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Shane’s Hands

The photo above shows my husband Shane’s hands, and behind his hands, the new view that he wakes up to every morning. Shane is pursuing his dream of spending more time in the Yukon, and has taken a 6 month massage therapy stint to make this happen. He has been here 10 weeks, the longest period of time he has ever been away from his home at Kerry Farm in Saskatchewan. It is a rare person who who can say they still live in the house where they began their life!

When I first met Shane he was a grain farmer. He is a strong person, and certainly his hands told a tale of hard work and strength. Hands that worked with the earth, with seeds, with animals, with machines and engines…hands that often held the smell of diesel. A “get her done” mentality pervaded, so often he kept working even when his hands were tired, or chapped, or hurt, or sore.

His hands aren’t only strong, they are also deft. In his recent absence from our farm, we have had lots of small (and not so small) things go wrong, things that his hands know exactly how to fix, that our hands do not. Recently, none of us could remove a long  pipe attached to a float valve in our horse watering bowl, not only because we were not strong enough, but also because we did not know the precise feel of it.

When Shane began to think about  training to be a registered massage therapist, an old friend looked at him wryly and said, “Well, you better do something about those hands.” They had cuts and nicks, torn nails and cuticles. They were like rough sandpaper. They were “farmer’s hands”.

Going back to school at age 47 was no small feat. Making the transition from grain farmer to massage therapist is not a usual trajectory in career transitions. Shane remembers the first week, when the instructor gathered all of the (mostly female) students around a large garbage can to trim their nails. “If only the guys at the grain elevator could see me now!” he thought to himself.  The “rough sandpaper” aspect of Shane’s hands could be softened with cream on the hands, protected by gloves at night or while driving. Ironically, the final softening of his hands comes when he buffs his hands with fine sandpaper.

Strength and the ability to endure are definitely assets as a massage therapist. Shane has those qualities in spades.  But massage therapists also need their hands to “listen”, to hear the stories a body is telling, to be sensitive to the whole person they are massaging. As Raye Hendrickson, a Regina massage therapist writes, “In my massage practice, I consider my hands as another set of ears – they listen to people’s bodies and know, often before before my head does, what needs special attention.”  Shane became aware that some of his fellow students have the natural gift of “listening hands” that Raye describes. While he does not count himself among those with this natural talent, he is learning and he is listening and becoming more closely attuned with the subtle messages conveyed through our bodies.

Shifting how he works with his hands has opened up new worlds for Shane. As a grain farmer, he didn’t often listen to his hands if they were freezing or hurting because the priority was a job to be done. He continues to learn to listen to his own hands and to listen to the other signals his body is giving. He is less likely to push through. He has observed that some people who come for a therapeutic massage have pushed their bodies and not really listened to them until the pain is quite severe. 

As a massage therapist, he has been open to other healing modalities including reiki, Body Talk and healing touch.

Working with his hands as a massage therapist has opened up a special relationship with those who come to see him. He understands the power of touch and the power of presence in new ways. When his parents were aging and feeling various aches and pains, he was able  to offer them comfort and solace through the healing power of touch and massage. His parents most certainly soothed him with loving touch as an infant. The circle completes itself as he offers them comfort and love in their final years using his hands.

And, who knows? Would he have felt the pull of the Yukon if he had continued as grain farmer? Perhaps. Massage therapy has opened many new worlds for Shane. Using his hands as a massage therapist has provided him with a portable way of making of making a living and making a difference as he explores new places.

Shane enjoying Takhini Hot Springs on a frigid Yukon day, hands at rest!

This post has been written in the Yukon as I prepare for an upcoming PLAYshop called Hands On! Celebrating our Hands which will be held in Regina Sat. Feb. 10th, 2018 and in Fort Qu’Appelle Sat. Feb. 24th, 2018. Other posts about hands are Hand – Word Play and Gestures

Gestures

Permission to use this image “Give me your hand” granted by Shell Rummel ©Michelle Rummel/ Shell Artistree LLC. Other work by Shell Rummel can be seen at  www.shellrummel.com . 

