Tuesday, October 31, 2006

hallowe'en party

I seriously meant to do this last week, before the weekend's Hallowe'en parties, but life and work interfered, so plan B: a whole smorgasbord of Rudylinks to browse while doling out treats to the creeps tonight. Every Hallowe'en I find myself web browsing casually between doorbell rings because doing anything else is less interruption-friendly.

To keep the sequence of events correct, we will start with the best Hallowe'en invitation ever.

Now that you have a party to go to, check out the following clever DIY costume ideas: a bat, Wolverine with retractable claws, and a dirty hippie.

Of course there's always the purchase option, if you're a lazy git: potty humour, and more potty humour. This one isn't potty-related, but there's a definite phallic element to it.

If you think those are bad, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Are these Hallowe'en costumes?

But I've saved the best costumes for last; my favourite link of all is this collection of the worst Hallowe'en costumes of all time.

Party time! It's more than drinking Bloody Marys and fondling strangers ("But I thought you were my wife!") when you have bottomless pits and virtual holograms for entertainment.

Happy Hallowe'en!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Here are the two paintings I just finished at various stages of their development. In the first photo I have laid down the underpainting and added the stencilled images (repeated images that I make using hand-cut acetate stencils).

The second phase is the part where all the painted images, patterns and details are added.

I know I'm in trouble when I want to stop at this stage and not add the 'fill in' painting. The early stages were a breeze but I ran into trouble with the last panels in each painting -- like I just couldn't find the final piece to the puzzle. At the end of the day I have to just quit and be satisfied with what I've got.

Birdland 16" x 16"

Saturday, October 28, 2006


16" x 16"

A mini version of these biggies. By the way, I finally got around to getting my own domain name. I finally feel legit.

Friday, October 27, 2006


something from the archives for Illustration Friday
Hobie Cat acrylic on wood panel 12" x 12"

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

goodbye zoe

Yesterday I said goodbye to someone who had been in my life for fifteen and a half years. It was one of the saddest moments of my life.

As a kid, the only thing I wanted more than a dog was a horse. Very early on it was made clear that I would never get a dog (let alone a horse), though I continued to try it on now and again, just in case. As a result, I didn't get a dog until I was in a stable enough position to properly care for one. After years of transient living I was finally ready -- and that dog was Zoe.

In 1991, after a year of teaching English in Greece, I went through a rough few months and was slowly getting back into The Real World, which meant on-call teaching and volunteering at an animal shelter in the inner-city neighbourhood where we were living. The moment I saw Zoe I completely fell for her. She was a little spitfire, a German Shepherd cross about 12 weeks old, but the woman who ran the shelter said she was only boarding the pup for a friend and therefore wasn't available. A month later she was still there, so I asked again. This time she admitted that the puppy was her dog, the last unclaimed pup in a litter, and had decided that she couldn't keep her after all. She was over her bylaw limit of two dogs so had told everyone the phony story. I had finally resigned myself to adopting another dog, but at that news I scooped her immediately and the four month old pup was home within the hour.

She turned out to be everything I ever dreamed: clever (house trained within 24 hours), dutiful, lots of fun and completely fearless. And oh, such a beauty. She learned to respect cats, to be a perfect watchdog (the poor mailman!), to protect and play gently with the babies who joined the family, to accept another dog (Zappa) with grace, to endure the pain of rupturing the anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees (1999 and 2001) and manage the long road to recovery.

After the second surgery five years ago she was suddenly an old dog. She was always a participant in family life, though, and always in good spirits. Eventually going for walks was out of the question. But she still loved going camping or on holiday. The journey to and from our various destinations required recovery time, but once there, she enjoyed herself immensely. She took over watchdog duties like a good girl while we headed out with Zappa for more active pursuits.

Just a few weeks ago she started declining rapidly. First, she could no longer manage to walk up even one stair, then she couldn't stand up when she'd been lying on a floor. Yesterday morning my deaf, frail old pooch could no longer walk. I knew the moment I saw her all those years ago that I wanted her and almost 16 years later I knew the moment it was time to let her go. Fortunately she loved going to the vet: so much to see, dog treats to eat, butts to sniff. But she was tired and ready to go. Greg and I were both there and she departed peacefully. I already miss her like crazy.

