Nostalgia for old times and ability to create gifts is a gift, too

I’m probably getting old or older, but I am definitely having recently some nostalgia for these times which won’t ever return.

I believe, I am not taking too well the huge overload of commercials screaming at me from everywhere. Wherever I look, it’s just buy this and get this for free and hurry up because these discounts won’t last. Endlessly. It might be also because we never had a large family, and when I was young we were not that much about gifts.

My most memories are about preparations to celebrate Christmas or the New Year. This brings back some fantastic smells of pies and pastries in the oven, the fresh scent of fir-tree and aroma of candles. And real lights of real candles, so warm and so alive. We used to sing a lot, as well. These are sounds of old songs, partially forgotten, but I can still sing them in quite a few languages: my first foreign language was Russian, the next was German, I picked it up early and was able to use fluently by the time I was 12, the third was English quite a few years later. I am a native Latvian, and we have millions of folk songs, so many that every Latvian can call one his or her own. So, yes, we were following the very ancient Latvian traditions which are actually more ancient than English or German traditions since Latvian along with Lithuanian belong to the most ancient still alive languages and can be traced back to the ages of Sanskrit.

I can also remember how we were walking through the deep snow to the nearby forest to get the most beautiful tree. I was told I was only 4 years old. That’s amazing, but I can recall the walk, the snow and the forest. That’s how I’m painting my fir trees, they look exactly as those ones which I saw 52 years ago.

However, my intention was to share the idea about how kids and teens should rather create and make their gifts than try to buy something for money which they probably haven’t even earned yet. We were a lot about creativity, and that was all we were doing when not reading or working: sewing, drawing, painting, making toys, household items, and jewelry, things for our house and for our living space. There were so many ways to bring beauty into our home, and nobody was really worried about expenses because these self-made things did not cost anything or just a little in materials.

I maintained this ability to create everything from practically nothing all my life. I find it exciting, way more exciting than going to the store and buying stuff made in China. I find some of the decorations they sell absolutely tasteless. How much of attraction can actually plastic things have? Fake trees are still somehow OK, even artificial berries and fir and pine cones, but if you ask me, I’d say nothing compares to self-made decorations. However, I love glass balls and ornaments. We used to have some from 1912 and 1938. I asked my mom how that was possible to keep these ornaments not broken through all wars and troubles, and she said they were so small and so lovely, and they were associated with so many memories that everybody was taking an extremely good care about them.

So, finalizing the previously said, I was asking quite a few people:

This holiday season, instead of buying your gift, you could paint one, couldn’t you?

Village in snow acrylic demo for painting class

It takes only 3 hours which is such a tiny moment compared to the huge amount of positive energy residing in such a gift. It stays with one for ever.

Winter cardinal, acrylic painting

The other day we were painting some birds.

Small acrylic painting of winter scene

This is one more of small paintings I did for demonstration, it’s 12 x 16 in

Happy holidays Gift painting

I virtually wrapped up one painting, and let’s see, maybe somebody will think they are good gifts and drop in the gallery, too.

Fun while traveling, Latvian musicians, Rose Festival, commissioned paintings and my farewell cake

My long trip is almost over. Just one more day in Latvia, and I’m flying home.

This was such a pleasurable travel experience, even though, the weather was not showing its sunny side at first.

Not only was I enjoying a lot, but I also got some useful things done.

My daughter had arranged a very interesting come-together in her garden. The funny part was borsch which her guests cooked straight over the fire in a special pot since modern pots would simply split apart. The taste of this soup was superb since it cooked slowly and became like an extract of all good and fresh things within it.

The real Russian borsch on a fire

Cooking outdoors borsch

The surprise guest was the famous Latvian musician Gacho who did not mind attending this small party since he is a friend of my daughter’s friend. Gacho’s musical genre is best described as a mix of electronic music, hip-hop and punk rock, and his shows are attracting plenty of audience which is taken away by his charming manner of performance. Why do I like his music? I’m not that young: getting close to 56. The content of Gacho’s music is not limited to plain rhythmic experiences decorated with some equally simple lyrics.

 

The well-known and amazing Latvian musician Gacho (Gatis Irbe) did not mind to have some photos taken

Gacho: hip hop musician and me

Here we go: Gacho enjoying our delicious snacks, and I am enjoying the entire party and guests

Garden party at my daughter' s place with Gacho and friends, including author of lyrics Victors

I admire mostly the very rich lyrics, the feeling of something behind tunes and words in his songs. He also has a rich, impressive personality, and we had an amazing talk about his background, family (mom artist, dad sportsman), and it was surprising how he was not trying to make himself more important or less approachable than just a regular guy. Anyway, that was a big pleasure. His manners were excellent, too. He sent a thank you message for the nice conversation. I wish Gacho (his real name is Gatis Irbe) lots of new shows (he just had one huge in Liepaja, Latvia), plenty of luck and musical inspiration. I’d love to thank him, as well.

