a walk in the woods

We got spoiled over the Christmas holidays. We went almost every day to the Terwillegar dog park to walk our 2 dogs and Chester the greyhound (who we dog sat over the Christmas break). We had a couple of really sunny, not to cold days and on in particular that was perfect for picture taking....and so I did. My favorite photo from that day is one I based this painting off of. Jason was just disappearing into the trees at the top of the small hill; and the shadows from the trees were curving really nicely due to the way the snow had been packed down by so many feet on the trail. Jason and I are pretty hard to miss in our winter coats. His is a very bright orange and mine is a sunflower yellow. We look like very colorful marshmallows. He made it into the painting with his bright, puffy coat. a657_terwillegardogpark

'a sunny day at the Terwillegar dog park'

mixed media on canvas, 24" x 24"

$720

Today was a most productive day in the studio. I am 6 paintings into a cute little series with animals that I have been posting sneak peeks on in my instagram feed. I'm waiting until I'm finished the series before I share it, I think. I have 2 more little birch panels left to add and I'm already leaving masking tape notes on the 3x18 birch panels that have been sitting in the studio now for a few months. So many ideas. Today I also treated myself to 2 new watercolor pads; one hot pressed and one cold pressed. This year I want to paint more with watercolor, rather than just leaving it for my travel journal. That, and I'm working hard at not posting all my new paintings right after I finish them. The goal is to post less, but post more pieces when I do post. Or something to that effect. I'm not really sure how that's going to work, but I am penciling in dates of things happening this year so far in terms of shows and art festivals I want to participate in....and I need to do something different so I have enough pieces to sell at these things. It could all fall apart and I could just revert to old habits of sharing what I've finished right away because I'm just too excited to keep it to myself. But I'm going to try and hold back a bit. So far so good. I could have shared with you all 7 newly finished pieces, but I abstained! Go me?

Yea. Go me!

prairieography

So, this one time a musician that I admire by the name of Del Barber happened to tweet a few months back that he was working on a new album. He'd been following me on twitter and instagram for a few months by that point, and had liked some of my IG photos so I thought: why not? Ask if he needs album artwork for the new album. So I tweeted him and asked and he politely asked for a link to my website. Unfortunately he  already had an artist who was working on the album artwork already, but he did say he liked my work enough to keep me in mind for the next album. 'Bonus!' I thought. He saw my work and liked it. That's something!

Then a few weeks later I got a direct message over twitter from him asking how busy I was in the next few weeks. Before I knew it, I had digital files of his new album in my drop box and he had approved the sketch I made from the ideas he shared with me briefly over the phone for the album cover and then...

a643_prairiography

(diptych for album artwork for 'Prairieography')

2 panels 24"x 24", mixed media on canvas

a643a_leftpanel

(close up of left panel)

a643b_rightpanel

 

(close up of right panel)

...I suddenly had a 4th album art work project on my hands. I'm really, really proud with how this turned out and grateful that I persisted at the start of 2013 in my portraiture. This piece will be seen all over the place. It's for all time. It's on his roster of awesome music and I got to be a part of that. It's also on his website now with a release set for sometime in February. I'm floored as I am every time someone finds a connection with the images I put onto canvas enough to want to take it home so they can see it every day, or give my work as a gift to someone they love. I guess he gave these to his parents as a Christmas gift because they are his biggest fans. Neat!

And that is it for this year, friends. What a crazy ride. What fantastic collaborations. Keep it coming in 2014! I keep buying canvas and keep getting ideas for new paintings, places to put paper, how to interpret things with ink, shadows, thick paint. Thanks for reading. Thank you for your comments, emails, texts and visits in person when you've been able to make them.

Happy New Year!

paddington station

It's getting to be that time where the BD and I are making plans for the new year already. Nothing too major. Trips to see shows, mostly. Talking about what festivals we might like to see this summer depending on what his work schedule is like. And with these discussions my mind begins to race at the endless possibilities of travel adventures for 2014. But how can I top 2013? My first time across the Atlantic! It can be done. Next year starts off with some small town prairie adventures with friends new and old. So along these lines of travel, movement, transportation....I had an epiphany at 3am this morning. It wasn't prompted by my creative brain. It was prompted by the fact that Gershwin was restless and pacing the house waiting an invite to sleep on our bed. The one downfall to having hardwood in our house; you can hear the dogs pace restlessly in the middle of the night. I invited him to bed and he took over my half, so I was ousted along with Luke to the guest bed. Golden jerkface. Anyhow, I figured out what was going to go on the nice 30x30 inch canvas I bought the other day:

A painting about Paddington Station in London!