 

“Of course! The path to heaven

doesn’t lie down in flat miles

It’s in the imagination

with which you perceive this world

and the gestures

with which you honour it”

–  an excerpt from “The Swan” by Mary Oliver from New and Selected Poems, Volume 1, Beacon Press 2005

How does your imagination perceive this world? What are the gestures with which you honour this beautiful place? These are some of the questions we will consider at Hands On! Celebrating our Hands

Other posts considering hands are Hand – Word Play about how we use the word hand and  Shane’s Hands  about my husband Shane’s hands.

With thanks to the imaginations and  expressions above of Shell Rummel and Mary Oliver.

 

Hand – Word Play

Hand (noun)
Old English hond, hand “the human hand;” also “side, part, direction” (in defining position, to either right or left); also “power, control, possession” (on the notion of the hand’s grip or hold), from Proto-Germanic *handuz (source also of Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch, German hand, Old Norse hönd, Gothic handus), which is of uncertain origin

hand (verb.)c. 1400, “take charge of, seize,” from hand (n.). Earlier verbs were hend (Old English genehdan), handle. Meaning “to pass (something to someone)” is from 1640s. To hand it to (someone)“acknowledge someone’s ability or superiority” is slang from 1906, the it perhaps meant to suggest a trophy cup, award, etc. Related: Handedhanding.

Are you handy?

Are you a handful?

(I bet you’re HANDsome!)

Hands on. Hands off. HANDS UP! All hands on deck. Hands across the ocean. I want to hold your hand. Put your hand in the hand of the….I’ve got to hand it to you…on the one hand, on the other hand….first-hand, second hand. Living from hand-to-mouth, handmade. Let us walk hand in hand. Hand over hand. Sleight of hand.

Out of hand. In hand. At hand.

In good hands.

An old hand.

My hands are full. My hands are tied.

firm handshake. golden hand shake. limp handshake

high five!

handiwork

handicap

handyperson, handywoman, handyman

Clocks: the minute hand, the second hand, the hour hand

How many hands high is that horse?

Measurement: a handbreadth

A handle is held by a hand.

At hand.

By hand.

Off hand.

To have on hand.

Off one’s hands.

Underhanded.

Peekaboo.

Lay hands on someone.

Handhold

I wash my hands of this!

Handkerchief

Handicuff (put up yer dukes!)

You are a handful!

Expressions

To bite the hand that feeds you.

To know something firsthand.

I head that secondhand.

To force someone’s hands.

To gain the upper hand.

To get your hands dirty.

To give a hand.

To lend a hand. (Can someone borrow a hand? Would you ever get it back?)

To hand something down. A hand-me-down.

To give a hand up.

To hand something to someone on a platter.

To win hands down.

To be hands off. Or hands on.

To have blood on one’s hands.

To act with a heavy hand.

When the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

I know it like the back of my hand. (How well do you know the back of your hand?)

What we do with our hands

gesture, touch, clap, wring, hand-writing, stir, soothe, touch, caress, drive, drink, eat, paint, pat, tap, sign, stroke, slap (if we’re Batman), wash, handshake, scratch, reach, grab, carry, blow kisses, wave, hold….

If you are curious, check out these recent blog posts:  Shane’s Hands  about my husband Shane’s hands or Gestures which asks a question (or rather poet Mary Oliver poses a question)

 

(Source: https://www.etymonline.com/word/hand. I checked our dictionary at home which has several pages of words deriving from the root word “hand”)

Paper (S)mash eh? (Papier Mache Art Camp)

As some of you know, I have needed to stay off my right leg for some of the summer. I wasn’t quite sure how a papier mache overnight PLAYshop was going to go.

It went SMASHINGLY!

And for that, I have to thank Lilly, Kate, Kami Jo and Tania. I learned that it is possible to hold a PLAYshop while lying on the couch with your leg up most of time. I just ordered everyone around. When I stood up, they said, “sit DOWN.” And, I did!

