Friday, December 31, 2010

100 New Years ago....

...ok, actually  101 years ago as the pic was done in 1911  ( "Votes For Women" by J.C. Leyendecker - a most famous illustrator of his day, credited with the 'New Year Baby' icon .) See:
101 years ago, dear ladies, we were fighting for the right to vote . Hard to believe that little bit of history.
Wishing you all, no matter gender or creed, all that makes this life so worth it all, oh, and, most certainly, a good dash of the Creative Spirit!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Takin' a Break...

If nothing else, that image has you paying attention..........'s the 'what-do-we-do-with-ourselves' days after Xmas and right before New Year's...the ones I always find like a kind of limbo-land. All the hoo-ha of Christmas is done - you're contemplating the task of taking down the tree etc and you have pretty much exhausted the new excitement of your prezzies...right? Yeah, me too. I shall be curled up on the couch for a few days reading and, yes, yes, eating the bloody little Mars Bars box of choccies I got.
Still time for the last slovenly behaviors until the New Year kicks some serious butt. And a good thing too or I shall resemble the painting "Benefits Supervisor Sleeping" by Lucien Freud heading this little missive.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


It's 6:30 a. m.! I'm worse than a 4 year old! May I wish you all a heart as full of the wonder of Life as a 4 year old always!

"The Creative Spirit creates with whatever materials are present. With food, with children, with building blocks, with food, with children with building blocks, with speech, with thoughts, with pigment, with an umbrella, with a wineglass or a torch. We are not craftsmen only during studio hours, anymore than man is wise only in his library or devout only in his church. The material is not the sign of the creative feeling for life; of the warmth and sympathy and reverence which foster being; techniques are not the sign. The sign is the light that dwells within the act, whatever it's nature or medium."
M.C. Richards

May your walls know joy; may every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility."

OK, Jammies is sitting by the tree....obviously she figures it's time to open some prezzies, especially that tin of gourmet kitty num-nums.....

Warmest regards, oh dear and faithful reader!

The painting is "Of Men and Angels" by James C. Christensen who is better known for his very detailed odd characters holding fish on a leash. It was a delight to discover he also paints these beautiful angel paintings....have a look!

Friday, December 24, 2010


With apologies to Clement Moore and, yes, I wrote it myself:
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the studio
Not a paintbrush was stirring, the Artist wasn't in the moodio
The blank canvas was hung on the easel with care
In hopes that the Muse soon would be there
The paint was all nestled all snug in the jars
While visions and ideas were remote as Mars
And I the Artist , alone without sizzle or snap
The Creative spark was gone for a long winter's nap
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the curtains and threw up the sash
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid day to objects below
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature palette with eight arty deer
And a little old driver all covered in acrylic
I knew in a moment it was St. Arty Nick!
More rapid than brushstrokes, his art deer they came
He whistled and shouted, and called them by name
"Now Van Gogh! Now Rembrandt! Now O'Keeffe and Khalo!
On Rubens! On Escher! On Mucha and Picasso"
To the top of the easel! To the Studio wall!
Now paint away! Paint away! Paint away all!
As sketches that before a wild wind will fly
And met with an obstacle, mount to the sky
Up to the easel the art deer they flew
With a palette full of color and St Arty Nick too!
Then in a twinkling on the easel they stepped
Layered on some Gesso, the canvas was prepped
I blinked both my eyes and almost fell down
When up to the easel St Arty Nick bound
He was dressed all in paint clothes, from his head to his foot
And his hands were all smudgy from charcoal black as soot
A bundle of brushes he had flung on his back
He looked very messy, like me, that's a fact
His eyes-how they glittered! His teeth they were set
His cheeks were rose madder, his nose quite scarlet
His droll little mouth was a mixed media study
He was a walking art text book - really quite funny
The stump of a pencil he held in his hand
And he laid out a painting and it wasn't half bad
The lines were quite bold, the perspective a sensation
I knew all at once I had found inspiration
He spoke not a word but went straight to his work
And finished that painting with a flourish and perk
Then laying his paintbrush aside of his nose
He gave me a wink as to the palette he rose
He called to his art deer and loudly did whistle
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle
But I heard him exclaim and I really knew it
"You'll always be surrounded by Creative Spirit!
The painting is "Christmas Eve" by the Swedish painter Carl Larrson...a long time fav of mine. And I cannot get the spacing app to work for some goofy reason, so remember to take a breath every 4 stanzas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

" GLEE CLUB " Ice Cream Series #4

Not just eating Christmas goodies all, what do you think they're singing?

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then Let's Begin....

Have you got your cup of cocoa?(hot toddy) And your chocolate bikkie?(rum baba)
Swell! C'mon up onto Santa's knee for the tale:
In pretty much most families, the 'mom' takes on the responsibility for making sure the prezzies get bought for everyone and stockings get filled as well. You know this is true.
In my long ago marriage to # 1 - father of my sons - this was the scenario too. I dutifully did all the Xmas stuff while husband # 1 just kinda showed up and got the kudos. After a bit of this, I rebelled. But I rebelled in a 'quiet' way. I thought to myself 'Why can't he figure out the stocking thing for me for a change' - I mean, it's borderline pathetic to have to fill your own stocking, right?
Anyboohoohooway, this was the stage on DEC. 24th 1979 when son #1 was 3. I went to bed with all stockings etc filled to the brim but mine.
Come Christmas morning we (the parents) are woken by a very tearful young son crying "Mommy! You must have been very bad because Santa didn't leave you anything!" I remember turning to look at husband # 1 and seeing his rather guilty/chagrined face and I quietly said, " Oh? Really."
I got up to deal with kids and tears and make breakfast giving a cursory glance at my limp - and empty - stocking. The young son was very upset and even more so when # 1 husband got up and dressed and slipped out of the house. Everything was going wrong this Christmas morning. In about 1/2 an hr. 'Dad' was back bearing a large package. He knelt down in front of our young son and said "Look! Santa found me in town and gave this to me! He said he couldn't get it into Mummy's stocking so that's why I had to go out and get it!"
Peace restored. Mum is back on the 'Nice' list.
Good recovery # 1! Big present points!
The photo is me in 1956 at 3 - my brother would have still been a young baby so unable to sit on Santa's knee. I'm just so styley! I love the little purse! I want that hat back! And isn't 'Santa's' beard something else!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Ok boys and girls. You've all been very good, so cuddle up in your trundle beds with your visions of sugar plums - and Santa-Artist is going to tell you all about:
When I was a kid, it was an accepted part of life that you went to Sunday School. And when you went to Sunday School, you were always involved in The Christmas Concert. And The Christmas Concert pretty much followed the standard religious theme about the birth of Jesus....not a lot of room for artistic re-interpretation on alternate themes, shall we say. Anathema to an artistic soul and I generally found ways to put a creative spin on things. My colored pages were decidedly more than just good coloring.
This particular year I'm speaking of, I was chosen to be the angel, (and if that isn't a bit of an oxymoron, I'll eat my halo.) - yes, the angel that announces the whole big Christmas happening to the shepherds and all and sundry. The costume, in my young eyes, lacked a certain elan. I was already an early 'dress-up' maven and had been making my costumes for Halloween for a few years (one year I actually made a 'Devil' costume - by hand! with a tail I could twirl around (my 'trick') This should not come as a surprise to any of you who have read my blog.
AnyRudolfloveacookieway, I decided to 'fix' the costume by adding a special accoutrement. I went into my Mom's 'special drawer' (unbeknownst to her) and 'borrowed' Mom's very fancy and certainly costly gold flecked and shiny silk stockings. They would add just the 'statement' I wanted for my big role. To further enhance the effect, I rolled up the hem of my 'angel gown' to up over my knees and pinned it there. Comes the night of The Christmas Concert the little church was packed with all the parents and grand-parents to watch all the progeny perform. All proceeds with the usual laughs for the little kids etc. Then it was time for me to make my entrance.
Picture this, if you will, good people. The audience full of hot and slightly bored parents - they've been to endless Christmas Concerts over the years and it generally is pretty much the same old thing. The littlest kids are good for some laughs but, honestly, you've seen one wise man, you've seen 'em all and God please make this end soon....
It is into this atmosphere that I enter in my 'altered with the very sparkly nylons' angel costume.
As I walk onto the stage from the audience there comes a loud and unexpected scream. It's my Mom, who, understandably, is not as impressed with my costume as I would have hoped. There is a bit of a 'hitch' in the play while the audience calms down and laughs nervously. I think there was whispering as the story behind the scream gets passed around.
Time has shadowed the memory of the consequences of my costume alteration and what ensued from the scream onwards. I'm pretty sure the play finished in the well known way and I'm also pretty sure I had a severe talking to about 'borrowing'.
Ah, the 'Creative Spirit'! Long may it live in the hearts of us all, young or old, performers or not!
The photo is me and my brother at about 4 and 2 (1957) on Santa's knee. We have the 'get-me-the-heck-away-from-this-weird-guy' look so many kids sport in Santa photos but what I really like is the fact 'Santa' is some really young guy and looks to be quite 'hot'.......huh.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

