Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Party's Over


Took down the "Christmas Me" - I pretty much am the kind of person that likes to clear the decks darn fast after the Christmas pandemonium passes. Not that there's a lot of pandemonium around here in the artist's hovel.....well, unless you consider the actual 'take down' process.
Those of you who have been following stumbling along with me in this blog will recall the method I employ to tidy....see 'Multitasking with a Magpie Mind (6/27/12) ....and we held true to form for this chore as well. Which went as follows and for brevity's sake we shortform this:
Find christmas boxes in temporary cache-it-all-storage-studio room>must move stuff-on-shelf to get them>move chair out to do this>rearrange furniture to place chair in front room>rehang coats that were on floor to chair>find old photo box whilst moving chair into place and locate funny old photos of self>upload these to Facebook>make coffee>take off decorations>find new box to transfer stuff into (WTF...did these decos breed??)>look around to see Jams IN box>take photo of Jams in box>replace Jams onto her chair and boxes into studio/storage room>upload photo to Picasa for blog>get hungry and decide to make soup>Dante's seventh hell of dishes means there is no pot to do so>restack dish mountain to find pot>think about how all this idiocy would be good post>search Internet for good pic to illustrate blogpost>and the rest you know.
I'm exhausting. And that's not a typo. 
And I still have to make soup.
Ok. Here's Jams in the box:


Sorry it's fuzzy - she decided there was a spot she needed to lick as I snapped the shutter. 

The painting is "Portrait in Silver and Black" by Jack Vettriano who is well known for his dancing people on the beach with the butler holding an umbrella. Yeah, those. Which I'm not a fan of, so this was a surprise to find. I like this a lot. It makes me think of these dark grey days we still have to get through until Spring. That's kinda me right now.
But....we have new paintings to get to.....huzzah!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Marla's Christmas Tradition: Stories # 4 (new!!)




Happy Happy Sugarplums and Nutcrackers, everyone! Are you all nestled in your trundle beds? Sitting comfortably? Then let's begin......

Roasting By An Open Fire
It seems that the Festive Season has caused the most stories in my life but none as - um - cataclysmic as the New Year's Eve my Dad gave a box of Sparklers left over from Halloween to my brother and me. My Dad was the owner/pharmacist of Robson Drugs in downtown Vancouver for many years and they sold fireworks so that is why he had this package of sparklers to surprise us with. We, of course, thought that was just the coolest thing ever!  There was company over for dinner and I think that in order for the grown-ups to enjoy themselves, ie: get into the booze - he had the mind set to keep us out of their hair by giving us something 'entertaining'... 
Anyyouknowthereisgoingtobetearsway, Iain and I went outside to light those sparklers and wave them around in a celebratory way. For the first 4 or so sparklers we lit all went well but after that there was a pall in the thrill of it all. 
That was when my brother came up with the idea of lighting all of the remaining sparklers in the box at once. 

Let us pause here to think about how as a kid you are woefully short of figuring out the long range consequences of actions that at inception seem nothing short of pure brilliance. 
As my brother lit all the remaining sparklers, it seems to me that time slowed. I vividly recall the great burst of flame and sparks and then the horrific realization by my brother (and me) that he had what amounted to small incendiary device in his bare hand. His reaction was to scream and throw the flaming bunch over his head. What we failed to notice is that we were standing close to an old, decaying and very Dried-Out Cedar bush. Beside the house. 
The thing to also be aware of is that this was Vancouver where the houses were pretty darn close to each other. Sort of like lean-out-the-bathroom-window-and-shake-your-neighbours-hand way. 
Of course that bush lit up like the proverbial torch. 
Well, my brother took off down the street and I ran into the house screaming like a banshee. The 'adults' reacted like this: The women immediately ran for the phone to call the fire department and the men....well....the guest fellow who luckily had a great deal of presence of mind, ran outside, found the garden hose and turned it on. 
And my Dad? 
He ran downstairs into his den. 
I'm serious. 
Anywhatastoryway, by the time the fire truck got there, the fire was out from the quick thinking of our male guest. 
My brother was located hiding in the garage. 
Can't really recall when my Dad reappeared. 
But I guarantee that pretty much was the last time we ever got any fireworks!

