Monday, December 31, 2007

goodbye 2007

I've been cruising through a few of my favourite blogs this morning and suddenly feel peer pressure to write a year-end wrap-up post, filled with reflections on 2007 or a list of goals for 2008, but truthfully, I need to leave 2007 behind me and not put any pressure on 2008 to perform. I feel guilty even writing this since there were no major disasters in 2007, but the devil is in the details and it's been a year filled with small setbacks, disappointments and plenty of disillusionment. I can even look back over my blog, comparing its more sombre tone -- or absence of any kind of tone at all -- to the light-heartedness and humour of the past. For example, when I injured my back again in October and couldn't move for three days (and it took until now to feel 100% again) I was so fed up with myself/circumstances/2007 that I told almost nobody about it. The dormitory matron in me wants to tell me to pull up my socks and count my blessings, you silly old cow, but that tendency to downplay and spin everything positively, a self-preservation tactic I learned early on, is often part of my problem, so I'm hoping that committing it to public record will help me make a clean break with 2007.
In 2008 my only real intention is to try and live by these words of the Dalai Lama:
I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.
On a professional level I also plan to follow Jafabrit's wise advice and "screw the business of art." :)
And since I wouldn't dare post without pictures, here are a few from yesterday's hike in Burns Bog, a short walk down the hill from us. We found a lot of evidence of beaver activity by the creek and spotted a coyote on a hillside.

Finally, I also want to thank my virtual friends for all your support and affection this year and may 2008 be filled with good memories. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

defying winter

I was in the back garden today, trudging through the sad leftovers of another slushfall, when I spotted this little fellow poking his head out:

Meanwhile, check out what's happening in the front yard. Twice a year this tree blooms: once after all the leaves are gone (December) and again just before the leaves start growing again (March). I was told that it's a viburnum but I don't know for sure. Can anyone identify it?

illustration friday: soar

I was wearing this gold necklace of a soaring seagull when I read this week's Illustration Friday theme, so I took it off, placed it on a red blanket and photographed it. Then I did this in Photoshop.

By the way, on Boxing Day I was featured on a new blog showcasing Etsy artists. Take a look to read the interview. I was too lazy to post about it sooner (actually, I discovered this addicting show jumping game online, dag nab it) so the Etsy mini at the top of his blog is not of my stuff but of the latest featured artist. Thanks, Ken! By the way, I have added a different selection of Primal Landscape giclee-on-panel prints to the shop.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

redefining art

Still on holiday here, but I do have a few great art links forwarded to me by the incomparable Rudy in case anyone wants some idle surfing inspiration between eggnogs. They include the latest from the burgeoning mass-produced original art 'movement' in China, photography of fantasy landscape models, meat art and the re-emergence of that pop culture staple of the '80s, the Rubik's Cube. Click on photos to go to the appropriate article. Back soon.

how it all ends

Saturday, December 22, 2007

feliz navidad

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

christmas etc.

'Tis the season to ignore one's computer for days at a time. Dave Walker says it best:

Once the kids are no longer in elementary school (as of this year for us) the Christmas season gets a little more manageable, though. That said, I have nothing else on my mind except my hairdo, so I've decided to post a few links to kick start the old engine.


I make art with paper. What's the big deal anyway? This is the big deal and it's not origami. Neither is this ~ and talk about challenging the boundaries of what we think of as paper.

But back to Christmas. While on your cross-continental flight to holiday spots in the sun, look out your window and see if God has taken a hand in reminding you that it's not all about tropical vacations and mountains of presents. Try not to spill your cocktail. More here.

This is what I want for Christmas but Jana's not sharing.

Finally, the present for the person who has everything. I looked for the one made out of clear acrylic with a lot of coins embedded in it but apparently Rawstyle's not trendy enough to sell that one. Ho ho ho.
And now, back to preparing for this.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

king edward avenue

Remember the odd-looking canvas at the bottom of this post? This is what it turned into. The reference material for most of these cottage paintings comes from a specific area of Vancouver, and I feel like a stalker or p.i. as I prowl the streets in the middle of a quiet weekday, photographing peoples' private residences. I need to get some celebrity sunglasses. The photos for this painting were taken along King Edward Avenue, both east and west ~ unusual as I prefer the quiet side streets.

