Monday, February 25, 2008

technical difficulties

My geriatric laptop finally packed it in so I'll be 'away from my desk' for the foreseeable future. If I haven't returned an email that means I haven't received it, so bear with me as I sort things out. It's like someone unplugged my IV!

Back ASAP.

Friday, February 22, 2008

multiple listing service

Thanks to Kirsty & Phil and Caroline's hunt for a new home in breathtaking Cornwall (I think I live in the wrong country), this week's Illustration Friday theme, 'multiple', ties nicely into my house obsession. (The houses are 100% Canadian, mind you.) It also doesn't hurt that I finished my latest house portrait (below) yesterday, and just in time to include in this mosaic.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

for the birds

Existential crisis or not, what right do I have to ignore my blog? Since I have no words, I'll post a few photos taken here,

at Reifel Bird Sanctuary, last Sunday.

After the great size 11 black Converse hunt, we revived our mall-worn spirits with dim sum, then spent a couple of hours in the sunshine on Westham Island. One kind gentleman pointed out this amazing creature

a little off the beaten path. Was he napping or just being coy? The place was overrun with Mallards, Chickadees and Red-winged Blackbirds, including this lovely lady,

trying desperately to look as renegade as possible in her very un-blackbird-like plumage. It didn't work, though, as anyone with a field guide can spot her as the female of the species in just a few flips of the pages.

There were a lot of raptors to be seen, not surprising as Delta has the highest concentration of raptor birds in all of Canada. There were Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles, a Peregrine Falcon (hunting even) and hawks. I even thought I saw a few hedgehogs hiding in the ponds.

And ducks -- oh so many ducks: Northern Pintails,

American Widgeons,

and this odd-looking black duck. I had to spend a fair amount of time farting around on-line to discover that this was no duck, by George, but an American Coot. And not an old one.

This guy is like the ugly duckling, only bigger and uglier, trying desperately to fit in with the cool ducks. He was so embarrassed he wouldn't even show his face:

All birds have distinct personalities. Teenage boys are no different:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

studio update

I've been delinquent; it's been almost a week since my last post. (That sounded freakishly like the opening words of Confession or maybe an AA meeting: "Bless me, Readers, for I have sinned. It's been six days and four hours since my last post".) As I continue to not paint the anxiety has increased, but I have been doing the groundwork for the next six months. Here's how it all looks from here:

1. I need to paint two paintings to add to four I did last year and have them shipped to a new gallery in the Rockies by the end of next month. Last fall I was approached by the business manager of Effusion Gallery (will post the website once it's up and running), which is being built from the ground up in the resort town (lakeside with skiing and hot springs nearby) of Invermere.

2. When those are done I need to embark on a series of large paintings for a three-person show in August, same gallery, with two abstract painters.

3. I was again invited to contribute a painting to this year's big annual FCA fundraiser, Paintings, by Numbers, and fretted over finding time to paint something new. In the end I decided to donate an older painting, but am doing so with some reservations because, as you can see by 2007's roster, this is an event for the more traditional art lover. My fellow artists are mostly established painters of mainstream subject matter. I haven't made the final decision but the painting above is what I'm thinking I'll send. (I also might participate in a four-person show at the FCA's Federation Gallery in the autumn.)

4. We spent Sunday morning with friends Sonya and Ken, photographing Kiki, Sonya's mother's pampered Fox Terrier, so I'd have enough reference material to paint a portrait commissioned by Sonya. There's nothing like the instinct of dogs bred for a purpose. Three times a day for nine years Kiki has hunted down, shaken vigorously to break its neck, buried, then dug up (all the while barking menacingly) a defenceless green tennis ball. She's taught lessons to more than a half dozen Wimbledons' worth of tennis balls during that time I'd guess.

5. Finally, for fun, I have been painting little wooden boxes. It's been good letting myself play for a couple of weeks but now it's back to the salt mines. Please abuse me if I post more than twice a week or visit blogs more than occasionally in the next few months. Must. Focus. Stay tuned for masterpieces.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

predictable like robots

Responses to the last post show that distinct blogging communities are alive and well. The comments here were quite different from the responses to the same post on a different blog, but were they any less predictable? Mother of Shrek's post had a lot of the standard comments you'd expect in a place where appreciation of the arts isn't a priority, whereas at this address the experts were almost coming to blows over whose 6 out of 6 was the best 6 out of 6. OK, so I'm overstating it slightly, but it was definitely predictable. Predictable like a robot maybe? (bad segue ... arrr...) But wait! I would never dare suggest that robots are incapable of acting like anything other than robots, especially when they can do this:

If they can draw then they can paint. And if they can paint, how about a little dance number? But all this art-making and performing is exhausting, even for a robot, so it must be time for recess. I admit that these are clever hunks of junk, but they'll never surpass our God-given role as masters of the universe (Kirk: "We'll make a human out of you yet!" Spock: "I hope not"). Will they?

It's so much better when people are unpredictable, though:

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

an ape could do that

I found this little art quiz over at Mother of Shrek and loved it so much I asked if I could repeat it here. I will make the first comment and reveal both the answers and some of my favourite feedback from the original post. Here goes:

Some of the images displayed below are masterpieces of abstract art, created by great artists. The rest were painted by an ape. Can you tell which is which?

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

How do you think you did?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

local birds

I love finding new blogs that I want to return to, even if it might not be entirely good for me from a distraction point-of-view (understatement of the year). And though it happens very rarely, it's even better when those blogs are local as I almost never get a chance to meet fellow bloggers in person. Just recently I've actually had that opportunity twice. I ran across Amie Roman's blog when I discovered an article she'd written in the recent Art Avenues magazine. I have been wanting to incorporate relief printing into my work for awhile now but wasn't sure how to proceed and then I saw her beautiful prints. Her attention to detail is amazing. Not only that, she asked if I was interested in a 'skill swap'. You betcha! I met Amie a couple of weeks ago at her house and her work is even better in person. Yesterday I finally bought some lino-cutting supplies and promise to share my progress -- if I have any, that is. Check out Amie's website.

And who did I get to share my shopping-for-art-supplies (the best kind) experience with? Ellen Sereda and I met for coffee and Opus in Langley, about halfway between our homes, and it was great to meet her. She's new to blogging but already writes one of the most readable blogs around (she has a unique and totally grounded perspective) and it turns out that she's just the same in person. I fell in love with this painting, called Tabloid Trash, the moment I saw it. It's probably a good thing that she's sold it since I might've felt compelled to buy it with the cash I'm saving to replace the 28-year-old clothes dryer that finally gave it up a couple of weeks ago. Check out her EBSQ profile.

all apologies

I'm feeling compelled to offer up mea culpas for lazy blogging. I love to read memes (being unashamedly nosy) and am really touched when someone honours me with an award. The popular ones right now are the Excellent Blog award (thanks, Ian, for the most recent) and the You Make My Day award (and thank you, Tara, for the same). I have even composed posts in my head to do the same for the bloggers whose every word I hang on, but I have no follow-through. I think I've become a Jaded Old Blogger. I wonder if that includes a pension?

Friday, February 01, 2008

illustration friday: blanket

This is sort of a cheat, unless Photoshop is considered an illustration program. This image comes from a collection that I made into a mosaic of our trip to the south Cariboo in August 2006.