Poppies for Remembrance Day

….a time to reflect on my Father’s life

Dad always said that November was the hardest month of the year for him. It always made him feel sad, especially in the last few years of his life. He was a very young man, only 17, when he joined the army and he saw many of his friends die before his eyes. He often wondered why he was spared.

The other thing that I think he found difficult was the fact that he fought for the ‘other side’ and he knew that no one, here, would be thanking him for his service. He never talked about it but I know that it weighed heavily on him. I do know that he was always very grateful for the friendships he forged after the war, first with the Americans who helped him after he escaped the Russian prison camp and then with the English who gave him his first job.

Years later he emigrated from Germany to Canada with his new and growing family. He quickly got a good job at the Royal York Hotel in his chosen line of work. He was able to buy a car almost right away and four years after arriving in Toronto he bought his first home in Oakville. Dad always made friends easily with other German immigrants and Canadians alike. No one seemed to look down on him because he fought in the German army.

Over the years Dad pursued a variety of jobs but his happiest days were as an entrepreneur. When I was 16, Mom and Dad started their own fabric and sewing machine business and never looked back. Again Dad was at the top of his game when he was surrounded by people and both he and Mom had close ties with the business and local community.

As the years passed, Dad lost my mother while vacationing in Mexico in 1993 and then his second wife in 2017. When he turned 90 in 2016 we had a big party for him. Despite having lost numerous friends already he always made new friends where ever he went and yet come November he would always reflect on those who had died before him and he would fall into a deep depression.

Dad passed away almost four weeks ago. This Remembrance Day I will reflect on all the good times I had with him in my lifetime. It will be bittersweet. This painting is dedicated to you Dad.


Share Your World – Week 45

….week 45?…. are there really only 7 weeks left in the year?

What is your favorite color?

Easy, peasy! RedP1020016 photo 4-171 P1000579

In what do you find the simplest of joys?

I find great joy in a good book, quiet time at the cottage, conversations with my husband, getting lost in creating new art and hugs from my students.IMG_3231

Would you prefer a reading nook or an art, craft, photography studio?

If I can’t have both I’d have to choose an art studio. I need a place where I can put out my supplies and leave them out and not worry about putting things away because company is coming or family is staying overnight and need to sleep where I currently do my art.IMG_2883

What is at least one of your favorite quotes?

I don’t know who said it first but I believe in “live in the moment”.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am grateful for time with family. The memorial for my aunt and my daughter’s birthday brought together the family for two days. Some family members I see regularly but others only occasionally and it was nice having everyone together even if it was only for a couple of days.

This week I’m looking forward to our annual Remembrance Day service at school. Everyone has worked very hard to make the day special and if it’s anything like other years it will be a very touching and memorable day.

I’m also looking forward to spending some time with friends and going to another concert put on by the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto. On Saturday or Sunday I’m also entertaining a young man (J’s 7 year old nephew)  by taking him to the ROM. It’s always fun taking children to the museum.

For more Share Your World posts check out Cee’s photography.

Art for Remembrance Day

….Picasso’s Doves of Peace drawings were the inspiration for this lesson

Pablo Picasso was very political and didn’t like how the world’s peace initiatives were emerging after after the the second world war. He created The Dove of Peace as an extraordinarily powerful and lasting political symbol for peace, liberation and equality around the globe. Doves also had a highly personal significance for Picasso, going back to childhood memories of his father painting the doves that were kept in the family home. Doves were a frequent presence in Picasso’s homes and studios in Paris and in the south of France. ( adapted from Tate.org.uk)

Back in the spring when I came across The Dove of Peace I decided then and there that I wanted to do a similar theme for this year’s Remembrance Day assembly. I liked the simplicity of the drawings and felt that my students would be up for the challenge.

I didn’t want every student to draw doves so I had them research symbols of peace that could be easily drawn. My only rule was that the picture couldn’t have blood or weapons in it. After working out a rough copy of what they wanted to draw I gave each student a piece of watercolour paper. They were allowed to choose between a small and medium size.

