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What is a mother?

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A mother’s love can be expressed in so many ways. When we ask “what is a mother” we are referring to the type of  love that brings a warmth and care into our lives. It can come from a feeling. It comes from stepmothers, aunts, caregivers who are present and nurturing.  Most importantly, it comes from the individual who realizes that the world does not end with their own lives, rather they want to create a better place for children for a better future.

What is not a mother is the devoted, submissive woman who stays at home and serves the every whim and complaint of the children in the home. In fact, the mother of today is the one who balances and has as much obligation to serve her own needs as those she lives with.

How do our children succeed if they don’t realize that the Human Being of the Mother is a force that teaches and provides the energy and guidance needed. This energy and recognition that the definition of mother means a definition of being a woman. A person who honours the fact that their own needs are an important source for giving then energy of mothering.

This balance- the work, life, self care and giving to our families- should be at the core of celebrating Mother’s Day. It’s about taking care of so many pieces that are about making the world a better place to live in. To take care of oneself, is as much important as taking care of others.

 

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Mothering takes Time

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Mothering takes time.

Time is scarce. So often the balance between work, and taking care of family, can be stressful and exhausting. You often have to keep your resentments in check. Remind yourself, as mothers, that taking care of your child is rewarding and short lived. Does this sound ungrateful?

When I was a mother of young children, I spent my days trying to find things to do with my kids. But I also tried to find time to work. To create paintings that reflected the  fun moments of childhood. This time was a time where I just tried to survive. So much time of motherhood is about this.

Nostalgic for that time again

It now seems that I have the nostalgic yearning for young children. Conveniently, I have forgotten the torment and exhaustion. Now I exist in the sense of loss. That loss of time that I can just go to the park and hangout with the two year old.

All that is left in my memory is the cuteness, and fun, that I had with my kids. It takes my husband to remind me of the reality of that time. This is probably because my husband has some guilt in that he loaded all the childcare onto me.

And what is with this?

Time is the biggest gift

I have realized that giving time is the biggest gift we can give. This isn’t only about mothering. Most importantly, giving time is a gift in friendship, partnerships and parenting. Perhaps this is a piece of wisdom that can only be realized as we age. Who knows.

Mothering takes time and realizing this is the key piece to self care.

The past year has put an extra burden on many women. Mothering has become the juggling act of working at home, teaching your kids, and making life seem normal. There really is no time to just be. There is a sense of instability in mothers at this time. Many are feeling pushed to the edge, waiting for the end of this pressure.

Time is the gift that mothers are mostly appreciative of. Therefore, when you look at your kids, give yourself a moment to be kind to yourself. Realize that you are doing the best that you can with the time that you have.

To check out images of children that are available see www.memoryartgirl.com/home-sweet-home

 

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How to Be a Mother

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You have to learn to be a mother.

To be a mother is a challenge. When I first went home with my baby son, 25 years ago, I was in disbelief that the hospital trusted me to take this living, breathing human home without any supervision. How did they know that I could take care of this child? My husband and I, were on the same page. We had to make sure to keep this thing alive. Never mind celebrating the fact that we had a child. It was really just about trying to keep it eating, breathing and not crying.

The learning began before he was born. Of course, we tried to get as much information as possible to know what to expect. The reality is that much of this information becomes moot when the tiny thing comes home. It really is about survival.

Spring brings mothering into the forefront

With spring in the air, and newness around us there is a sense of the unknown. Mothering, and learning how to mother, are emotions that reappears at this time of year. As we build to the celebration of Mothers in May, this time is the beginning of this marking of this moment.

Understanding that the lifestyle choice of being a Mother is an innate human condition that balances between choice and obligation. What it means to be a mother can be complex and difficult. What “mother” means brings in a definition of sacrifice, strength, love, nurturing and power.

Men can fit into the definition of what it means to be a mother

Considering these are the definitions of “mother”, then men can take on this role. The concept speaks to being a central figure in the family structure that maintains the engine of support. This central caretaker, is often the one who runs the pieces; insuring that the children are fed, taken care of and nurtured. Mother make certain that opportunities are provided to educate.  That social change and diversity in experiences are provided. To just give love and nurturing.

It isn’t about mother vs. father. It is about how the role is defined and maintained.

Unfortunately, not enough men take on this role. As seen this past year, it was women who sacrificed their work and their own personal goals to insure that the children were ok. Maybe the reason was the economic difference, in that men could bring in more of the dough. Or maybe it was that the Mother was the woman.

