Kim Stewart

Canadian Métis Artist

country living

home lifeKim Stewart1 Comment

Here are some of the things that kept me busy this week: 1. Giving meds to my little terrier dog who has slipped a disc in his neck.

2. Driving my daughter and the neighbor girl to art camp.

3. Building wooden frames and stretching rawhide (moose) over them as a drawing surface.

4. Writing colour theory lessons.

5. Making pasta salad and buffalo burgers.

6. Scratching mosquito bites with  my ruler (it happens to be in my hands a lot!)

7. Weeding the garden and eating the fresh strawberries while weeding.

8. Closing my eyes while walking the dogs and letting them lead me down the country road. (it's a cool feeling.)

9. Listening to my 9 year old daughter tell me all about her day.

10. Watching the sun set from my loft bedroom.

Deep scars inspire deep questions.

home life, remember when---Kim Stewart1 Comment

Sitting alone with my tea Saturday morning is something I enjoy. This morning as I sipped with both hands I looked at the moon-shaped scars on my left hand, then an arrow shaped scar on my right thumb. I don't have many scars, but the ones I do have are connected to my encounters with wildlife. As a kid I spent a lot of time trying to enter the world of small rodents. Any free time consisted of walking around the family's 160 acre land with my head pointed toward the microcosm on the ground.  I remember digging into tunnels the width of a golf ball trying to see how small creatures decorated their homes. I meant no harm and reasoned that the owner would instinctively understand so I was surprised one day when I received the injury to my thumb from a set of tiny, sharp teeth. It happened so quickly that I didn't get to see the resident owner with much clarity.  I marched over to my Dad to declare my disappointment but his face clouded with worry and he began to pelt me with questions,  "how big was it?" and "Was it frothing at the mouth?". The whole entire event was confusing and I quickly categorized it as an exception to my rule. Many years later I received the scars on my left hand through much the same kind of denial.  On this day the dog was barking furiously at a brown furry lump half his size so my brother and I went to investigate. The lump had one good eye and as he turned to look at us I could see the terror and desperation in it. I decided to act. I ran to the house, put on several layers of work gloves, had my brother hold the dog back and approached the lump. He was a muskrat and I knew he belonged at the pond behind our house. I reasoned that with my gloved protection I could pick him up and relocate him to the pond before he even knew what had happened. Well, his teeth were larger and sharper that the mouse. He bit through all 3 sets of gloves and deeply into the flesh of my hand.  I tossed him down and he took off with the dog in pursuit. Amazement turned to worry as the wound wouldn't stop bleeding. We were alone that day, so we did what we had seen in some movie somewhere and tied a tourniquet around my bicep. The bleeding stopped quickly after along with the feeling to my arm. It's colour drained and it began to feel cold. Apparently the 'sock' was effective, but a little too tight.  It was removed an hour later by an amused Doctor and two unamused parents. I no longer approach wild things in an attempt to understand them, instead I try to incorporate their natural world into my art. I share the same world with them, yet their ability to integrate with their surroundings in a way that works within the ecosystem is something I still cannot do. I want to know what they know so that I can live and die an integrated part of the world, as they do. I am deeply embarrassed for humans that we have let hedonistic desire pervert our existence in this world. I see what a mess people have made and wonder if it will ever change.

A Tale of a Tail

home life, remember when---Kim Stewart5 Comments

my cat riding my pony This is a tale of a tail that involves a cat and a mischievious little brother. It happened in the 70's when each day brought some new experience to ponder. The bitterly cold winter was fading into memory and the buzz of farmyard bugs was in the air. We were bored. As we sat on an old set of wagon wheels, the scuzzy barn cat jumped up and demanded attention. My brother absently began to pet him following the length of the cat's back right up to the tip of his tale. Scuz began to purr his appreciation and came in close, putting his scent on us. He leaned into the next stroke, his little motor purring hard. As my brother passed over the tip of the tail we heard a sickening 'snap' and there, in my brother's hand was the cat's tail! A look of horror spread over his face and he exclaimed "oh, no!" The cat continued to purr and looked questioningly toward my brother as if to say, "why did you stop?" He didn't seem to notice that his tail was now in my brother's hand! It had been a cold winter, and the tail no longer had any life in it. In the meantime, our boredom turned to panic as we tried to think of a way to explain to our parents why the cat had no tail!

