Tuesday, 23 April 2013

more mermaids

I'm surprised to find myself enjoying this so much. Why has it taken me so long to understand that poster paints are gouache? The convenience of finding them in a pen format is interesting, but what's really great is that they can be applied over each other and worked in pencil as I have done here:


This second mermaid drawing (painting?) in paint pens and graphite pencil
is also inspired by my online class (see previous posts) which I drew
accompanied by Jane Davenport's MermaidCircus class video.

and late into last night I drew another one

 Next on the horizon is a new concept for me: collaging with elements from my own sketchbook.
I've done collage for years, often with original paintings cut up and incorporated into the piece I'm working on, but using photocopies of my own work with the intention of painting over them again as well intrigues me.
To quote Teesha Moore, "...I actually had a whole different idea in mind and then, all of a sudden, something crops in the process, and that's the process of...creativity, and that's what keeps me coming back and back and back. And that's the surprise element of
'Oh  where are we going to today?'"

Monday, 22 April 2013

new ways of seeing

Hi again. It is a beautiful sunny day here, a little on the cool side, but that's good for walking.
Here are a few of my favourite photographs I've taken over the last week...
I enjoyed the cooing and ruffling of this pigeon as he tries to win the attention of this sleek female.
She's watching alright.

There's certainly a lot of strutting and a little confusion as to what he really wants,
 what comes next...
But isn't he a handsome boy. 
Playing again with saturation, I bumped up the colour on this
Beauty in the Rubble
a handsome iron fence that's seen better days
Another shot of this fence
a mural by my nephew Jordan Di Lella of Bob Marley painted a few years back

A magnificent fellow in a stainless steel sink
Looking out toward the Avon River basin on a rainy day
The powerful beauty of nature
same tree same day
a mermaid waif
done in pencil and paint pens while watching Jane Davenport paint a photocopied painting of her own work, reworked in paint pens, Prismacolour  pencils and acrylic hobby paint.

 Because of this online class I'm taking (see previous posts), I find it exhilarating to learn new methods and ways of using materials. I'm surprised how I enjoy working in the style of another artist and the wealth of knowledge it brings me. It's been good to expose myself to new ways of seeing. 

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Taking a break from the known, keeping Teesha Moore's advice in mind (please see my last blog entry), I opened my sketchbook to a painting with which I wasn't satisfied.

NOT that it needs to be seen again, but by way of illustration, I decided to collage it up
to test out my new Sharpie water based poster-paint pens and some of Teesha's go-to design tricks.
and this is what I came up with
Trust your Self

Saturday, 13 April 2013

there's alway a way

snowy morning light

Something Teesha Moore said in her new online class MermaidCircus  that she shares with Jane Davenport (just 2 more days to sign up) reminded me about the endless possibilities that come when one 'changes horses midstream', how sometimes it offers that elusive, exciting element that may have been missing from the original plan, how there really are no mistakes when one approaches art, and indeed their life, that way.

I remember how I once heard how the tiniest change in the direction of a trajectory can send something into space a billion miles from its original course. That blows my mind every time I think of it. The smallest change can have such enormous effect. Teesha advises to never panic over something "going wrong."  She says:

There's always, always a way to fix everything....
If you know...beyond the shadow of a doubt
that there's nothing you can't fix, then it totally frees you up
to just have fun and play and to have a c'est la vie attitude about the whole thing.
Just wanted to share that with you. It feels life-altering to me.
mermaid from my sketchbook
open to the possibilities

Friday, 12 April 2013


the week has been full of excitement for me as I dip my toe into the bubbling water of an online art journaling class which I realized was "just what the doctor ordered". I'm hoping it will up the ante on my creative explorations.

A week ago, probably because of all the derelict buildings we've been seeing, and because there is a windswept hayfield behind our house, I wrote this:

ode to a broken house
a hand-sewn quilt of eyelet cloud,
like ragged sail full-blown and proud,
banked against the valley's edge
over meadows, brook and sedge,
whorled and wrested from their nap
plum-shadowed and then sunlit-dap,
shored against the wind-drenched day
was like to blow this house away.
no plume of smoke to scape and curl
from the chimney, flag unfurled,
no geese a-gabblin' in the yard
where old Sweep kept 'is one-eyed guard,
no hearth by cracklin' applewood
where barley stew a-bubblin' brewed.
just a lonely, hollow rubble
on the basin's edge, a hovel,
a pebble in a field of grasses
shoulder to the pelting lashes,
caressed too rare by gentle breeze
or the kiss of falling leaves
and no one to remember when
the roof was thatched, the door was latched
the babes were wrapped in buntings matched
or when the twinkling midnight snow
embraced the valley cabin so
that all inside who slumbered there
dreamt  dreams of green with conscience bare.

an old figurine from my collection
surely this planet is big enough, and we are expansive enough
to have a safe and happy home, a sanctuary for each of us

Monday, 8 April 2013

a day of surprises

What an intensely joyous day I had yesterday.
A little slow getting out of bed on a Sunday morning, I suddenly heard what sounded like a cell phone set on vibrate outside the bedroom window. 
" Brrrr.....Brrrr.... and then, Brrrr.... "
I looked out the window, but couldn't see anything suspicious.  I went into the kitchen and signalled Wally to come with me.
"What is it?"
"Listen" I whispered, "I hear a cell phone." 
"That's not a cell phone," he replied. "That's a woodpecker."
"But it sounds too close to be a woodpecker," I said. (I've heard woodpeckers, and believe me, they can be loud.)
Wally left and I went into the bathroom and out the window, lo and behold:

