Category: Jamie’s Creative Life

New Additions to the Garden

New Garden Additions

It’s already a bit late in the season to be getting to the garden centre but there was still plenty of beauty!  I always put some annuals out front, usually some dark red geraniums and some purple wave petunias, neither of which were available so I made some new choices. What’s funny is that I didn’t even notice that I had picked the same  colour scheme! I guess I just like it, especially against the green of our house.

Verbena Hybrid

Verbena Hybrid  – Lanai Dark Red Verbena (annual)


Salvia longispicata x farinacea – Mystic Spires, Blue Salvia (perennial)

Euphorbia Stardust

Euphorbia Hybrid – ‘Star Dust Super Flash” Euphorbia (annual)

Delphinium Guardian

Delphinium elatum – “Guardian Lavender” Delphinium (perennial)

Japanese Pieris

Pieris japonica – ‘Brouwer’s Beauty’ Japanese Pieris (shrub)

These give me a sense of serenity and sanctuary just looking at them. Tomorrow I’ll get them in the ground and let them start the process of making our garden home.

What are you planting in your garden this year?

Art School: Paper Cutting and Collage

First Day at Art Class

A couple of years ago, I braved registering for a collage course at the  Toronto School of Art, facing my creative desires and working through my fears and negative experiences with this kind of an environment. I learned a lot about collage, about myself and about the stories I had about art school. This summer I am returning for a second class: paper-cutting and collage. I feel free, inspired and at home. It helps that I’m working with the same teacher. Let me share with you a little of what I’m learning.

Warrior Queen

The first exercise we did was adding collage materials to abandoned paintings. Our focus was the face. It  is admittedly a rather unnerving experience to cut the face down into component parts.  (I talked about this a bit on stART.) It had me thinking about the nature of collage, the messages of deconstruction that are inherent in using this art form.


Then we created another portrait, this time using the offcuts, making use of negative space. It was magical to see characters come to life as we built them up from scraps that might have been left behind, papers that would normally have been be put into recycling.

Next we created geometric collages. I made this one based on the Three-Part Harmony Quilt taught by Anna Maria Horner  on Creativebug. I loved its strategy of creating with a tonal palette of lights, mids and darks. I completed two collages, one with the darks being predominant and this one, where the lights are.

Our next assignment was paper weaving. We chose two images, making slits in one and strips out of the other and then brought them together with weaving. This process takes patience and a bit of dexterity but it is fascinating to discover what emerges when the piece is complete. I experimented with a gradual expanding of both the width of the strips and the the amount of space between them. I wondered if this would create a sense of growing expansion.

Art School Sink

My favourite unofficial activity during class is scanning the room for found art. You won’t believe what this piece is. Take a moment and see if you can guess…. It’s the art school sink after a good cleaning and scrubbing.

Art Boards

Some beautiful boards tucked away for student use.

Found Painting

And my favourite: the well-used tabletop.

Art is everywhere.

The Magic of the Garden

The return of open windows is one of the gifts of spring. As the kittens enjoyed the fresh air, I followed their gaze into the backyard.

While they watched for birds and squirrels, my eyes caught sight of green!

Clearing Wire

I rushed outside to free the sprouting bulbs from their protective winter covering of leaves and chicken wire.

Bright Promise

Oh, the joy of discovery!

Tender Green

I love this tender stage of the garden – the sweet shapes, the fresh colours.

Tender Garden

As if that wasn’t joy enough, the sun came out just as I freed these new shoots.

The World of the Garden

That is the magic of the garden. As  I clear the way and discover new life, I feel close to myself, to the Earth and to my mom.

Look Closely for Beauty

From a distance, it looks like a big mess and a patch of dirt.

 Last Season's Leaves

But when you look closely, there is beauty to be found.

Garden Guardian

Finding Beauty in My Neglected Garden

My Neglected Garden

It’s fall and I’ve been feeling badly about neglecting my garden this year. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the intense work going on in the studio. I hardly got out there at all. Weeds grew to a massive height. Grass pushed the boundaries, establishing dominance over the garden borders. Stray morning glories wound their way tightly around phlox and roses, intertwining their fates for the season. When I saw my peonies covered in powdery mildew, I wanted to go back inside.

