Friday, January 31, 2014

More Faces, Oil Pastel, Coloured Pencil and Graphite

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Still working into oil pastel with graphite and coloured pencils, especially in life drawing, but I’ll save that for Life Drawing Tuesday (which I will try to publish on Tuesday! not thursday).
Actually, this one is somewhat sort of related to Life Drawing Tuesday, as I had the worst life drawing session ever.  The model was great (the opera singer). I sucked, really sucked. I did not get a single figure drawing that I will allow to see the light of day. I did do one pencil portrait I liked, and the pastel above is a re-working of a sketch I did before we got started. Very girly manga bishonen boy. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pastels & Coloured Pencils, Faces

More faces.  Seems to be an obsession of mine when I just let the back of my mint do its things. But I'm posting this to show you what you can do with the combination of oil pastel and pencils.  I started by covering the paper (stonehenge) with white and cream pastel.  Everything else is coloured pencil.  It's surprising that you can get such saturated colours over a thick layer of white pastel.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ottawa-Obama Cookies-and it's good to be home


Jan 26
Home, and glad to be, really. Curled up in my nest, my bed, my pillow, my plants, my cat.  It was a long drive.  We wished for snow, we always wish for snow, but maybe not when we have the long drive from Ottawa to make.  Four hours became six.  401 crawled in Oshawa, the back roads where slow and snowy.  I finished one book and began another. I did not crochet all week long.  I have piles of crochet to wear, there is no hurry for more. It had been so long since reading a good book and now two in a row.  Burning Paradise, by Robert Charles Wilson.  I won't call it his best, but his best is awesome literary speculative character driven scifi perfection, so less than best is pretty darned fantastic best. Thoughtful question, how much is freedom worth, vs peace.  I would have chosen the peace, not the ending given. A good thinking book without easy answers.  His books are always such.
And now Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi writing an apopcalyptic future of genetic modification ruin.  I ate my my fresh Ontario grown Macintosh apple with great relish and nibbled it down to its crumbling core.  We need to appreciate what we have more.

Back to the hotel, which I did not appreciate and I'm sure it did not appreciate me.  So on Saturday night, I had time and inclination to go back to the pool for a swim.  I brought my book thinking to begin, or end with a hot and bubbly read.  There was a hot tub, or the physical facility thereof, but it was neither hot, nor bubbly. It was silent and icy cold, and there were no hopeful buttons to press to get things going.  So I swam in the caustic water.  Maybe I just am too spoiled by the great lakes, but the pool water burned my eyes so much that I couldn't enjoy the swim though I tried.  Evening was enjoyable, as we had dinner in again.  More cookies, that we learned are called Obama cookies, as these are the cookies that the Obama's bought on their visit to Canada.  I would have declared them heavenly (I did declare them heavenly) without such a pedigree.  It is rare that my mouth waters for a sweet without chocolate.  We also had a two foot long garlic and cheese baguette and two tubs of four flavours of cold salad, couscous, carrots, chickpea and beans with rice.  It was a delicious dinner. Lunch was cantaloupe that survived our fridgeless vacation.  Though that was to be expected, the stone window ledge made an excellent cold room. We finished the cheese too.

Today we finished our last skate for an accumulated total of 78 kilometres this week (Randy did the math).  All stretched out, that is alot of kilometres.  Glorious kilometres. I wish had not felt like a lumbering ox with wood for joints for most of them.  My bruise, or what ever gave me grief, except for today, when it was mostly better, but i still felt less than graceful.  Oh well, I came to skate and skate I did, lots.  This is good.

Yesterday we went to the Museum of Civilization, which it isn't as it is actually now called the Museum of History, although all the signs, brochures and website url still declare it the Museum of Civilization. I kid you not. We say we would like tickets to the Museum of Civilization, and she says, this the Museum of History.  A huge overhead sign declares it the Museum of Civilization. This is Harperesque double-speak at its finest and most disturbing. Indeed' for purely political reasons it has been renamed the Museum of History, but they haven't bothered to change the signs,  but we are supposed to know that and not be confused.
So we did have a good and enlightening time.  The First Peoples floor was astounding, especially before they cluttered it up with  banquet tables. Thank goodness we arrived before the banquet tables, as one can only get a real sense of the scale of the place, the architecture, both of the building and the totem poles and the west coast houses without the awful clutter of  banquet hall furnishings.  I loved looking at all the pre-industrial technology of snow shoes and eyewear and clothing that keeps a person alive above the arctic circle.
Walking to the Museum and back was wonderful too, as we walked a bridge that was closed to traffic, and well maintained and used by pedestrians.   The view was spectacular in both directions, as the Museum is beautiful modern architecture, and the return to Ottawa has an impressive view of Parliament Hill, and then back through Byward Market for the aforementioned Obama cookies.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ottawa Parliament Hill, Photo Journal, Longread