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So far it's just an outline. I told myself that is as much as I am allowed to get done on it tonight. I've been in the studio off and on today since 8am. Drawing this out reminded me of the perspective drawing exercise we did in our high school hallways in Art 10. I loved that exercise because we worked with horizon lines and vanishing points and when the drawing started coming together it was a pretty neat thing to see. Unlike my brief drafting days in college; same use of horizon lines and vanishing points, only you couldn't just draw the object to look 3D.....oh no! You needed to be able to take accurate measurements off the drawings so you could build the prop or set piece and get the right dimensions from the drawing. Eat my friggin' shorts....the drawing ended up looking ridiculous (to me) when it was done correctly. Bah! I am not a draftsman. Clearly. I can think of much better uses for rulers and t-squares...but I think that is another post entirely.

Then I finished this little guy the other day:

a652_hoarfrostontrees

'hoar frost on trees'

mixed media on canvas, 8" x 16"

$160

Then I painted something for the BD and I. It's criminal that Luke has been a part of our pack now for nearly 2 years and we had NO painting of him. Now we do!

a653_lukeonthecouch

'luke on the couch'

mixed media on birch panel, 8" x 10"

NFS

Then I started these guys. At the top we have a weird monkey with cat paws creeping into the frame, to the bottom left there is a close up of dog's nose with lights hanging overhead, and to the bottom right is a french bulldog sticking his tongue out at us. These go with the 3 animal pieces I just finished. I'll post them all when they are done.

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Now it's time for a break from the studio. Some yoga. Some tea. Some knitting in bed.

Happy 2nd last day of 2013, friends and readers!

nearly a months worth of tiny vignettes in one short sitting

I've just gone and had done (probably) the most intense thing I've ever had done in my life. Today I did indeed get the tops of my feet tattooed. So here I am, from my perch at home, while the dogs hog the couch, with my feet up, writing. Yes, it hurt. No, I didn't cry and no, it's not finished yet. There is still a bit of color to add. The outline and the grey shading are complete. That was more than enough for me for one day (and some weeks). DSCF5319

The tops are a wee bit tender. Holy hell, that was the most fun I've had in a 2 hour time span. Nope.

(Oh yea! My Aunt Sharon made me that rad, brightly colored quilt that is sitting on the back of the chair. It's in a star shape. Probably the coolest blanket/afghan thing I have ever been given. I cannot wait to have picnics on that this summer!)

It's rather fitting I'm nearly finished this lovely 20 x 20 inch piece about snowy Ontario, considering currently they are being utterly hammered by winter. I've seen photos posted to twitter of kids ice skating down the streets! Seriously? If you are from ON and reading this, stay warm and safe.

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Then before I got up today and had images carved into the epidermis of my feet; I began this lovely little piece with hoar frost covered branches reaching toward the sky. I need to rig something so I can finish these two pieces in the studio and keep my feet up at the same time.

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Last week I finished the first piece from a small series of Cathedral paintings I've been wanting to paint from my trip to England. Painting Cathedrals is a bit of a daunting task. I love their architecture because of the detail, but detail is one of my favorite things to fudge or obscure with mixed media. I think I found a good balance in this first one and I love the perspective. The next one in th series will be an interior view, but I'm still deciding which one first out of 3 of my favorite photos.

a649_churchofstjohn

'church of St. John the Baptist (frome, UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 20" x 20"

$500

And lastly this site is getting a bit of a make-over. That whole new year/new littleness kind of thing. Instead of being a Wordpress site, it's going to become a rad new Square Space site. Fancy!

Other than these things I've just shared with you here, it's been all yoga classes, knitting projects and lovely wooded walks with our wee pack. Over the Christmas holidays we are babysitting my friend Colleen's greyhound named Chester. He's a rather large snuggler who is exceedingly affectionate and a complete sofa hog. Oh well. I get a better view of my Christmas tree from my new vantage point by the bookshelf now. It's a full house here and it's all studio days until the 30th. I won't be such a stranger in the last weeks of this year.

Enjoy the lengthening of your days and all the deliciousness and coziness this time of year has to throw at you.