T'was the night...ok, maybe more like a few days...

Yessir, the 'day' is almost upon us and I find my mind (ha! There's a poem....) yes, well, I seem to be travelling down old memory lane during this time.
I am bemused by the fact that I have quite a few 'stories' that have occurred around Christmas. I wonder if this is due to the actuality of the season being extra 'hyped' in my memory or if these stories just happened to coincide with the date. So I thought I'd tell you a few of these tales over the next few days. Happy Seasonal raconteur-ing to all of you!
And now:
I grew up in a family that made very little fuss over the Christmas Season. I don't recall many 'gatherings' after my grandparents passed away when I was 5 so it was no big deal that on this particular Christmas Eve, at 13, I was reading while my Mom, Dad and brother were downstairs in the TV room. It was snowing like crazy outside, as Vancouver is known for so there was little traffic out on our normally busy-ish road up by the UBC gates. Only buses were going past ever half hour or so. Imagine my surprise when I heard the doorbell chime and went to open the door to find the Bus Driver standing there with a young toddler in his arms. Apparently the Bus Driver had been coming down 4th Ave hill and seen dimly in the whirling snow, a dark small shape in front of him. When he went out to look after stopping his bus, he found this child sitting there in the middle of the road. The only thing he could think of doing, with a bus full of passengers and a schedule to keep to, was to go to the nearest house - ours as it turned out. By now, my Mom, Dad and bro had joined me at the door. Dad and Iain decided to canvas the neighborhood while mom and I took the small tyke into the kitchen to check 'it' out. Mom checked and found out we had a young boy in our care and we proceeded to get a warm - and rather large - shirt of my brother's on him. The little guy was remarkably placid throughout our ministrations, I don't recall him crying at all. Real cute too, with a head full of dark curls and big brown eyes. I was given the task of 'entertaining' him while Mom started to phone around. In short order my Dad and Brother returned with an understandably distraught young couple in tow. It turns out there was a party across the street and because of smoke (it was some time ago folks!) and the heat of the bodies, someone had opened the front door. Unbeknownst to all, the young lad escaped from the house and crawled out into the road.
Many things about this story come to mind on looking back. They make you believe in 'Guardian Angels' or the capriciousness of Fate, if you will. That child was only dressed in a diaper and small t-shirt when he crawled out into a winter storm. The bus driver must have just found him just in time before he would've froze. The Bus Driver actually seeing this small shape in the midst of a snow storm. The choice of our house with a family at home - a bit of a lucky chance during a season of many folks not being around or out at some do.
A small 'Christmas Miracle' in any case!
The photo is me and my brother Iain, Christmas 1959. Lookit the shoes! Lookit that dress! But it's that wee bow tie on my bro that just melts my heart.

Monday, December 20, 2010

At The sound Of The Tone, The Time Will Be....

Now my life gives me plenty of strange moments......I think it's my viewpoint on the world which is decidedly bent, for sure, however every once in a while even I shake my head.
Take this morning par example. I opened my eyes and thought "Sheesh, it's still dark out! I just fell asleep at 4! Gah!" (I believe I mentioned my sleep is all over the map - lately I've been sleeping for 3 hrs then awake reading for 4 then back to sleep another 3. That's not quite the recommended way of doing it.) So I was thinking to myself at this point it was like 5am or something. Imagine my brain machine when I looked at my clock to see it reading 9am.
9 am.
And it's still dark out.
IMMEDIATELY every stupid bizarre movie I've ever had the idiocy to watch rears it's freaky scenario in my head.
Clutching the aforementioned clock to my breast I stumble out of the tangled web I call my bed to go look.
And see the kitchen clock ticking away with the big hand at 6 and the little hand at 7......7:30 for those of you more digitally inclined.
And realize that the little lever on my (new to me) clock, that I thought was to lower the loudness of the ticking was, in reality, the speed setting to regulate the time.
Now, two things come to mind with this scenario:
1. Did I not notice the ticking was in no way affected.
2. I pushed the lever to the plus side. To lower the sound.
As I may have mentioned, I am decidedly odd.
Or may have been sent from a different planet and somewhat hazy on Earth subtleties.
Painting is "I'm so Hot" by Pauline Lim whom I like immensly. The title has nothing to do with this post in any way but the image is right on for how I feel right now.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


That phrase has always sounded odd to me; why 'under' the weather to describe feeling ill? I envision a large dark cloud pressing down on you or some such. Damp and oozily cold. Bleah.
I AM feeling 'spla' today, though. I think because I was at an Arts Society meeting last night - and , oh for all that is short and sweet - why must meetings drag on for-e-v-a-h....? The meeting was a semi Xmas party so there were 'treats' to be had; the sugary sweet and yummy kind. Which I ate. And ate some more.
Consequently, I spent the night with a stomach invaded by an electric beater kind of thing (the noises! the gas! The horror! Perhaps a good thing to be single right now.) Am not much chirpier this a.m. It's a warm-sweater-and-sweatpants day on the couch for me....and a good book. I'm certain most of this comes from the plethora of calorie laden, high fat/sugar foods so prevalent at this time of year....well, that and my inability to "just say no!" to any and all of the above.
I am one of those blessed types that do not get sick maybe a cold/flu thing every 2 to 3 years.....even when going to school I had perfect attendance for years running. However I have had some real doozies when seriously ill - double pneumonia when 4 and almost dying from a botched gall bladder operation some 5 years ago. But as you see, there is a long time between those events.
(and I had my first kid in 6 hrs, but this isn't about 'Mommy Olympics'.....moving right along....)
In any case, I shall 'enjoy' this excuse to lie low today. Jams is right chuffed being able to 'cat nap' all day curled up in the comfy comforter on the not-so-much comfy couch. I shall look at the next 'Ice Cream Series' painting waiting for paint and that will keep me from lying here too long.....well that and the thought that folks need it for week away.
The painting: " The Sick Child" by Edvard Munch. Yes, that guy famous for "The Scream". Sometimes we forget these artists did more than just the one painting.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ALL FOR ONE....Ice Cream Series #3

...AND! another phone call this morning from another 1/2 of a couple wanting one......

You Know That Dream Where You're Naked in Front of Everyone...?