Jan 23
In Ottawa, for the second day, in a very overpriced hotel. Usually you get what you pay for, but this time, not much.  We thought we were getting a suite with kitchenette for $200/night, but no, just a room with a bed and two not comfy chairs.  I'm getting over a major dissappointment, and making do.  After all, we are very lucky to have this opportunity, so I put a pillow on the clothes rack, pulled a not comfy chair facing the window and now have my feet up and typing. "Making do" at $200/night is simply wrong, but...so for lunch we cruised into the Byward Market to buy some bread, which was a fresh loaf, cloud soft on the inside and chewy on the outside, with cheese and olives mixed in.  I could eat it all on its own, but we had a pat of butter (from the bakery), and goats milk cheese, and havarti with it.  The cheeses need to be eaten, as the room also lacks a fridge, although with an outside temperature sitting at -20C, the stone window ledge is doing a fine job keeping things cool. And then there's the eggnog that we got for Christmas and brought along for the ride.  It's the real thing, with alcohol, so I'm trying to portion out a little in a large water glass. Randy is having more.  Well, the car is hidden away with valet parking--no problem there.  This, and cantaloupe is our after skate evening meal.  We were out all day long, so it's nice just to stay in.
We started the day with just a walk, exploring Ottawa, from Parliament Hill to a tour down Sussex Drive.  We did not get so far as 24 Sussex, I think we reached 260.  We did see the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, that looked like it had been time-warped in from some warmer time and place.  We walked along the Ottawa River back up to the National Gallery of Canada.  Beautiful scenery and the ice was covered with a web of "dog" tracks that converged against the shelter of a cliff far below. I doubt a pack of domestic dogs made these tracks, so it's wolves or coyotes that roam the ice at night. Parliament Hill has tame chickadees.  Must remember to bring some food next time.
We wrapped things up for the morning at Parliament Hill.  I was humiliated once again at the security check. Thank goodness I'd learned my lesson two years ago in Fredericton and left my rather large camp knife behind this time.  I don't think it would have been treated with the same mild amusement it met back in New Brunswick.  No, this time it was my multiple layers of winter gear.

"Could you take your jacket off maam."
"this one? how about this one? And the vest too?  I have more."
"Could you empty your pockets maam?"
"Um..." I was wearing four pairs of pants, and I can't remember which ones have pockets.  The wind pants have spare kleenex within, and yep, that too has to go in the bucket, and my jacket has, worse, used tissue inside, because it's cold enough to make your nose run like a tap, so that too had to come out into the light of day, along with my hat, my earmuffs, and my belt.  In Randy's knapsack was a loaf of bread, yep, the aforementioned aromatic loaf of bread plus a full set of plastic cutlery we had esconsed from the bakery to make up for the lack of kitchenette.
It took us fifteen minutes to get ourselves together again.
The parliament is awesome in the proper sense of the word, full of vaulted stone and intricate relief carvings and crowds of gargoyles. The windows are gothic, some of them stained.  The library was rich with the thick smell of books-- I inhaled deeply to make the most of the experience.

This was followed by a quick lunch in our room and then out again to go skating.  This time we used the heated interior of the change huts for getting our skates on.  What a luxury that, being -20C outside, and when I report temperatures, I do not include the windchill, which shouldn't be counted anyway unless you are naked in the wind. I was far from naked. I was still wearing my four pairs of pants, but my cheeks got nicely nipped as we skated the open stretch across Dows Lake.  I did manage not to face plant on the ice.  The sun was going down, so the world was peach coloured. A raven flew low overhead. I said "hello".  The raven said, "gronk gronk" and carried on.
I'm enjoying our city holiday very much, spending more time out of doors since our September camping trip. It feels very good in winter, at any temperature, to feel the sun on my face, and very good to have the sky overhead for so many long hours at once.

