Wednesday, June 24, 2015

a whole lota lovin'

hello people!
I can't remember if I shared these or not,
but if I did, i'm sharing again. :)
I don't watch much TV,
but when I do, I often sketch at the same time.
I keep a sketchbook nearby with pens & crayons
so if I feel like drawing, everything's there at my fingertips.
These sketches were done while I was watching
the movie, Saving Private Ryan. 
The ones above are of a church that had been blown up
and that the soldiers were using as shelter.
These are done quickly, 
because you only have a few minutes of a certain scene
on the tv screen.
I usually just sketch quickly
and add a bit of detail later on if I want.
And then this doodle below
I did while I was watching a show
on the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
The pyramids are so fascinating.
Another place i'd love to visit someday.
This is a bit different, 
because I'm not sketching something I see on TV,
I'm doodling while listening
so the drawing is really more imaginative
than figurative.
As I doodle, I lift my face now and then
to look at the TV
but mostly, I just listen and doodle what comes to mind.
I wonder if the brain absorbs more this way?
Either way, it is so meditative
to doodle something like this.
There's no right or wrong.
There's no rhyme or reason.
You make lines, draw circles or squares,
color certain parts in
and leave some white.
This is the kind of doodle you would do slowly.
It took me almost an hour of slow drawing,
and when I finished,
i called it a night
and had the deepest sleep.

We could wipe out so many prescription drugs in this world
if we all just made art. :)
Sketchers - my most comfortable shoes.
I am past the age of wearing sexy shoes.
Comfort is what it's all about, baby.
Added watercolor (even if it's not watercolor paper!)
so the paper buckled a bit, but whatever.
And guess what, peeps?
Today is my birthday!
(yes, another birthday!)
I turn 52 today, and I must say, it was a good one.
I did everything i love.
I went for a long walk this morning,
I read, I painted, I wrote...
I'm at that age now where once in a while,
reality sets in and I think to myself:
Is this it?
Is this my life?
Have I done everything I wanted to?
and the answer is always NO, of course not!
We always want more, don't we?
So I thought I'd share 52 things about me
that you may not know.
You may not care about them either - but what the hell.
I'm sharing them anyway cause
it's my birthday and I get to do what I want! Yay!

1. I was born in Massachusetts, US, but we moved to Canada when I was 7.

2. I backpacked in Europe by myself when I was 30. I would do it again in a heartbeat, only this time, I'd be smarter about it. 

3. I hate huge corporations. They treat people like numbers. I hate that.

4. I used to dream about working in 3rd world countries, helping others.

5. I want to go to India before I die.

6. I am not religious. (yes, i know most of you must know this already). :)

7. I am an introvert. (another "not so big surprise" to those who know me).

8. I am often alone but rarely lonely.

9. I love books. (surprise!!)

10. I once had a drink with my dad in an old fashion saloon in Great Falls, Montana, USA. The kind of saloon you see in movies - with swinging doors!

11. I lost my wallet in Paris and a kind stranger gave me $100. She was a nun.

12. I saw Prince (the performer) at the Charles de Gaulle airport.

13. I tented in the woods in Jasper where we hung our food in the trees to keep it away from the bears.

14. I believe pot (marijuana/cannabis) should be legalized.

15. I love being bare feet.

16. I hate wearing a bra (and I usually don't.)

17. Music moves me. Sometimes deeply.

18. Painting always makes me feel like i'm home.

19. I once went to Florida for 3 weeks with two girls I had just met one week before the trip. (We had a blast & became good friends).

20. I smoked my 1st cigarette when I was 12, hiding behind our garage. I never smoked another.

21. I was on the honour roll in high school, and my favorite subject was (ironically) Religious Studies. :)

22. I've made the trip across Canada by car twice. It's beautiful. And long.

23. I am a Maritimer, but I don't like lobster. They look too much like spiders to me. :)

24.  I've never had an entire beer. (Don't like the taste).

25.  I write everyday.

26.  I love history - in particular, Jewish history.

27.  I don't believe in life after death at this time in my life.

28.  I carry guilt about being the only one with mom when she died. I wished my two brothers had been there too.

29. Giving birth to my son was the most important and beautiful thing that ever happened to me.

30. When I was a child, I had a small, glow in the dark Buddha that I kept with me at all times - especially at night, when things were dark and creepy.

