Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My, We Are Busy, Aren't We......

Well you know what they say: "Idle hands are the Devil's playground" which I suppose means you are apt to do dumb shit if you are bored and in my particular case means I will cut my bangs or dye my hair in a new and most disasterously un fashionable way, leaving me no alternative but to paint.

The Painting:


Black & White Series # 3

Acrylic 30 X 36

AND, I've gone back into my old photo stash (I have 4 old albums from my paternal grandmother) to see what else can provide more inspiration now that I'm no longer constraining myself with my mom being the subject matter. Found some doozies!

And we have 1 canvas left of 30 X 36 size then will be forced to go to the 20 X 24 ones I got some months back as they were on sale. Not a fan of small mind you, but needs must.

I will have to brave the upstairs roomie and retrieve my old army WW II trunk that is full of photos and memorabilia.

Ya just never know!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Parts, Your Parts and Everything Inbetween

Went to the 'Vagina Monologues' here in our little town last night. It was pretty phenomenal event considering this is a very small place and the talent is not professional.
Blew me away. Really glad I did go.
I actually didn't want to go because I am not fixated on bodily parts as the defining factor in what constitutes me as a woman. And that has, consequently, made me wonder about the whole 'woman' thing.
Now since I'm pretty evidently into women as subject in my paintings, this statement must smack of obfuscation. Maybe so, maybe so; 'goddess' knows I'm pretty confused as to how a 'woman' is supposed to act.
So, anyIhaveboobsway, I'm sitting here trying to fathom why we as an 'other' part of the whole of humanity have such attention on our parts (ok let's rethink that as the other 'other' certainly falls into this fixation as well; shall we say humanity as a whole?) - actually this whole business is hard for me because I pretty much blank my body out.
Wow, there's a statement and a half.
Seriously though, I 'live' up in my eyes.
Let me try to elucidate.
Most of the time I go through my day I'm painting or thinking of creative output, which pretty much involves your eyes, right? Looking at the canvas or the paper or whatever. So my body gets put into another 'place', if that makes sense. And being as I have some strange 'things' about my body, I tend to give it a pass. (Ah woman, thy name is really image challenged)

This is getting twisty because I can't really be clear on all the 'stuff' that this topic carries with it.....*sigh*

Ok, let's just say that I'm not sure if being so into your body is a good thing or not. Defining your worth according to the body isn't for sure.
I just love painting female bodies though.

Well, certainly room for discussion here.

The pic is Judy Chicago's 'Dinner Party' - a classic work. In awe of that too.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lost In Canvaaa-sss-vas-vas-vas-vas......etc

Here's why you haven't heard doodly from me lately :

Black & White Series #2

So, two things: 1: I have decided to rename the paintings the 'Black & White' series as - most evidently - this seems to be the theme running (#3 now on the easel!!) and 2: I'm tired of the 'Rita' deal as these paintings have now 'morphed' into their own personality so to speak, actually, they have morphed into .....well, me.

Funnily enough; although I guess you could say the whole 'Rita' series were always about me anyway....certainly my own story is what's coming out here and that has a lot to do with why I've 'jumped' a few notches painting wise...I finally found 'my thing' if you catch my drift. A good friend who I haven't seen in some time was over the other day and saw the canvases and was , can I say, startled by the new work. Kept saying "Wow, these are good. No, I mean they are really good "
Also, LIFE is particularly rough right now...oh, yay.....and I'm feeling the bite of the ravenous wolves at my ass.
God, just every once in a while I'm bloody tired of it all. I really think I'm going to be living in a cardboard box if this keeps up.
Yeah, wah wah wah.....shut up Marla.
Go paint something.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

All Done......

Black & White Series #1
The story: Mom used to always say to me " I know you better than you know yourself ", which made me crazy. And she knew that 'cause she never missed an opportunity to give me a dig. Anywhocaresway, it's a truly idiotic thing to say as no one knows you more than you yourself and even then it's often a hazzarded guess. So hence this painting where I actually blended our two faces together......and I didn't 'know' her. She died too soon and we were so far apart.
I love this face...and, boy howdee, didn't think I'd get to saying that particular comment when first I started this series......10 faces to reach this.
The dead bird because she's gone and so's the opportunity we ever had to know each other.