Digital Sketchbook, faces

Digital Art, using stylus on an android tablet. 

And a few notes on blogging; just to let you know, I'm moving in a more casual direction, it's really going to be/is an online journal, journal in the most traditional sense, like a diary, but also with an eye toward's being read and looked at.
So I may post more when inclined, with less effort.  Like a real journal.  Notes, jots, and pictures--no agenda.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ottawa Rideau Canal, photo journal

It's -17C! With the beautiful sunshine almost balmy.  It's our first afternoon in Ottawa, 1st stop, the Rideau Canal, 6 kilometres of frozen water, 6 kilometres of fun.  We skated fast, to keep warm and get a workout.  All good, but I think my body wanted to go swimming because I tripped and took an awesome sliding dive.  I have a big fat pink rose on my knee as a reminder.  Brrr...it's cold outside. Keep warm, folks.




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Life Drawing Tuesday

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Winter Life Drawing has began. Once again, I drag myself away from the warm comforts of home, and enter the frigid interior of an un-warmed car, drive off to the south, fingers freezing, and by the time the heat kicks in, I am there. The Latcham Gallery Life Drawing Club.
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I’m putting my oil pastels to work this year, and especially enjoying blending with white, and even priming the paper with white pastel.  Applying pencil or coloured pencil over white or pale pastel gives a rich deep saturated line, as fine or thick as you like it.  The black lines are done in black Prismacolor, my signature is done with yellow oil pastel and graphite pencil.
Life drawing is a great place to try out new techniques and ideas, or to wrap up a bad art day when you can’t think up a thing to draw. So off to life drawing you go, and the model, with her pose decides it all for you.
If only I could stay awake. I was very antisocial, because I wanted to sleep so badly, so I didn’t want to talk or even look at anybody so I could save my energy for drawing. THAT reminded me to start taking my vitamin D and iron again.

Life Drawing Portfolio

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why I Love Snailmail

Here's my latest mail-out, and first etsy sale of the year.  It's sumo girl, tucked away inside.  But I had such fun with the stamps.  I go to the post office and stock up on their collector's editions, and then with a bit of math (and a calculator) I make up the postage with lots and lots of stamps. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ski Day, notes from the Journal

Photo: Musselman's Lake, East Beach, Friday night.

From the Journal:

jan 17
Today, we got more snow--multiple centimetres, very nice.  Still, I did not go skiing but instead walked around the lake. It was sunset at start out and very pretty.  I took pictures.


Jan 18th, I presume.
I did  want to write a blog post, and answer a letter, and another letter, emails, technically speaking, but letter is the word I use for a read worthy missive over a certain length, one from Claudette and another from Gus, both read worthy people indeed, but my eyes are sore, and my mind is tired and it all seemed  a bit overwelming, so lets just journal, shall we?
Went skiing today, Yay! Great snow, some track set, a bit thin in places, crusty ice below, but still fast and nice. Very nice. It felt balmy and warm at -5C with the sun out and the wind still, but at the end of the run I got very chilled. It was grey and windy.  The temperature alone is not the most important thing.  It was good to ski, and followed by a visit with June at the nursing home. She is fun to talk to. I showed her all my pictures on my Purcey2 and she enjoyed them.  I enjoyed her company. In the activity room they were playing some kind of chair hockey game with pool noodles. I heard plenty of thumps and laughter. It was good noise to hear, very nice. June told us how many $$$ the ice storm cost. She told us in exact dollar amounts. I forget the dollar amounts. I showed her all the beautiful pictures of the crystal trees, and said that these were expensive pictures indeed as the ice storm was so costly.
I got another golden hug from Chris Chapman. Those are lovely. I promised June an email when we are in Ottawa.  Riker is stalking his toys, which are nothing but little denim squares I stitched up years ago but they seem like they mean much more to Riker. I have no idea whether they represent mice or kittens to him, but he carts them all over.
There, done, journal and rambling blog post all in one.
Here's today's ski wax stop in Uxbridge woods.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life Drawing Tuesday

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A minimalist approach to figure drawing. I love exploring the interaction of oil pastel and graphite pencil.  Something magical happens when you apply pencil over pastel, and then more pastel over top.  I’m excited as I found that Sennelier has a colourless blend pastel, and I can order it through Curries. That is on my must try list, as so far I have only used white for this technique.