Mothers are the first to take a step back from work.

Why do they do this? The reality is that mothers know that they have to sacrifice themselves to make certain their kids survive. Mothers ultimately know that this time will pass, and that they can find their track again and work. This past year has shown this.

Considering the role that mothers have taken this past year; it is time to really focus on what this means. Just saying Happy Mother’s Day is not enough. Understanding the importance of providing support to Mothers to succeed in their own life is a reflection of a culture that supports children. What does this mean? It means providing universal childcare, flex time work schedules, remote working opportunities. Just simple structural changes that enable women to provide for their families and be a Mother.

Creating Images of Mother and Children

This spring, a new series Mother’s Memories Project, will be presented that highlights the power of the mother. They will celebrate the sprinkles of happiness that celebrates motherhood.

Take a moment, enjoy the pieces, and think about how, without mothering, we are a culture of chaos and sadness. Most importantly, cherish the images to reflect your own value. Whether you are a woman or a man, being the Mother, means being the centre. These works will be a direct expression and result of this role.

Children and Mothers are part of my Home Sweet Home series. A group of pieces, now available as prints,  that looks towards the “home” where we connect, find our place, and be nurtured. Each piece from the Mother’s Memories Project will be part of this series.

To see full selection of prints see www.memoryartgirl.com

 

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Memories and Childhood

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 Reminding ourselves of Escape.

Memories of our children can be fleeting. Do you have moments where you look at your grown children and just think about them as young toddlers? Lately, as a mother of two young adults, I find myself in a space of thinking of when they were young. Memories and childhood are ways to find the warmth. To find the escape.

The moment passes quickly. Embedded within your mind is that moment. The moment when the sprinkler goes on, and she jumps. This type of memory is that moment of escape. A core piece that we witness our children go through that reminds us of fun; of life and of joy.

This is the marking the moment of escape. This cherished moment takes you to another place. Another time when the day consisted of trying to find time to work, and then find time to play. The search for daycare, the carving out of time to explore the city were all part of the day.

Motherhood without guilt

I remember when my day was spent walking through the streets of Toronto pushing a stroller. There was a this sense of “mom zombie” looking for others just like me. For some, thinking that motherhood is a walk in the park is just wrong.  Going to the drop in center to socialize my daughter. To just get around other people. These were the pieces of being a mother that was not the best.

But then there were moments of pure joy. Of going for a bike ride with my daughter being towed in the tailer. We would go to the park. Playing in the wading pool, or going to the beach and throwing in rocks into the lake. Little moments where there is motherhood without guilt. A way to think of memories and childhood that enables us to be in that moment.

Memories and childhood are the inspiration.

It are these moments that are the inspiration for my new series Mothers Memories Project. As my new series develops, these are the little moments that will be surfaced. To celebrate the escape in order to remind ourselves that escape is a way of survival. A distraction. Motherhood can be isolating but it can also be rewarding. Of course, it can. The goal is to isolate, highlight and celebrate these moments.

The best part about memory is the ability to choose the good.

Ways to Remember

In looking at memories and how they are formed; there are two ways that memories and childhood embed; individualist and collectivist.

The “individualist” are those isolated moments. It seems that the only way that these moments appear in our child’s memory is if we elaborate on the moment. Description of the colours, the events are described and the child is encouraged to remind themselves of this moment. This type of memory recall is not usual in our family, Lately I have been trying to find out if they kids have these specific memories and it doesn’t seem to rise to the surface. Yet I have them. The little moments of spending time with them when they forced me to think of something else than work.

The “Collectivist” memory has more of an impact. It is the sense of your family and the experiences that relate to the larger social responsibility. That which references the nurturing, caring and value of respect for others in the group. These are the type of memories that my kids have. They are very clear about how supportive, thoughtful and empathetic they should be. These traits seem to come through when I ask them about their childhood.

Looking at these two ways of “memory”, the collectivist would seem the best way. Yet those little individualist moments give me the escape place of warmth that I yearn for.

To just be back in that moment.

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Dreams can create Change

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Dreams can create change. The defining of the “desire” to be someplace else, be someone else or to increase your pleasure in life comes from the ability to dream. As we look out into the world at this time, we see many having to change their lives and deal with intense amount of change put upon them without their choice. Loss of family, friends, jobs- so much change that is not about dreaming. Yet dreams can create change in our minds and in our souls.