Commissioned poppy painting in acrylic

The first of two paintings

Red poppies: commissioned acrylic painting

My paintings of poppies in acrylic

I managed to get done two poppy paintings which I had promised a while ago. Time was pushing me, but the client was very satisfied after these paintings were installed on the wall. The worst part was, I had very little time to take some pictures, and no chance to take some pictures in a good light. Oh well, they loved these paintings, and who cares how their images look like?

Side by side view: poppy paintings in acrylic

Side by side: commissioned poppy paintings

We had a chance to attend the Rose Festival in a small Latvian town Tukums.

Almost the entire family

My family, however, the oldest grandson and my husband were not present, and my son-in-law was taking this picture

The wreath made of real roses

The huge wreath was made only of live roses. Just imagine how many should be there!

Small town Tukums

Small town: Tukums

The Rose Festival

The Rose Festival was well attended

Poppies along the road

Poppies along the road

This town was very attractive. Beautiful views were on both sides of the road, but twilight was getting closer really rapidly, so my small camera was unable to take good pictures of wild poppies.

My farewell cake

My farewell cake: delicious and beautiful

Anyway, my grandson has started to worry about his computer, so I have to finish my writing. I’d love to finish it with a beautiful and fantastically tasting, oh-so delicious farewell cake. My sister made it knowing how much I love home-made cakes, all from scratch with real fresh garden strawberries. Thanks my dear sister! The cake was wonderful.

Happy Mother’s Day to Every Mom on the Globe

I’m on one side of this globe, my mom is on the other. We talk on the phone, and we meet in person every two years. The distance does not scare me as long as I know, I will hear her happy voice on the other end when calling. The best thing is to know that my mom IS THERE. She is going to be 82 this fall, and I hope to meet her around that time.

My mom: 80th birthday

We have one celebration in Latvia, that I’m missing here, in Canada. This day is called Angel’s day or Name’s day. My mom’s name is Irena, and her Name’s day falls together with Mother’s day this year. So, this is a nice reason for double greetings.

The older I’m getting, the more I have started to understand and appreciate my mother and everything she has done for me. I notice more and more features we have in common. I sometimes catch myself acting exactly the way she always is.

There are 2 grandmothers, 3 mothers, 2 daughters and 3 granchildren in this family. How do you think, how many are we? (Answer at the end)

My daughter, my mom and me during their stay in Canada

Too bad, we are never expressing and showing enough love, respect and appreciation to some person while that person is still around. I am never regretting things I have done, things I haven’t done, money I have spent, time I have wasted, but I will always regret I did not say my dad how much I cared about him and how much I loved him while it was still possible. He has passed away now, and there won’t be any more opportunities to do that.

That’s why I’m calling my mom as often as I can, I’m saying her all the best words I am able to find, and I’m showing her how much I care.

White lilies are my mom’s most favorite flowers. I was painting this pastel, and many memories came to my mind, and many good thoughts were implemented in this painting.

This for you, mom!

Happy Mother’s day!

I wish, every mother on this planet experienced some time how much loved, appreciated and honoured she is.

Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers!

Answer to question: We are 5: my mom, me, my daughter, and 2 grandchildren

New Year, New Art and New Experience

Happy New Year!

The new year should make us richer with new ideas, intentions and goals, help us better understand ourselves and never let us down, as we go through our life and this time.

I woke up this morning and suddenly realized how happy I was. There was nothing to complain about. The morning was crisp and sunny, it almost seemed like spring.

I could spend the entire day as I wish. Nothing was hurting me, there were no regrets about the previous day. I had complete freedom over my decisions and intentions, and the day was just about to start. It was like a promise, and I had no doubts this promise will be kept.

What is holding us back when we are unable to turn our dreams into reality? Small issues, big issues or imaginative issues which might be not even existing?

In fact, it is very simple in most cases:

Identify what is disturbing you, and get rid of it.

When it’s impossible to get rid of it, try to handle it in the best way.

I tried to take pictures of my most recent paintings. They might be not the best ones on the globe, but this is how I’m starting this year.

My African violets are in full bloom, three are purple, one is pink, and one is white. They blossom every year around this time, and that’s when I paint them.

 

This is a small watercolour which we were doing in some December classes.

 

We also started this small rural watercolour scene during one December class.

 

This is my most recent stll life, fairly large.

Other news will follow this week.