A Catch-Up Post

... because there's so much going on.

ReceivingLight

I'll be back with some Birthday List Love soon, but there are so many things happening behind the scenes that I felt compelled to share a catch-up post. Something that's not curated and full of all that's unfolding.

It's a long one, but a rich one.

.:.

After what felt like being asleep for two years, 2016 feels like an awakening of sorts. I know that sounds corny, but it's what it feels like.

The side effect of waking up is that now I have enough wits about me to see and acknowledge what's not working in my life, and the places I want to shift: my physical health, my work, my social network, my art. These are all big things on which I am slowly - s l o w l y - taking action. Baby steps.

.:.

I didn't realize how deep I'd gone under these past few years and how small my world had become until now, as I find myself climbing out and expanding. It becomes apparent when anxiety creeps back in and I feel like I'm being sucked back to the dark side. When this happens, the prospect of going back sends a ripple of terror through me with an intensity that almost always catches me by surprise.

Luckily, the anxiety is less present than it was. Also, I'm able to recognize it early and do what I need to do to work through it as gracefully as I can. The degree of grace achieved varies depending on the day.

Graceful or not, I am grateful for the ability to move through and beyond. So very grateful.

.:.

After some soul-searching, consultation with my Higher Power and with a university Admissions office, I registered for a course offered this September called Introduction to New Media. It's the first step in a potential new line of university studies for me in Social Communication.

When I read the course descriptions on the university's program website, I get giddy. I'm starting with one course to test the waters, but I secretly already have my eye on a second one come January. We'll see how it unfolds.

.:.

I went to a party last week, by myself, all dressed up, not knowing if I would know anyone other than the hostess.

I hadn't done that in years. Saying YES to the opportunity became part of stretching my social comfort zone with the hopes of bringing it back to where it was several years ago and I. had. a blast.

I mingled the evening away, met new people, danced the rumba, then gently acknowledged when it was time for me to retreat back to my cocoon. The next day I was both exhausted AND flying high on my sense of connection and accomplishment. YAY me!

.:.

I'm testing out some larger print formats (11"x14") for some of my digital art. I really like those pieces and would like to see them out in the world. Ordering a few test prints is a good first step. I look forward to seeing the results.

Do you have any favourites you'd like to see in print format? If you do, let me know in the comments!

.:.

I'm re-learning how to be productive and get things done. My approach is much slower than it was before and frankly, this tests me. I am not always the most patient person, but I feel that letting things unfold rather than pushing is the way to go right now.

There is an ebb and flow to productivity, things will happen in due time. Things ARE happening.

Respecting my current productivity pace is key.

.:.

Well, that was an update and a half, wasn't it?

How are you doing today, dearest?

Drop me a line in the comments, I'd love to know.

I do still have one last list of goodies coming up as part of my 43rd Birthday List Love celebration and I look forward to sharing it with you. It's coming up soon so stay tuned m'kay?

Warm and happy wishes to you,

Steph

xo

Birthday List Love #6: Major Art Exhibitions In and Around the Nation's Capital

Ottawa (Ontario) is wonderfully located to see art. Not only do we have the National Gallery of Canada right here in our city, we’re a day trip from Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts and an overnighter from Toronto and its venues, including the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I thought I’d highlight a few upcoming exhibitions that have captured my interest. With art by the likes of Picasso, Chihuly, van Gogh and O’Keeffe they promise to deliver!

If you know anyone else in the vicinity who might be interested in this list, please pass it on.

And if you’re not from the area, maybe it’s time to consider a visit?

For your perusing and planning pleasure, by city...

~~~

OTTAWA

National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is a beautiful building and a delight to visit. If you can find a comfy seat in its café, I highly recommend a splurge on a drink or a sweet treat just to sit back and enjoy the view for a while. This summer the Gallery offers a few interesting exhibitions that might be worth the trek downtown:

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (“Portraitist to Marie Antoinette“)

June 10 to September 11, 2016

“Discover Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, a celebrated 18th-century French portraitist who is among the most important female artists of all time. Exploring the life and work of a woman who was not only extraordinarily talented, but also publicity-savvy, this groundbreaking retrospective at the Gallery demonstrates both Vigée Le Brun’s exceptional skill and her ability to carve out a significant career in a man’s world.”

Woman power in the 18th century, yes indeed! This is the last stop for this exhibition so if you’re a fan, now is the time to make it happen.

Picasso: Man and Beast. The Vollard Suite of Prints

April 29 to September 5, 2016

"Considered one of Picasso's printmaking masterworks, The Vollard Suite is a treasure in the national collection. The entire series of 100 prints is now on view in Ottawa for the first time in nearly 60 years."

Though it doesn’t surprise me, I did not know that Picasso was an accomplished print maker. This collection looks fabulous and is for me a must-see.

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MONTREAL

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

The MMFA tends to bring in a lot of big names so I try to keep an eye on what’s coming up. It's where I discovered the bold colours of Fauvist Kees van Dongen and the visual poetry of Symbolist Maurice Denis. The building is impressive as is its collection. It's a perfect destination for a day trip or an overnighter.

Toulouse-Lautrec Illustrates the Belle Époque

June 18 to October 30, 2016

Paris, decadence and debauchery. Need I say more?

~~~

TORONTO

Art Gallery of Ontario

The Art Gallery of Ontario is one of my favourite places to visit in Toronto and it too tends to bring in some big names. These two upcoming exhibitions are case in point:

Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more

October 22, 2016 to January 29, 2017

“The years between 1880 and 1930 were marked by rampant materialism and rapid urbanization. Disillusioned with traditional religious institutions, many artists across Europe and North America searched for an unmediated spiritual path through mystical experiences. They conveyed their feelings of unity with nature and the cosmos in some of the most famous landscape paintings ever created.”

Monet, van Gogh, mysticism and nature? Yes please!

Georgia O’Keeffe

April 22 to July 30, 2017

A collaboration between the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Tate Modern, the AGO is the only North American stop for this Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective. You might want to start making your travel plans now.

Royal Ontario Museum (a.k.a. the ROM)

Chihuly

June 25, 2016 to January 2, 2017

I’ve never been to the ROM, but I think a Chihuly exhibition might be the perfect prompt to make it happen, yes?

~~~

Next up, List Love #7, the last one.

Missed my previous lists? Voici:

Birthday List Love #1: Favourite Recipes

Birthday List Love #2: Personal Finance Books by Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Birthday List Love #3: Four Female Canadian Artists

Birthday List Love #4: 25 Books I've Enjoyed This Year (So Far)

Birthday List Love #5: TV Shows, Movies & Documentaries