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.