Guest post by Sandra Flores.
I came to Toronto from South America 35 years ago. Since I was a little girl one of my favourite hobbies was painting; however, I actually started to paint more seriously in 2019.
I work full time as a Spanish interpreter for a well-known agency in the GTA and in 2019 my job experienced a significant decline in job requests. I became really stressed out. During the summer seasons, I love to explore different spots in northern Ontario and in 2018 when my sister came to visit from Ecuador, I took her to little shops in the Muskoka area where they featured handmade crafts and artwork. Seeing this, my sister was the one that gave me the idea to pursue my hobby again: painting. Being stressed about the decline of work assignments, painting rocks as I listened to Bossa Nova music was the outlet I discovered I needed to de-stress from my daily responsibilities.
When it comes to my artwork process, each rock I choose inspires me to draw a specific drawing; the unique shape of the rock seduces me to paint. I tried to paint according to how I feel and about a specific holiday such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. I also paint for children, inspirational rocks with positive and encouraging messages, and nature. In other words, my inspiration comes in many forms.
Each rock is personally signed as “SELAHTSUR”, the name I decided to give to my creations. The “S” is the first initial of my name, Sandra, and the word “sur” is south in Spanish and where I come from. When I sign the name, I draw a crown over the “T” which symbolizes the King; and the number 9, which I draw horizontally, is my favourite number and looks like an eye that symbolizes God is watching over me.
“Yahweh Tsuri” is a Hebrew name that means “The Lord is my Rock” and I needed to honour Him because He has been my rock during difficult times. God has awakened a gift that was dormant for years and He did it during the toughest year of my life when I needed Him the most.
During the infinite sleepless nights I had in 2019, I painted almost 1,200 rocks and it helped me a great deal. Whenever I travel, I continue to pick up rocks that I see along the way, especially around the Georgian Bay area near Wiarton.