......well, in my case it's true.
I woke up this morning thinking about, well, pajamas. Or perhaps, lack thereof.
:Ok, now I'm going to depart personal information so for those of you with sensitive psyches, skipping over the next couple of sentences is advised:
I've slept in the nude since I was 15 , not that big a deal except for staying at friend's homes - and if they're reading they will be glad to know I have some 'go-away-night-wear' that I use (and, sorry, discard part way through the night) - Anypleasestopthevisualsway, the thing is, I'm unable to sleep well if I have clothes on and so still sleep sans clothing to this day. Now when you are young and gorgeous - and we are all GORGEOUS when young - this is not strange. However, now that I'm approaching those 'holy-crapola-what's-up-with-this-body' state, it is not, um, so visually lovely for others. And I've started thinking that - gods and goddesses forbid - if something happens and emergency personnel are needed or a swift escape from the home environs is required.......I'm going to make that dream come true.
EEEeeesh. This could prove to be awkward; even more so than my usual strange behavior.
As a result of this realization, I shall be endeavoring to try to find some kind of night clothing that I will be comfortable and able to sleep in.
I'll keep you posted. are riveted with this, n'est pas?
The painting: "Pink Sleep Leave" by Joshua Park Bronaugh - who I can't find out too much about so I'm assuming he is young and unknown. I like his title. I used to be a 'pink sleep leave' kinda girl but sadly have transformed into more of a 'wrinkly blotchy sleep leave'.

Friday, December 10, 2010

July in Christmas!

I have to be careful with what I say here 'cause this is slated to go under the tree for someone in a couple of of the commissions I have to complete for that magic day! All from the funny moment of having 2 competing folks after the same painting at the Christmas Craft Fair and the one half of a couple not being able to ditch the other half and being beaten to the punch by the first person who wanted the original painting that was at the Craft Fair in this theme.....holy brain seizure...I'm confused! And being called 2 days later by 3rd half of another couple wanting same painting.....are your eyes spinning yet? Yowzers!
On to the next one continuing same theme!
Painting title: "Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla" ; the Ice Cream Series.
Makes you smile, huh?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Wanna Live Forever

No, not me; that's part of the song "Fame", which is the thing I'm thinking about this morning as it's the anniversary of the death of John Lennon. That's one of those 'I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing' moments in time, just like JFK.
AnywhereinthenameofsillyamIgoingway, Fame seems to be one of those things 'desirable' to us. But I think we mainly want the 'accoutrement's' that go with fame: money, big car, big house, lotsa trips, sexy arm candy, etc. Not too many of us think about the 'other' that also comes along, ie: you become 'public property'. It seems like all and sundry folk consider you as their personal 'thing'. And you lose anonymity as your face is posted everywhere.
And I guess for some pretty 'big name' artists that holds true as well. Most folks know Robert Bateman or Vladimir Kush; well, maybe not everyone, as your artwork is the more recognizable part of you as opposed to an actor or musician, say. In my small little part of the world I have a modicum of 'fame' due to being here for some time and having my artwork in lots of spaces and that I get into the local paper quite a bit due to my career taking off for me (and assorted other strange behaviors the paper reports on) so I'm slightly cognizant of the weird thing Fame is. Mostly I have a strange reaction when folks meet me and go "Oh, you're that Marla Thirsk!", which gets me thinking too much about what-the-hell-do-they-mean-by-that but let's move on.
Honestly? I admit I do like the 'fame/recognition' but being someone who treasures her solitariness, it's a bit of a two-edged sword. And I don't think you can go backwards once you're there without a concerted effort to be 'forgotten' which for me means not painting ever again and that is just not happening.
Painting is: "Come Together" by John Lennon.
And I miss him.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


(And where is the Vancouver Symphony when you need them?)
Ah, yes, the Gala is over. My feet HURT and my head has it's own personal drummer and I didn't drink! No, no, I spent the evening running (and running and running...) around collecting empty beer bottles and handing out voting slips (for Gala Gal and Gala Guy) and greeting the town's folk and fetching this and taking down that, all freeking night.....sheesh! SOME PARTY! But I did get voted "Gala Gal", again (!) which is fabulous darling, but for the fact of the ludicrous-iness of winning your own trophy...ha! I'm quite amused by this...apparently 'dressing up' stressed out most people who, sadly, were stuck in the "oh god we're going to the Opera" way of approaching this event. People, people, do I show you this is like 'Halloween' except instead of dressing for the dead, you're dressing for the living! Think: THEATRE! Think: HOLLYWOOD GLAM-FEST! Think: TRANSVESTITES! ..........excuse me?!?
I mean: going all out in the glamour department and who does that better than those beee-utiful cross-dressers?
But people out here HATE dressing up...sigh. They would rather just be in gumboots forever. Which I suppose you could work with as a theme too, but still.
I need to live in New York for the daily costume parade.
Now that, would feed my 'Cirque-du-Soliel' longings.......
(OK, here's the recap of the evening's final outfit: Thrift store (ALL items were Thrift Store by-the-by) nubby-knit sweater cut down and remade into shrug with about 100000000gazillion sequins sewn all over it. Which continuously fell off all night, leaving some bizarre 'Hansel-and-Grettle' type trail behind me. It was a conversation topic. Black maternity bathing suit top that was cut down and reworked (because I liked the neck and bust detail and not because I have some strange inner longing to relive my pregnancies; God Forbid!) Black dressy trousers that I added more sequins all around the leg bottoms and randomly sewed little stars to. AND! My 2$ Halloween wig that everyone goes gaa-gaa over. (I wish I could get my hair to match it but then my hair would have to be synthetic nylon) And of course: my 'piece-du-resistance': My HAT!
And THAT, ladies and gentlemens, is HOW you dress up!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Oh God, sorry sorry sorry sorry

This cartoon says it all.
I was 'unpleasant' to be around yesterday while setting up the Gala event in the Community Center hall....sigh fructing sigh. I'm sure lack of sleep and perhaps lack of some essential elements (like graciousness) were tantamount in making me 'Queen Bee-itch'.
Oh god.
Well, I shall be bringing some wee trinket as an act of abasement to my fellow 'boardies' who are ALL worthy women that work just as hard or harder - than me - to ensure this major event goes off without any major damage.
So there we go with the public flagellation which in no way excuses the behavior...I will be more cognizant of this unfortunate trait rearing it's ugly head in my self.
Moving on.......
I am - yet again! (oh surprise!) - reworking the Gala outfit. And it's about 8 hrs 'till the Gala starts. Shall we insert wild manical laughter here? Yes, lets!
I'm bloody cursed.......

Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm So-o-o Tired, I Think I'll Have A Drink....

(Opening title: The Beatles) Except make mine a double shot Americano.....
Ah boy, what is with being extra tired because of getting all the prep for the Gala done as well as 'the outfit' - was up until 12:30 last night -and then waking up early ? I've been up now since 6 a.m.
Sheesh. Mind you I do have some incidental stuff to do still and, yes, it gives me a mo' to post, so not all awful.
I was always an early morning person throughout my life. Even as a teenager (I know !), I took 'early morning classes', which was an option of starting school at 8 a.m. instead of the usual 9 and loved getting up at 6 to do the morning routine and leave home by 7 for the loooooong walk to school; which sounds like the ancient winge by 'old' folks and what school was like 'in their day' but I did seriously live over a mile away from my High School. AnywhatalongwindedbagIbeway, the point of this all is the fact I like early morning when most folks are still abed before the house and world get into the daily groove and you are still wrapped in comforting semi-quiet. Even Jams is still sleepy and is curled up behind me, her warmth seeping into my lower back while emitting little kitty farts.
So today is set-up day for the Gala tomorrow night and I will be loading up the trusty HUMUNGO van with art screens and easels and decorated boxes and trophies and tablecloths and equipment suitable to creating a visual extravaganza and heading off to local hall unload aforementioned and doing so.
Of course, and true to my decidedly 'Gemini' nature - my outfit has changed 3 times and I'm still stressing about it.....I think I have 'Marilyn Monroe' expectations on a 'Aunt Bea' body. Hence the dilemma; the constant dilemma.
I amuse myself highly.
Painting is: 'The Exhausted Maenads After The Dance' by Lawrence Alma Tadema and I'm fairly certain I will resemble this after tomorrow night.....or perhaps this afternoon.

