MY HOME TOWN
Hanne Lore Koehler:
CAMBRIDGE, MY HOME TOWN
Welcome to Cambridge, my hometown. Although I was born in Aachen, Germany - and I know it's a beautiful city - Waterloo County in Southern Ontario is where we settled - the place we feel at home. My husband and I have lived here now for over 30 years. We raised two children here and now have two grandchildren that also live in Cambridge, Ontario. Come for a visit to lovely Cambridge on the Grand River!
When my husband, Stephan and I purchased our modest home in the country - just on the outskirts of Cambridge, Ontario - thirty years ago, we were surrounded by farmland. There was a "pick-your-own" raspberry farm across the road from us that also sold berries from a roadside stand in the shade of an old Oak. Unfortunately, this land has recently been developed with executive homes; however, our three acre lot backs onto the Grand River and has many mature Spruce, Pine, Birch, Maple, Apple, Sumac and Walnut trees.
Happily, the new development has not discouraged area wildlife. We have as many as twenty deer visiting daily. In the evening and early morning, they come right up to the house. Along with about six resident groundhogs, a family of foxes, raccoons, skunks, possums, wild turkeys and countless friendly chipmunks (that climb onto our laps and eat peanuts right out of our hands as we enjoy summer evening dessert in our patio swing), our river is home to a family of beavers, muskrats, snapping turtles, blue herons and many species of ducks, geese and fish. Tundra swans stop over during spring and fall migration. Even the occasional wolf has been spotted. With all this wildlife, you can imagine that gardening can be quite the challenge. We tried a vegetable plot when we first moved here, enthusiastically planting all sorts of seeds, diligently hoeing and devoutly staking and watering plants; however, when it came time to harvesting, the animals beat us to everything. We did not want to erect fences - none of our neighbors have, either - to keep the area open to wildlife. Their freedom seems to mirror ours.
Through trial and error over the years, I have restricted my gardening to flowers and shrubs that deer, rabbits and groundhogs donít eat - Day Lilies, Black-eyed Susans, English lavender, phlox, Shasta Daisies, Malvia seem to flourish in addition to the wild phlox, blackberries and wildflowers that line the property. We created a rock garden with creek that extends from the back of our house down a hill to a Lily pond. We left part of the hill grassy for winter tobogganing - when conditions are right, we build a luge track, banking the sides of a labyrinth of curves with snow. This activity, once enjoyed by our son, Michael, and daughter, Christina, and their friends, is now a favorite of our grandsons, Jake and Brody and a new crop of neighborhood children.
One of our neighbors makes a hockey rink (complete with floodlights) back near the river every winter. You can find many of the men there flooding the rink until midnight with water pumped out of the river. They usually keep a bonfire going and take turns warming up. Neighborhood kids just love it! The smack of a hockey stick against an icy puck seems to echo through our valley for miles.
In spring, summer and fall, the river is host to canoes, Kayaks and rafts. We have spent many happy hours on its banks fishing and picnicking with our grandsons. You can still see the remains of an old treehouse built by our children and their friends in a huge old Willow. With Steveís help, our grandsons built their treehouse in the Chestnut tree. To them, the fun is in the building and they seem to remodel it every year.
Because we enjoy the serenity and freedom of country living yet live close to city amenities and conveniences, we seem to have the best of both worlds and the variety of activities that comes with the change of seasons seems to keep us looking forward with anticipation to the next season. I feel blessed to have been exposed to many facets of life. Hibernating farms in frosty winters, skiing fun, building a snowman, melting forest creeks, apple and cherry blossoms, fishing, boating, swimming in a refreshing lake in sweltering heat, splashing off a dock, baseball, horses, racing, slow walks along a country road surrounded by the spectacular colors and smells of autumn, music, little league - this variety in my life is reflected in the variety of subjects in my paintings,from country life to cityscapes. Most critics, print publishers and galleries prefer to slot an artist into a particular category (i.e. wildlife watercolor artist). Although I am inspired to paint the occasional bloom, to me it would be very boring, for instance, to paint nothing but flowers and use only oil paint. I am afraid my life would be stagnant and my work would become stale.
Many aspects of my life are reflected in my paintings. I am inspired by daily occurrences: the way a beam of sunlight can backlight a rose petal on a summer evening, a misty shadow on a moody meadow, children laughing, reflections. The icy crack of a slap shot at 5:00 a.m. practice is to me as intriguing to paint as the cup of steaming hot marshmallow chocolate afterward. The adrenaline rush felt by a skier blasting through powder, the priceless expressions on the faces of youngsters in an energetic soccer match, the simple flicker of a lace curtain in a summer morning farmhouse breeze, a new pet - life is full of excitement and wonder. I prefer to concentrate on painting the best of life rather than the worst; as such, my paintings often reflect my love and appreciation for country life and many of my portraits depict country children enjoying the simple pleasures that come with country living. On the other hand, the small town cityscape views offered by Cambridge are amazing when the sunlight is just right. I am drawn to paint images of the colorful farmer's market, the Main St. bridge over the winding Grand river lined with century heritage buildings, Mill Race Park outdoor amphitheatre with its lookout over the scenic river.
Although my subjects are as varied as my interests, they always exude my love of life. I hope to arouse a "feel-good" emotion in the viewer with my paintings - happiness, reminiscence, excitement, contentment, amazement - as I try to satisfy the eye with form, the mind with purpose and the soul with imagination.
Written and painted by Hanne Lore Koehler, owner of Koehler Art Studio Gallery. You can find her on Google, Facebook and Twitter. Hanne is an artist who has painted many watercolors, oil paintings and murals of landscapes, portraits, still life, architectural and sports art. She is also an author and illustrator of children's books.
Interior home paintings
Interior cottage paintings
Interior Architectural Art
Summer landscape paintings
Autumn landscape Art
Tags: fine art, painting cityscape, city paintings, city scenes, house portraits, architecture painter, architectural artist, cityscapes, scenes of Cambridge, paintings of Cambridge, architectural paintings in town, city art, commission a painting of your home, order a painting, painting of a heritage building, home town pictures, painting from photo, cityscapes, Americana, Canadian painted city scene, country life painting, old world charm, landscape painting, small town painting, home town painting, original watercolor art, oil painting, mural from photograph, cityscape illustration, cityscape art, cityscape pictures, cityscape gallery, board room art, office paintings, contemporary art
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