Eagle in the Owl's Nest by Marlana Williams

©Eagle In the Owl's Nest
If you're looking for a book over the holidays, I recommend Eagle in the Owl's Nest by Marlana Williams. The emotional opening took my breath away. The opening features a biography for Sanford Williams (Master Carver) that takes us through some of his powerful experiences that made him the remarkable artist he is today. Eagle in the Owl's Nest is based on Sanford's most popular pieces that are given characters and adventures. 

It's a hard book to put down because I'm anxious to find out what happens when a team of contrasting Mowachaht characters play a riveting final game of hide-the-bones – an ancient westcoast pastime called Lahal – against their bullying adversaries from tribe nearby.

That’s just one of the several, centuries-old stories that are joined together as a work of fiction when Marlana Williams introduces an eagle and owl as the primary characters, who become friends after the owl’s migration path sends her reeling to Nootka Island.

This book is so different from Marlana’s first novel, Doll of Dawson which was set in the gold rush era of the Klondike.  But I wasn’t disappointed.  Eagle in the Owl’s Nest has all of the elements of her familiar storytelling voice that I find charming. 

Photo © Marlana Williams

Each chapter (or short-story, depending on how you approach the book) is based on her husband’s work as a master carver.  Sanford Williams has spent decades creating traditional west coast art, and all of the pieces tell a tale.  Whether the carvings are about his own personal experiences or stories passed down from his family, each work of art is represented at the forefront of each chapter.

I’ll confess, a few of the stories made me emotional, but for the most part this is a joyful read.  I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Marlana Williams’ writing, and for those who have interests in Western Canadian indigenous art.

You can download or purchase Eagle in the Owl's Nest HERE.
You can download or purchase Doll of Dawson HERE.
For more information on Marlana Williams visit http://www.marlanawilliams.com/

Christina Rowsell

Radio AnnouncerMedia Relations DirectorBloggerPhotographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and Christina Rowsell Media.


I Am A Mom First - Affirmation Designs

I am a mom first. True! But does being a mom first mean I have to stop doing everything I ever did for myself? NO! If I don’t continue to do the things I love or the things I need to do, then I’m not me at all.

Before I was a mom, I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a friend and a radio announcer. Aside from the person I am to others like a wife and a sister, a huge part of my life has always been my career. And being a mom doesn’t mean I give up my dreams or my passion. Radio was a part of my life since I was 18 years old. Before I was in radio, I always knew I would do something that allowed me to share stories, to share music, to evoke emotion and to validate people by letting them know they were heard. You can still hear me on the radio on Soft Rock 97.7 on the weekends, but full time I'm helping business owners tell their stories through earned media at CR Media. I spent over 22 years being the voice, now I help others have a voice.

All of these life experiences, passions and dreams are what make me up to who I am today. And today, I am a mom first. A mom embodies courage, strength and love. By encompassing who I was before I was a mom – and showing my children the real me – allows me to be the best mom I know how. Don’t get me wrong, being a mom has presented challenges that I never anticipated. But, part of who I want to become as a mom is someone who allows those challenges to help me grow and help me learn. I never want that to stop and I want my children to see that.

Affirmation Designs - Born To Be Me 

I love my children more than anything in this world and they have taught me patience and unconditional love. In return, I try to fill their hearts with the life lessons I’ve been presented with. I want my children to understand that everyone has a story. I want my children to understand compassion and kindness. I want my children to know what it means to work hard and achieve greatness.

© Christina Rowsell
By identifying myself as a mom first, I can’t know who that mom is until I know who I am first. I never expected to give up everything and not do anything. As a mom first, I believe it’s my job to stay strong to who I’ve become.

Affirmation Designs - I'm A Mom First
From the first breath in the morning, I wake my children with a hug. Send them off to school with a full tummy and encouraging words. After school I pick them up and ask them about their day and talk about the good and the bad. We either head off to hockey practice or home for homework. Hockey usually gets the loudest cheers. When we can, we have dinner together as a family with conversations about our day. To wrap up our day, it’s off to bed with the last breath whispering I love you.

© Christina Rowsell
I am a mom first. A mom who instills the importance of being real. A mom who works, a mom who has dreams and a mom who loves her children with every breath she takes. 