The painting was found after a long search for 'firework paintings' most of which were the standard pretty lame exploding shapes-in-the-sky deal....bleah. I found this but the only identifying info is : Glenray Fireworks

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Marla's Christmas Tradition: Story # 3


Have you got your cup of cocoa?(or hot toddy) And your gingerbread cookie? (or booze filled num-num)
Swell! C'mon up onto Santa's knee for the tale:

" JUST HOW NAUGHTY WAS I, SANTA? "

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.

Anyandwe'reofftotheracesway, 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 or perhaps unwilling as the case may be. But hey! I'm just so styley! I love the little purse! I want that hat back! And isn't 'Santa's' beard something else!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Marla's Christmas Tradition Stories #2



(reposted from Dec. 2011)
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:


" THE CHRISTMAS ANGEL "

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 angel costume by adding a special accoutrement. I went into my Mom's 'special drawer' in her usually off limits bedroom  (unbeknownst to her and most definately with a great deal of sneakiness on my part) 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. And catch the great hair cutting skill of my 'ma' there.....could it be any crookeder?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Marla's Christmas Tradition : Stories!!


(repost from Dec 2010)
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:

" THE CHRISTMAS EVE BABY"

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. It about makes 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 baby bro that just melts my heart.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The 3 a.m. lightbulb


I woke up at around 3 am today with a great idea for a painting series. Seriously, I was smiling when this 'uploaded' itself into my consciousness. Now, apart from the fact I was smiling virtually in my sleep, I started wondering about that strange inexplicable moment of 'inspiration'. As an artist, I have a great deal invested into inspiration. And I believe for any creative soul this would hold true. Mind you, this also carries over to all and sundry as 'inspiration' is pretty much needed for a plethora of activities. Like what to get for all those folks on our Christmas list....right? 
Or what to cook for supper....again.
Anywhateveritmaybeway, inspiration is really a difficult 'thing' to pin down. What is it really? Yes, you can say 'an idea' but the actual definable 'is-ness' of inspiration is beyond words - sort of like love. Has there ever been some scientific hum-and-haw study of it? Not that I'm aware of. What I do know is that it can be the most fickle of desires, often completely deserting you when you really, really, really need it.
And how about trying to figure out where it arrives from. Certainly me waking up with this new idea at 3 am is puzzling - and I wasn't eating a dish of exotic richness for dinner yesterday so the postulate of fabulously indulgent food causing strange dreams don't work here. I always have strange dreams and they mostly don't inspire me in any way other than to ponder what the hell is going on in my sub consciousness. 
The great artists of yesteryear gave inspiration a 'icon' in the figure of the muse. And there are many stories of muses that the same lived with. (Altho' I have to say I've not seen any women artists ascribe the same to themselves....interesting thing that, wouldn't you agree?) 
Ok.....let's get back on topic, or at the least hope we can stagger back from the twisty paths I go down.
It would be greatly wonderful to be able to have inspiration just be there when you need the darn thing. 
I guess until that time I shall just hope for the best - and be eternally grateful that the creative soul still beats within me.

The painting: "Inspiration" by Gilbert Cantu. Mixed Media. 
Nice. And there are not many paintings on this topic, oddly.....


Monday, December 17, 2012

Women and Cats


"Women and Cats will do as they please and men and dogs should just relax and get used to the idea."
 - Robert A. Heinlein

I've been cruising the electronic highway over the last few days, gathering research on cats because I was contemplating that perhaps after my 'dog' series, I need to do a few 'cat' ones. (Jammies says it's 'bout time) 
Anyfurrypurrylookatmyassway, I came upon this great site called (oh so serendipitously) Women and Cats. With a plethora of great photos and art of selfsame. With the above quote as a header. 
Indeed. 
The first pic that caught my eye is the above of my own personal icon: Georgia O'Keeffe, with her cat. 
I am entranced by this photo - because Ms. O'Keeffe was not a real 'smiley' gal in the vast majority of her snaps. She had a pretty serious demeanor to herself......but just get a load of that happy face. 
So I started thinking about the thing that supposedly is attributable to women and their connection/fondness for cats. As an aside I'd like to say that as true with all generalities oft purported, it is not always so - I have women friends who feel  towards the felines of this planet much like I feel towards the dogs.....not a big fan. And I also know there are many men who have a big heart for those aloof pets, my son being one.
But there does seem to be a very strong bond with females and felines for some unexplainable reason, whatever it may be.......did you think I was going to solve this universal query? 
I wish I could being as I fall decidedly into this camp of kitty devotees.
It also seems to be a pretty popular subject for painting.....from Picasso on up and down. 
There is one thing that I observed as I look at these pics and that is, in comparison to dogs who have a tendency to open their mouths a lot, cats don't 'smile'. 
But they certainly can be affectionate. Let me illustrate. 


