Thursday, June 26, 2014

oh my... school's OUT?!?

Hello to all!
This past Sunday, our son graduated from high school.
13 years of public schooling - check.
Some kids love school. My son wasn't one of them.
He's like his mom -
doesn't do so well with boredom and routine and rules. ;-)
Ask me how proud we are.
So the past few weeks were filled with excitement
and last minute preparations for the big day.
Check out the cute graduation caps his friend made...
mini peanut butter cups & chocolate. 
Adorable and delicious.
then this beautiful sunrise
on my birthday a few days ago
then a little later on in the day,
these wispy clouds.
Isn't it lovely?
Looks like paint to me.
ok, so after all the excitement of this past week,
i realized i had painted very little.
Sometimes I think to myself:
"what the hell do I do with my time"?
and the answer is usually: READ.
I love books, but too much of a good thing
isn't necessarily good, is it?
I have to re-evaluate a few things in the coming months.
Notice I didn't say WEEKS because i know
i'll have to wean myself off books slowly -
just like a crack addict!
Oh, and for the record, I'd never stop reading completely.
I just need to slow down enough
to make room for other things.
Like writing my own damn book. 
So today is the last day for this week's theme
on Illustration Friday
and the theme is: SUMMER!
I first started with a bit of a collage (for the blue)
but quickly decided I would just use paint.
(acrylic on paper)
At first, I didn't really like it
but kept going anyway.
You just never know how something's gonna end up...
By this point, i was kinda ok with it.
The actual colour of the sand is more yellow than orange,
but you get it.
I had fun with the waves...
those are collage (pieces of paper I cut out of a magazine)
and then I added white lines & dots
I was just in the mood for something light,
something fun, cartoony.
I'm not a big "50 shades of grey" fan.
And here's the finished painting of my uncle,
although I altered his look a little
so it wouldn't look exactly like him.
It's acrylic on canvas.
(he still doesn't know this one's going in a show next week!)
These pastries are a popular Acadian treat called
translation: Nun farts
So delicious.
And here's another painting going in the show.
(you'll understand the scribble of paint in the corner in a second!)
These were old barns in a field a few miles from here.
I believe the barns have now crumbled to the ground.
I painted this years ago
and I must have been feeling blue when I painted it
because looking at this painting always depressed me.
There was something about the weak barns,
barely standing and
surrounded with so much blue
that just made it sad.
It's pretty big (something like 30 x 30 inches)
and I kept it out of sight for years.
Until I was asked if I was interested
in doing a show of my paintings on canvas.
When I began looking at my paintings
and found this one,

My 1st thought was:
why does this bother me so much?

and my 2nd thought:
why don't I change what bothers me?

It's my painting...
I can do whatever i want, right?
So I did this.
Changed the sky to yellow
and added little bits of yellow here and there in the ground,
to balance things off a bit.
Much better to me.
Some people may prefer the blue one (and that's ok!)
but to ME - this makes my heart happier
Making such a change to a big painting isn't easy.
I didn't know if it would make it better,
or kill it completely.
Sometimes, we keep ourselves from taking risks
because we're just so damn afraid of the outcome.
And really - think about it -
what's the WORST thing that could happen?
It would have been a bad painting.
That's it.
No one dies.

It's a painting,
and sometimes, taking that risk
and trusting your gut
is exactly what needs to be done.
The minute I put that little squiggle of yellow paint in the corner
I went with it.
Go big or go home.
And i'm glad I did.
And speaking of going big -
a double rainbow again!
Awesome twice.

And I'll never understand why someone like Nicki Minaj is known around the world, but this guy isn't... (oh right - she has boobs!)

Ron Sexsmith - one of my favourite songwriters ever...
Thanks for hanging out!
Keep painting!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sister Golden Hair, naked & free!

hello Munchkins!
I've been wanting to post now for days
but always seem to get distracted by one thing or another.
(sound familiar?)
Dramatic skies the night of the funeral
for the 3 slain RCMP officers in Moncton...
When something like this happens so close to home,
it always makes me think about those places in the world
that are in constant conflict.
Places where people kill one another 
like it was a sport.
Hard to understand the world sometimes...
But life goes on...
A happy apple tree!
not sure i'm done with it yet.
I'll most likely be adding something to it.
Probably dots.
I did this a few nights ago,
with the intention of doing a collage of words.
Then out of the blue,
was inspired to draw this...
thinking I would somehow tie in the words later
But then it became all about the illustration
and less about the words.
So i resigned myself to the fact that Sister Golden Hair
wanted all the space to herself.
 So i let her.
 It was so much fun doing this.
 (photo taken in natural light, the next morning)
It always amazes me how we can have one intention in the beginning,
and then the piece takes on a life of its own.
They say it's the same with writing.
Speaking of which,
I've been working feverishly on my book.
Well, ok, maybe feverishly is a strong word.
If i get any fever at this time of the year,
it's caused by too much sun. ;-)
Happy Wednesday everyone! 

