Let’s just say that now that I am home from the HOPE IS TOUR I have had some lovely down time writing music and creating art.
With Christmas coming this might be a good time to think about giving someone you love a truly extraordinary gift : the gift of original art. I have been just loving my Friday painting days ( when I am home! ) and have managed to create about 8 new paintings since my return to Edmonton. Most of these are acrylic on canvas but I managed to complete a couple of new watercolours too. These are moderately priced and if you are seriously interested but worried about the cost I am happy to receive instalments.
So speaking of ART I have had a couple of neat things happen recently in connection with my work.
When we lived in Calgary 14 years ago we loved visiting ( and purchasing from…) Junktiques owned by David and Marie Kaufman. David is such a talented carpenter and I also thought he would make an excellent subject for a painting so one day I bombarded their shop so I could take some photographs for a future portrait . I did a watercolour in 1993 of David hard at work and put it in my portfolio for future framing. Jump ahead to 2014 and my husband and I finally reconnect with Dave and Marie to inquire about having some ‘junktiques’ built for our soon-to-be renovated home. We had been saying for years that the four of us should get together when we’re in town but we never did make it happen as is so often the case.
Well, finally , we all decided to choose a date for dinner as we would be visiting Calgary again soon. I remembered that long ago painting ( that we never could afford to frame at the time) and I decided to gift it to David and Marie at dinner. I felt very honoured to see the tears of joy that Dave and Marie shed and I am so glad that I was able to give them this gift.
My next story is that I have decided to use FaceBook as a means of sharing my latest paintings. ( I don’t know why I never thought of this before !) But no sooner had I posted my latest acrylic on canvas painting of an autumn prairie scene ( ” Making Hay ” ) but a friend asked me if it could be purchased. I was thrilled to send it out to Ontario to my new friend, Wendy, and she has allowed me to share her reflections on the feelings the painting evoked :
” Dear Laura,
When I first saw the painting of the prairies , I couldn’t stop looking ( and re-looking) at it – it called to me.
It so reminds me of my Dad – a prairie farmer ( for many years, and always at heart ) . And so comes many memories of riding the tractor/combine with him, and of his stories….
The sky and clouds, and the colours just make my heart sing. So thank you – for this gift of memories and sunshine. ”
P.S. He went to ” prairie heaven ” – 25 years ago !
I feel extremely honoured to have my song, Close Your Eyes , chosen for the first song in this beautiful slide show about Katherine Ducharme’s Malawi trip where she and her team built a school …which is now certified.
Read on ( from Katherine…)
I have completed my video that includes pics from my last 2 trips to Malawi. Thanks so much for letting me use your song to start my video. I so get every word of your song Laura. It includes many of the messages that I so often try to share with people that ask about my visits to Africa.
I tried to match some of my photos to the words of your song.
I could write pages…actually I have done so, about my experiences, but one of the first things that I learned when I first visited the primitive village of Njewa is that we do not have to change these people. Many Westerners and Europeans have felt that is what they need to do in Africa, but I have to say that some of the most beautiful souls I know, live there. They are hungry, and have the right to clean water and education, but otherwise, they are mostly happy. There are challenges no matter where you live.
The school that we built in 2007 and the additional block with 2 more classrooms that we built in 2008 are now educating 350 orphaned and marginalized children. In October 2013 our school was finally recognized as a certified school by the Ministry of Education in Malawi. We have all certified teachers now and the teaching syllabuses and student books for all subjects.
I have just received a $10,000 donation that will keep our feeding program going for these children. They each get 1 meal a day of a fortified porridge where they otherwise may just have to go hungry. I could not believe how healthy the children looked last year. There is still a lot of malnutrition, but I believe we are tackling it head on. You will see pictures of the 60 new triple width desks we built last year. For the first time, all of our students our sitting in desks. We painted both buildings, inside and out. We handed out over 300 hygiene packs that we brought from home to our students and some of the secondary students that we know.
I should leave it at that for now, or I will never get this sent…
I hope that you enjoy the video.
