Getting Outside

I've been neglectful, dear readers. All has been very quiet here at Alas it is not for an entire lack of work, but a combination of factors. For one, Spring arrived and I suddenly realized I hadn't been outside in months. So much has gone on in my life in the past 8 months I feel that I need a bit of a vacation, in fact, deserve one!

Last night for example I spent some quality time at the lake front park enjoying a blustery seagull filled vista. I've been quite busy socially, travelling to Napanee, Kingston, Orillia and Hamilton in the past month! I am still blogging over at as well as tweeting up a storm. At work I've been busy with a website redesign and newly launched blog as well, so keep your eyes peeled over there if you can't get enough of the Jacquie prose. I've also been doing some creative writing that will perhaps see the light of day someday, but I'm not quite ready to share it yet. It's good to work on creative projects once in a while, ones that don't align with work or career goals. I may never share it but it feels good just to get the words on paper  screen. The feeling of never having enough time is one that I adore, and if you wanted to keep up with local arts events lately you might share that same feeling.

Here's my Oshawa Express article for May, which covers some upcoming arts events around town, including a mention of the Peony Festival. Today I went over to the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens on my lunch break, and finally my spring allergies found me! Alas it was worth the sniffles as the peonies were just starting to bloom. I love peonies and they do smell like heaven. It will be a joy walking through those gardens as the June moves into full swing. The garden has over 250 cultivars of Peonies so it is quite the experience to behold.

Art surrounds us in Oshawa this Spring
May 25, 2011
By Jacquie Severs/Columnist

Conventional ideas about what “art” is are probably limited to the usual suspects; painting, drawing, sculpture. However art can be found, photocopied, installed and captured. It can be arranged, grown and designed. Art comes in many forms and exploring all of them can serve to expand creative minds and ideas.
 Gardening, though perhaps thought of, as a practical trade more than an art form, becomes art when executed with precision and passion. The upcoming 6th Annual Peony Festival in the Oshawa Valley Botanical Gardens (June 11-12) includes artists of the gardening variety as well as the fine-art variety. Artists creating garden-inspired works will be on site alongside 300 varieties of peonies. Off site at Parkwood Estates, historic fashions, automobiles and games are ongoing throughout the day while tours of their gardens and the mansion expose visitors to arts of the past.
At The Robert McLaughlin Gallery Ikebana artists will install floral arrangements during the festival. Ikebana is the Japanese art of flower arranging and is a disciplined craft that brings flowers and artistic composition together. The method draws attention to line, shape and form using leaves, stems and blooms to create symbolic arrangements, which are typically minimal in design.  Creative inspiration for gardeners, floral artists and those interested in slowing down to smell the peonies will flourish over the weekend.
Photographers will surely be out capturing the event. Our local area has a vibrant community of camera enthusiasts who participate in a number of annual events. The RMG has just announced they are accepting submissions for their annual photography event, RMG Exposed, details of which can be found at
          The event, held in November, has opportunities for contemporary photographers from the amateur to the professional. The RMG is leading into this event with an artist talk by Michael Cullen, a Peterborough-based professional photographer currently exhibiting “The Last Brick”, a collection of twenty photographs that recorded his recent journey to Kansas. Michael will be at the gallery the evening of June 2 at 7 p.m. to help inspire other photographers with his story. He’ll discuss why he recorded the trip and encourage photographers to see the world through their artistic medium with new vision.
The Broken Arts Collective, an Oshawa-based group, is preparing for their own arts festival this summer. In promotion of the July event they are participating in the RMG’s First Friday on June 3. Alongside live music and fine art, Broken Arts will host a zine-making station. Zines are small self-published magazines that contain anything from drawings to poetry to collage and comics. A RMG First Fridays zine will be the result and guests can hear about the upcoming Broken Arts fest.
   Events from floral festivals to photography lectures, zine making to Ikebana displays offer opportunities for creative minds to be challenged into thinking about what art is and can be.

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