catherine hill

December! Commissions are done and out of the studio. We have a relaxed balsam fir sitting neatly in it's stand in the corner of the living room by the picture window just waiting to be decorated. It's -40 out and the Bearded Dude is home and cooking dinner in the kitchen. And me? My cute butt is planted firmly on the couch watching people drive in this city's notoriously erratic 'holy-crap-it's-winter-and-there-are-no-lanes-now-or-traffic-laws' type fashion, wrapped in my favorite sweater and thinking about what to paint next. My Friday night is off to a good start. Later there will be cigars. Cigars! I'm in the mood to celebrate! I finished this piece last night and it's already sold. This one was a real labor of love. I was flooded with so many lovely memories of my time in Frome while I painted this. It's amazing how the memories are so vivid still in some respects; and patchy and fading in others. I can look at my photos still and remember how hot it was, what the air smelled like, what the places sounded like and where I was headed to when I took the photo. The names of some of the places and shops are escaping me already, if I haven't written them down. And the colors of things....photos rarely do justice to the color or atmosphere of a place. Not completely, at any rate. It's our small attempt to capture something and hold onto it. It's the participation in this process; of capturing moments on film, file, canvas, paper; that I love. It's infuriating and daunting and exciting and a myriad of other emotions and verbs rolled into the moment. I'm really happy with how this painting of Catherine Hill turned out. It's one of the lovely, steeply sloped streets in Frome where I had the privilege of spending a week in the summer. It's lined with cute little shops including Marmalade yarns where I bought some lovely local wool for my first knitting project, and Millie Moon; a great little haberdashery store that was unfortunately out of wooden buttons at the time.

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'Catherine Hill (frome, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 36" x 36"

SOLD

I just finished this painting last night, hung it in the cafe this morning and it's already sold. Sometimes these things just go so quick. Blink and you nearly miss it.

Now to start on the small pile of little birch panels that have been sitting in the studio untouched for weeks. I have ideas for them. They will be adorable.

That's it for now; that's all I've been working on this week. I didn't get to break in my new circular needles last weekend because I need to procure a cabling needle for this pattern. Oh, unpreparedness! I begin my new knitting project tomorrow night, with the aid of beer and my friend Lizzie. Sometime this weekend there will be tree decorating and the purchase of my first pair of ice skates since I was 12! So many things.

Happy Friday.

 

 

the bird lady

For a few days this week, I've been standing quietly in the yard trying to get the little birds used to me. I'm trying to feed them by hand. I'm not really sure why I'm doing this. I've been enjoying watching more and more of them congregate in the crab apple tree in the middle of the yard; hopping from the tree to the feeder hanging from the garage and back to the crab apple tree or into the neighboring spruce trees that line the west side of the yard. I like bird watching. Maybe it's years of walks in the woods in the Red Deer River Valley, or the excitement of visitors to the Kerry Wood Nature Center when I worked there; as they reported their sightings to me on their walk through the bird sanctuary while Gerswhin and I manned the visitors desk on weekends. I keep meaning to get a book on birds, so I can identify the ones in the yard. There are the usual chirpers; sparrows, black-capped chickadees....but there were these really cool brown speckled ones today with longer fan shaped tails. What are they? I'm going to find out, and get them used to me. They are already used to Luke and Gershwin. They no longer flee the yard when I let the dogs out. The snow in underneath the feeder and the crab apple tree is littered with the casings of black oil sunflower seeds. It's hilarious; these little guys are so messy. But then I think of the mess I leave whenever I eat toast....and honestly, it's just as bad. Truly. I started and finished the album artwork for Del Barber's new album this week. It's already gone and being scanned or whatever happens to it in order for it to be turned into the cover for CD's, LP's and iTunes thumbnails. So, that was fun.

Then I finished these two adorable portrait commissions which also happen to be the 2d last commissions before Christmas. Huzzah!

a644_thatcrazyhair

'that crazy hair'

mixed media on canvas, 12" x 12"

commission

a645_thelittlereddress

'the little red dress'

mixed media on canvas, 12" x 12"

commission

This year certainly has been the year for portrait commissions. The commission I am currently working on is also a portrait commission. I had better decide what I want to get better at painting for next year, before a new string of commissions starts coming in for 2014. I'd like to get better at knitting, but that is something just for me and the Bearded Dude to reap the benefits of....and maybe some close friends. But then, who knows? For now I'll finish up projects for this year, work on feeding the backyard birds from my hand and knitting projects for our wee family. That should keep me out of trouble for the next month or so.

Maybe. ;)

poultry bridge

I am not smooth or particularly cool at the best of times; and even less so when posting things from my phone, or emailing from my phone, or texting people. I'm not sure if my thumbs work faster than my brain or if auto-correct just has it out for me.....but at times the phrases formed and sent before I've had a chance to look it over are pretty damn funny. Like my email conversation with my friend Sam about this painting:

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'pultney bridge, bath, uk'

mixed media on canvas, 20" x 20"

SOLD

My friend Sam sent me an email shortly after I shared how this painting was coming along the other day in another post. She included the title of the bridge which is great, because I had no idea what it was called, but when I emailed her back about it (from my phone), the damn thing switched 'Pultney' to 'poultry'. Sigh. She quickly responded that yes, she would indeed like to purchase this painting; but only if it had a chicken in it.

Smart aleck.

I may have added a chicken into the painting. Maybe.