Monday, November 29, 2010


..And thank you, Santa!

Just got a call from my 'Gallery Guy' Mark, letting me know "Thursday's Child" went to a young couple from Chicago (! cool !) who had seen the painting last summer but didn't get it then. He told Mark he couldn't stop thinking about it...sometimes it just takes a while...well, just insert happy dancing me!

Getting through the next couple of months will certainly be easier.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


This morning's troll through my followed blogs gave me this little quote jewel:

"I am among the few who continue to draw after childhood is ended, continuing and perfecting childhood drawing-without the traditional interruption of academic training. - Saul Steinberg" (from Lines and Colors)
Saul Steinberg (June 15, 1914 – May 12, 1999) was a Romanian-born American cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his work for The New Yorker.

Ah.....vindication feels sweet! As anyone ( ...anyone...anyone? ) who follows "OFF CANVAS" , you know what my feelings are on the subject of 'schooling and being an artist'. (See post: The 3 R's; Sunday Oct 3rd)
Anygopatyourselfonthebacksmuggoofway, I'm feeling all smiley about this. So I'll just go gloat for a brief moment....until reality smacks me upside the chops once again.....sigh.
Pic is one of Saul Steinburg's. And since it's the beginning of Ho Ho ho-ly excess; thought I'd give you his Santa.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Belle of the Ball!

Ok busy busy busy!

(And, yes, there's a 'guy' pic too but every little catchy phrase I come up with is really dirty.....)
Moving right along.....
I'm terribly behind on the usual yappity-yap here but (and here they come: excuses! justification! all round cheesy behavior !) Yes, well, in a word: THE CHRISTMAS GALA! It's a week today and I've been making the trophies! 'GALA GAL' & 'GALA GUY'

Honestly I've had so much fun doing these that I wish I could create lots of 'goofy' icons for anything. With a TON of gold spray paint, mind.
If nothing else, we've proved there's an 'after-life' for old 'Barbies'.
Now, wouldn't you want to win one of these unique creations? Already the other board members are aiming to score and are planning the outfits! speaking of which, I have also got an extravaganza of sartorial excess planned. a 1950'S style dress with a sweetheart neckline covered in sequins and a HUGE crinoline with a very over-the-top hat creation made for me by Blair Nadeau at Check out the swellest head toppers you've ever seen! AND! He's Canadian! AND! His service is astounding! Then my handmade suede 'shortie-boots' with added bows on the toes......but!..... no date.......sigh....such is my life. Who cares - I'll be crazy-ass dancing all night by myself anyI'mtoomuchtohandleway!
Man I can't wait for next Saturday night. I LOVE dress up in all it's forms!
But first we have to decorate and set up all the tables and a photo booth and load in the booze and etc etc etc. I shall have to nap something fierce Sat afternoon!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Think: Brass Monkey's.....

Last night I had TWO down quilts AND wore my long underwear to bed. We are in the midst of a cold snap - and it's very unusual for this part of the world. Being beside the Pacific Ocean generally entails a tendency towards mild winters; a temperate climate in 'big science speak'. Yessiree, cold enough to freeze the knoodlies off a brass monkey....
Other than my red nose, the Craft Fair was a BIG success.
That makes me depressed.
Ok. I'm exaggerating somewhat.....of course I want the darn thing to work! It's just in my ever hopeful way, I sure would like to pass on the baton to someone. (.....anyone...?) and with making things work so good I'll be in the driver's seat for some time. (Oh get over it, Marlah...)The new Community Center was a great venue; at the very least we were warm for the first time in 20 years....ha! The local Credit Union ran the kitchen and, by all that makes your mouth water, did an absolutely fantastic job! Rave reviews from the folks on the 'Pulled Pork Bunwiches, Pulled Chicken Bunwiches, Squash Soup and...wait for it.....Caramel Apples!!'
Oh boy! It always makes the Fair so much better to be able to have Good Eats available.
I did not too shabby myself. Sold out of my calendars, but that may be because they were CHEEP because I didn't think anyone would want one...(me=dumb) Sold my last 2 books (The Shadows Behind - see below) Sold 2 paintings and took 2 commissions - oh yay! What's crazy about this , is that I was unprepared this year and really was grabbing anything I had at hand to put into the Fair. AND, yet again, it was clear that I sell more paintings when I put them out in a venue that also has me there.
So, now we're on to the Christmas Gala and all the prep stuff that means. I get to make the 'Gala Guy and Gala Gal' Trophies again and I managed to score an old 'Barbie' and a 'Ken' for them....can't wait to get creating those! I'll be sure to post some pics!
And last but not least, I've been heavily petitioned to take on the presidency of the local Art Society (this would be my 2nd time)
I'm not jumping with joy, kids.
On one hand it's nice to know people think highly of me but on the other......well, the Arts society, sadly, is in a rather poor way. It has dropped many events previously under it's umbrella; ie: The Craft Fair (which is how I ended up doing it) The annual Art Show has shrunk to be in a very tiny venue and most artists are very disenfranchised.
The whole thing makes me writhe in yuk. I'm torn because if any place was made to order for a great arts community, it's out here. On the other hand, eeeeesh. Do I want to take on something that means a LOT of stress and work. (there goes the Art) (I'm not exaggerating)
AnywhatnextohLordway, that's what the menu is offering over the next while. And you thought Artists got to live quiet little lives painting happily away in their respective hovels, didn't you? Admit it! I did!
Painting is : "Golf Players On The Ice" (nothing like stating the obvious) by Hendrick Avercamp 1585 - 1643 That could be inspiration for the golf course folks out here.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I had two back to back nightmares last night -eesh - one was particularly disturbing having my father trying to smash in my head with this elaborate cane he was wielding (oh Mr. Freud!) and consequently I couldn't sleep; I think I was too freaked out to go back to dreamland; and ended up reading until 5 a.m. and then woke later than usual but am decidedly not feeling snappy.
And now the phone calls from the late-and-tardy-to-sign-up-for-the-craft-fair have begun. And, just like geese flying south, the blame and irrelevant excuses are pouring forth. (that I must -------listen to) For god's sake ladies and gentlemen! I have had an ad in the paper ("I don't read the paper") and an ad on the radio ("I don't listen to that") and posters up ("Oh, I never see any") for the last 3 weeks! How is this my fault? I honestly despair for these thorns in my side. And, of course, now I'll obsess about of the big reasons I'd like to just chuck the whole thing......
Yes, well. I will be setting up at the hall tomorrow at 10 a.m. And because it's in the new Community Center I can't hang up any decos - the walls you know.
I think the theme should be the Nightmare Before Christmas, anyway. Which would be awesome, come to think of it. (Hmmmmmm.....)
Painting is: "Nightmare" by Mia Mikali. Creepy stuff, huh? Personally it makes me laugh ruefully as it reminds me of some of the above folks...indeed.
*Update: It's obviously not a painting but a digitally altered photo. It was listed as a painting. Who knows what the hell is going on anymore........I'm tired and want to go to bed but I'm afraid to go to sleep now......and I miss my long hair. That's why that old photo is up as a profile image. To remind me to NEVER cut my hair again. Like this is another nightmare I need to obsess about right now.
I AM tired. I'm blithering.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


This weekend marks the date of our town's annual Christmas Craft Fair, an event that I have personally organized for @ the last 20 years...I think - I kinda lost track somewhere. Along with that little fun-time which means making/hanging posters, doing up floor plans, taking phone calls at all hours, decorating/setting up a room and making sure it all comes together, I am also involved with our Christmas Gala which is a fairly new charity event that gathers together the local-yokels (a fav expression of my Dad) for an evening of really dressing up and good food, extremely danceable music, drinks and an auction that raises money for our community. That event too means poster-floor plans-phone calls-decorating/setup and meetings. (I organize the artists end for donations)

