All my life I’ve been searching for a home. I moved around a lot as a kid and young adult, but I finally found it 20 years ago, in Kenora, Ontario. I fell in love with the lakes and landscape as an artist, and I fell in love with the community.  Roots started appearing beneath my feet, spreading out and covering the landscape that I feel my most myself in. A home formed, with layers of community and friends that became family. A home is not a house, but a connection to a place, to people, and to a way of life. Sometimes your home chooses you. 

As many of you already know, I’ve spent this last winter in a place where I’m originally from, my ancestor’s hometown in Manitoba, after decades of living year-round in Kenora. It doesn't seem like much, to be away for a winter.... but even with going back and forth each month to my community, it has not been enough. This time away has taught me well, and given me great perspective on the places and people that are the most important to me! It’s a good feeling to have that perspective now, and for that I am grateful.

Over the winter, I went to the Monet Immersive exhibit in Winnipeg. Upon entering, there was a panel describing Monet’s connection to his chosen home in Giverny. He had painted all over France, but found a place that he connected with, a place that he encouraged to grow, and he painted contentedly for the rest of his life. With tears, I stood there and realized where that place is for me.

I have painted all over this beautiful country, from west coast to east coast and everything in between, but nothing compares to exploring Lake of the Woods, Northwestern Ontario and all of the beautiful lakes and forests there, the trees that have become like family to me, and the water that fills me with endless inspiration, calmness and peace. I’ve never felt a connection like it before. It’s been the biggest inspiration of my life. Living close to the nature that I love, every day, a simple life of observing and creating, while watching the seasons change, is what I have missed these last months. My heart remains there, and now it is pulling me back to where I am most obviously meant to be, where I want to be. 

So, now, I'm returning home to stay, to rejoin my community, to be inspired and to inspire, to paint and explore, until my breath leaves my body and I finally drop my paintbrush. I want to give back to the community who’s given me so much, and express the beauty of that area with every fibre of my being and every brush I hold.  There really is no other place in the world like it, and no other place I’d rather paint. I know where my home is and I’m coming back in full force and can’t wait!

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