Ideas Into Reality

One year I was asked to create a painting for their Christmas card and was given an image of a painting by a Canadian Ojibwa artist and storyteller named “Nokomis” . I immediately fell in love with her work. The graphic lines, the use of bold and subdued colours, creating a sense of depth and details within. Her paintings depict her life and memories, which are important to the Ojibwa’s heritage and to Canada.

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Twenty years ago is when the idea first came to me to write and illustrate a children’s book. My son Adam, came home from school with his history/geography homework. I couldn’t believe that the lessons he was being taught I learned 30 years prior. The public school’s education system hadn’t changed in the least. Adam’s homework was a black and white line drawing of the map of Canada which he was to colour in and memorize all the provinces and territories…..funny, so did I, 30 years ago….Boring! I think we can all relate to this growing up. I thought there has to be a better way! How can this be made more interesting, fun and educational for children? Canada isn’t boring at all, in fact, it’s a cornucopia of mystery, history and a landscape that is so vast, diverse and abounding in resources. Unfortunately, in our schools, there is a limited amount of time spent learning about our amazing, second largest country in the world.

Cottage Country 24 x 30 - By Cynthia McLaren

Cottage Country 24 x 30 - By Cynthia McLaren

Canada is not a few colours across a map. Here, we are fortunate to enjoy all four seasons, a landscape that changes significantly, depending on where you live. I grew up in Ontario with beautiful sandy beaches and autumn leaves abundant in rich colours of crimson red and brilliant golds. As a young child, I had no idea that polar bears existed in Manitoba. Seriously, I cared about my family and friends, my little town of Picton, Ontario where I grew up, and having a large enough place to save all the stray cats and dogs in my community.

As the years went by, this idea to write a book stuck in my head, gnawing at my brain and tugging at my heart. Finally, I saved up (what I thought was enough money) to take a couple of years off work to get this idea off the ground. Little did I know the real cost and the time to invest would take….I had an idea and decided to fly with it. Kinda how I do things. Highly, not recommended. Sometimes in order to get the job done this is how it gets done. To attack this properly, I would need to do a business plan, including goals, market research, and a feasibility study, maybe have a knowledgeable team behind me….and so much more. At my age, marketing and social media is a huge learning curve and it is imperative to network and connect with others. People who know me well, know that I am very much an introvert, to put myself out there is very challenging. Also, the reality would indeed force me to face facts of the actual expense the time involved which would then cause a cataclysmal mental and emotional destruction, resulting in self-doubt and the inability to complete this book due to lack of funds. I would have more than likely backed out and not be here today writing a blog….. or my blog would be “The book I never wrote and illustrated and how depressed and angry I’ve become”. There are two things that I commit myself to and first is, if I say I am going to do something I follow through, no matter what, and the second, doing the best to my ability. If I can’t do it all I will seek out the resources to help me reach my goal. We are not great at everything. Realize your strengths and weaknesses, don’t cut corners and say “good enough”, especially when deep down you know it could be better.

One more thing, I could not have done this without the support of my family and friends. At first, my husband, Paul, was reluctant to say the least, when I told him I was going to quit my job, which included great benefits… chase after a dream. In the end, he has supported me every step of the way and still has a full head of hair. I have two adult children and it is important for me to be a role model for them, taking on challenges and following through. They have both done well in their lives and work really hard. I am very proud of both of them.

Next Up….Ideas into Action
Coming February, 2019