AnyI'mexhaustedalreadyway, it's a bit nutsy in my life right now and I need the computer. A lot.
The above shows you what I have to deal with vis-a-vie Jams who generally claims the chair as soon as she can. This morning it was the moment I got up to get my coffee. However I have fixed the problem by picking up the pillow off the chair and placing her and it on the sofa.
So there! (OK, I'm not fooling anyone, am I?)
The point of all this blither is that I will be busy over the next while and may not post as often as I like to. Just jump up into the chair and snuggle down; I'll be back directly.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Strange Days Indeed

I'm in a strange know: I think I'm OK but am continuously forgetting the most basic things (like meetings, or appointments, etc) I burst into tears at the oddest times...(like right now - seriously, my eyes are full of tears...sheesh!) or during stupid movie things. ANYTHING that has 'Death' attached to it makes me all wobbly.
I really wish it would stop as the ordinarily stoic woman I am, is disconcerted at the breaking apart.
I guess this is grief and , as such, has to be gotten through until it passes, as all things will, with time.
I'm also trying not to drive at night and certainly not as often as usual, as I find myself 'blanking' out and come to some minutes later down the road....not good but at least I live in a remote place with little traffic and know the road very very very well - perhaps that is the problem.
Part of me is standing back and observing this and being wildly how I'm feeling disconnected.
Photograph is "Sorrow" by John Toxey and I appologize as the image won't enlarge in a good format which is sad as it's a powerful moment caught in the camera feelings exactly.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Your Entertainment

Since I've been wrapped up in the creating of my newest painting over these last few days and remiss on posting here, I thought I'd pop in to quickly list a few of the 'odd' photography sites I've discovered while browsing the Internet. These are sites I happen to fall into from clicking on links listed in web sites and getting further and further down the rabbit hole, so to speak. They are eclectic as my mind gets entranced by the oddest things. Ready? Here we go:
1. The Museum of Messages - an odd little site with photographs of 'messages' written or posted on walls, subway or lampposts all over. Very entertaining how we humans mark our territory.
2. A cool e-zine dedicated to odd and bizarre documentary photographers.
3. This is just a cool site. It's creator is a young photographer who walks around NYC (and Milan and Paris too) snapping pics of snappily dressed senior citizens. I LOVE what old folks wear in NYC! I'm hugely inspired to dress like these sartorial elders.
4. I really like this woman's style. She has such a lovely twisted eye for'll get a kick out of what subjects she chooses.
OK...that's all for now folks! OH! and please feel free to post me some of your own 'strange delights' porn though.....seen enough every time I try to Google 'drawing feet'.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Wheels Go Round

Said goodbye to the father of a young man that I call 'my other son' (and love about as much) yesterday afternoon. His Dad's memorial service was at the new local Community Center and there was an amazing turn out of family and friends and townfolk. As well as Gordie's service, there was also the huge one for the 2 Paramedics that died when their van went over the side of our horrible road up in Tofino.
Both services were standing room only and what really struck me was how in a small remote place on an island off the coast of B.C. Canada, the feeling of being together as a people in times of crisis really strikes home. One of the reasons I love this place so much.
Anysadbutcomfortedway, I am trying to break free from this dark place of 'dead zone-itus' that I'm currently weighed under. (That 'take my own picture for a painting subject idea I was blithering on about a few days ago? Let's pretend that didn't happen....) I've been doing a lot of 'Internet Trollin' - and I have to say I'm pretty darn good at searching out very esoteric subjects; entertaining myself for hours - so, anytryingtonotblitheronagainway, one of my fascinations is with Graphic Novels - they are the pinnacle of comic books, if you will - but so much more. And I also watched "Mirror Mask" (and if you haven't seen this - do so right away! )It's the story of a young girl who draws and wants to escape her life she has with her parents (classic teenage angst) I won't say more to save a Spoiler Alert. The sets and costumes etc are by Dave McKean, also the film director along with Neil Gaiman of 'Coraline' fame. Dave has to be one of the MOST astounding artists I've ever come across. I am in thrall to his work! So I've been pulling out ALL my mixed-media art books and studying intently. I've taken a canvas I wasn't too pleased with - that's known as 'Artist's Prerogative' by the way - and sanded it all down to the barest hint of an image then painted red ink onto it. The red ink seeped through all the bare spots and has given me a most exciting texture and image on the canvas' back. I've re stretched the canvas with this back-side out and am now working on this image. I've begun by scanning in eyes from an old photo and printing it up on archival paper then with matte acrylic gel, coating the front of the image at least 6 times - letting it dry in between each coat. What this process does, is give you a 'transferable image' that you soak in water and carefully rub the paper away to be left with the image on your gel coating. This can then be applied to the canvas -as a collage idea- and because it's semi transparent, the canvas shows through. When I applied the eyes to my image- the red ink slowly seeped through and colored it, giving me an even cooler image!
Yeah....I'm excited.
So I'll be experimenting and learning with this technique over the next while. I need to go slow as my usual modus operendi is to dive in full force and mess about.....not always a recommended route.
Here we go-o-o-ooo!
Painting is by Dave McKean from the 'Sandman' series by Niel Gaiman. Look Dave up at It's so worth it!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dark Side of the Moon

This is something I don't think I've ever seen or certainly ever experienced. Today when I opened our little town paper, The Westerley, and turned to the Obits page, there were 6 people listed as having died.
I knew every one of them.
I'm still reeling.
When you live in a small community, you accept that as time goes on there will be folks passing away. Usually our little place has a person's death mentioned, oh, maybe 4 or more months apart. Not often in the scheme of things and certainly to be expected in this fleeting dance we call Life. But 6 deaths all in a short time frame over the last 2 months is, well, almost inconceivable. Our town is stunned.
I am now up to 9 deaths having occurred in my life since August and losing Dad, to this sad sad page of print.
I feel bereft and I most decidedly feel fragile.
The painting "Thinking Of Death" by Frida Kahlo. Certainly appropriate.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ugly Art

Do you find this painting 'ugly'?
It's by a young woman painter who has garnered a world class reputation of high regard in the art world with her paintings - very edgy and graphic, mind - of overweight young women and transvestites and abused children etc., all topics that are 'uncomfortable' to say the least.
But what is art if not the portraying of subjects that the ordinary world often passes by and this includes 'pretty' pictures too because as an Artist we are challenged to show the world to our fellow beings that makes them stop and SEE.
I'm thinking about this topic today because, well, for one it's Halloween and a lot of 'ugly' gets glorified in costume. (I myself was a 'dead fairy'....point made) And I'm thinking about subject matter for another series.
Me in all my 'aging overweight woman' glory. But I'm thinking of painting a series that tracks my body changes as I diet and exercise to get myself healthy. (Gods and Goddesses know nothing else has inspired me to do anything about the abysmal state I find myself in) But I want to do them in such a way that it really isn't a portrait of me but a more universal 'woman metamorphosing' idea.
I really hope I can get some feedback from anyone out there on this just might be too 'ugly' in most folks opinion but I'm feeling that excited arm tingle.....
Painting: "Hybrid" by Jenny Saville and I happen to ADORE her stuff by the way. If you look her up be forewarned that she is very very 'in your face' subject wise but this woman can PAINT!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Muse has left the building.

Ah boy, I HATE this 'dead zone'.

I know there's something there inside waiting for the creative spark to ignite but so far everything I think might be it just feels flat when I try. And life has taken on a surreal quality. Yesterday I was questioned by an older gentleman as I walking into our community center and for the life of me I could not fathom what he was saying to me. It was as if I had been suddenly transported to a place that spoke an entirely unknown language. And after 3 tries (and the fellow becoming more and more fed up with me) I garnered that he was asking about 'flu shots'. I was STILL confused - flu shots...?....WTF? - and must admit to responding tersely with "I have no idea what you are asking about!", and his angry snort which left the most dislocated feeling in me. I also, perhaps mistakenly, posted my feelings about the Cedar Corner Gallery's closing on Facebook and got some decidedly, um, short answers. Basically about how I should feel lucky about getting my Artwork back at all and that I didn't know what I was talking about since I didn't have the whole story.