A quick chronological slide show is here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

soccer saturday

A perfect autumn day for soccer. They didn't win, but without 'the twin towers' (number one son and his friend, above) creating an almost impenetrable wall of defence it could've been worse.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

neighbour and window treatment

it's a chick thing

All Roads Lead To
5" x 7"

Collage: I love it. I've been reading about it, experimenting with it and discovering that it only works in a limited way for me. When collage works it's fantastic; when it doesn't work it's a mess. Anyone who says that it doesn't take any skill or talent to make a decent collage has never done it. It may not take drawing or painting skills necessarily, but there are many art forms that don't. Check out collage artists like Claudine Hellmuth, Teesha Moore, Tiffini Elektra X, Misty Mawn or Kristin Peterson and tell me that this isn't skilled work. When I see their work I know I need to stick to painting.

I noticed something interesting during the past few weeks, though. Almost all collage artists are women. There are exceptions of course, but if you look at the workshop instructor list of any mixed media conference 99% of the experts are women. Men, as artists, tend to be purists about medium. Even artists who paint in a collage-inspired manner usually do it exclusively in one medium. So I'm wondering why. And is it mostly women who like to buy collage art? What's the psychology behind it?

The only reason that comes to my mind is the fact that collage seems to be the visual art equivalent of multi-tasking ... and we all know women are the experts at that. Creating order out of chaos is an xx thing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

bedside manner

I met Dr House yesterday. He was in the body of an older Irish musculoskeletal specialist who I was visiting, on referral of my GP armed with x-ray and ultrasound results, about my recent run-in (pun alert!) with plantar fasciitis.

Dr House: I'm Dr House. So, why are you here?
me: I have plantar fasciitis.
Dr House: And how did you get it?
me: Running.
Dr House: No you didn't. Running may have caused the problem to surface but it wasn't the cause.
me: Oh.
Dr House: It's those damned flip flips all you young people wear I bet.
me: Wow -- you're right. I've been wearing flip flops all day every day for five months, and then after I injured myself I wore them to cushion my heel. [You said 'young people.' Oh, doctor, can I buy you a drink?]
Dr House: How much were you running?
me: About three times a week.
Dr House: Pfft! That's not very much.
me: I know, but I was being a good girl and exercising in moderation due to my chronic piriformis syndrome.
Dr House: You don't have piriformis syndrome.
me: I don't?
Dr House: Piriformis syndrome is an actual structural abnormailty where the sciatic nerve goes through the muscle, not around it. About 2% of so-called 'pirirformis syndrome' sufferers actually have it. Your problem is that you don't stretch properly.
me: I'm pretty good about stretching.
Dr House: No, you're not. None of you young people stretch properly.
me: [Oh baby. You said the magic words again. Would you like to see my etchings?]
Dr House: I have some good stretches for you.
me: Can I write this down?
Dr House: No.

He proceeded to show me some exercises for my non-piriformis-syndrome and explain treatment for the plantar fasciitis, then he dispatched me with instructions to purchase a $140 night splint at Sport Med, an orthotics place. My poor husband. First he has to put up with my restless thrashing, then the cat decides she wants in on the warm bed at night and now he has to put up with this:

The good news is that after a lousy night's sleep with this thing on, my foot feels a hundred times better. Bedside manner is overrated anyway. Just ask those who adore Dr Laura.

PS (a) For those of you who have discovered and are therefore instantly addicted to Arnott's chocolate biscuits from Australia check this out. Apparently orgasmic doesn't begin to describe it. (b) I got the graphic at the top from here. (c) Picasso is woken from his Dream by an elbow to the ribs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

roger clyne unplugged


A break from the usual claptrap today -- I have some good drugs to push.

