Month: November 2018

Art and Alzheimer’s

Art and Alzheimer’s

Grandma Painting 2018

Yesterday would have been my grandmother’s 83rd birthday, but sadly Vascular dementia combined with Alzheimer’s caused her final stroke this past August. We celebrated her love for life with her favorite dinner and game, remembering her final months.

The previous 5 months were spent with us, on the “farm” as she called it. We do have chickens and goats, she would “baa at”. We even planted seeds in March, which she eventually tended on the deck in her Garden. We had the one out on the lawn, and she would try and spray water at you. This also included the many PSW’s who trusted her with the shower hose!

Right from the beginning of her stay, the change due to the Alzheimer’s was fast. Every day we tried to keep her mind occupied with activities, walks, outings, planting. I found her drawn to the kid-sized 100 piece puzzles, I had saved. This was interesting since she was never interested in them before. She would try so hard to maneuver the pieces, and stay focused for a long time

One of our first activities was an acrylic painting, I set up paints, canvas, easel  and cushioned rocking chair with a view outside. Since it was still March with lots of snow, I had leaned our old wagon wheel to the side of the driveway earlier. At first she argued as to what she would paint, and I pointed to the wheel. Then I quickly penciled a stick wheel, and she sat right down. Over an hour passed before she grew tired, and never finished that painting but always looked at it. After that I could only encourage her to do some colouring, with crayons, on a Teddy Bear Doodle.

It was quite an experience to live with and see first hand the effects of these diseases that affect not just our minds, but eventually the inability to control your body. There were days with moments of clarity and she would ask why she couldn’t remember things any more. Those times were the hardest times as well, but, the best times for her to look at photos, and anything to jog her memories really.

Her tomatoes ripened just after her stroke, and the roses started blooming. We made lots of tomato dishes and brought the roses inside. They have since bloomed again, just in time for her birthday.

Grandma’s rose 2018

Toad with Mushroom

Photograph of Toad with Mushroom 2015

Living in the country, there is so much wildlife to appreciate.

Like this cute little American toad, I only noticed because of the lovely mushroom it happened to be beside. We are so fortunate to live in an area full of these creatures. The evenings are loud with their calls echoing through our part of the Ottawa valley.

I liked this picture so much, and still determined to work with acrylic, I tried it on some art paper.

I decided to go with less detail, I sketched the toad and mushroom with a few leaves and some blades of grass. After adding some acrylic paint, I inked the Toad and Mushroom to pop them out.

Thank you to Stephanie Haas, for her help in identifying the American Toad.

“Please Save the Orangutans”

Orangutan Foundation international Canada


Orangutan awareness week – Nov 4-10, 2018!


I have always wanted to challenge myself with a large painting. So after finally being able to purchase some on sale in 2015, I was ready. After deciding on Orangutans, then looking through many posted images. I settled on a mother with a baby on her back.

Orangutans Source Photo

I began the process of enlarging the photo by using the grid method. Sketching and shading the orangutans onto the canvas, it had begun. A little intimidated, I started with the background, following the rules of back to front, light to dark, thin to thick using many layers of oil paint.I left the orangutans pencil grey at this point. Many people thought it was finished, it was quite striking.

Being such a large canvas, I found my easels were very flimsy for the task of holding the 3ft x 4 ft canvas. So I really had to hold on as I painted, which is very challenging, especially when i paint all sides of the canvas.

I have had many life distractions, including other art related projects in between the many layers added. For Christmas 2017, I was given a new bigger easel, which arrived in Jan 2018. I never really had a chance to put it to use, until recently. So after testing it out with the Horse, it was finally the Orangutans’ turn.

While working on the Orangutans, I was made more aware of their plight. I discovered how many products I was personally using that contained palm oils. We made a huge effort to read all labels and avoid even more products. As we had also changed our eating to vegetarians, due to food allergies, we found our list of things to avoid growing.  We try to cook all our food from scratch and purchase as much locally as possible. A great site helping organize that info is Better World Shopper.

I would like to bring attention to a wonderfully animated video that was banned for being too political, regarding the struggle of the orangutans, now on YouTube.

Orangutan Awareness Week 2018

2018, oil, not done