Again, WTF?

And I went ass-over-teakettle on my walk this morning as I was climbing over a fallen tree and stepped onto what I thought was a piece of branch and had my foot go right through it - it literally was a phantom image in my brain......reality shifted momentarily just then.

Honestly, I'm in an alternate dimension I'm pretty sure.

The painting: The Muse by Alphonse Mucha.....pretty much my biggest influence when I was young.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm Disapointed

Well, and damn it all anyway.
The Cedar Corner Gallery up in Tofino is closing it's doors for good on Wednesday.
I'm really bummed by this news.

Please Can I Have More?

It's raining and storming outside enough to make you think some kind of apocalyptic event is it seems a perfect day to make soup.
If there is any simpler way to create some fabulous culinary goodness, well, I don't know what compares.
Maybe grilled cheese sammies, but that's another thing altogether.
I have saved chicken backs and buy beef bones when I have/see them for a long time. Cheeeeep food. This is part and parcel of the 'artist survival skill-set' you need to have in the creative life. There is something so magical of adding 'bones' and water with savory veg to simmer on a stove top on a wintry day. The aromas alone will make you a believer in alchemy. My mom, long departed, was a master soup creator. I believe making soup is what got her large family through the war in Holland when food was very scarce. A little amount of ingredients will become rich and satisfying and feed many with a long slow cook. And it is so versatile in what you can use. Old slightly limp veg are best too - and that works for a fridge clean-out!
Anymystomachisgrowlingway, I just wanted to share another form of creating.
And, of course, I'll be having some homemade Scottish oat bread to accompany the bowl of soup.
Painting is: Virgin and Child with the Milk Soup by Gerard David.
And, seriously, that soup doesn't really get my taste buds rocking but the painting is a fine thing. And goes along with my sentiment of teaching your kids to cook from an early age. As an aside, what is up with the Christ child always being naked in these old paintings?!? ALWAYS. Must've had a good metabolism.......or that soup kept him warm.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sunday Extras....or whatever mind seems incapable of those clever pun-ish titles this morning. Perhaps some breakfast would help.
Anywhatabeginningway, I originally had intentions of writing a post all about 'Sunday' and how it has always seemed to have that odd completely-free-day feeling to it; you know, you wake up with the thought 'ah good, it's Sunday so no rush to do ....etc.' kinda thing. Now, granted, for many it is just another day if you have a job that cycles days according to work schedules but for most of us, Sunday is really the day of rest. The 'sit-on-the-sofa-in-yer-jammies-till-noon' day. Drinking coffee. Reading the paper. Adding to the population problem..or not depending on your desires. Mind you when I was young, waythehellbackthen, Sunday meant dressing up like a small Victorian maiden and going to Ma and Pa doing the aforementioned as we finally left them alone for a couple of hours; but more on that anon.
So I went searching, as I do when sitting down to write my little blog, for a painting about Sunday....and I got lost in the oh-so-fascinating world of cyberspace.
And that lead me into wild and strange contemporary art that the new artistic community is creating.
Wowzers. What a strangely bizarre world it is. I see a lot of 'dark' subject matter out there. A GREAT deal of blood. On 'pretty' little girls. (oh Mr. Freud...?) Wildly distorted creatures. Skulls. Deathly pale people. Rubbery imaging.
I LOVE it, actually.
Makes me want to be a part of it all and paint gorgeous women with lots of tattoos......yes, well, moving on.
So that brings me to the image above. This artist is Mari Shimizu and she makes these wonderful dolls and I'm so in awe of them I want to pull out all my doll making stuff and create...except I won't because I have my mind working on another painting.
The dilemma of me as woefully attracted to many different things artist.
Focus, Marla, focus.
Perhaps some coffee........
ps. I'm sorry the image is so small and fuzzy. I couldn't find any large scale high rez ones of the pic I liked best.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I sometimes muse on the 'long ago' art I've done. Much of that early days work was given away as presents or somesuch; some even lost in all the moves I did. And that's pretty much all I ever dwelt on this for a moment of 'wonder what' and then out again as the usual 'damn that cat!' stuff takes over.
So imagine my complete gobsmacked-ness (is this a word even?) when I recieved an email asking about the above picture.
It is a colored pen and ink drawing of the style I did during the early 1970's to early 1980's....I was so into detailed (and horrible perspective) pics reflecting my 'hippie' self and my desired life. This particular drawing is of me and my 2 sons - now in their 30's - (!sheesh!) and all the trappings of that hippie-country style of life I lusted after back then.
The thing is I can't really remember doing this.
Anyway, the now owner of this work had tracked me down somehow and asked about the originality and story of the piece. Which I told them about. I also asked how they got it and it turns out a friend of theirs found it at 'Value Villiage' in Vancouver and had bought it. They also said it was greatly loved....and that was the best thing to hear.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lessons From The Road

Just back from the long trip down island to attend/display/pickup work at the Sidney Fine Arts Show. And it was a real 'learning' trip. I was first camped out at a moderately priced hotel - great location virtually across the street from the show venue - and I got an education on 'single-woman-on-trip'. For any single woman, travelling alone is a whole 'other kettle of fish'. You have to have a heightened sense of your environment. NEVER stay in a ground floor room that has poor security - obviously - and that's just what I first got as accommodation. Now, I admit to being reticent about 'making a noise' when I'm faced with situations. My generally laid-back attitude just goes along with whatever. And I did set up camp in this room that was decidedly one of the 'cheepseats' of this hotel. The room was dingy; kinda smelly of old cigarettes and dogs; broken knobs and locks and a bathroom fan that sounded like the room was about to launch itself. I just thought what-the-hey-ho I'm just sleeping here. OK. Then the next door folks moved in. Thin walls can be added to the list. AND they had a dog. That they left alone. While they went out. The dog barked. Constantly. After 3/4 of an hour of this, I had enough and went to the front desk to complain. And the front desk said, "We can phone the room and ask them to keep the dog quiet." really a good answer.
Anyway, after explaining the 'left the building' scenario, I was upgraded to a new 2nd floor room. Now, this room was great and made me realize how I needed to speak up right away when things are unacceptable.
Lesson 1.
I walked all over the little town of Sidney. Talked to assorted folks and enjoyed it immensely. While wandering about I went into the 'Peninsula Gallery' in Sidney, a most posh and respected business in the art world down there. At first I was only considering 'looking' but after some minutes gave myself a big kick.......and spoke to the lovely lady behind the desk. I admit to being coy at first -not introducing myself as an artist and all - but we did get around to that and - in my inner jaw dropping self - got a very welcoming response. And left feeling very positive.
Lesson 2.
The show was exceptional. Such good work. But a very conservative audience. The works that were sold were of a more 'traditional' genre. HUGE attendance - I don't think that I've ever seen such a well attended show. My work was certainly different. No, I didn't sell. Disappointing, certainly, but not crushing because I learned that the paintings with the flowers are not as 'good' as the 'detail design' of the first ones. (Like 'DISCONNECT' featured as a title image here) And that knowing your audience really helps.
Lesson 3.
I moved over to my dear friends after 3 days at the hotel and immediately felt the difference of being at home - so to speak. I had been hesitant to stay there as they had just lost a very dear friend and were wrapped up in a lot of details attached to a time like this but I'm so so glad they opened their arms to me at this hard time. I was privileged to also be included in the extended family dinners of the departed friend. I was swept up in what real love and good friends are. HUGELY grateful for this experience because I also got to mourn my Dad and the passing of a fine fine friend in an environment that was so healing. I came home with new family in my life.
Lesson 4.
I really love being down island. The weather is so much better. The vibrant art scene. The friends. The vibe. Just everything. I need to move.
Lesson 5.
I have homework to do........
Painting: 'Traveler' by Sasha Pepper