This is me and Jams every time I sit at the computer. She loves sitting in my arms as I browse......the purring is non-stop. I also must wrap my shirt/sweater/hoodie around her...I know, believe me, I know. It makes me crazy because I usually forced to type one handed and after a while of that particular idiocy (as if the slow crap of dial-up wasn't bad enough) I do place her on the couch. 



That only works until I get up to make a coffee after which I will return to find this:


In her defense I'd like to point out she did leave me a corner on which to perch.......kind of.
All of this adds to this connection/bond/furry leech scenario to which I am alluding. 
And I, for one, would not change that for anything. 
And to close I would like to add this little comic that is also something Jams does. 


Yep - pretty much as she pleases. 

PS....I recommend going to 'Women and Cats' for a great browse but be aware - it's a time sink!
PPS.....What in all that is photogenic, is going on with my neck?!?
*sigh*
PPSS.....and finally:



"Artist with her cat" Marion Perlet 

I rest my case.




Thursday, December 6, 2012

You Should VS I Could

An Artist gets a lot of unsolicited advice during the course of their career. Lots of it comes from well meaning friends and clientele - some, of course, comes via the 'I know it all' idjits  folks but let's just give them the all powerful brush off for now.
I'm referring to the words that pop up after you post a painting of something that everyone just loves but is so yesterday for you. 
Here's the illustration of my point:



I posted this painting pic to my Facebook page as a new image for the 'header'....'profile pic'....?? (The larger picture whatever it may be titled) some days back. 
This got a huge response from all my FBFs (Facebook friends) who waxed rhapsodic about it with the most used comment being "You should paint more like this!"
Ok and fine, everyone, thanks for the kudos but here's the thing. I was painting like this in 2008. That's 4 years ago. And nothing was selling then. And then again, this was before I had my big 'soul search' and started with painting using the old photos of my Mom that have lead me to where I am today. 
Here's the other 'thing'. 
Everyone  and by that I mean, everyone who paints, out this way paints this kind of subject. 
Everyone. 
Yes there is most decidedly the different expressions and styles of each artist that puts an individual spin on their painting - for sure - but without a word of a lie, it's beach, beach with trees/animal/waves/boat - you choose. 
All. The. Same. Thing. 
And I can do that too. I did for a few years. 
But. (ah....the big but)
I am so not excited by this kind of painting. It bores me. It's just too predictable for me. Simply put. 
I love painting my crazy colourful wildly strange ladies. I just do. 
So here lies the dilemma. Obviously people like my 'west coast' stuff out here. And I relish not being just-like-all-the-rest. But (again with the big but) people who don't live here like my ladies. And they are getting me recognition in the bigger cities.
I suppose I could paint those 'west coasties' for here and those 'colorful ladies' for away but is this pandering to the audience or is it just being smart? (don't answer) 
Is this not a crazy way to be an artist?  Is it actually really being an artist, that is true to your soul, and god knows we are all drama queens about that, by being, well, 'two-faced'? Or, let's face it, mercenary?
From what I've observed in the Art World, most Artists get known for a certain 'style'. That becomes instantly recognizable as their own. And this is what you're pushed to discover in Art School or so I'm told. 
I got to say I'm wobbling all over the place with this.

Talk about being roasted over the flames of indecisiveness.....




