On a cold winter day in the late afternoon, I’m walking. This narrow gravelled road surrounded by the wide hills of Saskatchewan’s southwest grasslands, near my home in Val Marie, is a favourite route for its varied and beautiful terrain and for its feeling of remote emptiness, even though I can stroll out my door and be here in five minutes. Today, coyotes have set up a cocktail hour singsong not far away and a lone magpie streaks south. Nothing else disturbs the stillness. Ahead, my tiny village nestles in its valley.
I love this place and am at home here. I love the silence and space, and the wild landscape, and the time to work and to walk. And yet, once in awhile, I miss my old city life.
Once in awhile, especially in winter, especially when I’ve been in the studio a lot, I miss other artists. A person could get to feeling lonely. Maybe even lamenting. If a person thought it would do any good.
So let’s not stand around regretting things! What are we going to do about it? This is the time of year for change.
I never think much of New Year’s resolutions. They seem so arbitrary and no one really keeps them anyway. Imposed self-improvement is artificial, and without meaning or structure it’s just a lot wishes without genies attached. An North America-sized industry based in the assumption of personal lack can’t be all that good anyway.
I have a better idea.
This year I’m going to have Adventures. This year I resolve to plan one adventure for each month of the year. They might be large or small and they might be artistic or travel or new ways of thinking. To qualify, all they need is the Laureen Stamp of Adventure.
So here’s January’s. At the end of this week I’ll travel back to my old home city to go an exhibition opening. It’s a drive of almost 400 km/240 miles and I’ll go for two days. In the middle of January with forecast overnight temperatures to -25 C/-13 F, that’s almost adventure enough. But weather isn’t the adventure I have in mind. My artist friend, the amazing Betsy Rosenwald, has new work in an exhibition at one of Saskatchewan’s premier commercial galleries, Art Placement, and I’m going to help celebrate. Along the road of celebration there will be lots of conversations with other artists, and new ideas and catching up with old ones. And I’ll come back tired and exhilarated and ready for silence.
Are adventures really the cure for what ails us?
What adventures will you plan for this year? Might they be more useful than a library of self-help manuals? I invite you to share in the comments.
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This blog is a series of posts from one artist’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. To receive updates, with beautiful images and stories from the artist’s studio, plus a free printable postcard of one of my most recent paintings, just put your email in the box on the right. Your email address will never be shared.
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