Life Drawing Portfolio

PS. Oops, forgot to postdate this one for next Tuesday. Have an early tuesday treat.

Monday, January 13, 2014

More Weather



January 13 2014
I still cannot tear myself away from this damned machine.  I wasted, well, do I want to admit to this, 90 minutes, playing with various widgets. Seriously? Yes, seriously. Especially weather widgets.  What is it about the weather. I only need to stick my nose out the door to get a reasonably accurate forecast.  And I am serious about that. Years of sleeping outdoors on camping trips have honed that skill to an unconscious science.  When every bone in your body can feel the consequences of a drop in pressure, you get pretty good at forecasting things and reading the sky. It actually is not rocket sciences, clouds have shapes and the sky has colour and the air does have a feel that changes day to day and minute to minute.  But I can't get enough of those weather widgets. It is, for instance, 5C degrees outside. I know this, not because I hauled my but out of bed and to the door, but because there is not one, but two tiny little 5C degree symbols hovering at the top of my screen. Because I had to get two weather widgets, just to try things out. Meanwhile, time slips away.  I am very glad I have a keyboard to speed things up.
I am still hunting for readworthy blogs, and stumbled on a few.  If they pan out as good reading, I will share in the days to follow.

Todays weather is warm. I am not a climate change denier. I remember, and am old enough to remember, that winter used to mean months of snow, not rain, fog, freezing rain, snow, ice, more rain, freezing drizzle, ice, and thaw and potholes.  Winters used to be lovely things, like pristine Christmas postcards, everything fresh and white and sparkling. Now winters are dirty, grey, and trampled.  At least road ice has melted down to pavement in the center so I can walk without wiping out.  There is an upside. And the lake has gone all shiny so there is hope, that if and when the weather turns cold again, I may get to skate.
And that's the weather.
Today, I played Edwin, my small guitar (guitalele).  I struggle with guitar, and things never seem better, but Edwin is easier on the hands and sweet in the ear, so I'm not sure why I resist him.  I guess I feel that giving up on a challenge is a failure, but we can't all be diva's.  I should be happy I have ten fingers with which to pluck a tune.  And I am.

Feline Fish Fantasy—Hand-pulled Print

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More from the stacks.  The little linocut was inspired by Riker as he watched my husband slicing chicken above.  Rike followed his every motion with a wistful expression. I suspect chicken really did rain from the sky for him. This was my take on the moment. 
I originally designed as an Artist Trading Card, but now am printing it onto 8x10 paper, much easier to display and frame that way.
Feline Fish Fantasy on Etsy


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Saturday, January 11, 2014

the weather

Todays weather, fog, rain, ice, flood

From the journal (yesterdays words):


The weather is horrible, or will be horrible.   Last night we had such a wonderful time, Randy and I, night skiing in the Hollidge tract.  The snow was crisp, the moon was up. Randy enjoyed the moon, and no need for flashlights, even in the  swamp were it is always dark, the moon came in in chiascuro patches.  Everything, on such a night, is beautiful, black silver and rich deep blue.




The trails still needed breaking in, and break them in I did, until the curvy south hill was smooth as butter, and the big hill was WAY TO FAST.  I swore fast and loud going down that one in the dark.  But then it was time to go, get back for dinner, a great ski, but a bad (for skiiers) weather report looming. The temperature was going up, way up for   Saturday, and Friday afternoon it would be above zerro. So I went skiing this morning when it was still a crunchy -5C, but with an extra 2cm of snow, so the downhill runs were a little more tame,  I made the best of it, and did both hills 4 times, as it would/will be last chance for a while.  Now we have fog and drizzle, and it gets worse.  18mm of rain is predicted, and thats alot of rain, and the snow is very deep and the snowbanks are high, and at 8c thats a whole lot of water coming down from the sky and melted from the ground all at once. Randy wanted to shovel,  but I think it would be like sticking your finger in a dam, we just have to wait and see, and have some salt ready for the ice rink that is sure to follow.  So I got some extra exercise,  because I can't resist routine, and so also walked around the lake in the dark and the fog, wearing an orange reflective traffic jacket (as always for lake walks) and a blinking red petzl light (definitely on foggy nights). As I did not get run over, I am assured that I was visible.