First they drew their symbol with pencil and then went over the lines with crayon. To make the symbol  stand out more I showed them how to add a bit of black marker. Then I taught them how to do a simple wash of colour for the their background while leaving the symbol white. This was a difficult concept for some because they wanted to paint everything.

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As a final touch the children were allowed to take photographs of each other. The photo had to symbolize friendship and or peace. Some children embraced each other while others shook hands. If they didn’t want a photo taken the other option was to find a magazine picture with the same theme. The pictures were in black and white because we printed them from the computers in the room onto our shared printer which only prints in black.

On Friday, most of the art was finished and ready to be displayed in the gym. Other classes did a similar theme and some of the younger grades changed it up a bit. All in all, everyone did a great job and the space looks wonderful. A big thank you goes out to all the staff and students.




Peace Banners

…. created by students at my school for Remembrance Day

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peace banner

This is the first year I’ve missed the Remembrance Day assembly at school. I was off recovering from my surgery. Before I left I was able to collect most of the banners and a group of us picked some of the best from different grades within the school. We asked 5 students to talk about their banners at the assembly.

I took photos of the banners that were chosen and of the ones we were considering. One of my colleagues, K, agreed to create a slide show that would play while the students and our guests came into the gym. I also requested that someone take pictures of the gym after it was decorated with the banners. I think the children did a great job. Enjoy!

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Back to Normal?

…. not quite yet

The library has been weeded of 1300 damaged and outdated books, hundreds of new books have been processed and added to the newly organized shelves, and the cases from the book fair were picked up today.

The book fair was a huge success. Over $6700. worth of merchandise was sold and 60% comes back into the library in the way of new books. I had a crew of student helpers that drove me crazy at times with their enthusiasm but I couldn’t have survived the week without them. Today I rewarded them with some of the merchandise from the fair (pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners and treats). 

I thought the day would be somewhat normal but our caretaker kindly started to assemble my new desk in the middle of the library and a group of students helped me put the books back into one the carousels  that had to be emptied last week before we could move it in the first place. I still have a little bit of paperwork to do before I find out exactly how much money I have to spend on books.

Tomorrow I have to assemble over a hundred peace banners designed by the students to string and hang in the gym for our Remembrance Day assembly on Friday. I also have to get lessons ready for a supply teacher who is going to cover my classes for three days while I’m away. I have to undergo minor surgery and hopefully there won’t be any complications. I foolishly thought I could go back to work the next day but my doctor said I could be off for as long as a week. I’ve booked 3 days which takes me into the weekend.

I have a few more report cards I have to proofread before I can go to bed so I’m going to sign off. Hopefully my new desk will be assembled tomorrow and I’m hoping to share some of the peace banners that my students designed. Till tomorrow. Cheers!


Playing with Paint

…. when it rains it pours

Literally it was pouring rain today and the kids were indoors all day. That’s tough on the kids and the teachers.

My friend L and I left school earlier than we normally do and headed for Art Junction hoping to find some free materials for my art classes and for her dance and music classes. The posters I was hoping to get weren’t accessible today because of a flood they had earlier in the summer but I did find these great banners that can be cut to size.  The  back side of these banners are blank and white and will work well for painting projects. L found lots of interesting materials for making instruments with the kids and she picked up some very funky costumes to use for her grade 5 opera production.

When I got home tonight I checked out a lot of art blogs and was so inspired that I finally pulled out my paints and had a great time. I created 3 mono prints on yupo paper and worked on making 3 examples of peace banners (using the recycled banners from Art Junction). This year for our Remembrance Day assembly we decided to decorate the gym with peace flags created by the children.

When I said ‘when it rains, it pours’ I was also referring to my obsession with painting. Once I start I don’t want to stop. It’s now 1:50 in the morning and I have to get up at 6:30 to go to work. The good thing about doing art is that I don’t snack….hmmm, maybe I should do more of this but stop at a more reasonable hour.

Here are the pieces of art that I was working on. The yupo prints are 6″ x 8″ and the flags are 14″ long.