Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Family Christmas

For the first time ever this year we opted to fly instead of drive to visit family for Christmas. Amidst ice storms and dozens of cancelled or delayed flights, we somehow got lucky with only a short delay. I was so glad I packed my watercolour book and Derwent Inktense pencils to pass the time. In the airport lounge we were amused by two little kids, Olivia and Jack, as they goofed around. They moved way to quickly to sketch, so I drew Jack's luggage horsy with his jacket propped over the handle instead. On the turbulent plane ride to Toronto, I was captivated by an elderly lady absorbed in her crosswords puzzles.

We spent the first night with my brother and sister-in-law and our 3 nieces, ages 3, 5, and 7. Then we borrowed their car and drove to Wakefield, Quebec to spend Christmas in Wakefield with my sister and her family. We'll return on the 29th to celebrate New Years with them. My sister and her husband built their dream home this year, and I was really excited to share their first Christmas in it together.

I gave my 8 year old niece, Claire, a watercolour set for Christmas along with some learn-to-draw books. We started every morning together drawing interesting things around the house… Christmas ornaments, plants, Claire's stuffies…

…and just seconds up their lane way we had tons of fun tobogganing with the neighbours. They live in paradise here, with amazing friends in the few homes surrounding them, private x-country ski and snowshoe trails, and maple trees they tap in the spring.

 They built their dream home in the small apple and pear orchard in the land next to their old house.

 Here we are clearing the way for the toboggan hill…

Some of the fun things we sketched and painted…

After I went to bed one night, my brother-in-law's cousin and his girlfriend arrived. I woke up to the remnants. From how I spelt "The", it looks like I didn't miss the party after all!

They have the BEST dog, Stella. I just love her so much. Truly one of the coolest, quirkiest, loving dogs ever. I sketched this image of her in mere seconds. She usually doesn't stay still this long so I got lucky. Their cat Walter is looking not too pleased as he pretends he didn't already eat his breakfast. He knows I know, because I already fed him before anyone woke up. He thinks I didn't tell anyone though, and is trying to get away with a second helping. Little piggy!

Claire received watercolour trading cards from Santa for Christmas. Here she's painting Christmas ornaments on trading cards to give to all her cousins tonight at Christmas dinner.

Here's my sister in her dream craft studio, with her husband's home office in the mezzanine above. I'm really looking forward to spending a couple weeks making art here this May after we embark on our big road trip!

Here's the view of the studio from the side. I just love this space. It calls out for the creative spirit to thrive…

On the 29th we drove back to Toronto to spend the last half of the holidays with my brother and sister-in-law and the kiddos.

On the 30th we celebrated New Year's Eve a night early, which was so great because many couples came who were easily able to find sitters. We had the most amazing party, with delicious of food and drinks and we danced all night long into the early morning hours.

The next day I enjoyed a rare moment to sketch their back door area with all the interesting coats and boots and colours splayed out. I also gave my 3 nieces painting kits for Christmas. We had fun doing lessons together over the break. They're all at such fun ages right now, wanting to play and learn and laugh all the time. What a great holiday with family this year. One of the best for sure!

Happy New Year everyone!!! 
~ xo DS

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