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PAUSE – 17. 17 – Choose Good To Feel Better

December 6, 2017

Reflection:  The daylight hours are dwindling here in western Canada. The sky is dark when we roll out of bed, and it’s dark again before dinnertime.

Early winter has descended – with a combination of snowy, slippery, icy streets and sidewalks as the temperature bounces around on either side of the freezing point.

For the other three seasons of the year – spring, summer and fall – I’m highly motivated to roll out of bed and step right into my sneakers for my morning walk along the river. This time of year – not so much!

And, so, I struggle to get my exercise – that 30 minutes of fresh air and movement that renews my body and restores my soul. Somehow, it’s not the same to be taking that walk mid-day when the path is fully lit and I can see where I’m going. And, it’s not the same to be heading out at the end of the afternoon, when I’m already weary after a day’s work and what I most want to do is put my feet up by the fire and sip a glass of wine.

What I have learned, though, is that just because it’s not the same, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done – or that it won’t be good. Each time I work an outdoor ramble into my mid or late day schedule I come back glad I went – mind clearer and body stronger.

 

Action: When it comes to doing those things that are good for us, especially when it’s not easy, it helps to keep the outcome in mind. (more…)

PAUSE – 16.15 – Get to The Root Of The Matter

May 11, 2016

RootsandRocks-wReflection: One of my favorite features in our backyard garden is a pond and stream nestled under the giant Scots Pine. I love watching the goldfish glide through the water and the songbirds splash in the stream.

That pond has also been a source of great consternation. For the last few years, keeping the water level up has been a challenge. As you might guess, the idea of fish out of water – literally – is not a pretty thought.

Over time, I’ve attempted a lot of different fixes. I wrapped the hose that carries the water from the pond to the top of the stream in a vinyl liner so any leaks would funnel back into the pond. I sealed around the spout at the top of the stream so the water no longer splashes over the edges.

I adjusted the pump and filter to control the flow of water in the stream. All were temporary fixes at best. At the end of the season last year, the water level in the pond still dropped six inches every single day.

This spring I decided a major dismantling of the streambed was in order, and that’s how I spent last Friday. I took the whole thing apart – stone by stone – and as it turned out, root by root.

Apparently the Scots pine that shelters the pond had claimed the stream as its own private drinking fountain. In three separate places, one-inch diameter roots had crept over the bank and into the stream – sending out smaller rootlets both up and down the waterway.

It took me four hours of steady work to rid the stream of a four-inch thick mat of roots and to free the rocks and stones held captive within. I traced the big roots back and cut each of them as far from the stream as possible.

I’m sure they’ll move in again, but this time I know to watch for it and will hopefully catch them sooner rather than later.

The fix was not easy – and it may not be permanent. But, at least I’m feeling more confident that this time I actually got to the root of the matter. Time will tell. (more…)

PAUSE – 16.07 – Simple Pleasures

March 16, 2016

Spring Returns -w-210

Reflection: When my dear Aunt Eileen moved from her large home in Edmonton into a small assisted living apartment here in Saskatoon, I took her a small bouquet of flowers – just a couple of blossoms in a tiny glass vase.

She loved that vase and it held a place of honor on the coffee table in her new living room.

On my regular visits I brought fresh blossoms to replace the ones that were past their prime.

That vase and its flowers were a Small Treasure that delivered a Simple Pleasure.

I learned the value of small but wonderful from my parents. Each year my father made a pilgrimage to the patch of prairie where he knew the first blooms of spring would appear. Each year he placed a small bowl of fuzzy purple crocuses on the kitchen table – a gift to Mom from Dad and Mother Nature.

As spring turned into summer, and the flowers in the garden burst into bloom, my mother regularly harvested handfuls of blossoms (nasturtiums, calendula, poppies, pansies).

She placed these nosegays and posies in small vases scattered on counters, shelves and window ledges throughout the house. More small treasures that delivered simple pleasure!

(more…)

Diary Of A Painting

March 28, 2015

Tree In Canola Field-100-wEver wonder how a painting moves from inspiration to finished work?