So where do you start when this harsh reality is thrust upon us? How do you step into another mind space that looks to the light? Every step that is taken, every day that we spend upon the loss is another day that we do not dream. Yes, it is important to recognize this but the discipline it takes to move through it and redefine the reality is where we are at in this  Great Pause.

This term, the Great Pause, has made me wonder. Is it a pause? Or is it a shift? We are in a moment of history that is significant. As we reflect upon life that is so different today we should be able to register what is good about our lives today. Not pause. Rather step into it and be it. We can dream of the big world and the future while also reveling in the moment.

Yet daydreaming must be part of your daily life. It is an act that provides you with possibilities. The opportunity to be somewhere else, to be with someone else, to enjoy a piece of life that is full of fun and laughter. It is free to dream. Despite the physical restrictions and the curtailing of travel,  we can still dream.

As we go through these difficult times there are ways to initiate these dreams. Music, art, reading, film are all ways that makes us think of alternate realities. To step into a piece of art and be in another place is a way to dream. It is a way to remind us that there is Joy just beyond the initial reality.

In the piece highlighted titled Wondrous and Alive a couple walks arm in arm surrounded by the large floral patterns and bright colors. A celebration of love in a time where we can dream of love and beauty. Art is the perfect way to put yourself somewhere else. To step into another time and place and remind ourselves that life is still good.

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Hope can Heal.

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Hope can heal your mind

Hope can heal your mind and soul and art keeps you hopeful. The two are inextricably linked. The question is how?

Stories are the answer.

It is through stories that hope can heal. It is in stories that we can imagine another time and place and imagine a life where there is more light. A place where we can exist beyond the immediate.

By doing so, a feeling of hope comes upon us and the imagined world creates an endorphin rush which helps accelerate healing. The brain has to find ways to overcome hurdles and move to a place of recovery. By experiencing the stories there is a “narrative support”, a type of support that makes you think of another time and place.

What does art do?

So many things; it creates a story of hope, it reminds us of the simple things in life that we can overlook, it nourishes us and informs us spiritually.

Perhaps, most importantly, it reminds us of the best of ourselves. It takes us into a place where we can celebrate simple pleasures. The pleasure of being with others, or soaking in the sunlight, or hanging out in a place of beauty and light.

In the image, Being Home, we are taken to the that place of fun and vacation. Hanging out at the campground, enjoying your home on wheels. A place that many of us experienced this past summer. Being in a space where we are with family and friends enjoying the wider space than being at home. Yet home is with us.

As we manage our lives during these times, finding art and music that takes us to another place becomes part of the quest. The hopefulness that occurs can change our brain. It can block pain and give you the sense that all is good. At the end of it all, that is the most important piece. Just feeling like there is hope.

To see prints of escape see www.memoryartgirl.com

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Why Art is Important

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Creating is to give you vision.

Why art should be part of your life? Are you looking for inspiration? For escape? For distraction? So many reasons we look towards an image, a piece of music, p0etry, theatre or film. So many ways to look at something that reminds us that there is more. More than the everyday stresses and pressures.

How does art make you feel?

How do you relate to images around you? What does it mean to you? Does it empower you? Does it distract you from life or remind you that life is bigger than right now?

Creating pieces of art is more than just making a pretty pictures. Selecting the subject, putting the pieces together all, layering different elements of color, composition, tone all make a piece about a feeling. Yes, a feeling. An emotive space that speaks that moment that gives you power to learn about yourself.

Ultimately that is the most important piece. Artists think of big ideas that speak to a vision. One that is not set in the present moment, but one that speaks to the wider experience.

When adding art to your home do you think about matching a couch colour, or do you think about what it says to you? Obviously, the story that the art creates in your mind is much more fulfilling than the colour matching. Inspiring, questioning, provoking curiosity, excitement and outrage are just a few effects that art makes upon the mind and soul.

In a time when technology has been the main conduit of communication, there is an appreciation of how art can convey history, culture and traditions. Looking at nostalgic images plays right into this vein. Being reminded that the image reminds you of a time that seems more colourful, romantic and connected enables you to deal with today.

Life is more than today.

Despite undergoing a lot of hardships, or being surrounded with information that is about hardship, art gives you the courage to keep going.

The truth is that art is more than just a practice – it is a way of life. Art is more than just a skill – it is a passion. Art is more than just an image – each one tells a story.

To see prints and a full inventory of originals see https://memoryartgirl.com

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How are your happiness levels?

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How do you feel?

