Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fear and loathing in eastern Canada

hello everyone!

Well, summer is almost over here,
so I'm enjoying every last bit of it.
As much as i love summer,
I love the fall even more
so at about this time of the year,
I begin to look forward to brisk morning walks
and cooler nights.
The weather here has been hotter 
and more humid than usual (for us at least)
- in the high 30s with humidity -
so one had to be either in the water,
in the shade, or in the house. 
My 2 brothers came home on vacation for a week
and stayed here with us.
They left a few days ago (last Sunday).
I loved spending time with them,
but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward
to having my own space again.
It has nothing to do with my brothers
or their families
and everything to do with 
having 5 extra people in the house
for an entire week
and no time to myself.
For someone who values alone time
as much as I do,
this was no easy task for me. :)
Having relatives visit
for extended periods of time
also makes me realize
how set we are in our own ways.
We were raised by the same parents,
and yet,
we are all so different from one another.
But despite the differences,
by the end of the week,
no one was insane,
and no one was murdered,
so I guess it's all good. ;)
It kinda made me sad
that so many of us spend so much time
on social media.
I almost regret not setting a rule
when they first arrived:
I feel like we lost precious time together
because so many had their faces stuck to their screens...
scrolling for the next post on Facebook
or texting someone
or watching the next talent video on YouTube.
At one point, I wanted to scream:
I don't care who's fucking talented on YouTube.
I don't care who's getting married
or divorced
or who ate what for dinner.
We did a lot together in one week,
but it just seemed like as soon as we got home
and there was down time,
even if only for a few minutes,
everyone would reach for their ipad or phones.
I remember a time
when we would engage in conversation,
or tell jokes,
or pull out the guitars to play music together.
Today, it seems like everyone's in their own little bubble.
It just made me sad.
So after they were all gone,
and the house was quiet again,
I did what I normally do
to feel grounded again.
I went to Frenchy's (2nd hand shop) 
and browsed the used books.
I picked up a coffee
and drove to the wharf to drink it
and watched the seagulls fight
over a piece french fry.
I wrote.
I listened to music.
I read.
I painted.
I watched a documentary the other night
on the life of Ralph Steadman called:
For no good reason.
Obviously inspired this piece.
Well, that and perhaps some of the
underlying frustration I felt.
Johnny Depp is in this documentary,
interviewing the artist (Steadman).
That was my reason for watching it. :)
Steadman is a British artist
who collaborated on several projects
with the infamous Hunter S. Thompson -
a journalist to some (gonzo journalism), 
a deranged idiot to others.
He put a bullet through his head in 2005.
I enjoyed the documentary,
but be forewarned:
it can seem a bit strange to some.
Steadman's art is nothing like the man himself.
Just as we say "never judge a book by its cover"...
well, never judge an artist by his or her paintings.
He comes across as a kind & generous man.
He is gentle.
And his paintings look like this:
(self portrait)

and this:

and this, his tribute to his friend, Hunter Thompson.
Years ago, I had read Hunter Thompson's book
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,
and I came away from the book thinking:
"this man is not well in the head". ;)
But I loved the few illustrations throughout the book.
Ralph Steadman's illustrations,
so I knew I had to look him up eventually.

One last sunset before I go. :)

a Tshirt I plan on getting for myself. :)

My book find from Frenchy's...
and this little story,
from Brian Andreas' book.
I love this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

nature and art go hand in hand

hello people!
Brace yourselves.
This could be long. 
Or at least have lots of pics. :)
The hippie van drawing was done
with coloured pencils & markers.
As much as i love the lazy days of summer,
I'll be happy to get into a more normal routine
come the fall.
Summer just makes me lazy...
The less I do, the less I wanna do.
Took this pic while walking in trails
not too far from here.
Car plates as wallpaper for the shed.
Hey, whatever turns him on, right?
This beauty shark head can be found at
Pointe du Chene wharf
not too far from here.
I sometimes go there for coffee in the mornings.
It's kind of a summer hangout.
Some little kid actually stuck his head in the shark mouth
a few summers ago
and they had to call the rescue team
to get him out.
They actually had to cut off a few of the shark teeth
to get the little boys' head out. 
Poor kid...
Attacked by a fake shark head. ;)