31. I'd rather drive a standard (transmission) car than an automatic.

32. I spent a lot of my teenage years horseback riding in Western Canada, rollerskating, tenting in the mountains and writing.

33. In the middle of a freezing winter, I fell through the ice while eel fishing and got pneumonia.

34. I don't go eel fishing anymore. :)

35. I only watched the BIG BANG THEORY once and didn't like it. Not funny to me.

36. I used to have pen pals around the world - including inmates who were serving life sentences.

37. I worked as a prison guard and trusted some of the inmates more than some of the other prison guards.

38. I played guitar when I was younger and wrote a few songs. I once sang one of my songs to a guy I was crazy about - and when I finished, he cried.

39. I can't stand people who cling to me.

40. I'd much rather live in a small home than a big one.

41. I believe politicians and athletes are paid far too much.

42. I believe teachers are paid far too little.

43. I need very little to be happy. Good coffee. Good music. Good books.

44. I have a soft spot for the homeless - and alcoholics.

45. When I was 13, I stayed on a teeter totter with my cousin for 5 hours. We could barely walk the next day, but after that, we felt like we could do anything!

46. I avoid big crowds and loud places. My senses just feel attacked.

47. We lived in so many different houses when I was growing up, my friends all thought I was an army brat (that my father was in the army). He wasn't.

48. When I was in grade 7, my friend and I won 1st place in a snow sculpting contest. We sculpted SNOOPY on his dog house, and we shared a trophy for an entire year. (she had it one week, I had it the other). giggle....

49. I once saved my dad from drowning in a hotel pool.

50. George Jones, the famous country singer, once sang me Happy Birthday at an outdoor concert in Maine, USA. He was sober. I wasn't. ;)

51. I once went on a weekend pilgrimage with mom and spent more time flirting with the cute bus drivers than praying. I was saved anyway. ;)

52. Being 52 is not so bad. Really. I'm happy to be here

To those of you who have read all the way through these useless tidbits -
thanks for being here with me. xx

Monday, June 22, 2015

killing each other sucks

Right after my last post titled "art is my religion",
some fucking yahoo goes into a church in Charleston
and kills 9 innocent people who were praying at the time.
And the world goes round & round...
I am not a religious person,
but if you can't feel safe in a church,
where the hell CAN you feel safe?
The whole thing just makes me sad.
That so many lives are shattered
because one idiot racist decided
he didn't like the idea of black people praying for peace...
 ...a few quick sketches
Whenever I hear news like that,
my mind goes all over the place
and I have a hard time concentrating on one thing.
 ...and of course, i try to sketch how i feel.
 or how I wish things were.
And then i usually try to escape to my happy place,
about 10 minutes from my home.
Dramatic skies and blue ocean
always make me feel grounded again
and bring at least some sense
into my world.
i love when you can't see the line
between ocean and sky.
 ...and then these lovely little reflections in the water
 The setting sun always gives such beautiful light...
Cottages in the mist. :)

And this - Robin Williams' last performance
in a movie called BOULEVARD.
I can't wait to see it,
even if the trailer breaks my fucking heart.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

because making art is my religion

The only courage that matters
is the kind that gets you
from one moment to the next.
- Mignon McLaughlin
There's nothing like a quick trip to the hospital
to make me happy to come home.
It was nothing serious -
taking a friend who would not be able to drive back.
But seeing people who are sick
always makes me sad
that so many people are suffering.
It also makes me grateful
for being healthy, and at home.
A bit of sketching on tags again...
I love working with the small size...
and adding a touch of color makes it fun, i think.

When i comes to art supplies,
I'm not big of the idea of buying expensive art supplies
because that would limit art
to those who can afford it
and I think that anyone who wants to make art,
should be able to make art.
I don't like anything that caters
to a chosen few (usually the rich)
like golf
or some art galleries.
I treat myself now and then
to a nice tube of Golden paint,
or a beautiful brush...
but I don't think it's NECESSARY
to have expensive materials
to make good art.