Here’s a behind the scenes look at the progression of a recent painting titled Field Trees. (more…)

Your Fifth Pauseworks Postcard Pick Of The Week

July 30, 2014

Vermont Road PW Postcard-wHere it is! The fifth of nine chances in the 2014 ‘Summer Sketchbook Special’ to own a piece of original art at a sizzling price of just $49 (plus applicable taxes and $10 for shipping).

Backroads Of Vermont is number five in the series of Pauseworks Postcards.

Each 4” x 6” postcard features the Pauseworks Studio 2014 postmark in an upper corner.

Each will be surface mounted on a coordinating 6” x 8” mat board ready for framing or display as is.

To claim your PW Postcard, just send me an email with the words ‘I’ll Take It’ in the subject line.

The first reader to call dibs on each week’s mini masterpiece takes it. Enjoy … and may the early bird snag the sketch.

BTW – if another early bird beats you to the draw, and you’d like to order a print or prefer something in a larger size, here’s the link to make that happen: Backroads of Vermont.

Note: Only the original bears the PW Studio stamp.

You can always check out this and other images on my Fine Art PauseWorks Studio Gallery Website.

PAUSE 13.29 – Paris, Parks & Peace Of Mind

October 30, 2013

http://pat-katz.artistwebsites.com/featured/rue-de-buci-paris-pat-katz.html

Sur Rue De Buci Paris

Reflection: The final week of my recent ‘Grand Pause’ was spent in Paris. It’s a city that’s renowned for its monuments (think Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe), its museums (think Louvre and Musee d-Osay), and of course its food (think buttery croissants and boeuf bourguignon).

Like any large metropolis, it also has a few downsides. Nonstop crowds of people and hordes of tourists (yep, I was one of them). Bikes, scooters, cars and buses all jostling for space on the streets. Honking horns and ‘ee-aw’ sirens day and night.

And still, in the midst of the commotion, there are places of peace and tranquility. The wide open spaces of public gardens – like the Luxembourg, the Tuileries, and Parc Monceau – are well used by the residents of the city.

Even more appealing to me are the many Parisian ‘pocket gardens’ tucked away in hidden spaces – just around the corner from the chaos of city life. You can find these tiny oases secreted away beside the National Archives, behind Notre Dome, on the western point of Isle de la Cite, and in countless other nooks and crannies sprinkled throughout the city.

These ‘parcs de poche’ as the French might call them are quiet, green, and frequented by individuals or small groups of two or three people who are clearly enjoying the peace and tranquility on offer.

 

Action: In the chaos and commotion of your daily life, where are your private parks – your points of pause and places of peace?

They could be anywhere. A bench in the atrium of a nearby office building. A corner in a public conservatory. A swing in a schoolyard or neighborhood park. A window seat looking outdoors from your local coffee shop. The lawn chair in your backyard.

Whatever and wherever they may be, keep them on your radar. Build time-out visits into your regular routine.

There’s much to be said for a pause practice that delivers a measure of peace and quiet in the midst of a crazy day and a chaotic world.

 

Quotes Of The Week:

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home. – Gary Snyder

Time and space – time to be alone, space to move about – these may well become the great scarcities of tomorrow. – Edwin Way Teale

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. – John Muir

And this chuckle by Demetri Martin is just plain goofy: I was walking in the park and this guy waved at me. Then he said, “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.” I said, “I am.”

 

Resource Of The Week: Do you or does someone you know need more convincing that downtime is essential? Here it is – signed, sealed and delivered – in this article from Scientific American: Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime.

 

Readers Write: In response to the last ezine, All Will Be Well, Pause reader CT writes: Thank you for your e-zine this week. My husband often tells me something similar: “Everything’s going to be all right”. Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t; and yet he always seems to be right. I tend to catastrophize situations. Right now I’m at a low place. Things are not going as planned, and I despair. My head says I need to act on faith (as you put it) and stay the course, but my heart isn’t in the same place. Your reminder that “All will be well” was timely indeed!