Sunday, December 2, 2012

Well, Great Jiggly Bellies, Anyit'sbeginningtofeelalotlikeChristmasway


The "CHRISTMAS ME"

I don't quite know what happened in the last 4 hours.....I mean, there I was this early a.m. at the Community Center, yawning, stiff, and barely cognizant, to clean up after last night's GALA extravaganza (yes - will post pics - after this blithery intro) and sincerly feeling my years let me tell ya- after hefting and loading up plinths and easels and cleaning the great hall and activity rooms etc so forth and continuing, and thinking I would just veg-out at home with some sticky buns, when out of the blue I did the above. 
This is not 'normal' Marla happening.....whatever 'normal Marla' is.....I am not one to go all Xmasy-can't-happen-soon-enough-after-Thanksgiving - nosiree - I'm more the wait-until-Xmas-eve-eve kinda gal. 
I've got Carols on the stereo, even.
What in all that's Grinchy, is going on here? 
Beats the shiny balls outta me.
All I can think is the celebrating with my townsfolk last night and realizing that this little town is really truly my 'home' and seeing what a great group of ladies I am proud to work with accomplished.....well, all that just sort of made Christmas happen. 
Huh. 
A 'gift' indeed.

The photo: my old sculpture from felted carved styrofoam, appliqued and beaded and put together with 'found' objects, strung with lights and garnished with shiny balls. 
The 'Christmas Me'.....(insert smiley face)

and now.......The GALA pics:

The first bunch

The whole bunch - later in the evening- (can you tell?) Amazing we actually all fit in the photo booth!



Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting all Gala on Ya

GALA TROPHIES - 2012

THE MASK

Well it's the last big weekend of some thing I'm involved in before the how-de-do of Christmas and I'm talking about "The Christmas Gala" ; the yearly extravaganza that I and some good folks organize to have a great excuse to dress up seriously and party seriously and eat great food seriously and raise money for deserving local charities. Seriously.
This year we have made the theme a 'masquerade' and as such, I created the mask you see in pic #2. What is not visible is that I took apart an old pair of eyeglasses and fit them into that mask so I can actually see ! There's a bonus, huh? 
Anywhatanexcusetomakesomethingwildway, we spent 4 hrs setting up today then will be back tomorrow finishing setting up and then I will zip on back home to feed the Jams and get dressed and then drive back into town - and no, we will not be driving with my mask on - and party down. 
I also made the trophies......my third year of doing this. Here's the series so far:




Trophies 2010



Trophies 2011

So I'll be snoozing in for at least a bit because we have to clean up Sunday - sheesh.....wasn't this supposed to be fun?

It is, really, it is.





Sunday, November 25, 2012

She Organized, She Set Up, She Passed It On....

The Start:


and.....



the end. 
Or near enough. What I really wished I'd done is to get a snap of the Craft Fair at the height of the immense crowd that went through....but there you go - I was most likely gabbing. 
50 tables and approx. 80 vendors. Biggest CF yet in my lo-o-o-ong stint as the organizer of this event. Which has spanned the last 20 years. (eesh...has that much time gone by....?!?) Not too shabby to have this as my 'swan' song. I passed it on to the younger crowd who are the organizers of the Friday Night Market and have formed a society around that.
 It was time to let go. 
I am admitting to some sadness this am but am also looking forward to just being a 'plain old vendor'. 
Can now paint more. And make more 'thingies'.
And not have cranky souls to deal with. 
Huzzah!
There is a lot of misunderstanding by vendors when it comes to how much work organizing Craft Fairs can be. And that, try as you will, you are just not going to please everyone. There is always going to be a place viewed as 'not the best' and upset folks who feel you've slighted them by placing them there or a mix up with assigned tables or something untoward....unfortunately. This year it was the radio station giving out the wrong phone number AND that when I arrived yesterday morning at the crack of dawn to open up and get ready for the hordes - the keys I was given didn't work for the doors. 
Seriously. 
Had to wake up the Recreation Director from her well earned sleep-in to come down and rescue me. And calm the anxiously waiting vendors. 
Always something. 
Ah well....these are the stories that entertain in years to come. 
So my dear reader(s), if any of you participate in any type of Fair or assembly of selling folk, please take a moment to consider the effort the organizer(s) put forth. They really truly want everything to be the best for you as it all reflects well for everyone. It's only by working together that we flourish and prosper. 
And remember to shop local.
Now, to rest up.
...after I unpack the van and sort out the boxes and store the tables and screens and then prep for the next event .......um,
....... did I mention I'm also helping organize "the Christmas Gala"....?
For next weekend.


I think I'm slightly crazy. 





Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to the Craft Fair I Go....


Ah.....the bl%%#& craft fair...the big TASK that I am embroiled in at this time of year - and the ensuing mayhem it engenders in this humble artist's life...we will pause here for a general clearing of throats and eye rolling. 
One of my myriad Facebook cronies asked me this morning "what are you making?" and I replied "stuff", after which I thought it was disingenuous of me to respond that way, so I took the above photo. What you don't know from that seemingly innocuous statement, is the 'back story' that preceded the photo shoot. 
First of all, when the Craft Fair rolls around each year at this time, I'm usually doing something else - like painting - and when the phone starts ringing and the folks start bleeting about reserving tables....I'm not ready for the whole shooting match. I put them off for another couple of weeks meanwhile scrambling madly trying to remember where the frelling heck I put the darn "Craft Fair" file. I will generally locate it in the last place I look as it was that 'can't forget this' place in the studio that is. Forgotten, I mean.
So I pull out my file, make a poster, post a Facebook page ('cause that's how you roll in this day and age), submit ad to paper, radio, etc. and start the spread sheet with names, contact info, # of tables wanted and items being sold and field the plethora of calls and emails and get my list together and deal with the 'crankies' and try to accommodate the masses. From there we mock up a to-scale floor plan and cut out a bazzillion little tables (to scale as well) and foodle around with getting as many tables as I can into the allotted space - and allowing for the fact no-one wants to go on the stage....(too bad). We then glue down all these little 'tables' and proceed to assign places, keeping in mind who's selling what and who wants to be near who (and visa versa on that) (small town). Great screaming vendors, I'm just exhausted writing that. And! I almost forgot...making directional sandwich boards for the day. (Now, I AM tired.)
Meanwhile, meanwhile, I myself am figuring out what I will be making to sell and generally getting ideas at the last minute. That's my table up there with the 'stuff' of which I am making the last minute things right now.....and why we are frittering away these precious moments blogging escapes me...oh wait! It's guilt about not posting....anyworld'ssmallestviolinway, that brings us all up to this point in time. Me at Keyboard, you with coffee. 
And the story. 
Yesterday, in the midst of all this holy hell, my sewing machine broke down. This was not optimum at this point with me sewing some small baby toys (there has been a boom of kiddies in my town...or is it just I am that old ...eesh) I was pretty discombobulated and posted this on my Facebook status.  Along with some colorful language.....
"AAAAUUUGH! The sewing machine just went FOOBAR and I haven't finished my sewing for the Craft Fair! FRACKING FRRACKSHINICKING FRUNKLLESCHNITS!!
poop" 
....to be precise. I then spent the rest of the day trying to screw around with the machine to make it work. Sewing by hand was not an option. Period. 
So here's what we found out from that. 
#1. The machine is not capable of sewing stretch fabric.
     - changed all fabric to plain old cotton and re cut all patterns
#2. The machine must be equipped with proper needles and thread for project undertaken
      - Duh. 

It defies description to be me. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lest We Forget .....




Today on the day that is set aside to pay homage to the men and women who gave freely of their time and often, way too often, their lives in war, I saw this posted on FaceBook by a friend of mine. 
"I woke up remembering that so many mothers are waking up today in war and conflict, not knowing if their children will be safe today, not knowing if they will live to have a future. So many mothers have sons and daughters who are soldiers who do not know if they will ever see them alive again. Often these wars are fought for greed and righteousness. To protect multinationals, oil interests, to prove my god is better than your god, that my way is better that your way, that my culture is superior to yours, that I deserve more than you. My heart and prayers go out to these families who live in violence or who must send their children into it. I dream of a time when my government and all humanity will fight for peace. When our greatest minds are focused on developing green energy, healing our planet, feeding people the world over and making space to grow peace and understanding, not on creating weapons of mass destruction, making war, destroying our mother earth and spinning hate and fear. Let us remember that there is a different way."
Nicely said. 
If only Humanity would believe and make it so. 

