Daily Grace ~ June 4 2018

All these smiling faces are brought to you courtesy of Oma and Opa’s love of photography and their fore site to ensure that there was always a camera at the ready.

“Wit müssen knipsen!”…

Or in English…

“We must photograph”…

was always Oma’s rallying cry when she found herself surrounded by family and friends.

Which happened quite often…

This is how we are able witness their legacy from the 1920’s to the present.

I feel so blessed.

Daily Grace June 2 2018

The address of Grandfather’s church was 257 Euclid Avenue, Toronto.

In the top left corner you can see Oma, another church member then Opa standing by the entrance of their parsonage.

Looking at all the dresses and suits, this photo gives me a keen sense on how serious the men and women of the church were about being part of a sharply dressed congregation.

The photo in the middle is, left to right, my Father, me, my Grandmother, my aunt and then her husband and my uncle holding my cousin Veronica and then lastly Opa.

In the bottom left photo is Opa Scherer proudly standing at his pulpit. In the right photo is the church’s congregation. That’s me sitting on the ledge between Oma and Opa in front of the parsonage door. Judging by my age I would say this photo was taken 1961-62.

If you were to visit 257 Euclid Avenue today you would find that the church has since been replaced by fashionable condos. Long gone are any traces of this church.

I am grateful that Oma and Opa left us these important historical gems for all of us to look back on and be proud of.

Daily Grace ~ June 1 2018

As you go through Oma and Opa’s albums it’s clear that it’s all about the happy thoughts…

Just take a look above. There’s a souvenir coaster from a cup of coffee dated December 26 1978, and then along the bottom there’s a familiar bible verse.

Of course, we then have the obligatory photograph showing the happy grandparents.

Then there are the postcards…

One of my favourite postcards ever is the one with the Eiffel Tower. It’s the red poppy sticker of modesty that always gets me.

And then there are the albums mysterious secrets…

The red rose appliqué is somewhat of an enigma to me. Where did it come from and how is it significant?

But never mind that…

Check out the immaculately folded paper tablecloth right next to it.

I’ll never figure that one out…

Daily Grace ~ May 31 2018

These photos of Oma and Opa clearly show their love of travel and being with family and friends.

Case in point, the dated dinner napkin at the top of the photo and next to that Oma’s resounding handwritten praise for the excellent meal she had at “Wurst Spezialitäten” which I believed translates into “The Sausage Specialist”.

Any opportunity to sit and enjoy a meal, some cake or even a cup of coffee with loved ones was always reason to celebrate.

Always.

Daily Grace ~ May 30 2018

Today’s post is special to me because it includes a gift in the form of a story that my Grandfather decided to include in his personal narrative.

And here I thought his story telling days were through…

One last story from Opa…

My Grandfather excelled at telling stories.

My love of stories began with him telling me one story each day that we spent together.

He had a collection of over 500 which he kept in a small handwritten journal of robin egg blue which he kept in the left pocket of his jacket.

I’m hoping to rediscover it as I make my way through his albums.

That would be incredible!

Daily Grace ~ May 29 2018

Oma and Opa loved music. Grandfather was always leading us in song before meals, when talking to loved ones during long distant phone calls, or even during a lull in conversation.

In the centre you see birthday wishes received in the mail written in different hands. Each signature offers their good wishes and loving thoughts.

Ticket stubs were also particularly prized as they were tangible proof of one of their joyful travelling experiences.

My favourite part of this picture is the bold red AMEN at the end of what seems to be a quote of scripture followed by his initials and the date.

No doubt, all those who loved Opa can still easily identify with this testimony of faith and still feel his joy.

Daily Graces…

Greetings!

I love that word because this is how my Grandmother opened all of her letters and postcards. My Grandfather always ended his letters by quoting scripture, usually from the Psalms.

Since receiving the archival boxes containing Oma and Opa’s lifetime of letters, postcards, photographs and other joyful ephemera, I’ve wondered how it can best shared with family.

I don’t know why it took me so long to think of using social media to document their daily lives.

I promise to try and keep the flowery adjectives and adverbs at bay. I know that family members have their own memories. They can easily fill in any interpretive blanks that I may leave behind.

There’s a lot of material.

I’ll try to keep it interesting, but family members know that this stuff of memories never gets old.

