This is a selection of drawings from my 2016 100 Days Project. Learn more about it here.
My great grandmother made three dolls for my mom and her sisters. I'm not sure how it traveled from Czechoslovakia to Canada, but it spent about 65 years in a trunk in the basement before we dug her out. She was perfectly preserved until I brought her to Australia. After a year, I noticed the colour in her dress beginning to fade. She's back in Canada now, tucked away in the trunk where she's safe from the harsh rays that penetrate our windows.
Every time I hear the steel pan, I envision ice cubes clinking against a glass - and the distant, tropical beach where I'm holding it. The sound of calypso music, flailing arms and a crimson sunset saturate the scene.
You have to embrace winter if you live in Canada. Or at least, you should. Growing up in country-town Ontario, my mom and her sisters would have made the most of it. Partly because it was the 50s, but mostly because they had a pretty rad toboggan.
This is not the way they run away from you. This is the way they charge AT you to protect their babies. You've been warned!
I don't see them often (or at all) these days. In the autumn, these little winged seeds twirl like whirligigs from their branches and speckle the sidewalks. We'd pick them up, split them open and stick them on our noses. Seriously. It's a thing.
It's one thing to see a loon, and entirely another to hear it. A faint lullaby of the lake, and the sound of nostalgia for me.
They invade your trashcans, your roof, sometimes carry rabies and will possibly claw your your eyes out, but they're so gosh darn cute.
I don't have many memories of pysanka, except for one. My aunt has several displayed in her cabinet, including the ones shown here, but as a kid I recall one that was broken and oozed of yolk. It had a foul stench that reeked throughout the living room, and yet it was too beautiful to throw away.
Marigolds are my favourite flower. My mother plants them every summer for me, in a garden far, far away.
I regret every single time I ever peeled the stuff off of these trees when I was a child. Admiring it's beauty and papered texture, while slowly skinning it alive.
Anyone who's Ukrainian, or simply Eastern European, will be familiar with borscht. This was one dish my mother never failed to get right, and makes me cling to the idea that not all of my heritage is lost.
I do miss the Canadian wilderness, and the feeling of floating in a canoe.
I was going to write an anecdote about my brother and I racing snails, but I think this sums up one of my major traits. I am, indeed, a very slow person! I almost always enjoy any task or process more when I can do it slowly, thoughtfully and carefully.
I don't think I ever really knew my dad until I saw him knock coconuts off a tree with a bamboo pruner. In a front yard that is no longer his.
This is an updated drawing which I recently made into a print. It's based on an image of a polar bear scavenging for scraps at a garbage dump in Moose Factory, Ontario. It was later shot dead as it was too dangerous to risk tranquillising. Also, from an environmental perspective, it's a sad reminder that perhaps we're not as 'Canadian' as we think we are.
These are one of the first signs of spring that speckle our lawns in Ontario. They have the sweetest smell that attract the bees, so you do have to watch where you step.
I don't know why I have this memory, or if it ever happened. It may be one of the earliest I have. I think my godmother rescued a squirrel once, and nursed it back to health. He was black and named Georgie, and from what I can remember he loved crawling up sleeves.
The smell of Christmas and camping reside in a pine cone. Not the hard woody ones, the soft, squishy Spruce cones that kinda flake away in your hands. If only I could bottle that smell.
I haven't touched or even seen snow since I moved to Australia over six years ago. In Melbourne, where I currently live, there are days where you can actually get away with wearing shorts and a t-shirt. In 'winter'. I never thought I'd miss snow. But I think, now, I finally do.
I saw my cousin for the first time in eight years this past summer. He hasn't changed. He shouldn't.
..went out to play. I'm a firm believer in keeping your childhood alive. This elephant is a Canadian icon for children who grew up in the 80s. The music and joy she represents still moves me to tears.
Yes, they really are this tiny. We used to catch them at summer camp when we were kids. That was when we weren't accidentally squashing them as we tramped through the woods.
Garter snakes weren't uncommon in my Tato's backyard vegetable garden. They also aren't dangerous in the least, so every time I'd see one I'd try to capture it - often unsuccessfully as they whisked away into the tall grass. Of course, I was six and lacked the guile to realise that I had to approach them slowly and stealthily. Australian snakes are a little braver - I nearly stepped on one a few months ago before it decided to casually slink back into the bushes.