Thursday, September 14, 2023

10 Ways to Save Humanity Even if You Can't March on Sept 15th

As the death-toll from Libya’s storm floods surpasses eleven thousand, and various hurricanes march their ways across the oceans, people all over the world are gearing up to March to End Fossil Fuels, tomorrow. (Find your city’s event on this map.)

painting of person standing on a log in a lake with apocalyptic fire in the distance
Not a Thing Between Me and You (detail) … Recent painting by Emily van Lidth de Jeude, in response to Neil Young’s song, “Overhead”. This painting deals with our compulsion to just keep going into an unknown future, together, even when we don’t know we’re not alone. It’s about courage.

But what if we can’t march? And even if we can, how are we going to propel this impetus into action? How are we going to actually save our future on this planet? (Let’s face it, we’re not going to another planet, and instead of talking about “our children’s future” now, we’re talking about our own.) We’ve got months or a couple of years to turn this around, and even if we do, storms like this are now here to stay. So what can we do about it?

  1. Become resilient.
    We can stop following the status quo, and learn to live differently than our youths and the media told us to. Learn to cook our own food. Learn to pivot our careers and plans and housing situations as needed, and without being traumatized. Adaptable creatures survive.
  2. Make our kids resilient. 
    So you might know I usually write about unschooling. That was (and still is) my effort to raise resilient, independent, capable adults. And it worked! At 18 and 21, my kids are now living independently (together), paying their own way, and making changes for a better world. 
    Unschooling isn’t the only way to make our kids resilient. Any kind of freedom to explore and develop their own skills will help. As will encouraging schools to opt for explorative learning, wilderness education, and all the things that will help our kids be connected, creative, courageous, and resourceful. Those are the skills our kids will need to survive our new world.
  3. Grow food.
    Whatever we can do, whether it’s growing sprouts on our kitchen counters to save $10/week in veggies, or escaping the rat race to go whole-hog on a homestead — just do it. We can all (and yes I mean all) grow at least some of our food. This not only saves money (if we learn from someone else who’s doing it effectively and don’t fall for sales tactics for all the gadgets we don’t need), it also brings us closer to our food, giving us a deeper understanding of life, our bodies, our connection to the ecology we live in, and nutrition. It’s healthier for us (fresher food), and it’s also healthier for the environment, since everything we grow (sustainably) ourselves is something we don’t buy from the unsustainable agricultural industry.
  4. Buy local.
    For all those foods and other things we can’t grow or make, ourselves, we can buy local! I guarantee you there is somebody out there trying to get rid of a bunch of homegrown zucchinis or apples right about now. What if we paid them instead of a big supermarket chain? What if we bought from local farmers, builders, and creators instead of from the capitalist industries that are the root of climate change? This is a shift we can make.
  5. Don’t buy! Boycott capitalism.
    Buying local is one way of sidestepping the corporations who are doing the most damage, but buying less is an even better way. A big part of our problem is overpopulation, and then there’s overconsumption. We really don’t need all the stuff. We don’t need big houses. We don’t need big cars, we don’t need lots of clothing or school supplies or travel or household items. We don’t even need as much food as we currently consume, and we especially don’t need to be wasting as much food as we do through restaurant and supermarket refuse, and simple neglect at home. How many times do people go on a fabulous vacation and then declare they need a vacation from their vacation? What if we just took a local vacation in the first place — one that doesn’t displace people from rental accommodation, and that connects us with our homes in ways we hadn’t experienced, before? In the space that’s left without the things that we don’t *actually* need, we will learn to find convenience, fulfillment and joy. We will have space to keep building that resilience and resourcefulness I mentioned earlier.
  6. Be happy with less.
    Along with resilience and resourcefulness comes happiness. It is just plain so rewarding to grow my own food! I go out every day now and tend my chickens, weed a bit of veggie garden, eat some food right off the plants, and just generally revel in a lifestyle that I once found daunting. I feel empowered by my mended clothing in a way I don’t feel empowered by something brand new. I now have some serious disabilities, and learning to be resilient and resourceful has made me happy, similarly to how my job working with kids used to make me feel.
  7. Love our local ecology.
    Partly the joy I get is from being active in my local ecology (also similarly to when I worked with kids on wilderness exploration)! I have learned so much about how connected we are; am currently fascinated with the many types of wild bees and other insects that frequent my small yard, and with their life’s work and activities that all contribute to the diversity we depend on. How does this love save our world? By connecting us with it. If we love our ecology, we’ll know it better, and the more we know and love, the greater ability we’ll have to protect it. We need our ecology. If only for the simple reason that it feeds us and protects us from storms. That in its diversity it will recover when we finally do turn the trend of climate change around.
  8. Love our neighbours.
    We’ve got a couple of new neighbours recently. We’re making an effort to connect with them. You know why? Because when the power goes out, when a tree falls across the road, when someone’s pipes freeze or someone needs any kind of help at all — or just a hug, we will be there for each other. When the storms come, we’ll need each other.
  9. Love our children.
    Obviously. Because the hell that we’re going to experience pales deeply against the hell that our kids will know. If we love them, we need to save them.
  10. Just love.
    And when it’s all too much, when we’re succumbing to doubt and fear and a feeling that nothing we do could possibly be enough, we can love. If I’m going to die, I want to do it in the arms of someone who loves me. And more importantly, I’m far less likely to die early if I share a deep love. Our future and neighbours and children and the whole global population is more likely to thrive if we live a life of love instead of material acquisition. 