Here are some photos from our fun time together – my thank you’s are at the end!

Lilly, pizza chef extraordinaire

Beginning to create our forms with balloons, gooey flour and water and newspaper

Let them dry…Off to the coulee! (Photo by Lilly)

Photo by Lilly

Blazing Star, Photo by Lilly

Pheasant Creek, Photo by Tania

at Grandfather rock, photo by Tania

Who is that under the umbrella? Why, it is Kate who is certain it will rain. It did not rain. But, there are bears and umbrellas are excellent bear protection.

The person with the wrinkles is driving the car

Hanging our forms out to dry (shouldn’t have got so enthusiastic with that glue but felt so good on our hands!!)

Kate hypnotizing a chicken

Tania bonding with a chicken

Supper. Who needs vegetables when you can have flowers and chocolate cake?

Stage 2, the balloon on the left will become a bowl and Kate with her collage

Day 2, Good Morning! (We did sleep in tents in between Day 1 and Day 2)

 

Art before breakfast (but not before coffee for the two adults)

Under the shade of Grandmother Willow, painting…letting the papier mache dry

Such smiles!

Our gallery or some of the pieces we did

Quiet time with Archie on the Sunshine Couch before finishing papier mache

Mama T and her bowl

Kate, amazing bangle maker

What better place to be than a farm???

We may look happy, but we are kaput, exhausted, done, finito…and happy!! As Lilly’s dad says, “All that arting wears a girl out.”

Thank you to Lilly for arriving first, rolling out pizza dough, building the fire, decorating the cake, serving me breakfast in bed, finishing your blue bunny (even though you were finished!)

Thank you to Kate for protecting us from bears (and rain), going to the coulee even though you hated it, enduring spiders, making me such beautiful bangles, cuddling with me.

Thank you to Kami Jo for building that fire, decorating that cake, delivering breakfast in bed, doing chores with a smile, driving the car (just kidding!!)and carrying stuff.

Thank you to Jessie, Marina and Handsome Stranger for giving Kate and Kami Jo a horse ride.Thank you to Shane for acting as if all this is just part of a normal day.

Thanks to the Nobles for letting us enjoy their land.

Thank you to Tania for being an adult and making the coffee (and so much more!) But, especially for being an adult.

Art Buddies

 

When I was about 10, an uncle who was a  “Sunday artist” spent an afternoon  showing me how to draw cups and bowls. He taught me about volume and perspective, taught me how to shade with my pencil, and encouraged me to draw  with a “light touch.” He was patient and seemed to enjoy himself. I soaked up the attention. My aunts and uncles loved us all, but it was very rare for one of them to pay particular attention to one of us cousins. They were in their world and we were in ours. I now suspect that this uncle wasn’t so comfortable in the adult world, so for an afternoon, he crossed over.

When I was imagining “Explorations in Art” I wanted the young people who came to experience that kind of attention.  I have often worked with large groups of children and youth. Let the wild ruckus begin! Sometimes big group art experiences are more about handling materials and general chaos and completing a project  than learning about art.

My first ever Explorations in Art student was Lanelle. For the past two years Lanelle has come once a month, sometimes more and occasionally, less. Among her consuming passions are dragons, so we have learned a lot about art by exploring dragons. But we have also explored tractors, wildflowers, pencils, faces, cubes, cylinders, dogs, ski hills. Together with others we have explored art in the city, both in galleries but also in back alleys, restaurants and tattoo parlours. We have visited the horses, skated on the ice rink, climbed the hills and visited Grandmother Willow in all seasons. We play weird games in the car.  Lanelle has brought along her sister, her mom, her cousins and once, eight of her friends! We have favourite snacks – hot chocolate, ginger cookies, pizza. I have been promising her mango smoothies. She has promised me a fiddle concert under the willow tree.

One of the guiding principles of “Explorations in Art” is “Teaching is a two way path”. Nothing could be truer. I have a wonderful group of students and I do not doubt for a moment that they are among the very best  teachers I have ever had. They inspire me to see the world in new ways. Their interests take me in new directions. They shake me up.

