, inspiration and connection. Every element of that environment seems to be the perfect combination for fullness- an overflowing cup. I was feeling the beauty of my Maker's handiwork in nature, His people and the friendships that have been formed, and the Person He has gifted to me to be by my side. All the distractions of the city and constant visual noise were replaced by simple joys and complete satisfaction in those tiny moments. I want to hold onto this beauty forever and experience it again and again and again. 

girls-on-a-log.jpg

**If you are wondering about the strange quality of these pictures, it's because they were all taken with a disposable camera! A new camping tradition, I think.**

Memories of Berlin

Oh Berlin. My experience of Berlin was...well, to be honest I'm not sure how to describe it. I think that's because there is just SO MUCH going on in that city. It's gritty, cool and exploding with artistic expression. While I am an artist, I'm still not sure it was the type of expression I fully connected with, but so very interesting, nonetheless. We came up to Berlin after our experience in Munich and went to visit with our friends, Joe and Joelle, who we know from their days living in Vancouver. Joelle is an illustrator, so I was fortunate enough to be able to see the city from an artist's perspective. They were the perfect hosts and we were so thankful to have them show us around and give input into the history and culture of the city. 

The thing I'll remember most? Street art/graffiti EVERYWHERE. Oh and currywurst, lots and lots of currywurst

From the top: // 1. typical shop in East Berlin- super design-y and covered in graffiti // 2. germany vibes // 3, 4 +5.. SO much to look at. M looks like a tourist with his Uniqlo bags // 4. prost! Toasting to Berlin at one of many of M's stops to third wave coffee shops...this one's at The Barn // 5. soccer supporters marching the streets and chanting // 6 + 7. classic tourist destination- the Brandenburg Gate. I can't take a normal picture // 8. devouring currywurst // 9. just another bit of berlin // 10. you can't tell, but Berlin was FRIGID and we were shivering in this photo // 11. Neueheimat- one of the coolest food fests/markets/cultural hubs I've ever been to! // 12. getting our Berliner Schnauze on //13-15. more of neueheimat. I think this was my favourite place in the city! // 16. need to send a letter? Pick a box. // 17. east side gallery (berlin wall) // 18. Oberbaum bridge, a symbol of the city's unity.