healing, sort of.

home life, my opinions, painKim Stewart1 Comment

I have been sick for 4 weeks. I could feel a virus coming, but I had no idea of the intensity behind it. It hit me on a Monday afternoon with a full force of fever, nausea, sore throat and the like. After a week I lost my voice. A week beyond that I still could not speak. 3 and a half weeks later I am still easily tired and my voice gets raspy with a slight cough each night. I am guessing that I let myself get run down. I tend to over-commit as several friends have reminded me. "You keep way too busy." I've been told. It is tough when you are practically homesteading, yet holding down a full time faculty position in Fine Art and Media which also requires you to be a working artist...oh yeah, and I'm a mom and wife with a great family. I have always had a long 'to do' list and I am seldom bored. I could fill several lifetimes with all the interesting activities I want to explore. I love skiing with the Dad-guy and my kids! Drawing, listening to music, visiting, volunteering, oh why is life so short? Or, at least couldn't I have more stamina. In the meantime, I feel like a 2 year old kid that doesn't want to go for my nap. Sigh, resting has never been my strong point.

Gas prices are changing my life

home life, my opinionsKim Stewart2 Comments

We have changed our lives a lot over the last couple of years, reducing the amount of trips to town and combining activities to reduce our gas consumption. We live about 40kms from the city and it takes about 35 to 40 minutes to drive to the heart of town. The whole family used to attend sports activities in town 2-3 times a week, as well as trips to work, grocery shop, etc. Over the last year especially, we have dropped our town activities completely, we go in maybe twice a week during the summer for essentials. In the fall, we will have to carpool to save on gas where we used to take separate vehicles to accommodate for different schedules . Everyone in our family either works or goes to school in the city. This will mean more hours of hanging around in the car, waiting for each other. The car is like our second living room. I am considering stocking it with a bar fridge, hotplate, and fold out tables for kids to do homework. (Hey, maybe I am on to something!) I really don't think we can cut back any more than we have. We are people who have chosen a lifestyle that takes us away from the violence, crime and stress of the city, back into nature, gardens, peace and quiet, but we are taking a beating financially for our choice. Others must feel the same. Will this force people to move to the cities, ending a way of life? It seems less and less financially feasible to live and work in the country. These are interesting times, full of change. It is tough to make decisions that will reflect well on both the environment, and the mental and physical well being of my family.

missing my man [or my man is missing.]

home lifeKim Stewart3 Comments

He left on Friday at 6:30am with 2 other guys, the snow roaring up behind the truck in an indignant cloud as they peeled out of our driveway. He has been planning this trip for months. He grew a beard, he shopped for pepperoni sticks, he organized his gear for 3 days straight. I watched him pack with nervous anticipation.... {It is winter here. The temperature averages between -9 and -18 celsius. This house is heated by a wood furnace. The wood furnace requires large amounts of wood because it is old; 25 years old. The wood must be hauled and split every day. We often get heavy snowfalls, so heavy that we cannot get out of our driveway. As you read in my previous posting, sometimes we are without power, phone, or water. In the spring, we flood. It is a gamble every time my man leaves. Sometimes nothing happens, sometimes it is like the apocalypse. Does he know how much he means to this home and this family? Not only is he my best friend and my only love, he is the glue that holds this place together.}

...I followed him down the stairs and gave him a hug and a kiss. Have a good time, I told him. Try not to worry about us, I say. He needs a break. He will come home refreshed. The kids and I will manage, we always do.