Monday, October 11, 2010

Another Kind of Gratefull

It's Thanksgiving here in Canada - just on the off chance I have a visitor from elsewhere - and it's traditional for most of us to feel thankful about our families and friends, life, where we live, etc. And that's heartily condoned here at 'OFF CANVAS' because I think we often dwell on the dark side and forget the phenomenal gifts we do have in our lives.
I'd like to put a wee spin on what to be thankful about, in my arty way; it's the way my mind works, folks; so here's the top 10 list of the 'odd' things I'm thankful about. Please feel free to add your own 'strange'.
#1: I'm really thankful for being able to read. That one skill has kept me informed, educated and entertained for over 53 years. Nice track record!
#2: Warped sense of humour. Even in the darkest of dark times, the ability to see the absurdly funny side of things has rescued me time and time again.
#3: A love of solitude. Good thing, since I exist in this zone frequently.
#4: Loss of dignity. I have this in spades. Mainly due to my 'don't get it' mode of behavior towards the common life. And it's good because it keeps my ego from getting beyond it's tolerable boundaries. And good stories to tell.
#5: Patience. No high blood pressure. Not worried by delays or long lines. Good thing as getting recognized in the greater 'art world' takes a lot of this.
#6: Imagination. Need we say more.
#7: Magazines. I think magazines are the best way to kill time, inspire, entertain, read all in a short form manner. There has got to be a magazine for just about any taste/interest on this planet. Portable too.
#8: Clean sheets. Nothing like the feeling of crawling into them after a bath.
#9: Vacuum Cleaners. I just happen to think they are the bomb. And who wants to physically beat a carpet?!?
#10: Computers. Changed my life...yours too I'll bet.
The Painting: "Thanksgiving" by John Currin. This guy is fabulous. He is such a twisty painter of realism. I am in awe of his stuff!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

On The Road Again Again

Okey smokey....we're gearing up for the trip down island to Sidney for the Sidney Art Show next week and, in my usual head-spinning-madly way, I've got a mountain of clothes laid out as I seem to be incapable of packing light. I'm sewing 3 different 'garments' as well because they are the 'finishing touch' my 30 different outfits need and I am also packing a bag of 'creative things to do'.
I exhaust myself.
But it is the ritual I go through each time I travel.....and this is just locally. Heaven's breath, it becomes the subject of a reality show on weirdness. I don't even want to consider what travel to foreign climes would bring about.
Anywhatakookway, I'm always in a strange mood when these trips come about. On one hand I'm excited to be travelling, on the other, I suffer with anxiety. My brain starts the endless 'what ifs' and 'how do Is' and all the attending idiocy that a woman of my age and accomplishments would supposedly be handling like prepping a canvas.
In a way, I'm highly entertained by my 'goofiness'.....who wouldn't be? On the other hand, I'm fed up with my trepidation for what basically is a pretty straightforward undertaking.
There is just one thing left to say:
.... one more outfit and I know it will be perfect.
The Painting: Journey by Luc Tuymans. I like this because of the central woman figure on the bench and all the swirling people around .....just like I feel.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

M-E-E-E-m' la la lalala laaa.....

Great, now that sucky song is stuck in the brainbox...

OK, memories is the topic boys and girls. Because I watched "Waltz With Bashir", a terrifically done animation movie about a horrific event during the Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. It has a lot to do with memory and how we can 'forget' or reinterpret events. It was very graphic and I admit I wept at the ending.
And was totally depressed with the inhumanity of ourselves to ourselves. Sometimes I think it might just be a good idea if we completely wipe ourselves off the face of this Earth.

Yes, well, I digress.
What struck me about the film and leads me to my topic - along my twisty path, for sure - is that history is made from memory but memory is subjective. We all remember differently, as gets illustrated graphically to me when I reminisce with my brother. We may have been in the same situation, but what he recalls can be completely opposite to what I recall and visa versa. So I'm wondering if 'History' is really truth or just the memories of some folks who put it down on paper first. We all know that many 'events' get reconstructed depending on how we wish to be perceived (you know it's so) and then a whole new spin gets put on something when a different memory comes to light. Not that I am saying that History is lies or whathaveyou; it just makes me wonder how, oh let's say, the Roman occupation of Britain seemed to the women of that day - a viewpoint we often don't get to read about.
And I guess I'm also wondering a lot about memory because of my subject matter in my paintings. It's my memories that are making the painting but it's the interpretation of the viewer and consequently what memories that image evokes for them, that is the communication they get.
And so many of the old master's paintings have been 'given' histories by someone else. Did old so-and-so paint that iconic piece because he was evoking the struggle of the endless fight between good and evil or was it really he needed the cash for next month's rent and rich old patron wanted that subject to go with his new villa?
Who knows. But it makes for lots of 'learned' speculation, huh?
Wonder if I'll be dealt with in this fashion in some future century.......or just a forgotten memory?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

THE 3 'R's' *

(* 'R'igger, 'R'eproduction and 'R'aw Sienna)

Ok, I'm going to warn you now that I might get carried away on what this is all about, mainly: Being a 'real' Artist and going to school.
For all the shows and contests I enter I have to include or submit a 'CV' (Curriculum Vitae) which generally is a list of the schooling and shows, etc. you have in your life as an artist. This is always problematical for me. Why? Because I'm self-taught; ie: did not go to 'ART' school.
Not that I didn't want to. As a matter of fact, I applied to Emily Carr (in Vancouver, B.C. when it was still called the Vancouver School of Art) in 1978 and was accepted. BUT! (and a big but) I was married to #1 at the time and he got a job over here in Ukee in the fishing industry and that meant I followed as the boys were very small and etc etc etc .....wah.
And then we sort of just slipped into that fast rolling river called 'Life' and went roiling and bounding along, often with head going under.
But I was continuously painting and drawing and doing some kind of creating all through those years. And reading ANY art book I could get my hands on. (my personal Art Library contains over 300 books - true story)
Fast track to 1994 when I changed my life around and decided to get serious about being an artist.
The rest you know.
My point being: am I any less of an artist because I don't have a 'school's credentials' behind my name? I don't think so and my back kinda gets all twisty when the snobbery of the art World raises it's pretentious head on this subject.
In the vast history of artists; and I've been researching this; there is very little schooling mentioned. Going to an accredited Art School really came about in the late 1800's - although going to Europe and studying with a 'Master' or just walking the Galleries and painting was an accepted apprenticeship in a way - however, most of the old masters just bloody well did art every day. The study is very helpful, don't think I'm advocating never going to school - I'm just trying to point out that years and years of constant diligence has validity too.
But I'm left wondering how many 'Art Experts' pass me by because of this.
* the 3 'R's' :
Rigger - is a very fine, long bristled and pointed brush used to make fine lines.
Reproduction - 'copying' an original art piece in an accepted meduim depending on type
Raw Sienna - one of the permanent pigments derived from clay
The Painting: The Lascaux Cave in France, painted somewhere around 15,000 to 20,000 B.C. (!!) ....and I'll bet you a rigger brush those Artists didn't go to school.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

When My Hair Matched My Paintings

Someone from a long ago friendship that I've just reaquainted with via good old Facebook remarked, after seeing my paintings, that they reminded her of how I looked when she knew me then. So I went trolling into the photo archives I've got in my old WW2 trunk and lookie what I found.
It's true.
Pictures are from @ 1991 to 1992 near as I remember, because I, like everyone else, never remembers to write the details on the back.


Acrylic with Gold Leaf

36 X 42"

...I'm reminded of 'Pebbles'.....all grown up.

Friday, October 1, 2010


This morning I was wondering just how long I'd been blogging at this cyber diary/journal/letter/waste some time with a cup of coffee spot and just now, went back to see.