Affirmation designs

Vision: To have people realize their full potential and live their purpose through wearing  positive affirmations.

Mission: When you wear Affirmation Designs, you are living your true potential allowing you to wear it, embody it and become.

Philosophy: Our philosophy embodies our logo. We are GREATER than we realize and we are all EQUAL.

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by Christina Rowsell ~

© Christina Rowsell
Radio AnnouncerMedia Relations DirectorBloggerPhotographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


Artistic Expression of Inner Strength, Hope and Courage with Uli Ostermann

via Christina Rowsell Media

"Meaning"© Uli Ostermann 39" x 39" Acrylic on Canvas
If art is meant to represent the essence of emotion and express what lies in the depths of an artist’s soul, then Uli Ostermann’s work is the epitome of that definition. 

The artist’s minimalist approach to her work reflects the purity and simplicity of her values. Focusing on developing a language that consists of symbols and colours to convey her powerful messages, Ostermann’s work speaks of the importance of such themes as discovering our individuality and creativity, finding inner strength, self-belief, hope and courage.

“Believing in yourself...knowing what you can do, who you are, getting back to self-respect...a lot of people don’t learn that any more,” says Ostermann with obvious concern for the human condition. 

A perfect example of her art conveying a connected and spiritual message is in a piece entitled, “The One You Feed.” Based on the well-known parable of the two wolves that live inside each of us, Ostermann’s painting depicts a wolf in a semi-circle (representing a bowl). “The bowl is a symbol for an open soul, just to let things come to you, just to learn, not to lose hope...believe in yourself, have courage, let go and be open for something new.”

"The One You Feed"by Uli Ostermann 96" x 48" Acrylic on Canvas
Immigrating from Germany in 1997 with three children, Ostermann has had occasion to experience and interpret through art the many changes and adaptations required to successfully adjust to life in a new country.

“It was an interesting journey,” she remarks. “You have to have an open mind to emigrate; you have to have flexibility to deal with circumstances, think out of the box...You have to find a balance to adjust and still be yourself...You make new friends, your thinking changes in a new country and you lose old friends; they don’t understand you any more.”

Of the many inspiring messages in Ostermann’s work, one of the most common themes is that of change. “Dealing with changes, that’s certainly in my paintings,” she acknowledges. “Life is always in constant change, being in the flow, developing...” 

Ostermann is deliberate in her use of specific shapes and colours. For example, she uses loops to represent social interactions, such as the intensity of relationships in crowds. “Grey is a problem zone,” she explains, adding that she uses “...special colours like orange or black [to] transport emotion.” 

With compassion and empathy for humanity being central to her life, Ostermann’s paintings reflect the challenges we face in navigating our complex world. And more importantly, the powerful yet simple values to which we must return if we are to find true connection - or reconnection - to ourselves and others. 

Featuring Uli Ostermann, Solo Exhibition runs July 7 to 28 at Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art 908, 17 Avenue S.W. “Ostermann says, “You will not find one typical style in my paintings – although you can recognize my ” handwriting” – but there is one typical theme in them and that is mainly the individual. I believe in the therapeutic power of colours. I’m also interested in the concept of an art work as well as being spontaneous while painting, but always trying to pursue a rather minimalist style.”

About Uli Ostermann

© Uli Ostermann
Her art was once called a mixture of meditation, poetry and a kind of examination of psychological processes. It is the belief in the therapeutic power of colours that fascinates her, using this medium and combining abstract painting with symbolism. If it is not about pure abstraction, then it is predominantly about inner psychological processes and changes of an individual in social systems. In this case she often uses loops standing for relationships, for connections of all kinds or for networking, and especially as a symbol for the density of social interactions. The latter, she calls the space of not knowing everything – in which misunderstandings lead to mistrust, to tension and possible destruction. Watch for grey loops with black background. Visit http://www.uliostermann.com/ for more information.


Former Speed Skater Talks about Life and Love Through Art - Todd Lachance


Landscapes & Figures at Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art

Painting © Todd Lachance www.toddlachance.ca
It seems that life speeds past us faster and faster all the time. We blink and another week or another month has passed. It doesn’t help that our culture has developed an unhealthy relationship with its devices that are meant to keep us connected but in fact, they are a huge distraction, making us miss too many precious moments in real time, and in person.