The Painting:
In 1917, the Canadian War Memorials Fund commissioned the British painter, Clare Atwood, to execute a large picture depicting the life of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in England. Appropriateness of subject matter for women artists was still a consideration during the 1914-1918 conflict, and they were not commissioned to depict the battlefield. Portraits and scenes of home front activity were assigned to female artists. Nevertheless, Atwood, who had gained recognition for her interior scenes, was chosen for the commission.
The Fund arranged for her to visit the military camp at Folkestone in Kent, England, to gather ideas for the work. However, the artist chose to illustrate a YMCA canteen at one of London’s railway stations, where enlisted men await a train that will take them to camps or to the front.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Grey Area Between Black and White


I went to a great party at friend's home last night. Good folks and good food and conversation with some of my townspeople who I haven't seen in a while. 
But here's the thing.
One of my friends has a husband who is, well, to be blunt, a racist. Now, I do like this guy - I like lots of oddballs- many times we will carry on good talks and enjoy the time spent. But, but, but and but again, if he starts talking about 'other races' (and by that I mean non-white, anglo-saxon) he becomes a bigot. AND he honestly thinks he isn't doing anything wrong because he coats all the 'spew' in humour. 
He was carrying on about a famous comic at last night's party - who's name escapes me because I don't have TV and am completely out of the loop when it comes to this kind of thing - apparently this comic is of East Indian heritage and lambastes most every other race around and, apparently again, can get away with this because of the fact he is of 'different race' ie:  not white. And this husband of my friend was just in love with this guy.
Now while I was listening to him, I kinda glanced around and really was hit with the realization that ALL the people at this party were 'white'. Granted we live in a small community but we have people from other cultures here...so I was sort of taken aback.  I really love my friend (wife of this oddball) so calling him out would set into motion some unhappy repercussions, however I am sitting here this morning kind of appalled at my reticence to confront this behaviour. 
I do know I will NEVER introduce my multi cultural friends to him - that's a given. 
STILL! I am left wondering and in the dilemma of what is the best course of action here.....really, any kind of racist behaviour demands that you step up. But do I want to alienate my friend forever? Small town too, folks.
Not feeling good about this at all. 

Painting: "Moving In Day" by Norman Rockwell who approached the topic of racism often in his paintings. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BOO


This is what I'll be sporting today when I go into town to shop at the CoOp and, yes, I made it. 
I LOVE Halloween. I'm very sad that I can't go out and hit up the neighbourhood any more but I tell you, when those grandkids eventually get here (and what's life without hope) LOOKOUT! 
Ha. 
I often think that I would have been very happy in a career in the Special Effects sector of the movies. Or making muppets. Yep, that'd been frelling awesome. 
But there ya go - woulda, shoulda, coulda. 
For many years I volunteered myself as the decorator of the local town hall Halloween Decorator.....which was a HUGE undertaking. I ended it after turning the hall into Hogwarts from Harry Potter along with Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 and, the biggest feat, the Cave of Secrets.
 That creation just about did me in. 
So tonight after my trolling (oh, pun so intended) around town, I'll be ensconced in front of the DVD player for a Marathon of Halloween movies, including my fav - the Nightmare Before Christmas. 
I'd have liked to work for Tim Burton too.
Better than that - I'd like to BE him! 
Trick or Treat!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Huh? Wha'?


I spend a lot of my time in what you might say is ignorant bliss. 
I'm pretty much painting away the day and what goes on out in the big outside world generally passes me on by. 
Now, I'm not totally without a cognizant reality check - I listen to CBC, Canada's awesome radio station, and that pretty much clues me in to the shenanigans and jaw-cracking inhuman activities that go on out there. And the good stuff too, may I add.
But that's on the weekends - best radio programs on then!
Ok, all that aside, I'm most generally tuned into talking books and some good jazz. And I have mentioned a few times that out here in the boonies of the little remote place I live, I don't have TV reception - that suits me just fine too. After the month in Victoria where I was 'hooked up', I found out again just why I don't miss or even need it. I mean "Honey Boo-Boo", "Storage Wars" ? ? ? I rest my case.
Fine. Cool. Understood.
But every once in a while I get brought up short by something that proves just how out-of-touch I am.
Such is the case when I tapped into my Facebook page this morning and found out from all the excited posts, that there had been a huge earthquake up in Haida Gwaii (7.7!) and a resulting Tsunami warning with evacuation last night. 
I was painting. TOTALLY unaware. 
A couple of things come to mind with this. 
Firstly that perhaps me living out of town and so removed from warning systems is problematic. 
And two: am I actually going to clue in to the fact a major event is taking place just as the water is sweeping in the door to wash me away?
(May I add that I have a large Survival Tote in place in the van with food, clothing, gear etc. I am not that ignorant)
Anyheadinthesandasusualway, what is the answer to this crazy situation?
Darned if I know......I think I'll keep painting until it comes to me.