Summer issue of Wine Trails Magazine will have Marla Thirsk's artwork (TFWF Poster) on the cover! Yahoo! Way to go Marla!

Yep, feeling good about this......

Friday, April 16, 2010

UPDATE - or: What a Difference a Day Makes

Well, and well again.
Just got the news that my poster design for the Tofino Food and Wine Festival (see older post and photo ) has been chosen to grace the cover of a special 'wine aficionado' publication and bloodyhellmybrain, I've forgotten the actual name of the magazine in my delight.
Wow, feeling like breaking out in song or perhaps gaily splashing paint over head while dancing a grateful jig.
Sometimes it's just a little bit of acknowledgement that makes you carry on.
The pic is : "Self portrait" by Adelaide Labille-Guiard, and I'm pretty pleased to see an actual real woman as painter. Something we women artists have long struggled to be recognized as.
Fits the sentiment expressed.

Today We REST

Okey smokey, sigh, we blew our shoulder out with the last 3 days of painting.....and so an enforced day of rest. Not that I will be laying about like the lovely pictured above. (I wish!) Isn't that a great pic? It's from a Cd I purchased of old vintage images from the height of Parisian wild times - late 1880's to early 1900's. The Cd has 999 (!!eep!!) pics on it all in this kind of vein. The 'old' naughty stuff. They appear so low key to our 'modern' eye now, but I'll bet they caused some trembley knees in their time. I'm creatively musing on an idea of using these as a new series called 'Boudoir' .......I can see getting way crazy with patterns in the background. With 999 subjects to choose from, I'll be entertained for a while anyway.
Tell me what you think about this idea.
ps. I just typed this little post with Jams curled up on my chest, (I know, I know...spoiled or what), one handed and v-e-r-y slowly. She has now left me for the heater. Now that I'm almost done.
I think it's deliberate.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Painting So Far

...Wait...Do You Hear Something....?

I was painting until 12:30 last night. It is a nice time to paint when everything is quiet and you know for sure the phone won't be ringing with the inevitable beyond irritating salesgoon trying to inveigle you out of more of your moola.....yes, indeed or perhaps a chance to have a qualified expert take on the unenviable task of cleaning your carpets...(I wonder if they move furniture first...) Anywhereisthepointway, there be I in the semi peaceful wee hours when I heard a faint something. It was a strange kind of soft 'huffing' yet seemed to have a 'sqeeky' quality to it. "What the heckaroonies", say I , "don't tell me it's a mouse!" And then you must picture me moving furniture and crawling along the floor peering nearsightedly under the bookcases (I have 4...did I mention I like to read?) and also being very quiet because it is a: late and b: we don't want to scare the 'mouse' into jumping out unexpectedly.
Now right here I'd like to advocate for myself as that last statement is truly ludicrous when you think about it ; so may I reiterate that it was after a long day of painting....
Meanwhile as I was making my way around the room I notice that the 'noise' is growing louder...and it seems to be emanating from behind the space heater where Jams likes to curl up and snooze. Well obviously you can see the conclusion here as it was Jams making the noise because she was snoring.
I can't even think of what to add to that.
Painting is : "Girl and Cat" by Pierre Renoir......I like it because it makes me think of me and Jams and out of most of the cat paintings I browsed looking for an image to go with this tale, it seemed the most 'professional', if you catch my drift. There's a lot of cat paintings out there but sadly most tilt over to the maudlin side of things. Mind you, this does have a touch of that too. The BEST cat paintings are done by Japanese Artists of old I think - just couldn't find one that worked.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Woke up from a spectacularly great dream this morning. I wanted to go back to sleep I liked it so much! Ah, if only.....anyvisionintheheadway, in my dream, I had chanced upon this fantastic little town that was by the ocean and had canals and fantastic colorfully painted Victorian houses and the towns folk were all out in throngs having a way fun festival that involved going around from one great little shop to another making arty things and eating really good food. (Is this up my alley or what?!?) I was wandering around after ditching my 'dream' companions (if I recall, one was an old boyfriend...not so desirable companion-wise) and loving everything about this town and knowing in my bones that this was where I wanted to was such a longing in my heart.
I wonder if there is a 'real time' counter part to this dream vision, 'cause I'm packing my bags right now. Anyone have a clue? Let me know, will ya?
Painting is: "Impetus of Dreams" by Daniel Merriam whose paintings are described as ' paintings of dreams in full color'.....appropriate for topic at hand, I'd say. this guy is fantastic - I have a very early book of his work from years ago and was pleasantly surprised to find him again.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Up With The' Boidies'