Love is actually a hard thing to do. So I’ll tumble out of my list now, just to write a little about love. Love is a challenge. It’s like a great wave piling up behind us, saying …RUN! And can we do it? Can we keep going even when the wave is catching our ankles? Can we slog through the wash around our waists, grasping at the ungraspable wind, to haul ourselves out when the wave peters out, and get up and run again before the next wave comes? That’s love. It’s work. Neverending, challenging, heartbreaking impossible work. But it’s also the only thing that’s worth working for. Love is, in many ways, survival. When love (of a person, planet, dream, or future) compels us, we can access the resilience, courage, creativity, and resourcefulness needed to meet all the challenges. Climate change included. 

So whether or not you can join a climate march tomorrow, do something. Something that will make you feel empowered and resilient. Something that will save us, tomorrow. And tomorrow? Do something again!

With love,

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

I recently did a commission of a local forest painting for two brothers in the Netherlands. They are paying by donation to BC Conservation groups that I recommended. I feel SO wonderful about this whole arrangement that I decided to do a big sale of my work in support of my local Conservancy, which works very very hard to manage, preserve, and educate about our local wildlands. There's really nothing that matters more to the survival of humanity than protecting the ecology of the planet we inhabit, and the Bowen Island Conservancy works so hard to this end that I can't think of a better recipient for the proceeds from my work.

The painting that inspired this sale. It's a pair of landscapes for a pair of brothers. Together they make a forest, and the sun shines on them both. Kind of like this sale, which will benefit me (space in my studio!!) AND the Bowen Island Conservancy, whose work protects us all.

Please join us! Hopefully the rain will hold off, but if not, it's dry in the studio! Maybe you'll go home with a painting, photo-print, or a book! And because my studio sits just adjacent to my regenerative food garden, the first ten purchases will also receive a free plant or package of seeds (first purchase; first choice!) I'm very much looking forward to this day, and include below a few of the pieces whose sale price will most benefit the Conservancy.

Open Studio and Art Sale
75% of sale price of botanical paintings and 25% of other paintings will be donated to the Bowen Island Conservancy
Sunday, September 3, 10am--4pm
602 Collins rd, Bowen Island
Please no dogs, as we have chickens in the yard.
More info:

Cherry Blossoms 1, 2, & 3
Oil and graphite on 3 canvases totalling 50x30"

Thank you for sheltering me 2
Oil on canvas, 36x24"

Spring came early and surprised the bluebells.
Oil on canvas, 36x24"

It was in the time of dancing leaves that you were born.
Oil on canvas, 24x24"

There will be many other things for sale as well, including recent abstract works on canvas, unframed photo prints, and art books. Even a few SuperMAMA t-shirts, for only $30!

Monday, August 21, 2023

Smoke, Fire, Ashes, and covering everything with white.

I sometimes wonder why everything I paint recently, and somehow even the installations I do, gets a clouded overlay. It's oil paint, white fabric, soft white light; whatever. I keep washing everything away into a purposeful obscurity. (Except my portrait of my Ukrainian Grandma releasing her war trauma. For that I made the obscurity first, and she came out of it. That's a strange happening!) Recently I also found out I have cataracts, apparently caused by the various courses of prednisone I've been subjected to over these last 3.5 years of struggling with long COVID. Blah. Great. Not the news you want, as an artist! But even more recently I realized I might be replicating my own clouded cateract vision in my work. Huh.

Grandma Frees the Ptarmigan, 2023

I mean, part of me wants to embrace that (since the inflammatory effects of my long COVID also mean cataract surgery is not recommended), but part of me is still looking for a deeper meaning. And the white thing has been going on in my work for longer than I've had cataracts. I think I found my deeper meaning, during this current fire-season. It's self-silencing. 

We live in a world full of fear, watching homes and towns and futures burn and flood and life just get harder and harder. And the best comfort we can give ourselves is to wrap up in the status quo. Get a latte from a huge corporate entity and watch some non-reality on Netflix. We Canadians aren't even allowed to share the news anymore (Meta: Working to silence the world!) 

