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Artist Residency by the Ocean Surrounded by Gardens.

I awake at 5:30am to stoke the fire and there are already streaks of gold underlining the clouds. I grab a wool blanket and snuggle up to watch the sunrise as clouds in every shade of blue blow horizontally across the sky & through a triptych of large windows in front of me.

I am spending the week at McLoughlin Gardens located on the unceded traditional territory of the K’omoks First Nation on Vancouver Island. The cabin I am staying in was designed and built by Sarah McLoughlin, a painter & gardener amongst many other things. I can feel her everywhere in this well loved place. It is mid April and the surrounding gardens are ready to burst into bloom. The weather is rainy and cool still which seems to suit the abundant Hellebores which are blooming everywhere and makes it feel like I've landed in a fairytale.



Sarah's paintings adorn the house as well as her books and other treasures. The beach in

front of the house holds so much beauty I can hardly contain myself. I spent yesterday getting settled in and wandering about.



I am beginning to sink into the place and let it slowly reveal itself to me. I was thrilled when several seals poked their heads out of the waves. Later a lone loon fed almost the entire day in front of the cabin. Every time I looked through the binoculars he had a fish dangling from his beak so it must be good fishing out front. As the sky rolled out a magnificent sunset I watched the seals hoist themselves up onto the rocks at low tide, a most comical and awkward procedure. I love falling into the rhythm of the rising and setting of the sun and following my curiosity as the natural world calls and beckons all around me. Every stone, tree, flower, bird, animal has offerings to give. It is amazing how enlivened one becomes when living this way!


Ahhh, A gorgeous bald eagle just swooped low directly in front of me as I glanced up from writing this, as if to say, "Yes, this is the right place to be right now."


After a few warm up watercolors, some journal writing and a whole lot of pondering and listening to this magical place, I stoked the fire and went to bed under a cozy duvet. When the mice began scurrying around in the wall, I actually giggled and thought how generous it was of them to share their home with me. I feel completely at peace here.



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I can hear that giggle. Love you for taking me to your magical place. And I share the fairytale feeling of blooming hellebores. Although mine grow in my garden--wild but not quite wildernis. Miss you 😍

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Holly Friesen
Holly Friesen
Apr 20, 2023
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Thanks for joining me Francine! I would love to visit your garden one day as it looks quite magical as well. I look forward to our future adventures and yes, gotta love those hellebores.

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What a blessings for you, enjoy your adventure! Thanks for sharing

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Holly Friesen
Holly Friesen
Apr 20, 2023
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I am most grateful for this place and time to delve into my work. Thanks for joining me!

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Martha Markowsky
Martha Markowsky
Apr 18, 2023

Thanks for sharing your adventure in this beautiful place. I look forward to your writings And paintings.

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Holly Friesen
Holly Friesen
Apr 18, 2023
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Thanks for reading Martha! It’s a beautiful place to explore.

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A woman with many talents clearly!

Love your writing, felt as if I was there for a brief moment. Thank you for that. You are in your element and never alone.

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Holly Friesen
Holly Friesen
Apr 18, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Kitty! I feel so grateful to be able to spend time with all these non human beings. There is so much life all around me here!

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It sounds like the most magical spot

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Holly Friesen
Holly Friesen
Apr 18, 2023
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It really is!

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