While the one-on-one approach of “Explorations in Art” allows me to offer a student my full attention and tailor our time together according to their various interests, abilities and working rhythms, it also offers an unintended benefit – the very best art companions. It is about relationship as much as it is about art.

As such, the way Lanelle and I  create art together has changed. This summer we spent many happy hours creating in the same room…just enjoying the calm, creative, entirely enjoyable, and beautiful world we were inhabiting together. Lanelle is in charge of music – sometime roots music, sometimes calming music and sometimes dance music – for that, we have Marvin Gaye. Sometimes we have to shake it up and dance or do calisthenics. Sometimes we listen to a book. We have the same quirky (and sometimes dark) sense of humour. Sometimes Lanelle is absolutely quiet. She can be incredibly focussed. Sometimes she talks my ear off.

During the spring, we were having a wonderful talk and I had an epiphany. Lanelle is a kindred spirit. Friends for life, I am sure.  Renegades. Art buddies. So, this blog is for you Lanelle – with a thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s also for my long ago (late) uncle who took the time. Another thank you.

(Question for Lanelle: How would you paint the bottom of a heart? Have you ever seen a person’s ear fall off because the other person was talking a lot?)

Lanelle’s most recent project, summer of 2017

Close up

We both love working on the floor. Keeps us down to earth (sort of).

Lanelle’s piece inspired this “Sprites Dancing in Full Moon” .We both love this lovely blue paper and I was inspired by the simple clean lines in Lanelle’s piece.

Lanelle’s first dragon with piles of gold coins plus some wonderful food, fall 2015

Sketching around the farmyard, spring 2016

Spring 2016

Collecting ticks and painting wildflowers, Spring 2016

Painting Pots PLAYshop, Spring 2016

Dominique and Lanelle, Art in the City, Summer 2016

Art in the City, Lanelle’s 7 minute sketch, summer 2016

Lanelle’s surprise Christmas gift for her family. A watercolour (framed by Lanelle) of her family skiing at Mission Ridge, fall 2016

Paper Playshop, Fall 2016

Lanelle’s friends, winter 2017

Self- Portrait #1

Watercolour, Winter 2017

Neve’s mermaid (Lanelle’s little sister) and Lanelle at work

 

 

Remembering Our Book Fairy

Flying from East to West is our Book Fairy, but the truth is, she really didn’t look quite like this. And the other truth is, she began by travelling from West to East.

Our Book Fairy’s real name was Barbara. She was born in Kelliher, Saskatchewan in 1919. She gradually began to move East, beginning with University of Manitoba in Winnipeg where she trained as an architect, and eventually settling in Manotick, Ontario where she designed her family’s beautiful home and practiced architecture. I had the great fortune to grow up a few houses down the river from her. Once grown, I travelled from East to West where I eventually married and raised a family just 80 kms away from her birth place in Kelliher. For over two decades, our Book Fairy and her husband Doug sent parcels of books to our four daughters from East to West three times a year – every Hallowe’en, Easter and Christmas. Sometimes they even came to visit. Almost every second year, we packed into the family van, heading in the opposite direction with tents and sleeping bags, books and swimsuits, and great excitement to visit the Book Fairies. The collage above remembers Barbara the Book Fairy, who died this past February after 97 rich and marvellous years, many in the lovely home she designed. Here are some additional memories.

Barbara the Book Fairy was not a lone operator. Her husband, Douglas, is pictured flying a small plane on the right, in honour of his time as a navigator in WW2. He did not like to be called a “Book Fairy” but he was fully involved in sharing a love for books with our daughters. Our various thank you letters were addressed to “the Book Fairies,” “the Book Fairy and Hus(band),” and “the Book Fairy and Navigator.” Just below the plane is a parcel reminiscent of the many, many parcels we received over the years.

