Thanks for stopping by my blog. Here I will be posting information about my creative process, inspiration, tutorials and day-to-day activities that make me who I am. I hope you enjoy it, come back often, follow, and invite your friends as well. Click on the painting to your right to be directed to my website.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's Not the Heat, It's the Humidity

Holy smokes, is it hot...I LOVE it! My hair, however, is not as happy about the change in humidity-I'm not sure WHAT it is going to look like by the end of the week, but if I had to hazard a guess I would say frizzy, big, inhuman...you get the picture.

One down side to extreme heat [other than my wild hair] is that it is hard to muster the energy to do much beyond sitting. I did take the opportunity to finish organizing a swap and brainstorm some possible future ones. Tomorrow I will head out first thing to mail out my stack of envelopes in an attempt to avoid the intense heat (expected to be 35 degrees) and before I lose all motivation to move.

The heat has helped inspire some future work...you know, when I have the gumption to lift the paint brush. But for now, I'll just soak my feet in cool water, pour another drink, and enjoy the fact that it isn't snowing!

(Pictured are three ATCs I did for the 'Manifesting Kindness' Swap I ran on Milliande's Art Community for Women)

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've been trying for ages to find soft pastels. FINALLY, after months of anxiously checking art supply sections of various stores in my area (of these there are few), there they were...calling to me sweetly. Not a big selection, not top quality little pots with the fancy applicators...but this lone pack, hanging from it's assigned peg, dangled in the air as though for that moment it had the wings of an angel.

"Buy me, buy me!" the package whispered excitedly as I approached- the world now moving in slow motion... I reached, I grabbed, I exclaimed (perhaps a bit too loudly) "OKAY!!"

I pressed them to my chest and headed for the cash so we could formally begin our time together.

Then it occurred to me, as I sit at home staring at the freshly opened pack, each stick with it's sharp corner waiting to create something magnificent, that I had never USED soft pastels. SO, like anything worth while in life, I was going to have to practice, practice, practice.

Here are some of my practice pieces. :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tantrums, a run away lawnmower, ATC's and a missing dog ...

Sounds like a punch line to a bad joke doesn't it? You know, the ones that start "two guys walk into a bar..." No, no, it's just my life....I know somewhere in the cosmos some higher-being is having a good laugh.

It all started, innocently enough, last weekend. In an attempt to be a good neighbour and responsible dog owner, I took the push mower out from the garage in order to have a proper 'go' at the grass in the dog run.

Now this thing [push mower] is a piece of work all it's own. After my long time partner moved out, I realised he had broken the handle and attempted to hold it together with bungie cords- sounds safe, right?! Even my uber-handy father hasn't been able to get the handle back as it should be, but it at least it now stays together (and he replaced it with a riding one-even better given I live on 3/4 of an acre). I should add that it is self-propelled. One would THINK that this would make my handle issues rather insignificant-wrong. It is the HEAVIEST and most AWKWARD machine ever created by MAN. In addition, the bungie that helps hold the handle ALSO keeps the lever down in order to make sure it moves forward, otherwise I couldn't move it at all (this information become relevant in a moment...keep reading)!

So, I go to start the beast up (oh! I forgot, the pull string-thingy no longer runs up the mangled handle, so I can't pull it directly up- which for a barely 5' person presents some issues). One pull. Nothing. Two pulls. Nothing. Check gas- it's full. Three pulls. Nothing. Push the little air pump thing again. Heave a sigh. Casually look around to see if neighbours are watching. Fourth pull- we're in business!

I then happily go along the fence and around the flower beds where the riding lawn mower doesn't 'fit' well. All is going swimmingly. Get to the dog run and stop to open the fence and I notice something...the mower didn't stop when I let go of the handle. Hum. Being self propelled it wanted to keep moving too. Simple solution- undo the bungie so the self-propelled lever slides back and it stops moving forward. Okay...remove bungie...don't lose an eye in the process...don't bugger the handle...done. Bungie off....mower still moving forward. Double hum. Wiggle handle. Wiggle lever. Mower still moving forward. Push mower against fence so it can't go anywhere- check!

I then proceed to cut the grass in the dog run then think to self..now what? It won't stop moving forward and it won't turn off. Maybe if I set the throttle to 'turtle' it will stall...nope. In fact, even though I set the throttle to 'turtle' it was still going like it was set at 'rabbit'. At this point I'm thinking ,"I wonder what the statistics are on possessed lawn mowers?" Is it safe to pull the spark plug when it's running? I ponder this option and quickly envision myself lying on the ground for hours before my children notice me- and even then it is only to poke me with a stick and ask what's for dinner.

Okay. I'm a smart woman. I can handle this...right? There is uncleared land at the end of the lot. I'll run it into the grass and it will stall and all will be well (remember, the gas tank is full so leaving it to run out isn't really an option).