In other news, yesterday I got confirmation that I will indeed be designing the new album art work for Del Barber's upcoming album!  Four album covers in one year! November sure is keeping me busy. But today so far finds me under caffeinated, so I'd better go and fix that. Happy Sunday.

wishin' and hopin' and thinkin'

What a week! It's just after 5:30 on a Friday night and I am fully contemplating turning in for the night; diving under the covers and letting that be that. It's been a week of emailing and waiting. Sketching out ideas, trying to translate someone's description of something into a painting or a drawing; missing the mark but learning what are the likes and what are the dislikes and trying again. Now? Do you like it now? How about now? Now? And now?

It's like being in a waiting room. Can I go now? Keep going? Am I starting again? At the very least I know I am on the right track with some of the things I'm waiting from approval on.

I'm not whining. It might sound like it, but I'm not. The challenges that commissions bring are really fun. Scary as hell, but really fun. Most of the times paintings don't turn out as I had them looking in my head.  With all great challenges, there comes a time for rest and scotch.

I reached that point about.....oh, 2 hours ago? Yup.

In the midst of all this waiting, I'm working on this; it's a painting of Bath. I should be finished it tomorrow sometime.

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mixed media on canvas, 20" x 20"

Now it's time to abandon all devices, shut off the lights in the studio and settle into some other quiet activity, like sipping more scotch and maybe knitting something.

Also, I found out today that Westjet will be flying to Dublin from most major centers in Canada starting in June. Have I looked into tickets? Of course I have. Do I have a date in mind yet? Give me a few weeks.....and I might! Happy Friday.

gathering our sweetnesses

Sometimes my most favorite things to paint are just everyday moments in and around my neighborhood that make me go; "oh! how lovely!". There's nothing really special about them; in that where I live isn't exotic or exceedingly stylish, but it's where I am. It's in my space, my own little corner of Canada, of this province, of the city where I live. Sometimes it drives me crazy and I come up with crazy schemes to just pick up and leave with dogs and Bearded Dude for something quieter, smaller and slower. I've been reminded over and over again lately what a stellar community I have here. The cafe where I work let's me hang my work in both locations, we live within walking distance of beautiful treed spaces to roam with our dogs in and the friends I have made in 4 short years of living in Edmonton have been (and ARE!) just so great. People have been asking where I am off to next and I've been happily and truthfully able to reply: "nowhere. just home." This week I purchased two Gord Downie albums; my favorite being 'Coke Machine Glow'. The title of this post is taken from a lyric in his spoken word piece 'Insomniacs of the World, Good Night'. I've been listening to this album a lot. I love his lyrics and his rather stream-of-consciousness writing style. Or maybe it isn't like that. It seems like that to me. The images he describes are lovely, and that's what inspired the writing on this piece I just finished. It's just thoughts on how Magpie is the color of winter, and what colors those might be. I didn't think about what I was writing beforehand so really it's just one, long, badly punctuated run-on sentence. There are some neat snippets of imagery in there too, though. I am by no means a poet. I do love writing poetry, although that seems to mostly happen at great times of sadness and turmoil in my life. There is nothing sad and tumultuous going on in my life at present. Just gathering sweetnesses to use in all things.

a641_magpieisthecolorofwinter

'magpie is the color of winter'

mixed media on canvas, 20" x 20"

$500

onesie sunday

Yup, here I sit as an adult, on my own couch, in the studious little flat, in a red plaid flannel adult onesie with feet. I kid you not! I posted pics on my instagram feed and everything. This actually happened (and is currently still happening because it's super comfy and warm). I will have to get dressed eventually however, and go shovel my walk and go to yoga. But I am zipping myself right up into this thing again as soon as I have nowhere to be. And because I am on a theme of things involving one, I'm working on a painting of a monochromatic(ish) nature from a photo I took of my backyard last weekend. So many lovely greys and white highlights. Winter light is diffused and reflected in the most interesting ways.

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The title is going to be 'magpie is the color of winter'. I think there will be a poem or something in the sky and I'm hoping the lovely white paper I want to put on top of the snowy rooftops doesn't blend in too well with the paint. It's mostly trial and error at this point. A snowy day is a good day for a snowy painting.