Look below the flying frog and see the four girls eagerly awaiting the parcel of books falling from the sky. There was such tremendous excitement in our home when a parcel from the Book Fairies arrived. It was an “Occasion.”  I used this opportunity to bribe my children – the Book Fairy’s parcel could not be opened until the living room was perfectly clean. Everybody had to be present. In each parcel there were specially picked books ( books about Egypt or Russia, books by favourite authors, books that were a complete surprise, books from their personal collection), an individual card for each girl, and candies or chocolates as befit the season.

 

Visiting them at their home in Manotick was another wonderful treat. Their home was filled  with beautiful objects and art, including a large statue of the Buddha in their basement. We enjoyed a tour of Mr. Humphrey’s garden followed by tea or ginger ale. Lunch out at a restaurant followed by shopping at Chapters was greatly anticipated by our daughters. On one such expedition, one of my children timidly asked if it was possible to have dessert. I was appalled at such cheek and immediately said no, but Mr. Humphreys interjected. “Absolutely! You can have any dessert on the menu.” (Note the large piece of cake with a cherry on top in the collage.) Shopping at Chapters was equally wonderful – the girls could select any book in the store. Imagine such a treat!

In later years, our lunches took place at Miller’s Oven in Manotick with mile high lemon meringue pie, and our book shopping happened at a used bookstore run by Watson’s Mill – both places very dear to our Book Fairy and her husband.

Seven years ago, when the Book Fairy and her husband turned 90, they travelled to Saskatchewan to attend Kelliher’s 100th birthday. I have many memories of that trip – amongst them, watching an endless parade of farm tractors and other vehicles on a day that was so hot “you could fry an egg on the sidewalk” – the only non-mechanical object in the parade was a Canada Post mailbox with two legs. The Book Fairies endured the parade and the heat with their usual grace and wry humour.

Barb and Doug had a special place in our home as Book Fairies, they were like parents and grandparents to many others as well. A love of books was central in our friendship, but they gave us much much more than books and chocolates and lunches out. They offered their genuine and keen interest in each girl. They offered glimpses into worlds far beyond the Saskatchewan prairies. They also loved and celebrated our farm world. They encouraged Shane and I as parents. They laughed at their foibles as they got older. They loved telling stories on themselves. They took such tremendous pleasure and delight in each other. Their many talents and accomplishments were only exceeded by their modesty. They made each of us feel special and interesting. They not only gave us a lifelong love of books and quest for knowledge, they brought magic and possibility and enchantment to our lives.

It is almost impossible to write about Barbara the Book Fairy without including the Book Fairy’s Husband because they were such a unit. The Book Fairy’s Husband, Doug, is still very much alive, and we will continue to share stories with him as well as enjoy his company.

To learn more about Barbara Humphrey’s contribution to architecture and heritage conservation in Canada, please read this tribute.

 

 

 

Rice Paper Birds

Sometimes a new piece of paper can suggest a new direction, or a new way of seeing things. Such is the case with a gift of the most delicate pale blue translucent paper my daughter Laurel brought me from Toronto. For a while I just admired it hanging in the window with other strips of translucent paper being hung over it for effect. Eventually, two new pieces took shape.

I love flocks of rice paper birds. Playing with such sheer papers encouraged me to focus more on the abstract shapes of birds and the spaces between them (and less on the individual birds).

The birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad

(Li-Young Lee ‘Praise Them’)

Letter to the Editor – Elegy for the Trees

Letter to the Editor of the Fort Qu’Appelle Times, December 2016

I am concerned about the practice of removing trees, “pushing bush”, and draining sloughs that is happening at an unprecedented rate on farmland in our area and beyond.

I walk our road almost daily. This gives me a chance to observe the wildflowers, the varieties of wild creatures including butterflies, dragonflies, bees, deer, coyote, fox, skunks, frogs, snakes and birds of all kind who make their life here. 

Last fall, a landowner bulldozed a group of trees that I have come to know very well. Not only do yellow lady slippers bloom in the shelter of these beautiful aspen, but many other creatures find refuge there as well. This was just one of a group of aspen bluffs and low lying sloughs in this area that was bulldozed. A year later, the piles of brush were set on fire and left to burn for a few days, then buried under the ground. Walking past now, it looks as if there never were trees there.