I didn't think i'd get this shot
just as the sailboat passed the sun,
but i guess i did.
I amaze myself sometimes. :)
Another boat with the sun setting...
This is one of my favorites...
the reflection of a rope in the water.
I was feeling out of sorts the other night,
so decided to just go to my blue room
and make art.
I didn't feel like painting anything in particular
so I just grabbed a few colours
and started playing.
Within a short while (like 15 or 20 minutes)
I was feeling better.
I heard someone say the other day (on TV)
that doodling or adult colouring
could not be considered art therapy,
and I wanted to tell them to fuck off.
I totally disagree.
I swear there are morons out there
who are afraid that people may become too happy.
Who cares whether it's "officially" art therapy?
It's meditative
and it has huge benefits.
Like lowering blood pressure,
and heart rate
and slowing down the brain
and the breathing
and becoming aware of the NOW
and maybe even in the process,
painting something great!
So yeah, keep doodling
and making art.
It's good for you.
I took this pic in the daytime...
what a difference in color.
This is the actual color (as opposed to the yellowy ones above).
Not bad for a night that started out as just "blah".
A few pics of an impending storm
a few weeks ago...
Do you see that line in the sky?
It was pretty awesome to see.
We ended up getting very little of anything,
but some people nearby got heavy thunder & hail.
I just thought the skies were so beautiful...
A little frightening, but beautiful.
Yes,  you can be both. :)
Another quick little sketch in my book.
We went for a few hikes in Fundy Park last weekend.
It's a National Park about 2 hours from here.
Love it there.
One of my favorite parks.
Nature at its best.
(see the people at the bottom of the waterfall?)
 Yes, the water is this clear...
A girl in the distance enjoying her lunch...
and these beautiful vines...
they seem to go on forever.
My son (in the blue shirt)
amidst the green beauty. 
Well, I just realized it's almost 11:30 am here,
and I am picking up my dad to run errands in a few,
so I must cut it short.
Well, short for me. :)
Happy Wednesday everyone!
Thanks for hanging out here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

sketching, organizing and a lesson on Acadians

hi everyone!
I'm posting a little sooner than I expected I would.
When inspired to post - post!
I got this little book for my birthday a month ago.
I'm carrying it around with me as much as I can
and sketching little things here & there.
Sometimes, all you need is a few minutes.
I love contour drawing or "blind" drawing.
That's when you draw something
without looking at the page.
In this case (below), I drew a plant.
Years ago, I taught a few classes at Community College
and whenever I did this exercise with the students,
they would immediately tense up,
as if I had asked them to fly a spaceship.
We have this fear with art about doing it wrong
when in reality,
there IS no wrong in art.
This fear that it might be ugly,
or not as good as the others.
As you can see from the drawing above,
"looking pretty" is not the objective.
The objective, I believe,
is getting over the fear.
And getting over fear of anything
creates confidence.
I have a fear of cleaning.
This table is in my studio space
and it seems to be piling up with more junk every day.
This is the space I use right now for working.
When I first set up this upstairs loft,
my intention was to use it for painting
but that just never happened.
Not sure why.
The space just didn't feel right
and I always ended up painting in my
small, cozy, blue room on the main floor.
So the loft became a space for my computer and junk.
Lots of junk.
Binders that I've kept for years.
Old magazines & books.
Paper, paper & more paper.
So I decided to sort some things out,
while I have some time to myself this summer.
And of course, what better excuse than to buy another book!
There are some great tips in here,
some of which I have already done,
but most of which I will never do. ;)
With all due respect Marie Kondo,
I won't be de-cluttering my house
while wearing a skirt & blazer,
and I won't be talking to my socks
anytime soon. :)
To each his own.

I totally agree that many of us
have an excessive amount of 'stuff' around the house
and it's important to weed it out now & then.
This book is not only about getting rid of stuff,
but it's about respecting the stuff you have
and keeping ONLY what brings you joy.

Oh my.

How many of the things you own
bring you joy?
How many of those things could you NOT part with?
How many of the clothes you wear
make you happy?
Should it matter?
When your cupboards start to look like this,
yes, it matters.
At least to me it does.

It's only two cupboards,
but this is what i'm tackling next.

When I start feeling like there's too much stuff around me,
i hyperventilate.
I don't watch those hoarder shows on TV
because I feel like I can't breathe.
A few of the books I'm reading lately.
I am loving this one, by Steve Martin.
(yes, the comedian).
And this one...
which I was inspired to read
while painting mom's portrait.
Ironically, I am reading this in English.
(I am Acadian, my mother tongue is french but i read mostly in english)
The Acadians have a rich history.
Long story short, in the 1600's,
the french established a settlement
in the eastern provinces of Canada,
on what is now Nova Scotia & New Brunswick.
By 1755, after more than a century of living
in peace with the Mi'kmaq natives,
over 10,000 Acadians were deported by British soldiers
(with the assistance of Massachusetts)
to different parts of the world,
including the English colonies,
France, Louisiana, the Caribbean, etc.
Thousands died along the voyage,
and thousands more spent years
hiding in the woods,
in hopes of returning to their beloved land someday.

Happily, for hundreds of years after,
carrying on to this day,
Acadians from all around the world
have found their way home again
and the Acadian World Congress,
Le Congrès Mondial Acadien
was established to let the world know
we're still here. :)
It's so important not to hate people
let alone hating them based on
language, race, culture, or religion.

If interested, you can read more about the Acadians here.
And here's a sneak peek at mom's portrait...
almost done.
thanks for hanging out & reading my rants.
Wishing you all a great week.