Sandra Woods
Art despite pain

In the news

(posted on 17 Sep 2023)

I spent the day preparing for an upcoming art fair, creating detailed labels for thirty or so of my most recent watercolours. These were painted during the spring and summer months so far, mostly en plein-air (outdoors), often done off the back of my bicycle during rest stops. There are also a few rainy-day studio paintings in the mix, as we’ve had quite a bit of rain in Montréal since the snow melted.
Why paint while riding my bike? I’ve loved cycling since childhood, and recall going for long rides with my dad when a new paved bike-path opened along the Lachine Canal in the mid-70s. We’d ride from our home to the start of the Canal, take that new bike-route to Old Montréal, then ride back again; about 50 km (or 32 miles for my American friends) round-trip, when I was ten.
Several years ago, when I was first diagnosed with a rare disease that significantly affects my right hand and arm, one specialist physician told me that he didn’t think I’d be able to bike again. I didn’t reply to that comment, but instead thought to myself: “I’m going to prove you wrong”. And I have.
One change is that I now have to take rest stops or breaks more often when I’m cycling, but I’ve turned that to my advantage by packing my plein-air painting supplies into my bike-pack and saddlebags. Instead of getting frustrated whenever I have to interrupt my ride to rest, I take the time to appreciate the beautiful areas around me. And I can always find something to paint along my routes; flowers, forests, historic buildings, waterfronts, wildlife…
These paintings, along with many others, will be on display at a weekend art fair next month; in the lakefront town of Baie d'Urfé, on the southern shore of Montréal Island. The 2023 "Gathering of Artisans" will take place indoors in two municipal buildings, The Red Barn and The Curling Club, to raise funds for the local curling club – founded in 1959. My artwork will be on display in The Red Barn, which is a lovely community centre rather than an active farm building.
If you’re in the Montréal area, feel free to stop by and say hello during this event. As it'll be just a couple of days before Halloween, don’t be surprised if I’m wearing one of my many costumes on each of these days – and most likely my better half will be 'dressed up' as well while he’s helping me there.
October 28 and 29, 2023, at The Red Barn, 20609 Lakeshore Road, Baie-D'Urfé, Québec:
   - 1000-1600 Saturday
   - 1000-1500 Sunday
Please drop by to support local artisans and artists, as well as the local curling club, if you’re in the area. And if you’re too far away to visit, I’ll post photos here after the event.