I called the landowner to share how sad and distressed I felt about the loss of these trees, as well as the scale of the destruction of similar places. He listened respectfully and thanked me for sharing my thoughts.  I invited him to come for a hike with me next spring to see how these wild places are brimming with natural life. I cannot tell another landowner what to do on his land, but I can share how I feel about it. Having a conversation with my neighbour may not change anything but at least he knows how I feel.

I know farmers who love the natural world and think hard about how their decisions affect the environment. I acknowledge that farmers sometimes do need to remove trees on their land. It is the  increased scale of “pushing bush” and draining marshy areas that disturbs me. Some will argue that before settlers arrived, the natural prairie did not have these aspen bluffs, although there were certainly many more sloughs and potholes than we see today. While that is true, in this radically altered landscape,  these small areas of bush and marsh not only provide refuge for a diversity of natural life but they add pockets of ecological richness that we desperately need.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Great Plains region lost more grasslands (including bluffs and marshes) to agriculture in 2014 that the Brazilian Amazon lost to deforestation. When roots systems are removed, the water holding capacity of the land is reduced significantly, affecting us all during both drought and flood years.

I urge landowners to think carefully before altering or destroying the natural landscape. The loss of these areas impoverishes us all. I want to be able to show my grandchildren a clutch of yellow lady slippers. I want them to hear the now rare sound of a meadowlark singing. Each small wild place matters.

Sue Bland, Abernethy, Sask.

Listen to a western meadowlark sing!

Into the Hawthornes

Down on hands and knees

through the door of thorny branches,

just big enough

and into the hawthornes

right in the middle

 

sssshhh…if you can stay quiet

long enough

they come back

the birds, the squirrels

to eat the red berries

 

if you can stay as still as a hawthorne

you can hear the soft wingbeat of a fairy

 

if you can stay quiet

you can catch the scent

of the coyote who slept here last night

you can feel the slow heartbeat of the earth

that is holding you

loving you

back to life

 

Jocelyn Duchek

“I’d Rather be Painting” – Meet Jocelyn Duchek

fullsizeoutput_1d62I am a frequent driver of Highway 22, but it took me several trips to turn onto Main Street Esterhazy to check it out. Imagine my delight to spot an art gallery – Jocelyn’s Fine Art Gallery – on Main Street. A large, airy space with good light, Jocelyn’s gallery features her own art, art and pottery by local and guest artists, a place for art classes, and a selection of art materials. I soon made a point of stopping in at  Jocelyn’s Art Gallery every time I drove Highway 22. (For those who don’t believe that art can stimulate economic activity, I have now purchased items from at least 5 other Esterhazy businesses!) I enjoyed seeing the new art as it came in, and I was curious about the dynamic woman behind all of this – Jocelyn Duchek. It is no small thing to keep an art gallery going in a place the size of Esterhazy (pop 3000). I wanted to learn more about this vital, friendly woman who is also a gifted artist, teacher and entrepreneur.

As a small girl, Jocelyn Duchek loved to sketch. She was very young when her dad asked her to draw a  moose for a hunting buddy of his. Her dad gave his friend Jocelyn’s moose drawing (regretting that later) and Jocelyn remembers that he bragged about that moose picture for the remainder of his days. Both her parents supported her love of drawing but there were not many opportunities for her to learn more. She wanted to try painting but she had no idea where or how to begin. As a teen, she continued to draw a lot and attended Fort San Summer School for the Arts. It was a fabulous experience for her but there was no real instruction. “Be free, be loose,” she was told. Jocelyn felt lost and wanted more in the way of guidance.

