Ever since I first began making colouring books featuring Native Canadian artwork and elders’ wisdom, I have received requests that I make a journal and books with full-colour artwork. I finally decided to make a journal because I myself benefit from journaling – it helps me to remember the good things that happen every day and to be grateful for them.
As with all my other books, I always work with an elder to guide my projects. The elder who oversaw this project and wrote the passages inside the journal is John Sinclair. John is a Cree elder from Ermineskin and Good Fish Lake. John currently works in a penitentiary and with many other groups including schools, friendship centres and others. He spends his days sharing the teachings he learned from his teachers and trying to help people to learn and heal. I hope that the words he has placed in the journal will help to gently guide people in their meditations and progress along their chosen path. John is a wonderful person, very patient and understanding, always loving and encouraging. I feel very honoured that he accepted to work with me on this journal.
The artwork in this journal is by 11 different artists from different nations. It was important to me to showcase artwork from different artists as beauty comes in different forms and styles. It is part of Colouring It Forward’s mandate to help to promote artists.
Shelley Rose May a.k.a. Metis Mamma is one of the artists whose work is featured on the cover and inside the journal. I felt that her work was particularly well suited to this journal. That is because Shelley is a beautiful person, inside and out. She has such a kind heart and is always helping others. The messages and figures in her artwork are always inspiring, positive, empowering and beautiful. Shelley is a Cree metis artist originally from Prince Albert.
Ryan Jason Allen Willert is one of the two Blackfoot artists featured in the journal. Ryan is one of the first artists that I met when I was first starting the Colouring It Forward project. It is thanks to him that the Blackfoot colouring book exists because he introduced me to the elder and other artists that are featured in that book: Camille Pablo Russell and Kalum Teke Dan. Ryan taught me a lot when I was first starting out and helped me to better understand certain aspects of the protocol which is so important when working with Indigenous people and particularly elders. I’ve been impressed watching him develop as an artist, a teacher and businessman in the last few years. He is very serious about his artwork and about his culture and spirituality. He spends a lot of time teaching in schools, making murals and mentoring youth. He also has a very exuberant and playful side which is delightful. Ryan’s work in the journal shows a father teaching his son how to extract the marrow from a bone. It is a wonderful piece which shows that Ryan’s versatility and thoughtfulness.
Stay tuned for the next blog which will share a bit of background on some of the other artists…