Category Archives: May 2017

Landscapes or peace of mind

This week started well but ended with a thud. I discovered someone I love was struggling more than I realized, and my worry gene has kicked into high gear. As has my “do something” gene. I am hoping things will resolve with a positive outcome, but in the meantime I am living with higher levels of stress and worry (i.e. here comes the anxiety).

In moments like these, I absolutely believe in the power of nature to calm and centre us. More times than can be counted I head out for a walk with my head full of my latest laundry list of worries, and find the weight lifting from my shoulders as I head deeper into the trees. The quiet, the birds, the sound of my steps on the path are a balm. An artist who was also restored by being in nature is Andrew Wyeth (July 12, 1917 – January 16, 2009). His landscapes in tempera in particular are what I am drawn to. I have spent many a happy afternoon looking through books of his art (check your local library, books are better than looking at them online).

Before I moved to abstraction and then to drawing, I painted landscapes. My work with photography has lead me to rediscover this subject. These photographs are also another way to find that quiet place if I can’t get into nature. Today I thought I would share a couple with you. I hope you have a quiet place in the fields, trees, hills or mountains that helps restore you and sets you back on the right path.


A new path or bring on the anxiety

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.
Joseph Campbell

This new path of art-making was one I had never even considered.  In fact if you had said “One day you will call yourself an artist.” I would have laughed in your face.

Today is one of those days where I feel overwhelmed.  I am preparing a submission for a competition, prepping drawings for a members group show, and I just read about another show for emerging artists.  The deadlines all converge, and I realize that as I work to grow my artistic career, the challenges that go along with it grow as well. Even more so as there is no formal training for this aspect of being an artist. This is learn as you go, and I am much more of a “forewarned is forearmed”, “knowledge is power”, plan the heck out of everything kind of person.

Anxiety has always been a part of my life.  Thankfully most of the time in a form that is manageable.  As I sit here and look at my to do list, and also think about finding time to get some actual drawing done, I feel it creeping up on me.  I have spent the last few days trying to ignore it, usually by checking out my Facebook, but it will not be ignored.  So it is time to embrace it.  The anxiety is there because I am doing things that are so out of my comfort zone; putting a face to the name, writing blog posts, putting my art out there for all to see, to comment and to judge.  I am always worrying about whether the choices I am making are going to help or hinder.

In these kinds of moments, books are a great resource or inspiration.  A more general “Get out there and do it!” book is Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. Another book I often reread is Coaching the Artist Within by Eric Maisel. It’s a bit Oprah-ey in sections but a great overall “Get over yourself and get out there” book for artists (but in a much nicer way).

The diptych image in this post, Overwhelm/Overcome is part of my graduating solo show coming up in October.  The inspiration comes from my own experiences with chronic illness.   The catalyst for change in my life, the illness, is still present.  What changed is my understanding, knowledge and acceptance, which allowed me to find a way to manage and live with my new reality.  My anxiety this week is a part of that change.  I am pushing myself and it is challenging.  There are days when I just want to go back to the safe space of taking classes and not showing my work to anyone, but then I remember the rewards of this new path and I push on.  Today this is how I get from Overwhelm to Overcome.



Image: ©Deann Stein Hasinoff Overwhelm/Overcome 2016



Everyday beauty or taking a moment

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”

Eleonora Duse

We often don’t see the everyday beauty in our world. Armed with our lists of errands, focused on getting to or from work, and caught up in the day to day tasks of living, taking a moment to look around doesn’t often occur to us.  As the Friendly Giant used to say, “Look up. Look waaaaay up.” Or look down, or all around.

Stopped at a light while driving to dinner one evening, I looked out at the most beautiful sky. I quickly grabbed my phone and snapped a photo. Later in the week I was walking down a street and thought what a wonderful day! I decided to take a photo in that moment too. Neither of the locales are what you would call picture perfect, and yet they gave me the same feeling as when I am in the river valley or somewhere in nature. You can find beauty everywhere, and it doesn’t have to be a picture postcard perfect moment (although don’t get me wrong, I love those too). Sometimes you may even appreciate the sky or the little bit of nature you’ve found even more because the environment you’re in isn’t perfect.

Everyday beauty is also in the urban landscape. There are buildings that are appealing on their own, and others that are appreciated more when their natural surroundings are considered.  Then there are those that require you to take a second, third or fourth look.

With photography I see my world differently than I did before. I am drawn to textures, shapes, contrasts and skies. I find myself looking at the sky and considering the shapes of the clouds. Being from the prairies the sky features a lot in my memories of landscape, and I love getting into an open space that allows me to see the fields stretched out. That is not my everyday reality however, so I enjoy the skies, the trees and the forms of the city as I see them getting from place to place.  I just get where I’m going a little more slowly because I keep stopping to take photos 🙂

In upcoming posts I will share more photos that I take in my everyday life; the things that I find interesting and beautiful.

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