Please pray that God will deliver me from spelling mistakes, bad syntax as well as the other multitudes of blogging sins that continually haunt my posts.

Do check back for updates.

Chuß…

A Flock Of Feathers

I call this watercolour painting “A Flock Of Feathers”.

It may not look like much but painting it was a lot of fun.

My daughter gave me the idea for it when she sent me an instagram tutorial showing how easy it can be to paint feathers with watercolours.

Of course, I didn’t find it that easy.

That was lesson one for the day.

When learning something new, little comes easily. It’s all about the practice.

Experts say that when working with watercolours, one must try to stick to only three colours.

I brazenly pushed the envelope to five.

Now, on to lesson two…

Having used five colours, once I had finished up I had a number of brushes to clean up.

In the past, I’ve often wondered why a painter’s palette is always so messy looking. Most that I’ve seen are laden with both colourful and muddy mixtures and wrought with strangely inky pools.

It was while I was standing at my kitchen sink cleaning up the brushes when the answer to this question suddenly came to me.

Why do palettes always look messy?

Because trying to keep it continually clean can drive a painter crazy.

That must be why artists suffer so much….

…Ba-dum-tss.

The Art Of Journalling And The Journalling Of Art

Tags

, ,

It was 1992 when I began journaling.

25 years later, I think it’s safe to assume that scattered around my house are no less then 100 purchased journals filled with quotes, daily activities, pictures, spiritual meanderings, meaningless musings and all other sorts of what some people may consider unending drivel.

Perhaps.

Most of these journals cost on the average about ten dollars. I always tended to go for the prettier journals with lined paper and strong spines.

Other journals came as gifts for which I was grateful.

Now, wherever did I obtain this passion for putting pen to paper in small little books you may ask?

I often asked myself this same question as I kept stacking my filled journals one by one on top of the other. It is my belief that the answer to my obsession is my grandfather, best known in our family as Opa Scherer.

Currently, I am the keeper of what I call The Scherer Archives which contain journals and photo albums which can be found my living room, bedrooms, at least four book cases and one suitcase.

Yes, there are that many.

My Grandfather spoke and wrote in languages that I never learned and so they are mostly unreadable.

This breaks the heart as I can only imagine what they contain.

Now, what I’d like to tell you about are my experiments into making small travel size journals.

My daughter introduced the idea to me when she gifted me with a Tardis blue leather midori journal.

I’ll start with the smaller art journals which I’ve been making over the past week.

My personal preference for the art journal is the cold pressed paint paper which is best suited for watercolour painting.

First, I made the cover. This was done by taking one sheet of the chosen paper and cutting it lengthwise in half, then covering it with either artwork or gluing some decorative paper to it.

Next, I took a sheet of my cold pressed art paper and used washi tape to help divide it into sections. The reason I used washi tape instead of regular scotch tape is that it doesn’t damage the paper when it’s removed.

Then, with my scissors I cut along both lengths of the washi tape as follows…. Which left me with this

So, you may be asking yourself this by now:

How do we put this all together?

There are several options, you can bind it with stitching if you’re sure that you are comfortable with not being able to add or subtract pages later on.

This is my preference for my writing journals.

But since, I’m focusing on an art journal, I’ve come up with an idea that’s much more flexible and easy. You can remove and add paper at will.

Now, here’s the trick:

I got a black hair tie which was purchased in bulk at the dollar store.

I gave the thick paper which would be used for painting a good heavy fold along with the cover.

Then I inserted the prepared paper strips inside the cover.

Next, I fed the paper and the cover through the hair tie until it was halfway up.

In this way, the hair tie is holding everything together like a rubber band would.

Another beautiful thing about this is that should I want to remove a piece of paper and replace it, no problem because it’s not sewn together. It’s only a rubber band that’s holding everything together.

And there you have it, a quick and easy journal easily made for less than a dollar depending on the quality of your supplies.

Of course, the past few days did not come without some mistakes along the way…

I’ve learned that when using a paintbrush to glue cardboard to paper, it is no longer a paintbrush. It then becomes a glue brush because it’s nearly impossible to remove the glue bits trapped between the bristles. The last thing I want are glue particles finding their way into my painting.

Another thing I learned is I must be very careful when using soap to clean the brushes.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out where all the bubbles in my paintings were coming from.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial.

It’s time for me to start thinking up another one.

