31 Days 31 Drawings. Every October, artists all over the world take on the InkTober drawing challenge by doing one ink drawing a day the entire month. Jake Parker created InkTober in 2009 as a challenge to improve his inking skills and develop positive drawing habits.

Day 1st: My first ink sketch. I should have stopped adding to it a long time ago, but I was listening to the amazing presentations at the second ever online Picture Book Summit. I mean how can you think/draw straight when listening to e.g. Jane Yolen?


I used Sennelier ink and two water colour brushes size 0 and size 10 on Canson Mixed Media Paper

What about you? Are you up for the challenge? Or do you rather resonate with Jane Yolen’s “A poem a day”?

During this inspiring month of October when nature surprises us with an ever changing palette, I guess we can afford to be creative as well. No pressure. Just be spontaneous. Or at the very least, how about you find something you are grateful for each day?  – I invite you to share in the comment section.

Truth Has 144 Sides

Ever since I can think, I was searching for the truth. Perhaps this is why I got really good at observing and even better at listening, because I grew up in a world where adults thought children should be seen rather than heard and I got a liking to listen to the stories people told  each other – or sometimes just themselves – and in my mind I tried to condense all these stories to their essence and find the one truth.

It took me a while to realize that there isn’t something as one truth. Sometimes we are so convinced that we are right about a topic – usually the one we are very passionate about –  that we have difficulty respecting that not everyone else agrees on that, or not even understands what we mean.

There’s an interesting quote by Paul John Rosch, chairman of the board of the American Institute of Stress, clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College, and honorary vice president of the International Stress Management Association:

“There is an unfortunate tendency to believe that just because you have given something a name, that somehow you have defined it – or worse, that everyone will understand what it means. Stress is a good example; after almost fifty years in the field, I can assure you that attempting to define or explain stress to a scientist’s satisfaction is like trying to nail a piece of jello to a tree. Hans Selye, who coined the term stress as it is currently used and struggled with this problem his entire life, was fond of pointing out that everyone knows what stress is, but nobody really knows.”

Especially as a child, whenever I made a new discovery I had to share my finds with the people around me, but usually I got so excited that I talked too fast and my words came out in summersaults and no one could understand what I had to say. (Perhaps that is one of the reasons I started writing, because that way I have to think first and come up with a structure and a concept to articulate myself. Although, maybe the reason I write is simply to process so that I can make sense of my discoveries myself…)

In the year 2000 I not only moved to a different continent and had to learn to articulate myself in a foreign language (English), I also had the privilege of going to Heaven in a near-death experience and then to come back. I discovered, that without being attached to our limited body and brain, we still have full function of our senses and for once we are able to comprehend more than ever possible in human form. However, God has a way to humble people. As soon as I returned into my body, it seems that a veil came down and covered my understanding. Although I knew more than I ever thought was possible, I couldn’t put it in words, worse, I couldn’t access information I knew I had learned earlier e.g. in my university years – similar to someone who knows of the content in a drawer, but isn’t able to get it out because the drawer is stuck.

In my anthropology courses in university I first heard of Robin Dunbar, but not until later of his number “150.” This number refers to the cognitive limit to people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. If you look at social media, you will easily see that if you have 150 “friends” or more on Facebook, chances are you have not the faintest idea who they all are or can follow what each of them is doing/posting on a regular basis. Dunbar wasn’t talking about Facebook of course, he meant the relationship in which each person knows who every other person is and how each person relates to every other person.

Approximately 150 was the basic unit size of the Roman army, it is the estimated sizes of a Neolithic farming village, as well as the splitting point of Hutterite settlements – or more familiar in the region I live, the Mennonite communities. Dunbar claims, 150 would be the ideal size of a company or company division. Numerous studies support his theory; consequently a group of people larger than this number would require rules and regulations to maintain a stable cooperation.

When I read Eileen Day McKusick’s book, Tuning the Human Biofeld, I wasn’t surprised that she connects Dunbar’s theory of the number 150 with the at first puzzling yet freeing quote by Dr. Johan Boswinkel, “I believe that truth has 144 sides.”

Wow. Just let this sink in! – Instead of arguing with your spouse or colleague about an issue, listen to his/her viewpoint. Chances are that what we perceive as the truth is in fact just a facet of the truth and we need other people’s perspective to understand it completely. Could it be that we need the ~ 150 people we maintain a stable relationship with to get to the ground of things?



A Wild Weekend in the Woods

Last weekend I went camping at MacGregor Point Provincial Park, right at the shores of Lake Huron, with my daughter and our artsy friend Andrea and a trunk full of paintings. We got a campfire going and set up our tents before dark fell, but still were surprised that darkness comes quite early mid September. However, a bright full moon watched over us and illuminated our experience … until at night I woke up from my daughter crawling over my sleeping bag to zip-up our tent window because it rained 😦

Pretty much everyone at our campsite and all around Fox Way Loop slept in that next gray damp morning in nature and we finally had to hurry to transform the campsite in an art studio by setting up props to hold our art work while also getting a fire going to brew some much needed coffee before the Studio Tour started at 10 a.m., hosted by Mother Nature, the Friends of MacGregor and artists and artisans across Southern Ontario.