I'd better go and leave the comforts of my flannel cocoon and go shovel. Happy Sunday.

home solo

The dogs and I just got back from a most perfect winter walk. The light was amazing; the snow was a pale, warm, buttery yellow and the sky was a very moist looking blue....filled with more snow, hopefully. It's been snowing lightly all day, that nice fluffy snow; not the heavy wet stuff of last week. I haven't shoveled the walk yet. I'm enjoying our footprints on the front step. I'll do it in the morning before the rest of the neighborhood is up. The Bearded Dude is away working for a short stint. Only a week this time. The fur kids and I have a 3 day weekend with the house to ourselves so I am painting and photographing and sticking tiny photos to walls and plotting delicious lamb curry makings and languid beer sippings while wilderness adventuring on my couch in the evenings. I'm nearly finished another wonderful book by my favorite author: R. M. Patterson. This one is called 'Trail to the Interior'. His writing is said to be a mixture of Jack London and Thoreau. I haven't enjoyed the writings of either of those authors (yet), so I can't attest if this is true or not. But his writing does make me want to gather the BD, dogs and some gear and head into the wilderness wherever our muscles and a canoe can take us. It makes me wish I was more rugged. I most likely would throw a fit at the amount of mosquitoes in the wilderness of the NWT. I remember packing up our tent on a small camping excursion in Yellowknife a few summers ago; the mosquitoes were dreadful. At one point I remember trying to neatly fold the tent into it's cases; throwing it down and shouting "FUCK!!" at the top of my lungs in frustration. Every time my hands were occupied, hundreds of mosquitoes were in my face. Ugh. One of the many reasons why winter is better. You don't end up voluntarily donating to a million flying carnivores.

I finished this piece today:

a640_howtallareyou

'how tall are you? (algonquin park, on)'

mixed media on canvas, 22" x 28"

$770

When my friend Sam and I were adventuring in Algonquin Park in the beginning of October, we had to make a stop at the visitor information building to obtain a park pass. The parking lot was in the middle of this really tall stand of pines. Those pines must look really lovely with a light dusting of snow. This piece will be hung in the Argyll Transcend on Tuesday morning

Before he left, the BD bought me a present; a wide format Fuji instax camera. It's similar to the one I borrowed in the summer from the cafe, only this one takes wider film AND can shoot outside in most any light! I've been having a blast taking random photos of things and stuff testing out what it can do.....all the while getting neat ideas of how to incorporate these photos into ink drawings. Paper cutting. Gluing. Might need a new tab for this site for mixed media photography. Neat!

Speaking of this site; thanks to my friend Joel it got a wee bit of a face lift. I can now change the background and my instagram feed is now attached to the site. Hooray for rad friends with mad skills!

The quadrupeds and I are headed out for dinner, movie & knitting with libations. Apparently their snuggly powers are needed for good in another household for a few hours, and I'm allowed to come too. On screen will be one of the original Star Wars movies. Who can say no to that?

I can't, obviously.

heavy snowfall warning

I have been snowed out of my opening at the Gallery on Main this evening. It's just started snowing here in Edmonton but I hear from friends 3 hours south in Calgary that it is a veritable winter wonderland there already. Lacombe is not far behind. Some people get all the rad weather. I'm ready. The dogs had a good run in the school field. There is food in the fridge. We have wine. And I am looking forward to putting on my red plaid flannel adult onesie. Yes, you did read that right. Being warm and cozy and knitting on your couch in your onesie flanked by dogs is sexy as hell ladies. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. I won't subject you to a photo of me and my onesie. I'll save that gem for my instagram feed. Oh those lucky, lucky followers!!

Things I worked on today and/or this week:

a633_boothsrock

 

'view of rock lake from booth's rock (algonquin park, on)'

mixed media on canvas, 24" x 24"

$720

The first painting from my Ontario adventure at the start of October. I thought I'd just get right into it and paint my favorite photo from my favorite hike. My friend and I must have sat at this spot for a good 2 hours at least. We had lunch and I drew a very detailed sketch in my travel journal. It felt like we were so high up standing on that rock. I remember looking over the side of the rock; the surface was really smooth and one would slide effortlessly over the ledge and skewer themselves easily on one of the naked maples below. There was nothing between me and the swift end of my adventuring career except for sure footedness and common sense. That and a damn strong breeze. Thinking about it just now has made my palms slightly sweaty. Such a lovely spot, despite the potential to be treacherous. And this wasn't even the really pretty spot!

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'catch of the day (saint john, nb)'

mixed media on canvas, 9" x 12"

$135

a6378_catchoftheday2

'catch of the day II (salvage, nl)'

mixed media on canvas, 9" x 12"

$135

Sometimes I paint things because I haven't painted them before. That, and chances are in my ever-growing digital archive of photos from adventures, there is a photo of something random that I will come across years later and decide to paint. Like lobster traps. Years later, if there is a book or article written on me and my paintings....if the author attaches some sort of deep and hidden meaning to either of these little paintings of lobster traps; please know they made it up! It's crap! You read it here first. I painted these because I haven't painted lobster traps before and because I'm in love with maritime Canada and Newfoundland.

It's snowing a bit harder now! Exciting!!