By the time Jocelyn Duchek was 24, she was married with three young children and little time for art. But creativity will find its outlet. Jocelyn poured her energy into sewing (which was practical as well), into creating dough art,  crafting porcelain dolls, and working with ceramics. She spent 7 years helping with her sister’s leather business sewing mukluks and purses. Eventually, Jocelyn returned to school which led to a career working with children with disAbilities , coordinating a respite program for their families, and later, working with special needs students in the school system.  Jocelyn put her heart and soul into this work but was beginning to feel burned out and tired. After about 10 years of this work, Jocelyn became gravely ill  with ulcerative colitis and required  a number of surgeries. As she slowly  began to heal, she went back to work part time, feeling that while it was time for a change in her focus, she didn’t really know what to do next.

img_1444In 2004,  a friend invited her to come to art class with Ward Schell.  Jocelyn uncharacteristically said yes instantly.  Off she went. “It totally opened my eyes. I learned how to start a painting, I learned how do a painting, I learned how to make it look 3-D. I still have this first little grain elevator I painted. I show it to students now. That little grain elevator led to another painting, and another, and so on. I would finish a painting and go “Wow! Did I do that?”  I was so very excited about painting. I just could not stop talking about the painting process to everyone I met.”

By 2010, Jocelyn’s enthusiasm caught fire and soon people were asking her to teach painting.burst She gave up her job, did some renovating in her home and had a small gallery there as well as a place to teach. The first classes were in her former master bedroom. She found that learning to teach was the best possible education – she took classes, she learned about colour theory. She eventually began taking photos of her work step by step, so that she could show people her process. “I just get lost in the zone when I am painting, so until I did that I didn’t really know how to teach what I was doing.” There was a great hunger in Esterhazy for art classes – both for adults and children. Jocelyn’s home became too small and  she tried out 2 different locations before moving to her present gallery space in 2014. Throughout it all, her husband Ken was “incredibly supportive.”

Jocelyn Duchek

“Room to Breathe”, 30 x 40

Jocelyn Duchek

“New Life”, 24 x 24 by Jocelyn Duchek

Jocelyn Duchek

“A Life That is Good”, 16 x 20 by Jocelyn Duchek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of Jocelyn Duchek’s art is inspired by the boreal forest of Northern Saskatchewan. Each summer, she and husband Ken, along with friends and family camp at a number of lakes – Armet, Steeprock, Rocky. For Jocelyn, the northern forests are healing and rejuvenating places. “I don’t mind fishing,” says Jocelyn. “But I’d rather be painting!” The men would go fishing and many of the women would paint. She loves to paint abstracts as well using acrylics and  alcohol ink. She finds that the different mediums balance one another – the poured paint gives her a sense of freedom and looseness that complements her more representational work.

Jocelyn duchek

“Fluid Aura” by Jocelyn Duchek

“I just kept offering what I felt I needed and couldn’t find in Esterhazy, ” says Jocelyn. As well as wanting art classes, Jocelyn wanted a place to display her work. Early in her art career, she applied to a few art galleries and was rejected.  Part of her dream today is to offer a place for aspiring local artists to hold their first show. She offers them guidance, encouragement and know-how.

Jocelyn’s Art Gallery continues to evolve, to thrive and to grow. Recently, Jocelyn  had a vision that will not leave her alone. “I figure if it won’ t let me go, I better I act on it.” In the new year, she and Ken are going to create a “forest room” – a meditative place in the front of the gallery. When you enter this room, you will know you are somewhere special. She herself began meditating 5 years ago. “I have always been a  very busy type of person”, Jocelyn says. “Meditation has calmed me, has slowed me down a bit which I do find also helps inspire my creative side. It is catching on in Esterhazy. People are taking yoga and becoming more aware of the healing possibilities of art as well as meditation.” Jocelyn now has meditation cushions for sale, and will soon be adding Himilayan salt lamps and other like products. “You have to be inventive in a small town. You have to think about what is needed in the town and what will bring people in. It takes running classes, hosting events, selling supplies and other products. You can’t just sell art or you’d be out of business before you start.”

“I am doing what I love best,” says Jocelyn Duchek. “I have no doubt that creating art is 100% healing. For me, painting took me back to a place deep within me, that creative place that I had left far behind.” It is a great gift to all of us that Jocelyn reconnected with that long lost creative well within.buffalo-mural