I had a good art day, again, in spite of a slightly late start due to skiing. I did my carve for Year of the Horse, and also began the monoprint backgrounds, I made a little deckel mask to give them all a nice edge, and that's as far as I got. I photographed and posted to  Etsy two landscape miniatures which took an hour, ack. I'm not sure how to shave time off that unless I skip scanning, or something, don't know. I need to get faster, or charge much more than 25, or just be happy if I sell something for what ever pennies per hour I make. Maybe I just shouldn't think too hard about it. It was a good day, I got things done. Happy, right, happy, and so to bed.


Viking Voyage—Fresh Pressed Linocut

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A fresh press of a old linocut. I’m re-vamping my etsy listings, and going through my linocuts that have yet to see the light of day.  I’ve succeeding in making morning to noon serious “lets make art’ bum time, followed by lunch and head-ache inducing etsy, slash, networking, slash, scanning, camera online time.
Today’s headache.  Couldn’t for the life of me find my camera, and taking photo’s of my art (not just scans, but in situ photos) was on the agenda. I lumbered throughout the house, up and down stairs, peaking in pockets (lots) and nooks and dusty crannies (many) getting increasingly frustrated.  At least 1/2 hour later, I found it. Luckily, I wasn’t feeling totally sour by then, and carried on with my plans. Took my pictures, did my scans, and re-listed two linocuts on Etsy. Hopefully the new pics will help.  If one doesn’t try, one will never know.
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Viking Voyager on Etsy

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Book Is A Beautiful Thing—the Deep Read

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I've been decorating things, book covers, mostly. Well, it all began with Purcey2 (Purse-sized Computer 2nd Edition), because I needed some kind of case, and wanted some time to decide if and what I would buy. So I found a padded brown kraft paper envelope, and black and turquoise sharpie, and did what I often do when I get my fingers wrapped around a sharpie. An abstract ensued, and the turquoise turned into a lovely shade of green. Some packing tape and staples to preserve the work, and I have a nice useable protective tablet case (and oh how I wish they'd been named slates, which would have an ironic but elegant ring to it, as opposed to tablet, which reminds me of medicine and being sick, and gagging on them trying to dry swallow in a pinch, gack). I was so pleased with having a hand decorated bespoke if temporary case (a violet manufactured case is in the mail and on its way as I speak) that I could not resist moving on to other things.
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And books came to mind. Now normally, I have library books that I borrow and I don't cover them, they are not mine, but I have a brand new subscription to Fantasy and Science Fiction coming in, and I like to read them in the bath, and I like them to look nice when I'm done with them in case I want to keep them or loan them out, and that's a problem; because in the bath, splashes happen, and fingers are damp. So decor project #2 was a book cover.
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This time I chose a nice cream file fold to trim and upcycle and a black sharpie and a red sharpie. I had fun, and the words just spilled out, and over and around. Copious use of packing tape will protect from splooshes. I'm on to #3 project, because, coming soon is a subscription to Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, and I figure it needs a more sci-fi specific flare. Which makes me think about how ebooks remain inferior to the paperback, for several reasons. The words may be the same, and reading the words and the worlds and experiences one delves into may be the same (I think so), but there s no replacement for the thing in hand, the object that I can hold and feel, and borrow and loan, and hoard, and shelve and yes, take into the bath with me. Electronics do not like 100% humidity, touch screens hate the damp, so I'll need a book, a plain jane hoard-able disposable bendable lendable paper book. I love books, ebooks included, but I can't make a book cover for an ebook.
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This one is a WIP for the much anticipated incoming issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.  Back in the old days, sci fi was mostly written by and marketed to men and boys so I thought I would have some fun with that concept.
Books, real paper hard copy things, are wonderful and fun, and they never ever beep at you at the wrong moment.
On that topic, the Deep Read seems to be a meme on the net.  Now that I have a very functional tablet and wifi I am seeking longer, not shorter articles to read.  I want to be able to stay in one place and absorb what the author has written. Finding such things is harder than I thought, since everything is written for folks with the attention span of a gnat. 
Here’s another read-worthy blog that I know get to enjoy. Julie Zwickefoose is a writer and artist. I got to know both with my subscription to Bird Watchers Digest (which makes one look forward to fetching the mail). 
Julie Zwickefoose’s Blog ; make sure you settle in with your choice of tea or coffee before you drop in. Plenty of lovely words to read.
Do you know of a read-worthy blog to recommend?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