Been up since 6 am- made coffee ( you know, the grinder is really loud at that time in the morning) made some porridge (thank you great fast food that is almost good for you) and freshened up Jam's food (priorities!). And what in the name of snoozing long, you may ask, would I, who gets to live without a clock to tell her when and where, want to do such a thing?
In a word: the rough painting layout you see here.
Spent yesterday roughing it in and I have to say, I'm right chuffed with the result. It also occurs to me that being this keyed up for a new painting is one of two things; exciting and fraught with peril. Exciting because it's ready to bring to life, so to speak. I get to switch on the color center and play with that magical wave length. As an aside, do you know that color is actually vibrating wave lengths? So you truly are playing with tiny bits of moving atoms....what a concept!
But it can make or break a great layout if you choose wrong, hence the 'peril' part.
In a way it's like what life gives around with color and make it come alive or choose poorly and have a ruined canvas.

Huh, philosophy at 6 in the morning.
Who knew........
I'll be having a nap around 3......

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Ok...this is the last Robot I'm doing for a took me 2 days to clean up the digs and organize myself for the new paintings in the 'RITA' series. Got some brand new - to me anyway - photos from the dutch rellies in Holland and a couple of them are real ace for inspiration. So I finished this little beauty today and gathered up the bolts and the nuts and the washers and the bike parts and the etc etc etc - a whole blessed TOTE full ( and we are really happy to have another tote of stuff to store away) This little number is called "FETCHING" and isn't she just with her little poochie too!

Head: a 'wedding' tin I saved that I added little parts and eyes to - her 'hair' is old pc plug ins
Body: a lamp bit and cat food tin
Arms: old skateboard trucks and bike bits
Hands: old sewing machine feet
Legs: Swing arm attachment from a fan * She actually will rotate!
"Poochie" is made from a bike handle, picture wire attachment, bike gears and incense burner thing...(? what do I know -got it at the church rummage sale) The tail is a spring and a 'hoodie' tie holder. *It WAGS! And the 'bone' is a cheeep nut wrench.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Un-Natural Woman

I took my little robots into town where they really got the fellows gathered 'round and got into a conversation with a young man about the somewhat odd thing...well, maybe to him....about being a woman into 'nuts and bolts and robots' and, I guess, what unfortunately could be perceived as 'guy' stuff. (Cheezily pies, haven't we progressed past this YET!?) I told him I can use power tools too and said I thought the main reason women aren't 'into' those sorts of occupations is mainly due to a lack of understanding by females about what basically is just another tool like a sewing machine - let's say - and because women generally don't get the chance to use big power tools there is a 'fear' towards them; just like some guys are afraid of sewing machines, right? Because it's ignorance that manifests fear towards anything. You don't understand it, you don't like it.
Anyjeeperswhatalongsentenceway, this got me remembering a strange-ish time in my life when I was part of an experimental program called "Women In Alternate Trades".
(large resounding drums and trumpets)
Now you have to remember I'm the generation that was a part of changing the ways women lived and worked. It's easy to forget that not that long ago, women didn't get the choices they have today. I couldn't take drafting or woodwork in high school because back then those classes were segregated. (holy dinosaurs, man, I feel ancient!) To continue: when I was 27 I was in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, home of the Institute of Technical Trades (and something something that time has erased from the mind) I had been opted into a special program for unemployed women that was going to introduce them to alternate 'subjects', not usually geared towards those of the female persuasion (such as Auto Mechanics and Welding and Carpentry etc) The course was held at the above named institute and you must picture this fact >that this is the HUB of FARM boys and RED NECK attitudes ......and here we come, a group of 12 women ranging in age from me at 27 to our oldest member of 52. In a school of @ 500+ men - the only women at that time were perhaps about 20 architecture students.
The Boys were not happy.
To really add to the fun mix, we had our lockers in the really really male dominated part of the school, right by the heavy industrial section. Every morning we had to run the gauntlet of the boys and their comments. Which I don't think I need to elaborate on. Pretty much the usual idiocy.
So for 3 months I got to learn to weld (not a fav.), lay bricks (that was pretty lame), fix engines ( really ALL people need to know this!) build a shed with power tools (LOVED it!) and generally 'be a guy'...snort*! The instructors - who it must be said were older men - were either really pissed or really great (and this must be because they had daughters and were good Dads) All in all it was one of the more ,um, informative parts of my life. I still use what I learned back then.
Un-natural woman that I am.......
Painting is "Untitled" by Travis Louie and he is about the best pop surrealist today. Google him up!