Cheers!

In Memory Of Don McPhee: My Portrait Of Stanley The Seagull

Tags

, , ,

I am dedicating this post to my dear late friend, Don McPhee.

I got to know him early on in my career at the post office around 1991.

All too sad, he died suddenly of a heart attack in October 2002. He was literally here one minute and gone the next.

It seemed that I cried for days, and I resolved to myself that I would try and think of him once a day.

Yes, he was that special.

He suffered his first heart attack in 1992. It had not been a kind year for him, and eventually all of his stressors took their toll.

Upon hearing of Don’s first heart attack I took a page from my Grandmother’s life’s lessons. I tried to write to him at least once a week, to ensure that he knew that his friends from work were thinking of him.

I had an assortment of stationary that I had hand penned a year earlier when I was studying calligraphy. It felt good to finally put all my cards and letters to good use.

These notes contained inspirational verses and quotes that I had collected through the years.

Among my favourites of these collected quotes were:

“We are each of us Angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.”

and…

“Mailman, mailman don’t delay, do the rhumba all they way.”

When he finally returned to work, his large community of friends at the post office were very happy to have him and his zany jokes back again. I was always fond of the way he told his jokes. While telling them, he himself laughed so hard that he’d have to wipe the tears from his eyes. And that was before he even got to the punch line.

Don enjoyed taking his breaks and lunches sitting on the curb just outside the plant doors of where we worked. He always sat in the middle of his company of friends.

Over time, he befriended a seagull, one of many who kept sentry watch on the dozens of lamp posts/security cameras scattered around our vast post office parking lot.

Don named him Stanley and swore that he could tell him apart from all the other seagulls.

He and the seagull would always share Don’s lunch.

Now, I ask you…

Who befriends a seagull?

Well, to answer that will say again…

Yes… he really was that special.

Much to my surprise, the day after Don’s passing I received a telephone call from his sister.

She had called to tell me that Don had died.

I was a little confused as to why she had gone through the trouble of contacting me, as we had never met or had any other contact before.

She explained that as she and other family members were going through his things, they had found a large box containing all the cards and letters that I had sent him.

Had I really sent him that many?

After going through the letters, Don’s family decided that it would be the right thing to do to contact me and thus inform me of his passing just in case I didn’t know.

I was grateful of course.

His memorial service was the next day.

Upon entering the funeral home, I was directed to the family receiving line where I met his brothers, sister and mother. They welcomed me warmly and told me that Don had often spoke of me. I was moved to tears when they related that Don never referred to me by my name “Doris”, instead he always referred to me as “my friend Doris”.

The family then invited me towards several rooms that had been set up to celebrate his life. There were photo albums, personal cherished items and all sorts of memorabalia.

Imagine my surprise when I realized that among the items displayed were all the various cards and letters that I had sent him.

It seems that there were dozens and dozens.

Yes, I finally realized that I really did send him a lot of cards and letters.

And so, all these years later, I have taken it upon myself to paint a lovely rendering of Stanley the seagull. I had found many good ideas on Pinterest and found one in particular that I liked very much. It seemed to capture Stanley quite well.

First I sketched what I thought to be a decent rendering of a seagull. You would think that after having seen so many in the course of my lifetime, that this would have been an easy task.

Not so.

A seagull has a particular look, menacing is the best way I can describe it. There is a look in the eye that tells you he’s just here for the food and nothing more.

You’ll never get any warm fuzzies from a seagull, that’s for sure.

After I had painted what I thought would suffice being a seagull, I prepared to do a wet on wet paint application. That’s when I wet the paper I am about to paint with clear water before applying wet paint to it.

I chose to do the background colour in a bluish grey.

I needed the paper to dry before I could proceed any further, so I went to shower in an effort to acknowledge that there were tasks other than watercolour painting that needed to be done on this day.

When I returned to my project, I was glad to see that everything had dried according to plan.

Now it was time to start painting the seagull.

This, in the end proved to be more difficult than I had imagined.

I spent a good part of the rest of the morning adjusting this and repainting that.

In fact, it was all I could to to recognize when enough was enough and it was time to call it quits and put my toys away. After all, you never know that you’ve overdone something until it’s too late.

And so, allow me to introduce to you Stanley the seagull.

I hope you like it…

I’m pretty sure that Don would have liked it too.