I couldn't be more tickled!
and here's the new trick I'd like to share:
I took these pictures through the binoculars!
While they're still a little blurry, I wouldn't have them at all otherwise, so I'm delighted!
Then what happens?  I sign up for an online workshop on art journals. I'm terribly giddy when the phone rings and it's my new friend, Pam, inviting me to an afternoon workshop.
Armed with my not-so-trusty camera I'm off to join Pam and fibre artist Marilyn Rand for another workshop at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts where we painted in gouache on old encyclopaedia pages inspired by the works of Rick Stultz .
Why lose a shot just because it's blurry?
A little tweaking and it becomes a pointillist painting!
Of course I have to take a picture of the ubiquitous abandoned building
 that seems to be my latest fascination.
After the workshop, which was more like playtime, family art day at the Centre, we headed off for the Ross Creek beach that Pam and Marilyn so love.
Another opportunity to play with exposures and colour.
We wandered way out on the sea floor at low tide, precariously hobbling over all kinds of stone
which Pam knows so much about having a geology background.
I was fascinated by the trails of welks that were left over rock and stone.
So small and prolific, welks are supposed to make good eating
in months that have an "r" in them, though Pam and Marilyn discussed
 how that might have to be amended with climate change.
What a good time I had with these 2 amazing women.
This was one of those magical days, stolen from the original plan,
 and made the day more memorable for it
And at the end of the day, my souvenirs:
seascape on the kitchen table

Lunar landscape on a placemat
and the unfinished gouache I did on papers from an old encyclopaedia
remembering that life is what happens while we're busy making other plans

Friday, 5 April 2013

Lunenburg at Twilight

And finally last Saturday night's pictures in the amazingly picturesque town of Lunenburg.
Because it was almost dark outside and I hate to use the flash, these pictures will be a bit blurry.
But the colour, oh the colour, is so worth it as the flash would burn out these rich jewel tones.
Nor did most of my town and house shots didn't make the cut;  that was because I was obliged to take them from a moving car, Lunenburg being squeezed in at the end of our big day out.  It was only around 7 at night; if it had been summer, the streets and wharf would have still been busy with tourists. But as it was the evening before Easter Sunday, we had the whole town to ourselves.
As with most seaside towns, we've discovered the roads take a steep slant down to the sea.
a remnant of the old days when utility buildings were still covered in wood shakes.
I think this must be a fishing warehouse.
Two old dorys

Symphony by The Dory Shop
lit up by harbour lights
The Dory Shop at Dusk
mirrored mauve
Old and New juxtaposed
fishing vessels
Masts at Sunset
Ghost Ship Come to Port
 And with that, I close my third chapter of our trip to the South Shore last Saturday.
With over 600 shots taken, I put most of my creative energy into editing and refining the few dozen shots I've posted here.  I hope you got a feeling for this quaint part of the world.
Wherever you are you'll find there is beauty all around you.
One must only be present for it.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

these two days past

just a little catch up between showing you pictures from our trip to the south shore...
Yesterday morning out the back window, with such awesome glare
mushroom or chrysanthemum?

The drama of the sky that  morning foretold of sun and wind and snow on and off all day.
Finally I just had to go out in the bitter wind and take this shot.
Here I have darkened the exposure to show the extremes in light
The day before- Tuesday- we had opportunity for another gardening gallivant to seek out containers and organic soil, which we had great luck with.

It was also cold and wind... but not in this nursery where spring had sprung.
grape hyacinth and a tulip
more spring babies

Another of the many great old barns to be found in the Annapolis Valley where we live
a sweet horse

and a friend to share with
a good munch
Without much new to share, I thought you might enjoy this embroidery I did around Christmas
in a new "old" frame we found that I think suits it well.
Lunenburg harbour on the Saturday night before Easter next time.  It's getting harder to commit to sharing what has passed, even if it is only 5 days ago as I so want to get on with where I am today.  I enjoy taking pictures and sharing thoughts;  I was lucky to get such nice shots and I hope you will enjoy them.  But what I really want to do is be present to what is presented to me right now.
Life brings us a myriad of packages to open. One that was presented to me this morning from a dear friend was the concept of not calling herself an artist... even though she lives, at least part time,  like one. The  meaning that this word takes on in our culture is pretty much a job description and necessarily attached to its secondary purpose (or primary, depending on how one is oriented) of making money.  I understood immediately that her intention was to separate her creativity from job description because of how compromising it is to true creative impulse, something which I have been trying to find my way through for these last 4 years.  Much more daring in her creative play/work than I, yet still with a professional presence in the community, I know that her heart lays in truth, in integrity.  This is a dicey subject in a world that isolates, compartmentalizes and divides. Aligning oneself with inclusiveness, non-judgement and unity requires a whole rethink on everything we take for granted.
Words have so much power. And it's insidious when one goes deeper into it.   A while back, with the Women's Liberation Movement there was a new emphasis on using words with less  emphasis on the male influence so that the word "history" become "herstory".  Psychology jumped on the bandwagon and proclaimed:  we no longer have problems, we have "challenges".
I was once fired from a job for not typing fast enough. The company aligned themselves with a "positive mental attitude" but obviously didn't bring their positivity to me.
I have been dismissed on several occasions by mean-spirited people (who were otherwise quite nice) for not striving for "success" when, in fact, I was enormously interested in it, just not their kind.
So many words come with baggage, like "closure".
Real estate people sell "homes" not houses, as if that's possible.
I won't go on except to say that if I'm an artist, then we are all artists. Creativity abounds. Making a home, a meal, a life. And if that's the case, no need to make a distinction, except perhaps,
"What's your medium?