How are your happiness levels? Do you self check on a daily basis to see how you feel? Is there a time, at the end of the day, that you feel you are OK and you had a happy moment that day.

I have this quote pinned to my wall;

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence (…) Happiness depends upon ourselves” – Aristotle

Happiness levels comes from a variety of sources; material goods, helping others, ego gratification when comparing to others and finally, searching for balance of previous three elements.  It is this last piece that seems to be the most distant and unreachable. The ultimate bliss. The sense you get up in the morning and be grateful for those who love you, in your achievements as a human being. Pieces that we can take for granted.

The little moments count the most.

In times such as these, there is a focus upon the micro. The little bits of events that happen that may be spontaneous. These micro moments, by registering them, seem to give a bit of a boost to the happiness levels.

So where does art exist in this happiness levels?

It has been found that art can create happiness levels in the hormonal level etc;

“A study by neurobiologist and University College London professor Semir Zeki found that looking at a work of art can actually have the same psychological effect as the euphoric experience of romantic love.”

So this leaves you with the antidote to sadness! Having art in your home increases your happiness levels. At the very least it may give you a bit of a boost that reminds you of colour, of life, of a moment to escape. A moment that you can register that you have control over.

This is the thing that seems to be important. The ability to control our environment. In a time, when we seem to not be able to, checking into our happiness levels is a piece that we can nurture and register.

It is time to search for the joy;

In the piece highlighted titled Time to Celebrate, this piece is part of a new series that searches for the joy in a moment. A moment of a party; dancing, laughing, and being part of life. Sharing in a moment that reminds us of our humanity and being.

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Hope can set your Free

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How can you be free from today?

Hope can set you free. A simple statement although one that may think is a distant one during these times. How do you keep hope alive? How do you live your life so hope can set you free from the pressures of the daily grind of life.

When looking for “hope” there is list of strategies that can bring light to your day.

Strategies to finding hope

The act of  self-reflection when looking at art or listening music brings you to a place that there is another reality. A reality that celebrates the moment.

Another strategy is the listing of your successes and strengths. You have been in a different place, at a different time when things are riding high. By doing this simple list, there is a goal of looking at the good. Look to what has been positive.

Probably one of the most important pieces is to jump into helping others and be involved with a community. Volunteer, reach out, be accessible to others. Probably most importantly, surround yourself with positive people. By doing so there is a focus on things that will empower you.

How can art remind you of hope?

Of course, these may sound like easy things to do. However, I am left with the question of the role of art in this process.

How does art play a role in this pursuit of hope? How can art bring hope to you? This act of looking at thoughtful pieces of art, the simple act of listening to music, to searching out the beauty of the moment, all contribute to finding a space where Hope can set you free from the darkness. It brings you to other stories, other moments that celebrates life.

In the piece featured, titled Cloud Chasers, this piece brings to reminds you to be free. To release to the moment and let the sun, the wind and the being with others lift you up. To be in the moment and be alive and to remind yourself that art can bring hope to you which can set you free.

To see prints and art that brings hope alive see https://www.memoryartgirl.com

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Look for Light

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Look for light as you go through your day.

“Look for light”, says my mom as I work through the realization that my life is so drastically different. Without art fairs to travel to in the US and events canceled in Canada, there is a coming to terms with the fact that the Covid effect is going deep.

Deeper than I expected.

Part of this realization is the fact that the mindset in dealing with this change is how to manage the stress, the grief and the loss. Of course to look for light is the goal.

To stay on point and be within the art, the creative and the purpose. When doing this there is a sense of “look what the light did now”. There is a sense of accomplishment and moving forward. Moving forward is a way to look for light.

The Fixed vs Growth mindset is the first step to growing.

At the basis of this approach is the fixed vs. growth mindset. The fixed mindset is the static. The place where we try to survive and defend ourselves in the understanding that maintaining a success is where we need to be. A growth mindset works to challenge, to learn, to take in stride our mistakes and grow from this.

Understanding this difference can help you meditate on the success. On the future, on the hope.

As we work our way through this Pandemic, with all of its ramifications there needs to be a discipline of controlling the mind to look to the good. Not to be caught up with the dark.

Look what the light did now

Of course, there is a need to register the loss. To grieve the loss of a job, or a person you know is part of this. However, survival has to be activated by focusing on the positive.

To step into the light, absorb it and use it to be productive,  creative and hopeful. Really is there any other choice?

To have a look at pieces that bring light into your home check out https://www.memoryartgirl.com

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