For all the hippies out there...
Sister Golden Hair. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

fear, grief and forgiveness...

The weak can never forgive.
Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
- Mahatma Gandhi
I write this post with a heavy heart
but i am writing it anyway.
I live near Shediac, a small coastal town in Eastern Canada.
The nearest city is Moncton, about 15 minutes away.
This week was a crazy week for Moncton
and the kind of week we're not used to in this small, friendly,
peaceful place we call home.
A young man of 24 went on a shooting rampage
and killed 3 Mounties and injured 2 others.
For 30 hours, the city was in lockdown
as the RCMP searched for the gunman.
These brave souls had just lost 3 of their own
and grieving would have to wait because
they had a job to do.
People were asked to lock their doors and stay in.
They were also asked to keep their porch lights on,
to help with the search in the darkness of night...
People did leave their lights on
and in a show of solidarity,
others across Canada and elsewhere in the world
left their lights on as well...
You can see some of them here:

Whenever something like this happens
i'm reminded that there are FAR more good people in this world than bad.
At 12:10am on Wednesday, June 4th,
the shooter was caught and taken into custody.
We all breathed a sigh of relief...
and then of grief.
The next day,
people began to bring flowers at the RCMP headquarters in Moncton...
by 7pm last night, about a thousand people had gathered
to pay their respects to the fallen...
My heart goes out to everyone -
including the young man who did the shooting - and his family.
No parent raises their child
hoping that he or she becomes a mass murderer.
It broke my heart when i heard people wish him dead...
it doesn't mean i want him FREE,
but i think it's wrong to wish the death of another,
regardless of what they've done.
As much as i understand the anger and the fear -
I also believe there are far more people
on the brink of a mental breakdown
than we may think
and I believe in forgiveness more than i do hate.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King Jr.

And soooooo....
when the time came to paint,
although my heart felt heavy,
I wanted to paint something light...
so I started with this - on canvas, about 2 x 2ft
from a photo of my uncle who loves to bake. :-)
 at first, it didn't look too bad...
as i went along, i was more and more uneasy with it...
by the time i got here, he looked like a man
who had lost his arms... 
or like he had lobster claws for hands... hehehee.
 So i tried fixing it by showing more of his shirt,
lowering the pan,
widening the arms,
lightening the background...
Then i decided to put one of his arms
under the pan completely...
in the photo, he's holding it with his 2 hands -
but i'm the artist, and that means i can put his hand where i want!
 I also decided to stretch his head right out of the canvas
rather than try to squeeze his whole body AND the pan inside the canvas.
Certainly not done yet, but I'm a lot more comfortable with it.
At a certain point,
i came so close to painting over the whole thing.
I sat and stared at it for about 5 minutes
wondering if I could really salvage the lobster claws... ;-)
We'll see where it ends up after the next sitting,
but i already like it more than i did, so it should be ok.
When the palette starts to look like this,
it's time to take a break!
And something I thought you'd all appreciate...
i definitely relate to some of this.
Much of this.
ok, all of this. 

thanks for being here Munchkins.
Be kind to one another.
Be grateful for what you have,
where you are,
WHO you are.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

summer sketches...

Must i tell you how good it feels
to see blue sky and green grass again?
I didn't think so.
I've been spending time going for walks
and noticing the little big things -
like this...
and this

and this...
 and this...(see the full moon way back there?)
So impressive when you think about it...
Did this the other night
when i didn't really know what i felt like painting.
From a photo in a magazine.
A depressing painting, now that i see it here,
but a painting nonetheless.

And then this morning,
i treated myself to a walk at the nearby beach
for a bit of plein air sketching.
It's not something i do often.
Sketchbook Skool has inspired me
to go out and sketch in the great outdoors. 

This isn't the most beautiful beach,
but it's filled with so many great things to sketch...
flowers, driftwood, seaweed.
So i sketched on site
and added the water-colour once i got home.
I left out a lot of detail
mainly because i was sitting on a log
and my butt felt like it was gonna fall off after a while.
The bridge you see is only wide enough for one car at a time.
Tourists are always in for a surprise in these parts... ;-)
So there you have it.
Shediac Bridge, New Brunswick, Canada!
Then this afternoon,
a bit more sketching,
just cause it's summer,
and i'm so damn happy about that...
and about getting some time to myself
to do what i love.
Some cross hatching!
something else i don't do often,
but SBS got me going again... 
You've probably seen this quote a thousand times,
but i'm posting it again anyway.
Just cause i love it so much.
And i thought you'd like this little sign i saw
the other night as we took a drive to the wharf & had ice cream.
I'm not big on seafood, but it's a big thing here in the summer.
and for those who don't know what fried clams look like...
here they are - in all their glory.

Thanks for being here!
I'll be back soon...