Stay warm and safe Alberta friends. And for friends not in Alberta reading this; I'm sorry you are missing out on my favorite season.

arrested developments

I have the house to myself today. I've been to the farmer's market and had two lovely coffees in the company of my friend Lizzie at the cafe we used to work at together. I skipped out on breakfast but made a delicious brunch of soft boiled eggs on dark rye toast with cucumber and swiss chard sauteed in olive oil with a bit of salt and balsamic vinegar. I've worked on 4 paintings so far and will be outlining two more.

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(my two paintings of lobster traps on the left, and an art trade portrait on the right.)

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(view of rock lake from booth's rock; from one of the hikes i did while in algonquin park a few weeks ago.)

Outside the temperature is dropping rapidly; the forecast calling for snow. I'm feeling a bit run down today so I doubt I'll get to cleaning up the front bed before the snow hits, but then....it might not stay. It might tease me and melt and then get warm again, so everyone else can go about their business in spring jackets and light layers, hoping the real snow will stay away until November. December. Maybe not come at all. But I'm waiting for the first flakes in great anticipation. Perhaps I'm fighting the rest of the cold I should have gotten before I left for Ontario a few weeks ago. Last night I coughed all through the night, apparently, but I felt like I slept well when I got out of bed. My grandiose plans of accomplishments will have to wait, I suppose, for a different day. I'll practice the art of resting (as best I can). I'm not that great at it. The guilt to be doing things is great; there are blank canvases in the studio! They need outlines or quick notes written on their plastic sleeves or something!

But creeping up on me is s strong desire for tea, some BBC and some time curled up in bed. Resting is as important as doing.

I will keep reminding myself of that.

why can't i look at mountains everyday?

Look what I finally finished this past weekend; only a week and change after my arrival home.

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I went to see David Francey play at Hugh's Room when I was in Toronto....and asked one of his band mates (like a complete dork) if he would mind asking David to sign my sketchbook. He was very gracious and took it up to the green room and brought it back down to me after David signed it. The photo is from an exhibit I saw during Nuit Blanche at the Gladstone Hotel. Amy Ash had a small exhibit which you could trade something of value to you for one of the pieces she had in her display. I traded the business card from The Grind, which was the first cafe I ever displayed my work in, and subsequently where it first began selling. I've been carting around that business card in my wallet for 13 years now; as long as I've been painting and selling my work. I'm a sucker for old photos. The name of the lady in the photo is Hannah Kane. I have no idea who she is, I just really liked the photo.

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My first time sketching a waterfall. Ever.

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If we ever travel together and you sit still long enough, you will get drawn!

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Second time ever sketching a waterfall.

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My friend Sam laughed at my analogy of this rock. She said I had a lot of imagination which might just be a British pleasantry for 'I think you're crazy, but in a slightly amusing & harmless manner'.

I finished these while manning my booth at the Crowsnest Pass Gallery M.Arty Market this past Saturday; a wee pop-up art market. I made some new friends, sold some paintings, gave out some business cards and basked for a little bit in the gorgeous mountain views.

Lastly, because I can be slow on the draw for these things; I have been asked to put together an e-mail mailing list to let people know when I have a show coming up or a new series of pieces available. I have formed a small list of recent email addresses from people who have requested commissions from me. If you fancy being on that list, please email me (justlittleart@gmail.com) with "ADD ME TO YOUR MAILING LIST" in the subject line. Please.

This week the remainder of my 'i went to England' paintings head to The Gallery on Main in Lacombe. I'm the feature artist for the month of November. There's an opening reception the first week of November. The date and time will be posted under the 'exhibits' tab on this site.

Now it's time to draw things and finish hat #2 made of the lovely dusty yellow colored yarn I bought while in Ontario and plot my return to the mountains.

if it fits, carry on!

I've been on vacation now for a whole 2 hours & 57 minutes. Tomorrow morning I get up at 5, prod my husband out of bed and make my way to the airport. I'm heading back to Toronto for a few glorious days and then onward into the wooded areas with my friend Sam from Ottawa. I love exploring new places in Canada. I've cracked open a new sketchbook and gathered my tiny mobile studio onto my work table to make sure I have everything I need before I pack it. I am so excited for the plane ride tomorrow! Excited to hug people I haven't seen in over a year....and excited to see the lovely reds that autumn brings in the eastern part of Canada. But that's not until tomorrow. That's still HOURS away.

I still have to pack clothes and things. And of course I'm in the studio writing and painting and snapping photos of things with minutes to spare before I head over to the family's house for dinner.

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I royally messed up a friends' wedding project. I made for her a guest signing poster instead of a guest book....but walnut ink doesn't lift off of hand pressed paper....or any paper. My first attempt at this was very brown and too busy and not fixable. I have to admit that it made me laugh, it was so awful. I haven't effed up something so completely in a very long time. Thankfully that sheet of paper is thick and has two sides, so it's going to become a practice sheet for me.

