Category Archives: love

Happy Kitty

Missy Two Shoes Died Today or why the decision to euthanize a pet is agonizing

I feel a little stunned and the back of my eyes and head hurt while my heart aches. Missy would have turned 17 years old this Summer which is 84 years old in human years.

She was a happy cat, a trooper, and travelled and lived from one coast of Canada to the other with me. She saw me through two major surgeries, marriage, divorce, addiction, and too many parties and both good and bad times to count. She always purred when you patted her and rolled onto her back for you to rub her belly. Missy loved when I whistled The Andy Grifith tune to her. She used to spend hours outside on decks and rooftops, catching moths at dusk or licking dew off of leaves in the garden. She was a great furry companion.

She is survived by Little Orange, her adoptive son, and Skulley, her stepsister and predeceased by Cat McGandy.

I miss her so much right now. It was agonizing taking her to the veterinary clinic this afternoon to euthanize. She lost the ability to walk this morning and would not eat or drink anymore. Her heart was failing and I couldn’t bear to watch her suffer any longer.

I love you Missy. You are truly missed and will never far from my thoughts.

You don’t know where you are until it passes you by

tree of life, sketch, drawing, ink drawing, sketchbook, journal, art by jessica doyle

And you don’t know where you’ll end up until you take that leap of faith.

Last July life got a whole lot busier for me. I began working more at the City Market producing and selling art at the stall and Chris became a full-time parent overnight. Our lives changed instantly as Chris scrambled to find a way to look after his son while he was at work full-time. His son turned 12 shortly after and was then able to spend a few hours alone here and there so that helped.

It hit me hard. Chris went from sharing custody 50/50 with his ex to having his son full-time with no extra money, support or anything. It took a toll on our five month old relationship but it also opened it in another way and I got to see how wonderful this man really was. I also got to know his son better and saw how great of a kid he was.

While dating and single from 2007 to 2012, before Chris and I got together, I swore up and down not to date a man with children because of the experiences I had with them. These men were completely absent in their children’s lives or kept me a secret from their kids and/or their ex or were dating multiple women and lying about it. These things didn’t bode well for me as I wanted to someday have a child of my own and very much wanted an involved father in that child’s life.

So I began dating men without kids and usually these men were kids themselves who were more interested in their boats, bikes and pensions than in finding common ground to walk on together. I managed quite well to attract men who wanted no commitment.

I then quit smoking and quit drinking shortly after and began to see “I” was the reason for not attracting a quality man into my life. Well… half the reason… at least.

I’ve known Chris a long time… since I was 19… so 20 years… long… time. We grew up in the same neighborhood. He went out with a good friend of mine as a teenager. He was also a mutual friend of my ex-husband and I. I can remember sitting on the couch talking with Chris while my ex was engrossed in video games. I was never just Jessica. I was Andy’s girlfriend then wife… then ex. This all seems so long ago. A lifetime ago.

We all attended college together and Chris hung out with my ex at our apartment. We partied together but mostly I stayed home as I was sick a lot during college with Chron’s disease and physically could not handle the late nights and party’s. We all studied Graphic Design, surface design and illustration.

After Fredericton we both went our separate ways. Chris spent some time in Toronto and then had his son here in Saint John. He married and raised his two step-children and his own child. All the while I divorced and partied my ass off for five years in Saint John, Fredericton and Vancouver, perhaps making up for losing most of my twenties to severe illness and for marrying a man who didn’t share the same values and morals as I did. And there is no fault in that, it’s just the way the cards played out.

And now, 20 years later Chris and I find ourselves expecting a baby, dealing with extensive child custody and divorce issues, managing two homes, three cats and simply doing our best to keep healthy organic food on the table, the bills paid up-to-date and all the while we both are doing it sober.

Our life may seem mundane to some but it’s our life and the one we are choosing to live. Chris partied lots during his teens and early twenties while I got the partying out of my system in my late twenties and early thirties. And while I miss the parties on occasion, it’s a rather nostalgic feeling of been there done that, had fun and moving on now to the next stage of my life kind of feeling.

And I’m so grateful and lucky to have this man to share this stage of life with.

I love you Chris.

About selling at markets, having a boyfriend and living a sober life

O is for owl - childrens art for bedroom by artist jessica doyle

It’s been a long time since I felt confident enough to say I love what I do. Selling at the City Market over the last few weeks has been a blessing. I worked hard to find full-time work outside of the home yet almost every door I knocked on stayed closed for the last seven years. So, I’ve always returned to creating my own work.