You don't need any fancy paper
(although a drawing pad is always nice!)
Start layering things slowly.
I always start the drawing
with a bit of a contour...
then start adding more color...
lighter at first,
and later you'll go over some areas
to give them more depth.
I used a black crayon & blue one at the end,
to highlight some areas.
As you can see,
I didn't draw the bottle
exactly as it is.
If I'd want the exact bottle,
i'd take a photo. :)
It's a rough drawing,
not meant to be exact
(especially not with wax crayons).
The shape isn't perfect,
the perspective isn't perfect,
the lines are exaggerated,
but it doesn't matter
because it's a DRAWING!
Just the act of sitting down
and making this drawing
made me happy.
I wonder sometimes
why it's so important for me
to inspire others to make art.
I almost feel like the Jehovah's Witness
who comes to my door
wanting to save me... ;)
I always respectfully tell them 
that religion has no place in my life.
And of course,
they are only trying to share their joy,
the same way I am trying to share mine
except they're a bit more pushy about it
by coming to my door
and I usually have to say no more than once. ;)
In a funny way,
I almost feel like a jehovah's witness
when i'm trying to convince you
of the importance of art.
It's my way of trying to save you ALL
from the confines of society.
why should it matter to everyone?
I ask myself.
As long as it matters to me.
But it's like someone finding the fountain of youth.
Or the secret to happiness.
Or the path to freedom.
Having found it,  
you want to share it with the world
so that others can feel that same joy.
Art is meditation for me.
It is self discovery.
It is therapy.
It is peace of mind.
It is stress relief.
It is pride.
It is confidence.
It is courage.
It is grounding.
It is clarity.
It is expression.
It is freedom.

That's why I want to share it with you.
That's why I want everyone to connect
with their own creativity -
whether it be in cooking or gardening
or sewing or acting
or writing or singing.
Because it has brought me so much in my life
and who knows?
maybe it could bring you the same.
With everyone and everything
screaming for attention around us these days,
listening to your own voice
and finding your own space to breathe
is more important than ever.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

making space for magic

I had three chairs in my house;
one for solitude,
two for friendship,
three for society.
- Henry David Thoreau
I had coffee with a good friend last night.
I don't have many friends,
but the few that I do have,
I hold near & dear to my heart.
Whenever I meet with her,
I always come home feeling energized,
inspired, good about myself.
That's when you know it's a true friend.
The older I get,
the wiser I am about who I choose
to spend time with,
and the less guilty I feel
about distancing myself from certain people.
So I've been cleaning & sorting things out at home...
or at least trying to.
Between walks and painting and reading,
I'm trying to create order where there is chaos
getting rid of clothes that no longer fit me,
giving away things that no longer serve me
and that may be of use to someone else.
It always feels good to give.
During my sorting out paper stuff day,
I found old sketches and scribblings
that i forgot I even had.
...nose & mouth sketches,
when I was teaching the basics of drawing. watercolor paintings,
of the sea & sky 
...and more of the sea & sand & trees in the winter.
I used to love these simple little watercolors.
When I started watercolor,
this is how I began. 
Small, simple, limited colours.
If any of you out there are itching
to try watercolors,
try starting small.
You may find it far less intimidating
and if you screw up,
it's only a small piece of paper. 
No big deal, right? 
A great way to get comfortable
with this sometimes difficult medium.
And in between the cleaning & sorting out,
I find time for walks in nature.
Always a priority for me.
There is nothing
like the sound of birds chirping
and even the buzzing of bees
after the long winter.
A quick painting on paper -
getting rid of leftover paint. :)
 I didn't like the gloomy blue background...
So I switched it to orange!
(Sorry, i should have told you to get your sunglasses.) 

And this wonderful surprise.
I love the art & words of Tommy Kane
and several months ago,
I joined Sketchbook Skool.

Tommy was one of the 6 teachers during one of those weeks,
and I don't remember how this portrait thing happened,
but at the end of the 6 weeks,
a bunch of the students (myself included)
ended up doing his self portrait.

It was so much fun to see all the different styles
from artists all around the world.

The above image is Tommy Kane's blog banner -
and the 1st painting on the left is mine!
I nearly passed out when a fellow blogger
sent me an email to ask me if I had seen my portrait there.

I hadn't.

My portrait of Tommy Kane.
On his banner.
THE Tommy Kane.
Artist extraordinaire.
Holy shit.
It was painted with acrylics on paper.

When I told my friend about this,
(the one I joined for coffee last night!)
she looked at me and said:
NOW do you believe you are good?
Sometimes now, I do.
But not always.
I still have my doubts.
Every day.
I've just learned to paint anyway -
despite the little voice in my head.