Kidnapped for a day

Recently, a local artist sent around a request to artists to share our experiences of parenting while also trying to make time for our art. She is collecting ideas for her artistic production of “the combined challenge of raising a family and being an artist”. She shares her story and is looking for input from other artists/parents on the website

I posted on the website about my experience of balancing an artistic career and having children, and one of the things I said was that I appreciate how children encourage you to “get off the couch and experience the wonder of the natural world every day”.

LINDA COTE-Top of MountainThese past few weeks have been busy — between elementary school projects (my youngest boys are 10 and 8), creating new printmaking art projects and cards, keeping up-to-date on my art business marketing, applying for 2013 opportunities and shows, getting my year-end information done, and helping out with my husband’s business — it has seemed like a whirlwind of work activity.

Luckily I love all my jobs, and being a mom, so it’s a given that I can find myself working days, evenings and weekends. It’s what keeps me jazzed.

But, I have to admit to being a bit tired lately, and also catching my first cold in about a year. So, when my boys begged me to get out this past Sunday and hit the ski slopes, my mind mentally did the “what can I put on hold to do this” tug-of-war while my body and spirit said, “Hell, yes!”

We tumbled into the car on Sunday morning amid the amazing amount of hats, mitts, skis, poles, helmets, etc. and drove the 45 minutes from Canmore to Nakiska Ski area in the heart of Kananaskis Country.

My ten-year-old met a friend who snowboards, and they hurried off to their favorite spot where they both love to do jumps and grinds at the “trick park”. My eight-year-old and I prepared for his third time on skis. I’ve been downhill skiing since I was a child, but I took a break for 25 years when I discovered X-Country skiing in my twenties.

Then, the years between 1991 and now have been filled with happy family times. My oldest son is almost 22, and I have three lovely bonus children from a blended marriage. With the addition of our two youngest boys, we have six kids between my husband and I, and life can be very busy at times. Time for skiing and art was a bit on the back burner for those decades.

LINDA COTE - Climbing Sunshine VillageMy own family has a long history of skiing in the mountains, starting with my paternal grandfather (in this photo in the 1940s) who loved to ski. My father still laughs about the days when he and his dad would ski at Norquay or Sunhine Village in Banff before there were ski lifts, and you walked up the hill! I wrote about about my family’s history in the Rockies, and posted some photos here.

Today, I am back skiing again the last few years, thanks to my young boys. So, with all our gear on, and our lift tickets purchased, we rode up the mountainside. It was one of those days we get as gifts in the mountains: the sky was blue, the sun was shining, the snow was soft and welcoming, and the mountains were stunning. In the fun of skiing and hanging around with my sons, I completely forgot about work for a day. But, I did bring my camera, and captured a few photos of the day. Come ski with us!

LINDA COTE-Nakiska MountainAn early run down the hill. We were on the green runs most of the day, which were surprisingly uncrowded, and where the slower pace was “more civilized” according to my eight-year-old.

LINDA COTE-Nakiska Mountain

The path down the hill. I should wear a bumber sticker on my coat that says: “I stop for photos of mountains and trees”!

LINDA COTE-Nakiska MountainA few clouds rolled in during the afternoon, but it just made the mountains look more majestic.

LINDA COTE-ShadowsAs the day wore on the shadows in the trees got longer and longer. I love the pattern they make across the snow.

LINDA COTE-Nakiska Mountain3One of our last runs of the day. It was a lovely winter play day in the mountains, and I have my children to thank for pushing me always to get outdoors. I refreshes the soul, for sure.

If you are a parent who creates art, go the the website and post your comments about how you balance life and art. You may find the insights on the website interesting to read as well. And parent or not: get outside for a play day. Your busy life will thank you!

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