I have been a fan of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers for a couple of years now and being such a low-key, non-mainstream band whose keys audiences are primarily of the southwestern variety (they're from Arizona) I may never have a chance to see them live. There's nothing unusually distinctive about them but Clyne's songwriting is in turns funny (tequila features prominently), moving, witty and often character-driven, the melodies are strong, I love his voice, and they are a very tight band in the southwestern country/rock tradition. The weird thing is that the only other country/rock band I even like is Canada's Blue Rodeo, so this genre is way outside my usual taste.

The Peacemakers are a bar/smaller venue band. The only videos I could find were concert footage on YouTube and the technical quality is pretty bad; this acoustic, solo version of Easy is the best of the bunch but doesn't even start to give you an idea of how good they are as a band. Check out the 2004 album ¡Americano!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

broadway and exit


I've been doing these small chromatic-on-black mixed media drawings on and off for about a year, mostly using natural forms with organic lines for subject matter. It occurred me today that urban themes, using the same organic lines, might suit the media really well, too, a la Hundertwasser. Then I visited Collaging-Kristen's blog again to look at this and was inspired to do a couple of these mini 4.5" x 4.5" drawings.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

art imitates life

Domesticated 12" x 12"

Sometimes paintings paint themselves. I had this vague idea that I wanted to do a mixed media piece loosely based on the theme of domesticity, in a collage style similar to this one now owned by kj, for an upcoming Christmas exhibition of small pieces at Main Street Gallery, so I collected some collage elements and went for it. About eight hours later this emerged. Where did it come from? I didn't want to paint this painting, an old-fashioned country kitchen-style work. Where was I when this work was inventing itself and what do I do now? Hell's bells -- people will think that it was me who painted this.

Next stop: looking for the deeper meaning. I mean, if you can't find metaphors for life in art, then what the hell are art critics and philosophers for? (Then again, if you can find metaphors for life in art, then what are art critics and philosophers for?) In this case it's not the painting itself that intrigues me but the fact that I seemed to check out while painting it. Totally. It's like I had no control over the outcome.

Whooaah, man -- that's it! Just like life. (Pass the doobie.) I've had the kind of week where I have realized that I have no control over about 99% of what happens around me. Old dogs will insist on getting so frail that they can't stand up on their own any more, kids will suddenly spectacularly fail subjects they once aced, elderly fathers will continue regressing until they've re-entered the womb, friends will pick up seemingly en masse and move away, feet will develop plantar fasciitis if you continue running after symptoms surface, I will wake up at 4:00 every morning whether it's good for me or not, and paintings will paint themselves -- apparently while I'm off at the dentist.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

hunting and gathering

8" x 6.5" mixed media on archival black paper

Ever wished you could be like Jackson Pollock without the cans of house paint, giant, room-filling canvas and alcoholism? If so, go here. Don't forget to move that cursor.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Today I am thankful for fun things you can do with Flickr, like dumpr...

...and for cats who ride bareback, just for fun...

...and for unusual-looking fungi that appear in the back garden on autumn days like today. Each year brings something different.

Happy Thanksgiving.

phoney baloney

While on the topic of the creative mind, here's some faux fun from the web browser of Rudy. Click on the photos for more:

PS I was on the topic of the creative mind, but ended up pulling the post on Ernie Fosselius and his Mechalodeon because the video was messing up my template. To see it, go here.

Friday, October 06, 2006


This week's Illustration Friday topic has inspired me to re-photograph a couple of paintings that are several years old. (Even at 8:00 am on a murky morning I got better results than the originals.) These are from a series of paintings based on hobo signs that I started but never completed, in spite of good intentions. Of the four paintings these are the two that communicate 'trouble.' They are only 11" x 14".

Between the 1880s and World War II, North American hoboes rode the rails, lived off the land and the charity of others, worked where and when they wanted, and went in whichever direction the wind blew. This subculture of wanderers communicated with each other through a system of simple markings, usually made with chalk or coal, on buildings, trestles, bridge abutments, fences, posts, and railroad equipment. The information usually consisted of warnings or places to get work, food or a bed. Hoboes also used their own vocabulary of slang terms, many of which have entered the common lexicon.

