Friday, October 30, 2009

Precious Time

My life hijacked my painting time this week. However, I don’t begrudge that as my focus was on my dear Mom who has Alzheimer’s disease. I travelled to Calgary to visit her. She was recently moved into long term care – a transition that takes a lot of adjustment for everyone. When I see her now, as her life slips slowly away and she loses touch with her loved ones, I am refocused on the importance of each precious year and week and day we have.

Back here at home, I managed to fit in my drawing class and I continue to carry my sketchbook with me where ever I go. I use my precious daily hour on the train as I’m travelling to and from work to draw or read about art . Sometimes I draw the other commuters. It can get a bit uncomfortable if one of them notices, but most are reading, snoozing or playing with their BlackBerries or iPods. So my sketch book has pages of figures with heads in that bobbing-for-apples angle of someone dozing while in an upright position. It is my choice, as the artist, whether or not to include any drool.

I’m not always feeling bold enough to face annoyed looks if I get caught, so on other days, I draw from my photographs or from ideas in my head. An interesting exercise is to draw a familiar place from memory. I pick a spot, for example, my kitchen and draw as much as I remember, testing how observant I am. The next time I go to that spot, I notice so much more - great practice for honing my observational skills and my memory.

The more that I do, artistically, the more creative ideas I have about writing, drawing and painting. My mind is overflowing with ideas! More ideas than precious time. Then there is the rest of life to balance: I want to maintain good relationships and perfom well at work and connect with friends and have a clean house (without actually having to clean it) and eat well and exercise. And floss. 

Big breath in. Pause. Big breath out.

Time is so precious.


The book I'm reading this week:  The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Watch the video of his last lecture on YouTube
Over an hour long but you can do it in bits. It is worth your precious time.


  1. Oh Shelley, so sad about your mom, but your attitude towards life is heartwarming and a lesson to others.

    Your sketches of your fellow commuters are great - I always travelled to work by car so never realised these wonderful opportunities that life gives us on the morning and evening commutes.

  2. Thanks Liz for your warm comment about my Mom. I know a lot of boomers are experiencing similar challenges with their aging parents.

  3. I have found that breathing is really good. I used to commute a lot on public transportation and felt that I used my time well - as you certainly are Shelley. My heart goes out to you as my own mom passed five years ago. I love that you are painting pictures for her. Gary