Not everyone is meant to work a 9 to 5 job and this time around I accept that. Just as I’m not supposed to drink or smoke. It’s been over five months since I had my last drink and while it’s occasionally hard, it’s getting easier to focus on life without donning the rosé coloured glasses.

And it’s very strange to begin seeing clearly the reasons you drank, used drugs or smoked.

I “used”, to dull emotions, senses and stimuli. I would then use to heighten them when I didn’t have enough energy.

I feel more high sober than I did high so to speak. I’m accepting the strong emotions and insane bursts of energy and focus as they come on and the people closest to me accept them too. I let those people know what’s going on and don’t bottle the sh!t up nor spend too much time alone except when working here in the studio or when resting after work.

And I’m working lots these days. The pictures in this post are scenes from the Saint John City Market, the monthly outdoor Queen Square Market, a new owl limited edition print and of the mantle in my living room. That piece sold and is on route to Indiana at the time of this writing. But, you can get your own limited edition Sassy Sea Urchin here to frame and hang on your wall form the shop.

And the boyfriend has been a positive influence on me for sticking to a routine especially when getting to bed and getting up in the morning. We drink tea and talk, go for long walks, cook meals, spend time with family, play games, explore, laugh and enjoy the present. We have much in common and enough self interests to keep things interesting and moving forward. Most of all our core values, beliefs and morals are in line with one and other.

I didn’t know that life could be this way. And I didn’t know that by saying “no” to things that didn’t feel right that eventually the right stuff would make it’s way into my life.

BTW… i’ll be at the Saint John City Market on June 30th and again on July 1st in my regular stall down by Pete’s Frootique. Drop in to say hi! I’ve got many new framed pieces to choose from, new prints and the locket sets too.

In Pursuit of Passion

This past weekend I was talking with my dancer friend about a film she’d recently seen (Pina, a tribute to dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch) that she was very enamored with. She said I had to see it, that all artists would benefit from watching it, regardless of what art they created. I wasn’t opposed to the idea. Having read and benefitted from dancer Twyla Tharp’s universal perspective in her book The Creative Habit, I felt like I was down with the dancing crowd. I didn’t feel compelled to run out and see the movie, but sure. Why not.

To make her point, and because she had a captive audience, my friend whipped out her laptop to show me a few YouTube clips of the film. Okay, yes, it was pretty, and they definitely knew how to dance, and fine, they–OMG WHAT WAS THIS?! What were they doing?! The fluid movements and lovely down tempo beats! The sets! The costumes! IT WAS RAINING ON THE STAGE! The color and texture and framing and… holy crap, this was like watching a painting. I saw each scene much like I see the beginnings of ideas when I start a new piece. It was beautiful. I was downright inspired.

I love talking to other passionate artists. I love hearing them blather at length (as I do) about their individual loves and interests in art. I don’t even have to be familiar with their art to know why they do it. It’s a kinship. We speak a dialect of passion. Continue reading

Taken by surprise or how it ended

something and nothing - relationship breakup- sadness - illustration by jessica doyle

When you make assumptions about something, especially someone, it can become hyperbolic to an enth degree that perhaps you don’t realize until well after the climax. It’s so easy to generalize and compartmentalize people’s actions and words into man-made stereotypes that we forget that none of us fit into them, nor should we fit into them. We may carry or display a few of the stereotypical characteristics but ultimately we are all at least a little bit unique in how we adapt to situations that arise that took us by surprise.

You kind of get to a point where you know you have to snap out of it and move forward and stop sobbing, pacing and begin eating properly again and get back into the game even with the broken heart. I didn’t realize it was a broken heart until this morning when I woke again with that familiar pang in my central chest that I haven’t felt in a very long time… years maybe?

And I feel so foolish and just don’t understand even what happened over the last few weeks… a complete 360º spun wildly for sure.

I’m well aware that some of you who are reading this know both myself and the man involved but here’s the thing I don’t have anything bad to say and that is why this hurts so much. It really shouldn’t hurt this much right? It’s just the timing is off right? We were not meant for each other right? The stars were not aligned right, right? The age gap was too big? He’s just not that into me right?

