Paint Nite

January 4, 2017


I had intended to write something different for my first 2017 posting here, but since, as a family, we spent the second evening of the New Year at Paint Nite – I now want to share my thoughts on this. Both my kids and of course professional artist husband Deryk are already into making artsy things. As am I. Son-in-law Tyler has more of an interest in technology so it was a newer experience for him. But we’d heard some general talk about the popularity of painting in a pub and we wanted to experience it.

It was a small room packed with 50 participants and we were elbow-to-elbow as we worked on our paintings. There was a set image that we were to paint, but there was no mandate to follow the rules. Almost everybody did (a couple of my family members were the only exceptions to this – I will not name them). We truly started with a blank canvas and I have read that this often surprises people as they expect the session to be more of a paint-by-numbers thing, with the drawing already done for them.

But the rules for outlining the image and then filling-it-in were given in small, humorous doses – a big raw blue sky, smooshy aurora effects, silhouette trees. And it was pretty easy to follow along.

A little refreshment, a lot of selfie-taking and an amazingly focused group of people. All the paintings came out strikingly similar. I spoke to people who planned to give their paintings as gifts and a friend’s daughter who happened to be at the same Paint Nite told me that this was her ninth time!

I did some reading on the topic the next day and found that this whole thing is much bigger than I knew, in fact it’s a multi-million dollar business. It’s clearly filling a need but NOT the need for self-expression. Folks wanted to have their painting turn out as close to the official image as possible. But, like knitting a sweater from a pattern, each painter could say “I made this myself.” And that is important.

Can it be that Paint Nite addresses the same need that drives people to love vinyl recordings and polaroid photos – that “turn your back on digital” point of view?

It makes me think that there is a lot of potential out there for people to take on projects that would be satisfying and perhaps a bit more individualistic than Paint Nite. I guess I hope that this trend will evolve and spark some further creativity.

And, although I won’t be giving my painting as a gift (or hanging it anywhere, even though it does look more or less like it’s supposed to) I did have a lot of fun and so did everyone else as far as I can tell 🙂




Solstice – 2016 at the Peace Garden

December 21, 2016

When “Solstice” was first installed at Woodwynn (last spring) I promised myself to be there at sunrise on the morning of the winter solstice. And today, with Deryk, I did just that. We arrived early. It was still very dark and we walked around as we waited for dawn, almost feeling the world turning under our feet in order to reveal that first glow in the sky. At first we heard an owl and then other birds awoke with different sounds. A flock of geese flew over and we laughed at the trumpeting noise. There were clouds today so when the light did appear, it gave a soft, shadowless feeling. There’s an infinity of moods in the Peace Garden. This morning was extra special.

As many of you already know, the sculpture was inspired by a quote by Albert Camus: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” (as translated in Lyrical and Critical Essays, 1968)

Here are a few photos:



Autumn at Woodwynn

October 22, 2016

Just a few misty pictures from the past week 🙂

As always, we find peace in this place and we are grateful…

Elizabeth working in the shed

September 5, 2016

Just a couple of photos Deryk took of me in the glass studio when I didn’t know he was watching. My kiln has been in the shed for a while but we’ve just gotten to the point where everything was in place and it was safe to run. First load turned out great!

Article about the Peace Garden

August 8, 2016

Starts on Page 6 of the August “Eyes on BC”.

By David Morrison.


Skydiver and fish

July 24, 2016

Great day at Woodwynn yesterday. Caught this very special moment with my cellphone!


End of June – Woodwynn Peace Garden

June 30, 2016

Something new from Deryk….  this one didn’t “get away!)

(We’re watching the movie “Big Fish” to celebrate.)

We had a warm spring so perhaps the timing will be different in future years, but this year, June was an amazing time of colour in the Peace Garden. The lavender bloomed all month and many of the sage plants bloomed as well. We actually expected all of the sage plants to flower but it seemed to be pretty random. Perhaps since they are still really relatively new plants (just a year old) it will take time for them to all flower or perhaps there will always be some plants that don’t flower in a given year.



Apple tree lane is thick with apples that are full size and quite red at this point and beautiful pink poppies appeared by magic near the meditation nest.



We’ve kept up with the watering. We’ve almost kept up with the weeding….

We never stop appreciating the beauty of the location and we are always grateful to be a part of the farm!



And there are interesting developments around the farm outside of the Peace Garden as well 🙂