This is version #2. Much better!

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The guests get to sign this with acrylic paint pens and then my friends can hang it in their house. Such a neat idea, and it wasn't mine!

Oh, and I finished my first knitting project; a hat from the wool I bought while I was in Frome this past July. I don't have a photo for you because the batteries on my camera are now dead. The hat is lovely though! I did a good job. The tension of the stitches are even and look great, the hat fits and looks really great. In fact, I wore it all day and today. I'm cool like that. I'm going to start a cowl or infinity scarf next, I think. I'm excited to be someone who takes knitting with them and can pull it out any ol' time to work on it. I LOVE making things. I even phoned WestJet to be sure they would allow me to bring my knitting in my carry on so I can pass the time. I don't want to be considered a dangerous or suspicious passenger because of the pointy things in my carry on. Painter. Runner. Dog-walker. Knitter. What next?

But I've pushed my luck for time. There is much to do before I leave in the morning. Also, there is pumpkin pie to eat at the in-laws.

Behave yourselves while I'm away. I'll have lovely sketches to show you when I get back.

for pick-up and take-away

Ten minutes to 9 o'clock and bed seems like a great idea. Yup, I'm one of those weirdos who likes an early bedtime. I need to conserve my energy this week. Saturday I run a 10K race with my friend Laura. We're ushering in her 30th year of life with sweat and then beer with the rockies as the backdrop to our weekend shenanigans. Balance, right? Then I leave for ON for 10 days of recuperation, visiting, wandering, instagramming and drawing with people I haven't seen in a long, long time. I cannot wait!

In the meantime though, there are things to keep me busy. Knitting is going well. Also I finished the first 2 commissions of the autumn and am waiting to hear about a few more. Then there are the nagging little ideas for Christmas cards and a series of pen drawings....

But I digress.

This past week I devoted my time to these lovely ladies. I had a wonderful time painting these portraits. Portraits were something I used to dread. Drawing faces; no problem! Painting portraits?! Erm....yea.....sure. I do that.

Not really.

I do now!

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Meet Lainey (left) and Neko (right). I've never met them before, but I've spent a (quite) a few hours looking at their faces this week. These portraits are the left part of a triptych commission. The main piece is here:

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(my apologies for the coloring in this photo; it was taken at night with my aging camera)

Lainey is in the background and Neko is looking at us in the foreground. The photo was taken somewhere on the coulees of Lethbridge. I was so excited to see this photo and even more excited that I got to pick it as one of the photos I got to work from for this commission. The coulees of Lethbridge are so beautiful and I miss walking on them with my own dogs, especially at this time of year. Alberta has so many lovely places.

Tomorrow these pieces leave the studio and go to their new home. Then it's back to the little paintings of lobster traps that I started while I was waiting for layers of these pieces to dry.

Yup, lobster traps.

The list of what I haven't painted yet is getting shorter. All. The. Time.

two if by sea

It's September, and still fully summer. The past 2 weeks the daytime temps have been hovering between 28 and 32 degrees (celsius). My love of this month is pouring out of me, literally; drop by abundantly sweaty drop. Make is stop for the love of (profanity here)!!

Although I am very much looking forward to returning to Toronto and then exploring Manitoulin Island for a few days at the beginning of October, I'm a bit sad I won't be making it to the east coast of Canada for a visit. My friend Jen who lives in Saint John, spent the summer exploring the beaches in her home province of New Brunswick and then explored the south shore of Nova Scotia; filling her instagram feed with enticing and beautiful vistas. It was lovely to see and made me miss it so.

So I did the only thing I could do to deal with the wanderlust that I am unable to satiate at this time.

I painted a picture of the east coast from my trip there in June of 2012.

a632_bayoffundy'bay of fundy near st. martins, new brunswick'

mixed media on canvas, 24" x 24"

$720

Jay (my husband) and my goal is to make a move to the east coast of Canada. We've no concrete plans yet, but we dream and hope and snoop around on the interwebs looking for jobs, houses, communities, parks.....gushing and oooohing over the loveliness of the maritime provinces. He's looked into schools and placements for EMTs and I've looked into the goings on in the art and food scenes. We are planning for an adventure in the near future, hopefully. I'll keep you posted. For now, it's just thoughts and musings and wishings and paintings.

And sweating. So much sweating so far this month. Second summer in September.

Hooray?

Thbbbtp!

the melting pot

It's September 4th and I'm hiding in my house because it's bloody hot outside and I am officially done with this heat. Sweat was pouring off my brow walking from the art store the block to my car to put canvases in the trunk. 33 degrees out! Edmonton! What the hell is wrong with you! Motivation to run is nil, so instead....I painted in as little clothing as possible and drank lots of water.