Your Final 49’er Of The Summer

August 28, 2013

Bird In The Begonias-wWell, all good things come to an end, including the ‘7×7 Summer Sunshine Sizzling Sketchbook Special’.

 

Here’s number nine (the last) in the series of 49′ers: Bird In The Begonias. That’s an original 7” x 7” watercolor painting – 49 square inches of original art for $49 (plus tax and $10 for shipping).

To make it yours, just send me an email with ‘I’ll Take It’ in the subject line. The first reader to call dibs on each of the nine pieces (one a week) takes it away. Thanks to all the ‘dibbers’ from recent weeks. Good luck this time around!

This is your last chance to pick up an original piece of art at a sizzling summer rate. Enjoy … and may the early bird snag the sketch!

BTW – if another early bird beats you to it, and you’d like your own reproduction OR you’d prefer a print in a larger size, here’s the link to make that happen: Bird In The Begonias. While you’re there, be sure to read the backstory about the image in the Description section of the listing.

 

You can always check out this and other images on my Fine Art Pauseworks Studio Gallery Website.
Your 7th 49’er Of The Summer

August 14, 2013

Aspen On The Rocks-wBRAND NEW this summer is the ‘7×7 Summer Sunshine Sizzling Sketchbook Special’.
Here’s number seven in the series of 49′ers: Aspen On The Rocks. That’s an original 7” x 7” watercolor painting – 49 square inches of original art for $49 (plus tax and $10 for shipping).
To make it yours, just send me an email with ‘I’ll Take It’ in the subject line. The first reader to call dibs on each of the nine pieces (one a week) takes it away. Thanks to all the ‘dibbers’ from recent weeks. Good luck this time around!
This is your chance to pick up an original piece of art at a sizzling summer rate. Enjoy … and may the early bird snag the sketch!
BTW – if another early bird beats you to it, and you’d like your own reproduction OR you’d prefer a print in a larger size, here’s the link to make that happen: Aspen On The Rocks. While you’re there, be sure to read the backstory about the image in the Description section of the listing.
You can always check out this and other images on my Fine Art Pauseworks Studio Gallery Website.

PAUSE – 13.23 – Are Curiosity & Discovery Top Of Mind?

June 12, 2013

Reflection: So here I am on a bright midsummer morning weeding in the front yard. Down the sidewalk comes a three old youngster on his tricycle with his mom trailing behind.

As they reach our front yard, Junior spots a shiny penny on the sidewalk. He hops off his trike, picks up the penny, and spends the next few minutes in a solitary game of Fetch – tossing the penny, retrieving it, and throwing it again. Eventually, it lands in the lawn. Lost!

No tears – just resignation – as magically, in place of the penny, a ladybug appears. He scoops the ladybug up in his hand and watches it crawl up his finger. With mom’s help, he masters the art of transferring the bug from one hand to another, until it spreads its wings and flies away.

No worries – there’s more to discover. The crows in the birch tree launch a caw fest. The little guy looks up to check things out, and his hat tumbles off his head onto the sidewalk.

Bending over to pick up his hat, he finds an earthworm. Dropping to his hands and knees, nose near the action, he patiently follows the worm’s wriggling progress from one edge of the walk to the other.

At this point, an airplane approaches. Junior jumps up, points it out to his mom and stands with his arm in the air tracing the aircraft’s path until it disappears from sight.

By this time, he has worked up quite a thirst. The little guy begs a sip from the juice box Mom holds at the ready, hops back on his tricycle, and off they go.

Over the course of 15 minutes, they moved a grand total of 15 feet. Not exactly a power stroll or roll! But, an extraordinary example of living and learning – approaching everyday experiences with a sense of curiosity and a spirit of discovery- with what we might call Beginner’s Mind.

 

Action: We were all beginners … once upon a time. (more…)

February Blues Banisher

February 15, 2013

Here’s a little visual magic and music to banish those mid February blues and brighten your day, complements of the Pauseworks Studio. Enjoy, and pass it along!

For details on these paintings and more, check out the Pauseworks Studio on Fine Art America.