Calgary artist, Todd Lachance, knows all about speeding through life, albeit as a former nationally-ranked long track speed skater. He made it as far as Olympic trials before his lifelong passion for art became his career focus. 

Painting © Todd Lachance www.toddlachance.ca
Lachance’s stunning paintings capture the essence and heart of moments in time, like precious snippets that once gone would never be witnessed again. Whether the striking Alberta landscape or the faces of his beloved children, Lachance’s art evokes a depth of emotion that mere words cannot express. A forgotten memory, perhaps bittersweet the innocence of childhood the very threads of life and love that touch all of us are masterfully and powerfully portrayed in every stroke of this gifted artist’s brush.

Lachance’s story-telling art will be exhibited at Michelangelo Fine Art Gallery for most of June. “I think a lot of our stories are told for us all the time now,” he offers somewhat wistfully, “whereas maybe a couple hundred years ago, people were looking at a Rembrandt. They didn’t have television or movies or cell phones. They didn’t even have photography. Now I think it’s a real challenge to try to grab that person’s attention and hold it, and make up a story in their head.”

During the exhibition, Lachance will tell part of the story of his relationship with his father. The two have always been close and on the afternoon of June 4, Lachance will paint his father’s portrait at the gallery where the public can enjoy witnessing the process as well as the love and the sense of humour that these two men share.

Barbara La Pointe, owner of the gallery, says, “Todd Lachance’s representational Realism revolutionizes Alberta landscape painting. He is a master at expanding basic compositional techniques and portraying the contemporary while timeless realities of the landscape in majestic Alberta.”

Timeless, indeed, not just in his magnificent landscape paintings but in capturing those precious moments in life that might otherwise slip past, unnoticed. 

Exhibition runs from June 2nd to June 30th, 2016 at Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art, #112, 908 17 Avenue SW.

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by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


More Than A Roof Over by Yohan Ricardo Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art


The famous artist, Edgar Degas, said, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” This has never been more true than in the works of Yohan Ricardo, a Cuban artist who made Canada his home 15 years ago. Ricardo, a deep-thinking, philosophical and keenly observant man, finds profound meaning in virtually all aspects of life, and in particular, in architecture and his environment.

© Yohan Ricardo via Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art
"The Truth of Greatness"
“I realized when I first arrived to Canada, I needed to find a new identity,” he offers. “I was no longer in my own country and homeland.” Wondering how he could incorporate both cultures that were powerful parts of his life, he used his lifelong love of architectural structure and elements to bring the two worlds together in his vibrant, colourful art.

At least as important to Ricardo is that his art is meaningful. “I want my work to be thought-provoking. I want to have a message in there...to capture that attention...I want a philosophy behind the piece.”

© Yohan Ricardo
via Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art

"Tower of Hope"
Socially aware and deeply principled, Ricardo’s opinions and experiences are expressed in his art. Many of his pieces have taken years to produce as he works his magic, layering shapes and textures along with vivid colours that ultimately convey what was in his heart. 

About the bright colours in many of his pieces, Ricardo explains, “[It] lifts spirits. The colour represents my identity. [It presents] a strong point of view. I want to be original; my presentation has to be different.”

Ricardo knew from early childhood that he wanted to pursue art but his parents insisted that he must focus on traditional academics instead. It was years before he found his way to following his heart and his passion, ultimately finishing university in 1997 with a degree in Fine Arts and Pedagogical Sciences, and later teaching students with varied backgrounds and challenges.

When asked why he is so passionate about art, he explains, "To be able to create art is a gift from God...people can change society through art...”

© Yohan Ricardo via Michelangelo Gallery of Fine Art
"Portrait In Red"
Ricardo’s intricate and highly symbolic paintings make us see what he sees in society, culture, in life for all it is — and isn’t. Every image, indeed every brush stroke has significance and represents a message, a thought or an idea that Ricardo feels compelled to share, validating the words of Degas from so many years ago.