These house paintings are fun to do but they don't create a single moment of angst. Isn't self loathing and second guessing a natural part of the creative process? I feel the need to kick a few canvases and cut off an ear or two, so it'll be back to work on other stuff after Christmas.

king edward avenue

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

james barber

James Barber, who died last month at the age of 84, taught me to cook. Not literally -- I never met the guy, and I never watched his popular Canadian TV series The Urban Peasant. That was quite awhile after I'd become a Barberian. The James Barber who taught me to cook was the anti-celebrity chef ~ something of a latter-day hippie who wrote quirky cookbooks full of funny anecdotes and food that was as unpretentious as it was delicious.

When I was 19, having just completed a 'gap year' of working and backpacking around Europe, I moved to Victoria with two friends into a shabby apartment on The Gorge and started attending UVic. I could barely boil water. Shelley, however, had been raised by parents who encouraged her to learn to cook and she introduced me to Ginger Tea Makes Friends and Fear of Frying. I was hooked. Using these cookbooks to get me started was tons-o-fun and God knows I do love to read the pictures.
I remember that time as one of the happiest in my life. I didn't know it at the time but upon reflection I realize that it was the unfamiliar feeling of living in a close-knit family that made it so great. We always prepared meals together and there was endless laughter. Unfortunately, after almost a year, drama, obsession and betrayal (sounds juicy, doesn't it?) ended our happy experience playing house (though I remained friends with them), and Dale and Shelley eventually drifted back to Vancouver (separately) while I stayed three more years to complete my degree ... but no one can take those first eight months away.
I still consult my well-used James Barber books from time to time, and since boys will be pyromaniacs and are irresistably drawn to anything that involves fire and alcohol, Greg's favourite dish (to prepare) is still Chicken and Scotch. There's a wonderful elegy to James Barber's life here.

Friday, December 07, 2007

illustration friday: little things

little things

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

the lolinator

I wish I could say that I'd taken this photo, but I have an 8"x10" of it in my hot little hands anyway. Over here, when I was doing the draw for a print that eventually ended up on the Emerald Isle Darlene over at Daisies was also doing a print draw (photographic). Guess who was the lucky winner? Do visit Darlene's blog if you get a chance; her photography is beautiful and her writing inspired. Plus she's a much hardier soul than me, living in Edmonton in winter.

On the lighter side:

Something hilarious for fans of lolcat: have your blog translated by the lolinator "or, ah'm in yur webb site, re-writeen yur wurds! (RLY!)" (Thanks, Rudy.)

And since we're making a mockery of all things feline check this out.

Finally, these amazing images remind me of when I was teaching secondary art. One of the assignments I gave my students was to design a mechanical animal, either a cut-away view of its hi-tech 'guts' or the animal itself, re-designed as a machine. I did it as much for my own enjoyment as for pushing kids to think outside the box.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


I don't do memes. I enjoyed doing 'random things' memes when I started blogging but I totally ran out of gas after trying to come up with that many quirky facts. Yesterday, though, I was tagged again, and while visiting Murphy Girl to gracefully bow out (supposedly) I visited Willie Baronet's interpretation of the meme thing and loved how he tackled it. I think his obsession-with-death drawing is brilliant. Anyway, with the arrival of our first snowfall yesterday and being housebound I started doodling. I may be repeating a couple of things, but consider it a reworking of an old theme. Artistes do that you know.

1. I judge houses by their numbers and always check them out. Good houses have good number combinations and the two houses I've lived in longest had great combinations.

2. I love food of all kinds, though I admit I've never tried tripe or Rocky Mountain oysters. But eggs? Nope. Never have, never will.

3. At the age of 10, and the first time skiing, I broke my leg so badly I was in a cast for almost six months. It was on the rope tow of the bunny hill.

4. My obsession with fish skeletons is purely design driven. I don't collect them or anything (in spite of encouragement from my cat). But if anyone feels so inclined, I will gratefully accept donations of work from this artist.

5. As a kid I had to walk fairly long distances to and from school. Often I would choose a pebble and try and kick it the whole distance. Meantime I'd come up with a name and invent a complete lifetime of experiences for that lowly rock.

6. I am almost an idiot savant about phone numbers, often remembering them the moment I hear them and then never forgetting them. But I have always hated and avoided talking on the phone. And I think call display/caller ID is the best invention since the rotary dial.

7. I think peanut butter (the natural kind) is nature's perfect food. (My apologies to chocolate.)
Meme Instructions
When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you, then post the rules before your list, and list eight random things about yourself. At the end of the post you must tag and link to eight other people. (Yes, I cheated.)