Instead. I looked a little closer. Here’s what I saw.







The beauty of life always and always finds a way and that always and always gives me hope.

Jamie photographing Shibumi & Scout

My Creative Weekend: a Yard Sale, an Art Sale & Art Day

Yard Sale

For the past several years, on a day in June, the neighbourhood yard sale takes over a larger area in the east end of Toronto. It’s become something we look forward to, a wonderful way to wander through our ‘hood, say hi to some neighbours and maybe discover a bargain or two, often accompanied by a story!
Mucha Calendar 2005

This year we didn’t buy too much but I was delighted to get this old Mucha calendar. I think the pictures will be great for collaging and many will make wonderful journal covers.

JRS Procrastination Bunny

I couldn’t say no to this little guy, especially after our recent talk of the Inspiration Rabbit and the Procrastination Bunny. It was meant to be! (By the way, you can see the Procrastination Bunny LIVE on this BtS)

JRS Our New Mirror

We also picked up this wonderful mirror. Justin was awesome and put it up immediately! So often we get these additions and they end up gathering dust in the corner instead of finding a new home. Not this time. Yay!

JRS Cat-Approved Magazines

Unfortunately that was all the energy I had for Saturday. I ended up feeling rather under the weather. Good thing I had my summer inspiration infusion and lots of good company!

Beaches Arts and Crafts Show

Sunday morning I woke up and was feeling much better. The weather was my perfect summer day: blue sky, sun shining, wind blowing and hovering around 20. Wonderful! I wanted to get down to the lake and feel the wind on my shoulders so Justin and I headed out and on the way we stumbled across the Beaches Arts & Crafts show!

Wood Cutting Boards

One of the first booths that we looked was Woodturnings. The gentleman selling these beautiful wooden wares was lovely and had such a nice energy that even though there were several other folks selling this kind of thing, we came back to Kjell Orrling’s work. We’ve been needing a new cutting board and haven’t found anything to suit but these two immediately felt like ours. A walnut one for me. A maple one for Justin.

 Flavours of Nova Scotia Honey

We also could not resist this amazingly flavourful honeys of Flavours of Nova Scotia. The honey and lemon is beyond irresistible! Justin and I had to set some guidelines about when we would treat ourselves to these delights – or else they’d be gone in no time!

At the Lake

Treasures in hand, we finally made it down to the boardwalk to get our fix of wind and sky!

JRS Art Day

With all that I still managed to make it home in time for Art Day with Shannon! We decided to connect via Zoom and work on whatever project was calling us. Shannon tested her new gel pens and I pulled out my magazine journal and had fun simply filling it up with collage images. It’s so fun to sit and create together over tea!
Scout Oversees Art Day

Scout wanted to be included. He’s such good company how could I say no?

Art Day: When Your Busy, Keep it Simple

Simple Art Day

Every now and then a week comes along where things seem too busy for our regularly scheduled Sunday Art Day.  With both the Creative Projects Seminar and Sparkles LIVE! coming up, as well as several special events (including Shannon’s birthday on Thursday), this was one of those weeks. I sadly asked Shannon if we could postpone until next week and she was, of course, understanding. And so, I worked and worked and worked and then around 3:00, I sent her a text, “Hey, want to spend an hour creating?”

We grabbed some simple supplies, mostly coloured pencils, and projects we’d been working on and tucked in. We coloured and chatted and before we knew it, we’d had some art day fun. It was just what I needed to dive into the week ahead.

Even a little creative time makes a big difference.

Art Day: Watercolour, Shapes & A Moose Mascot

Preparing for Art Day

Every Sunday is Art Day at our house! This week we dove into a Creativebug watercolour techniques class taught by Yao Cheng. We were excited to pull out the supplies and play!

Art Day Watercolour Basic Techniques

We experimented with circles and triangles, cool colours and warm colours.

 Art Day Moose Mascot

We chose a mascot for Art Day and new instantly this would become a tradition!

Art Day Table TopWe spent hours chatting, creating and having fun with colour.

Art Day Watercolour Play

Lastly, we experimented, exploring what we’d learned in our own way.

Pastel Moose Mascot

Clearly Moose approves.