Down the yard I go, all 'casual' as not to alert my neighbours to my ridiculous 'situation'. Into the long grass. One pass...still running. Two passes, up a slight hill and over some debris...still running. Three passes, over some debris, into a soft patch of dirt...stalling...stalling...no. Still running. CRAP! Is this the same machine that didn't even want to start?! By this point I'm thinking of Stephen King's 'Christine'. What on Earth did I do to make this machine angry? "You have nothing to be jealous of!" I say pleadingly. Finally, half an hour and 15 feet of cleared land later the lawn mower stalls. SUCCESS!! Leaving it pointed toward the farmer's field behind our house, I considered my yard work finished for the day.

As the week progressed I kept checking to see where the lawn mower was. I expected to find a cleared path through the fields and the mower MIA...which I can't honestly say I would mind but I wouldn't want to see the aftermath of destruction and horror that this machine was clearly capable of causing. *shudder*

I focused my attention on other things. I am excitedly running a number of art swaps at the moment. One came to a close at the end of April, but mail being what it is (and Volcanic ash delaying mail delivery) I found myself up to my elbows in Artist Trading Cards. Creating, sorting, swapping, packing, addressing and of course patiently waiting for the last few to arrive that the postal service has sent on an extended vacation to some other far off land. So much paper...so many stamps...where is my workspace?!!

In the midst of the chaos was the eruption of Miss E. -my darling daughter who is 'free spirited' and 'determined', way too intelligent for her age and to whom Mt. Vesuvius can't even hold a candle. Having just turned 4 last month, my insistence that she was now too old to have a tantrum and that it just simply was not allowed seems to have fallen on deaf ears (and if hers aren't deaf, ours certainly were temporarily after she had 'actively expressed her emotions' to us).

Friday finally arrives. With the long weekend upon us (thank you Queen Victoria) and my children gone to visit their father, I can get some serious work done. Commissions need finishing, my studies (homeopathy) need attention. All I need is ONE good night's sleep...

Not allowed. I let my wee dog out for her bedtime pee while I go to get my pj's on. She's scared of the dark- never tries to escape the dog run at night...which is good because we have animals around here that would eat her. But this night she's feeling particularly brave (or stupid). I go to let her in...Dusty? I look around. I listen for her sorting...nothing. Seriously?!!!

I go to the front of the house. I walk up the street. There, by a lamp post is a small silhouette. I whistle firmly (yes a person can whistle firmly)...the dog moves into the light...not my dog. The neighbour up the street quickly jumps off his porch and in panic calls his dog. Well don't I just look the fool. I sheepishly turn my attention somewhere else and continue to look- but being surrounded by fields, things are too dark for me to see much beyond the sidewalk. Darn dog.

I'd be angry if it weren't for the fact that she is, well, a 'simple' dog. For anyone who reads this and thinks that is a horrible thing to say- I'm sorry...but you have not met my dog. She is a Pekingese- not a breed known for their survival skills. She has no sense of direction, particularly in the dark, so I was a bit concerned as to where she would end up.

At 12:30am I make my way to bed, with windows open wide in hopes of hearing her bark to be let in. I toss, I turn, I wake at 2:30 and get up to do a check. Just as I go to open the door to the porch to see if she is there, who do I see proudly prancing past the house? Dusty.

Worry turns to an emotion bordering on fury when I see how arrogantly she prances by. I open the door and say "HEY!" She stops, looking at me as if to say, "what?". She wags her tail but still makes no attempt to come in, just stands there- oblivious to my clearly displayed frustration. "Get IN here!" I insist. Over she comes...past me to the other door. Fury dissipates. It's hard to be angry at any creature who excitedly runs past you to the wrong door to see you...I mean really, lights are on but... Finally making it in the right door (she has a habit of getting stuck behind open doors- she doesn't know to go around them) she flops herself down on the floor, belly up, tail wagging...adventure over.

It's now 1pm the next day and she still hasn't got out of bed. Right now I'm sure she's thinking, "I may have got in trouble- but MAN, what a RIDE!"

I, on the other hand, prepare my second cup of coffee and suddenly remember...it's time to cut the grass again....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And so it begins....

Four years ago I started a page on MySpace. I was very good about posting my blog entries...for a few months anyway. Now in my defence I did move which caused a slight departure from writing...(okay, okay,okay I forgot about it).

Then came Facebook. By the time I made contact with all the people I went to high school with, and a few from college, the excitement was over. Do I really need to know that Sally Smith* is taking a shower or that her son has a runny nose? (*I do not actually know a Sally Smith, just an example. My apologies if that is your name.)

Last year I started a website for my art work (www.ginger-pickles.webs.com) and there too I began 'blogging'. I removed the application when it became apparent that I am not always the most dedicated blogger. Not only that, I like to write about 'life' in general, and didn't feel it 'fit' with the website.

HOWEVER, here I am. On an actual blogging website. That's it. I'm now committed to the cause. No excuses from here on in. I WILL blog (she says with hesitant confidence).

So WELCOME. Get comfortable, tell your friends, check back every week, start your bets on how long this will last, do whatever you must, but DO come back.

Here I will be posting samples of my art, tutorials, contests and more...stay tuned!