An Art Day—Journalling & Digital Art+Baby It’s Cold Outside


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digital sketch, using android tablet and sketchbook app
From the Journal:
Jan.3, Super crispy extra cold weather, love it. This mornings -24C produced sound effects like the report of gun fire when I walked across the deck. And I heard, for the first time ever, the term "frost quake". I don't think I heard one of those, but apparently the ground itself can expand and contract explosively. Our house was noisy, but I think the earth was silent.
Sketch35214628 digital sketch, using android tablet and sketchbook app (maybe I need a stylus?)
Last night we went for a walk in the woods, we three being me, Randy and Dynamo. Because she can't speak, we put her in a sweater-I have no idea if she got too cold but she was extra frisky. She seemed to enjoy the weather too. At least going in, leaping about and biting snow. I'll admit on the return trip she seemed mostly concerned with going rapidly forward. So maybe she did get cold. But it was a lovely walk, the snow was loud, and in many cases was like a giant soundboard, as we walked across a base of ice over deep loose snow our footsteps translated into a variety of tones, deep and resonant, up and down depending on the density of the snow below the ice. It was interesting to listen to. And we were out of the wind. Walking around the lake would have been brutal, but in the woods, all was sheltered.
Sketch61203728  digital sketch (WIP), using android tablet and sketchbook app
Had a second proper art day, real bum time at my desk, and making miniatures, art for art sake.
IMG_8135 as small as it gets, polymer clay, watercolour pencil
Trying very hard, and unsuccessfully, not to think about a shipment I sent on Dec 13, that did not yet arrive. Impossible not to think about that, although not much I can do until next week when reasonable wait time is up. At least I think 3 weeks is long enough to wait for letter mail. Making art never seems to be about just making art, there's all this other stuff. So this afternoon, I think maybe I'll list some items, add new pictures and learn to use dropbox (a cloud storage site that I thought may be useful), and my then my wifi connection goes down. And that was another fiasco, as I had no idea what my dlink user name is, let alone password. Turns out, I had it all written down in jotted notes, except it took me half an hour to guess which word was the user name, and which password was the password. Thankfully, it all mysteriously righted itself, once I logged in. I have no clue why. And after that distraction, I bought a Purcey2 case, in purple, which mysteriously cost $3.00 less than black, grey or white. A case with sickly looking pale flowers was discounted another $1, so probably purple is less than popular and pale flowers even less so. In order to have it shipped free, I added a book to the mix, the ROM Guide to Ontario Fish. Hoping I will be able to draw some awesome fish with that at my side. So the afternoon was not all that successful art wise, but I did manage to get Foxy posted, and updated pictures of another, then, in an effort to save the afternoon, I thought I'd at least scan my White Running Wolf, but somehow, the connection to the scanner was down. So I gave up, shut down, and cleaned the toilet instead. That was actually fun because my efforts met with reasonable success, and then Randy was home--saved!
PS.  The artwork arrived January 3rd, Yay. Lesson 1) Canada Post Estimates are just that, Estimates. Lesson 2) Christmas mail, expect delays, Lesson 3) there is a reason “please allow 3-6 weeks for delivery” is a common phrase Lesson 4)if I really want a holiday, DO NOT CHECK ETSY MAIL DURING DAYS OFF.  Have now separated my Etsy mail, from my personal mail. I’m a person who needs serious away time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