I've been passionately determined to change the status quo since I was a kid, but people get defensive if I talk about change. People write off my personal status-quo-breaking experiments (unschooling, regenerative farming, rejecting many popular conveniences in an effort to live sustainably) as impossible for most, or, even worse, "crazy". I feel so frustrated; so unheard, and so afraid of losing community support (and friends!) because my voice has been too loud; too radical. So I'm trying to shout my meaning while simultaneously silencing myself (!) Yeah. That's weird.

(I open my mouth and) Nothing Comes Out, 2016

Is it necessary? Do I risk being written off like Sinéad O'Connor and everybody else who just couldn't keep silent? Who tried to change us? Or am I getting desperate enough not to care?

Drink Before the War, 2019

I was so saddened by Sinéad's death that I got even quieter. Now I'm so infuriated with watching my province burn (the homes of family friends gone, family evacuated and praying they don't lose everything, and my own veggies wilting and dropping in the smoke) while so many continue their world travels, unnecessary purchases, and general adherence to the status quo. I feel like I've been shouting for change my whole life, and my voice is hoarse but still somehow no sound comes out. So today I'm going back to the studio and just see what comes out of my brushes, because I just can't not scream about it all right now.

I don't think I'll stop using white. It's also evocative for me these days of the smoke and ash that's now a part of our every summer. And the blindness with which we're going into the future. My blindness. But I'm going to try to stop silencing myself.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

One Solar Year opens April 19th

Markus and I got interviewed for our upcoming show! Have a look, below, and once it's playing you can click the YouTube logo in the bottom corner to watch it full screen.

One Solar Year
April 19 to May 1 at the Hearth Gallery on Nex̱wlélex̱wem/Bowen Island. 

The opening celebration will happen on Earth Day, April 22, from 3:30-5pm, and will include an ecology tour at around 4:30.

For more information, see also:

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Procreate Project Archive X Air Gallery

I love this!! 

So happy to be a part of this great project that puts the art of motherhood into public spaces!
That's my work (dis)robe: Maternity Wear you see near the top middle of the spread above. But it's just one of the many, many poignant pieces that are now out spreading the motherhood vibes in Manchester.

Currently the project creators are collaborating with Air Gallery to show it in various Manchester locations, but the whole poster series is available for other exhibits as well, so who knows where it will go next! What a fabulous creation. 

Do check out their site at!

 All images credit: Procreate Project Archive

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

One Solar Year--The Book!

Our book is finished! Two copies of One Solar Year will be at the Hearth Gallery as a central part of the One Solar Year show, April 19-May 1, comprised of work by my partner Markus Roemer, my son, Taliesin van Lidth de Jeude Roemer, and myself. Like the show as a whole, this book explores the seasonal, cultural, and biological changes of the year 2022. Local wilderness photos by Taliesin and myself are the foundation for poems that discuss our human connection with each other and our ecology. 
My favourite thing about this book is that if you flip through from winter solstice to winter solstice, you see the colour palette of the year go by. It's reassuring to me that this sequence of colour is so familiar -- such a strong part of our collective psyche. 
The book is available to purchase at my Blurb store (link below), but it's quite expensive, due to the ever-rising costs of everything, so I'll be doing a group purchase for locals in the spring to at least save us all the cost of shipping. If you'd like a copy, let me know. I expect I'll put the order in in May or June. 

But you don't need to purchase it to have a look! Just click this image/link, and then click your way through the book.   Or watch me flip through the hardcopy on my instagram. :-)

Monday, February 13, 2023

Watch us install the show!


What a wonderful time we had putting up the dual-channel installation of
w h a t . h o m e !

OK maybe it was a little stressful given the tight timeline, but we made it, and pretty sure we've survived! Here's a little video compilation of the process of installing. You'll see me sitting on the floor doing a video-interview with Rohit Joseph for CBC Radio's weekend morning show, North by Northwest. Here's the fifteen-minute interview, if you'd like to hear it, for as long as it's available online, anyway. It really was a joy to talk to Rohit, and a highlight of my career at this point.


The opening was really incredible for me. Such a huge amount of support from my family, friends and community. I was totally blown away.

Probably the biggest shock for me though was the unexpected appearance of a fabulous kid I once taught in the Netherlands. I haven't seen her in about thirty years, and she, her mother, and her kids now live on the Sunshine Coast, and came to the show!! AND she's an artist!!! What a wonderful surprise to connect again. Yet another thing that made me realize how grateful I am for the life I'm privileged to have. Here are a few photos from the opening. Thanks to my son Taliesin and brother Adrian for the photos. 🧡

Also this guy!! Michael Gurney. What a fabulous reporter!! He came fully prepared, having already checked out the show and having a bunch of really good interesting questions about it. And his article shows he actually researched this quite thoroughly. I am truly honoured to have this show written about by him. He said some interesting things about it that even helped me understand it more, myself. Here's a link to the article he published:

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.