From April 29 to May 20, 2016, Michelangelo Fine Art is featuring the works of Yohan Ricardo in an exhibition entitled “More Than A Roof Over.” The artist will be in attendance at the opening reception, affording a perfect opportunity to learn about the complex and interesting man behind the thought-provoking art that he so loves — and needs —  to create.


Her Name Is Ashley - She's Homeless

by Christina Rowsell
The Brighter Side

© Photo: Christina Rowsell
Her name is Ashley.

I met her in the parking lot.  I was coming out of Chapters.  My boys and I were looking for new books that they could enjoy and bring home. My youngest picked out yet another dinosaur book.  He has at least a hundred other dinosaur books at home. But, this one has a DVD movie that it comes with.  My oldest son is into chapter books.  He’s so much more advanced at reading than I was at his age.  He picked out a Star Wars book.  He’s so excited because it has 412 pages.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with 412 pages. Not when I was 8 years old that’s for sure.

As we were walking across the dark parking lot at 7:00 at night, a young woman came up to us and spoke in a very soft voice. “Excuse me,” she said politely. “I’m homeless and I’m looking for enough money so I can get a place to stay tonight.”

She stopped me right in my tracks. I walked my boys over to the side, out of the way from any traffic that might come up.  I asked her, reiterating what she just said, “You’re looking for money so you can have a place to stay tonight?” She replied, “Yes.”  I said, “What about the homeless shelter?” She came back with, “I usually get turned away from most shelters because I don’t have any children. I’ve been using the system to get on wait lists, but there’s a three-year list. If I go to the emergency shelter, they usually reserve spots for anyone who has been abused or have children.”

I started to look into her eyes.  I was trying to see if I could tell if she was telling the truth.  I asked her how old she was. “23,” she replied. She went on to say that several months ago she lost her job and that she has arthritis and scoliosis. She explained that it was difficult for her to find a job because of her health limitations. “I usually do office jobs, and it’s very difficult for me because of my arthritis.”

She has such a pretty face. She didn’t seem high or like she was 'on' anything. I trusted her. I opened my wallet and said to her, “Please use this money to get yourself some help and a place to stay. Use this money to help yourself.” Then I handed her $20. She gave me a simple, “Thank you.”

My boys and I then walked away. My youngest asked me, “Why is she homeless? Why don’t we just bring her home and help her.” I replied saying, “Well, we don’t really know her.  We don’t know much about her.” I went on to say, “You can’t always trust someone you meet on the street.” But those words made me feel sad.  I want to trust her and help her.  I can’t help but think of my brother who always came to me asking for help. My mind started to wonder, thinking about my brother who I lost almost 9 years ago now. There are days where I ask myself if I did enough to help my brother. And now I’m wondering if I did enough to help Ashley.

The boys and I got back into the car. The boys were buckled and wanted to hold onto their new books. So I took a moment to open our new books, take the stickers and wrapping off and hand them to the boys in the back. Just as I put the car in reverse and was looking backwards my youngest looked right at me and said, “There she is.” I turned around, and there was Ashley, right in front of my car. Partially pulled out of the parking spot, I put the car in park. I rolled down the window and in a polite voice she said, “Excuse me. I’m homeless and I’m looking for enough money so I can get a place to stay tonight.” She said it as if she never met me. She said it as if she said it a million times that day. I said to her, “Ashley it’s me. I just helped you and gave you $20.” She said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m blind in one eye.”

I took this time to learn a bit more.  She talked about the system and how she’s been trying to get help.  How she’s on waiting lists and how she can’t get much help because she’s young, no children and not in an abusive situation.  Pretty much that same conversation as we had before. I asked her if she tried welfare. Having been on welfare when I was 19, I know it’s not much, but it’s something.  She replied saying, “They won’t give it to me because I don’t have a home.  I need to have an address.” So I asked her if she had family? Without much emotion, like she’s told this story before too, she said her father has a drug addiction. She doesn’t have much of a relationship with her mother.  She dropped out of school when she was 14 and left home at the same time. I asked if she had any siblings. To which she replied, “I have two younger sisters. They live with my mother.” Still prying, I asked her if she thought about leaving Alberta, while the economy is so bad.  She said, “I’ve lived here my whole life, “But lots of people ask me if I’ve ever thought of going west.”