That Other Place I Work--Journalling

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So there's this other place I work. I may have mentioned it before. I go there two days a week, and do office things, and warehouse things, and it's tame and congenial, I pretty much know what I need to do and I do it. It feels safe, something that art never is. It's in an outlying suburban industrial park, a bland flat landscape of indistinguishable single-story buildings. I never bring my camera. It just isn't what I consider "camera-worthy". Forests are camera worthy, and fields, and farmlands, and mountains, oceans, fields, swamps, ponds, lakes, rocks, trees, dirt, salamanders, bugs, flowers, mushrooms, cats, all these things are camera worthy to me, and I drag my camera everywhere except to this "other place that I work" (and shopping), as it's not "camera-worthy". Because industrial parks, especially well-kept suburban industrial parks are simply not camera worthy. So on the day after the ice-storm, when the power was still off in my home, and many thousands of other homes, I went to this other place, and I didn't take my camera. And because I didn't take my camera, I never got photos of trees turned into match-sticks, and trees made of dripping glass drooping and golden under amber street-lights surrounded by velvet darkness. I didn't get photo's of trees turned into glowing hot pink sparkling chandeliers lit by the sinking sun, I didn't get photo's of the street where I work, where the street, at 4pm, looking west, turned into a gilded avenue of golden glittering trees with branches bowed and arching across the road. No, I caught none of that, because that "other place where I work" is just a job and couldn't possibly be camera worthy.
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The glittering tree photo was my best salvage attempt. I was taking out the garbage (one of my duties) and there was a lone tree in the back lot, as bland and un-photogenic a location as can be imagined, and it was glowing in the sun, and I ran, literally ran, back inside to grab my android tablet with it's low-res forward facing pitiful pin-hole camera to do the best I could. My first attempt captured a very good image of my thumb. The next was sort of okay, better than nothing. I now have a new android tablet, with a much better camera (front and rear facing) and it takes pretty good pictures, so I won't be caught without a camera again. But it's not the camera that counts, it's the attitude and perhaps mine needs some adjustment. Perhaps this is another resolution or new years goal, to open my eyes, and not assume that in some situations there is nothing of interest to see. Maybe I should snap a picture a week.
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Here is a view from my car, where I sit and wait for doors to open in the morning. On a cold day, things get pretty steamy inside where I stay toasty warm with layered clothing, hot coffee and radio to keep me company. I actually like my "car" time, and no matter how cold it gets, I do not idle the engine, extra blankets are all I need (and hot coffee).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Artistic Resolutions for the New Year

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Todays Creative Space, a desk shot.  Do I look like an artist with a very short attention span?
Last years goals were met, not in a big way, but done. I said I wanted to sell art, not just do art, and things are looking up on Etsy. That effort/mandate will continue. Goal setting is a great way to focus, and when you do that, action follows, so now it’s time to refocus.  This years goal is to always make time, a good chunk of time, to make art. Because you can’t make art while you’re marketing, scanning, social networking, or writing blog posts (okay, some blog posts are art, but some are not-this isn’t), and I mean visual art, things that happen with a thing in my hands.  And I also mean art that is primarily expressive, not a product, as art that sells on Etsy can often be the latter.  And even if it isn’t, if I think so, and I’m focussed on selling something, anything, it changes what I do and how I go about it.  So this year I need to always make time for that Art First kind of art.  To do the art that I would do if no one is looking, to do the art that I do when I have no other agenda. 
And it seems that, when I give myself absolutely free reign, I make it small, very small.  It’s pretty clear I gravitate to the miniature art format. So that’s what you see up above--very tiny art. Also, after seeing some of the awesome things people do with polymer clay, I decided to give it a shot, my way.  These prototypes have holes so they can be strung up for display, or worn, and maybe I will, maybe I won’t, but they are not jewellery, because they are not a product, they are little sculptural abstracts, and until they are done, they are nothing but experiments and practices.  And when they are done, that’s when I’ll decide what to do with them.
And I’ll be making more atc’s (aceo’s) for my 365 Art Card Project, because they really are the kind of art I do when no one’s looking. Some of all of this may eventually float up to Etsy, and some to the bin, and some to dark and secret corners where I hoard things.
So there’s my New Years Resolution, or Art Goals for the year—to continue my efforts to sell on Etsy, but always make mental, physical and temporal space for real art, art for arts sake, expressive art, art that has something to say, and art that explores ideas, mediums, methods, colours and thoughts.
Done!  Goal making, that is. I have 364 days of action to get to.
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