I finished these two little guys:

a628_theV&A

'the V&A (london, UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 9" x 12"

$135

a629_downthegardenpath

'down the garden path (frome, somerset UK)

'mixed media on canvas, 9" x 12"

$135

I tried to get a better photo of this lovely landscape I hung with the show on Sunday morning, but alas.....my camera is getting old and has trouble dealing well with low light conditions. That and Sugarbowl is a pretty hopping place at 2:30 in the afternoon. I'll get a better photo in a few days, but this does show off the colors and the details fairly well.

a627_viewfromglastonburytor

'the view from glastonbury tor (glastonbury, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 24" x 48"

$1440

The first 2 in this post will be making their way to the front entrance way of the cafe (Transcend on 62nd ave) tomorrow morning when I open. The walls at Sugarbowl are nicely filled, so there is no sense in crowding the pieces there.

I think it's safe to walk the dogs and then safer still to enjoy some cold beer afterwards. One must keep themselves hydrated during this last hot flash of summer.

My apologies for the griping about the heat to all you summer lovers....but you had your season. It's time for cardigans and light jackets and not sweating profusely as you walk from your house to the car. Let it be autumn and seasonably cooler. Amen.

i went to England

It's Sunday. I was up at 5:30am. On a Sunday!

I fully intend on going back to bed for a little bit, but today was the day. The new paintings are up! I posted them to the site and fanpage last night, but here they are. One of them didn't photograph well and I need to put the finishing touches on the other 3, so here are 14 of the 18.

a612_bethnalgreen

'bethnal green (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 30" x 36"

$1350

a614_lookright

'look right (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 16" x 20"

$400

a615_portobelloroad

'portobello road in nottinghill (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 30" x 36"

$1350

a616_earlscourtstation

'earl's court station, westbound platform (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 24" x 24"

*the one i'm keeping for myself*

a617_bethnalgreen2

'bethnal green II (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 20" x 20"

$500

a618_roddenmeadow

'rodden meadow (frome, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 22" x 28"

$770

a619_rooftops

'rooftops, hammersmith (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 9" x 12"

$135

a620_justoverthatwall

'just over that wall (frome, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 16" x 20"

$400

a621_festivalprepartation

'festival preparation (frome, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 16" x 20"

SOLD

a622_glastonburyabbey

'glastonbury abbey (glastonbury, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 14" x 18"

SOLDa623_waitbeforeyoucross

'wait before you cross (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 16" x 20"

$400

a624_rooftops2

'rooftops II (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 14" x 18"

$315

a625_awallofnearlywhite

'a wall of nearly white (london UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 16" x 20"

$400

a626_communitygardens

'community gardens, bishop's palace (wells, somerset UK)'

mixed media on canvas, 30" x 36"

$1350

I will be adding to this series between now and Christmas. I have 900 reference photos to paint from and haven't begun to paint the cathedrals or gardens and I haven't enough touched my photos from Bath yet. This is just the start. If you venture over to the gallery section of the website, there are bigger versions for you to view.

That's all for today. Now off to enjoy this beautiful first Sunday of my favorite month!

Happy September friends!

the things we decide to keep

It's finished; the painting I told you about in yesterday's post that I have decided to keep. DSCF5159

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I've decided to keep this painting because really, this is where my London adventures began. The hostel I stayed in was only 2 blocks away and so for my 5 days in London, this is where my wanderings began. This is where for the first day or so I would feel so overwhelmed I wondered what the hell I was doing so far from home, wandering around in this huge city; and fretting about how to capture it in my little sketchbook with my pens, brushes and watercolor paints. I had never left the continent. I'd been quite content to explore Canada and not deal with currency exchange and such a drastic change in time zones. It was almost a bit too much. I phoned my Aunt in Toronto from my home in Edmonton mere minutes after I finally committed and purchased my ticket to London. I was crying. I was excited but scared! My hands were shaking and my voice was trembling. Thirty-two years old and having a panic attack about a really cool trip. I'm so glad I went though. Once I got the hang of how to read the tube map (thanks Chris!) and kept an eye out for which platform I needed, Earl's Court station was no longer daunting. Five days later, when I left the hostel and got into the station to leave London and head into the countryside, I was walking quickly, knowing exactly where I needed to go. It felt marvelous! I could easily pick out the travelers that had just arrived. They puzzled over the map, looked around, flagged down the attendants, clung to their luggage with the same scared look that I had. 'It's OK', I thought. 'You'll get the hang of it in no time!'

I will go back to London one day. I have no idea when. There is still so much of Canada I haven't seen yet. I found my oyster card the other day. It was hiding in my knapsack, and if I remember correctly, there is about five pounds on it which is good for a few rides on the tube, to at least get me to my accommodation when I do finally return.

And that's why I'm keeping it.