The pic: Good old Calvin and Hobbes by the awesome Bill Waterson. Pure genius. Don't forget you can click on the image and it will enlarge.
Grab a cup and read the comics!



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bully


I'm going to dive into a topic that is.....well, difficult. It's difficult because I have to admit to an ugly side of myself. 
But, then again, I think it's a side we all share. 
I would suppose that most of you have heard about the young girl, Amanda Todd, who was a victim of bullying and took her own life last week. Her story has galvanized the world right now - and the spotlight is shining on the toxic behaviour of bullying. And just how tragic the result can be.
I'd like to speak about my own experience with this. 
Let me start by saying I'm often amazed by the saccharine espousal of many about the innocence and loveliness of childhood. Perhaps I'm coloured by my own rather bleak time back there but mostly I remember the horrific terrorizing we kids perpetrated upon each other. Boys would pulverize each other with more blood than a chain saw horror flick; girls would whip each other with their skipping ropes to the point of raising welts. Jeezus, we were Lord of the Flies personified.
Here's where my dark confession comes out. I was a part of the systematic bullying of a young girl back in Grade 4. For some inexplicable reason 'Betty' was singled out by the class for taunts and name calling....brutal kid crap that tears apart anyone who has been in that particular hell. What was it about this girl that made her such a target? Who knows......the victims of abuse are picked for the most obscure of reasons. But I was swept up in the complicit condoning of picking on her. I knew it was wrong. But I also remember being immeasurably relieved it wasn't me as the target. 
I often recall her breaking down in class one day when the taunts just became too much. 
And the shame I felt. 
But I never spoke up. 
I think this is the scariest part of this ugly behaviour - that so many are afraid to speak out. We are afraid to become the target ourselves. 
And I did become a target. 
In High School - Grade 9 if memory serves, I became the unwanted focus of a boyfriend that was very angry when I broke up with him. I ended our 'relationship' (and that's in quotes because who the hell has a relationship at 14) because he was physically abusing me - oh, the feeling of cringing shame to admit that I allowed him to take me into dark garages and even one time, the crawlspace of a local corner store so that he could screw me. His way of punishing me for finally refusing him was to line up his buddies beside the door I walked out of to head home after school. When I emerged through those doors, they began to cat call and taunt me with the cries and hisses of "Slut, hair pie, ugly bitch" as I walked by. 
I will never forget the absolute horror I felt walking those steps. The mind numbing, blood draining, horror as I knew everyone was watching and listening. 
For the next 3 months I would hide after school in whatever place I could find until 5 o'clock - making absolutely sure no one was around before I started out for home.
There was nobody I could turn to - girls were judged VERY harshly for that kind of behaviour back then in the late 60's and no other girl wanted to be associated with me. I became the pariah. I recall being abjectly lonely for a long time. 
Is there a point to my story? I'm not sure what I can say - I think that sometimes it just feels so hopeless to know this base brutality still goes on - I mean Gr. 9 was 45 years ago for crying out loud! And Gr. 4 was even longer than that...! But bullying still goes on. Is it a part of our ugly human side to pick on others? The saddest thing to realize in all this is people who bully are victims of bullying themselves. 
I live in hope that we can be better.

The painting: "The Bully" by Willem Van Mieris, 1638. There you go, we've been acting dishonourably for quite some time apparently.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Coo-EE! Here I am!



Did you wonder? Or was it just another blogger gone south as far as you could see......well, I have to admit that my 'bloggy blab' has dried up of late and I was pretty much feeling a real disconnect with the whole thing. After a while it just becomes onerous to have to think of something new and hopefully interesting to post about. I mean, even with a mind as twisty and a life as bizarro as mine often seems, even I run out of things to say.
And thank all the powers that is so, right? (*snort*)
However, you can count on one constant behaviour > I will always be painting something. 
So here it is....the newest one. If you recall, I've been trying to incorporate a 'beachy' type of theme into my paintings, in the hope of engendering some west coast kind of feel and, more truthfully, some sales. 
We shall see. 
Title: FETCH - Acrylic 36 X 42 

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Fool On The Hill and Everywhere Else...




Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you’re going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you’re crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.
Oh, yeah, we're cool. Hanging on to Dignity by a slim thread. 
I did this the other day - well, truthfully, I was completely lost in my world of I-haven't-a-clue-where-I'm-going and was walking around like this for the better part of an hour - no, seriously. I even had a map. Sadder still. Then, to top it off with a cherry of subtle nut-job, I asked a store owner the street I needed. Except it was the wrong street. By the time my are-you-sure-you-have-one brain got that detail figured out and reversed direction to go back to whence we started; I had to walk by that store owner again, by the way; almost an hour had gone by. 
It defies belief that I have lived this long.
Anywhatagoofway, all this had me musing on crazy behaviours we do when we are feeling foolish. 
You know you do them. That strange action that supposedly proves you actually meant what you were doing or have a great reason why you were doing it. 
I think it might be better just to laugh uproariously and carry on. I have to add that I'm getting pretty used to Dignity leaving me faster than fleas from a  washed dog. Witness my sitting in a 'farting' chair at the local Arts Society meeting. I'm the President. Supposedly occupying a position of note. Chairing (oh the irony!) the monthly meeting. Meanwhile the chair I'm in has one of those unfortunate cushions that emit embarrassing sounds whenever you move. Basically I lost it and collapsed in one of those 'laughing-so-hard-I'm-in-danger-of-doing-something-else-even-more-embarrassing' moments. I don't think anyone else was as amused as I. 
What the hey-ho. Might as well laugh.
And perhaps choose another chair.
The illustration is an vintage Postcard from 1910 about April Fool's Day. I happen to love that she has this come-hither smile while carrying a dead fish.
Awesome!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

* * * YA-A-A-a-a-a-awn * * *


Greatjawsnappinggasps is there anything more tedious than the self indulgent confessions and carrying-ons of someone going through some 'thing'......just like yours truly over this last month. 
You may have noticed those indulgent posts are now removed.....thank the gods. 
And, truly, what did it serve? I think I lost 3/4 of my readership (3 people). 
Ah, such is the price of.........narcissism.
Moving right along, let's talk about some Art, shall we? 
While down in the town last month, I did some Gallery cruising. Be pretty silly not to have....huh. Anywearesofumblingforthingstosayway, what I observed is there is a decided bent to two 'camps', if you will. The 'camp' of traditional, ie: Landscapes, Still Life, and such like. And the 'camp' of Abstract. Now if there is one genre of painting that gets most folks reacting in vast and often strangely adamant ways, it's Abstract Art. They generally feel, unless they LOVE it, that any kindergartener could do as well and they will let you know this in no uncertain terms. Anyone can 'sploodge' a bunch of paint across a canvas! The reality is that good, and I mean GOOD, abstract painting is very very difficult to accomplish. There has to be a decided knowledge of how colour and shape and line work and then to translate that into a cohesive whole. It is pure 'feeling'. And as with all Art, not everyone will understand that 'feeling'. I saw some pretty awesome paintings in those aforementioned Galleries. But the ones I'm carrying around in my head - the ones that really resonated with me and made me wish I could paint like that - were the abstracts. 
Isn't that a turn up for the books. (sorry-that's some wierdy English expression that I just find so great and was dying to use and look I did!)
Being a painter pretty firmly grounded in the realm of realism - albeit in a symbolistic way - I think this draw towards abstract painting intriguing. Perhaps it's the use of saturated colour or shape that pulls me....not sure exactly why. 
Does this mean I will be changing my style? No, don't think so (however- we do know the wisdom of never saying never) I'm getting recognized for what I do so to change the horse in mid stream is most likely not the best direction to take. 
But I might play with it!
There's the thing of being creative : you can mix it up if you want. 
Yay!

The photograph accompanying this post is by Louise Dahl Wolfe and titled "Beauty". 
I'd have called it "Narcissus". 

ps...ah....back in the land of 'dial-up'.....oh, how I've missed the NOTHING ABOUT IT AT ALL! Sheesh.