Sunday, June 23, 2013

A LIFE TURNED UPSIDE-DOWN

First of all, thank you to those of you who wondered where I have been for 3 weeks...I appreciate knowing that you are checking this blog regularly. ☺

Second, let me show you as far as I have gotten on the sunflower you saw in my last post. 

As you can see, it is not a finished painting yet.  That is because, as my title for this blog indicates, my life has turned upside-down. I am hoping that I will get back to this beautiful 16" x 16" watercolor, but it will not be for a number of months, I think.

The first reason I did not get as far on this piece as I thought I would is that I  have just finished 3 more charcoal portraits in a commission of 5 portraits. If you remember, these are all a surprise for the parents of the various children, so I will not be able to post them until they are given as gifts.

Just as I was finishing the last of the portraits, our property suddenly sold, and the possession date was 1 month. That was just over a week ago. As you can imagine, I have stopped EVERYTHING and begun to pack like a maniac. The possession date is 3 days before my husband and I leave to travel to Spain to see my daughter and her family who are living there. When we booked the trip, we had no idea the house would sell and possession would be so quick. We have been getting quotes from moving companies, and trying to take care of a myriad of details as we need everything to go into storage for several months - we have not purchased a place where we intend to move. 

And then disaster struck. The city where I live is Calgary, Alberta, Canada. If you have been watching the news, perhaps you have seen the devastation in my city from flooding. And not just flooding in my city, but in the towns in Southern Alberta which have the rivers running through them. It has been unbelievable what has taken place in just a few hours. A flooding event never before seen to this extent in the history of Alberta.

Our property was not flooded, but my son and his family live in a town named High River, which has been the most affected with the flooding. All 13,000 residents were told to evacuate, and the entire town is under water. We anticipate that, short of a miracle, all or most of my son and his family's home and possessions will be lost. As well, my daughter and her family stored most of their possessions in the basement of my son's home until they return to Canada after working in Spain for 4 years. So the last 4 days have been filled with great sorrow for the many, many people who have lost everything. Literally everything except the shirt on their backs. And for most of these families, insurance will not cover their losses. 

Where do you begin to rebuild a life when you are starting from nothing? I cannot imagine how overwhelming all of this would be to the families who are facing this reality. And, on top of all of this, there are thousands who have no idea when, or if, they will be able to get into their homes. That is the case with my son. High River is under military control so there is no one able to get to their homes to see how much damage there is. It is not safe for anyone as there are gas leaks, sewage contaminating the flood water which is up to the roof on some houses, no electricity and no drinking water available to the homes. And the military are ensuring that there is no looting in the town. They are doing a house-to-house inspection of each home to assess the extent of the damage to each one, finding the homes which have gas leaks, and so on so that they know what each neighbourhood will require before they allow people to safely return. It is going to take a lot of time, even though they have 1000 people on the ground in High River.

As for Calgary, some people were allowed to return to their homes this afternoon to begin the clean up. The reports on the news today are stories of courage in the face of adversity, and of many, many people helping out friend and stranger alike with whatever is needed to begin the process of restoration. I am grateful to friends who have taken in my son's family as we are unable to in their time of crisis. ☹  I am grateful to friends who are reaching out to them and generously giving in so many ways. 

So, I will not be posting any paintings over the next few weeks. I will be posting updates on our situation, perhaps pictures from Spain, and information on our move. 

For those of you who had asked whether I would have an art show this year, the answer is "not an in-person one". I may put together a virtual show once we have relocated. If you would like to be added to my mailing list so that you know when I create new works, or when I have an art show, please just email me with the subject line "add me to your mailing list", and I will be sure to send you out my art notices. My email is:
info@joannegiesbrecht.com  

My prayers go out to all of you affected in any way by the Alberta flood. 






1 comment:

Paz said...

Sending you, your family and those affect by flood, good thoughts and prayers. xox