Well, by all that's droning-on, we've been at this over a year now....July 3rd last year was the first post, can you believe ? Other than MISSING the anniversary date completely (*sigh*), it's interesting to see what a year has done. Because it was then that I started painting the 'Rita' Series and just look at all that's followed that.


That's actually quite cool.

Painting is: "Cakes" by Wayne Theibauld, American Pop Artist who hung with the likes of Andy Warhol etc. and I'm pretty sure most of you have seen his images all over as they've been used as 'kitschy' notepads and day planners and sundry. He began his career as a 'bout that.

Sure makes a great painter of goodies....I admit to having a real desire for that chocolate awesomeness at the back.......think I better have some breakfast before all hell breaks loose.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

All Together Now

I woke up this morning thinking about being alone. My day-to-day life is actually pretty solitary....ok, Jams is usually around but being as her interaction is pretty much going to the door, coming back to the door, going to the door, coming back to the door, check out the food dish and have another nap.....well, interaction on a social scale is limited, shall we say.
Not that I don't see people or talk to folks, but that generally occurs when we slip into town to replenish the larder or hit the library etc.
And I'm pretty much ok with this - after all, Art is a solitary endeavor.
But every once in a while I feel the 'alone-ness' that my life is.
I do have good friends that I love and cherish - please don't think I'm completely without hope - well, not that way - but there are times when I put the brush down late at night and realize how much my life has become quite secluded; I just long for some late night hang-out with all the peeps just like Montemart used to be for the long gone artists from way back when.
Facebook just doesn't cut it.
Painting is : "Nighthawks" by Edward Hopper - one of the most copied images of all time. Ed started out as an illustrator and then moved into painting. You can see that in how his paintings 'told stories'.

Monday, September 27, 2010

She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket. ~Raymond Chandler

Ah, Raymond Chandler I want to talk like you write.....

Ok, I'm up and somewhat about after 2 hours at the dentist today. This is my 4th visit since the huge fiasco two months back (July 9th precisely)when I snapped off my front incisor and had to make an emergency visit to the dentist up in Tofino or appear on stage to receive my Diane Farris Juror's Award with duct tape across my mouth. Now, for many of us, and I include myself here, trips to the dentist are not the high point of anything.....we tremble, we sweat, we anxiously sit in the waiting room blindly immersed in outdated magazines, etc. etc. etc. I've a long and mainly poor relationship with dentists over the last 44 years, starting in the early 60's when the dentistry practised left A LOT to be desired. That was when gas masks - smelly rubber gas masks were in vogue. From there we graduated to horrific needle jabbers and wrenching tooth pullers and one remarkable dentist that tore open my gum and lip with an over exuberant drill (true story) The last 15 years I'd basically ignored my teeth and just not gone. I blamed (ie: justified) this on being a 'poor' artist.
I have really bad teeth - being brought up with a mother who was Dutch and gave me chocolate sandwiches from an early age, well, not truly conducive to good dental hygiene.
So when that tooth snapped I was in pretty sad shape. I had had 3 molars pulled, (joke being that I was almost able to wear a bridle) 1 lost crown, obvious tooth decay, stained, cracked enamel and the Rolling Stones line from a song running through my head: "....toothless biddy hag..." , something I was certain loomed on my horizon.
Well, folks, I'm here to say that I have found the absolute answer to my dental prayers with my Dentist up in Tofino. Not only does he give the most unbelievably 'ouch' free needles, have the BEST dentist-chair manner, and calming demeanor; he has taken what was a shameful mouth and given me back a great smile. I LOVE my new 'teefs'!
Thanks Dr. Jamieson - more than you know.
The engraving is " A Visit to the Dentist" by Lucas Van Leyden, 1593 (!) And catch the 'assistant' there in the background......someone Kim is WAY better than!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

2 Paintings accepted for the Sidney Show

Here are the two paintings accepted for the Sidney Fine Arts Show in Sidney B.C. at the Mary Winspear Center, Oct. 14 to 17th.

"BEGINNING" (at top) & "MANIFEST" (below)
Both are Acrylic with copying pencil . Size: 37" X 42".

I'm Too Perfect for My......oh stop.

Boy, does that sound a
Let's just move past my 'title-itus'.....a desire to appear clever and witty that oft falls flat on it's face.
Yes, ok, well, we have had a strange thing happen while laying out my latest painting. I have an intricate cloth design along the lower part of the painting, in which I needed to have somewhat 'wonky' (for lack of a better descriptive term) circles. And I couldn't get them 'wonky' enough until I drew them with my left hand.
What an odd problem to encounter. It makes me think about the old story of Da Vinci who, when applying for a big commission from the church elders way back, was asked why they should give the job to him; what made him more special than any of the other artists applying for the same job. His response was to draw a perfect circle freehand. He got the job.
Ok, I'm not putting myself in that esteemed category and I'm not certain that I actually draw perfect circles freehand. (but they did look 'too regular' for what I wanted.)
So where am I going with this.....I guess it's the idea that we sometimes need imperfection to be, well, perfect. Isn't it the quirks of each other that we find interesting and may I even say, the thing that touches our hearts?
Of course, there's a fine line between quirky and downright freak show.......and I'm pretty certain I teeter on that shaky edge at times. I did hear tell that folks were questioning my hair choice that we covered pretty fully here.
That definitely fit the 'freak show' category.
Ye-e-ah. Good to know I'm entertaining the townsfolk.
The painting: 'Circles on Circles' by Carol Marine. And if you notice, her 'circles' aren't perfect you think the painting is better because of this or not? I'm interested to hear what you think.

Friday, September 17, 2010

8.2 Lives and Counting.

It occurs to me I haven't posted a 'Jams' story for a while, so let me catch you up on the feline friend.
Before I left on my jaunt down island to deliver the artwork, Jams really did a number on herself. Jams continuously does numbers on herself; part of the 'bitchy' calico personality she embodies. I figure her 9 lives thing is pretty much on par with the 'doomsday' clock. (Look up the Doomsday Clock to get what I mean....but only if you are prepared to just want to crawl under the couch and stay there - kinda like Jams) She is extremely territorial and will take on any and all comers. Much to the detriment of her body. So far her eye is skewed, she is missing part of her tongue and a tooth, has a scar running through the eye across her nose, she's missing 4 claws, has a wonky hip and her tail has a pronounced kink in it (from when she misjudged a leap and got her claw stuck and wrenched her hip out of joint)
Anystupidfurrybrainmovesway, I have the bedroom window cracked open just wide enough to offer Jams egress to the home fires, or should I say, cat dish, whenever her little ol' heart desires. This has been working fine for many years of our cohabitation until recently. About 3 weeks ago I was reading in bed late with the Jams curled up by my feet when I heard a rustling outside the window. I looked out to see two shinning eyes staring back at me and I leaned forward and smacked my book against the window frame, thereby scaring off the would-be intruder. Jams just snored away, completely oblivious to what was going on. I thought no more about it. Then about 6 days ago, very early in the morning, I was rocketed awake with Jams launching herself out the window growling mightily. The screams and yowls carried on for some 5 mins outside then all went quiet and I fell back asleep. The next morning I couldn't find her and went up to the upstairs flatmate's apt and saw her curled up on his couch. When I went to pick her up to carry her back downstairs she yowled in pain and hissed at me - pretty clear she was one hurtin' feline. So I just let her be. Later that day she sort of hobbled in the back door with her tail at half mast and obviously had put her hip out again as she couldn't settle with the pain of trying to lay down.
Well, that's how I had to leave her when I took off for Sidney on Sunday last but USFM (up stairs flat mate) took over the care and feeding and when I got home she was back to normal -at least for Jams. Mind you, she has a decided lurch to her back end now.
And I used believe fixed females were ' benignly calm'.
Not this cat apparently.
Painting is: "2 Cats Fighting" by John James Audubon, 1826 - I guess his bedroom window was open too.