Realizing I was partially blocking traffic, I pulled forward. I looked Ashley in the eye and said to her, “I need you to know why I want to help you. I lost my brother. And he too went through some tough times, and I often wonder if I did enough to help him.” For the first time I saw a bit of emotion in her face. Not much, but enough to know that I’ve made a connection with this young lady. 

Now I want to know how I can find her again. In my mind, I want to make sure she’s okay, and want to check up on her. I asked her, “If I want to find you again, how can I do that? Where will you be?” She said, “Here. I’m here most of the time. Right now all I need is $15 more to get my place for the night.” I asked, “How do you get a place.” She answered, “I go on kijiji and find places that people rent for the night. I usually spend 8 hours a day here trying to get enough money for one night.” At this point I’m not about to ask her how she goes on kijiji. I open my wallet and give her another $20. This time her thank-you was heartfelt. She looked a little surprised. She was very grateful. It’s as though I felt a load lifted off her shoulders.

Looking over her attire I said to her, “You’re very lucky that the weather has been quite warm this winter.” She went on to tell me that it’s been pretty good. There was one woman who came back to her to give her a winter coat.  She said it was perfect timing because the next day it was -25. I suggested to her that she should take her hood off, so that she wouldn’t come across as hiding something. She said, “I can’t. My hair is so matted, I don’t want people to see that.” I asked, “Because you haven’t cleaned it?” She nodded. I also noticed that her gloves had a hole in the thumb. I then turned on my interior light. I had a winter headband in my center console. I’ve only warn it once. When the wind is strong I need to cover up my ears or I get a headache. I have 3 more at home. I gave it to her. She was extremely grateful. I said, I have some gloves too. She holds up her glove with the hole in it and says, “Yes, these ones are pretty worn.” I have a pair of gloves I keep in my car for those bitter days walking my boys to school. I gave them to her. Again, she’s grateful. Next, I look on the passenger seat and there’s some nacho chips. They’re my oldest sons chips. I ask him if I can give them to her. He says, “Sure.” I look out at her and ask her if she’s hungry and show her the chips. Her eyes light up and says, “Are you sure? Yes please.” I also had some chocolate Kit Kat bites and hand them to her. “Oh I like chocolate.”

I leave her with some last thoughts. “Stay strong. Know that you’ll be great. There’s so much for you to do in this world. Stay away from drugs. Stay away from bad men. Stay strong.” She smiles and says, “I will.”

She walks away into the parking lot of cars.  I will go back and check on her. But, what I want to know, is there more I can do?

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by Christina Rowsell ~
© Christina Rowsell
Radio Announcer, Magazine Editor, Blogger, Photographer, Mother, Wife, Sister, Daughter and... Part Time Cook (only when she has time). Looking for The Brighter Side of life sharing Good News, Great Ideas & Amazing People.  Sitting still is something Christina knows nothing about.  If you have a story to share feel free to contact Christina.  Follow on Twitter, @BrighterSideyyc @RadioChristina and LIKE on Facebook The Brighter Side and ChristinaRowsell.com.


Sanford Williams Master Carver

by Christina Rowsell
via www.sanfordwilliams.com

His heart as a boy was torn. Those he loved and trusted abused not only him, but his friends and loved ones. He found peace through his love of carving.

Sanford Williams is a master carver.

© www.sanfordwilliams.com

© www.sanfordwilliams.com
© www.sanfordwilliams.com 
© www.sanfordwilliams.com
His work is carved through heart, soul, passion and a place of healing. After enduring abuse from a residential school in the 70's, Williams chose carving instead of substance when it came to coping.

Ironically, the deep cuts in his carvings were what lead him to heal. For over 30 years Williams has perfected his art. The precision in these magnificent carvings is like no other. With no books or others to emulate, Williams learned how to create his craft knowing only the ways of his ancestors.

Watch this beautiful five minute video that describes the talent that has become Sanford Williams.  From the backwoods of Friendly Cove to suddenly finding attention from big city collectors — including the Vancouver Canucks. Williams has retained the charm and authenticity of being "the real deal" — a trait that so many people have come to love about his work and character.