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Life In Ruins......

I woke up this morning with a bent ear. You know that incredible pain that comes from falling asleep on your ear all wonky under your head and the blood gets sqizzeled off and then when you wake up it rushes back to give you the worst pain for about a minute while you in your 'just awake' fog are wondering if perhaps the cat has been sharpening her claws on you in the middle of the night.
And I have little ears. I hate to think what this is like for anyone with 'large' ones.
Been watching a DVD series from the Library over the last few days called 'Secrets of Archaeology'; some rather strange old history doc with very early CG in it.
(C-omputer G-raphics) The thing about this particular series is the announcer has one of the most hypnotic voices I've ever heard....honestly! I start falling asleep in the first 10 minutes of the program. Don't know if that was the producers aim (;p) but this guy could radically change the life of all the insomniacs on the planet, I swear!
Apart from that strange failing, it's not so bad. I've been wondering what my fascination with these really old past things is and what I figure is that I am continually amazed by what gets left behind in our history on the planet Earth. Mainly just bits that 'we who come after' have to figure out. And that has the mind wondering about how the threads get lost, so to speak. In other words, you have a thriving civilization that has a fair amount of souls in it when things start to go hoopy and the civilization crashes/disappears and all is left and covered by the sands of time until Explorer 'Z' finds that weird bit of rock and digs around uncovering some old city 2000 years old all surrounded in mystery. And he then gets to pretend he really knows what the story is.
Anywhatinhellway, my question is, where does everyone go? And is it a case of ' Pack up the kids, Joe, the place is going to rack and ruin and we're off to the sister's in the new land' kind of thing, where after a few generations everyone just ....forgets ? Or is everyone just swallowed up, which can't be true or else there'd be no-one around to carry on and eventually discover the place that was left behind so long ago. And starts guessing why and what.
It just seems weird to me.
The painting is: "Ruins at Com Obo" (Egypt) by David Roberts 1838 - a facinating guy that travelled to Egypt and was the first artist to sketch the ruins over there.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Do Robots Plant Electric Bulbs?

Body - copper knick-nack and cat food tin
Head - copper kettle knick-knack
Glasses - cotter pin
Legs and arms - bike gear arms
'Hands' - old sewing machine feet
Flowers - bike parts and aluminum wire
Bee - painted hoodie cord pin and wing nut
Platform - old Meccanno set lid
... 'do Robots dream of electric sheep?' Don't know where that little saying is from but that was the inspiration for this piece.

The Tin Man Gets His Heart


Body - Evap. Milk tin
Heart - old earing
Head - shower head
Hat - incense burner lid
Arms - curtain dowel holder and strange little thing that looked like a lemon slice sqeezer that I took apart
Legs - part of old cash register
Stand - bike gear part
...ok, too much fun goin' on....

The Eagle Has Landed....No. 1

The ' Z 1- Personal Electrorapter ' "Zippy"

The back propeller actually spins and I plan to put this together with MUSE BOT as an 'automata' sculpture.....probably the most complicated 'thing' I've come up with yet, but what is life without challenges?
Materials: Propeller and wings - old Meccanno set (and those are picture hanger wire holders as 'struts')
Spaceship body - old icing tube thingy (?? so technical me)
Spaceship nose - incense burner lid
Instrument panel -old door striker plate with added ephemera (the 'announcer' is an ear bud)
Character is made from paperclay and painted and clothed by hand with some hair from an old halloween wig.
Ya gotta love it!
P.S....see what I meant about 'smaller' ???

The Energiser Bunny Was Busy......