The top painting is called Danger, after the patterned background of markings. The other markings are a triangle with arms which means 'man with gun,' an enclosed squiggle under it which means 'bad-tempered owner,' and a four-footed symbol repeated twice which stands for 'bad dog.'

This one is called Hold Your Tongue, again after the symbol repeated in the sky. The double circle means 'hoboes arrested on sight,' the double diamonds mean 'be quiet,' and the large yellow symbols stand for 'be ready to defend yourself.' More symbols found here.

And finally, Within Without has just posted the video for Peter Gabriel's Don't Give Up, the perfect musical illustration for the theme of trouble. (He's also written a great Thanksgiving post for this holiday weekend.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

memory and narrative 3

A few weeks ago I showed you this and promised to explain it. So what is it now, exactly? Well, obviously it's a computer covered with blog posts. Ya wanna make something of it?

This installation project did require some planning. First of all, did you know that everyone and his dog has a basement full of castoff computer components? Who knew. Our landfills are thanking us for being lazy packrats. When I sent out an email to local contacts asking for computer parts I got a veritable flurry of responses.

After priming my 'canvas' I printed up a bunch of blog posts from the past six months, coated them with acrylic medium, then adhered them to the pc when they were dry (I love acrylic medium).

Now the obvious question: why did I do it? Well, the group component of the Memory and Narrative exhibition (see yesterday) is a book-altering project each, decided on because of the important role books play in recording personal histories and family stories. The other artists have done some fascinating work, from creating sculpture from books to scrapbook-style records of family histories. I was totally stuck for an idea. Then it occurred to me that since I was focusing on the past for my paintings, why not look to the future for my book project? And who better to bridge that gap than a compulsive blogger?

Memory and Narrative: Journals (the future)


Books have played what is probably the most powerful role of all in preserving, constructing and packaging the stories of our lives. Family genealogies, photo albums, scrapbooks, memoirs and journals are documents of great personal significance in recording our memories. But what about the future? Increasingly this sort of record-keeping is gravitating from the physical world of book-making to the virtual world of personal websites, digital photograph collections and on-line journals or blogs (weblogs). This installation or sculpture is a symbolic bridge between the two worlds: I have created a physical representation of my own virtual record-making activities (i.e. hard copies of blog entries) and adhered them to the surface of the ‘container’ of the future, i.e. computer hardware, instead of the containers of the past, i.e. books.

I have no idea how something like this will be received, and haven't yet seen it in the gallery, but I had a lot of fun creating it.

More from Memory and Narrative here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

memory and narrative 2

My Life As A House
24" x 24"

This week the exhibition Memory and Narrative opens at Place des Artes, a public space in Coquitlam, BC. I recenty joined Leap Visual Arts Collective, a group of local artists who often exhibit together. This is the group statement for the show:

Few questions have a longer, deeper, and livelier intellectual history than how we 'construct' our lives--and, indeed, how we create ourselves in the process. What makes people want to preserve the stories of their past? What methods can be used to construct or package these narratives? Can memories offer different ways of looking at a past event? Or help us to re-remember and control its place in our lives? Can people's narrative accounts tell us something about their identity and lives?

Each artist agreed to create several works to match the theme, plus contribute to a group project. More about that one later.

I decided to paint three medium-sized house paintings for my personal contribution. Yesterday's post illustrates one, another is here, and this is the third. It illustrates a new house followed by some of its metamorhoses over the decades as it is renovated and/or neglected. If you can stand another artist's statement, here is my personal statement:

Memory and Narrative: Stories (the past)
Traditional and historical methods of recording and reconstructing the past have a strong relationship to place. In the past, one’s country, ‘hometown’, neighbourhood and dwelling place all played deeply important roles in the creation of identity and therefore memory during a time when travel and immigration were the exception rather than the rule. Unlike today, the family home could exist over many generations, with the expectation that it would continue to do so. A house with this kind of history is a place rich with family stories and memories. My fascination with painting early 20th century Vancouver houses stems from an interest in the layered, ‘storied’ nature of the histories within the walls of these houses.

If you happen to live in the Vancouver area, the opening reception is Thursday, October 5th at Place des Artes from 7:30 until 9:30.