And here I’m thinking and asking myself why I keep attracting the same man over and over again and expecting a different result when in actual fact this person is not the same as my two long-term ex’s at all. While there are similarities it was the emotions I was experiencing while spending time with him that made me think he was similar to my ex’s when in actual fact this man was quite different.

It was exhilarating to spend the holidays with him at each of our respective households. We both were not working (on holiday) and kind of jumped head long into a whirlwind romance. Maybe it was just what we both needed? We could talk about anything, cook and eat food together and both enjoyed walking immensely. We had things in common but really we had much that wasn’t in common and that is what I enjoyed so much. He told me stories and sang to me while playing guitar while I drew in my sketchbook. He introduced me to his family and friends and he likewise met some of my people too.

And while I can pin point a few things that made our relationship end I really don’t understand why it ended but have resolved that it has indeed ended.

I’ve dated some men over the last few years in search of a long-term relationship and have experienced break-ups either of my own doing or of the man’s doing and I was always able to pick myself right back up and move on with no regrets. For God sakes… I’ve been eating chocolate for the last three days. I DO NOT eat chocolate ever. Chocolate bars have been known to go stale in my fridge.

This time… it’s not so easy to go back to online dating.

So how can one learn from this experience?

Throw everything you know out the window and just let yourself feel and be vulnerable to whatever is happening.

When we base attraction only on physical it can lead to being attracted to the same people over and over again and expecting different results. I think this is where people’s “types” come into play. Like always buying apples and hoping one apple will become an orange. Well, I met Mr. Clementine in mid-December and he was tasty. And then, my dating patterns and beliefs were smashed to smithereens which is a very good thing.

Yet, this whole experience is beyond bittersweet.

I miss him.

The illustration above is from the children’s book Every Someday that I illustrated a couple of years back. I have a few soft cover copies here in the studio. If you are interested in purchasing a signed edition get in touch and let me know.

The timing is off and someday soon it will turn on

handpainted wooden beads by artist jessica doyle

In life we either get it right or we don’t as there really isn’t an in between nether world that we can climb into when things aren’t going the way we want them to. However, I tend to crawl into that purgatorial space when the creative bug hits and begin drawing the creatures that float around in it, in an attempt to make sense of what was, what is and what could be or write, right here, on the blog.

And it isn’t that things are going bad right now, they are however at a stand still of sorts and testing the limits with the timing being off and locating the on switch seems to be out of reach and dangling in front of my fingertips. I have to laugh at that because what else am I to do when it comes to men?

I decided to put my online dating profile to rest a couple of weeks ago and haven’t logged in since. I’d much rather meet a man in real life and talk with them face to face as between both Facebook and Plenty of Fish the men I’ve met through those sites are not what they make themselves out to be.

There was the man who after five or six painful dates simply couldn’t say more than “Well, uh”, “What do you want to do?”, “I’ll have whatever you are having” or “Whatever you want to watch is good with me”. Conversation was extremely painful and the thumb rubbing and clenched jaw and darting eyes and feel sorry for me look on his face at all times made me want to silently scream. I’m sorry, but always agreeing with me on everything is a complete turn-off. He was not man enough for me. But this next guy was too much man… Continue reading

The lure of online dating…

Artist Jessica Doyle

People seem to forget that on the other end of the email, convo, comment, message or blog, that there is a REAL human being with feelings. I’ve never encountered more asshattery since opening an account on a dating site in search of that special man.

I’ve been harassed, threatened and chased by men who don’t know their a$$ from their mouth. At one point one man had sent 40 emails in two days demanding to know my real name and where I live all the while professing his love for me stating that we are meant to be together and are soul mates. After a week of this from numerous men I finally located and learned to use the block button.

While, I have met a few nice men on the site who seem to be genuinely looking for a long term relationship I have yet to meet up with one of them in real life and I’m beginning to ask myself why? Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day – wreath of joy drawing

mothers day wreath illustration berries leaves joy happiness artist jessica doyle

Just a quick note to say happy mother’s mother’s day to my mom.

I love you! xoxo

I drew this wreath late last year with a Pilot G-tec C4 pen inside a Fabriano Quadrato journal. Last week, I added in some vibrant colour using Prismacolor Verithin coloured pencils and a few highlights with a white Pilot Choose pen. The illustration section pictured above, squared from the journal, measures roughly 5×5 inches (12,5cm by 12,5cm).