Ok, batteries are important apparently.....sigh. You know, a small battery meter as part of your digital camera would be good to let you know it's time to load up on some more (as opposed to the icon 'battery' flashing... you think?); well, for that matter, an attachment that you could plug in to the wall outlet would also be helpful at times like this.
All of this because I have 3 (!) new little robot sculptures done and ready to show except for the above problem.
Which has me thinking about all the wowzie new techy gizmos surrounding us. All fantastic and - I like them too! - but the fact that when they break down or malfunction, all of a sudden we are stuck. Just like when the power goes out - and out here on the coast it does quite a bit due to wild winter storms - people can be flummoxed wondering how to cope. I happen to have kerosene lamps (my old Hippy days came in handy) and if my upstairs flatmate didn't hate chopping wood so much, I'd have a wood stove too. (Hibachi works in a pinch)
so off to the CoOp we go....perhaps the mega pack is an idea......

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Set The Shrink Machine To Maximum Minimum.....

I have one thing to say about the somewhat repetitive cycle I'm least I'm getting faster at these critters...well, guess that's 'cause we are going smaller each time. (insert light bulb over head here)
Just finished this little beauty with the bodacious ta-tas and STILL it's too big.....sigh. Mind you the first one took @8 -10 (? can't remember now) days; this one took 5 and just put one on the heater to dry - smallest one yet - which I estimate will take maybe 2 days start to finish. DID make cool score at the church rummage sale this morning for 'spaceship' parts at a grand total of $6.00 for a bag kind of shopping experience. Can't wait to tackle that!
By the what-in-heaven's-name way; those are 'fish' boots on her feet and I do so want a pair for myself!

Friday, April 2, 2010

I Used To Be A Good Girl......but now I'm BETTER!

Well, Happy Bunnies to you all! I actually forgot Easter was this weekend....something to do with being surrounded by 'Robot' parts, I'm sure.....anywawas, when I did 'cotton' on to the idea, it made me remember my long-ish history of going to Sunday School and the whole 'Easter/Religion' things I was once wrapped up in. So I thought I'd 'hop' to it and post a new blog/blab.
From the age of 5 to @ 13 I dutifully went to Sunday School at a strange little place entitled "Bethany Tabernacle". That does conjure up wild visions of holy roller type stuff but it really was just a plain old church deal. I mainly went 'cause all my friends did - back in the late 50's to early 60's it was just part of your life to 'go to church' - so very Norman Rockwell......I happened to like coloring pictures and cookies, myself.
The interesting 'goodie' about this whole church thing is that my Art career actually started in church. After going there for a few years, the folks started noticing that I was artistic so the Pastor asked me to 'illustrate' special sermons on special Mother's Day and Easter etc. I would go up to a chalk board at the front of the church when he was speaking and draw....can you guess how good that was for a very shy little girl to be acknowledged in such a way? They were pretty much 'basic' little drawings but If I recall, the raw talent was certainly evident. I think I was about 11 maybe 12 when I did this.
All this makes me recall other bits of memories in that church. The BEST one is a certain Christmas Concert...the usual Holy Night theme....that I participated in. I was given the role of the 'head' angel ( I can hear the laughing ) I was thrilled. I would get to stand on a high riser at the back of the manger tableau and pronounce greatly - right up my alley. But I thought the costume - white dress and tinsel wings - need a certain 'touch' to really, well, bring the role to greater heights, so to speak. What I did was to sneak into my mom's room to rifle through her drawers for the super duper gold sparkly nylons I knew she had in there. Come the performance evening I was set. My time to 'shine'! When the cue for me to hit the stage, out I went and climbed the riser (in behind so that I just appeared at the top...can you see this in your mind?) And to make sure I was really shining I pinned up my hem to show off those stockings........
There I was, suddenly revealed bursting forth from behind the curtains sparkly stockings and all, in front of all the parents and folks and MY MOTHER who actually screamed when she saw me.
The results of all the above have,thankfully, been lost in the sands of time.
Ah, the 'other page' life choice was evident even back then.
The photo is me and my brother Iain at 6 and 4 dressed for Easter and on our way to church. What a dress! What a HAT! There is even lace on the socks......fantastic! My brother seems to be imitating Napoleon with his hands but that bow tie just melts my heart!