Just received this mp3 of Jason Homyshin’s rock song, Freedom !, from James Seabrook at Two Bodies of Water Studios. James did a great job with the instruments, the recording ,and his voice sounds fantastic ! I had fun writing this music and fun with the harmonies in the studio with Terry Bachynski. Loved the drummer’s work too and of course….well done Jason !!!!
Although I am so so so sorry about the passing of our friend, Jack. I am so honoured by this incredible letter I received today from his beautiful wife, Louise, with regards to the comfort she is receiving from HOPE IS. God be praised. May it continue to bring comfort and peace.
Saturday brought many gifts with it : family, sunshine, and a gathering of new friends at Two Bodies of Water Studios ! Jason Homyshin had no trouble manoeuvring the doorways with his electric wheelchair and he brought along his …shall we say..” co-writer “, Champ ( a red, stuffed dog :) for good luck.
We were all in a giggly mood and that was the start of a ton of fun in the studio that afternoon. James Seabrook layed down the bass after his friend , Jeff, nailed the perfect classic rock drum tracks.
Jason cannot hide his excitement as well as we can so it seemed that he was liking what he heard. Yay!
Then Terry Bachynski, myself, and James recorded some harmony vocal tracks before we had to take our leave. James will finish up with the lead, electric guitar and a mix of the song at a later time. It was fun writing the music to Jason’s lyrics and I look forward to hearing the final version. Thanks for the apples, James . Terry got a home made pie out of them . ( And thank you to James’ care-giver , Félipé, for helping James communicate so easily with us and getting him to the studio.)
Meeting Jason for the first time was a pleasure.
Jason started out his life being starved of oxygen for his first hour and has spent the rest of his 40 something years as a quadriplegic person. It might even seem sad …until you meet him.
Jason is a joyful songwriter who loves Elvis and the Edmonton Eskimos with equal passion. This is witnessed when you enter his Artspace Apartment in which every available wall space is taken up with photos, posters, concert stubs, pennants…and every flat service holds some sort of tribute to football from his Eskimos’ helmets to his mini, ‘nerf’ footballs.
Although Jason has care-givers he is remarkably able with the use of his electric wheelchair, writing board, electric word board and a computer he uses which activates everything in the apartment from opening the door to turning off a fan.
It was really fascinating to witness Jason working all of these things and he had many questions all ready pre-programmed for me! Jason doesn’t use his voice as we do but he can point to any letter or word very quickly and speak that way.
I was honoured to hear a couple of his previous songs on his computer.
He has a wicked sense of humour ( like me) so I think we will get along fine. ( For example he told me he was born and came out IN that chair..ha ha)
Looking forward to our Saturday at Two Bodies of Water Studios where we will record Jason’s and my co-write called Freedom !
A while back a wonderful man named Jason ( who just happens to be quadriplegic) found me here at this website and asked me if I would be willing to take a look at the lyrics of his song called Freedom !
He needed someone to write the music. Since I had just returned home from TOUR and had found new ‘freedom’ myself I agreed to check them out.
Since that time I have done a few rewrites and I have his final approval. The music came surprisingly quickly and I am excited to move forward with this project.
In fact, all of our correspondence has so far happened via email ( as Jason does not ‘speak ‘ in the usual way I am told ) .
This week I will finally meet the man and his care giver. I can’t wait!
Then , very shortly , we head to the studio where Jason will have first hand experience in witnessing the very first professional recording of his new song. I have requested the assistance of James Seabrook at Two Bodies of Water Studios in Edmonton , a drummer whom I have yet to meet and from Terry Bachynski to help me produce the song.
This is a song with a ‘Queen ‘ – like vibe. I hope he likes it!
What a summer this has been!
Saturday turned out to be a picture perfect day after a rainy , cool Friday.
A perfect day for the fun run for Spina Bifida/ Hydrocephalus .
The volunteers did a wonderful job as usual …all orchestrated by Kiray.
I felt very honoured to be asked to play for the event once again and although 3 of our band members were out of town we managed acquire a drummer in my niece, Alaina Pellizzari.
I love playing a mix of our originals and classics and I look forward to next year’s event.