The forecast predicted 40% chance of light rain and up to 0.2 cm precipitation; we could manage that, we thought. Instead we got what felt like a Monsoon. We were busy setting our “booth” up and putting artwork back under tarps or in the car, and setting up again as soon as the rain stopped only to cover things up again… and overall were surprised how many campers came out anyway to admire our work, or Emily’s fantastic “VW Van”!



We had real troopers visiting who had wanted to take our workshops, but what do you do in the rain…? Despite our beautiful studio campsite, there was no sale… but puddles that turned into mini Tsunamis, flooding our sleeping tent and threatening Andrea’s display tent…



Saturday night, I sadly admit, we vacated our campsite and went home for a hot shower and a lovely snooze in our own bed.

Sunday was indeed a sunny day and the world looked friendly and bright. A crowd toured Fox Way Loop and stayed for workshops, browsing artwork or admiring the VW van/tent that helped keep the conversation going. They went away with an organic apple in hand from our orchard, the one or other book, card, or painting while we listened to life music from the neighbouring campsite.

Despite Saturday’s disappointing weather, I’d like to express a big “thank-you” to the Friends of MacGregor for organizing this event and for cooking and catering delicious food at lunch time! Also for all the campers and day-trippers who came out to support us, and to all the fellow artists and supporting family members who made this unusually wild art studio tour happening! – Hope to see you again next year!

And what about you? Will you join us perhaps?


Wild for the Arts

Two weeks into the new school year, we are ready to go camping again 🙂 What about you?

What better opportunity than to go “Wild for the Arts,”celebrating Mac Gregor Point Provincial Park’s 40th anniversary! This festival puts artists, writers, musicians, and crafters on campsites in the Fox Way loop of the Nipissing campground. Andrea Zimmer and I will be hosting workshops on our shared campsite, Kids can have fun at the creativity site, the whole family can enjoy scavenger hunts and word games – and important: there will be food available to purchase on-site. Also: Free day use admission to the park. So if you live in the area, there’s really no excuse not to come out and check out what the crazy artists camping out in the rain (no, no, don’t believe the forecast!) and likely smelling a little smokey from their campfires at night, have to offer. The event is hosted by the tireless volunteers, the Friends of MacGregor Point Park 

When? This coming weekend:

Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept 18
Wild for the Arts Festival
MacGregor Point Provincial Park, Saugeen Shores (the only location I know of where wild birds sit on your arm and eat from your hands.)

IMG_1430 (1)  IMG_0494


#218 Fox Way loop: Here’ll be our Art Camp! – We look forward to seeing you there!

Paisley & Area Art Show

13th Annual Paisley & Area Art Show and Sale is scheduled to run from August 27 -September 18, 2016 at Nature’s Millworks.

Over 50 local artists will show some of their work at this popular art show in a historic mill right next to the Teeswater River. Even if you happen to be not into art that much, you should still pop in to see Helen and Paul Crysler’s carefully restored heritage building, the former “Paisley City Roller Mills” that shipped flour around the world.

The mill that includes several acres of land and river is currently for sale; another good reason to check it all out.

Here’s one of my artworks I will be showing at the Mill:


mixed media/sculpted paper on wood panel

It’s Tea Time

I love tea. I pick peppermint or camomile from my garden to brew some calming herbal tea, or I prepare chai to my taste for a good night’s sleep or when I’m cold and I always make myself a large mug of Earl Grey, Ostfriesen or Green Jasmine tea before I sit down at my drawing table. Sometimes I mistake my tea for my cleaning water and wash my brushes in it. Yuck! In between I certainly drink tea when I have company, or after a meal or when I have time to read a book or pat the cat… There’s always a good reason for tea time.

Can you imagine how excited I was when I learned that the assignment for round 1 at Lilla Roger’s “Global Talent Search” is all about tea? This year I wasn’t planning to sign up, because I’m teaching art classes during the summer, have visitors and plenty of work on the farm and in the studio, but then when the deadline to sign up approached, I thought I do it anyway and see what I can fit into my schedule. So this one is for fun, for myself, for my own learning purposes and to stretch myself a little further. I mean how much more fun could it get?  Designing my very own tea cup? Oh yeah. I’m in!

So with my tea steaming to my right, I let you peek into my sketchbook… Ready?

Here it is:



What kind of tea do you like, if any? Do you prefer it with milk, cream or lemon? Honey or sugar? What treat do you like with it? I’d love it if you would share your preference. Please comment underneath!  🙂